Poem for the day

The Enemy

My youth has been nothing but a tenebrous storm, 
Pierced now and then by rays of brilliant sunshine; 
Thunder and rain have wrought so much havoc 
That very few ripe fruits remain in my garden.

I have already reached the autumn of the mind, 
And I must set to work with the spade and the rake 
To gather back the inundated soil 
In which the rain digs holes as big as graves.

And who knows whether the new flowers I dream of 
Will find in this earth washed bare like the strand, 
The mystic aliment that would give them vigor?

Alas! Alas! Time eats away our lives, 
And the hidden Enemy who gnaws at our hearts 
Grows by drawing strength from the blood we lose!

 – Charles Baudelaire

writer, blocked

I’ve been staring at the screen for ages. My eyes have been wandering around the room trying to find something to inspire me. There are a few ways to do this. I can either just write about anything that springs to mind and hope that inspiration comes (current plan) or I can focus on one thing in the room and start describing it. Alternatively, I can brainstorm, play word association games, create lists or write down the last conversation I had. (it was about my mother’s much-hated dogs). She loves all five, yes, five of them. I do not. 

The bottom line is, I’m stuck. My brain is all over the place with things I need to do before the working week begins and I can’t focus on anything. 

So, here is sit, dropping words onto the page until something spectacular springs to mind…

Writing Prompt: 2 Roads

I’m in an interesting crossroads at the moment. I’m being faced with the option to move house, move countries, change jobs or travel. For each of these, there are a load of potential outcomes and I fond myself paralysed by indecision. 

Try this. Create two lists of options. For instance, a country to visit, a type of job, a potential partner, a potential pet, etc. Write a map of what would happen if your character chose one of each option from the list. Brainstorm what could happen as a result of each choice. You’ll find that you have a long list of possibilities. That’s one of the perks of being a writer. Anything is possible and you can make your characters do anything you want. 

Have fun. 

Writing Prompt: The List

I was going through my old school things in my parent’s garage in an effort to clear out some space for them and found my old journals. They were the scribblings of a young girl, still optimistic, still sentimental, un-jaded by life and disappointment. I read some of the entries and thought, “silly goose”. I struggled to remember who and what I was writing about. Some of the names were totally unfamiliar. I concentrated, trying to recall the faces that went with those names that I wrote so passionately about. They must have been important to me at the time, but now, they exist only as names in a tattered notebook. 

As I flipped through the entries, something caught my attention. It was a list that could have doubled as a love letter. There was no name attached to it, but it catalogued everything I loved about that person, our moments together, things about their character, how they made me feel and for a moment, I was reminded of something Edith Wharton wrote of one of her characters. “…such depths of feeling could coexist with such absence of imagination.”

Rather than feeling nostalgic about my work, I found myself cringing. I tried to recall some of those listed incidents and could find no trace of them in my memory. Logic and pure chronology dictated that it was one of my ex-boyfriends (nameless for this post) and I was ashamed of the fact that I had not credited them for anything more meaningful than their eye colour or some token act outside an ice cream parlour. It was, quite simply, the writings of a child. 

I wonder now, as I write this, if I would do much better now and think that a list is no fit way to describe anyone. They are notes on character, but in no way do the individual justice. So, my challenge today is to write a narrative about someone I care about, but for the writing to reflect more than just a list of adjectives. Writing should bring out the measure of their character without having to spell it out in a list. So, pick a scene and give the person you choose the credit they deserve by letting their actions and words speak for them. 



Poem for the day

Sudden Light – Dante Gabriel Rossetti
 I have been here before,
                But when or how I cannot tell:
         I know the grass beyond the door,
                The sweet keen smell,
The sighing sound, the lights around the shore.
         You have been mine before,—
                How long ago I may not know:
         But just when at that swallow’s soar
                Your neck turn’d so,
Some veil did fall,—I knew it all of yore.
         Has this been thus before?
                And shall not thus time’s eddying flight
         Still with our lives our love restore
                In death’s despite,
And day and night yield one delight once more?

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