Sunday, March 31, 2013

I'm Silent Except on Impact

(Another Immersion Journal!)

The thing I have the most trouble with in fiction class is to not ramble. I don't understand where that comes from – and I suppose that's the reason I'm taking that class. To learn why this is my tendency. I feel that, when I write fiction, I try way too hard to get my character and story on the page and sometimes it falls short. Actually – so often it falls short. And it takes so much time to redraft a story once. I can redraft a poem ten times (and still not be done with it) in the amount of time it takes to redraft a short story once. How is it that I can tell a story in the span of a poem, but I need more than 12 double spaced paged to tell a story in a different genre? In Nonfiction I managed to keep it short and simple. I wrote one recently that told the whole story in three and a half pages. (Of course it always could do with revision – but such is the way of writing.)

At first I never thought poetry would be my “thing.” But of course, quickly it is turning out to be so. I'm not concerned what that means for my future. The definite thing is that I will be writing poetry – and the rest of it us uncertain at best. But it's okay. For me, it's not about how many times I get published or how much money I'm going to make. It's always about the art – and so I'm a poet. It's a nice place to be. 

Maybe I'll never change the world or peoples' minds about what poetry can do for a reader. Maybe I won't shift the world back to a time when reading was the thing to do. But I will get published. Be it a few poems in a few abstract journals or a few chapbooks (I mean the chapbook thing is my ultimate goal. I'll make it happen.) And hopefully I can learn enough so that I can be a good fiction writer, too.
Last week, my rhapsodomancy did indeed point out a challenge or two that I would face. And I covered it in my interpretation – and that's exactly what happened. I won't bore with the details – because it's the same each time I feel “not good enough,” and the same steps taken to recover and keep progressing. 

This week, I'll ask a general question: “How will my week go?”

“Each day (I say,
you see) a fall from Earth

to Earth, tiny
collisions giving me voice.

Like a twig
that drops

I'm silent
except on impact.” (Pardi pg. 76. Poem: Seventeen Wings)

It's interesting that this same poem was subject to the rhapsodomancy this week. You know what's coming up this week? As per usual, so much school work. I have a 10-12 page essay due on Thursday where pen has yet to fall to paper. I have ideas though, but if I don't get a move on, they'll clog up my schedule and I'll feel overwhelmed again. And I won't ask for help, even to ask my roommate to take out the trash or to take care of the coffee filter somewhere other than the room trashcan. I'll do it all myself, and try to make it to class anyway on short nights of not-so-great sleep. It's the daily grind for those of us in college. I've the urge to pretend Monday doesn't exist, but I have to work and I should go to class, even though I don't want to. 

Silent, except on impact for this week means I won't be in the business of complaining and telling stories that make my life seem more difficult that it really is – except, of course, when (and this is speculation as well as intuition) someone makes another comment about how Creative Writing majors have it easy. That would be the impact. I will not be silent then. I am getting fed up with peoples' perspective. Because writing is not easy. It's soul shredding – you have to really understand the futility of the path before you, and be humble about it – otherwise you''re... Stephenie Meyer...and well... really nobody wants to be her in terms of ideas. (They just want the fame and fortune, if they're even a little bit serious about writing. Maybe that's just my skewed and biased opinion though. I wanted to be an editor once and still can't fathom how she's made it so big.) Even when things seem incredibly against the odds – you just have to keep writing anyway. 

Another word from family or peer and I'll give them a what-for. I won't be silent then. I suppose that's been bugging me more than it ought to. But that goes back to last week's reading, too – that feeling of not being enough. Sometimes on paths as difficult as this one, the words of others crawl under your skin. It's easy to let them affect you, and hard to realize when it'll do more good to let it go. I'm getting better at being Zen as my friends called it – breathe, meditate, and let the negative go. No use trying to heft around the negativity on purpose. But what has stuck with me, even if I try to completely be rid of it, shows as sudden irritation at comments stabbing at what I do for schoolwork. It's not easy. I don't sleep much and my work is never ending. The Creative Writing part does not invalidate my degree. My path might even be more difficult, because it's a thing I love to do, in spite of the challenges that face me after college is over. I'm tired. Not just because of lack of sleep. But because people are so focused on one frame of mind... “Oh she writes. So obviously her life is much easier than mine. I don't need a degree to prove I can write a story...” 

