Here’s a poem about sacrifice, depression, and empathy. I think.

Of course, you might decide it’s about something else entirely. Interpretation is entirely your prerogative.

Anyway! In celebration of National Poetry Month — which is NOW, if you must know — fabulous Edinatrix Laurie Laliberte (@LaliberteLaurie) is hosting a Poetry Slam on her blog. Today, she happens to be featuring a poem by Yours Writerly. You can probably guess that this really swings my verge and flips my bangerang switch.

So, head on over to Laurie’s blog and read my poem that might or might not be about sacrifice, depression, and empathy.

Feedback is always welcome! : )

Melted Crayons and Houses Made of Sunshine

Hile, inklings!

You might have noticed my recent silence here. I have no explanation to offer other than the reality of life with a newborn, said reality consisting of round-the-clock feedings, projectile poop (4 feet and counting), and sleep-deprivation (there were hallucinations). Said reality leaves little time for creative endeavors, and when I’ve had that little time, I’ve devoted it to finishing Rethana’s Trial and to editing Josh Unruh‘s Weird Western.

But.

Yesterday, whilst out walking with the aforementioned projectile-pooping newborn (she was not projectile-pooping at the time, which made the walk much more pleasant), my creative brain randomly kicked into high gear and made a poem. Last night, I had a chance to sit down and write it all out. I thought y’all might want to read it, so here it is:

Building Plans
by Courtney Cantrell

I want to live in a house
with half a million windows
and trim painted the color of laughter.

I want the sunshine in every room
and enough kitchen countertop space
to cook breakfast for a multitude.

The dishes are crystallized happy tears,
the teacups are adoration solidified,
and the cutlery is made of rainbows.

I want a bag of pixie dust
hung on every doorknob
and monster-hair plants stretching toward the ceiling.

Every closet leads to Narnia,
every mirror to Wonderland.
Every threshold is a bridge to Terebithia.

I want stars to carpet the floor.
I want to swish skip crunch through them
like crackling leaves in autumn.

The lamps burn on love
and don’t have an “off” switch.
The shadows are made of angels.

We lay ourselves to rest
on cushions of fluffy clouds,
and from our lips spill all things bright and merciful

as our hearts sing in sweetest harmony with forever.

I hope you enjoy reading that as much as I enjoyed writing it. : )

And because it goes well with the poem, I leave you with the melted crayon rainbow I recently finished for the projectile-pooping newborn’s room.

Click to embiggen!

Freddy Mercury, Painting, and Ennui

Because I’ve had an icky evening (READ: pregnancy is not for sissies), and I haven’t the fortitude for delving deeply into anything, here are a few thoughts on current events both local and not:

Olympics 2012 Closing Ceremonies

º I know I picked up on the meaning of many of the elements because I’ve spent most of my life in Europe.

º I had no clue of the meaning behind many of the other elements.

º This go-round wasn’t as moving as the Opening Ceremonies, but I still enjoyed watching.

º George Michael could tone down his vibrato a bit, but I was still disappointed that he didn’t sing more than one song.

º The members of the apparently newish boy band whose name I’d never heard of and now can’t recall all look like Justin Bieber.

º Whoever that girl was, she’s no Freddy Mercury.

º The giant puzzle-piece John Lennon face was pretty cramazing.

º Also, regarding the last Olympic event I watched this morning: Basketball players are quite tall.

Writing

º I didn’t work on the Rethana’s Surrender sequel this weekend.

º Friday night, I woke up at 4:30am and didn’t go back to sleep until 7:30am. (Yes, I still count that as Friday night. Hush.) At 5:30am, my brain delivered the first line of a new sci-fi short story: “The joke was sleek, fast, and deadly.” And in the next sentence, a woman dies a particularly bloody death.

Accordingly, with the little time I had Saturday morning, I started writing the story. I wrote more than a page. I’m still not sure just what The Story of the story is, but the title shall be “The Joke’s on Us.”

If I can’t figure out where it’s going, the joke will definitely be on me.

º I’m also feeling an urge toward poetry. It’s been a long time since I’ve written any, and I suspect I’m overdue. Once upon a time, I wrote 15-20 poems per year. Now, I might do two. That’s what happens when you turn yourself into a fulltime novelist, I guess. But I shouldn’t neglect the poetic aspect of writing. It affects the noveling in good ways. I shouldn’t forget that.

