Monday, September 9, 2013

Silence Turned Up High


Smile. Words – the visual elixir to my silence. Today's reading brought about an emotional entourage, with a touch of too much reality thrown in like a pinball machine in an arcade TILT. In a good way, in a bad way, in a this-is-your-life waygentle memory shakers.  Silence, my two-fold blessing curse, even after all these years I still haven’t figured out which. The dichotomy? Curses can bless us in the strangest ways.

I see depths.

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(picture from here)

The branch sways in tender protest, as leaves tug autonomously, waving in the winds breakers. On a tree's topmost limb, deeper still, a tawny squirrel flag tics, tiny wind surfer with a branch for a board. With each breeze the twig vaults higher, small claws grasp for the elusive last pear of the season. A diminutive damp nose twitches with success. Below my feet squish in the sweet rot aroma of fallen discards.

3-D perception is a dance of silence in visual cadence. Would I choose this, to hear with words, to visualize the unspoken eloquence of movement against a soundless tapestry of thoughtperhaps? There are days I want to hear a mischievous squirrel’s bellyaching chitter as they rappel from one branch to another. I want to hear the sound crabapples or pears make with a suicide pact as they pinball against branches, to bounce against a wood fence and hard earth. More than anything, I would give it all up to hear the rain fall. Small visual etiquettes with a soundboard

I see depths, beyond sound in the deeper silence of the heart. My eyes turn up the volume. Everyone has at least one ‘what-if’.  Would this word espouser, see so clearly if I heard? Blessing or curse, does it matter in the long run.  To quote Anne Lamont, “The most subversive, revolutionary thing I could do was to show up for my own life and not be ashamed.” To show up and own who I am, as a person, as a writer, and let others hear the essence of my worded silence. Subversive, revolutionary.

No matter how many times, I question my deafness or find fault with the silence, my words smooth the jagged edges of a soundless life.  No curse finds beauty strewn among the broken places. I hear one word at a time in each indelicate perception within echoes of movement. So yes, I do show up for my life, in so many words. And I would be remiss if I didn’t share the brain fodder which espoused this bit of introverted prose:

EXPOSURE

Rain, you said, was silence turned up high.
It has been raining now for days.
Even when it stops
there is still the sound,
of rainwater labouring
to find some way into the ground.

We lie in grim embrace: these
two halves trying to be whole, straining
for this break in the static,
in the white noise
that was rain falling
all day and all through the sheeted night.

Silence is rain with the sound turned down,
And I stare out on a clear view
of something left out on the line:
a life, snagged there_
drenched, shrunken,
unrecognisably mine.
~Robin Robertson

Thanks to a dear friend Diana Matisz for introducing me to his work.  ~ Indigo



Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Words Inside Us All

"I have hardly anything in common with myself and should stand very quietly in a corner, content that I can breathe." Franz Kafka - Diaries (1914)

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Words from the poem Cut While Shaving, by Charles Bukowski

They whisper and taunt non-stop, these words buried deep. I should share them, dig those buried treasures up and smear them haphazard across a page and call it writing or prose or art. After all, isn’t that what a writer of any caliber does? We bludgeon ourselves on the sharp edges of knowledge, word playing our way into a facsimile of pretending to know what we meant to say. We tend to be either goal oriented or self-saboteurs, one dominating the other word for word.

Take heart, it’s not only writers who tend to be so effusive. Life itself constitutes a palindrome of excuses for living the way we do, backhanded by time constraints and overwhelming expectations.

I’m greedy with my words of late with too much emotional expense hidden in each paraphrase, in the art of silence, and living. Oh, I have words a plenty. The latent ability of deciphering those cruel paradoxes is the silencer. I smirk at the thief of lost hours and word verbiage, howling with the pups in their own language, watching summer collapse into fall, greedy unto myself.

And yet, I feel the tendrils holding back the bank of what needs to be said, breaking, one strand at a time. Old haunts, health, and the pain of simply being can overwhelm a chaotic psyche. Words tormented Charles Bukowski to no end, the genius is, he loved every single second of his torture. Even so, he shared those inside words with the world. I can’t help thinking that it’s possible to have too much living between the words. Too much life, too much of everything, to the point we don’t starve enough to explore deeper than where we are.

