Thoughts destined to be washed away by the tides of life.
I've been studying my cover photo for a while now, and it seems to me that it is more than just a photo of what is there that can be seen, more than just three white rocks stacked on a beach. It contains an important question about the future, about what happens long after the photographer has gone. What will happen to our pile of stones when the tide comes in? Will it topple or has the architect built this structure at a safe distance? |
I don't know what will happen to these words that I stack here on the sand. They may prove safely distant, or they may be swallowed up by a rush of self-doubt. They may be here for a season. They may lose their balance and be scattered by the shoreline, or be hidden away under shifting sands. Perhaps someday, the tides of life will reclaim them.
Or maybe that's just a bunch of poetic, romantic nonsense. After all, this is just a blog.
|I am still on my first cup of coffee. There is, in the small oven, something that might be a keto bagel. We'll see. Just wanted something different today and I had the dough already made and refrigerated .
I don't know how long it takes to bake, so I will have to keep checking it and hope some ideas pop into my head that are worthy of writing down in my blog entry.
Blogs are not Facebook, after all, and are meant to contain more than just a chronicle of one's daily attempts at cookery.
Perhaps there is some excuse in that I am forcing myself to write in my blog every day as a kind of exercise. Or punishment. Or torture. All the same thing, really.
This is my second week of keeping the commitment to blog. I haven't written down the other commitments which make them harder to track or to be held accountable for. But I did hope to write more poetry, do a few contests, etc., and I am just not managing it. I think that I expect more inspiration but sometimes that is what the poet must provide and it can only be found within, not in the prompt or the photo.
Wow, that's depressing. I wonder if I am that empty right now?
| Although the wintry mix of sleet and snow falling this morning batters my window with every gust of wind that interrupts its otherwise ground-ward travel plans, I definitely hear the first sounds of approaching spring. Birdsong. And the songs I hear are those of returning species. I don't notice when they've gone away but I definitely notice when they return. The cat notices, too. It gives her something interesting to watch at the window after a long , boring winter of mostly white landscapes and few woodland creatures to observe except for the odd squirrel or a few, squawking crows. She's mad about crows.
I have never been so keen on spring before as I am this year. Generally, I prefer winter snow to spring showers, slush to mud, bare trees to leaves. Perhaps it is age, perhaps it is my dismay upon seeing the heating bill, but this year I am not unhappy to see winter off.
Grey skies notwithstanding, the birds are returning to prepare for spring. I am going to hope they know something I don't, because all I see from here is winter.
|I am not behind on my day, my day has just got ahead of me. What I mean is - I am not going slowly, the day is going quickly. Oh, forget it, I am really off schedule today. And, I've just smeared peanut butter on my keyboard.
I am not going to apologize. I know there are plenty of you out there who snack at your desk. Some of you eat lunches, perhaps even dinners at your computer. Yeah, I see you there with the ham sandwich clutched in one hand while you two-finger a comment on Facebook. I see the mayo dripping on your mouse pad.
It's easy to see why keyboards get so filthy and why they have such high levels of bacteria on them. Maybe people don't think about washing their hands before they touch the computer, the way they do before they handle the food they eat at the computer. But I don't understand how keyboards can hold more germs than your average toilet seat. I don't even understand why anyone would be counting bacteria on random computers. Or toilet seats. What kind of job is that? Although, bacteria do come in all types, both good and bad. They measured the number of bacteria on a keyboard, but I don't think they said how many of those were completely harmless. Like so many things in life, it's often about what you don't say.
Writing can be like that, especially when you want to leave the reader to his imagination. Imagination is often worse than the scariest written scene. Leave the reader with the feeling of horror at what might happen after the words on the page come to an end.
My blog isn't like that, though. Generally what happens after "The End" is a nap.
|I am running a little late this morning. I think I will need to make a second cup of coffee before attempting this blog entry.
There. The nice thing about blogging is that I can leave the room, go make coffee and you can't tell that I have been gone. Just one more reason to blog instead of doing Facebook Live or something. There are other reasons, too, but they are similar - like blogging in your pyjamas or the freedom to be incognito and unseen.
I have been doing social media for a long time, but I generally stick with those platforms that are designed to let you share in text rather than pictures. I know Facebook allows one to post endless selfies, but it's not necessary to do that in order to use it successfully. I don't go to Instagram, for instance, because I don't record my day in photographs or video. I don't take pictures of myself and nothing in my life is interesting enough to bother filming.
Worse, I have seen what Snapchat and other apps do to you with their filters. Sure, it's funny if you use the bunny filter because we pretty much know you don't have long, floppy ears or whiskers. But those glamour filters are more deceptive. I have come across photos of relatives in which they appear much younger than they were the last time I saw them. And there's something magical, yet disturbing about their eyes. A little like Polar Express but with more twinkle. These filters lie to the world about you. They are also addicting. Once people use them, they can't stop because returning to their real images would be such a let down for those whose eyes don't really sparkle or contain an exact replica of the Milky Way.
Also, we've all seen how a random Zoom filter nearly derailed an attorney's appearance before a judge when he appeared to be a fluffy, white cat. That's embarrassing.
Now, I am not going to say that I am perfectly content with the sight of my aging self. So much less potential for improvement, however, makes it easier to resign oneself to. I know that no matter what I do, how I diet or exercise, I will still be old and wrinkles happen. Plastic surgery is expensive. Filters erase the wrinkles and smooth the ravages of time, but they are creepy. I am just going to stick to being invisible and let my words stand for me. If not for hiding behind, I have no idea what the internet is for.
|This week’s media prompt is a video of Lovesong by The Cure.
I had never heard this song before, so I spent a little time researching and reading the lyrics. It’s always a challenge to read lyrics because they are usually repetitive and less complex poetically as they rely on the music to bring another level to their meaning. I was surprised that the music was slow and sad, while the lyrics proclaim the good things that love was doing for him. Then I learned that band member Robert Smith had written the song as a gift to his wife for their wedding. That put another angle on it, and the serious nature of the music made more sense.
I don’t suppose anything has inspired so much poetry as love. When we are in love, we desire to express it, we have to let all these overwhelming emotions out before we burst. Some love poems are elegant such as How do I love thee, let me count the ways… (Elizabeth Barrett Browning). Some attempt to convey the inexpressible as in e.e. cummings’ somewhere i have never travelled which uses unique and deeply moving metaphor. But the teenager who is experiencing a first crush is every bit as sincere in their poetic declarations, even if they lack skill at expressing them.
I have written love poetry and even more amazing is that poems of love have been written to and for me. Each poem attempts to express love in terms as beautiful as love feels. It’s not easy and we are not all equally adept at poetry as the Brownings, Byron, cummings, Shakespeare, etc. But there is no one who would not appreciate the sincere pleadings of a heart, however conveyed, especially as we approach Valentine’s Day.
Have you attempted romantic poetry or given a poem to your beloved? Something crafted from true feeling can easily outshine any gift of flowers or candy.
I am including links to some poems of mine that deal with romance and its complications.
Whatever kind of love you have or wish for, I hope everyone has a happy Valentine's Day. If nothing else, it's a good excuse to eat chocolate.
|I woke up this morning with wonderful words and lines for a poem going through my head. Of course, most of it is lost to the brain fog that takes brilliant ideas with it when it clears. By the time I got to the bathroom, I remembered only two words of it. Ah well, that's two words more than I had written before.
It's rather good that I am here again this morning. I am keeping up with my goals, even though I didn't enter them at the Weekly Goals forum. I kept disappointing myself there. I need to whip myself into shape before I parade my ambitions in public.
The white down on the tree limbs was replenished last night with a fresh snowfall. It's strange to finally experience all the beauty of winter as we can see spring approaching on the calendar. We've turned that corner and even the groundhog's shadow can't stop the inevitability of it. I feel sorry for the birds who arrive early to begin the preparation of nests and plan for their spring broods. I know they are there because the cat chooses windows that look up into the trees and sits there from before dawn, staring up at the activity that only her alert observations can detect.
I am going to see if I can figure out how to make some keto pancakes and brew another cup of coffee. Then, I can start my day in earnest.
|The same thing happened this year as it did last year. I was humming along, writing daily and producing. I produced daily poetry, short stories, reviews, even blog entries - then my real life exploded. And even when things began to get on an even keel, I couldn't do it anymore. I couldn't concentrate, couldn't write, couldn't produce.
Falling out of a writing habit is worse than falling off your diet. It's twenty times harder to get back to disciplined writing than it is to make yourself eat unappetizing food. It's easier to write down calories than a few lines of poetry.
I guess that discipline and writing never seemed to go together for me. They probably do, but I have this dream of a bohemian creativity that strikes or doesn't in its own arbitrary fashion. I imagine that is just my excuse.
I have no solution except to start writing. And where better to begin that in the hated blog? The blog that is avoided and shunned because it reminds me of my neglect.
So, every day I will start here with some paragraph or other about nothing. No one will be expected to read it. But it's good exercise, even if it just helps me remember how to type.
|It's easy to get into a slump. Holiday pressures, family worries, toilet paper shortages - the modern world provides daily stresses that quickly change to keep us on our toes. There's no chance of solving the universe through deep reflection. This is not a philosophical battle we're in, it's a real one with ever-changing enemies and battlefields.
Sorry, I got carried away. I simply meant to give a few facile excuses for my lack of verve and engagement. I don't know how it turned so Fortnite.
I was really just going to tell you about my paper towels.
