Hey! I tied for top spot in Week 305 of the Weekly Short Stories Contest and Companies Poetry Stuffage section! Sometimes it is the simple things that bring the biggest smiles and Snoopy Dances.
And be sure to check out Sarah’s haunting poem and Edward’s great short story for Week 305; the topic was Deception. Guy’s Flecks in Our Eyes and Sarah’s Augury tied the poetry contest. Edward’s No-One Believes You won the short story contest. Congratulation…
Source: Week 305 Winners
It is great to see my favourite writing group get their own blog to showcase some great talent. The Weekly Short Stories Contest and Company recently celebrated its 300th week with the launch of a blog to publish the weekly winners.
Please visit The Weekly Short Stories Contest and Company now in WordPress!
Well, to honour my effort at reviving my blog, what better way to hinder that, not much less than not posting at all, but to post a short poem. A poem I wrote today for Week 296 of Poetry Stuffage in the WSS in Goodreads. And if you could follow that sentence you get my highest praise and respect, because could I have written a more convoluted and horrible one?
The topic of the week is The Space Between. (If you read these before Jan 31 2016, write a poem and enter it just for fun!)
Anyway, here is a some words in the shape of poem styled in the English version of Japanese Tanka:
There are no more words.
The silence has stony weight
That what had been seen as sound
No longer has resonance.
*Photo and rock stack created by author
Hello. It has been a long, long time since I’ve been here in my blog. And as I write that, wondering how to be creative, my blood is beginning to dance and my cells vibrate with the joy of blogging. And with that I am sorely tempted to say that coming into my mid fifties has seen capital “L” Life fill my days with a busy-ness that is challenging, filled with wonder and the expansion of joy. Even now, I am “stealing” away time from a course manual that is demanding that I get it completed. Ah well! LOL! So be it. A blog today will get me smiling as the manual, even though fascinating, will not.
My friend Jasun Horsely, has given me the final push of inspiration to write this. Thank you Jasun. Specifically, he has just completed a blog post of the conversation we had. It was fun, and I found it very entertaining when I listened to it, the way we explored ideas of ego, self, deservedness and other ‘liminal’ stuff. And I am blogging to share that, and at the same time to promote his very interesting blog.
So, if you are curious about a light discussion on the liminal ‘truths’ we wrestle or struggle with when we aren’t busy making our lives work, here is Auticulture. (And the music he incorporated is perfect to the conversation!)
And, in a very quiet *fushigi, I wrote a poem that presaged the conversation, to some extent. And so this blog is to bring the two together, and put them into the blogosphere.
I laugh at that, as I wonder if that is ‘just’ my ego self wanting my writing read, or is that truly my intuition asking me to extend my creative expression into the world. [Shrug.] Does it matter, really, in the end? Not at all, of course, and so here I am. Writing a blog with my words in writing, and as they were spoken in early January with Jasun.
Here’s the poem.
The Clock Struck Six
“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice.” – T.S. Eliot
There was a moment
when the meaning was clear
a difficultly understood with a
brilliance that gave me the hope
I remember that moment
in yesterday’s words
with a clarity that
Foolishness is the truth
of yesterday’s truths.
And to be unembarrassed in
the remembrance of the joys
born in each final truth’s finality
other than death
instead of death
means something also true.
I am old.
My words no longer resonate
with the possibility of a future
remapped by words as sutures
with the power to unknot
what I had once been convinced
I had been able to unravel
more elegantly than
Alexander had done his Gordian.
The words that look back up at me,
have a weight to them,
as if they are now eyeing me
as something worthy or not
Sorrow, perhaps, for having been
wasted in my fervid well meant
fruitless looping back
to discourses in logic
looking for the mind
in my mind
in my books blinding my eyes
the demon Sphinx’s
Oedipus in the end
put his own eyes out
for having been blind
to his truth.
was that enough to keep him
from getting lost in labyrinthian
words with points like the sticks
stuck in his eyes?
That had stuck him with what
I scribbled something,
but it was illegible,
or maybe just unintelligible,
and of dubious intent anyway.
As I squinted at it,
from my neighbour’s home,
through the open window
on this warm evening,
I heard his old fashioned clock
As I squinted at it,
from my neighbour’s home,
through the open window
on this warm evening,
I heard his old fashioned clock
Another day over
start over again
after the beginning
and the end of
The movement’s indifference was
Dawn to dusk, over and over
I put from my face,
off of my nose,
the glasses I was blind without.
Hung them from my loose fingers.
I closed my eyes and
as if my fingers could erase
the ghosts of
the striata of
too many words read and re-read
again and again and again.
A living made and done,
long since done,
writing the same things
the same tiny little words,
over and over
I set my eyes’ glasses down
pick up my scribble of ink
and I stop. Reading.
Start to read it, again.
Through that open window
I hear young voices,
fighting to find truth
In the words of love,
misconstrued as words always are,
mistaken for the real
and the true.
I crumple my scribble
throw it away.
that my trash
replaced by a recycle
Well, that is my attempt at a blog.
And perhaps a good way to begin, late, this ‘new’ year.
[Begun on the 9th, and re-commenced on the 13th.]
The fushigis continue to outpace my ability to blog them. Even now, even though I sat down tonight to write a memoir of inertia, my inertia has kept me from writing it and I found myself writing silly Zenish fushigi things instead.
