Where Are These Words? Text on the Screen and E-Books

Keywords

There is a disconnect

between these words on the screen

and the words that I write

with my fingers,

and the words

that I write

with my mind

and my heart.

There they are,

distant,

unreal,

cyber, just pixels

on a screen

and on and off signals

on a hard drive.

01001100 01101111 01110011 01110100

01101001 01101110

01100100 01101001 01100111 01101001 01110100 01110011

Lost

in digits.

How can simple letters

take up

so much space?

01001100 01101111 01110011 01110100

They are unreal;

they are not real,

though I feel them pumping through my arms

and my hands

and out my dancing fingertips,

feel the tip-tap of fingers on keys like rain

dancing on a tin roof, Riverdance

or Raindance

on a piano,

every step a pitch

on a pitch-black

and white keys. I make them with touch,

textile text,

I feel their shape as I carve them with my motions,

the spring of the key,

the clack–

but they’re frozen

in nothingness. They don’t exist.

What are they now? Where are they?

01001100 01101111 01110011 01110100

Lost.

01001100 01101111 01110011 01110100

Hi again! I’ve missed you, world, and I’m incredibly sorry for not publishing anything since…

…guess it’s June, huh? Sorry. But as time added up and inspiration went down, and I forgot my password… Well, I’m done with that now. Trying to keep a regular post time just didn’t work for me and my schedule. Yes, writers should get used to deadlines; yes, there are other people who have jobs and blogs and keep them both in tip-top shape; I’m capable of giving you a poem every Tuesday, like clockwork; but do I want to? Am I the kind of person who can or would want to do that? Would it be any good? Maybe. But I haven’t had as much fun trying. I’ll keep trying, but I’m done making myself feeling guilty for even typing ‘word’ into the browser (which is part of “wordpress.com”)

Anyway, back to the poem that I wrote.

I strongly dislike writing poetry and other things through the computer. The poem above is an example of how I feel. Give me paper, baby, every time. Paper’s so tactile, so satisfying, so three-dimensional, so easy to read on. Can’t you agree that it’s easier to be able to flip to the part of the book you want, rather than paging through each screen or searching for the section? With our fancy technology, we’ve unbound one of the greatest inventions–the marvelous book–and gone back to the dull old scroll. Reading e-books does not give me so much of a sense of progression as a normal book does. Who else dives into a book, feeling the challenge of a good inch-thick chunk of pages, determined to get far enough into it so that the binding doesn’t crack/tear, and having that same heft at the end, with the beautiful close to the cycle of reading? You can really appreciate how at both the beginning and end of a large book, you struggle with holding it open, and the middle is the part when you’re perfectly happy. Ironically, that’s the aggravating part because you want to finish it and know what happens.

E-books are cool though. You can take a magazine-sized object with you anywhere, yet you have available at your fingertips a whole library of books. They’re mini TARDISes, as Doctor Who fans might have already realized. But when it comes to reading textbooks or cookbooks or anything I’d rather flip through…no. No thanks. Just the novels, please. Those are linear, unlike the two I just mentioned.

Where are these words, though? Unless you’ve decided to print them out, they’re nowhere. They’re binary signals, telling your screen where to light up white and where to light up dark. On and off, the basic language of computers and phones everywhere. 1 and 0. They float in nothingness. (Or else they’re somewhere in Alabama, or Europe, or Asia, or South America, or Africa, or wherever it is that you’ve got that hard copy of this post)

Oh, technology.

You and your nothingness, you.

–Aidyl

Writing About Writing: How Art Inspires Itself and Writinception

Writing About Reading About Writing About Writing

Reading

about writing

makes me want to write

about writing;

but now I’m writing

about reading about writing,

not writing

about writing

in the first place.

And that reading

about writing

made me want to

write about writing,

so here

I am: writing

yet not what I originally

intended. No, I wanted to write

about that flying feeling

of delving into the words,

that inexplicable

feeling

off all your thoughts

uncapped

and spewing, like a

water balloon

with the neck

untied and unpinched.

The air is hot, heavy, and humid,

but with words, building

up like magic, growing more intense

with every moment,

silence shrouding

the world with words.

