Stating the Obvious

Stating the Obvious

Though we make new resolutions for this fresh year that’s been born,
let no laurel wreaths be woven, our foreheads to adorn.
Renewing hope won’t work unless we also prove our worth
by stemming global warming by cleaning up our earth.
By curbing population growth and making room for all
of nature’s other species on this great blue ball.
If we have learned nothing from past foibles, then I fear
there’ll be no improvement over our last dreadful year.

Prompt words for this first day of the new year (Yay!) are fresh, adorn, resolution and renew. Image by Markus Spiske on Unsplash. Used with permission

10 thoughts on “Stating the Obvious

  1. slmret

    I am heartened by the fact that rejoining the Paris Accord should be relatively simple for the new Administration to accomplish — perhaps one of the easiest! !t will be otherwise a fairly tough assignment to undo much of the damage done by Trump and his friends!

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  2. Myrna Ascheman

    First off I would like to say superb blog! I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your head before writing. I’ve had trouble clearing my mind in getting my ideas out. I truly do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or hints? Many thanks!

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    1. SAM VOELKER

      Myrna Ascheman poses a very interesting question here. As a matter of fact my problem is exactly the opposite from hers~! Things rattle in my mind and often I find myself speaking or writing in rhyme. Especially when it is quiet at night time. It becomes a real problem, if sometime quiet fine. Myrna, a good place to start is to put your thoughts down line by line. They will look terrible the first time, but go back and rewrite them with more design. Soon you will see your thoughts growing and blooming into something very fine.

      So now what do I do to get MY opposite problem solved, trying to get those terrible thoughts out of my brain, so I can get some sleep~? Well I play a few games of solitaire. This puts my brain into neutral and at best, I then sometime I can get some rest~!

      My worse time of the night is at 3:00 in the morning when my “REM” kicks in and then things start happening, I start thinking about a subject, it may rhyme or otherwise jell and if I do not get up and write it down, it may be gone by daylight.

      Now what was that I was thinking about at three this very morning~? I know, it was the use of words that I was taught as a kid were not really proper, but now they have appeared in the dictionary and “smart asses” insist that they must now be proper~! Like Couth which comes from a Scottish colloquial, word “cooth”, meaning to be polite or well mannered. But mainly was used as sarcasm.

      So here is what my dictionary says about it today~: “It’s in most dictionaries now, though it means just what you would think: the opposite of uncouth. … Everyone (at least everyone with couth) understood that uncouth meant boorish, rude, or ill–mannered, but that its apparent opposite – couth – was not a real word at all~! .Oct 19, 2011”

      So I try not to argue about words, expressions, and punctuation, even when they often hurt my ears and eyes, (irregardless) of the fact than many dictionaries now put such things in, due to the ignorance of too many people using them wrongly, and bringing them into common use~! If it works for them, I am OK with it; and usually demure because that is what makes life interesting and keeps friends, friendly~! Ha, ha,, see what I mean about my brain coming to life at three in the morning~!

      (Language is the most rapid evolution on earth, divergent, convergent, and parallel. I fear if I come back in 100 years I would not understand anything that people are saying~! NO HOLD ON, that is already happening to me~!) Good night, or is it morning~?
      SAM

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  3. lifelessons Post author

    Myrna, the best writing teacher I ever had taught me the most valuable lesson I ever learned regarding writing, and that was to stop “preparing” myself to write and to just begin. To write without stopping and without lifting my pen from the paper or my fingers from the keys. To keep writing without censorship or editing. He said that at some point, many times just when I thought I was finished writing, I would step down into what he called my “deep voice.” This is when the writing would really begin. Unfortunately, people feel that stepping down and often stop at this point instead of continuing. He said that often you could just throw away those first minutes of writing that brought us to the “straight talk” or “deep voice”–those words that were just a pathway to what we really wanted to say. For years, I took a weekly workshop where we would do a fifteen minute writing exercise at the beginning of class, slowly working toward longer and longer writing periods. It worked like a charm. I saw person after person finding their authentic writing voice simply by getting out of their own way–by writing without expectation or having to achieve perfection with every line. I’ve been writing this way now for thirty-five years and in that time have written six books and thousands of poems, stories and essays. I learned more from this technique than I did earning a masters degree in creative writing.

