Thursday, March 17, 2011

"Do only the screaming parrots remember?"

I have a poem by Steve Kowit up on the bulletin board above my desk. The title of this post is the last line of that poem. It's from his collection of amorous poetry based on ancient Indian love poetry. I read it whenever I sit at this desk.

I've been writing every morning. One page, by hand in my favorite pen. I've given up journals for a minute and write on a single white page of paper. I start with whatever is on my mind, move on to what I have been dreaming and then move into more creative writing. Writing my concerns has eased my insomnia. I've been moving back into meditation as well, slowly. Five minutes my first day, then ten. I'm up to twelve minutes of contemplative silence. From past experience I know there is a peace I can maintain if I'm consistent in my practice. Practice. I'm practicing. My mind is usually a racing machine and I make myself crazy with imagined futures and drama. I can't live well when imagined insanity is playing out in my head.

I've been sick the last few days, a sinus infection. I've been sick a lot this last season. Mostly chest colds, which I prefer over the head cold. Head colds make my brain feel half-dead.

The song I'm posting today is a favorite. It reminds me of Spring, of sitting on a porch, drinking bourbon and smoking cigarettes with old friends then crawling off to sleep in a converted attic surrounded by books. I've been singing a lot lately and dancing around. I always sing when I'm happy and for a long while I haven't been letting myself sing. I don't have a great singing voice but I don't care. Singing is something that makes me happy, a little personal thing that lifts my spirits. I've been doing my best to get away from the inner negative voice that has been breathing heavily into my ear for far too long. It's working. I'm happier.

I read a story last night online, a short fiction piece that reminded me of the style of writing I try to write in. It felt forced, as if the writer was so concerned with maintaining the voice that the story got lost along the way. It reminded me of something I know to be true in my own writing practice: the story creates the voice. It can't be forced. The story I'm percolating now has challenges in voice but if I can execute it the way I want to, I know it'll enhance the narrative.

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