Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Ink Splattered Hands

Musical Influence:  Last Chance (Remastered)- Brand X Music (Brand X Music Vol. 15, 2012)

Let me just tell you I'm glad April is over.

Not only is it tax month (referred to as hell) and the start of a new quarter (which means extra tax figures for first quarter to be paid in) it is also AprWriMo. (I cannot remember what GPS coined it a few years ago- I do believe it was Awrapino. She said it sounded better.)

This year I didn't do AprWriMo (or Awrapino) because The Office of Letters and Light sponsored the very first Camp NaNo in April this year. This was fantastic news because Camp NaNo allows the Camper to set their own word count to challenge for the month. NO 50k balance for me. I took on 10k knowing what kind of month I'd have in store for myself at work. There was a certain scene in the beginning of the first book of Cin's that I wanted to rewrite. Well, I wanted to rewrite the prologue and first chapter and I thought 10k was a good round number.

I was wrong.

So April 1 rolls around and I'm all set with my notes to start fleshing out these scenes I've seen in my head. Only to be trolling around the Internet and realize it's National Poetry Month. I love poetry. There is something magical about holding a book in your hands; but for me, there is something omnipotent about holding poetry. The way it rolls off the page. The brief idea, the fledgling moment words come to life and transport you into this world through as few of words as possible. Concise, beautiful prose- oh how I love thee.

Thoroughly excited by National Poetry Month, I set out on my crusade to get some poetry books and READ poetry in the month of April. Then I found it... oh those seconds in time that froze everything in my little world.

National Poetry Writing Month.

Dumbfounded... All I could think was- for reals?!

I cannot believe I didn't know about this magical challenge. Thirty poems in thirty days. That is no easy task, sir. But in that moment there was no way I'd tell myself no. I haven't written a poem in over a decade and a good one, ha- never. But I told GPS and away we went! Both of us swearing to do the NaPoWriMo challenge. Never you mind I'd already signed up to do Camp NaNo, too.

C'est la vie.

When in Rome...

Yeah... about that-

GPS promised to do a Haiku a day. And me, well, I got caught up in the moment. I promised to do whatever struck my fancy but thirty in thirty days. I've always been a free former. But as I've gotten older and started to understand the meaning behind different forms of poetry, I fell in love with Tanka.

I know it must be this way
in the waking world,
but how cruel ---
even in my dreams
we hide from others' eyes

-Ono no Komachi, Ink Dark Moon

Tanka is an extended form to Haiku. Where Haiku is five syllables to seven syllables to five (5-7-5) and traditionally in some passing thought of nature. Tanka is in 5-7-5-7-7 and the world/nature element is more abstract. These five lines house two separate poems- the first three lines comprising of the Haiku, then take the third line to the fifth line to read a completely different poem that somehow meshes with the top.

However, the traditional idea behind Haiku hasn't really taken off here in English writings so we tend to write our own version of Haiku. (Like GPS writing about unicorns farting glitter, in my honor no less. Not that my Haiku writing is much better)

Throughout the month, NaPoWriMo issued a challenge a day to help spur you along if you were floundering. Some were quite fun. Some were quite the challenge. And some I couldn't be inspired to do at all. A part of GPS's challenge of the 30 in 30 was they had to be posted publicly. She put hers on the dreaded book of Face. I put mine on Tumblr where less people were likely to see. 

Most of the challenges were different forms of poetry. Or different types of themes. I tried quite a few of them. 

I tried a Pantun- a Malay poem form. Eight to twelve syllables, alternating rhyming lines (abab)- and failed epically.


Wandering in meadows turned sheer darkness
still, shadows move in fractured light
never-ending nights spent dreamless
I am lost to you without sight

©christie taylor, 2013

And a Cinquain- a diamond shaped poem (yet mine never looked that way) with a 2-4-6-8-2 syllable format.

