REVIVING MYSELF, A POEM

This poem was inspired by John Keats, who attended his brother’s deathbed, contracted TB, and died so young.

His poem, “To Autumn” is considered to be the best poem in English ever written.  He sold only 200 copies of his poetry at the time of his death.

The sentiments are mine.

REVIVING MYSELF

I TRIED TO PINPOINT THE PLACE,
THE TIME I FELL TO SLEEP,
THE AUDIT THAT DEEMED AN ACCOUNTING –
THE TREES AND BIRDS ABOVE ME DEEP
AND THE SEA BENEATH ME, MOUNTING.

AWAKE, I SAW THE STAR OF MY BIRTH,
IN A SKY OF CONSTELLATIONS –
THE VIEW, DEMANDING I ASSESS MY WORTH
SINCE BEFORE, SELF-VISITATIONS.
ALL THE WHILE, THE MOON GAZED AN EYE,
FIXED IN THE FACE OF REASON –
THE EARTH, MY ONE BUT WANTON HOME
MY SOURCE FOR ALL PAINED TREASON.

I WATCHED MY BURST COME FORTH IN THE MIST,
A LIGHT AND THEN A FOG –
IN THE PIERCING STAIN OF SILENCE OR GIST
MY CONVICTION DECAYED IN A BOG.

THE ABYSS CALLED OUT, “LIVE IN ECSTASY!”
ITS BODY HAGGARD AND LAMED –
KNOWING FOR ME, THAT IT WOULD BE
IN WEEPING AND IN SHAME…
BLIGHTED OR SLIGHTED,
FLOUNDERED OR MAIMED.

THEN, I WENT TO THE PLACE AS A CHILD FROCK’D,
FINDING LONGING IN PAIN AND SUFFERING –
THE MOROSE AND THE MUSE SITTING KEMPT ON A ROCK
THE GIRL LURCHING FORWARD INTO NOTHING.

TIMES STILL CLOCKED AND FROLICKED NOT,
THE WHIPPINGS OF CRUEL REALITY WROUGHT –
THE WHY AND HOW OF WANING YOUTH
THE SPURN OF LONELY INDIFFERENCE, FIRST.

MY PAIN REGAINED NEW FACE AND HAIR,
THE LONGING OF MY ATTACHMENTS –
CRUEL EXPECTATIONS AND FUTILE DARES
GRUELING LOSSES REIGNED TO DETACHMENTS.

YEARS BLED INTO LIFE, TO BE CREATED BY WOMB,
THE HOPE SPRINGING TO THE BEGOTTEN –
LIKE BUFFALO UPON THE PLAINS OF DOOM
FIRES SET AND THEN FORGOTTEN.

WHEN ONE HAS THEN AND ONE HAS NOT,
ONE FINDS ONE’S WAY AGAIN –
THE RAPID RUN OR WEIGHTLESS TROT
NOT ASKING, “WHEN NEXT, WHEN?” …

THE LOW HORIZON UPON MY GAZE
THE POWER OF HEIGHT FULFILLED,
THE DRIBBLING SANDS OF HOURGLASS DAYS
OPPORTUNITIES SAVAGELY PULLED.

THE CONSTELLATIONS THAT BROUGHT ME FORTH,
RINGING BELLS OF TIME AND SCISSORS –
MY FAITH LOOKING UP AND PRAYING FOR NORTH
FOR COMPASSES LESS FISSUR’D.

IN THE BEGINNING, TO THE LIGHT WE COME,
LABORED MAGNET, COG AND WHEEL –
TO GRAVITY’D FACES AND DESTINY’S HUM
OUR STAFFS SO LONG TO HEAL.

IF HUNGER OF BELLY, OR MIND OR HEART,
THE HIERARCHY OF NEEDS THEN, THUS DOES START –
AND BLAZING NEW TRAILS, WITH FREEDOM SET
BECOMES A DREAM TO FIND, LIBERATE AND BEGET.

ONTO THE TIME WHEN THE LIGHT IS QUIFF’D,
RECLINING THEN TO ANOINTING –
WHAT’S BEEN DONE AND WHAT’S BEEN STIFFED
THE GRAYED PODS WAVE THUS APPOINTING…

THE MIND OF THE LEAVING TRYING TO STAVE
THOUGHTS OF LOVE AS PICTURES TO THE GRAVE.

