A Perfect Life of Sevens

Another pickin’ and grinnin’ lyric.

Seven bridges under a blue sky
Seven days till tomorrow
Seven angels to watch over us
Seven roses ’bout to grow

Seven wishes hidden in a well
Seven faeries left last May
Seven dancers and their seven songs
Seven guitarristas play.

Every day, every night
As we rise for flight
Our dreams lift us on our way

Above the blues and greens
And the colors in between
We fly along our way

Seven stones ripple ‘cross the water
Seven stars kiss the moon
Seven stories needing to be told
Some come later, some come soon

Seven winters and their snowy fields
Seven summers almost heaven
Seven autumns and seven springs
Just a perfect life of sevens.

Every day, every night
As we rise for flight
Our dreams lift us on our way

Above the blues and greens
And the colors in between
We fly along our way.

haiku for the day: words

There are days when I sit down and start to write. For the next couple of hours, I slog through ten words. Nothing but nothing comes. No inspiration. No story. Just crap. And on the crap scale, not very good crap. It’s enough to make a fellow want to give up on the writing. No matter how hard I try the words can’t be forced. 

Then there are other days. Those are the ones I live for. Words upon words. Sentences upon sentences. Paragraph after paragraph come tumbling out of my subby-conscious. Like some train, they roll down the track and onto the paper with such ease I ask myself where they have been hiding all this time. Suddenly that story that’s been hiding for months shows its face and I catch it.

Some call it the Muse. I am not sure what to call it. Maybe it’s the payoff for showing up. At least, that’s what I want to believe.

a phalanx of words
birds swooping down from the sky
for the the empty pages

Near 500 words: Something Wonderful

Everywhere I see stories. I see a woman waiting on a bus and I have a story. I see a cat chasing her tail and I have a story. I read a gravestone and I have a story. There isn’t anywhere that I can’t find a story. But it wasn’t always so.

I have come by this ability to see stories only by spending a lifetime of trying. It has taken years and years of putting my imagination to work. And often coming up empty handed. I’ve banged my head against the wall and sweated tears enough to tell you it wasn’t talent that made a storyteller out of me. It was persistence.

I can remember exactly the moment when I realized that I wanted to be a storyteller. I was nine years old. I was sitting on my mother’s couch. I was reading a story called “Jack the Giant Killer”. I finished the story, then I had a revelation. I could do that. I could tell stories just like the one I read. Even more than that. I had to tell stories. That was my purpose in life. If I didn’t tell them, they wouldn’t get told, darn it.

Now you would think I would run out and start creating stories with that kind of discovery hanging over my head. But no. I didn’t. I was too damned scared to try. I was afraid of what other people would think. I was afraid of failure. I was afraid of success.

I walked around with an umbrella over my head, preventing the light from getting to me. I did that for years. But I didn’t forget that moment when I was nine years old. While I was out trying to make a living doing this, that and the other, I was reading. I was studying. And what was I reading and studying? The art of storymaking.

Beginning in the 1980s, six things happened to me that changed my life into a life of creativity. I performed in a church drama group and wrote a musical, which we produced. I had an article published in a national magazine. I came upon an essay by the poet, Richard Hugo called “The Triggering Town”. And I chanced upon Robert Ray’s “The Weekend Novelist”.

Then I joined a creative writing group. We met weekly for over twenty-five years. And the sixth thing that happened to me? In the early 2000s, I attended a series of workshops facilitated by a wonderful local teacher, Jamie Morris. Those workshops taught me the importance of prompts. How a series of prompts could take me through a novel.

So how did I get so good at writing stories? And how did I come up with the ability to create story after story after story? Persistence. In good times and bad, I have been at it. I’ve got out of bed when I had a 102 degree temperature to put in a half hour to write my 200 words for the day. I have sat myself down and wrote my 200 words during Hurricane Matthew and Hurricane Irma. I have written at least 200 words a day for the last several years. And day by day I get better.

The one thing I know is that my writing and my pursuit of storytelling has not made me rich. But it has enriched my life in ways I can never express. It’s been Some Kind of Wonderful this life of creativity that was chosen for me and I plan to keep on doing it. Even after I have passed on to the Other Side.

So here’s my hand and my wish for you. Join me and let your creativity out. Let your voice sing. Let your feet dance. Let your fingers type the words. Let your plants grow. No matter how your creativity directs you, water it, nurture it, and let it grow. You won’t regret it.

Grandparents

La Grand Mere. We, in the family, knew no other name for her. Not Grandmother. Not Grandma as in Grandma got run over by a reindeer. Not Granmama. Not Granny. Not Nana. All those names were fine for the grandmothers of other people. It was Le Gran Mere for our grandmother.

You would think she was off-putting with a name like that. She wasn’t. She was the warmest of human beings. When she smiled, that smile could fill a room with its warmth. Now our grandfather, Grumps as we called him, was not like that. He was one sour puss of a human being.

I’m here to tell you that no one knew how those two ended up together. No one. When we asked La Grand Mere, she said, “Ask your grandfather.” When we asked Grumps, he just grunted and returned to what he was doing.

It became a joke in the family. Our parents made up stories. Our grandparents on my mother’s side made up stories. My wife’s stepmother and her stepson had a story. My best friend Jed and his stepfather and his stepbrother offered even more stories. I am here to tell you no one in the family knew the truth of the matter.

But the ones with the best story were our twins. One day they came into the kitchen and said, “We know why La Grand Mere and Grumps are together.” They had mischievous smiles on their faces.

“Why?” my wife asked for me as well as for herself.

They sang, “A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down.”