I was safe
I trusted you
but you were not harmless
because I lost my heart to you

©christie taylor, 2013

My take on a Tanka- 5-7-5-7-7 syllable format- which isn't even as close to being as beautiful as a Tanka can be:

I stood on the shore
river of souls bridged with tears
no words, just sorrow
love once lost now forgotten
prison called eternity

©christie taylor, 2013

And a Haiku- 5-7-5 syllable format.

snow was on the ground
when I confessed love to you
in the morning light

©christie taylor, 2013

And free form... well, that's a whole 'nother story.

I used the month to relearn how to be concise and how to put as much description in a few words as I possibly could. I'd forgotten how much I loved to write poetry. How much I loved when I saw it come together on the page in front of me. The smell of ink blotting and the burn of my fingers from gripping the pen tight. But poetry is emotional and once poetry gets started, it is that thread that keeps unraveling. Thirty days of emotion was almost too heavy of a burden. I poured Cin and Uri into the page. I learned of their relationship and how much longed to be with one another. The agony of being torn apart. For Cin to be trapped away and Uri slow dying of a broken heart. Of a child who's been missing and right in front of them all along. April was an emotional month, but a good month for me.

How about yours?

For more information on National Poetry Writing Month, please visit:
For more information on Camp NaNo, please visit:
For more information on poetry, please visit:


Maureen said...

April Up and down, down and up. Some good, some bad. But one of the most awesome things was late last week. When a friend in New Jersey convinced me to book myself a flight and join him at PhilCon in November. The country's oldest sci/fi/fantasy and horror convention. Normally in Philadelphia, they are moving it to just across the river to New Jersey this year.

I asked Bob, the evil genius who tempted me, if he knew where Walt Whitman was buried... Perhaps if I could visit the grave site of that grand old poet, I'd come.

Bob did. Less than a mile from the convention.

Right now, I don't know if I'm more excited at going to PhilCon, where Bob promised me a place on many panels...or the chance to visit the man himself.

Yes, a pilgrimage to kneel at the resting place of Walt Whitman. I am beside myself.

Marnee Bailey said...

Mo! You're coming to my neck of the woods? I live in the town right next to Cherry Hill! We can get together!

And I know where Walt Whitman is buried. The cemetery is right next to the hospital where I had my heart procedure in Camden. It's not the nicest part of town, though, so don't go at night.

My April was refreshing. I let go of some things I was hanging on to and I started focusing on this story and wrote about 17K on it. I feel better, more energized than I've felt in a long time.

Glad you had a good month, Sin! :)

Terri Osburn said...

I've never been very good at poetry, but I can write lyrics, which I know aren't that different but it still doesn't translate into pretty poems. Kiddo, on the other hand, has taken to writing beautiful poetry and is also posting them on Tumblr. I think she also has some special Twitter account for them.

April was a good month in some ways, but not in the "getting words on the page" kind of way. Been really bad for that. Because I needed something else to freak about right now. Sigh.

I'm always amazed at the ways you challenge yourself, Sin. Kudos on pushing yourself and getting so much out of the experience.

MsHellion said...

I was totally inspired by your poetry writing this month, and my coworker and I exchanged poems for a week in the form of haiku--or thereabouts. (We got off track and I missed it after we quit, but we'll have to do it again.)

April was a work-busy month, but good. I did write some. And I did some poetry. It ended on an exceptionally high note.

MsHellion said...

Yes, a pilgrimage to kneel at the resting place of Walt Whitman. I am beside myself.

Yeah, this is the FAR bigger deal. *LOL* I don't even like Walt and I know how powerful this will be. Have fun conversing with him there. :)

Sabrina Shields (Scapegoat) said...

Amazing Sin!

I never did get into poetry. I know. I know. Crazy. But, I just didn't. Love to read it and hear how it moves people but I can't write it for the life of me.

Cheeky Girl said...

Oh - and not to hijack your blog but I would really appreciate anyone who wanted to stop by Cheeky Reads today to talk beta heroes - love or hate them - with my guest author.

Sin said...

I'm okay with a hijacked blog, Scapey.

Sorry guys. I was so far behind in my word count yesterday for Camp NaNo that I did the most irresponsible thing and wrote at work.