We'll see then – one day there will be a choice between doing what they love and making money – they've already started along the path for simply making money. We'll see who's actually living as opposed to existing when all is said and done.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Wrists Will Work To Break Your Fall

(Another Poetry Class Immersion Entry.)

Katie Morton
CRW 405
Immersion Journal #5 part II

Sometimes it's incredibly difficult to write about an actual meditation in poetic form, but many of Pardi's poems are reminiscent of stream-of-consciousness stories – and one is even titled “Three Meditations.” It would be safe to say that taking the word 'meditation' not as an actual zen-Buddhism-type practice, but as a deep thought on one particular subject, all poetry can be considered meditation. It is a focus on images, scenes that replay themselves in memory – and I find that to be fascinating. Pardi combines both aspects of the word very well in my opinion, and I find myself wishing that I could do the same without sounding overly abstract. I think it comes down to the actual meditation – how is it perceived with the senses? It's one thing to metaphysically understand a thought, event – even omens – but it's quite another to, as I often do, remember the sound. Or, sight, smell, feel – and so on. The meditation is philosophizing as to why this memory is and the poetry comes from that. It's just so difficult to remember the concrete details when meditation is, in and of itself, mysterious and intangible. Life is so strange sometimes, especially for people like me – born with the third eye open, as they say the least, indeed. There is no concreteness in metaphysics. Hence the term. But all of it – everything I experience in those terms – funnels into my poetry in one way or another. Maybe I'll never be as great at turning meditations into concrete (or at least less vehemently abstract) poems – but I can try. And I will continue to try.
Last week, I tempted fate by asking how my guest teaching experience would go. My Grandma always said that one should never ask questions that they don't want answered. Part of me really didn't want to know – but the nervous part of me asked for peace of mind. I'm happy to report that the experience went well – though it was daunting. I was, at first, scared to death of what was to come. Of if I was good enough at putting to practice what I have learned so that I might help these kids. Turns out I was. After much internal deliberation, I took one of the most helpful yet most difficult activities I had experienced in Fiction II and walked these kids through it. We wrote character bios and then, in pairs, answered interview questions while acting like our characters.
I have to say, I hated this activity in Fiction II this semester. Loathed it. Even skipped the 6-hour Saturday version of this with the guest speaker, Paul Rajeckas. I never liked being center stage. I like to be the person listening – a faux-therapist, the one with advice. It is strange for me to be the person in need of understanding. And as much as I hated the others getting to know my creative process via this activity, I loved being understood for the moment. I would never have admitted that to myself if I hadn't really meditated on what would help me relay what I know about characterization. I would have sat in stubborn silence but for the grating of my teeth pretending that I already knew best.
Truth is I don't. I haven't a clue what needs to happen for me to progress. Pretending that I do and trying to stay in my comfort zone is what brought me face to face with Necessary Chaos to begin with. If Chaos is cutting the tether, then so be it. I will do my best, as I did for this lesson. And oh, I can sense that a wave of changes is about to occur. And I also know that there is no way I can possibly prepare for it in its entirety. I've just got to go with the flow, and let it be as it will be.
My strength, will, determination, and whatnot – qualities that made Chaos smile at me and nod a head in approval before becoming part of my life – must be enough to make it through. Otherwise, where would I be? Probably a cashier in the local grocery store, quiet as I used to be, not progressing a nanometer.
The lesson went well. It taught me a great many things, and when all is said and done, I affected people. I am a memory, and what I said became a lesson that I can only hope one day leads to a success – great or small – for those who use it. In this aspect, I am enough. And this is the first step of a great many. I will reach my goal – but I will not reach them in a linear fashion. Along the way, I must learn – really learn – that nothing is or ever will be as it seems.
This week, I ask: What challenge presents itself to me in the coming week?

“Think of slender hands
for catching, of how hard
the wrists will work to break your fall.

Don't think of being born into flight.