I,

my pencil.

my notebook,

my bed-fa*, and dresser;

this very room

detaches from reality

and floats

half a step out of sync

with everything else.

It’s that whole void

where my fog is,

that place

where every event in every story

occurs,

seen-yet-unseen.

writing, I write

about writing about writing

right now,

not reading

about writing

and wanting to write–

no! To write

becomes a scribbled mess

of misspelling; I’ve written

“to write” and “writing” and “written”

too many times now;

my hand is yet cramped

with all this writing

about writing about writing.

Sever that thought thread

after alliteration and assonance,

tie the poem closed:

it is written.

And as of now,

it is read.

*Bed-used-as-sofa

I’ve probably set a new record for me. That title to the poem above is not only one of the longest ones I’ve ever written, but I’m absolutely certain that it’s the most confusing one yet! Just in case you couldn’t for the life of you figure out what the heck it says, here’s a rough translation of the title: “writing about the act of reading a piece of prose that was written about the act of writing.”

Now, this is a pretty interesting sequence. The author of the work that I was reading was inspired by the very act of writing, and wanted to write about it. Hence, she wrote about writing. Many poets and writers write about writing, so that part isn’t so much a surprise as what comes next. Then, a reader comes along who also happens to write (me, for example), and reads the writing about writing. This reader is inspired, finding something to relate to within thee text,  and thus wants to write a poem about writing, too. Except…when I write poetry, I often add the inspiration, too, meaning that I wrote about reading about what someone wrote about writing, and I was inspired to write about writing from reading about writing about writing.

Confused? Of course you are.

This is the same mind-swirling concept as a room within a room within a room, or the play within a play in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It also connects to the very interesting idea that art can inspire itself. How many times has a painting been made that was inspired by music? What about music that was inspired by a book or a movie or poetry? Artception, if you will. The concept is just so artable, too…! If you don’t believe me, listen to a song, look at a painting, or look at a sculpture and see if it makes you want to sing, dance, paint, or write poetry. What colors, what forms, what senses…captured through art through note, stroke, cut, or word. Arg! It makes me want to write…!

-Aidyl

PS: This post is my 200th on Blue Girl, Blue World! Wow! 0.0

NaPoWriMo: Days 29 and 30

Favorite Colors

My favorite color

is that particular shade

when a full moon shines

on marine layer fog,

fragmented blue rainbows,

blue-purple clean-sweet coolness

like the best spring water,

sprinkled

with a dash

of starlight

like labradorite,

alexandrite that opal fire

on a cobalt background.

That color of a dream,

color of home

at nighttime

when you lie in bed

waiting

for sleep to come

while the moon peers in pale

through the window, white like scared

except that it isn’t,

not even at all.

Pre-dawn stillness

of a starry early 5:00 April morning

in the 50s,

temperature-wise,

and only the blue call

of a bluebird

serenading the silence.

Yes, that’s my favorite

color. Now, if only

I could bottle it up

and spray it,

that would be

my favorite scent;

at least, that would be so

if it wasn’t already

that lovely smell of….

Rain On Roof

Rain taps out

Morse code sign language

for calm,

no te preocupas

de nada,

“Don’t you worry about anything,

do not fear,

rest well:

I am watching through this night.”

It’s the last day of NaPoWriMo.

I wish the sun was out so I could watch it set, but only a little. It’s such a lovely evening, all that rain and fog draped over the mountain. It’s wonderful writing weather, except…the month’s over. I can’t believe it. Can you? Already? Oh well. How fitting that these last two poems are filled with nighttime.

Rain at night is beautiful, especially when it’s warm and misty outside, and you hear only rain falling. No, frogs do not count as fog, there’s that extra “r” in there. Extra “r”s are important; they’re the difference between “he” and “her” and “h”, “hee” and “here”. They croak way, way too loudly to be fog. Anyway, heading back to the rain–I think I’ve written about it as many times (or more) than I’ve written about fog. Every poet has a thing that they write about a lot, or that they think they do; some people have cows, I have fog, my old creative writing teacher had eyebrows…you get the point. Whatever your thing is, it inspires you a lot. In fact, that happens to be a prompt that I thought of as I wrote that rain poem: write about what you write about a lot, but try to see it in a way you’ve never seen it before.