I'm suffering for it today. :(

Terri Osburn said...

For shame. Writing at work. Who would do that?

*whistles innocently*

I checked out the blog, Scape. Even left a comment. :)

Janga said...

I love the poems, Sin. Thanks for sharing, and yay for your April. My April was crazy, and the craziness continues for another week and a half. I've been writing lots, but writing about emergency vehicles and interstate highways is not my idea of fun writing. I shared some of my favorite poems by other poets on FB to celebrate National Poetry Month, but I haven't written a poem in a long time. Maybe I'll have my own JuPoWriMo.

Off to check out Cheeky Reads now. I <3 betas!

Haleigh said...

Way to challenge yourself Sin! I struggle with poetry. I'm a very literal person, so I find myself squinting at the words and saying "I don't get it" more often than not. I need to learn more about how to read and interpret poetry - I'm sure I would love it, I generally love anything with deep emotion, I just don't understand it.

My April was crazy, but I finished a lot of things I had been struggling with, which leaves me in a good place to start May.

Maureen said...

Really, Marn? You're quite close to Bob! I promise, no late night wandering the neighborhoods! And yes, we must meet!

Poetry...ah, I had an incredible instructor in junior college. In fact, I had two. The one who introduced me to Whitman in an American Lit class, who I still remember with great fondness... And the second in a class on poetry. Zette now lives in New York City and we're fb friends. She was adorable!

I wish I could list the tricks of getting poetry, but for the most part, it's all about relaxing and letting it come to you.

P. Kirby said...

Wow! Your poetry is just lovely, Sin. Lovely.

I confess that for most of my life I've avoided poetry like the plague. Possibly, because like Shakespeare, it one of those things that gets forced on kids in school and therefore becomes an anathema to pleasurable reading.

Only recently did I realize that my love of song lyrics really is a love of poetry. I just like the addition of music to the words.

I still don't seek out poetry, but now, when I encounter poetry, instead of hissing like a vampire who's been spritzed with holy water, I stop and read it.

Sabrina Shields (Scapegoat) said...

Thank you guys so much for stopping by the blog!

Sin - a little work writing now and then is good for you. :)

Sin said...

Thank you guys so much for commenting here today. I'm sorry I'm having a hard time getting and staying here. I start a comment and then have to do something else and try to come back to said comment and start over. Only to repeat the process over again.

Stupid work. (I am, however, grateful to have a job.) I'm torn between being pissed off at myself for getting so far behind in Camp NaNo that I had to write at work yesterday or being pissed off that I have twice the workload today because I shoved aside my work.

Sin said...

Chanceroo this pilgrimage sounds so cool! You should totally just have a rest there and relax. Let your mind go. How rejuvenating!

Though now that I read Marn's comment about the safety of the area, maybe you should soak up the creative juices as quickly as possible. lol

Sin said...

17k in a month Marn! You cruised along in April. So exciting. Hopefully that spills into this month for you.

Sin said...

Ugh, got annoyed with myself for not being signed in.

Ter, lyrics?! That's so cool. Some of my favorite music lyrics sound like poetry when you read them to yourself. I bet you could do it too. Just don't consciously think of it as poetry. Not all poetry is about rhyming. Rarely do I write poems that rhyming. That takes a skill I don't have.

Tumblr is the place to be for the creative types I think. I have a tumblr too. I like it much better than using facebook (or other social media I don't understand- such as Twitter) as a platform for posting creativity.

Terri Osburn said...

I don't know how her special twitter writing account works. I need to ask her. And I want a Tumblr, but haven't signed up for one yet. Hers is connected to my email and I already spend way too much time on there.

Oh, we went to see PTV in April (with All Time Low, Mayday Parade, and You Me At Six.) That was the highlight of the month!

Kiddo likes this band called La Dispute. I can't stand their sound, but their lyrics really are good. I understand why she likes them. She's like me. She picks her favorites by the lyrics.

Sin said...

I was totally inspired by your poetry writing this month

I can't believe you mean this.

