For Laughs · Just Writing

The Predetermined Poem

I recently had this idea for a poem. Now, it’s a really intriguing idea, and I’ve heard of poets doing similar things. But there are several potential problems/facts that come along with this idea. But first, the idea itself.

By now, you are all aware of how important music is to me. I’m constantly listening to music, writing about music, trying to find the perfect song to fit my mood. I’m really, really into music. One of my favorite things about finding a new favorite song is identifying that ONE LINE in the song that strikes a chord in my soul. That one line in the whole song that says everything I need it to say.

I recently wondered – what would happen if I took all those lines that struck my heart and created one giant heart-striking piece of literature? What if I took all those lines from all these songs I love and made a poem out of them? My first thought was something grandiose about my level of genius.

But, like I said, there are a few factors to consider:

  1. I know A LOT of songs. Like thousands and thousands and thousands of songs. Making this a ridiculously huge project from the get-go.
  2. Is this even legal??? ……I honestly don’t think so.
  3. I won’t get to choose what this poem is about. Essentially, every song is about love. This is going to be a giant love poem filled with heartwrenching lyrics. So there’s that.
  4. How do I choose which songs to use and not use? How do I choose lines that will somehow all work together?

All of these factors and several others not here mentioned make this project and its aspects:

  1. Something I now have to do just to see if I can do it
  2. An unnecessarily extra thing I’ve now decided to do
  3. Largely predetermined due to the nature of songs
  4. A very interesting writing challenge

So I’ve been working on this project and it has been really interesting. I’ve come to the conclusion that this project must be done in chunks, and we’ll see what happens. I’m also not even sure what to do with this project once it’s finished…due to the fact that I’m quite certain it isn’t legal.

One thing that has surprised me about this project is that even though I strictly have to work with just the lyrics – no adding words – there is still quite a bit of room for me to create something that I love. I can still arrange the words into a pattern that means something to me.

I finished the first chunk of this project this evening. Which consists of some of the artists I listen to regularly and the lines of only some of their songs that have always really touched me. I’ve decided to share this chunk of the project with you. Enjoy:

The Predetermined Poem

I said, “Remember this moment”,
in the back of my mind.
Cause you feel like home,
you’re like a dream come true.
Feels like this could be forever right now:
everything will be alright
if you keep me next to you.

When all those shadows almost killed your light,
I saw a shooting star
and thought of you.
And it’s so quiet in the world tonight,
the truth is I never left you.

I’ve been there too a few times.
I thought, “Heaven can’t help me now.”
Just grab my hand
and don’t ever drop it.
Come morning light,
you and I’ll be safe and sound.

You can see it with the lights out:
how the kingdom lights shined
just for me and you.
And pain gets hard,
but now you’re here
and I don’t feel a thing.
I think I might give up everything
just ask me to

I’ll be waiting,
all there’s left to do is run

 

I'm Just Saying

‘Til the A.M

Summer 2017 was the summer of stars, drives, and songs.

night skyI honestly don’t know how many times my friends and I had what we term “rooftop sessions”. We’d get in my car and just drive, drive anywhere. And eventually, we would pull over somewhere, open the sunroof, and sit on top of my car. From up there, the world looked a little different, and the stars were a little brighter.  We were often surrounded by fields of some kind, in the quiet of a beautiful summer night.

And we would listen to music.

Usually One Direction, or Harry Styles’ new album. (We’d have listened to Niall’s, too, if it had been out. Can you even believe how wonderful it’s doing?! I’m so incredibly proud. But that’s a conversation for another time.)

And we’d have all kinds of conversations, about all sorts of things. Sometimes they were deep conversations and sometimes they weren’t. But those moments, surrounded by my friends, the beautiful summer night, and music in the background are memories I will treasure forever.

I’d also always look for a shooting star.

I had an absolutely amazing experience one night during a rooftop session that had to doshooting star with a shooting star. As we sat there, listening to our music, I was praying. I was expressing to God how I was feeling. I was asking Him about answers He’d given me, and telling Him that I had faith. I was telling Him that more than anything I wanted what He wanted for me. I wanted to remain faithful so that He could keep His promises. And as I finished saying this prayer, an incredible shooting star with two tails shot across the sky.

