Poetry I cannot force,
it comes and then it goes.
Like a river at its source,
it ebbs and then it flows.
Words, you see, are only that,
and rhyme and rhythm, too.
Poetry’s not pit-a-pat,
but here in me and you.
–in the sun and in the rain,
the things that quiet tears;
in the love and in the pain–
experience of years.
Then the poet, what is she?
She’s nothing like a muse.
Rather, she’s a puppet, see,
and words her only use.
So poetry, my fickle friend,
I wonder what’s in store?
Will you stay until the end,
or show me to the door? .. For an audio recording of this poem, click here:
“Poetry is what happens when nothing else can.”
– Charles Bukowski
Note: The first stanza of this poem came to me in a moment of frustration when I was trying very, very hard to write another poem on a very different subject–and getting nowhere. Since that time, it has taken me FOREVER to finish this. Fickle is right!
The old woman lay dozing. Mussy hair framed her pale face; the hair was white, like snow. IVs pumping clear liquid ran between needles in her wrists and plastic bags beside her bed. She was tall, and very, very thin.
“Hello, Mrs. Andrews? Are you awake?”
Wide eyes opened, alarmed. The eyes were brown.
“Didn’t mean to startle you,” said my dad. “I’m Dr. Cyphers and [motioning to me] this is my daughter, Jessica. We came to wish you a Merry Christmas.” Continue reading →
It’s been a few days since I’ve posted. Perhaps you might think I’ve not been disciplined enough, not been writing enough. And, while it may be true that I am not always disciplined, it would be inaccurate to say that I haven’t been writing. I have been writing. A lot. Just not for this blog!
You see, I’ve been working on graduate school applications. I spent all day today touching up my Personal History Statement and Statement of Purpose for U.C. Berkeley‘s Graduate School of Journalism . . . Honestly, I hesitate to tell you that. Berkeley is incredibly competitive; I’ve already applied once and failed to get in. But that was before Asia, before I really knew what I was doing . . . Ha. Does anyone ever really know what they’re doing?
I’m rambling. My point is, I might not get in, but at least I can say I tried. I am also going to apply for creative nonfiction writing programs around the country. Creative nonfiction is what I love to write, anyway.
But, for those of you who don’t know me very well, I thought you might find (part of) my Personal History Statement interesting. It is the most concise statement of have of what has brought me to this point—the point of being the author of a crazy blog called “Shift.”
While everyone else in the blogosphere is concerned with National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), inexperienced bloggers like me just want write. We nonconformists recognize that, even if we could pump out 50,000 words in 30 days, most of those words would suck. Not to mention we have other lives. I have not yet achieved my dream of being able to sit at my computer all day with nothing else on my plate but to write, write, write.
Not that I’m opposed to NaNoWriMo. I think it’s a great idea: Write for a cause. Work cooperatively. World peace. All that.
It’s just . . .
Personally, I’d rather work on attainable goals. Take the GRE, figure out grad school, freelance (I’ve got my first freelance article coming out this week!), exercise, write whatever I want whenever I want. I’ll bet you have responsibilities, too. Also, correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure Dickens never wrote for NaNoWriMo? How about Shakespeare? Tolkien? Austen? Homer?