My life is squeezing every ounce (almost) of my writing and reading time. The haiku’s second line is, of course, a quote from Leonard Cohen’s Anthem. His words are so apt for present times that they have been quoted widely (especially recently):
Ring the bells that still can ring,
Forget your perfect offering,
There is a crack in everything,
That’s how the light gets in.
Winter has officially begun, 2017 will soon be here, and our days will slowly grow longer. I’ll be reading and writing as much as I can during the holidays, but I predict that my presence will be much reduced. I am enormously grateful for all those who take the time to read my efforts and for the opportunity to view the writing, photography, and art of so many creative people. I wish everyone all the best for the holiday period and the new year.
Many thanks as well to Ronovan Writes Haiku Challenge for another inspiring year of challenges. This weeks’s prompt was ‘bells’ and ‘ring’. The image is a public domain offering from Pixabay.com. The scene is Mount Fichtelberg in East Germany.
The thoughts in this poem (tanka) were inspired by words attributed to Neil de Grasse Tyson:
Aliens might be surprised to learn that in a cosmos w/ limitless starlight, humans kill for energy source buried in the sand.
∼Source: quoted and attributed to Neil de Grasse Tyson, American astrophysicist in “Rays of solar hope among fossil clouds of gloom” by Jeremy Miller, in Resurgence & Ecologist, Issue 291, July/August 2015
This is my final quote in a series of three about growing old—preceded by ‘Mind over matter’ and ‘Fifteen years from now’. I would like to extend my thanks to Kim Russell who invited me to join in with a Three Day Three Quote Challenge. If you enjoy poetry and creative writing by accomplished authors, I highly recommend her blog: Writing in North Norfolk.
To me, old age is always fifteen years older that I am. —Bernard Baruch
So true. However, putting humor aside, there is no harm in recognizing that you are an elder. I use this word, to level rather than elevate, to counteract the sense of embarrassment that sometimes links with old age. As we age some challenges fall away and others take their place. The longer I can take care of my own physical needs and have a clear mind, I’ll be grateful.
Many thanks to Kim Russell of Writing in North Norfolk for inviting me to participate in her Three Day Three Quote Challenge. This is my second quote post—the final one will be up on Thursday. My nominees are:
Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.
∼ Mark Twain
Another Three Day Quote Challenge has come my way—this time, from Kim Russell of Writing in North Norfolk. If you haven’t yet read her exceptional poems and other writing, you might want to visit her blog. Thank you Kim for providing me with an occasion for sharing a series of quotes on aging that I was saving in anticipation of my milestone birthday last month.
I have entered a new decade and I do agree with Mark Twain, it ultimately ‘doesn’t matter’. Yet matter does enter the picture and sadly, for some of us more than others. Aging is uneven. I have realized that part of the ‘game’ is recognizing and accepting deterioration and limitations—and living with them. The other part is using both mind and matter as much as possible—that’s living after all!
My challenge nominees, should you be so inclined, are:
It’s Friday and I am posting my weekly quote post—usually a Wednesday ritual. Lately, life and my inner flow aren’t conforming to a tidy blogging schedule. Approaching spring is having a more profound effect on me than even New Year’s did—I am turning my attention to indoor seed starting, outdoor repairs, and how my routines will need to shift when the gardening season begins.
Lately, my mind has been grasping for the essence of a quote I read recently—about how living life comes before writing. We have to live if we are going to have something to write about. Although not necessarily a useful message for everyone, I relate to it. I want to revisit ‘before-I-started-blogging-last-summer’ activities; respond to the pull of the garden; and spend more time on new/old interests such as reading novels and poetry. If verbalized, my new internal mantra would be:
I want to blog to live rather than live to blog.
Another recent theme that has been on my mind is the meaning of my recent attempts to write in poetic form. I have a few responses to that question and one would be ‘why ask why?’. Another more direct answer would be that one thing has led to the next from Ronovan Writes Haiku Challenge to WordPress’s Writing 201–I’ve just been enjoying myself. I like writing, I like learning, and I like words.
It also occurred to me that ‘it is all writing’. The more you write, the more fluid you get. The divide between poetry and prose is not as great as some would think. Prose can be poetic and poetry can look quite similar to prose. Ultimately, the name of the game is expression. Poetry allows more word play and can also teach precision.
A writer should have the precision of a poet and the imagination of a scientist.
∼ Vladimir Nobokov, Russian-American novelist, 1899-1977
I like this quote as it turns the stereotypes around, giving precision to poets and imagination to scientists. Obviously, there is both precision and imagination involved in both poetry and scientific research. The quote also suggests that any type of writing, whether it is fiction, non-fiction, or poetry, benefits from the magic touch of imagination and precision.