When those predilection words finally escape, the direction we were headed changes, the well becomes empty and we thirst for more. Words are meant to be shared. They don’t abandon us; these elusive words sustain us until we are ripe for living. I am the epitome of every single word I’ve ever written. So in the end, maybe it’s not the words I’m unwilling to share, but me. Yet, I’m the whole of every single utterance, occurrence, and emotion bestowed on me in a single day; all of which are alive with the voices of nature, urban decay, and personalities not my own. Words belong to no-one, to everyone. We only own the format in which we understand and share those vocal letters. ~ Indigo

Lifedance

The area dividing the brain and the soul
is affected in many ways by
experience -
Some lose all mind and become soul:
insane.
Some lose all soul and become mind:
intellectual.
Some lose both and become:
accepted.

Charles Bukowski




Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Ghost of Me


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Painting: Rebekah Nichols Forsaken

“Sometimes I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I'm not living.” ― Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

The words alight on my brow and cascade down fingertips to a cold ascetic keyboard into poeticnonsense? Words are components of descriptive nuances, each part of a whole, something or other with essence or not. And sometimes the emotional equivalent of those words is entirely lacking despite having the entire English language to back it up. My brain is having a gag reflex damning up the thought process.

Words are not necessarily missing, trivialized, or running amok causing chaos across the written platform. I’m the one in chaotic disorder. Given the choice to dive deep or tread the shallow depths, I will always dive in head first. Never one to want to explore my chances, always in a hurry to feel, to experience things fully in the moment – I’m suddenly afloat in a quagmire of epiphany.  This brings me to the conclusion there will never be enough pages or blank space in my lifetime for all the experience accrued until now.

Quite daunting for someone who has harped from day one embarking on this journey, claiming one must live effusively in order to write. Every turn of a phrase is tinged with this woman’s experience which removes the innocence of her childlike wonder with life. I’m neither poet nor martyr, I’m a human being folded into the creases of moments.  Haunted by shadows written and unwritten which flow and ebb in a day and a year; those memory rakers, those heart rendering seconds of a life.

Everything comes back to the one question no matter, “I am?”

I am unfinished, incomplete, lost and found; I’m a shell of my former self now filled with the exquisite mutterings of what comes from listening to a heart, the result of want and curiosity. I am everything and nothing but a cataloger of who I’m yet to be; with a penchant for words and the mystery of what came before. I’m you and I’m not.

The brain gags in reflux, chokes, and gags again, and the words vomit forth.

There is only this one life and I have enough living left for several. There isn’t a reason or rhythm sometimes for whatever we write or the decisions we make. I’m okay with that. Whatever I do will always be left unfinished, waiting for another lifetime to fill the obligation. And sometimes we find the answer in the question. Who am I but the mystery of who I am? ~ Indigo

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Assimilation

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“Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”  ~ Anton Chekhov

My heartbeat kept pace with each decibel from Jaco Pastorius’ Kuru/Speak Like a Child; music set so loud bass notes ricochet off the car’s interior. The electrified audio wavelengths raised invisible hairs along my arms. Around each bend and dip of the mountain pass I could feel the strains of Jaco flowing out of the cd player as if he played for an audience of one. Around the next bend, I glance over my shoulder to the empty back seat, haunted by the shadows of memory.

Anyone reading the above passage would instantly know this emotional entourage belonged to me. In this instance I’m showing how the music translated to one individual on a lone mountain drive. Aspects of who I am are entwined into the narrative. I’m a Jaco fan who likes my music ear piercing loud. I’m the road warrior who feels each twist of the backwoods road and I’m haunted by a missing presence in the back seat of the car. In this way I gave a character in a narrative life.

So it goes for every character a writer brings to life. We don’t need to convince you to like the characters music or even agree with their beliefs. You don’t even have to like the character much at all for that matter, but you will get to know the personality traits of the character before the story ends. If you don’t, the writer hasn’t provided their character with any believable traits the reader can relate to.  The next argument would be that of course the first paragraph is believable; the above outline of my day was based on reality.

