Poetry, rules and rebellion

I have a confession…writing poetry with certain constraints has always made me antsy. I have felt like I was somehow not good enough to write following the rules. So, I have written copious amounts of free verse…avoiding the structure of any fotms.

Then, as I grew as a writer and a poet, I found myself saying I don’t write that way too often. Well why the Hell not? Am I a Poet? Or do I just pretend I am?

So, when presented with a form/structure poem idea, I start by looking up the rules. For me, this is my go to site.

Believe me, I feel like a high school student again. In high school I knew the rules and felt my style was better as free verse. I think that if anyone tried to tell me that I needed to follow rules with my poetry I even would blow it off with poetic license.

The rebel nature of free verse still appeals. I will likely never be the next Haiku or Sonnet genius. Poetry speaks from the heart, and mine is often chaotic and unstructured. The meaning remains though.

So, just out of curiousity, what is your favorite types of poetry? Why?

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Pheonix ashes

I am learning to be a new person, in order to do that I have to quiet the mental gremlins. That is harder than it sounds. I am a survivor. And I am tired of surviving. No, I am not suicidal. But I am trying to change the direction of my life. I am trying to make it where I no longer am having the string of disasters that my life has been up till now.

What that means for me? It means for to start I let my art and my words flow. I continue to put myself out there. I consider writing the memoir that I have been told was something I need to do. That will probably be some of the hardest words I write. I have shared a few of the stories.

To ease some of the panic, I will say that I don’t know if I will publish it. If I do it will be under a pen name.

Parenthood

This is one of the hardest topics. After all, most days I feel like I am a failure at being a parent. Am I? Many say no. But, still I feel the strain. Today, I found myself angry. Not at my daughter, but at my mother. An old hurt came forth from a new wound.

Now, Since becoming a mother I find myself asking how much of my issues with her stem from normal teen angst. But, somethings….

My daughter is beautiful. And I try to protect her from those with the lack of vision to see her as she is. Today that included my own mother, who sees things no differently than she did when I was a teen. Which is really her loss. Through my anger and misery, I reached out to friends. Friends who could listen to me rant and understand the pain behind it.

The pain of a society that feeds the stigma my mother uses. Big equals unhealthy. The whole situation was that my teen was 250 lbs. She, through healthier choices and adding excersize has lost 20lbs. She also gained an inch. So today when we went to a local health fair, a doctor at the hospital used her height and weight to determine her bmi. She was told it was within normal range.

I tried telling my mom, thinking that she would be proud of my baby. I forgot that my mother was always harshest about my weight. So when my mom responded that the doctor lied and that my daughter was not in normal BMI for her height, my heart broke. Instead of another soul to encourage a little girl struggling with her self image I had found another to tear her apart. I will not allow it. This is where I am becoming the parent I want to be.

To those who would have negative views of her….

I will not allow your issues to hurt her! She is healthy, and still working out who she is to be. Maybe I am overweight, but when I look at her I do not see numbers. I see a beautiful, sensitive child who is already struggling. I teach her about healthy choices and I let her decide how she will be. She is still growing. She has already gotten taller than I. She will reach the stars! And I will not allow your issues to stop her. Your judgement is unwanted, and if you cannot see her amazingness then you are not needed in her life!

Signed

A mother tired of judgements

Journals,  diaries and the journey of the damaged mind. 

        Lately,  I have been trying to do an exercise for my brain in the morning called ‘morning pages ‘. Basically brain vomit put in physical form. This helps me to clear the crap that weighs me down,  and recognize my problems so that I can address them. It actually is helping.  I used to understand the power of keeping a diary… Unfortunately people happened.  Said people used those diaries against me.  So I got out of the habit. I stopped listening to the internal therapist.  And the result?  I have a fair amount of issues that bind my self esteem in a knot.  So by starting to do this at least one time each day,  I am going to see so much of what garbage is buried in my brain.  And I will see what I am able to start working through.  I will be improving who I am.  

        Today I found that I was feeling like a failure because I was not juggling the numerous hats I wear as well as I want to.  Today I was kicking ass as a mom,  but my writing was not going as well as I wanted it to.  I rocked as a friend and I even did decent as a housewife.  But I was doing poorly as a crafter and small business owner.  I was an amazing artist but I felt that I was not a wonderful person…. Now… Read this again.  Today I was amazing but I did not feel like it. That is the place where the exercise helps.  We have to change how we see the world if we want to change the way it sees us. 

     What’s something that you can adjust your way of thinking about?  And how can you use it to make your world brighter? 

The stories we hide

      I have many stories,  I think that we all do.  Some of us,  the ones who have been through hard moments,  we hide the stories.  We have been taught to feel the shame of those stories.  To feel less because of them.  And I refuse.  

                My memory is still very fragmented. I blocked more of my story out to save my mental health than I remember. Yet,  I remember enough. I am a survivor.  I was abused. I was raped, multiple times. And when I asked for help I was told it never happened. I was told that I was crazy.  