Usually, I buy plain white paper towels - but these days, you take what you can get (see the reference to shortages above). The kids brought home a big package of brightly patterned paper towel rolls. The first one had blue and green bicycles all over it. But the second one - that second roll is an endless supply of cheerfulness and optimism.
No, really. Every sheet is covered in encouragement. The paper towel under my coffee cup has "Every day is a new opportunity" emblazoned in bright pink and green lettering. It also tells me to "Kick" the past in some way or other. I can't tell for sure since this is one of those rolls where you can tear off half sheets and I don't have the other half of these sentences right here. Maybe it's the neon green, maybe it's the fact that my coffee is something I highly desire and it's sitting on this paper towel, but I feel an unusual amount of psychological pressure when I lift my cup and reveal the command to "CHANGE"!
Anyway, it's possible that I am only writing this blog entry because the paper towels told me to.
|Lindsey Stirling's Carol of the Bells is an invigorating example of the current trend to modernize traditional music and make everything more electric and more exciting to a new generation of listeners. It started a long time ago, rememberClassical Gas?. Then the Christmas version of electronic adaptations became popular with the advent of the Trans Siberian Orchestra. But Lindsey Stirling has done something that no one else has done before. She has managed to make the violin sexy. Her videos and her interpretation of famous songs have made her a musical sensation. This new video clearly draws on her dance talents that were previously honed and showcased during her stint on Dancing With The Stars.
But my favorite Christmas album is not sexy in the least. It's the opposite.
When I was young, Saturday night belonged to Lawrence Welk. My father loved to watch The Lawrence Welk Show, though he rarely had a kind word for any of the performers. His favorites were so few, but I think he enjoyed making sarcastic remarks about the performers he didn't care for more than anything. I always watched with him. And sometimes I agreed with his comical critiques.
One performer that we neither loved nor hated was Bob Ralston, who played the organ in the orchestra and occasionally was featured playing the organ solo on the show. He must have been popular, because he recorded a Christmas album. When I say "album", I mean the old vinyl discs that went round and round. Records. Each side of this LP had medleys of several songs blending into each other. I don't know who sang the songs, it was some standard group of carolers. But Bob Ralston played the organ throughout. The music was very old-fashioned, and the singing fairly standard, but this album had a ton of Christmas songs jam-packed . It was the only Christmas album we had and we put it on the phonograph while we trimmed the Christmas tree. I recently found that this entire album is on YouTube. Playing it is like revisiting my childhood, my family, those people I loved and now have lost. This is the most average, boring, standard, dated collection and yet it is the most wonderful Christmas music in the world to me.
Lindsey is a star. She's vibrant and exciting and her talent is amazing. But for me, Christmas will always sound like the guy from Lawrence Welk.
Spiders are clever little things and hunting spiders are downright scary smart. They will watch you to see what moves you are making and adjust their routes and moves accordingly. They also get into tight little spots that may be extremely comfortable for them but are highly inconvenient for you. A couple of years ago, a spider crawled into the area of the digital clock on my stove and refused to leave. He just stuck his body in front of whichever bright green numeral he liked and got in the way of accurately timed baked goods. We got rid of the stove, but not because of him.
The other night, I glanced at the thermostat in my bedroom because I wanted to know the temperature in the room. I often check it these days when it might be chilly one night and warm the next . The addition or removal of blankets and the opening or closing of windows are all subject to the vagaries of October weather. I know everyone thinks of October as cool and crisp but that's true only part of the time. November is a much nicer month but that's an argument for another day.
I glanced at the thermostat. It was close to 70 in the room, so the window needed to be opened. But in the mostly darkened room, I couldn't figure out what that blob was on the face of the thermostat. I didn't think about it for long, as I was anxious to get to dreamland.
The next day I looked more closely and discovered a very dead-appearing spider lying upside down INSIDE the thermostat, behind the tiny, clear circle of plastic where the temperatures are chosen and measured. I thought about how I needed to get that dead spider out of there but it didn't seem urgent. Later, when the upside-down, dead spider had returned to life, righted himself and moved within his tiny space, it began to feel urgent. I didn't know if he might accidentally change the setting and turn on the heat or possibly short something out. I called my son and DIL-to-be to look at it. He pulled off the front ring of the thermostat to see if we could get the spider out. We couldn't. There didn't seem to be any way into that space. Son tapped on the plastic face trying to urge the spider to move. DIL-to-be named the spider Henry.
I don't name spiders. I either ignore them or kill them depending on where they are living, building webs or dangling.
Perhaps because he became shy and disliked being the center of attention or perhaps because the Son chased him round and round with the thermostat red temperature arrow ("I made him run laps," he said), the spider found the way out, the mysterious route than no human can find. I noticed his absence the next morning.
"Henry is gone," I announced.
The damn spider now has a name. That's going to make it harder to kill him when next I see him. But I definitely will kill him. It's too dangerous a precedent to set.