Stephen King said fiction is the truth inside the lie. Every piece of fiction in print has a measure of truth and reality strewn among the storyline. The trick is to remove the reader from their way of seeing life and placing them inside the storyline with an in-depth look into the life of a character. Of course we each have our own personality traits and beliefs that limit our understanding of other human beings. This simple truth applies to how the reader views characters in a book as well.

I had a conversation with another writer about voice and personality in our writing. My opinion follows our writing is an extension of our personality, which is in itself a writer’s voice beneath the storyline. In this instance the friend in question wasn’t sure if his beliefs should be that of a character. In whatever we write, we’re there and we’re not. We are the narrators of a character’s life, we don’t necessarily always agree with the attributes we give a character, nor are we the character. The challenge is for the reader to see and believe in the character without knowing the hidden narrator’s personality is still present. Complicated? Not really, considering how many people we befriend in real life who won’t always agree with everything we do or say.

In the long run you don’t have to believe a single thing you read, you just need to believe the character in the story believes what they do, and this in turn dictates their actions (Kind of reminds you of life in general doesn’t it?). It’s called extending believability, brought about by a writer’s gift of words. An apt description of writing would be living life in all aspects of reality – the insanity of the sane. For us (me) it’s kind of like having the life you never had or taking chances you never did through the life of a character. ~ Indigo

For your pleasure, Jaco Pastorius' Kuru/Speak Like a Child:

Friday, May 31, 2013

At All Cost

“I must write it all out, at any cost. Writing is thinking. It is more than living, for it is being conscious of living.” ~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh

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Picture Can Be Found Here

The above quote has graced my blog since the early days of Shattered Prose. Those words alone adequately sum up my experience with writing. I believed in order to be a writer, to be true to the craft, you had to live in the moment and experience life first hand. Anyone can imagine the details; living the details is what provides you with an inner library containing file cabinets of emotional index cards to draw from.

So naturally when I took a year off from writing, one would miscue my absence to mean either I wasn’t living fully or I’d given up. Neither would be the case. Writing isn’t always an endless stream of words. For me writing is exploring emotional crevices, watching an endless parade of humanity, and the discovery of new words tattooed beneath the skin of memory like a hidden map. When I write about grief, I want the visceral details of the pain to be visible. I want my readers to experience the raw ache of love lost for those few words, to find themselves slipping beneath my skin and becoming grief embodied.

I use grief as a touchstone here because I’m familiar with that emotional entourage in every which way possible. Every single emotion in existence can be given life. Take pain for example, even there you will find beauty in the details – excavated memories tinged with an unbearable emotional tax, the survival instinct to move beyond, and the hurt which reminds us we still live. I want my readers to not only read my words but to feel as if they were fed a live wire of emotion, a conduit that feeds into their very essence.

Have I stopped writing? No. For a writer not to write, they would have to be emotionally detached from who they are as a person. Our minds are forever calculating, scheming, and creating separate realities, whether it be typed, written, or spoken we can’t remove the storyteller in us. Some writers take years to write a single story, others write like madmen plagued with words. I’ve been on both sides of the fence.

So in this way unexpectedly, I found the emotional baggage needed for a character in my WIP (Work in progress, for those among my readers unfamiliar with the phrase). The answers can always be found in the details if you are willing to carve through flesh beneath skin and bones for the words; if you are willing to scrape open the scabs of memory. For every life, there is a book waiting to be written.

This post is dedicated to Pickles my muse, who died May 31st, 2012 - from an aggressive form of Leukemia.  The writer came into existence with her arrival, but it won’t end with her. Her legacy lives on in my words.

I miss you sweet friend. Underneath the tapestry of my words your spirit still sings.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

You Begin


“Set fire to the broken pieces; start anew.” ~ Lauren DeStefano, Sever

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I was reading something this morning about a father and his two sons helping rescue 17 people in Oklahoma (wish I had their names). When they remarked this wasn't their first rodeo, they were asked if they had any advice. One of the men said, "You begin where you are." I can't say why that one line struck a chord. Maybe because no matter what we deal with in our lives or how many questions we have, the one question is always how or where do I begin? "You begin where you are."

