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

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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: Day 2

Notes

Why is writing notes

a crime

when taking notes

is encouraged? Isn’t

taking

rude and mean? Aren’t

we taught

to not

be bullies?

Writing is so much more creative,

personal imagination,

more responsible

than relieving

a person of their hard-won notes.

You can learn from both;

they both have a meaning,

a context;

so whyever is taking

better than writing?

Ah, a play on words: what writers look for. This came completely out of the blue; I was thinking about how if you wrote poems in class, you would probably be blamed for writing notes…and then I noticed the single-word difference between taking notes and writing notes, and how the “bad” one is actually “better” than the other. Since it was NaPoWriMo, how could I pass up a chance for poetry?

Unfortunately, play-on-words-ses are scarce, and it’s hard to recommend a way to create a poem about one. There is a different prompt that I will offer, though: write about NaPoWriMo; rather, a situation where writing a poem would get you either mal ojo (aka the evil eye) or in trouble. A conference? Walking down the street? While piloting a Boeing 747? How would you handle it? What would happen? What would you be writing on, and with what? There is an infinite amount of poems to write in this area, especially if you think of something absolutely ludicrous. While you run away from zombies, perhaps? Could be.

Write for your life!

-Aidyl

Unwritten Pages: A Writer’s (Or Artist’s) Bane

Unwritten Page

Sweet white the color

of milk, nourishing and refreshing.

Such a lovely sight, such a clean, clear feeling!

Of a pioneer where anything

can happen.

Swimming in white,

clean, bright,

daunting with its harsh unconquerability,

the heavy toil,

endless space to fill

and fill

and fill

until there are no more words

left. Striking out alone,

to journey into the blankness,

with a sword of a thesaurus to guide you, the pure flame

of creativity to light

your way. Where shall you go?

Wherever shall you wander? Yes, conquer!

The vast, empty page, fill it with words

so that it might be populated and its feral ferocity quenched,

expansion of the west-word frontier.

Keep moving,

keep going,

and find the words as you uncover them,

find the way that they sound and feel and look

in the mind, on the mind,

as you push your way

to written.

 

Whether it’s taking part in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month) or just plain old writing, part of the challenge is that blank page, be it electronic or physical. It’s like an ocean as I stare at it, knowing that I have to cross it and somehow fill it up with a bunch of really awesome words that sound amazing, but of course, I never know how. Two things might happen; I might touch my fingers to the keyboard or pencil to paper and find the words explode from my hands, just like they should; or a few might tease free before stopping, unable to be forced out any more. In the end, it’s that satisfaction of seeing what I’ve written–all 50,000 words or all 30 poems or an entire, complete novel– that is the goal, the knowledge that when it’s all over, there will be something that comes of it, something that I couldn’t possibly conceive of when I first started.

Part of the success is the deadline, which pins you to the wall, stares you in the wall, and screams, “FINISH THE THING.” Without a deadline, you can keep picking at loose threads and staring off into space for as long as you want. (Of course, artists and writers are also some of the best procrastinators in the world: “I’ve got a whole month to do this project, who am I kidding…I’ve got three weeks, that’s plenty of time…Hmm, yeah, two weeks, I should get started now…Uh oh, I’ve only got a week left, better work harder–oh sweet writing gods, only three days! WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?!“)

That’s the point where you realized that all you’ve written is just absolutely cow patties and you can’t use it at all, it doesn’t work, nobody’ll like it, and everything blows really, really hard. It’s also then that you realize that creativity, no matter how often I’ve likened it to the white, sticky stuff, is not like glue that can be squeezed from a bottle (except that it clogs up). It doesn’t hold things together, really, although paradoxically, sanity. If you try to squeeze, the bottle explodes and you’re covered in creative juices, which need to flow and not explode like a fifth-grade science experiment (No, I didn’t get to do one that really exploded, although I wish I had). You start to appreciate the work that writers and novelists have to go through on a nearly daily basis, and that they’re really actually crazy to be able to do such a thing.

And then you realize that–of course–you’re crazy too. ;D

–Aidyl

Never Never, So Always Always: Wait, What?

Never Never

Always always,

there are more words for always

than there are for

never,

ceased,

not ever begun,

not ever achieved,

not ever dreamed,

not ever done.

And forever,

forever,

is therefore consistently more

important

than never ever ever.

Never say never,

always, say “Ever!”

Always.

Think of the synonyms for that! Forever, eternally, perpetually, incessantly, unfailingly…on and on it goes. But then consider the synonyms of the following:

Never.

Well…give me a few minutes for that.

tick…tock…tick…tock…tick…tock…tick…tock…tick…tock…tick…tock…tick…tock…tick…tock…tick…tock…tick…tock…tick…tock…tick…tock…tick…tock…tick…tock…tick…tock…

I’m still thinking…

tick…tock…tick…tock…tick…tock…tick…tock…tick…tock…tick…tock…tick…tock…tick…tock…tick…tock…tick…tock…tick…tock…tick…tock…tick…tock…tick…tock…tick…tock…

Okay, fine, I give up. Are there any?