Think, if you can, of grace
and hunger
as the arc of falling

not from but into.” (Pardi pg. 69. Poem: Seventeen Wings)

And again I am forced to admit something I would rather fiercely and steadfastly deny... for this challenge is ever present and something I fight with constantly. It is internal. It is two things. Two things that are not so unrelated as I might think.
The first – speaking up. A fear not of who else will judge me but of me judging me; a nagging thought in the back of my head that says, “What if you're wrong? You may not be enough right now. You possibly may never be enough to speak of this.”
That voice? I have spent so long trying to convince it that it has spoken its piece. It has said enough. I still find my inner monologue so diluted with these grey worries and I work to change them. Every day I work to break the old habits and speak up. It's not easy. But I have come so far since even Freshman year here at college. Since even last semester. I still have to fight because it's still the most difficult of any challenge I've yet faced.
The second – this heartbreak which is the inspiration for my chapbook. As much as poetry helps me to progress through it, I have days where memories of the past refuse to turn themselves into poems. They stick in front of my eyes like I'm watching a movie.
The last time I saw him, we watched “The Hobbit” together. It was dinner and a movie. Call it what you will. But, my parents bought the movie on Bluray this past week and asked me to watch it again with them. And that's how it goes. Memories are triggered and I have to spend time meditating and letting them go. Because my stories, too, are heavy. And I cannot carry them and still expect to progress in my life. This challenge, too, will rise to meet me. It will nod, and smile just as Chaos does. It will prove to me what I am capable of. It always seems daunting. But in this, too – I have come a long way. I am not the late December version of me who wrapped up in her blanket and cried as the radio played relevantly sad songs. I am the one facing my challenges. While there is still love, and thus still heartbreak – there is poetry. There is a certain odd beauty in such madness. There is inspiration in such sorrow. And, there is the want to live and move forward as opposed to exist and stay stuck in old memories. Now those challenges? They are what I fall in to. Being born into flight is expecting something to be exactly as I imagined it. The arc of falling is the realization that life is hardly so simple. The grace is knowing that nothing worth doing or learning is ever easy. The hunger is fighting anyway, impervious to the odds. My wrists will work just as hard as they ever have to break my fall, but regardless I will fall. I have to. It's all part of living and learning.

Monday, March 18, 2013

A Wind That Seems to Aim for It Alone

(Writing Class Immersion Journal!)

I always marvel at Pardi's version of prose poetry. It seems so foreign to process because line breaks are pretty natural to me, and I try to break a line where it sounds best. I don't yet know how to accurately describe how it sounds best – it just does. The sound of a semi colon is different than the sound of a dash – see what I mean? I learned that from reading Jane Hirshfield's work; it's been invaluable, to say the least. People notice sometimes – one of my dear friends commented that even on Facebook chat, I use the dash. I definitely picked up the habit in writing a ten-and-some-page paper on Hirshfield's work last time I was in Poetry III class. I quoted (and thus typed out) whole poems to prove whatever point I was trying to make, and with each dash I copied out of The October Palace, I understood better how punctuation sounds. Crazy, right?
So back to Pardi's prose poetry – I have to say that I admire the ability to craft in such a way. It still feels like a poem, but also like a short story – flash fiction or something of the sort. Line breaks are basically thrown out of the window in favor of the asterisk. Stanzas are replaced by the common paragraph, and yet – it's still so poetic. It bothers me to no end in my own writing when a line break sounds wrong to me. I have yet to write a prose poem I was happy with. I feel I ramble.
Last week, being very stressed out with school, I asked of a Rhapsodomancy reading if I would continue to experience high levels of such stress. It told me, in not so many words, that
of course I would. As if it were ever a question... And for the most part, it turned out to be so. I have worked so hard over break thus far, and it is only Monday in the early afternoon. I'm still sitting around in pajamas, sipping coffee – but I have painting supplies out and book covers to finish. Granted, I am not so stressed now that I can sleep a little later and don't have to spend hours in classes. I still have homework, of course – but I am relaxing a bit. And I don't have to worry about affording food right now, which is always good. (A thank you to the Parents...) Financial stress is one step worse than college stress, in my opinion. (I'm trying so hard to get money together to move from Port Jervis to Oswego and pay June's Rent. I think I'm at $150 out of a $600 minimum goal.) I canceled my weekly “Saturday Divination” in which I read cards or runes for some friends who read my Tumblr blog, four or five on Saturday – and then I type up the interpretations and provide a photo of the cards. I pushed those back to the weekend after spring break in hopes it would reduce stress. Funny story – everything got worse. I got assigned a few more things to pile on top of everything I already have. For my English class, I am looked at with the notion that I alone can actually read half a book in a week and understand what's going on well enough to write a whole essay. For my Anthropology classes, I now have to find a few more hours to read closely, because weekly quizzes are becoming commonplace where they weren't earlier in the semester. I was able to skim the readings and converse in class before – and no longer. Of course it has to do with my mind frame – my metaphysical studies must always come first. Once they don't, the world starts to fall down over my shoulders. But I might compare myself to Atlas just for now – just for a little while – if it helps me get through it.
For this week's reading, I ask: “How will my guest teaching experience go this week?”
grackles twirling like kites
but without the strings
to untangle afterwards

