Happy Halloween

What would I do with a blog if I had one? I thought I had that figured out. That first year, it was just what I needed to get and keep me writing every day. I met my goal, posting every day day (with a few exceptions). So what happened?

I don’t know. It’s not writer’s block, at least not as I’ve experienced it before. Those times, I still wanted to write, felt connected to writing. This time, I’m just empty. I used to rely on words, build walls around myself with them. I could hide behind them for protection or lean on them for support. Even if I weren’t writing something to post, I’d journal. Words helped me figure out what I was feeling. Words helped me process those feelings, and navigate relationships, and alleviate stress. They were my release valve whenever life felt too overwhelming.

Not anymore. Not lately. I’ve tried writing a few times this month. I have several unfinished poems in my writing folder that I look at once in a while. I don’t like anything about any of them, but I haven’t deleted them. Yet. I stare at them like they’re strangers who have broken into my house. What do they want from me? Why are they here? They stare back, urging me to remember that I’m the one who invited them and left the door open. We don’t trust each other. I leave them alone in the living room and go back to sleep.

Maybe this is writer’s block. I don’t feel like a writer, though. More likely, it’s depression. Again. Still. I blame September and all its craziness for knocking me out of my orbit. Days go by without my thinking about this blog or writing at all. It’s not that I’m too busy with other things, or sick, or stuck. I’m just…not writing. Not missing it. Not thinking about it. Not trying. Not showing up.

For now, I’ll keep the blog. Maybe this—whatever it is—will clear, and I’ll find myself in love with words again. Maybe I’ll welcome the challenge and the discipline again.

Meanwhile, there’s candy. Happy Halloween.

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The Struggle to Write

I answered all your questions.
I listened to your lies.
I finally know I’m free to go.
I’ve said all my goodbyes.

I wrote this sometime last month. It’s just one of those fragments that gets stuck in my head until I write it down. I thought I might be able to develop it into something more, so I left it to sit and think about itself until I worked my way back to it. I assumed that I’d have plenty other things to work on, things that would pour out easily now that I had pulled that particular cork and set it aside. Let the ideas flow like fine wine!

Right.

Instead, I found myself writing another verse.

I’m ready for this journey.
I’ll take each day in stride.
I’ll never look for what you took.
My soul is satisfied.

But my soul wasn’t satisfied. I hadn’t written that line. I had written something else and deleted it. And tried again. And again. I couldn’t finish the rhyme, I was so bothered by the rhythm. Whatever it was I loved about the first verse (cute little jingle), I started to hate as it expanded. I didn’t want a second verse, but here I was now, stuck with this job, needing to work on what I had, because I wasn’t getting anything else.

At this point, I had no idea what I was writing about. I was trying to fit words into an established rhythm and rhyme pattern that simultaneously felt complete and unfinished. I tried to ignore the whole mess. I started other fragments of other poems far worse. Those I deleted. I tried to muse trivially about the books I’m reading. That didn’t get me very far either. I felt taunted by this little piece of poem that refused to die.

You don’t control my future.
You can’t prevent my now.
Our past is done. Tell everyone!

Great. Now what?

Love always wins somehow?

I finally found my how?

I’m here to buy a cow?

The phone rang, so I answered it, grateful for the interruption. My sister was checking in. We chatted for a while; she updated me on my aunts and brother (everyone’s fine). We decided it was a good day for a ride. I had some clothes and food to drop off at my daughter’s house an hour away. Perfect. I closed my laptop, leaving this file open for when I got home. That way I could tell myself I wasn’t really giving up again. I was taking an extended coffee break. I was coming back.

So here I am. I don’t usually write and post after dark, but I made myself a promise of sorts. I left my words dangling, my curser blinking. I have to finish this piece so it lets go of me. I want to move on. I don’t have to like what I’ve written today. I just have to write. Maybe someday it will tell me its name and what it’s really about.

Death takes the final bow.

UNTITLED

I answered all your questions.
I listened to your lies.
I finally know I’m free to go.
I’ve said all my goodbyes.

I’m ready for this journey.
I’ll take each day in stride.
I’ll never look for what you took.
My soul is satisfied.

You don’t control my future.
You can’t prevent my now.
Our past is done. Tell everyone!
Death takes the final bow.

It Never Happened Again

A LIFETIME IN FOUR NIGHTS

I lived another life in a dream,

Each night returning to a lost world,
Each morning waking in a panic,
Not knowing who I was or where.
Not remembering my name,
So strong was the dream,

So real that life.

Night after night, each dream
A continuation of the last.
Living and loving, alive with
Those souls who held me close.

We spoke a language I don’t know.

But I grew old in that world
And died, surrounded by love,
Peaceful in my last days.
A full life, lived nightly,

Until waking that final time
With a sadness so heavy
It never heals, I was left
To live only this life,
And speak only these words,

A language I don’t know.

How Do I Change This?

STORIES

I tell the stories of mud and rain,
the broken branches and sharp stones,
a lonely journey through dark woods,
damp caves and sharp secrets buried.
Watch your step, life is treacherous.

Others tell stories of sun and wind,
strong magic skies and cheerful flowers,
daring love greatly, warriors rising,
a sisterhood to conquer the fear.
Walk boldly, life is an adventure.

I weigh their stories against my own,
this shrunken head hung on a belt,
that blazoned shield painted with blood,
a challenge too great for one soul.
I don’t recognize myself in them.

I write my story with one finger,
crooked lines drawn in wet sand,
small words the edge of a vast ocean,
tides rising and falling with the moon.
Read quickly, before I am erased.

What’s Next?

PRIMETIME

I’ve faked my own death
Sitting here, feet up
In front of the tv,
Not caring that someone small
Has x-ed out all the days
Left in this month,
To save me the trouble,
She says, looking critically
At my empty calendar.

What is one day
In a month of troubles,
In a life of lies?
I sit waiting patiently
For the catastrophe
That’s coming whether
I’m ready or not,
Feet up, remote aimed,
Waiting to switch channels.