This post is in response to Writer’s Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge. This week, Colleen Chesebro and Ronovan Hester have announced a new twist to Writer’s Quote Wednesday Challenges. To read all about it, please visit the challenge link.
I find this thought, attributed to William Butler Yeats, worth considering. We all are governed by life experiences, our own knowledge base, local/cultural linguistics, etc. We have stylistic choices as well. My leaning is towards simplicity–or attempting simplicity–attempting to use words and phrases that are understandable by an imagined collection of readers. Whether I am successful will depend on the reader, but I nevertheless see accessible language as an ideal goal. Below I have reproduced Yeat’s ‘Lake Isle of Innisfree’, which I find very easy to absorb though written in 1888. I have also reproduced a quote below the poem, in which Yeat reflects about the language that he used.
Lake Isle of Innisfree
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree, And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made; Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee, And live alone in the bee loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow, Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings; There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow, And evening full of the linnet’s wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore; While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey, I hear it in the deep heart’s core.
– W.B. Yeats
I had begun to loosen rhythm as an escape from rhetoric and from that emotion of the crowd that rhetoric brings, but I only understood vaguely and occasionally that I must for my special purpose use nothing but the common syntax. A couple of years later I could not have written that first line with its conventional archaism — “Arise and go”—nor the inversion of the last stanza.
“William Butler Yeats was an Irish poet and one of the foremost figures of 20th-century literature. A pillar of both the Irish and British literary establishments, in his later years he served as an Irish Senator for two terms.” Wikipedia
I would like to thank Elusive Trope who recently posted The Second Coming by Yeats –a brilliant poem reflecting on the social/political climate of Yeat’s time, but feeling relevant today. My choice of quotes for this Writer’s Quote Wednesday post had a circuitous journey of its own branching off from The Second Coming. If you are in the mood for more nature poetry of the same era, please visit Silver Threading at the Writer’s Quote Wednesday link above, where Colleen Chesebro features poet Mary Webb.
The President of the United States, Barack Obama, made his State of the Union address last Tuesday (January 12, 2016). He addressed many important issues, but my focus is on how the current leader of the United States proposes to address climate change. The good news is that President Obama talks about taking steps to transition away from the burning of fossil fuels. Whether or not those steps will be sufficient, is, at this stage, less important than whether those who support action will prevail after the elections later this year. Here is an excerpt from his speech where he addresses climate change:
Look, if anybody still wants to dispute the science around climate change, have at it. You will be pretty lonely because you’ll be debating our military, most of America’s business leaders, the majority of the American people, almost the entire scientific community, and 200 nations around the world who agree it’s a problem and intend to solve it.
But even if — even if the planet wasn’t at stake, even if 2014 wasn’t the warmest year on record until 2015 turned out even hotter — why would we want to pass up the chance for American businesses to produce and sell the energy of the future?
Listen, seven years ago, we made the single biggest investment in clean energy in our history. Here are the results. In fields from Iowa to Texas, wind power is now cheaper than dirtier, conventional power. On rooftops from Arizona to New York, solar is saving Americans tens of millions of dollars a year on their energy bills and employs more Americans than coal — in jobs that pay better than average.
We’re taking steps to give homeowners the freedom to generate and store their own energy — something, by the way, that environmentalists and Tea Partiers have teamed up to support. And meanwhile, we’ve cut our imports of foreign oil by nearly 60 percent and cut carbon pollution more than any other country on Earth.
Gas under $2 a gallon ain’t bad either.
Now we’ve got to accelerate the transition away from old, dirtier energy sources. Rather than subsidize the past, we should invest in the future, especially in communities that rely on fossil fuels. We do them no favor when we don’t show them where the trends are going. And that’s why I’m going to push to change the way we manage our oil and coal resources so that they better reflect the costs they impose on taxpayers and our planet. And that way, we put money back into those communities and put tens of thousands of Americans to work building a 21st century transportation system. (APPLAUSE)
Now, none of this is going to happen overnight, and yes, there are plenty of entrenched interests who want to protect the status quo. But the jobs we’ll create, the money we’ll save, the planet we’ll preserve, that is the kind of future our kids and our grandkids deserve. And it’s within our grasp.
Now, climate change is just one of many issues where our security is linked to the rest of the world, and that’s why the third big question that we have to answer together is how to keep America safe and strong without either isolating ourselves or trying to nation- build everywhere there’s a problem.