and the boy cutting each one loose
save his favorite, which he fastens
to a park bench, leaves aloft,

into the night, with a wind
that seems to aim for it alone – how
like a tree after emptying

the world then seems – between risen
and fallen
what, in place, remains.” (Pardi pg. 24. Poem: Two Hands)

What a strange reading, and a strange interpretation I have... to be sure the experience will be daunting, and just like at every presentation, I will be internally frightened – perhaps like said grackle caught on a string. I'm understanding that these events are necessary chaos. Did I mention Loki ever before? On my path previously, I tended to play it safe and not project my voice. I didn't want to speak. I was all for reading and writing, and not being noticed too much. Perhaps a part of me once believed that I had nothing worth saying. I took difficult situations and tried to make sense of them based on things that were already tried and true – by the book, academically. Of course, in Metaphysical Studies, none of what is by-the-book is ever going to work for every single person. So, long story short, Necessary Chaos decided to find His way onto my path very recently. Maybe it's helped. Maybe it's just craziness. He would probably be the boy cutting loose grackles – except for the one attached that needs a dose of change. Is the wind that chaotic to a bird? Yes. And also No. And I think that's the lesson that I need to be paying attention to as I try something radically new this week. I'll report back in Part II (Yes, a second #5 journal) after returning to campus on Sunday.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Part of You That Fails To Notice Birds are Watching

(A continuation of the Immersion Journal assignment)

How is it that I interact with poetry? Everything that I experience is sort of encoded into a sound. That's how I remember, for the most part. Tell me “Katie: Remember X” and I'll do my best to remember it. Write it down and pass me the sheet of paper, though, and I find myself less likely to be able to parrot it back after a somewhat extended period of time. In reading books, I envision the sound of the narrator's voice, often differently than my own voice reading aloud. That said, when I read poems, I first look for elements of sound as I read that I love. After the initial read, I go back and find elements of narrative, which usually links back to the sound elements that I admire most. If I really like the content and the sound, I'll reread the poem several times. We were told for this journal entry to read Lucie Brock-Broido's poetry first– and I will read it, but today is not that day. I want to focus on what I mentioned about sound and memory –

The poem, out of all that I've read for this class and others, that sticks out to me best in these terms was “Leaving Angelo.” I loved reading that one out loud the last time I took Poetry III – and to be honest, it was probably the first experience I had where I felt comfortable (as in, not as incredibly nervous) to speak/read in class. The way the words and repetition were used to create sound that related to content was masterful. It was with this poem that I decided I would have to focus more on how sound is an essential building block for poetry. It wasn't long after this that I fell in love with slant and near rhymes – and, as they say, a monster was created. 

I wouldn't trade it for the world though. To be honest, before Poetry II, I wouldn't have thought myself much of a poet. I didn't read poetry. I didn't write it with the intent that it would be read by anyone. I didn't think that one day, two poems that I wrote would be published in the school's literary journal. I certainly didn't think that on the same day, I would then read one of them in River's End Bookstore. In front of everyone, hands shaking, curls escaping from my hair tie, but feet flat on the ground, feigning confidence. I was terrified, but according to the video that was captured of me by a dear friend, my voice was – for once – steady. 

So, all of this – this adds to how and why I approach poetry. I read it because, like me, these authors started somewhere. They may have felt small, maybe felt nervous. Maybe at first thought there was no possible way that they could ever consider themselves poets. So I read. Not just because I must, but because that's how their voice is heard. In the way they write, in what they choose to publish. Word choice and the sound those words make in my mind either stick, or they don't. But the point is, the author was trying to tell me something – maybe in hopes I'd learn. Maybe in hopes their efforts were never in vain. I keep telling myself that one day, I'll be in their shoes. I keep reading, hoping that one day there will be an equivocation, and my work will never have been in vain. That my words are heard in the mind of some struggling college student, and mean something. 