Call it what you will, but I don’t believe in coincidences.

And ever since then, I look for a shooting star whenever I get a moment to look at the night sky. And every time I see one it is just one more reminder from God about all the wonderful things He’s done for me and all the answers He’s given me.

It’s part of what made those rooftop sessions so beautiful.

One of our favorite songs to listen to during a rooftop session is the song “A.M” from 1D’s last album together. It’s an absolutely beautiful song, and if you haven’t heard it I implore you to set aside whatever atrocity has lived inside of you to make this your reality and go listen to it.

track 17But remember that music is incredibly important to me, and so when I ask you to listen to a song I need to really listen to it. Drink in the lyrics, let the music itself wash over you. Experience this song in every way that you can. All too often people take listening to somebody’s favorite song too lightly. If you learn anything from me, learn how to really listen to somebody’s favorite song and all that it says about the way they’re feeling.

Anyway, I’m not sure what it is about this song, but it strikes a chord deep in my heart. I’d post the lyrics for you right here and now if I thought it would penetrate your heart the way it penetrates mine.

One of my good friends just finished reading the novel I recently finished. Late one night as she read, she sent me a video. She was reading about the couple in the novel and said to me, “If they had a song it would be ‘A.M’. It’s perfect for them. They’re perfect.” I honestly couldn’t have ever been given a better compliment about my writing.

Essentially, this song is about people having a conversation late into the night. The lyricsa.m imply that it is about two people who love each other, who have been through a lot. It is about them talking late into the night, and into the morning. It is about how they always come back to each other. It’s about that enduring quality of love. One line says, “You know I’m always gonna look for your face.”

It is a sweet song, so sweet and full. Really that’s the best way I can describe it. Just full. The song talks about how these conversations sometimes don’t mean anything, and how sometimes they have no clue where they’re headed or anything. But underneath it all there is a sense of surety in the person they are with.

Won’t you stay ’til the A.M.?
All my favorite conversations
Always made in the A.M…

 

 

For Laughs

Eggs & Fitzgerald

It is quite unusual for me to go this long without blogging. It’s been about two weeks since my last confession – I mean, blog post, and I must admit it has been a little weird. I’m used to posting quite often.

paperBut I hit a rut, you know?

Every now and again I hit a blogging rut where I’m positive that everything to do with this blog has been unutterably spent. So I have to take a break for a while. And when I come back I’ve absolutely convinced myself that I do, in fact, have loads more to say and so much genius to share with the world.

I’m not sure that any of that is true, however, I am back. And just spent a ridiculous amount of time explaining the whole situation that is really quite simple. So there’s that.

Anyway, let’s talk about eggs.

You may think it is random of me to bring up eggs, and you would be 100% correct. It was suggested to me to write about eggs in my next blog post, and I saw it as an acceptable challenge to my writing abilities.

I really have only a few things to say about eggs. They are as follows:

  1. I don’t love them. I’m sorry. I just don’t. Eggs aren’t my favorite thing.
  2. But as a person who loves to cook/bake, I’m very grateful for the existence of eggs.
  3. Every once in a while I enjoy a good egg white sandwich – which is basically just cooked egg whites on two pieces of toast. Creating an exceptional sandwich. With just the right amount of salt and pepper and butter, this is a really lovely breakfast.

Okay, mission accomplished. Let’s talk about F. Scott Fitzgerald now.

The other day I read the short story Winter Dreams by Fitzgerald – but wait. I’m gettingfitzgerald ahead of myself. I’m not sure if I’ve ever talked about Fitzgerald on this blog. But if I haven’t then shame on me. Because my love for Fitzgerald knows absolutely no bounds. As a writer, I can’t even begin to comprehend how he wrote what he wrote – the beautiful language he used, how he could say so much with so little. As a reader, I practically drool over his writing. It is so fulfilling to read, so pleasing to every sense. To put it as simply and succinctly as I can: F. Scott Fitzgerald is everything.

