PANIC! AT THE KEYBOARD: Nine words and counting

…(insert sound of whip here). So far so good. I’m writing a steady stream of words, my music is set to Mumford and Sons (still waiting for a new album from these guys). I’m not feeling any sort of panic, yet. Earlier this week, I read an article about writing and began to worry that my FB removal has not been as productive as I’ve wanted it to be. I’m not writing to a word count, and in fact, have only revised a few poems (though brilliantly, I might add). It seems that writing, like everything else these days, has entered the great digital era of apps and downloads, and even these are just aimed at getting us to write more. Right. (Sound of whip). Maybe there’s something to the pressure. I remember as a student that I needed the pressure of a deadline to finish an essay, or the regularity of a poetry contest to inspire me to write a new poem, and even at the retreats when I was the coordinator, I would try to write so many poems a week.

I’d like to think I’m creating my own app by using a blog to get me going. I’m gearing up for more writing by attending the Festival of Words, and the great poetry workshop with Phil Hall. I’ve edited a poem for the occasion (what is that sound?), which took more than a few hours and it’ll need far more work to get it to where it should be, but it’s words and words, according to the great guru group the BeeGees, are all we have.


…has me pondering. Yeah. That’s about all I have to say about it. Well, actually it has me wondering a bit about thematic restructuring within my own poetry but first, let me say that when I read the article written by A.S. Byatt I was immediately reminded of this video. Byatt’s article made me believe that Munch would probably have enjoyed the video in a way his critics probably wouldn’t have. Then it also reminded me a recent show by Regina artist Donna Kriekle. Her miniatures, while not reproductions, reproduce paintings in a new way. I was struck by “Not Again” and was pleased to learn how Donna had come to title the work ( I won’t steal her thunder by telling you and if you want to hear it, you’ll have to contact her); suffice it to say, I was intrigued by reproduction of art and theme.

I began to wonder how many poets become fixated on rebuilding the same theme in a poem. How many carry forward these themes from book to book? Does this make the poet write the same poem over and over? Can one have twelve different versions of a poem, and would they then be twelve different poems? How different would each version of the poem have to be in order to be a new poem?

I thought about having a dozen links in this post. What would that do to the post?


…does not lead anywhere glam, sometimes includes planes, trains and automobiles, sometimes includes an audience, sometimes includes a festival, but for me, it’s never included LA. How about New York? Now I don’t really have any worries; it seems literary tours are pretty much the same wherever you go. Except San Francisco.


…well now that I have your attention, you can follow my reading last night: first about the philosophy of love, which I thought was interesting enough, though slightly vague, and then onto this article. If I read this correctly, I just need to avoid having too much testosterone and maintain a steady supply of oxytocin (not to be confused with oxycotin) and by golly, life should be grand.


…is what I started out with when I began to think about writing a blog post tonight. Not that I’m thinking hard about this, or long, and I’m not really examining this in any great detail except for this post; however, in my quest to write at least two blog posts this month (a record so far this year), I began to read other blogs that I’ve also not kept up reading. I began to be envious at the people that are still blogging away zealously (though I think envious in a good way rather than a self-destructive envy). I also noticed there appeared to be many others that have quit or slowed to a frigid halt in blogging. Is this a trend or a symptom of social networking?

Although I’ve not been very keen on writing blog posts in the past few years, I’m not sure what I can blame this on: maybe a fast-paced job, busy family, life catching up to the time I spent dogging it. Or maybe it was social media– the endless status updates, the pictures, the comments, the politics, the blah, blah, blah. Whatever the excuse, I’ve not had the urge to withdraw from blogging, and in fact, have had the urge to write more lately–I’ve always believed that the more I write, the more I write.

I can’t say the same for social media, and in fact, they’ve made it quite easy for me to leave that space anytime I wanted to. So I did. Now I’m sitting at my kitchen table, looking out over the rain-soaked lilacs and thinking about words instead status updates.


I’ve always had a soft spot for Lillian Hellman, for any female writer that has carved their words and lived their life in the manner to which they wanted. I think I first discovered Hellman through the lens of Pentimento . I don’t remember what year, or how old I was, or how exactly I came to discover Hellman, but I loved her audacity, her ability to be herself. It was inspiring to me as a future writer to see women (not just writers, but women) doing and living how they wanted to.

I’m also intruigued by society’s reaction to strong women and of course, by book reviews, which have also had bad raps in the press and beyond. Not sure I agree or disagree with a review of a book I’ve not yet read, but I must say, I’m interested enough based on the last line of the review, to read about her. It ain’t over till it’s over and her day ain’t done.


…has begun again! You can follow along with the poetry blog here. Thanks to Ariel for her vision of an online poetry community!


The cactus is dead and thrown into the yard; it sits like citron on the patio edge, a coxcomb on concrete. I drink cranberry tea, plant some marigolds, and wait for dandelions to whisper my fortune, this secret language of flowers, hollyhocks through my day.