Last week's Rhapsodomancy reading consisted of quite a number of stanzas and quite a revelation for me. Looking back at what I've written in the past week – poetry wise, of course, midterm-panic-mode aside, have indeed been inspired by heartbreak and moving past it. I don't think I'm at a level where my poetry can be considered serious. I leave too many of my own emotions on the page so that sometimes, if I figure a way to read objectively, it feels awash with drama and needs to be toned down a bit. But I'm trying and am constantly inspired to keep trying. 

The first poem I wrote on this subject matter was on the train home from Maine. Once I hit Penn Station in New York City, I was in the sort of emotional mode where the heart-breaker is the villain and all you want to do is curse them and their entire lineage for their absurdly stupid and obviously shortsighted and shallow behavior. For Yule, he had given me a little moleskine notebook with artwork from Tolkien's “The Hobbit.” As I flip back through the pages, I see the drama seeping out of the words until the poems are more about moving forward, than being hurt and angry. It won't be perfect, because a poem isn't ever really “finished.” But I'm trying to drain the dramatic language and pick words that are intense, but not so overwhelming – and this correlates to my own way of viewing the situation at hand, anyway. I'm not one to depend on anyone, especially not when it comes to my own peace and happiness. Just like Sarah in the movie Labyrinth, all I need to move forward is that one line that's sometimes so hard to remember: “You have no power over me.” That in and of itself may or may not have just sparked another poem.

For this week's Rhapsodomancy, I'm asking: Will I continue to be overwhelmed by school work, and how might I overcome such stress in the coming week?

“Let me tell you about the ego, they say: imagine
pages, loose and scattered, the reader stepping
from one to the next, at times over a great distance,

cobbling together a sequence, the wind revealing
flipsides with graphs or maps, page numbers
in cuneiform.

The ego is the part of you that fails to notice
are watching.” (Pardi Pg. 45. Poem: Three Meditations)

I was extremely happy to get this reading, because intuition flooded from the verse up to my mind and told me that A.) Of course you will be overwhelmed, this is college for crying out loud. – and B.) Remember that you are human. You fail to see that each page – nay – each word is a stepping stone for your future in moments of stress and anxiety. If you think for one moment that the universe revolves around you, it will remind you quickly enough how it is that things work around here. Birds are watching, after all.

So I would interpret the ego as such: My stress. In moments of being overwhelmed, stress is inevitable. I've been teaching myself to let it go the best I can, because stress is heavy. And as the reading goes, it also very much clouds your judgment – to the point where understanding why things are happening becomes such a challenge (great distance) that we fail to learn anything and have to learn the same life lesson over again until we figure out how to deal with such stress. That's life. Birds here? Well. Birds could be many things – but I'd think that, especially with how my intuitive self picked up this reading – they could symbolize fate or Gods, always watching each step made on the path. Some would call it crazy, but all the things that have happened to me in ten years of Paganism and Witchcraft made it so there's no need to believe in what others call “higher power” or “magic.” I don't need to believe because I know. And while my proof wouldn't count for others, there's no use in trying to convince another. I walk my path, and am allowed mistakes because elsewise there'd not be much to learn in life. This week, due to being overwhelmed, I pushed back my Saturday Divination (Free Tarot, etc readings for folks who follow my Tumblr blog.) At the moment, my main concern is practicing psychic things, and understanding divinatory tools is a big part of that – and so perhaps this decision was made while “failing to notice birds are watching.

I will reflect on how things go this next coming week – mid-term panic will be over, and maybe then I can give a more cohesive example of how stress affected me and how I may have overcame it – instead of just theorizing.

Monday, March 4, 2013

3 Weeks of Immersion Journals

(Hello All! These were posted as assignments for the last three weeks and I wanted to share them with you!)