I'm such a hack writer. I know this to be fact, but reading on Tumblr at all these amazing writings and notes of poetry has made me take notice that I need to put more thought and emotion into every line.

I must try harder.

We should have another poetry writing month, like Janga said. There is something freeing about poetry. Even if you don't know if you can do it, we should all have some fun with it.

Sin said...

Scapey, poetry is one of those I think takes a lot of thought and not a lot of thought. If you over think it the meaning is ruined. It's almost like the first thing that comes into mind. You write it like a rough draft. You make mistakes. There are word problems. Maybe line four and ten don't really sound like the same poem. But you take care of that with revising.

My rough drafts of poems aren't pretty. I usually write them on a post it note of what I feel in words and go from there. I scratch out lines and words and move things around. But I remind myself writing is not meant to be pretty in the beginning. That's why it's rough.

You can do it too. I know you could if you really wanted. I wouldn't take mine as examples. Janga is more of the poetry expert. Her understanding of poetry is out of the this world.

Sin said...

I'm like that in a way. I love music that the lyrics speak to me. But I'm really finicky that if the music fueling the lyrics drives me bonkers that I will fix the song where the treble plays and the music is nearly non-existent.

You Me At Six- I'm totally jealous. Bite My Tongue (Sinners Never Sleep CD- what a coincidence) is one of my favorite songs. That first stanza hooked me immediately from the moment he sang, "I hate to break it to you, but you're just a lonely star."

Tsavo is kinda comparable. They've got that rocker sound and killer lyrics. I heart them. And Cyrenic- a little softer in the hard rocker music but absolute killer lyrics. Masterful song writer.

Terri Osburn said...

I'll be looking these up tonight. We were in the pit until Josh order the middle of the crowd to start to spin. Kiddo freaked (we were being crushed) and we had to squeeze our way back out.

Kiddo got the shirt that says Don't hold your breath I'm not losing sleep over you. I want the one that says You never got to heaven but you got real close. Then again, I could just listen to Josh talk all day. Sigh.

Sin said...

Thanks Janga! I'll totally get on board with JuPoWriMo if you decide to run with it.

Terri Osburn said...

Oh, and Josh screams Ollie's part in Bite My Tongue and sounds just like him. Killer.

Sin said...

Don't hold your breath I'm not losing sleep over you.

Awesome, awesome shirt. I love band tees.

One of my favorites is my Halestorm t-shirt. On the back it says, "Love Bites. So do I."

Sin said...

I'm dying. I'd love to see them in concert. I was kinda hoping when I was in England that I'd accidentally wander my way into a concert but it wasn't meant to be.

Terri Osburn said...

I'm still amazed that they sold out Wembley but hardly anyone here has heard of them. US radio sucks. (And that's coming from a former DJ!)

They did say they're coming back to do a headlining tour in the fall. They might play St. Louis so keep an eye out.

Sin said...

Hal, understanding poetry can be somewhat tricky when you're mainly a literal person. But you write so beautifully. You'd be great at poetry once you picked it up. I think another trick to writing poetry is having an excellent vocabulary. Or at least knowing where to look up the words. lol

Poetry has to be one of those things you don't mind reading and studying to learn. I don't think in high school the teachers really helped me grasp poetry. And life experience helps.

I'm not a rhymer at all. And while rhyming poetry can be beautiful, sometimes I fell like it detracts from the prose. I say this and know for a fact I had a stanza in a free form poem I wrote last month rhyme abab. I didn't like that it rhymed but it was worded how it needed to be worded. I'm a hypocrite.

Terri Osburn said...

I think I did better with poetry once I learned not to try to read it as it's written. Don't break at the end of a line, but rather keep reading as if it's a long sentence. That made a big difference for me.

Here's a link to kiddo's writing page on Tumblr. Caution: teen angst ahead.

Sin said...

Thanks Pat.

I don't typically enjoy the stuff taught in school. Nor did I understand half of it. And I think understanding something is what gives you the fuel to really love something.