Politics

 

Media

º Multiple times per day, I check Twitter and Facebook.

º I don’t know if I’m just desensitized or dejected or what, but recently, my internal reaction to both media has been, “I’m bored.”

º Recently, my internal reaction to the intarwebz has been, “I’m bored.”

º Lest you think this were a reaction to my commitment to blogging every day — as in, I’m blogging every day and so am simply dazed with the amount of time I’m spending online — I’ve had ennui regarding the internet for quite awhile now. There just doesn’t seem to be much to do online.

º Maybe this is a feeling I need to follow. I would certainly get more writing done if I did.

Art

º I miss painting. I’ve had a concept in mind for a painting for over a year, and what with cover art and other projects, I haven’t had time to put that idea to canvas.

º Now, considering the 8-months-pregnant tummy, I can’t sit down to paint anymore. And I’m too tired to stand up to paint.

º So will I ever get to paint this picture I have in mind?

º Since I haven’t been able to paint, I’ve been playing with my phone camera and self-portraits. I leave you with one of my current favorites. Please do click to embiggen for the details!

Against the Grain

Vorpal Unicorn Morphing Powers and an Ode to Vacuum Cleaners

Once upon a time, according to the wise sage that is Google Analytics, someone typed “writing a story about court” into the search engine and came up with my blog.

I assumed that this meant the seeker intended to write a story about me, so in a resulting blogpost that also included figs and the 9th Circle of Hell, I asked for vorpal unicorn morphing superpowers.

when i nerd out, things like this happen

So far, I haven’t seen anything on Amazon to indicate that anyone has written and published this story.

I hold out hope.

In the meantime, as part of my Blog-Every-Day August (BEDAug) experiment, I’ve been checking Google Analytics again to see if anything unusual is happening yet. So far, the only oddity is that I had a spike in blog visitors last Friday. It seems to have been in response to this post — which, interestingly enough, has yet to receive a single comment as of this writing.

The intarweebz is weird.

Anyway, nerding out over Analytics has me looking at keyword searches again, so I thought I’d share my three favorite recent ones with you. Here they are in no particular order:

1. what can i write on all my stars

How excellent a question is this?! It flips my bangerang switch but good.

I have no idea what it means.

But it makes me want to run outside and look up at the sky with a telescope to see who’s been writing what out there in the universe. This is incredibly inspiring and makes me fiercely happy.

Hon, those stars are yours. Write on them whatever you want.

2. what does meshare reth mean in rethana’s surrender

Sha-ZAM, y’all. You know what this means? This means somebody was looking for information relating specifically to my “kissing book” epic fantasy novel, Rethana’s Surrender. And by doing so, they found my blog.

I don’t think I’ve blogged about Lirren Eamnaya, the language I invented for Rethana’s universe. So the poor visitor did not find what s/he was looking for.

But s/he spent 32 minutes and 19 seconds on the blog anyway.

Thank you, dear Rethana fan. You just made me whole week. : )

And in appreciation, here’s the answer you sought: In Lirren Eamnaya, meshare reth means “beautiful lady.” It’s what Manases, Rethana’s unwelcome (?) suitor calls her. I’d hoped to make the meaning clear within the context of the story. But since I apparently didn’t do that well enough, there you have it spelled out.

Let me know if you want more. ; )

3. poems about vacuum cleaners

I never knew such existed.

And I have no clue why such a search string would lead to my blog. Have I written about poetry and vacuuming in the same blog post? My memory is not what it once was, ’tis true, so it’s possible I just don’t recall pairing these two unlikely subjects.

But in case I haven’t actually written about poems and vacuum cleaners yet, here’s something to satisfy the hapless seeker of such:

Ode to My Vaccum Cleaner

Dear vacuum cleaner: Look, my dear,
I really have to say,
You’re rather kind of bulky
And you oft get in my way.

I try to push you back and forth,
but you refuse to move.
Your stubborn lack of cleaning
Gets me right out of my groove.

Seriously — that pile of lint?
And those there kitty litter crumbs?
You’re supposed to pick those up,
My dear, my vacuumating chum.

But no — instead of cleanéd floors,
I’m left with piles of dust.
You seem to think your job is done,
Though cleaning is a bust.

(And by the way, that smell you make?
The one of burnéd rubber?
Why can’t you smell of lemon fresh
Just like the kitchen scrubber?)