MY TIME COMES NOW OR HENCE OR THEN,
BUT WHEN IT DOES, I WON’T FEAR AGAIN…
LIKE SOD OR SEED THE TIME DOES TELL
TO LIVE IN EACH, MY HEAVEN AND HELL.

WHEN VIEWING STARS, THE TIME DOES END
BUT BLACK AND LIGHT DOES RAIN AGAIN –
CLOUDS OR PEWS OR WAITING ROOMS
THE SHROUDS AND CUES FROM STATING LOOMS…

SO, I WHIRL INTO THE GREEN AGAIN,
WITH TEMPESTS RAILING HARD –
THE FIFE AND THE WHIRLIGIG DOES FAN
WELCOMED CHUMS TO MY OWN BARD.

BUT, WHERE IS THE PLACE
THAT THE HEART SINGS SONGS,
“GOODNESS OF FREE WILL IS GAINING!”
AND WHERE DO ROSES UPON THORNY PRONGS
BLOOM LAUGHTER, NEVER WANING?

IT IS THE BREATH AND THE NOISE,
THE LAST RATTLE…
THAT KEEPS THE SONG FROM THUS REGALING.

WHEN NOW, I COME TO THE END OF THE PHRASE
THE BREATHING SADDENED TO STOPPING –
I AM LONGING NOW FOR SOMETHING I GAVE
BUT CAN’T BRING THAT THING TO CROPPING.

OH MUSE, OH MUSE, OH HEAVENLY NIGHT,
REVIVE ME STILL AGAIN…
IT IS THE HEAVING AND THE WEAVING,
LIFE’S OWN SONG…

AND THE TIME BETWIXT REMAINING.

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DIGITAL DREAMS REEL IN FOG CITY

Read my article here, on the progressive and stellar collaboration between San Francisco School of Digital Filmmaking and Fog City Pictures:

DIGITAL DREAMS REEL IN FOG CITY

CONCEIVE AND CRAFT – A WRITER’S SUCCESS COMES DOWN TO THIS

When you first realize you’re a Writer, it can be startling.  You look at a sentence or paragraph you just crafted, and it hits you just how good it is.

I had that kind of moment sometime in college.  And, when I was asked to draft a speech that would be read on the floor of the U.S. Congress, I thought, “Wow.  They must think I can write.”

Since then, I’ve never been without the awareness that I can create something meaningful with words.  But, I was also never oblivious to the point that writing takes practice.  It is a craft – like Woodworking.  And, not until recently, did I become aware of just how fundamental the craft of writing is.

It all happened a few weeks ago.  Someone sent me a note that a publisher was offering a Fast Track Submission, where they provide feedback to submissions in one month.  So, I decided to give it a go.  The only issue was that I didn’t have a book proposal ready.  And, the deadline was in three days.

But, for the last year, I have been deep in skill building for scriptwriting – classes with ScreenwritingU.  The most recent was a class that breaks a film down in eight parts, then takes you through the writing of the entire script in thirty days.

Thirty days.  It did not seem like a lot of time at first.  But, by the end of the second week, my brain evolved, and suddenly, I was crafting a tight script around a high concept easily and quickly.  CLICK.  Several years of working at my Writing Craft.  And, then, BAM!  A life changer for me, and a game changer for my Writing Craft.

These skills, built over many days, weeks, and hours, led to my being able to draft that book proposal, and complete the first chapter in an hour, a feat for me.  Of course, rewriting took another hour or so.  But, to be able to conceive and craft like that, a  priceless asset to my writing career.

The idea that we can, like a painter, just pick up a pen and sketch something brilliant out, well, we can.  And then, we can use our craft, trained, refined, and honed, to bring the project around the bases, and into home plate.

So, if you’re a Writer, and you’ve got talent, work, work, work, to hone your craft.  The cog and the wheel of excellence will meet, and you will be on your way.

