a creature of excess

January 30, 2019

Tuesday 29th Jan

Snow forecast for today across the moors. Smoky rose evening yesterday. I have written so many words, held so many lovers – I’m a creature of excess, it’s true. Greedy like a spoilt child. But the threatening, predatory sky remains mute. It doesn’t give a damn!

P

a bridge across our fears

January 30, 2019

Poetry is not only dream and vision; it is the skeleton architecture of our lives. It lays the foundations for a future of change, a bridge across our fears of what has never been before.

Audre Lorde
Poetry Is Not a Luxury

eyes blazing

January 30, 2019

A cat’s rage is beautiful, burning with pure cat flame, all its hair standing up and crackling blue sparks, eyes blazing and sputtering.

William S. Burroughs
The Cat Inside

Burning the Old Year

January 29, 2019

Letters swallow themselves in seconds.
Notes friends tied to the doorknob,
transparent scarlet paper,
sizzle like moth wings,
marry the air.

So much of any year is flammable,
lists of vegetables, partial poems.
Orange swirling flame of days,
so little is a stone.

Where there was something and suddenly isn’t,
an absence shouts, celebrates, leaves a space.
I begin again with the smallest numbers.

Quick dance, shuffle of losses and leaves,
only the things I didn’t do
crackle after the blazing dies.

Naomi Shihab Nye

Other painters

January 29, 2019

Other painters paint a bridge, a house, a boat…I want to paint the air. I want to paint the air in which the bridge, the house and the boat are to be found — the beauty of the air around them, and that is nothing less than the impossible.

Claude Monet
Interview conducted c. 1895, reproduced in Monet in the Twentieth Century

poetry

January 29, 2019

I don’t look on poetry as closed works. I feel they’re going on all the time in my head and I occasionally snip off a length.

John Ashbery
London Times, 23 Aug 1984

most poetic

January 29, 2019

The most ordinary conversation is often the most poetic, and the most poetic is precisely that which cannot be written down.

Virginia Woolf
Orlando

scavenger of shiny things

January 29, 2019

Like a magpie, I am a scavenger of shiny things: fairy tales, dead languages, weird folk beliefs, fascinating religions, and more.

Laini Taylor
Lips Touch: Three Times

To Death

January 27, 2019

You’ll come regardless – why not today?
I await you – life is very hard.
I’ve killed the lights, cleared the way
For you, so simple, such a marvel.
Take on any shape you wish,
Burst in like a poisoned shell,
Sidle in like a slick bandit,
Or a typhus germ from hell.
Or a fairy-tale you’ve invented,
Always sickeningly familiar –
Where I see policemen’s heads,
And a concierge white with fear.
It’s all one now. The Yenisey swirling,
While the Pole star’s alight.
And in final terror closing
Blessed eyes, blue and bright.

Anna Akhmatova
(Anna Andreyevna Gorenko)
Trans. A.S. Kline

the writing process

January 27, 2019

For me, the writing process is something related to like exercising your body, taking a walk, stretching. It’s better if you do it on a regular basis. You won’t be as stiff, so all my life I’ve tried to write every day. It doesn’t have to be great. Doesn’t have to be even good. Just keep that pen rolling. Write down you know, whether you’re writing a journal of what’s been happening during the day or signs you saw that day or conversations you overhead.

It really doesn’t matter what you’re writing every day whether you’re working on a project at every given moment or not, but keep the pencil, the pen moving and the more you write, the more you feel writing as a process, as a world that can be shaped and reshaped and re-envisioned. I really love the word “revise,” like a new vision, revision or something and of course when you’re young you don’t realize that that’s the most fun part of writing, going back to something and, you know, throwing parts out, adding parts in, giving another scene, sharpening a conversation.

But the more you write, the more you treasure that part of it. So I still stick to my primitive travel with a pencil sharpener at all times, my primitive tactics and when I was a kid I felt happy to participate in the cheapest art as I saw it. You know, it seemed like kids who wanted to be ballerinas, for example, you know, that cost their parents a lot of money, a lot of tutus, a lot of lessons, a lot of shoes and to be a writer was like a dollar, $1 for a notebook, a pencil, a pencil sharpener.

So I always carry my tools with me and it’s very portable art, so I believe in writing every day and revising frequently and there’s nothing scary or negative about revision. It’s a very positive building, making part of the process.

Naomi Shihab Nye
Interview on AdLit.org