Tough, inspiring, and fun.

The first poem is a mini prompt I gave myself: write about a favorite color, but use abstract thoughts that can’t have colors. You know, along the same line as colors of the wind. Hey, the work just as well. Doesn’t everyone agree that love is red or pink or whatever? And that envy is green? Joy yellow? Yet you also know the color of home, family, hatred, sweltering summer days, school…rainy nights during a full moon…things like that. Golden spring mornings. Rich, textured, orangey fall afternoons. Anything and everything that you can see has a brilliant color.

 I’ve hit so many milestones this month, and I’m so glad and grateful to you–my readers–for making that happen. I hit 100 followers on April  th, and got 30 more in far less time than any other 30; I had a new record best day for followers this month; I’ve gotten nice comments from several readers; and this is my 199th post, so if I’d stayed on track I would’ve hit 200 this month, too. Thanks to everyone for supporting my poetry this month! I hope if a prompt I gave inspired any poetry, then you’ll share it with me in the comments.

Happy end of NaPoWriMo!

-Aidyl

NaPoWriMo: Days 27 and 28

More Word Magnets

Sweet repulsive goddess,

delirious with the trudge

of

light blue lathering shadows

like a

sleepy

cry of

lazy diamond whispers,

a soft scream,

shimmering urge

storm-garden gorgeous….

And drunk pink petals

fall by the thousands;

together, they shine

summer.

Inky Hands

I wear my ink-laden hands

with pride

for the words I’ve written;

they are no cause

of shame,

nor

are the inkblots

across the paper

the smears,

the scrawls,

no, for they are all

universal sign of written.

I

am an artist. My fingers

are branded

with creativity, my page

with my thoughts.

I have a pen that tends to be very inky. I’m sure that all hand-write-ers out there have a pen just like it. It writes nicely; it writes smoothly; it smears a little if you don’t let it dry; and when the point is clicked it, it leaks ink everywhere. Into ink-globs all over the tip. Finally, if you try to write with that kind of blob, it makes real, honest-to-God inkblots. Can you imagine? INKBLOTS! Yes, they’re a sign of work well done. That’s one reason why writing with ink is so powerful; when you finish, there’s that sweet smell of pen ink hanging over your notebook. It’s the smell of victory–victory over the blank page. Those little spots of ink all over your hands are nice for the same reason. Yes, I can’t stand how it smears all over everything I touch, but it shows that I’ve handled a pen, that I’ve dared to use permanence. I used to be too afraid of pens. What if I made a mistake, especially if I was doing a math problem? It would be a tangled mess of cross-outs and ink spots where I’d left the pen on the page too long. My words were tentative ghosts, light gray lead floating across the page.

Then I realized that I didn’t really use the eraser much anyway; like I would with a pen, I’d just cross it out and move on.

So I tried using a pen.

It’s like making a pen sketch: scary at first–what if you make a mistake?–but very liberating because those words are bold. They show you’re not afraid to let your ideas free. As I said, boldness is intimidating, but not overly terrifying. All this sort of leads to today’s prompt. When you write, what kind of utensil do you use? Pencil? Mechanical pencil? Pen? Quill? Sharpie? Dry-erase marker? Highlighter (a bit hard to read)? Typewriter? Computer? Dragon (Naturally Speaking)? iPad or other tablet? What do you like about using your medium? What’s your favorite part? How does it contribute to the shape of the words, in your mind? How does it make the words tactile?  Let your writing inspire your writing!

-Aidyl

NaPoWriMo: Days 21, 22, and 26

Word Magnets

There was one whisper tongue

of raw spring

like life-spray,

delirious

with languid luscious day;

lazy moon

shines

with smooth diamond music.

April Shower Night

Dark gurgling shadows

of green-blue-black

wet with rain

and river water; heavy

with water,

The air

lies close,

like after-shower steam

but better,

because it isn’t hot.

Sleigh-bell jingle

jangle spring peepers,

unable to sing

when those bells do;

their replacement.

Now they croak melodies

into the darkening night,

skin damp

like the air.

Deep blue sky

shot with faint sunset shine

through patches of heavy

rain-clouds, punctuated

by silver sapphire stars, sparking.

