On Writing a Memoir, Part III

Recently published on my innerwoven site…

innerwoven

It is an odd thing, this whole memoirishness. 

poets-pen.jpegTo read a memoir is to sit in someone’s living room drinking beer and eating Cheetos as someone outlines plans to save the world, or at least make it a little less shitty.

Except for a few cases, their stories are rarely intended for their own self-aggrandizement. Instead, they act as a window, a prism of sorts that divide up a fully lived life into its constituent parts for our amusement and awe. Once we happen upon these parts, it is for us to find ourselves within them.

Although not entirely without a modicum of gravitas, I am embarrassingly unknown. A small-town guy writing for other little guys, but with a tale to tell. What I can offer is a fireside tale told by a friend you just haven’t met yet. A regular guy with a story for other non-luminaries out there.

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On Writing a Memoir, Part II

My invitation remains open. Join me in the journey toward a story on paper? Share with me your impressions. What has moved you? Delighted you? Disgusted or enraged you? Your thoughts mean everything to me. As do you.

innerwoven

I love to write. Whether it loves me back is not for me to decide. The jury’s still out on that one. No matter. It doesn’t change the fact that I am compelled to tell people my story. Well, bits of my story. Bits of my unfolding story.

poets-pen.jpegWhy, you may ask? Because stories unite us. Jesus loved them. He had a particular attachment to stories. Parables to be exact. Parables are simultaneously beguiling and didactic. They amuse as they teach. They are immediate in their images and settings. It’s like we get to be in on the joke. And, their disarming specificity is surprisingly universal.

Once a story is rooted in the ground, where we all walk; once there is an address, a face, names, insider talk, maybe a joke or two, it becomes magnetic. They bring us together in ways few other things can. They are the campfire…

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On Writing a Memoir, Part I

I’ve posted this to my other blog, innerwoven.me. In case you’re not following me there, I wanted to share here as well. Why? Because I need your help, dear readers! Help me pull the book outta my head and onto “the page.” I appreciate you all!

innerwoven

poets-pen.jpegSo, dear friends, I need your help. I’ve had a book percolating in me for some time now. But I need your help in pulling it out and getting it down. I’m inviting you, my dear readers, to help guide me on this journey.

Many of you have faithfully followed along with my often random, esoteric ramblings, with grace and dedication. I am utterly gratified to be in this with you. Truly.

Of the pieces you’ve read, what has struck you most? Deepest? What are the bits and bobs that have most touched you, made you laugh, or cry, or angry? I mean, the kinds of bits you’d read more of were they to find themselves between covers? So, this is an open invitation to you, my beloved readers, to walk with me toward some as yet undetermined goal of a memoir.

I appreciate you all so much. Your input…

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Chasing Fog

Art yet to come.jpg

Let us strive to understand why

artists of different stripes, through all our times,

have sought out darkness, terror, and woe.

Is this alone enough weight to serve the best

grist for the mill,

the most creative soil?

Some see hope only in pain – best straw for the man,

scare for the crow,

leaves for the tea.

But love yet remains the hottest kiln fire,

best ink or brush, chisel or note, key or bow.

Unrequited?

Better still.

The lover writes, paints, sings, sculpts, dances

her way to unleashed creativity, effortlessly

producing beauty in saying so.

Lose that love and comes a torrent of page-busting pain,

notes of mourning and loss,

all the colours of the universe distilled into singular grey.

Art becomes the dense power of the black hole,

sucking energy from anything unlucky enough

to be in proximity. It is pulled in,

crushed, passed through the dark,

then, released again, purified in travail.

Let the art come then from orbital gravity –

two heavenly bodies in mutual dance.

And, sometimes, great art still issues

forth from the flinging wildly into endless space,

victim of some heavenly collision.

The sculptor trains his eye on her flowing

body, chipping away what stone blocks

the way of the visage that drives him.

Shoot an arrow through her and the same

tools are used to take his own life.

Then, the composer, matching them both,

crushes grisled notes onto a tear-stain’d staff.

The musician throws note after throbbing note, dying

as on cloth all our emotions in each one. She loses a hand

to prepare the way for the still

broader statement of the one who writes of her loss.

It is all an exercise in drilling holes in the sternum

to siphon enough life-blood for the great gushing

onto page, stone, canvas, or staff

one’s gratitude or grief;

tears or triumph;

grist or glory.

There is good art in the good. Perhaps even better art in the bad.

There is art within art. Light from dark from light,

we find the most lasting thing tucked in

the gravitas of every moment.

Baffling.

Unnerving.

Discouraging.

Beautiful.

The artist must find the kernels of beauty tucked

in a backwash world,

like chasing fog in the dark.

 

Let us begin.

The Price of Home

Published at innerwoven, given the literary nature of this one…

innerwoven

I’ve been stung. Poisoned. Nothing flora or fauna. By a book. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. It’s got me thinking again about our notions of ‘home.’

Poisonwood Bible.jpgTuesday, December 26th. Boxing Day. It’s strange, just saying those words can produce such intense homesickness. A progressive, Canadian family living in a regressive, Trumpian America. Similarly, Nathan and Orleanda Price and their children, Rachael, Leah, Adah, and Ruth May – in equal measure, a family displaced; a little collective of courage and fear, lived in a world of nothing but frontier. Their only certainties were the uncertainties of daily survival in a world that cared little either way.

Their meager, not even daily, meals of eggs or mash, perhaps some chicken if someone took pity on them, removed any vestiges of the stolen or manufactured expectations as whites in a black world. They were equals among those who typically served their every…

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