    At one time that mentor also forbid me to write and told me to do art instead. I told him I didn’t know anything about doing art and he said that was why he wanted me to do it. He said I knew too much about writing and was getting into my own way by my expectations of what I was supposed to be doing–what I “should” be accomplishing in my writing. He said, “I want you to do something you don’t know how to do so you will come from a more authentic instinctual part of yourself.” And so for five years, I didn’t write but did art instead, making my living for 14 years by doing art. And when I came back to writing after five years of doing only art, I came back to it from a completely different place–from an intuitive, creative, right-brained place that has kept me writing all these years since.

    This is not to say that we shouldn’t study writing and techniques and forms and grammar, but after we have done all that, we also need to learn how to get out of our own way and just to write without censoring ourselves. Editing is important but is a different process from the actual writing. It is something to do after we write, not during the process itself.

    A further aid to me since I started blogging was to make use of word prompts. I’ve been doing this first thing when I wake up for over seven years now. It is like a kick-start, giving me way to get started without having to think about what to write. It also forces my writing into some directions where it would otherwise not go. When WordPress stopped giving a prompt each day, I found five different people who each gave a single prompt and ever since, I’ve written to four or five prompts–including them all in a single piece of writing. It is fun–a sort of puzzle that prompts a more creative vein of thought. This is the technique that works for me. It is like using a diving board to propel me quickly into the water rather than a slower foot-in-front-of-foot slow immersion.

    Even with my rhymed and metered poems, this is how I write. Line-by-line, going where my intuition leads me. It’s how I wrote in the very beginning, even before I was taught what I “should” be doing. And it is the place my mentor brought me back to. I want to repeat that editing is important. I often edit pieces countless times, even after they’ve been published on my blog or in periodicals or journals. Every time I read something I’ve written, I read it with editing in mind. But, this is a different process that the original writing, and it is done from a different part of the brain. Both functions are important, but it’s also important to let them function in the correct order.

    This is the process that has helped me become addicted to writing and to enjoy it more. I hope you’ll give it a try and see if it works for you.

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  4. SAM VOELKER

    So very well said, and such great instructions for all of us all to follow Judy. I got a lot out of it, so may I suggest that you post this as a “prime post”, as some may not have seen it in a “reply section”.

    If I may, I would like add only one thing, for what it may be worth. This is that not all of us approach this writing from the same direction, or for the same reason. Like you, so many primarily see it as a challenge, like putting a jigsaw puzzle together, painting a near perfect picture, or building a beautiful cabinet, while at the same time showing off their talent. Others, like me, do it partly for the above, but also for their own self satisfaction, or to prove that they may just be capable of another art form. It would be wrong to say however, that we all get more joy out of it if someone else finds it entertaining or enlightening. But this may not have been their prime purpose, and they should not judge their selves if they think that they did not measure up to others. Not primarily as much of a challenge as it is a: “can I do this~?”; being rather a release of what is going on inside us.

    Some runners run a race for the release, while others run it to win and the accolades of winning. I would like to be able to do both, and strive toward accomplishing this. In my case I know that I will never be on the level of you, but I am happy when I get a “well done” from others, and sometime feel unhappy when I miss the mark completely; but this will never stop me from trying, as I have been doing it sense I was in my sub teens and it is only on the long list of all the many other efforts I have made along the way when I see the challenge. Life would be dull indeed if we did not at least try, enjoying when we hit the mark, but getting up and trying again when we fail~!

    As you know, both of us came back to this “art form” to help us get over the death of a love one, but I came to know that we progressed in rather different ways, with different success. Still I know that we both got what we were seeking in our own way. I was so pleased to see your poem about Bob in Switzerland, it proved to me something that I had told you about way back when we first communicated; that the memories will always be there, both good and bad. At the same time I have not completely let mine go, but I realize that I do not really want to; I am happy keeping her close to me for what time I have left.

    Encouragement and POSITIVE suggestions are always a great advantage to someone striving to succeed and coming from an expert is always a plus, so thanks~!

    SAM

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