Friday, October 12, 2012

Life is What Happens While You're Making Other Plans...Happy Poetry Friday!

Howdy, Campers--Happy Poetry Friday!  And thanks to Betsy of Teaching Young Writers for hosting today!

The winner of our contest for an autographed copy of Carolee Dean's book, Forget Me Not (see my interview with her here) is…

shishh-shishh-shishh (in a nod to Mary Ann's post on sound, this is the sound of shuffling through all the entry names on strips of paper in a pail with my eyes closed and then pulling one out) Irene Latham! How appropriate for Poetry Friday—congratulations, poet Irene!

Life is what happens to you / While you're busy making other plans,
John Lennon wrote in his song Beautiful Boy.

I have been working on the election for more than a year and have put my 14-year-old-novel-that-scares-the-dickens-out-of-me aside. You know the one--the one that's supposed to be in bookstores everywhere by now.  At least that was the plan.

Every day my stomach twinges; I wonder if I'll ever finish it. If I'm capable of finishing it.
Don't try to force anything. Let life be a deep let-go.
See God opening millions of flowers every day without forcing the buds
~ Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

by April Halprin Wayland
"Come in," I say to my almost-book.
But it stays outside,
in a halo of porch light.

It will not take off its coat or paisley rain boots,
though I offer it a place on the couch
and a cup of hot tea.

It seems comfortable out there,
watching rain
dripping off the roof.

So I go about my days, my nights,
researching, running, writing.
Wrestling with wildlife.

Every now and then I tilt my head
to look out the window
at my almost-book on the wooden porch.

It's out there still,
in no hurry,
surrounded by the fragrance of tuberose.

poem (c) 2012 April Halprin Wayland.  All rights reserved.

Writing Workout: Wrestling with Demons
In the poem above, I told an embarrassing truth that haunts me. 
It's October...nearly Halloween. 
I dare you to do the same.
  • What demon are you wrestling with?
  • Talk to it.
  • Write a dialogue with it.
  • Give it a setting.
  • Give it a season.
And remember to write with joy.
Don't forget to enter our Guest Teaching Author Book Giveaway to win an autographed copy of Who’s Faster? Animals on the Move by Eileen Meyer.


jama said...

I love your poem, April. Someday soon the almost-book will come in to stay :).

Tabatha said...

I love this poem, April! Also, the quote by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. (I'm not sure how your almost-book can turn down a nice cup of tea! Maybe after the election...)

Renee LaTulippe said...

You exactly captured the feeling of an unfinished project waiting there for you. Wonderful poem. I have a book of poems on my porch, but it's a bit more aggressive, nose smushed up on the window, a big "Well??" expression on its face. Sigh.

Matt Forrest Esenwine said...

I'm not sure there's a writer out there who can't identify with this! Really enjoyed it, April.

Janet Wong said...

Just as "Beautiful Boy" was finishing up and right after I'd opened this comment box, a mosquito came flying straight at me and I (Mosquito Magnet with "only" 3 recent bites) smashed it on my first clap. I wonder if that was a symbol of something--or just a mosquito? Goodbye Scary Thing(s)! Onward!

BJ Lee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hannah Ruth Wilde said...

April, thank for your courage. Here's a haunting:

The Gift of a Daughter

I should let go
For a moment,
Are you able
To swim on your own?

Why ask?
Long past your memory,
It was I who held
Your hand
As you floated freely.

Hannah Ruth Wilde, All rights reserved, 2012

BJ Lee said...

Beautiful poem, April. And I loved the quote by Rajneesh. It would be wonderful to live in that mindful place all the time. It's something to strive for.

Joyce Ray said...

April, your porch must be a welcoming place for your almost-book to even stay there. Perhaps it's gathering courage or waiting for you to prepare something necessary. I love your poem. My almost-book is waiting for me to add a chapter near the beginning. One day our almost-books will don their covers and move off the porch into readers' hands!

Author Amok said...

Hi, April. I heard Laura Amy Schlitz speak at the Baltimore Book Festival recently. She talked about how writers dream up this ideal version in their minds of the book they are writing on. Part of the process is letting go of that vision and writing the books that wants to be written. Your post reminded me of her wise words!

mary ann rodman said...

April...We 'he been blogmates forever and didn't. know that you and I share a case of being frightened by our own books and for almost as long... eleven years. I thought I was the only one. Thank you.

Jill said...

Love this poem, April. And, oh, I can relate to that wanting-to-have-written-the-book feeling. The darn things just want to take their own sweet time.

April Halprin Wayland said...

Dear Everyone Who's Stopped By,

Your comments are heartening...I didn't realize that I wasn't alone on that porch...especially for so many years. I have been full of shame about it. So thank you for coming and sitting with me, Jama and Matt. And Tabatha and BJ, I love that quote, IS something to strive for.

Hannah Ruth, always nice to see you and thanks for your haunting, mysterious poem. It makes me want to know more.

Janet, smack those mosquitoes-- kill the scary monster demons for all of us!

Renee--I like your more aggressive almost-book and it's nose smushed against the window.

And Joyce Ray--it makes me feel as if one day 100s of us will take our books' hands and walk off the porch with a sort of author march to freedom.

April Halprin Wayland said...

...and dear Mary Ann and Jill...
your comments...and the comments of the others on this blog...have been so helpful today. I really thought I was the only one filled with such shame.

GatheringBooks said...

Hi there dear April. I fell in love with your poem. I shall share it with my PhD supervisees who must be struggling with their almost-PhD thesis out in the rain. If they can smell the tuberose then I'd get the drafts of their manuscripts soon. :)

Linda B said...

It seems you have quite a gathering here today because of the words you shared, April. I liked your honesty that the book is waiting, and that seems okay, even when you write "though I offer it a place on the couch
and a cup of hot tea." Perhaps this will be a small hop in the direction that takes the book onward? Best wishes.

Betsy Hubbard said...

You speak so much truth here. Sometimes things are just not ready for us even when we feel ready for them. I hope it comes in for that tea soon, it sounds like a cozy place in your poem.

Ruth said...

I can really relate to the feeling of shame about unfinished projects. Some day you'll finish it, or you'll learn what you need to from it that will make your next project even greater.

April Halprin Wayland said...

Laura—I love "writers dream up this ideal version in their minds of the book they are writing on. Part of the process is letting go of that vision and writing the books that wants to be written." Well, this has certainly been true for me in other projects...

Myra ~ I'm honored that you'll share this with your PhD students! :-)

Linda ~ Perhaps opening up to everyone like this is, indeed, a "small hop in the direction that takes the book onward"

Betsy ~ I love this: "Sometimes things are just not ready for us even when we feel ready for them."

Ruth ~ Thank you for this: "Some day you'll finish it, or you'll learn what you need to from it that will make your next project even greater."