Piercing Clouds

Sunlight reach

across valley, shafts through broken clouds;

gleam

behind every blade

of grass, put fire

in every  rain-soaked stone,

soggy bough,

slick buds. Touch the flowers

with their heads bowed in misery

from the cold rain,

cup their chin

and raise

their gaze

to meet yours, bright daffodil eyes

gold and shining rain-glimmer

with adoration.

Lance of fire,

why are you hotter now,

gold-er now, fierce pale glow

filled with rainbow in your every

sun-drip drip-drop golden gray yellow blue

raindrops of gentle joy.

It’s good to see your smile

after winter’s bitter jaws.

Ka-way-too-busy-till-late-in-night. -.- I sigh with regret and sorrow at my inability to keep my commitment to blogging. Who knew that my internet would be too slow for a day, too? Or that I would be stricken with allergies-slash-cold? Oh well…at the very least I haven’t given up yet!

Here have arrived those April showers that will hopefully end up bringing gobs of May flowers. Yes, gobs of them. I love wildflowers; they’re so…wildflower-y! I really wish I could skip through allergy season, though. They’re definitely not fun! I mean, pretty blooms and new leaves are all very well, but do they really have to spew their pollen everywhere like a (pollen) fire hose set on projectile vomit? (Ew)

 Aaaah, there are only four days left to NaPoWriMo. Can you believe it? Where did it all go? Maybe it seemed so fast because it was so hard to stay caught up this year. I haven’t had time for all the prompts I wanted to try, and the poems I wanted to write…and all the days I didn’t want to miss, of course. Every April, though I end up with at least twenty new poems that had never existed before and more than the previous year. I hope the same goes for you.

I didn’t really use a specific prompt for the poems above. Well, except for the first, Word Magnets. That comes from a set of magnetic words specifically geared for inspiring poetry (more specifically, these). If you don’t happen to have some of those to play around with, grab a newspaper (or a book with a bunch of cool words in it). Close your eyes and pick random words; then cut them out or just write them out into a poem, which would be an option I would prefer to use if I was using a book. Sometimes you get really intelligible poetry, but even that can sound much deeper than you initially intended it to be. Those kinds of poems are always fun, because later you come back to it and go, “Wow” when you had no clue what it meant earlier. Random word barf is strange that way.

Stay allergy-free!

-Aidyl

NaPoWriMo: Days 19 and 20

Writing A Poem

The poem future constantly changes

as you write, constantly thinking

of connections

and conjunctions,

the future

is fluid.

Who Took My Cheese?

Who took my cheese? I put it

right here

for later, tasty tangy tidbit,

a taste to anticipate.

Lost: cheddar cheese;

aged two years, wrapped

in an oaken embrace

until

it’s silky, satiny, cream-colored

and smooth

as milk, like the hide

of a unicorn, except

less gross.

Every bite

of creamy goodness

was like a moment of brief heaven,

sweet-salty-savory

surprises

that were so familiar to me

with every bite.

I had sought

to extend the euphoria

by leaving it here,

safe

from temptation.

Now my hopes

for that coveted revisit

to paradise, but upon my return

I find

the memory of screams

as it was torn

from its proper position

and spirited away

to an unknown location,

most likely

the trash can.

How could you do such a thing

to me, let alone

that poor cheese?! Thrown

into a garbage heap with smelly socks,

diapers

and orange rinds;

such perfection

doesn’t deserve such a fate!

I shall go into withdrawal

from lack of cheese, no,

too late to fix

your wretched mistake.

Oh,

my poor cheese!

Well, that might seem extremely random to everyone reading this. “Where did the cheese come from and why did someone take it? Sure, that’s answered in the poem, but what inspired you to write that?” The answer is actually surprisingly simple. In the poetry workshop that I used to grace, sometimes side-conversations would erupt that disrupted a full fifteen minutes. A few details were significant enough for me to chronograph, such as birthdays, the word “sapphirine” (a type of gem), “consciously” (to remind myself how to spell it), unusual words, hash marks, or even chemical formulas. The upper margin of my journal from those sessions is littered with doodles and notes of the above. I was reading though the old pages yesterday, looking for something to read at an open mic, and encountered a totally random phrase. “Who moved my cheese?” I could tell it was a prompt, because farther down the page was an attempt to write a “who moved my chocolate” poem, which was quite enthusiastically crossed out. See what gems you can get from expired or filled-up notebooks? Even if it’s word barf, (as many of them turn out to be) it’s still an idea, and it has potential to inspire or evolve into something amazing!