O, vacuum! You perplex me
And you make me run amok.
O, vacuum! I abhor you.
Dear vaccum: Dude, you suck!

Glances That Fall Like Sunshine

Considering that thing I posted yesterday about sarcasm and its morbid relationship to the gouging, ripping, and consuming of flesh, I thought it well that I continue my thoughts in a more uplifting manner today.

NOTE: In comments on yesterday’s post, I assured Josh that not every one of my Blog-Every-Day August posts will be of such a weighty nature. I do intend to indulge in my regular fluff and silliness; it’s just that these weightier things are on my mind right now. Welcome to my thoughts. ; )

But I, yet again, digress.

Delve Greedily and Deep

A few days ago, I came across the following poem excerpt, and it stuck with me:

It is difficult
to get the news
from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there.

~William Carlos Williams
in “Asphodel, That Greeny Flower”
1955

Mayhap in the future, I’ll write a whole post about the value of reading poetry, the purpose of poetry, the craft of poetry, and cetera. Believe me, there’s an entire book, nay, an encyclopedia of blogposts one could write on the subject. (Don’t worry, I won’t subject you to that much nerdery. [Or will I? {The plot sickens.}]) But for now, I’ll simply say this:

When a poet utilizes her artistry — when he intentionally and intensively creates a work of beauty and craftsmanship — the resulting work will contain a deep meaning beyond most things that most of us encounter in daily life. These are not soundbytes, flippant remarks, or 140-character snippets. These are words, phrases, and images that must be probed and pondered before their true meaning comes to light.

Williams wrote these words between 1952 and 1955. I’m sure they were accurate then; they’re certainly accurate now. In a world where “the news” is equal to whatever spin a particular media wants us to believe, finding The Truth is next to impossible. And every day, we collectively die a little more on the inside because we can’t (READ: won’t) take the time to set the misery aside, breathe, and delve more deeply to find the true essence of our own reality.

Brighten the Corner Where You Are

As I think of seeking out and discovering The Truth via poetry, I think of two poems in particular. This first one is new to me. Its first stanza makes my heart soar and my spirit rejoice, because there’s so much hope and vibrance in it. The second stanza sobers me, because it’s a reminder of what I wrote yesterday: that I have a responsibility for the words I say.

We are all connected; I believe this without doubt; and since I believe it, I have a responsibility to act on it. One of the ways I must act on it is by “bringing the sunshine.”

But here, I’ll let George Eliot say it better than I can:

 

 

Count That Day Lost

If you sit down at set of sun
And count the acts that you have done,
And, counting, find
One self-denying deed, one word
That eased the heart of him who heard,
One glance most kind
That fell like sunshine where it went —
Then you may count that day well spent.

But if, through all the livelong day,
You’ve cheered no heart, by yea or nay —
If, through it all
You’ve nothing done that you can trace
That brought the sunshine to one face —
No act most small
That helped some soul and nothing cost —
Then count that day as worse than lost.

~ George Eliot

The second poem I’ve thought of is one of my ever-favorites:

What Is Success?

What is success?
To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by
a healthy child, a garden patch
or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed
easier because you have lived;
This is to have succeeded.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

All of which I relate back to this:

“Brighten the corner where you are, and you will light the world.”
~ Dean Koontz

“You should be a light for other people. …Do to others what you would want them to do to you.”
~ Jesus of Nazareth

Court Can Wax Poetical

Greetings, all!

To celebrate National Poetry Month — which is now — craftsy knitter, editor extraordinaire, and Kindle All-Stars La Consigliera Laurie Laliberte is blogging various poets during the course of this month. And, much to my delight, she has chosen to feature me!

So, head on over to Laurie’s Big Girl Blog to read the nice stuff she says that makes me blush, as well as my poem entitled “night sunshine.” Please enjoy, and do feel free to comment!