Make no mistake; tragedy will always visit us at some time in our lives, as will an abundance of other life measures. Our better emotional factions seldom leave marks like those of pain, grief, or sorrow. Yet at some point we find ourselves needing, wanting to start over – to begin anew. It is at this place we often stand lost and confused forever looking back to see if perhaps we somehow missed the shortcut. Why do these placeholders imprison us so? Is fear the culprit?

Which leaves me to wonder how many starts and stops do we accrue in a lifetime? Is there some kind of mystical mathematician that allots who needs more chances or hasn’t gotten enough? I’m sorry to say, this is one equation where numbers don’t apply. Life simply happens. We can question the why until we’re blue in the face and still be no wiser when death knocks on our doors. I truly believe the answer to where do we go from here exist within us all; despite mistakes or wrong choices, we can still find it within ourselves to begin again, try again, until the pieces of the puzzle - our lives fit.

Life beats us up enough, without us providing the tools to finish the job. There will always be days of heavy overwhelming apathy, stunted hope, and moments of why bother. Welcome to your humanity.

I’m well versed in how to be a prisoner of my psyche unable to move forward from a place. All of us are. When I took a much needed break to grieve, to compose myself, each day brought the question of where do I go from here and each day left me lacking. As is the nature of the beast life goes on with or without you. Until one day you find yourself asking, what lies beyond today? After so many starts and stops, I found myself hesitating – unsure where to begin.

A quote Amy Reed wrote in Beautiful summed up what I did know about those who read me, “There is a picture of me in their heads, a picture of someone I don't know yet.” How do I get to know her, this woman who is about to begin again? The answer startled me in its simplicity, “You begin where you are, one word at a time.” ~ Indigo

Picture From Here

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Moments in Retrospect



“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” ~ Anaïs Nin

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Twilight is a carefree affair playing with the pups in bottom soaked jeans after it rains, with the fragrance of lilac and crabapple blossoms wafting heavy in the air. A patchwork of sprinkles begin to dot the dust covered stones in the driveway. I raise my face to a spatter of wet drops flowing down my neck in gentle rivulets beneath damp clothes. Simple pleasures. Pleasures, which unbidden are catalogued and filed away as I unconsciously map out current writing projects in progress or search future ideas where I can apply this tidbit of euphoria.

All these experiences and emotions accrue into a veritable tableau of memories. How many books are derived from this storehouse? How many stories do we reap in a lifetime unsolicited? Not enough. Too many things rob us of inhibited outtakes in our short human lifespan – Age, time, stress, even our human culpability of making things far more complicated than need be is guilty of this thief. The list goes on. Photographs are taken, occasions are videotaped; censure be damned, we hoard whatever we can of time in little discretionary pockets of remembered moments. Is it enough? What was going through our minds, how did we react, did we even caredo we even know? All veritable questions left unanswered in small visual glimpses left in mementos.

Words somehow escape the pariah of time. They don’t fade or aggrandize, they echo truths even we don’t account for in the telling. Each word is woven together into a tapestry blending all five senses into one garment. With words, a smile isn’t the only hint of happiness in a photo, it’s the blush of a kiss, the warm summer sun on skin or the smell of a cook-out brought to life. Grief is poured solid like concrete shoes that won’t allow us to escape emotional overtures sealed with droplets of tears. Each catalogued moment is etched across a page and stained with our humanity. And still I can’t file away enough or live enough for all the books my life encompasses. In the words of Brandon Sanderson, “Novels aren’t just happy escapes; they are slivers of people’s souls, nailed to the pages, dripping ink from veins of wood pulp.” This, this is why I write, to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect. ~ Indigo

Picture From Here

Friday, April 26, 2013

Invisible Barriers


“There are no clear borders,
Only merging invisible to the sight.”
― Dejan Stojanovic, Circling: 1978-1987

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I watched apathetic as the guy from the fencing company traveled the distance of my yard, measuring wheel rotating, imagining the click – clack of the numbers adding up the invisible barrier to my soul. A multitude of emotions warred with one another, relief, and confusion as to why I needed this fence so strongly. When did my barriers find a need to become visible for all to see?

