demanding, cadence

It’s been a long time since anyone told me what to do in a fall-in-line school-sense. Referring to tasks for education: write an essay on, create a theme poem, and that horror of horrors – edit.

Edit wasn’t well loved or even liked in my elementary, high or college schooling. (Or now, honestly.)

I loved to write and was under the impression that writing loved me. Otherwise, how could it have been so easy? Words came to me and I dispensed them exactly as channeled through my psyche.

Any type of art, once emerged and recorded, immerged to the deep. Catalystic inspiration filed, it was perfect as it was. Whatever the medium, it came out of me divined and that’s how it would stay. I learned the phrase ‘Artistic License,’ and adopted it, fully.

Young ego. I didn’t understand the art of finessing. Observing, tweaking, seeing it from another point of view – there just wasn’t room in my head. I was always on to the next creative.

April was National Poetry Month. University of Michigan LSA Institute for Humanities popped up with a program and challenge called Poetry Blast. 22 days of noon-time poetry reading by and daily prompts.

Prompts are demands. Uncomfortable commands to self- challenge. When it is no longer about urgent feelings or excited insight, it’s a struggle to combat insincerity with what may not be talent, after all.

So, 22 chances. 22 struggles. Limited outcomes, due to topic, timing. Some just straight-up, staring blanks of ‘I don’t get it.

My total participation attempts yielded 6 submissions. Three of which, I think, are ridiculously weak, obviously forced.  To my credit, I analyzed the situation and accepted the call-to summons as an opportunity. An uncomfortable opportunity to struggle, but that was the point of trying.

Interestingly, I have found my ‘natural’ cadence to be obvious and boring. Admittedly, at times, outright contrived and imitatingly trite. I’ve been working tweaks. One line in particular irked me as being too children’s picture book rhymey. Another, I fear for its honesty.

Some fall into failure, considering way-off prompt tangled-up tangents of skipping from topic to … an anomalytic abyss of deep click diving, one thing leads to another, but doesn’t fulfill the requirement.

In the same way that dusting a 15-year-old multiply-moved, semi-busted lampshade interrupts cleaning mode in favor of shopping for a new one and you end up with shoes.

Quote for the Week:

Background & Links:

Take a few minutes to listen to a poem! April is National Poetry Month, the largest literary celebration in the world. This year, the Institute for the Humanities is joining the tens of millions of readers, students, teachers, librarians, booksellers, publishers, families, and, of course, poets, in marking poetry’s important place in our lives. Every weekday at noon in April, our Youtube channel will feature a U-M faculty member reading one of their poems. See below for today’s featured poet.

2021 Poetry Blast: Read. Write. Hear

Street Poems: Ann Arbor 2021 Poetry Blast Walking Tour

YouTube: Noon Readings 

Read Reduction

Used to be I had a reading pile. A to-be-read stack of whole magazines or just torn pages, books I picked up for free, printed online articles I didn’t have time to sit down and devote to immediately and knew I’d never find them again. Links can die, you know. Especially after a few years.

Well, I stopped all that physical periodical hoarding. Inspired by an accidental find years ago. 2014; while perusing positive topics for what used to be an email and US Mail based Midweek Encouragement Newsletter. ME News existed in an era otherwise known as ‘pre-blog.’

In the basest form of self-trickery for knowledge seekers, I canceled nearly all of the clutter subscriptions that lead to clutter. Nearly.

Costco and AAA send me monthly periodicals whether I want them or not. I subscribe to the Ann Arbor Observer monthly rag. I could stop them simply, but then, how would I know where all the good stuff is happening in Michigan, or discover why a certain product is better than another? Without endless key-word internet surfing for hours, I mean.

Plus, I’d also lose out on letters and phrases. Grade school, I’ve always loved collage. Went through an interesting and a bit obsessive, huge, collage cut-and-paste phase in college. Began as sorority-sister aimed birthday cards on budget. Ala kindergartener-ish: find a pretty picture, add some happy, descriptive 1500 level words and voila!

I also went through a band-love phase where I would use every print version of the band name I could find and pauperize it into wall hanging. I had a double 8”x14” pair-themed set of Duran Duran fonts proudly displayed in my first dorm room. Hmm. Who am I kidding?

So, maybe both of those things weren’t phases. I’m obviously still in a band-loving stage. And, I still cut out words and phrases. Anyway, the point is, now even just those three founts of info tend to heap on my coffee table. Not a real problem. I break them down, take what I need as I read through, recycle the bulk and end up with smaller piles.

My digital stash is overwhelming, though. I leave large articles unread until I have the time. I gold-star articles that may be of use in the future. I subscribe to a few special interest daily/weekly emails for things I am truly interested in. I’d really like to engage with these lurking lessons. I’m really a little stressed out that I will never catch up and, yet, I continue to pull and hold.

826, 180, 11, 109 emails awaiting my attention. Some are new. About 600 are marked for future, do not delete articles, updates, initiatives. Surprisingly the 826 is not my junk box. It also dates from 2010 forward. Pictures, scratch writing, thoughts – these aren’t a concern to me. I’ll get to them. When? Well, when I do.

There’s def a need to tackle. Do I start with one source and read straight through? Oldest to newest in unrelated order? Sort and scour by topic? By informative value or creative enjoyment? Ugh.

This all sounds way too much like a lot of pre-work to manage my actual desire.

The Minimalists, Podcast 286: Enoughism

orange.

I’d sighed earlier at the half-read “Box of Butterflies,” by Roma Downey. Rather than re-shelve, I re-homed it to my priority chair-side reading table.

Because, 1. it was only/already half-read and 2. it would be a light enjoyable distraction because 3. I was giving up on the missing missive.

To feed my belly, there was a quick reheat of lemony chicken and roasted zucchini with garlic. To feed my soul, I dragged a zero-gravity folding recliner, my lunch and the book outside. For while I was pleasantly afternoon porch-sitting in the shade of my massive oak, enjoying the lovely light breeze.

Readings, prayers and stories blended, touched me, encouraging an emotional urge to sad-cry. Though, not something I do much, I also don’t reserve them as a resource. No, my tears map; mostly chartered for overwhelming frustration or anger.

When I do give into melancholy, I self-console it’s not entirely squandered time; there is scientific data on the toxin expelling benefit of tears.

To be sure, my dead-end searching contributed, but the reason was indeed sadness.

Yep. I wasted a solid thirty seconds pity-partying, which is a bit of significance. If you’re inclined, go ahead and time thirty seconds. It’s a lot longer than you think.

I sniffled, wiped my eyes and closed them just for a moment being miserable and thinking about Jeff. And, then, everyone gone.

I blotted to remove the refractory glare of still welled tears, Un-smudging my glasses, I began again (because I can’t not finish a chapter, or a song for that matter.)

Soft-stop blink-leaking, something glinted peripherally. I expected to see Blu and his shiny gold collar tag at the screen. When I am out and he is in, HBlu’ll check where I’m at, what I’m up to and yell at me to let me know he’s monitoring. I say hello, tell him I’m fine and he lumbers back to his most recent favorite indoor spot.

I was surprised it wasn’t Sir Harley. It was a flitty thing.

It took another swipe-rub and a second sweep to determine it was a butterfly – in orange.

The flutter-by stayed around a bit. Dipping, rising, dancing for fifteen seconds or so, until the gusty stream took it wherever it was going next.

I couldn’t help but smile.

Orange was my father’s favorite color.

Then, I couldn’t help but frown.

Quote for the Week: