Writing 101: Don’t Stop the Rockin’

On this free writing day, remember the words of author Anne Lamott: “I don’t think you have time to waste not writing because you are afraid you won’t be good at it.”

Today is a free writing day. Write at least four-hundred words, and once you start typing, don’t stop. No self-editing, no trash-talking, and no second guessing: just go. Bonus points if you tackle an idea you’ve been playing with but think is too silly to post about.

Writing is rockin’. There’s no other way about it. And no one’s gonna stop me, honey. Whether I’m writing about Freddie Mercury reincarnated as a gander or pondering the nature of spiderwebs (which I haven’t done yet) or making my own mark on a co-authored novel, I will be rockin’. And I can’t stop rockin’.

Sometimes I have little to say, like when I feel frustrated. I wake up, stumble to feed the dogs and let the ducks out and then make espresso. The living room is cozy. I’ve never been more satisfied with the ambiance. Yet, I pass by. The laptop sits cold as I sweep or do dishes, make excuses to run errands or muck around digging holes. Don’t get me wrong, these things need to be done and, knowing me, I will scrub the pores in the wall because if I notice it’s dirty, I will feel a tug of duty to clean it. I’m afraid of getting lost in writing. What if I create a world so spellbinding I can’t wait to enter the next word and I forget all that’s important to me?

Wow–that sounds like what happens when people become engrossed in social media, only wouldn’t it be far better to be creating something of use rather than wasting hours refreshing a corporate advertising site? Imagine that. <—I revel in sarcasm, thanks.

So say I wake up tomorrow. Feed the dogs. Let them out. Do duck chores. Make a delicious cup of coffee and have a snack of yogurt and a banana, perhaps leftover vegetarian Tom Kha Tofu soup, and then…start writing. Today I read a manuscript for several hours, took a break due to brain fog, only to return and write my heart out on this blog. Why not every day?

Restriction is the game. I can play the game. Take away the source of input, restrain, and shift focus to another outlet. Put all the words down there as if they are my blood supply. The old methods have never worked, otherwise there would be something to show now. More than this. I know that. I also know that there was a lot I had to do around my house and I have been doing everything in my power to complete each task that’s been waiting. And I have done well, though it’s taken a year and a half to get this far. And now that so much has settled, am I not ready to get started more seriously?

I can’t continue to be like Freddie, Joaquin Phoenix’s character in the movie “The Master” and say, “If I could fart right now, I’d fart in your face.” While I’ve had a similar M.O. for many years, it’s time to move on. Farts are for kids. Farting around will not get me far. Not if I’m serious. (And I mean that metaphorically, of course.)

Time is not waiting for me. In fact, my time may be up sooner than I think.

Day 2 of Writing 101: Commit to a Writing Practice

Today’s prompt is quite fitting, darlings:

Write about the three most important songs in your life — what do they mean to you?

Today, try free writing. To begin, empty your mind onto the page. Don’t censor yourself; don’t think. Just let go. Let the emotions or memories connected to your three songs carry you.

Today’s twist: You’ll commit to a writing practice. The frequency and the amount of time you choose to spend today — and moving forward — are up to you, but we recommend a minimum of fifteen uninterrupted minutes per day.

Bohemian Rhapsody

Some of us need more than a symphony. More than a rock song. More than a ballad. Heck, we need them all…at once. We need a song that does what they say cannot be done, a song that keeps on into the wee hours, plays beyond the cessation of every other song we are used to hearing.

Some of us need the Rock God Opera. It’s the only way we become rock gods ourselves.

If a song is right, if it is true, we will listen. No matter what critics say. No matter what’s considered the norm. We will listen and interpret and reinterpret that song as many times as we feel like it.

The critics are oft wrong.

Such is life: the struggles, grief and trials. Our shamefulness. Our joy. All the moments terrifying and strange mixed up with all those moments rapturous and exciting.

Anyway the wind blows…

How does one see his-/herself truly, without blinders, and grasp the right combination of reality and fantasy? Can life be like our favorite songs? Perhaps our favorite songs echo our lives and that’s why we’ve chosen them.

Don’t Stop Me Now

When the light has faded and everyone’s gone home, there’s a chill in the air and, at times, it’s difficult not to wonder what’s the point. But, just listen.

I’m a shooting star leaping through the sky

Like a tiger defying the laws of gravity…

Music has me by the throat, so the best way for me to be successful in everything, from day-to-day, is to listen to what speaks clearly to my heart, or soul–if you will. I’m not one to deny that a song may influence my work in a wealth of ways. Music spurs thoughts and creates a backdrop, a sort of ballet dance, that fuels creation. A song takes me high or brings me low.

I have no trouble getting low on my own, thank you. I’ll stick to what I love, what makes me feel good and causes me to reflect.

Don’t Try So Hard

When your problems seem like mountains

You feel the need to find some answers

You can leave them for another day

Don’t try so hard

Some tasks cannot be avoided. I set out to conquer these with a smile on my face, albeit the occasional grumble resulting from stiffness in my bones.

But I have often asked myself if there’s a point in which pursuing something becomes a lost cause and I have found the answer to be “Yes!”

Many of life’s problems are not my problems, but worries I have taken upon myself. They do not belong to me and I needn’t feel guilty about dismissing them. I cannot fix what is not mine. I can grieve a bit, recognize there’s nothing I can do and move on.

Time waits for no one.

Day 1 of Writing 101: A Room with a View

The prompt is:

Today, choose a place to which you’d like to be transported if you could — and tell us the backstory. How does this specific location affect you? Is it somewhere you’ve been, luring you with the power of nostalgia, or a place you’re aching to explore for the first time?

Today’s twist: organize your post around the description of a setting.

1 Logan Place, London. The real Garden Lodge, an L-shaped mansion protected by a formidable brick wall atop which extends wrought iron fencing backed by further privacy screening. The door, much like the entrance to a magical wardrobe, decorated in the handwritten sentiments of hundreds of fans, is dark green to match several of the shrubs in the garden behind it’s locked face.

cropped-facetache-1.jpg“My God, I have come back as a goose and I have taken shits everywhere!”

The curved walkways of the garden, manicured neatly around the large koi pond and cherry trees. Rose bushes bloom, a butterfly bounces in the sweet air four feet above the lawn.

“I want to eat that grass. Jim, don’t spray any pesticides, will you please?”

Have you ever seen a goose in distress? Imagine you can see from the bedroom window out upon the garden. There stands a goose, frozen and staring down into the pond.

“My koi have been poisoned!”

When one of Freddie Mercury’s koi died, he cried. As a goose laying eyes on Garden Lodge for the first time in decades, he wanted to feel the velvety fins of his koi brush his webbed feet. He thought this would make him feel human again.

Freddie Mercury has taught me that there can be grief and humor–that both states can be suspended in one’s heart simultaneously.

Writing 101: Inaugural Assignment – Freewrite

I’m supposed to start writing and keep on for twenty minutes, publishing whatever it is that comes out from this assignment. I see I’ve already begun. Much like waking up in the morning, beginning to stir about, there are many options to choose from when it comes to subjects to ponder/write about. Will I think “coffee”? Will I think “I wonder what the ducks are doing?” “The dogs want out NOW.” “So much to do today.”

The weather, predetermined in its own right, greets me with surprise, be it rain, sunshine, fog or wind. Perhaps it is all of the above. What world do I live in? When I look at the stars at night I really do wonder what’s out there, who am I? And I have a keen sense that I am small and that my purpose is mostly significant to other humans. I am otherwise fertilizer. There is a process, much like gardening, of matter breaking down and dispersing into something else. Maybe Freddie Mercury became a goose.

I really don’t know.

071What I do know is that Freddie the Gander loves listening to Queen. I have every reason to believe he will settle for nothing less than a real keyboard or piano as he scoffs at all the toys I’ve offered and prefers the plain, black iPod boombox. Whenever he hears Freddie Mercury’s voice, he begins prancing like the frontman he possibly was in another lifetime. He flirts, particularly to the song “Body Language” with any man or woman who happens to be in the room. Yet, he’s shy. But, have a party and he makes his rounds.

When my friend G. visits, Freddie eyes G.’s cigarette with appetite.

“It wouldn’t suit your palette now, Freddie,” I say. I know Freddie liked to smoke a bit to keep his voice a bit rough.

“Besides, you have air sacs now instead of lungs.”

He watches as G. flicks ashes on the ground and then he says, “Meh.”, stands up a bit straighter and turns on his heels like he’s part of the Third Reich, or on stage exacting precise moves much like his namesake used to do at Wembley Stadium.

And when time to go back to the community pen comes along, Freddie balks. He’s mad.

August2014 229“Eeeeeehhhhhh!” he says, as I push his fluffy goose butt toward the gate. He wants to stay. He’s not a duck. This he knows. I can see he wants me to take him in the house. Even better–be with him outside day and night, for he’s imprinted–more human than waterfowl–and wants to bathe in the tub, watch television and go for long rides in the car to places with tall grass and antique malls.

I end up carrying Freddie back to the pen. Sometimes he protests with kicks of his large, webbed feet, such fleshy feet you’d think they could be malformations of what we have as humans. He squirms a bit, more as I approach the pen. He doesn’t want to return.

It’s as if he’s saying, “Can’t you see, I’m Mr. Mercury?”

I promise him a better future. Freddie likes better, bigger. He wants more. There will come a day when he is shuffled from the Duck House and Garden Lodge to a new property where grass grows in mounds and the sky stretches out in every direction. He doesn’t know this. At least I don’t think he does. Not yet. But he will. One day he will emerge from a transport crate and set his eyes upon his new home, the likeness of which he cannot imagine, as a goose. It will be Freddie the Rock God Gander HEAVEN. 

He’s impatient. Each night he stays in the duck house is another night he doesn’t get to come inside, despite having to wear a goose diaper, which he tolerates well. But I see that he wants to follow me as I turn to close the door after shutting off the light and tell him to take care of the ducks, let me know if he hears anything suspicious.

As I close the door, I hear one last, “Humph!”

If he is Freddie Mercury, he just might hate me a little.