I love F. Scott Fitzgerald so, so much.

Winter Dreams was an interesting story because many believe it to be a sort of prequel to The Great Gatsby. The main characters, Dexter and Judy, are quite similar to Gatsby and Daisy.

Of course, the ending was incredibly sad. It wouldn’t be Fitzgerald if it wasn’t. But besides that, it left my mind turning with all kinds of implications. As Fitzgerald does. I believe that one of the main themes of the story is beauty. Dexter is so in love with Judy, and according to his description, she is strikingly beautiful. By the end of the story, Dexter hears through an acquaintance that Judy is alright looking, or pretty enough, or something to that effect. And it completely baffles Dexter that somebody could even begin to think this about the woman that he was in love with for so long.

I found the story tragic, but wonderful. I’ve come to believe that Fitzgerald’s language is just so beautiful that you can’t help but feel good after you read one of his novels or stories. Even though they tear your heart out. It’s a secret I think all writers should learn. You just wow the reader with your wonderful diction skills and then they don’t mind so much that you’ve caused them irreparable emotional damage.

So, in conclusion, if you’re looking for a recommendation for the upcoming weekend, mine is this: an egg white sandwich and Winter Dreams by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

I'm Just Saying

Just Do It, Please?

I have so many things going on inside of my head tonight. And if I’m being honest I have absolutely no idea how to get any of them out. I have begun this post three or four times and gone back and forth about whether or not to post anything tonight.

Earlier tonight I had a really great idea about what to post. I think it was going to be really wonderful, and I was quite excited about it. And then after three or four hours of homework in which I read two very shaking short stories and a 23 page article about Confucianism, I could no longer remember what this blog post idea was.

But still, I felt the need to come on here and say some of the things that have been rolling around in my head the last few days.

I’m not sure why.

Sometimes I feel this burning need to get something out, to say something that has been nagging at me. And I just know that after I get it posted and somebody out there reads it, something in the world is going to change. Maybe I’ll change somebody’s life and they’ll be inspired to act on my words.

I can’t say that this has ever happened in the years that I’ve been blogging. I also can’t say that it hasn’t, but I digress.

I’m fairly certain that I wanted to post something spiritual. You are all aware of how religious I am, and that my religion plays a huge role in my life.

Do you ever feel like you just say the same things over and over again in your creativity? I don’t even want to know the number of times I have posted something to the effect of:

Just do it. If God tells you to do something, do it. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Sure, there are unknowns. Sure, it’s scary. But there will never be a time in your life when you’re completely ready for something. There will never be a time when you know all the answers. Life is too short to wait around for whatever it is you’re waiting around for. Trust that God has a plan and He knows what He’s doing. And if you happen to do something really stupid and not do what you’re supposed to do, then get back on the path of doing what He told you to do. It’s never too late with God.

And since my mind is now blank, I’m just going to trust that this was, in fact, what I was meant to write to you all tonight. Even though I’m quite sure this is just me giving you the same post I’ve given you a million times. But if I am supposed to write it again, I can only assume from a spiritual perspective that that means that one of you isn’t getting the message.

Whoever you are, just do whatever it is you’re supposed to do. Please?

Just Writing

The Leaf

The Leaf

somewhere deep in the forest
a leaf grew on the high branches

one day she changed
to vibrant red and gold

she merely thought it was her time
the time she’d waited for

she didn’t know
she was about to die

in hues of majesty
she held onto her branch

overlooked the forest
and understood contentment

she watched her change
and was happy

she didn’t know
she was about to die

a wind came from the south
carrying black clouds

but she didn’t have strength
to hold on

it had been sapped
the colors had weakened her

she knew
she was about to die

somewhere deep in the forest
a leaf grew on high branches

one day the red and gold betrayed her
and she fell to the ground

and shattered on the forest floor
nothing to catch her

she hadn’t known
what it felt like to die

and there, upon the ground
the leaf stayed forever

ever slowly falling apart
blending into the brokenness

she watched the long life of others
saw their contentment

she watched as they knew
that they would never die

 

 

I'm Just Saying

The Way It Is

I have a secret love in my heart for William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. I wish I didn’t sound like such a typical woman admitting that, but I suppose that’s just the way it has to be.

balconyThe sad thing about Romeo and Juliet is how overdone it is. Pure and simple, everything about that play is overdone. The play is overperformed, there have been far too many movie adaptations, and the discussions surrounding it are also over much. Simply put, everything coming out of this play is just a little bit extra.