Not unless you count “Ne’er”, which is totally like the same word, y’know? I mean, ewhmahgawd, naoway!

Way.

What ways to say…say way?

*Koff koff koff ahem*

As I was saying, there are no synonyms for never. (If you want to count ne’er, go ahead and I’ll say “there are few synonyms”) There are several for always. Of course, since always is an antonym for never, then all the synonyms for always are the antonyms for never, and the antonym for never, always, has few antonyms, if you can get your head around that twisty snake-sentence.

That isn’t a snake sentence; a snake sentence is one that’s like that but makes less sense as it sentences soundly south and up all around the page and on and on in curvy back-and-forth reading like you do when reading most Western languages; then it’s a coiled up snake-like those that the Mayans had on their stone carvings; you could also call this a run-on, and you would be right, because this sentence isn’t quite snaky enough to be a snake-sentence.

There.

And done.

And:

–Aidyl

…always.

Form Poetry: Real Poetry, Or A Form of Poetry?

I have rather mixed feelings about form poetry.

That and meter, rhyme scheme, and everything else. Shaped poems, too, like the ones that come in the shape of a star or a Christmas tree or a heart. The ones that form words with the first letter of each line, which I can’t remember the name of.

See, when many people think of poetry, they do indeed think of form poetry, usually sonnets, limericks, haiku, and the common ababcdcd rhyme schemes. And meter. Don’t forget the meter. They usually believe that a poem has to rhyme to be a poem, that it needs to have meter, to be a poem. That’s why few people actually write poetry: they’re under the misconception that it is a creative form without a….er, creative form, if you will.

Here’s where my mixed feelings come in. They’re based around what poetry is, in my mind: poetry. A lyrical, beautiful arrangement of words that is effective and powerful through word choice and line breaks. A metaphor. A simile. Any kind of “poetic” arrangement of words. (Doesn’t “A sodden blue towel” sound more poetic than “a wet towel?”) It also depends upon the context and phrases with multiple meanings. A way of storytelling, too.

The even more confusing part is that form poetry is beautiful to me! It seems, to me as well, like “real” poetry (as if there was such a thing. Psh!). To say such a thing while confined to such a strict form! Ah-mayzing! I have a friend who writes unique and fun poetry in her own style, in perfect rhyme, on impeccable meter. On the drop of a pin (sort of. Doesn’t it sound awe-inspiring, fellow poets?).

Yes, form poetry is beautiful. I personally have a hard time writing it, but that’s what makes it so beautiful! So much effort goes into form poetry, and to write in it without sounding like a dying cow or a two year old spewing random and flat words (words that are “dead”, that aren’t powerful, like say and do and all sorts of simple words like that which are not poetic at awl)…that’s what makes the good feeling from me towards form poetry.

Form poetry can sometimes have a lot more impact than free-verse. Like this one:

 

Succulent droplets of broth and flavor run

Over my tongue, delicious,

Until its scorching heat forces me to swallow, lest I have a cinder for tasting with.

Plop! Spoon back for more.

 

You’ve got to think more about your subject when you use form poetry. You can’t just spit out random ideas. It’s sort of like making an outline of your poem before you write it, getting down what you want to say.

Personally, I’m a little against that kind of planning before a poem. It used to be that I would get my idea straight and dive headfirst into the pool of words, following my feelings. Often, I wouldn’t dare edit a poem I’d written because the words chosen at writing are sacred and must remain the way they were, lest I contaminate the meaning (Stories would be harshly edited. Poetry, the punishment for the crime is burning at the stake.) Slowly I’m coming to realize that poetry isn’t just that flurry of words coming out of the firehose-like pencil. Nearly every poem has a point where I struggled for a phrase or word and shoved in a make-do replacement so I could move on. I’ve realized that poetry isn’t just working with a moment.

Poetry…I’m still quite muddled about that. Is it following the emotion of a moment, like I do when I write many of my free-verse? Is it taking absolute meticulousness (is that a word?) over the choice of a word?

Or is it both?

The world of poets may never know.

–Aidyl

NaPoWriMo: Day 4

Tinted With Nighttime

Serene soft silky

satin whisper-walkers

dreary drifting above

candy-colored world

tinted with nighttime and dew

like baby spiders on breezes

with tiny white parachutes.

Thinking there is music

but you can’t quite make out the tune;

if you focus on it

it flees like a

shy draiad.

This poem started almost randomly, with a few words that sounded good together in the right order: “Serene satin silky whisper-walkers”. Sounds neat, doesn’t it? Sounds like something you can do, wouldn’t you think? Oh, I’m certain you can make something up like that. Just take an idea of a time, place, or image and grab a few words that fit that place.

(And sorry for missing yesterday and the day before. Life got away from me)

–Aidyl