And now, I will begin with music from last night’s small fushigi, mostly because it involves the joy of listening to Laurie Brown’s The Signal and how her music interacts fushigish with my life. I had Laurie’s music in my ears as I was writing a letter to my sisters. We had had a reunion the night before. I hadn’t seen the one sister since 1991 the other since 2004. We shared our own paths of survival and recovery from the trauma we’d experienced under the charismatic and sociopathic cult-like charms of our mother. (That’s for another story.) I began the letter struggling to describe how I felt. I wrote “I am smiling at how easy and peaceful, perhaps even tranquil, the time felt to me.” As I was writing that, I heard Laurie Brown introduce the next song with, paraphrased, Alana Yorke bringing ‘comfort, peace and tranquility’. How often do you hear or read the word tranquility these days? And yet as I’m writing it Laurie’s is speaking it. Anyway, I went and found the song from The Signal’s play logs because it is quite beautiful. Enjoy: Song of the Piano Man.
And tonight there was a funny fushigi. it began with my beginning to share on FB a small miracle, or magic, in its own right: Thursday [yesterday, the day of my reunion] I received an email from the Readwave webpage that my total story and poem reads there have reached 10,000. That ‘milestone’ occurred on the same day I met with a sister I hadn’t seen since 1991, which is some kind of milestone. While a little amusing, that is not the fushigi. And, funny enough, as it turns out she is married to a writer! Too funny, how life goes. And even funnier, he is not a mainstream writer, as he explores the liminal areas of human experience. Jasun Horsley is fascinating, and an excellent writer and podcaster.
When I went to share my 10k milestone on FB, I wanted to be clever, and find some quotation on the limits of words. That words have limited functionality and are prone to creating serious miscommunication is a regular theme in my writing. I began to flip through a few of my books. After a few unsuccessful flips, I came across this one in a book that I bought today:
How to Awaken
Most students of Zen apply themselves to mindless zazen [meditation] — a grave error. [It is to be remembered] that the mind is transmitted and enlightened by itself. The non-sentient cannot attain the Way. Students today can’t seem to grasp that to feel cold or warmth, hunger or fullness, is to be mindless and on the right path (61).
Zen: Poems, Prayers, Sermons, Anecdotes, Interviews. Translated by Lucien Stryk and Takashi Ikemoto.
Nice! I thought to myself. And marked it with a sticky for later, when I would put together this blog.
Well, for some reason, I decided to take a quick look at the other book I bought at the same time as the Zen one. It is Mr. Palomar by the amazing Italian writer, Italo Calvino. And this is what I read!
Ch1: Reading A Wave
The sea is barely wrinkled, and little waves strike the sandy shore. Mr. Palomar is standing on the shore, looking at a wave. Not that he is lost in contemplation of the waves. He is not lost, because he is quite aware of what he is doing: he wants to look at a wave and he is looking at it. He is not contemplating, because for contemplation you need the right temperament, the right mood, and the right combination of exterior circumstances; and though Mr. Palomar has nothing against contemplation in principle, none of these three conditions applies to him. Finally, it is not “the waves” that he means to look at, but just one individual wave: in his desire to avoid vague sensations, he establishes for his every action a limited and precise object.
Mr. Palomar sees a wave rise in the distance, grow, approach, change form and color, fold over itself, break, vanish, and flow again. At this point he could convince himself that he has concluded the operation he had set out to achieve, and he could go away. But isolating one wave is not easy, separating it from the wave immediately following, which seems to push it and at times overtakes it and sweeps it away; and it is no easier to separate that one wave from the preceding wave, which seems to drag it toward the shore, unless it turns against the following wave, as if to arrest it, Then, if you consider the breadth of the wave, parallel to the shore, it is hard to decide where the advancing front extends regularly and where it is separated and segmented into independent waves, distinguished by their speed, shape, force, direction.
In other words, you cannot observe a wave without bearing in mind the complex features that concur in shaping it and the other, equally complex ones that the wave itself originates(3).
And that was perhaps an almost perfect example of a writer using words to move beyond words and, at the same time, embodying the antithesis of the Zen teacher’s lament that student of life cannot live within the ‘natural’ order of life. So delightful.
As mentioned (in Chapter Four), the conscious mind is a portion of the inner self; that part that surfaces, so to speak, and meets physical reality more or less directly.
You are mainly concerned now with physical orientation and the corporeal materialization of inner reality. Therefore the conscious mind holds in ready access the information that you require for effective day-to-day living. It is not necessary that you hold in steady consciousness data that does not directly apply to what you consider your physical reality at any given “time.” (Pause, one of many.) As soon as the need for such data — aid, information, or knowledge — arises, then it is immediately forthcoming unless your own conscious beliefs cause a barrier. The exquisite, precise and concentrated focus of your conscious mind is quite necessary in physical life. It is because of this highly selective quality that you can “tune into” the particular range of activity that is physical (95).
“I know the four Vedas, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vedas Rig, Yahur, Sama, Atharva – and the epics, called the fifth. I have studied grammar, rituals, mathematics, astronomy, logic, economics, physics, psychology, the fine arts, and even snake-charming. But all this knowledge has not helped me to know the Self. I have heard from spiritual teachers like you that one who realizes the Self goes beyond sorrow. I am lost in sorrow. Please teach me how to go beyond.”
“Whatever you know is just words,” said Sanatkumara, “names of finite phenomena. It is the Infinite that is the source of abiding joy because it is not subject to change. Therefore, seek to know the Infinite (188-9).”
How does all this tie into a family reunion? Each of us related our struggles out of the deluded illusionary world our mother had made up for us. We had all come to the awareness, had woken up in Zen language, that our mother’s world was ultimately an empty and psychologically poisoned one that only words and the blind who will follow them have the ability to make manifest. Only words have the power to create ideas and ideologies that are completely disconnected from the real world, a world that is comprised of the complexity of our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual beings. We each of us had, in our own unique paths, left the cult of ‘just’ words that our mother adeptly made. And ‘cult’ is not my description. Some time after breaking off communication with our mother, our eldest sister described her shocked realization that the documentary on cults she was watching was describing our childhood.