Booty-Gouty Flips My Bangerang Switch

So. If you are…

…one of my followers on Twitter,

someone considering following me on Twitter,

or someone considering joining Twitter and then following me…

…I feel it’s only fair to let you know what you’ve gotten / what you’re getting yourself into. You see, sometimes, on Twitter, it starts out simple. Like a conversation with a fellow Twitterer named Kris (@PrettyAllTrue) about the innocent and vital-for-survival-of-human-species activity of typo correction. The beginning of the end might start out thusly:

Dearly beloved, that’s really all it takes to trigger a certain switch in my brain. That switch is labeled “Filters Off, Engines On, Shenanigans Go, BANGERANG.” Eyes widen and glaze over. The fingers twitch. The maniacal grin tugs at one corner of the mouth. And then this happens:

By now, the fingers are no longer typing. They are dive-bombing the keyboard. The maniacal grin spreads to cover the face as the kamikaze fingers drop payloads of ridiculousness into the computer:

 

Somebody, Please, Stop Me Whatever You Do, Don’t Stop Me

Further banter ensues, and I quip a we’ll-always-have-Paris-esque line about having my booty-gouty, and Kris giggles and calls that a comfort. I’m pretty far gone by now, and the image of a booty-gouty Snuggie pops into my head. It pushes me over the edge.

Why? Why, wherefore, and howso? Nobody knows. But the reasons don’t matter. The important thing is that there is now booty-gouty in the world. Can I get an amen? TESTIFY!
 

ODE TO THE BOOTY-GOUTY*

by Courtney Cantrell

If your booty is so gouty
you can’t hurry up the stairs,
if your booty’s kinda shaky
and is growing several hairs,
then join me in rejoicement
as we shout what is so true:
“WE LOVE YOU, BOOTY-GOUTY!
BOOTY-GOUTY, WE LOVE YOU!”

We don’t know where you came from
or really what you are.
From the way you drag behind you,
we assume the way was far.
But though you look bedraggled
and you’re missing some spare parts,
you keep our giggles going
while we wave away your farts.

(It’s like a poem in an un-children’s-book. I don’t understand why this is happening.)

How long will you stay with us?
Booty-gouty, we don’t know.
We can’t take you into school;
you’re no good for Tell & Show.
We’ll enjoy you while you last,
’til you have schlepped yourself away.
Thanks for sharing, Booty-gouty!
Thanks for brightening the day!

___________________

If anyone actually comments on this, you get the Brave Or Merciful Soul Of the Year Award.

*No alcohol was consumed in the making of this poem. I swear.

 

Poetry Sucks, Beats, and Twists

As I’ve mentioned before, the time when I wasn’t noveling was one of the most depressing, despairing times I’ve ever gone through.

The good news is that the experience led to one of the most uplifting, life-changing conclusions I’ve ever reached:

If I want to feel content, if I want to be able to function like a human being, then I have to be writing stories.

I have to be writing novels.

It’s what I was created to do — and if I’m not doing it, I start falling apart.

But.

Poetry Is Like a Vacuum Cleaner

There is another side to this story. Over the last year, I’ve realized that the more I immerse myself in my novels, the more my poetry sucks.

When I was 12, I pulled a book off my mom’s shelf: How Does A Poem Mean? by John Ciardi. In his book, he talks some of the hows of turning emotion and experience into words. I didn’t understand all of it, but what I did understand made me sit down and start poetizing. I haven’t stopped since.

Poetry Is Like a Heartbeat

In an address at Brigham Young University in 1963, Ciardi also spoke these lines of pure beauty:

Poetry is not inherently moral or immoral. It is like a heartbeat. There is no moral or immoral heartbeat.

 

Poetry Is Like a Car Engine

My very best poetry has come out of my darkest days. When I’m at my most miserable, my poetry is at its most touching and most resonant.

So, in a way, it’s a trade-off: When I’m noveling, I feel good. When I feel good, I can’t write a lot of poetry. The stories and the poems come from two different places. Or maybe it’s the same place, but the Muse chooses different tools to hand me.

I tinker. I twist. I turn and twirl with my tools, and sometimes I even tintinnabulate. Sometimes, after my twistinnabulation (howzat for poetic?), things start running smoothly. By which I mean they’re gritty and fundamental and from-the-heart bloody.

That’s when my poetry is beautiful.
____________________________

Do you write poetry?

Do you want to write poetry, but you think you can’t?

Oh honey, please tell me you didn’t listen to someone who told you that you can’t. If that’s the case, we need to talk.

Writers of various genri*: Do you novel better than you poetize? Poetize better than you journal? Journal better than you prosate?

What makes the difference? Interest level? Emotional state? Mental condition?

The comments are yours, sweetlings. Let’s conversate. ; )
____________________________

*One genre, two genri, I always say.