Which shouldn’t be surprising considering the fact that it’s about two people who would rather die than be without one another.

If you’re a human alive in this world, you know the story of Romeo and Juliet. And you also know everything that has been said about it. I believe that the most popular thing to say about this is: that’s just hormones.

Well. Okay then.

I’m sorry, but I’ve never bought this argument and I never will. I don’t really care how old Romeo or Juliet are supposed to be. Never have. Never will. Call me crazy, but I’ve just always looked at the play as a rather tragic love story. Kind of how Shakespeare wrote it. Shocker.

You can also attribute the reconciliation of a terrible feud to hormones, too. Probably.

A few years I ago I saw this play again, and even though I’ve always loved it, for some reason this particular time it really struck me. I mean, it really, really struck me. And I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I couldn’t fathom it, really.

Love.

They loved each other so much. They really, truly did. So much that everything they had always been taught or told didn’t matter because they had found their other half. And they were willing to throw everything away for that. Both of them had very bright futures within their families and sphere of influence.

I remember getting to the end and just crying.infinite love

And in my prayers later that I night, I was talking to God about it. And, bless His heart, I just sat there and cried some more. I remember praying about this story, about these characters. Even though it isn’t real. The lessons are incredibly powerful. I remember praying and asking that one day I’d be able to know what it was like to love that way.

A bold choice of words, coming from somebody who already feels things very deeply.

(Like super deeply. You guys don’t even know. It’s exhausting most days. There are so many times when I just want to look myself in the eye and be like, “Okay. If you could not feel so many feelings ALL. THE. TIME at this insane intensity that’d be great.” Unfortunately, I have a red hot don’t-tell-me-what-to-do streak and it also applies to myself. I’m working on that, though.) Looking back on it now I’m not altogether sure I really thought that one through. But hey, that’s life sometimes.

But I digress.

This last week I’ve had two very powerful moments that keep resurfacing in my thoughts. Both of them are just statements that really touched my heart. And I think the point of this whole post is to make sense of them. So bear with me.

The first was a statement from a book I finished reading this week. Now I have read this book at least 800 times. In fact, I’ve read this book so much that I can skip around and find all my favorite parts. I’ve read this book so much that I know the story as well as if I’d written it myself. I’ve read this book a lot. That’s all I’m saying.

But as I was rereading it this week, a phrase I had never noticed before hit me in the face.

second balconyThe main character is talking about the man that she loves. They have a very unique bond. One that surpasses your typical love story. Because all of the forces in the universe try and pull them apart. Literally, everything is working against them and both of them know that no matter what, even if they were to never see one another again, they belong to one another. That they were made for one another.

It is suggested to the main character several times that she ought to move on and forget him, to find somebody else and try and live as happily as she can. And in the course of these conversations she finally says something like:

Once you give your heart, you never get it back. Once given, it is gone forever.

The other phrase was something that my older sister said to me. I’ve been staying with her, her husband, and their two toddlers this week, helping out with the wheat harvest. Now my sister and her husband are an interesting story because on paper they shouldn’t work. But they do. Good grief, they are so perfect for each other it can be a little painful. Honestly. She was talking to me about it the other day as we drove through town, and she said,

We were just supposed to be together. We were meant for one another. That’s just the way it is.

And that is the truth. A lot of things were combining against them, and somehow they still pulled through. There was a moment when it got hard and they ended things. I don’t know the full story but I remember my brother-in-law said something like, “I just don’t know if I can be the man you deserve.” His past was haunting him, and he didn’t know if he could do it.