Only recently did I realize that my love of song lyrics really is a love of poetry. I just like the addition of music to the words.

One of my loves is song lyrics. I just love music. It moves me.

Sin said...

Gosh Ter. She's so grown up.

Terri Osburn said...

Don't remind me.

Sin said...

It happens fast.

In regards to Tsavo and Cyrenic- both are unsigned (I believe).

I suggest his latest CD- Selective Memory. It's a remastering of older music with his actual band now. Before it was just him doing it all. Selective Memory has all of my favorites on it. And two new songs he wrote.

And I'm not sure Tsavo has a website. But you can buy both bands on iTunes. You might like Digital Summer too. They're pretty rocker and have killer lyrics. (I also love their other band, Tragedy Machine.)

You might actually like Halestorm. It's more feminine rocker. But not like cutesy crap. Like tongue in cheek, this is who I am and you will learn to like it or hit the road. One of my favorite songs of Halestorm is- I Get Off.

Yeah. Exactly as the title says.

Terri Osburn said...

I like the sound of Cyrenic already. Will hunt up the other. Halestorm played a club here recently. I've only heard the one single but I like it. Definitely need to look up the rest of their stuff.

Sin said...

Halestorm is phenomenal live. See them. You won't be disappointed at all.

JulieJustJulie said...

First of all I'd like to say a special thanks to Janga for providing me with many moments of pleasurable , poetry reading .

April ? April was tough. Okay honestly, it really sucked. But everyone is still alive and kicking, the house is still standing, even if parts of the pool got blown away, those floods didn't carry us away even if some of it made an impromptus appearance in my basement , the well got fixed, so did the dog, who also had several mastectomies And her teeth cleaned, And in my very worst moments of "I can't believe anybody would be such a scumbag to do something like that" a friend remind me about the good and bad aspects of karma before I went for the jugular ... So. again, honestly? I can't complain.

I was totally inspired by your poetry writing this month

As was I.

Janga said...

My two favorite bits of advice about understanding poetry are from T. S. Eliot, a poet with a reputation for being obscure (although I've never found him so) and A. A. Milne, creator of Winnie the Pooh and company:

“Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.”
― T.S. Eliot

"Poetry and Hums aren't things which you get, they're things which get you. And all you can do is go where they can find you."
-A. A. Milne

JulieJustJulie said...

On the writing end of things, I did compose a "Not quite a poem" To commemorate how I felt after reading a real poem.

Sin said...

That thing call Karma... she's a destructive little beast. Best to remember the rules of Karma before you lash out at others no matter how much you want to do so. Though scumbags tend to deserve the very worst Karma can give them.

Sin said...

Loved both quotes Janga.

Though hums can be even more obscure than poetry at times.

Sin said...

On the writing end of things, I did compose a "Not quite a poem" To commemorate how I felt after reading a real poem.

You have such a poetic soul to match your blade sharp wit, Jules. Just stay away from me when you've got the knives out. I've got enough problems with Karma.

JulieJustJulie said...

I love my knives! My knives in fact have never drawn blood. Now, my wits on the other hand ...

Sin said...

Here's a link to kiddo's writing page on Tumblr. Caution: teen angst ahead. http://poetry-apologiesDOTtumblrDOTcom/writing

Ter, I'm following her on tumblr. Just thought I'd give you a heads up in case that seems weird.

Sin said...

I retract my previous statement.

Your wits are sharper than any blade, Jules. Even those fancy ones you've got.

JulieJustJulie said...

"You have such a poetic soul... "

And I did write a little commentary this month too. Mostly so that I could express myself without getting too caught up in a negative situation that was beyond my control. I like to think that this was thoughtfully composed piece, one in which I took a bad situation and I put a positive spin on it.
One person heard that I wrote the piece and got upset because they couldn't get access to it on Facebook... So they called to ask if I would befriend them pronto. Which I would not have minded, except it was the middle the night.
Another person hated it, Hated the very thought that I wrote it , even though he never read it.
And it made one person cry.
That was my April writing experience.