Thus, for today’s prompt, I challenge you to write a poem about “Who moved my cheese/__________?”, where the blank stands for some object of value to you . For a quirkier pom, pick something sillier (eraser, rubber band, frying pan, watermelon, cupcake wrapper, etc.) I still think that cheese is your best bet, though!

Happy Easter!

-Aidyl

NaPoWriMo 2014: Days 11, 12, 17, and 18

Love Poem of a Pawn and Glasses

She felt

so small, insignificant.

He could see right through her,

she was a pawn in the face

of his face. But she loved

his clarity, clean boundaries,

well-sculpted edges and curves, chiseled

to godlike. And she? Well, she

had a figure that caught his eye,

that called for examination. She, overjoyed

that she could have caught

his attention,

smiled

like the queen that she could be

if she really wanted to.

Black/White

To a poet

or a writer

or an artist,

black and white

is anything but;

not

boring, it’ a skeleton,

the foundation

of all existence. Invertebrates

don’t exist

in creative reality

because they’re too squishy, they don’t

survive

the prodding

of lit critics.

And don’t say that creative reality

doesn’t exist

because it does,

thanks to creative liberties.

Air-bird Written Thoughts

All thoughts

gushing,

rushing,

released

through a pinpoint ballpoint

pressure point

release point.

It’s not legible

and I probably won’t be able

to read it

in six million years, but

it’s out there. Pent up thoughts

of days,

maybe weeks,

even months,

half a year

of poetry solitary

confinement, no contact

with another member

of the poet race.

Be free, thoughts! Spread

to the corners of the world, show

just what my thoughts are,

just what you are. Be

like the wind-bird air flyer-thoughts

of culture, spreading viral video

across the globe

and even to the parts of the world

that don’t have internet,

Imagination

is our internet.

Writing Not-writing

I wish that I could write

but for writer’s block;

that terrible region

of thought

with no exit,

no freedom, no

known way out.

But if I’m writing a poem

about writer’s block

does that mean

that I still have it? Or no?

Gah!

My sanity flees!

Yet…

how can I have written

any words

if I’m blocked? Freedom!

Un-blockage

of the block

turns it into a circle-shape (ha!),

rainbow bubbles that float

on the peaceful winds

of imagination.

There is a lot of imagination going on in all four of those poems above. That’s probably because I’ve finally hit back into that niche where my good and original-type of poetry comes from. I’m sorry if you have no idea what I’m talking about; you must feel quite lost! Some poets out there might get it, and they would understand what a lucid place it is. It’s exciting! Words come onto the page free and happy like butterflies made of shattered shafts of sunshine! *cue rainbow happy squee music* This is another moment when I really recommend a morning paper exercise (See here or here for a better description of it). So many of my un-blocking poems are like it that few are fit for anything.

Let’s return to the first poem. To better explain it, I’ll grant you your prompt of the day: write a love poem about two completely random, inanimate objects, anywhere in the room you’re in–or outside of it. If you’ve got a few Story Cubes, those would work really well, because you don’t want to unconsciously look for the best pair. For example, you could do a foot and the moon, an eye and an arrow, a face and a mask, or a bridge and a star (examples that I rolled with the cubes). They shouldn’t have anything to do with each other–like a queen and a king from a chessboard. A shoe and a sock. Salt and pepper shakers. They are way to similar for this prompt! Try a shoe and a pepper shaker, or a salt shaker and a sock instead. Go with more a DVD and a curtain tie. A teapot aaaaaaaaaaaaaand…a tennis racket. Seriously, I could do this all day. When I wrote my poem, the glasses were faced well away from the pawn, which gave me the impression that maybe the pawn was in love with the glasses because the glasses didn’t seem to care about her. And don’t ask me why the pawn’s a she–maybe because they turn into queens if you get them to the other side of the board? Who knows! Pick and fly with it. ;