Obviously, things worked out because they are married now and have two beautiful boys. I think after a while he finally came back to her and said, “I know what kind of man you deserve and I know that with your help I can be that man. I’m a better me when I’m with you.” So they got back together and pushed through the unknowns and the past hurts as a team. And today they are the best example of a beautiful marriage that I’ve ever seen.

It’s so beautiful that it brings tears to my eyes.

The reason I began this post with all my thoughts about Romeo and Juliet is that I think it never did run smoothillustrates these two ideas. They knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that they belonged together. They were meant for one another. Once they had truly given their heart they weren’t going to get it back. But then again Shakespeare also wrote, in A Midsummer Night’s Dream: the course of true love never did run smooth.

The tragedy of their love story lies in the fact that it took their death for love to win. I think it illustrates an absolutely beautiful point and was probably written to do so. It shouldn’t have taken that much for love to heal.

But at the same time, love like that isn’t easily found or given or maintained. Just like my brother-in-law realized, it can be really hard. And far too often a lot of painful factors get in the way and it can seem hopeless. But as he also realized, that type of love is also worth it.

That’s just the way it is.

 

I'm Just Saying

Just Revise, Please

I have an announcement to make. Everybody stand back and listen:

This week I finished my novel.

It is done. It is finished. I have finished it. One year after beginning it, this novel is finally done. I have had this story in my head for over a year now and this week I finished writing it.

It has been a very long time since I finished writing a novel, and I forgot how amazing it feels. I forgot how crazy it is to plan a part of a novel and then be actually able to write that part of the novel.

The end of this novel is like a bomb. Seriously. Everything just falls apart real quick. Seriously. It gets put back together fairly quickly, but the falling apart part is absolutely crazy. For a year I’ve been worried about writing these parts.

There are two parts in particular where my main character just kind of runs into a wall of reality. And the thing about writing things like this, at least for me, is that there doesn’t need to be a lot of fluff. It just happens. Kind of like running into a wall would actually feel.

I’ve been wondering about these two parts of the novel for the last year and hoping that when it was finally time to write them that I’d be able to convey everything all of the characters were feeling. I think I was able to do well. I feel quite confident about the project as a whole.

One thing that I really wanted to do for this book is eliminate unnecessary things. So if something did not directly contribute to the plot I did not include it in the story. Imagery is something I love in my novels, and is one of my strong suits as a writer.

But since I know it is something I’m better at I also know that I tend to get carried away with it. So it was actually really refreshing to write this book and keep reminding myself not to get carried away with things that didn’t need to be there.

As a result, it feels very bam-bam-bam to me. I can’t really think of another way to put it. But another reason I did this is because my main character has a lot of these similar traits. She’s very honest, very straightforward, and doesn’t like to deal with things she feels don’t matter. So naturally, it seemed like a novel from her perspective would follow the same type of pattern.

But when you finish a novel, there is always one glaring question:

What now????

Well, obviously I’ve been tweaking it like crazy. Something happens to me when I’m finishing a novel where I finish the last chunk in record time. I think I wrote seven or eight chapters in two days or something insane like that. All of it is just fighting to get out of my head and so I just write like…I’m running out of time. (I would’ve been struck been lightning if I hadn’t used a Hamilton reference right there. If you know Hamilton you’ll understand. Also, if you do know Hamilton let’s talk and be best friends, if you don’t I’m sorry.)

So because I wrote a huge chunk of my novel in record time revising has definitely been a thing. There have been quite a few moments of, “Oh! I forgot to write this one thing!” Actually, the other night something really incredible happened to me. At 3 a.m awoke very suddenly and realized something I’d forgotten and had to fix it then and there. For reasons I’ll never be able to explain I’ve always wanted that to happen to me. It finally did.

The thought of rewriting this novel it makes me want to cry. It doesn’t matter that this is actually a thing serious writers do. In my head, I’m finished with it so rewriting isn’t even real. Heavy, heavy editing, moving around, rewriting parts, yes. But actually starting all over? How does one actually do that?

To all of you writers who actually rewrite your novels from scratch, I salute you.

If you need me I’ll be revising.