Hello, There. I’ve Missed You, But Then, I Haven’t Been Here

Perhaps, I required a cloudy day, full of needed rain, to bring the miracles..as they may be.  I was finally able to log into this site.  For the past few months, the Universe has been dangling the carrot of “How Bad Do You Want To Write?” as it relates to everything from this blog to screenplays, in front of my face.  As I would pull back to get a good look, that da*n carrot would get yanked up into the stars.

This Blog?  Well, believe it or not, since I have two blogsites, the default login system would not recognize this one, and I could not post here.

And, while I’ve been locked out from here, my waning professional world has called me to action – in a recent missing person’s case.  Sure, very valuable work.  But, not my first choice in terms of what makes me happiest.  And, then, today, the login for this Blog worked.  It’s nice to finally take my shoes off.

Where have I been?  What have I been doing?  Well, there are writing projects that demand one be present:  Follow the Protocols, Do the Work.  But, I have been in another world of writing for these past months:  The World of:  Find the Voice, Speak the Words and Sounds – even if you do not at first understand the language.

The process feels like this, the stack of Stacks I completed in real life recently – Wood like Words:

Sure, I’ve been in a 6-month screenwriting class through ScreenwritingU.  But, that hasn’t been what has colored my writing journey.

It’s that, this comic at heart, this serious goofball, longing to be more lighthearted, actually sits in the corner of a dim, proverbial watering hole (with a Shirley Temple), and pretends it’s aged whiskey that will garner some vast insight and unlocked paradigm..a paradigm that allows for a breakthrough – a right turn onto some fruitful biway.  And, such an undertaking yielded a gamechanger recently:

I was suddenly somewhere new to me, a winding wooded route that took me to:

Dark Water, Shadowed Trails, Lurking Unknowns

Then, to places that I could not at first, traverse.  The foreign landscapes called me down sheer rock faces and up the indigenous ancient ladder of a ghost tribe.  I roamed washes and canyons and excavated the cave dwellings of Lost Souls – of my heart, mind, and subconscious — to release the voices that have resided in Invisibility.  Thankfully, never wandering the desert in search of Writer’s Water.

I have discovered from within its eye, a swirling mass of wind, dusty mist, and unstable, changing pulses..The F-Meter of my Writing Twister, from 0-5 and back again.

The result of this vortex has been characters, dialog, and plot weaves that tickle and gobsmack this writer.

I will relish your squeals when my words from this trip finally find your eyes and ears.  And, the images find themselves perhaps etched to Digital, to score the retinas and gray matter that house the stored images you cherish and berate.

Where have I been?  In a writing funnel cloud, waiting for the house to fall.  And, Here I Am.  I have missed you.

Look for more to come from this Blogger, not too far behind this funnel cloud.

The Mirror According to Me @VerbaVitae

It’s true that if I were Snow White’s senior I might cringe at the commentary on my appearance. After all, no one likes a mirror that talks. Except, perhaps when we choose it ourselves.

I’ve done some soul-searching on this issue recently, as yet another rejection came via a Poetry Competition submission. It was not just any poem, but one that bared all – the sadness and shame that a human might feel as if reflecting on the Thing that is Life – from the view of the Cosmos. Being judged on this poem felt like – well – feeling judged… I had to reel myself back from that and remember that the poem is in my language, and ultimately speaks my truth back to me.

I’ve done some ‘Self-Work’ recently too, and have come to grips with certain truisms that require a face-to-face:  The mortality of my parents, the mortality of my sister, the subjective world of an Artist, and the reality of isolation vis-a-vis proximity to some of my closest friends.

What I’ve concluded this past week is that the only mirror that matters is the one I hold up on purpose – the one I look through and past. The one I tailor for compassion and honesty, with a hint of optimism.

This mirror is necessary for all of us. We can be honest with ourselves about everything. We can prevail over what we see that we’d like to change.

Just now, I have a query out to someone about something. I seem perfect for the job, so to speak. But, is the opportunity perfect for me – that is the true question. Our ideal mirror remembers that fate and chance regularly meet for coffee.

Professionally, I spend a lot of time helping other people sort out their own stuff. Surprising how many don’t realize that the mirror of another is one we can reject, in favor of our own chosen reflection.

As the creative process flows through and in me, this mirror I choose becomes not just happy-making, but success-making. Think about how many people in fields like screenwriting and fiction speak about the need for a person to find her/his own unique voice. And, to speak with that voice as one moves through the world of Creating:  This, the experts say, is the key to success as a writer.

