Monday, June 29, 2009

Writing As A Series Of Essential Connections

I seem to be waxing poetic lately---OK, maybe I'm giving myself too much credit. But after all, poetry certainly takes its full measure of meaning as seen by the eyes of the beholder. So, I'll make the claim as my own primary beholder and leave it to others to agree or disagree.

At any rate, it has struck me that writing becomes a series of essential connections as we attempt to give birth to a story in whatever form it may take. Forgive me for taking liberties with the poetic form as I remind myself that remembering that series of connections from time to time is probably a good thing to do.

If All Else Fails, Remember The Connections....
By Bill Kirk

Just the other day
I was thinking—
You know, how when you
Start to write and
A totally novel story concept
Starts to form and
You’re thinking you can finally use
That ideal main character and serpentine plot
You crafted so many years ago and
The best opening sentence ever written Pops in your head and then…?
And what about that
Perfectly polished manuscript
That just got rejected for the tenth time?
And what’s up with the editor
Who’s been stringing you along
For two years, asking for revisions,
Teasing you with interest until,
“This project isn’t going to work for us after all” or
The too restrictive contract or, worse,
A book far too comfortable
On book store shelves because
It just doesn’t resonate?

That’s when it struck me.
A concept won’t be formed,
A character won’t quite fit,
An opening sentence will languish,
A story won’t be written,
A manuscript won’t be accepted,
A contract won’t be signed and
A book won’t be bought
Simply, undeniably, invariably
There is no connection
Between concept and story,
Characters and plot,
Author and editor,
Publisher and booksellers or
Between the book and the readers.
Any single disconnect
Is as good as a disconnect
Between them all.
But when it all hangs together,
‘Tis indeed a thing of beauty.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Here's To Memory Joggers, Whatever They May Be?

Times Not Forgotten
By Bill Kirk

It’s not that I remember everything, mind you.
But I’m often asked to recall things
Others have long forgotten.
Why is that, I wonder?
Is it a birth order thing?
Do first born siblings just happen
To get all the memories?
Somehow, I doubt it.

There have been a few things
I don’t seem to be able to recall.
But most of the time I’ve found
It’s not so much my not remembering.
Instead, it’s that I may not remember things
From another’s perspective.
Was the dress silk or chenille,
Above the knee or just below,
One bare shoulder or two?
Such details may matter to some
But to me it was just sexy and black
And, boy, could that dress move!

Alas, perhaps good memory is an affliction,
Like knowing too much for my own good
Or remembering things that shouldn’t be repeated—
At least not in polite company.
Perhaps I should conveniently “forget”
A few more things.

Reaching back, I suppose there are some things
I simply can’t remember, at least not consciously.
My mother swears I was speaking German
As well as English at age two,
With our German housekeeper
As my first linguistics tutor.
But to tell the truth, I can’t remember
That far back in either language.

So, I rely on others to tell the stories,
Each time perhaps a bit differently
Than the time before.
And, then, those stories themselves
Become part of the memories
That I just can’t seem to forget.

A Writer's Lament

Alas, the writer's rite of passage is an endless journey spent searching for just the right words to write---the right thing to say to convey meaning to someone other than the writer.
Here's to all writers in search of the full measure of meaning contained in the fewest, most expressive words. And apologies in advance to e e cummings.

Writers’ Rites
By Bill Kirk

they are a funny lot
seeming never to be satisfied
with just any old word
instead they are
constantly in search of
just the right one
to convey
just the right meaning
and to nestle in
just the right spot
in a well-strung string
of other such particular words
which will of course
if well chosen
punctuate a thought
in the most righteous way

woe is he or she
whose evasive word
is indeed lost
for it is likely
in the company
of a muse
who has excused herself
for parts unknown
sadly leaving
the forlorn word lover
unamused to
suffer in silence
these are the rites
of the un-written writer
seeking just the right words to write

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Here And There

If you haven't had a chance to check out the Rhyme of the Month for June on my web site, here it is for your reading pleasure. May your "heres" always be where you want to be and your "theres" be where you are glad you were. Hear! Hear!

"Here And There"
By Bill Kirk

Each one of us is somewhere,
Which could be far or near.
Wherever you may find yourself,
Your where is always "here."

Our "heres" may all be different;
Or, sometimes they're the same.
Remember, where your "here" is now,
Was "there" before you came.

A "here" is quite specific.
It's always in one spot.
So, when you leave your "here" behind,
It's then a "there" you're not.

They say location matters.
I guess they could be right.
For if your "here" is far away,
Then you'd be out of sight.

Although you have but one "here",
I hear there's "theres" to spare.
So, if the "here" you're in gets old,
Just switch your "here" to "there."

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Writer's Life On Some Distant Earth-Like Planet

"The grizzled writer (place yourself in this paragraph) wakes to the smell of fresh, strong brewed coffee wafting through the air from a steaming, old-fashioned percolator atop the ancient gas stove. Just the mere thought of that first sip is enough to force calloused feet into slippers/sandals/old deck shoes. Pulling on the tattered sweatshirt/sweater/shawl and jeans/chinos/kakhis, the author finally begins his/her morning trek, moving slowly yet deliberately across the well-worn hardwood toward the familiar kitchen.

The immediate objective is to retrieve the large, heavy, up-side-down mug---rinsed out, never washed---from the drain board between the chipped porcelain sink and stove. Not until the coffee is poured, the brew properly concocted to taste, the aroma fully savored and the first, stimulating sip has meandered past waiting taste buds en route to its target somewhere between heart and soul, does the author acknowledge the day to no one in particular. Then and only then can even the thought of this day's writing begin.

On the dark wooden desk an old manual typewriter waits for the imprint of leathery finger tips ready to attack. Looking through the open French doors and beyond the porch, the author scans the approaching tide for inspiration, waves providing a steady but variable rhythm punctuated by the call of sea birds searching for weak or unfortunate links in the food chain.
All is right with the world. Let the writing begin."

Hello.... Earth to Earth-like planet. Good luck with that. Reality check to follow....