Immersion Journal #1

Rhapsodomancy is the use of poetry for divination – something I've barely any practice at and something I'd like to pursue. Poetry, like song lyrics, can occasionally be incredibly meaningful. Divination pulls an intuitive personal interpretation from tools used in order to predict future or to reveal an unknown aspect of the querent's personality. For each journal entry, I'll do a rhapsodomancy reading out of Pardi's “Meditations on Rising and Falling” for myself and interpret what it could mean. I will reflect on the goings-on each week based on the previous reading as well.
In order to do a rhapsodomancy reading, one must change their frame of mind. What is possible in this new world-view? Do you believe in coincidence? Do you believe in intuition? Close your eyes. Think loudly of what it is you really want to know, and open the book. Where your eyes fall first, read until either the end of that section/stanza/paragraph/page or until you feel the message is over, and the time to stop reading is right. Record it. Keep it in mind. Think of what you have planned and what you really want to experience and learn sometime in the future. Poetry holds more secrets than many of us can imagine – more so than even the author may have intended. Classically, books of poetry such as “The Illiad” would be use to these ends, but for this day and age, and specifically for me – I'll be using modern poetry. This is my immersion – this is combining two art forms and living life by it. There is no way two readings will be the same each week, but I may veer off and speak of other things that may relate back to previous readings.
So what forms a good question for any form of divination? It's tough to say exactly, but for this week, I'll simply ask how my week will conclude:

“Younger: Have I seen one of those before?
Older: No, never.
Younger: Should I be excited?
Older: Yes!” (Pardi pg. 78 from the poem “Seventeen Wings”)

My plans included stopping down at the Metaphysical store, The Fey Dragon right on bridge street. That would be Sunday afternoon. Perhaps the “Younger” is me and the “Older” is Mary, she who owns the store and has previously guided me in developing my own abilities and in other aspects. If we speak in terms of writing, it could be about revisions of old projects. That's entirely possible – poetry is what calms me down. It's my go-to procrastination when everything seems to be falling down over my shoulders. It's strange – I see people who would do anything else but pick up a book or pen when school stresses them out, but not me. I'd rather forsake the text books and do what I do best – read and write. Maybe this stanza will hint at what is to come for me; a revelation. The younger work to be greeted by new, older eyes.
So first, we must assume that my week will conclude – my grandmother always said that we should live as though we believed tomorrow's never guaranteed. And in that respect, we also assume that I will keep my eyes open, for a new possibility is standing at week's end. In that much I can be certain.
This reminds me of something – the way that poems start for me is a lot like how intuition works for readings. First it's just a tiny spark in my skull – like an idea moving from point A to point B. The idea explodes into thought via a bit of intuition and a little listening. Tune out the self-doubt and start thinking, and we have a thought – which eventually becomes an interpretation (for divination) or a concept (for poetry.) When we write it out, the words solidify and become a memory or an omen (for divination) or an actual poem. It all connects. I'll have more to write on next week to share what actually will go on this weekend.

Immersion Journal #2

I appreciate the use of dialogue in Pardi's poems. Actually, one of my favorites in the entire collection is “Drinking with my Father in London.” The end, where the father says “next time you get to be the whole damn flock” is quite possibly the strongest line of poetry dialogue I've seen to date. I love it. I can't explain exactly why it works so well – but I envy the author, to be sure.
I just recently entered the Creative Writing awards contest, and on the side, between assignments and work and class and finding time to sleep – I wrote a nonfiction piece chronicling a few memories and emotions from my winter break expedition to Maine. Entitled, “This Too Shall Pass,” I chose not to include names or dialogue for the persons involved, besides the narrator. Being that it was essentially about dealing with unrequited love, it was a move more towards structure, to not include the dialogue and the friend's name. The piece is about beginning to move forward. Still, in reading Pardi's work and getting a little feedback from friends on my work, I think I may try the revise in scenes and details for this piece. Dialogue is always so strong. Even the most simple phrases can result in tears – be in real life, or on paper.
Last week, I did a Rhapsodomancy reading for myself. I did indeed end up walking down to the Fey Dragon this Sunday. I did indeed end up learning something new about myself – via guided meditation. Mary showed me how to visualize that which blocks progress forward by using meditative techniques I had never seen before. What do ya know? With this new knowledge about the craft of guided meditation and about myself, I can progress. The block's name was Fear. That which replaces fear is named Confidence. It would take a few more pages to describe exactly what went on inside my mind to find this information – but instead I shall carry this lesson with me and teach it to The Oswego State Pagan Association.
For this week's reading, I'm asking: In what ways can I expect to progress this week?
“In place of a leaf, an absence.
Autumnal drool, slow slide from unevenness
to un-unevenness.
A thing that must break
is bending.
In truth there are just three seasons –
rising, falling,
and incandescence.
Try. Try falling when it's your turn to float.” (Pardi pg. 48 from the poem “Three Meditations”)

