I Read In Bursts

Author: siggy

I read in bursts, a paragraph here and there. Sometimes I amaze myself and actually read a whole page. To read a book is a miracle, but to read a novel I have to be mesmerized and turn page after page in wonder.

Knowledge is a circle I had to realize. All knowledge is connected. I do not learn by reading a book sequentially. I usually learn in bursts. That caused me some problems in school. The teacher expected you to make it through a book, then another, etc. Anyway, I surround myself with books. A burst here, a burst there. I even occasionally read a book from cover to cover. Most times I open it anywhere and start reading. I am not compelled to read a book from beginning to end. Novels are difficult. One type of book I do read from cover to cover are interesting memoirs.

All you can do is mine who you are.  As a writer that is all you can do.  You are who you are.  And that is where your get your material to write.  We are all given a tiny piece of the universe.  It is small but that is what you got to work with.  We all think a little differently.  Each person is a “snowflake” and that is what we have to mine as a writer.  We can not portray ourselves as we are not.  Then it comes across as being phony.  We are ourselves for better or worse.

Elegy To Paul Kantner

Author: siggy

This is an elegy to Paul Kantner, who died yesterday. He co-founded Jefferson Airplane. His most memorable song he wrote for them was “Crown Of Creation”. I still remember seeing Jefferson Airplane in 1970 at the Shore. And when they did that song I moved and sat down in the aisle to hear it. I strongly identified with some of the words of that song: ‘you are the crown of creation, and you got no place to go’. The song gave me hope for change at a time my life felt helpless and out of control. Paul Kantner was a visionary. The last studio album Jefferson Starship, the group he founded, came out with was an album almost no one heard near the end of his career. It was full of protest and folk and other peoples’ material. It was unlike anything he ever put out. It was titled “Jefferson Tree Of Liberty”. He was a visionary to the very end.

I was thirteen years old when Kennedy was inaugurated. All I remember was a poet named Robert Frost reading a poem he wrote for the inauguration. He was very feeble looking and read slowly. He died two years later. He was the poet of that generation. He had won four Pulitzers for his poetry. That is the only memory that has stuck in my mind–this old man reading a poem.

My greatest fan of my poetry is an eight year old in the church I was tending. He loves my off beat poetry some of which I have memorized. I gave him one copy of the first CD I recorded of my poetry. He loved it. His Mom said he is ‘quirky’. I don’t know exactly what to make of that. Maybe, I should direct publishing some of poetry for children’s publications. An illustrator could probably have a bit of fun drawing pictures for my poetry is very visual.

I could never understand why a writer had to go to a retreat to write. I write almost anywhere particularly if I wrote in my journal. Blogs are a little different. But not much. The ideas are almost, always, written on pads. Of course, I have to type on the computer and we only have one computer that is online. If I don’t have my current journal I will write on any paper I can find. I don’t have to go to a retreat to find the time to write. When something is bursting within me and I want to write about that., I always make the time. I may have to wait to find the time but I make time. If I hear from someone how they want to write and don’t, it is because other thing crowd out that desire. Other things are more important. If it is important enough you make the time. It is that simple.

My birthday is coming up (and I am just depressed). I can not tell you exactly why although I can guess. Part of that is grief. Most of my life is over. I can’t go back. Wishing is futile. Somehow I need to settle things. My relationship with my daughter is fractured. I don’t know how to repair it. Lectures and judgements don’t do it. I am aware of the ticking time. I am running out of time. I guess, everyone wants to leave a legacy. I am working at getting my first book of poetry out but it is a long and uncertain process. My wife is the only one who really cares about that. She is my editor and a good one. Things really don’t matter. I really don’t know how much time I have left. For that matter, no one knows for sure. I know that somehow I need to make peace with the people who matter to me. I don’t know how. I am just depressed. That is all I know.

The poem I write usually finds me.  I just record it.  Something happens to me.  I just have to get it down.  Or lose it.  And in the beginning I do not edit at all.  That comes later.  I can never predict when my poems come.  At that point getting it down and working on it is the most important thing in the whole world.  I just obey my Muse.  I usually know when I am done.  There are no more words.  The hard work comes later–the editing that is.  I am lucky.  I can run poems by my wife.  She has good instincts.

More Than Anything Else

Author: siggy

I guess more than anything else from my written piece I want to know:  did my love come through?  I would rather my piece be poorly written but have my love come through.  If my writing is grammatically correct but says nothing it has failed.  Ideally it would be both.  I also want to know:  did you feel what I felt?  Did you have an inkling?  Were you there?  Did you want to be there?  Did my humanity come through?  Those are questions I am always interested in.  If the answer is “yes”, it is relatively simple to go back and clean up the language.  All that is simple when the “guts” of the piece are there.  If they are not, no fiddling with it will matter.  I am not always aware of the response.  The answers to those questions determine the success of my written piece.

Different writing is handled different ways: my journal entries I do not edit–I just get it down redundancies and all. Blogs I edit right away and on the computer. Letters I do not edit. I read them before sending them and make sure there are no errors–usually of omission. Short autobiographical stories, which I do not write too many I first get down and run a hard copy after each set of editing. Poems are usually generated from my journal. I edit right away from my raw material and run a hard copy and then edit, again, and run another hard copy, sometimes, sitting on it and edit it again from the hard copy and print and repeat the process until I am happy with it. I failed to note my wife edits my material. My blogs, poems, and other written material I read out loud to her for a general reaction and modify my material according to her reaction. She has good instincts. Also it is amazing what I hear when I read the material out loud especially regarding poems. I am keenly aware of my material read out loud. It has to sound right. That is some of my techniques and process I go through. My web site I created with my wife’s help to aid other writers.

Editing when I write a poem (or blog) (or anything), is different for different types of writing.  For blogs I edit as I go along.  For journals entries that turn into poems I try initially to get the particular experience down.  At that point I do not edit and if I decide to turn the entry into a poem I then start editing when I get to the computer.  Letters I write I never edit.  I do read my letter once.  Sometimes I find omissions and add a word or two here or there but that is it.  I but I really do not edit my letters.

I do write autobiographical short stories but this is rare.  I could only remember three I wrote.  There I write initially without editing and then when I get to the computer with it I get it all down, print the initial draft and then edit each subsequent draft which is done from the hard copy.  This is my general process.  I do use my wife as an editor.  For a general reaction, which I always consider as I edit further.  I am very lucky to have her.

My ideas for blogs get lost unless I record them.  Sometimes I may not have time to write the blog right there and I can’t let too much time go by.  But when I return shortly (within a day or two most times) as long as I still feel strongly about the subject matter which is often, then I write the blog.  That is my general approach.  I always make sure the important ideas are listed initially.  I make the visibility “private”.  I do not want others to read my blog until it is done.