Throwback Thursday: ’90s Inspiration Edition

Today’s Throwback Thursday post is going waaaay back. Like, back to the ’90s.

My very first autograph.

Tonight I had the pleasure of attending Final Thursday. It’s a reading series hosted at the Hearst Center for the Arts; there’s an open mic period followed by a featured reader, and it’s a whole lot of fun. I attended a couple of times in college (either because it was mandatory or there was extra credit), and I even managed to read something once (so I wouldn’t have to do a write-up on the event later). For someone who hates public speaking as much as I do, that was a big deal, particularly when it came to the essay I’d decided to read.

Anyway. Even if you’re not reading, Final Thursday is a ton of fun because…

Well, it’s Wednesday…

…but I’ve got nothing. It was a long and uneventful day.

I’ve been watching a lot of TED talks recently, and I ran across this one about the lessons Jia Jang learned from a hundred days of rejection. I thought it was really cool, and maybe even worth trying myself. At any rate, it gave me a nice little boost of confidence to start submitting things again.

Well, that and a friend who badgered me (good-naturedly, of course) into entering some poems in the James Hearst Poetry Prize, which closed the 15th. I can’t wait to hear back regarding my submission, regardless of what, exactly, it is that I hear back. I mean, obviously I’d like to win, but I’d really just like an end to the suspense.

So there’s that.

What are you all up to lately? Any wrimos out there winning Nano? Tell me your stories below!

(c) 2019. All rights reserved.

It pays to be prepared…

A great singer once said, “You gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away, and know when to run,” and those words flitted through my brain as I headed up to the mic with my tablet in hand. I hadn’t planned to run, though I had considered running in the opposite direction. And I managed not to trip over all the cords, so that was a bonus.

“Our next reader says she’s livin’ the dream, so she may be sleepwalking up here!”

I reached the mic, smiling at the intro. “Well, I don’t sleepwalk, but I have been known to talk in my sleep, so here goes nothing.”

And then I set my tablet down. Three lines into the poem I’d planned to read, the screen went black. I don’t like public speaking, but I seem to keep finding myself doing it, even when I don’t mean to. And when I’m in front of people, it doesn’t take much to get me flustered, so a malfunctioning tablet was sure to do the trick.

I was prepared for that, though. My tablet’s battery was already low—and getting lower—when I arrived at the Hearst Center, but I hadn’t had time to print off a copy of what I planned to read because I hadn’t decided exactly what that would be until after I arrived. While I was preparing my reading, someone asked me if I trusted my tablet to see me through, and when I glanced at how much battery remained, I decided it would be smart to have a backup plan.

So three lines into a thirty-nine-line poem, my tablet crapped out. Evidently I set it down on the end with the power button, which turned the whole thing off. Not to worry—I whipped my phone out of my back pocket and continued reading without missing a beat. It made my intro feel even more fitting.

And it all worked out in the end. Several people told me how much they’d liked what I read, and a couple of people (including the MC) commented about how seamless my recovery was. What can I say? I have a history of quick recovery when it comes to technical difficulties. Once, in sixth grade, we did a project where we had to do a mock radio broadcast. As we went to play our musical selection, my tape deck hiccupped. Without even thinking, I said, “We are experiencing technical difficulties—please stand by,” and my co-host went into commercial. I can’t be sure anymore, but I think he completely ad-libbed the commercial, and we ended up doing really well on the project.

Nothing like quick thinking to save your bacon.

If only all of life’s hiccups were that small, things would be pretty good. But that doesn’t mean that a little preparation and a bit of quick thinking can’t still save you when things aren’t going your way. Patience and persistence are both vital ingredients when it comes to making your own good luck, and while I may not be the most patient person in the world (far from it, in fact), I am certainly one of the most persistent. Some may argue that stubborn is a better word for it, but sometimes in life, you have to be stubborn in order to get what you want.

It’s like Don Schlitz said all along: You gotta know when to hold ‘em. Know when to fold ‘em.

And just keep swimming.

What about you? Do you enjoy being in front of a crowd, or would you prefer not to?

(c) 2019. All rights reserved.

Wild Places

I long for the wild places,
Unsullied by man,
And far from the bright blinking
Arc at the edge of the land.

I long for the wild places
And the freedom to be
Unbordered, unbounded,
Unbridled, and free.

Instead I am trapped
In a red ring of power,
Far from the meadows
And fields full of flowers,

Far from the places
I long so to see,
And far from the me
I feel I should be.

I long for the wild places
I’m not sure still exist.
I hate that I feel like
I’m no more than grist

For a mill that consumes
Every last thing in sight,
Every bulb, every stem,
Every petal of white.

I long for the wild places,
And I’ll go there someday,
Even if it means bribing
A cowboy to take me away.

(c) 2018. All rights reserved.

Dream World

A lake of fire gleams
In the west, a warm end to
The remains of day.

The eastern sky is
A pastel rainbow, capped by
A gleaming full moon.

In light or in gloom,
In cold or in warmth,  nature
Inspires my dreams.

(c) 2017. All rights reserved.

Golden Coup

Nothing gold can stay, says Frost,
And surely he would know.
For if the gold had not been lost,
He would have told us so.

Nothing gold can stay – it’s true.
But maybe if we try,
We can execute a coup
And turn that truth to lie.

(c) 2017. All rights reserved.

Cattails

Dewdrops on cattails
Glisten in the quiet peace
Of early morning.

Dewdrops on cattails
Sparkle in the gentle light
Of a summer’s dawn.

Dewdrops on cattails
Are truly a sight to see
Each and every day.

(c) 2017. All rights reserved.

The Moon In Her Eyes – Remix

Tonight I’m reworking a prose poem I wrote a while back. Originally, it was a single paragraph, but I’m wondering if this form might work better. Please – share your thoughts below!

The night was dark and the moon was high
As the brave young man strode calmly by
And promised to pluck the moon from the sky
For the girl he loved to wear in her eyes.

He aimed with his arrow,
And shot true and high,
Encircling the moon with a great length of twine,
But it wasn’t enough to capture the prize.

For the moon it continued
To climb through the sky,
And as it did it pulled on the twine,
And ever so slowly did the brave young man rise

Till he found himself alone in the sky

With the moon and his arrow and a great length of twine,
And no way to get back
To the girl that he loved
With the moon in her eyes.

For ever and always
He’ll continue to try
To capture the moon
To hang in the eyes

Of the girl that he loved
On that cold, dark night,
And he’ll never forget
The way that she cried

When he disappeared into
The great black sky
To fetch her the moon
To wear in her eyes.

He’ll never forget
The way that she died
With the moon shining brightly
In her dark brown eyes.

And now it’s your turn – which version do you like better, the prose version or this one? Tell me in the comments!

(c) 2017. All rights reserved.

Innocence

In sweet green pastures
I think of you, and all the
Love that we once knew.

In sweet green pastures,
I see you fly, soaring high
So you touch the sky.

In sweet green pastures
I lie and dream of all that
Was, or at least seemed.

(c) 2017. All rights reserved.