Maybe this reflects back on what I learned this week – that confidence replaces fear. Perhaps this is telling me that it is okay to not know exactly what is ahead of me. To fall may not be a bad thing, because in all perceived failure, there is a lesson to be learned. Perhaps this means a lesson is heading my direction. The things that must break are my old habits, my old frames of mind – piles of old stresses I put on myself. Rising to a challenge causes stress. Stress causes falling. Standing once again after a fall is incandescence. So we shall see what progress I make and in what ways come next week and next journal entry.

Immersion Journal #3

Pardi's poems, obviously, have a lot to do with birds, flying, rising and falling – it's perfect. I never forgot the pencil to birdseed image in the first poem of the book, “Here.” The reason I mention this is because I am an admitted lover of birds. In my room, I have four budgies. (Americans call them Parakeets, but the term 'parakeet' is just a classification of parrots, really.) The fourth one came along today as a birthday present to myself.
I wrote a couple of pieces the last time I was in Poetry III class. One focused on the sight of a little yellow down feather floating down to land on my glasses – a fluffy blur right in my line of vision. The other focused on the image of a tiny green parakeet calling out in response to the hunger call of a pretty large seagull. My birds – they're all about community. They're about, generally speaking, large groups and camaraderie. They are not afraid in the least to let their voice be heard. For tiny creatures, they are intelligent and so expressive. They inspire me with the way they respond to the world around them. Nothing is ever boring or dull. There's always something to be curious about. Always something to watch with a wary eye. For these birds, nothing is fun if you don't have a friend to share it with.
I work alone so much, but a wise person said that sometimes, it really is best to share your work with others. Maybe part of me is afraid what I write is never good enough. But I think I'm getting better at trusting me. In trusting the art is worth sharing.
Last week, I did a rhapsodomancy reading out of Pardi's book, and it alluded to big changes for me. Reporting back, I have to say that something is indeed breaking – my mind frames of thinking that I am not enough – something so many of us struggle with. Not only am I becoming more open to sharing my work, but I've been told lately that I am leading the organization I started quite well. I've been working so hard on my Pagan and Metaphysical studies that I now have so much more information and research to share with OSPA. My hope is that I can make enough of a difference so that when I graduate, until I come back to be a Professor (and thus advise the club...), OSPA will survive.
This week, I'm going to ask: in what ways will I be inspired?

“Having been there before, he returned, only to find one
step fewer than before. Squirrels curled like commas
marked the way, light falling hard on the softness of
smoke. The next time: one step fewer. And so it hap-
pened, until the moment in between had been discarded.
Before flowering, a leveling, he though. Before flowering,
an eradication.
Everywhere he turns, it returns.
She'd left a trail of seeds along the way, but that was
long ago. For years she's wondered which will be the
first to go, birdsong or bird? When it's time for her to
return, the seeds have sprouted, grown tall. What was
cut into shade now colludes with it. She makes her way
from tree to tree, slaloming.
Song of one who leaves:
I'll believe it when I see it.” (Pardi pg. 51. Poem: Seven Parables of Return.)
Lately I've been trying to switch genres a bit to test my limit and to test how to constrain emotion, especially in poems about unrequited love and such difficulties. They are mostly based in personal experience, and writing has helped me cope with it – has helped me, for the most part, be at peace with events.
The past is always riddled with disappointment. But, in such disappointment, great lessons reside. Great inspiration is sourced in the lessons that teach us who we are as people. So, yes. Heartbreak has been awful. But it's also been inspirational. It's gone back to what last week's reading said – 'a thing that must break is bending.' I have changed; there is a new strength in me. And perhaps what this poem means is that I will be inspired more by the partings I have experienced more so than the hope of returning to what once was. The song of one who leaves would be of melancholy – of not understanding how rare the connection left behind really was. I will reflect on this reading in the next journal, and see if this understanding significantly inspires one or more pieces of writing.