"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Is it good? Does it have to be?

FWIW, I am working feverishly on the 5th Peri mystery, and finally feel, in the second-muddle of an act, that I know where it's all going. That's the good news.

While I write, however, life goes on and other deadlines pop up, one of which is my weekly column. Every Wednesday, I leave Peri and her friends to write 600 words on Some Other Topic. It makes one feel a little distracted.

And when I went to Sonny Boy's choral concert last month and heard the beautiful words set to music sung by beautiful voices, I felt pulled to compose a poem of my own. I used to write poetry, in my angsty youth--all Rod McKuen, free verse, in a kind of yearning cadence. Whining. Let's just call it what it was. Teenage whining wasteland.

When Sonny Boy first went to kindergarten, his teacher had them keep a journal, where they would draw a picture, and she would help them write a sentence underneath it. Each day had a kind of topic. Something You Like. Your Favorite Game. What You Eat for Breakfast. Whatever. 

The first day's topic was, I Feel Like... Marcus drew a spectacularly hot mess, spirals and curls and jagged lines, all in black crayon. Underneath, the teacher had written what he dictated: "I feel like a tornado."

That's pretty much how I feel at least once a day lately. The politics, the environment, the constant battening down of my hatches I need to do to keep Fear away from my door. My own advancing age. The storm seems relentless. 

But I am an optimist. I am eternally looking for light, smelling the roses, tasting the wine. As dark as Life gets, I look for the Escape hatch in the corner. I see shards of light poking through. And so my poem took the form of my darkened world and the sunlight that infiltrates it. 

I spent a few days worrying about the structure and theme and was it any good at all. And then I decided, screw structure and theme and goodness--it felt good to write it. I considered each word, each line, and made them mean something TO ME. It was MY expression. The "goodness" of it was in its creation.

I'm going to share it with you, not because it's good or I'm so proud, but because I am Creator and I Created, and everyone should share that piece of them. Do not fear. Share your work with the world. Let them see you.

By Gayle Carline

Clouds fold across the sky
A blanket tucks in the land

Snug as a bug in a cliché

Shadows deepen
Hills are dark
Valleys cloaked
All is hidden

Sleepy eyes at rest

Pop—what was that?
Heartbeats quicken



The clouds thicken, rumble, roar
Hands raise, a-tremble
Thru the grey mist

It holds no weight
Keeps no shape
Yet holds fast


Beyond the gloom, something comes
A shard of light, a glint, a ray

Slender as a cactus prick
Pierces through
One small hole, one punch

The blanket frays
Exposing the bright
Digging in the corners

The clouds sit heavy, stubborn

The sun is coming.

Bring the warmth

Bring the truth

Kick the covers off.

* * * * *

I guess I'm trying to say, write what you want, when you want to. It doesn't have to be good--it has to be yours.

Proud Member of ALA!

I support fair and equitable library access to ebooks and so should you.