I find that this is the key to happiness as well. My words, my mind. My mirror, my life.

~~

Feel free to share your thoughts. And, as usual, I’ll leave the Light on for ya.

Breathing Divine Life into our Golems – Characters with Soul @VerbaVitae

The Icon of the Golem has always fascinated me:  I’ve imagined how a Golem could come to life in real-time.  But, alas, I am left with the nearly as wonderful Icon of my fictional characters.

I recently observed a Speech Therapist work with my nephew:  He’s bright and loving and self-assured, but at two-years, has not developed an appreciation for the initiated value of speech.  This Therapist worked her magic – she simply allowed him to direct the play.  He responded by working at forming the sounds she offered, and Voila!  He’s off and running in the world of spoken language!

After, she offered a book on how Family can assist a child with learning and development.  This little book might just change my creative life forever, for it gives the formula for crafting characters like no other.  Based on a learning and development approach that allows the child to engage the adult rather than the other way around, it hit me like a train that characters in fictional works deserve the same treatment.

This approach should have hit me sooner, but it took a village of artists to deliver the message to me.  I heard something powerful on the issue of portraying Character when I recently interviewed the Actress, Amanda Reed.  She explained that in MOTHER’S RED DRESS, she portrayed her character by “surrendering over to her, and giving her the respect of allowing her story to be told.”

Amanda Reed on IMDb:

My Film Review and Trailer for MOTHER’S RED DRESS, a new film by No Restrictions Entertainment

A Writer who takes this approach, succeeds.  Enter the writer who’s looking to enchant a Character Form into a well-developed living and breathing Structure with Function.  This idea of Form, Structure, and Function is one that presents itself as a model in human anatomy and physiology, as each together describe the Form, the Structure, and the Function of the human body.

Bones, fibrous stuff and hoses are great, but how does it all work in real-time?  When we writers look to craft, we sometimes go right to Function and skip the rest – what does this character do?  Or, we focus on Form – what does the character look like inside and out – like the exoskeleton of an insect.  Or, we portray how this character acts in certain situations or think in certain moments – this is the Structure of the character.  With any one approach, we look to give our Audience what they crave – a living and breathing character that compels, repels, engages, and intrigues.  But if we do not include it all, do we succeed?  The litmus test here is whether our Audience could answer a series of trivia questions about our characters…

Using the child learning and development approach where the adult allows the child to lead the activity, how does a writer’s approach to character development look?

First, walk with my mind on the topic a bit.  I just read a poignant and essential Blog on this very thing by Twitter @princess_scribe – on her Blog Site http://www.princessscribe.com  She relays what it’s like to create her first Web Series THEY LIVE AMONG US, and how she’s decided to give the reins of character development and portrayal to the Actors, encouraging them to decide even the hobbies of their characters.  Set design will then be based on her actors’ insights.  Her Series has been immediately elevated by this approach.  THEY LIVE AMONG US Webpage:

This approach is key in my mind when a Writer crafts a character who will be unforgettable – one who will take up residence in the Readers’ / Viewers’ mind long after the words are seen, heard, or images have been received.  Can we as Writers be brave enough to let our characters determine our stories?

Last night on Twitter, @jeffdaviswrites said something so profound on this topic, I nearly flew out of my chair.  He said that he was working on a sequel to his novel PREYING ANGELS, and that the “…characters were leading him through now.”  Exactly.  Like the child who engages the adult, Jeff allows his characters to show him who they are and how their reality unfolds.  Jeff is experiencing the story in real-time with his characters.  This kind of writing can only mean one thing:  The Reader will be riveted by the story, and that real-time quality of believability, no matter the subject matter, will prevail!

My nephew had me at “Gah” – his favorite term for all things profound, just like Amanda Reed, @princess_scribe and @jeffdaviswrites had me with their insights.  Unveiling characters as they discover themselves and their world brings our Golems to Life that all Audiences will, with or without thought, invite into their minds.  These characters will then have a chance to take up residence like the great Icons of Worthy Fiction and Film.

~~

I welcome your Comments.  And, as always, I’ll leave the Light on for Ya.

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