It wasn’t always like this. Life has a way of changing direction and running gamut with reality.  My invisible barriers built themselves into existence the day I went deaf. I’m sure it’s different for everyone who loses one of their senses, but for me it screamed a need to be “safe”. A safe distance between me and something I couldn’t hear, a safe place to docket away from people trying to pry their way into my silence. Safe was an excursion into remaining isolated…

No, I didn’t realize that at the time. Fear makes a damn good barrier and feeds all kinds of isolation, abandonment, and introvert tendencies. Fear was the most useful tool I knew how to use to excuse myself from society.  Life however, is never wrapped up in such neat little packages of explanations. What does this have to do with writing? Can’t say I blame you for wanting to by-pass the mental unwind, but it is a good question. I’ll answer in good time.

Human beings are resilient creatures, we improvise and change our needs on command; we’re driven by desperation, hope, longing, even co-dependency for companionship. Either way, something thrives within us forcing us to take stock of what we assume is the bottom of the end. I saw myself becoming the embodiment of silence. A hallow echo with no return, suffocating.

Writing was the only tool by which I could travel beyond my self-imposed prison; words had a resounding echo with every click of the keys on my laptop. I had a voice and a multitude of wondrous characters who in turn had their own voices. As a writer I felt free like none other and experienced life in ways that tested the very foundation of reality on a daily basis. Some days I wondered if the writer’s existence solely depended on my deafness. Perhaps, but I honestly think she’s stronger for the silence.

The click – clack of the keys spew forth words which hold the secret to my freedom. The fence isn’t for me. There are two mischievous muses who needed a place to romp in between cajoling out inspiration. Although, I am constantly aware of how fine the line I travel is between the writer and her deafness. These days they’re one and the same. We all have barriers in front of us in one form or another, how we choose to move beyond those barriers is a choice we must each make for ourselves. Fear is the biggest barrier of all. - Indigo

Picture From Here

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Other Side of Vulnerable



“To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.” – Criss Jami

I’ve never truly been at a loss for words - those denizens clawing and scrambling for every feasible space available in my think tank. I’m used to never having a quiet moment where some character isn’t babbling like mad, desperate to be heard. What it comes down to is the will of the writer (me) and my willingness to allow someone else to read about them, to know they exist with a story of their ownWords tend to be consistent, unlike life.

Sometimes the writer simply needs to hang onto her characters for a bit, needs the madness to consume her every thought and action, to distract from the hard moments real life is so poignant to throw her way.

I’m ready after all this time to let the madness go, to fill a multitude of pages with the blathering, choric, character speak which is mine and mine alone to decipher. To sift through all the storylines and overlapping scenes reminiscent of an overfed blender turned on without a lid. I find myself shuffling through notes, yanking a sentence here and there off the corkboard of my mind searching for the rest of the missing pieces.

Pieces of type obliterated before I was ready; ready to apply a salve of words to my wounds, my experiences or whatever I was writing. Those things needed to stay close to my bosom, to be felt – not heard or seen by anyone but me. This part of life wasn't meant to be shared. Not unlike the hawk I spotted with a rabbit clutched in its talons; talons which secretly ripped into my own heart as I watched the death throes of innocence. I swore I would never allow myself to be that vulnerable or allow my words to make me so. After all, the world eats everyone.

As I continued watching the majestic bird’s strength and breadth not 10ft from me, an insight into the other side of vulnerable began to reveal itself. The hawk arched its neck and looked over its shoulder and our eyes held. This...this was a gift. Sometimes in our vulnerability we make sacrifices of ourselves for the greater beauty encompassing what lies within and without us. I no longer pitied the rabbit; understanding its life presented a lesson, a testament of nourishment and courage. As the hawk spread his wings and took flight, I breathed easy.

I sacrificed words and time to deal with a very raw pain. Now, it’s time to see the majesty my words can make of that pain. The dignity I can bestow on hurt and memories. A writer never truly stops writing, smiles their characters would never allow that. Thank you dear readers for giving me time to grieve, to heal. I need to remember my muse is still with me, she’s never far from heart.

*If your new to my blog or haven't been by in some time, reading the post before this might answer some questions.