            I might be crazy,  but it did happen. I have been brave before,  I told the man who abused me as a child that I would scream if he came near me again. I was eight or nine. I’m not entirely sure of the exact age.  He locked me in the trunk of his car and told me I would die there. I believed him.  He convinced me that no one would ever believe me. The sad part is he was right.  It took me until I was thirteen to gain the courage to tell anyone. To my shame,  I was told it was not true. 

                So much of my life I have been fighting for my sanity and my life.  I am in my fourties,  and for the first time in my life I am not crazy.  I know my truth.  I will always be the person who was made from the hell I walked through. But I will not hide my truths any longer.  I am not going to let those truths break my spirit anymore. 

Villains 

      First off,  I apologize for being a day late in posting. The headache monster visited yesterday,  so I got little of my work accomplished. 

      Villains are tricky.  We as writers often see the villain as a tool,  two dimensional concept of evil…as a reader though I am here to tell you that is the end of a story.  Even worse than plot holes,  a two dimensional villain is enough to ruin an otherwise great story. 

       I have a sure fire way of testing my villains.  I give them flaws,  make them as realistic as I can. Then I imagine them in town and let the mental movie unfold… I as I am watching ask myself three questions… 

1) Is the character sympathetic?  A villain who we can sympathize with will make the story more interesting.  Also I am one who thinks that the story should leave the reader wondering if they are happy with the villains defeat. 

2) Is there a way to defeat the villain?  Though I think that the villains defeat should raise questions about how the reader feels about it,  defeat is usually in the life of a villain. And a overpowering villain is often no fun for the hero… Unless the story is not supposed to get the happy ending. 

3) what are the traits that are showing up most with your villain?  Has s he/ she got flaws or traits that you should pay closer attention to? A good villain often has fears,  and accomplishments that they are proud of.  This makes a far more rounded character. Villains are still characters,  and the story is best when you treat them as such! 

Music soothes the mad poet… 

*image found on Google and only used for inspiration. 

            Recently I read a blog done about music and the effect it had on the life of the blogs writer.  It got me thinking.  So often life for me has revolved around the music.  The sounds of life have always been a rich and full part of who I am. I remember my Dad’s deep baritone singing “Amazing Grace” to me as a child. I remember going to see my great grandfather at his radio station and being enamored by it all.  I loved the poetry in the songs,  how it felt like your soul was understood by the person singing. 

          Grandma Ethel,  my Mom’s mom,  used to sit and listen to stories from her youth and she would share those with me.  Radio shows from another era.  She taught me to enjoy classical music,  how to close my eyes and visualize the music. 

         Music for my mom was such a rigid thing.  If it was not country,  she would not listen to it. And as a child,  in her house I was not supposed to listen to anything else either.  But daddy had records of all manner of song.  Stray cats,  and soft rock like it.  She would eventually learn to bend,  she grew to enjoy some bubble gum rock along with the country.  

                      I still remember the first time I heard real rock. My soon to be step brother had a cassette tape of Dr Feelgood.  I was eleven.  It felt wild and I was hooked.  I still enjoy country,  but I am eclectic in my music tastes. 

                Mind you I am skipping over bits of music and memory. I am trying not to ramble here.  The next influence was my first day of high school.  I was six weeks late because I had a child at fourteen.  I was scared to death of what high school would be. My elder step brother was dating this chick,  and man I looked up to her.  She was confident and sexy and badass. All of the things I knew I would never be.  Well she met me at the cafeteria doors holding a boom box.  It was blasting so loudly that the windows in the building were rattling.  Pink Floyd;  Another Brick in the wall part 3…Aka We Don’t Need No Education.  I can’t tell you how much better I felt about high school.  It was not that school was actually any better.  In truth it was a nightmare.  I just suddenly felt braver,  more secure.  

       Looking back,  every person who was ever a intimate in my life has a song.  My playlist is often a minefield of memories.  Some of which I have not even explained to my boyfriend of over twenty one years. Not because of anything other than the fact that I am done with the one who was once attached to the memory. 

        I may have been a singer and put my love of music to use,  except for the fact that I am unfortunately tone deaf.  I was not gifted with the beautiful singing voice that I would have loved.  It has not stopped me, i sang to my daughter.  I refused to deny her that bond,  both with me and with music. She still will ask for her lullabies when she is feeling bad. 

I sang four main ones to her.  “Hush little baby “,”the greatest love of all “(slightly mangled as i forget one verse), “rockabye baby ” (altered so mama catches as the original bothered me)  and the last is called the puzzle song. 

Lyrics for the puzzle song: *note I learned this is a chorus class in school and have no freaking clue who wrote it. 

I gave my love a cherry that had no stone,  I gave my love a chicken that had no bone,   I gave my love a ring that had no end,   And I gave my love a baby with no cry-in. 

How can there be a cherry with no stone?  How can there be a chicken with no bone?   How can there be a ring with no end?  And how can there be a baby with no cry-in? 

A cherry when it is blooming,  it has no stone,  A chicken when it is peeping it has no bone,  a ring when it is rolling it has no end and a baby when it is sleeping has no cry-in. 

What songs have made a difference in your life?  I would love to hear about them.