You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘writer’ tag.

I’m a writer or something like that.

I will regain my status as a tap dancer soon.

I had a boy, lost a boy, got another boy. Loss pending.

I adopted a dog, adopted another one, and adopted another one (the last of which was in part due to my fondness of odd numbers, 3s in particular.

I was born. Death pending.

I got a degree, got another one, and am working toward the end of the third one.

I have a momma and a dad and a granny and a grandma and a brother and a sister in law, 9 aunts and uncles, and approximately 17 first cousins.

I have a doggie gate that I don’t understand how to install. I have no knowledge of an Allen wrench.

I’m cursed/blessed with tragedy.

That blamed bicycle stole my virginity when I was but a girl. Ouch.

I encourage people to save the world.

I have a history of passing out. For this reason, I should not give blood but still have the urge to because I could save your life, dear reader, because I have O-neg blood. I would gladly pass out to save your life. I might vomit a little when Bryan comes to pick me up from saving your life but it’s okay, only a little will get in his air vents.

I have kneecaps and calves of steel, though I might have just cracked my kneecap just now.

I love to read. Some favorites are the Year of Magical Thinking (Joan Didion), Young Men and Fire (Norman MacLean), Into Thin Air (Jon Krakauer), I Know This Much Is True (Wally Lamb), October Light (John Gardner), As I Lay Dying (William Faulkner), Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt), Devil’s Knot (Mara Leveritt), East of Eden (John Steinbeck), and my current read, the Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down (Anne Fadiman).

*Tel wrote a brilliant poem posted in the comments section of my poem, “Goodbye, Lincoln Nebraska” that I thought was too cool not to share. Thanks to Tel for being a good sport and an even better writer.*

Goodbye, Paducah Kentucky
with your run down buildings
lining a boring riverside.
When the floodwaters come,
even the dead try to hitch a ride
out of town.

Please visit Tel’s site for more fun and hijinks…or for just plain good writing. http://telmcg.wordpress.com/

I’ve been crying since I was eight years old. Blame Lurlene McDaniel. I do.

In the summer of 1987, I found death on a shelf at the Lee County Library in Sanford, North Carolina. I had been looking for those pre-teen romance novels, the ones where boys didn’t have naughty intentions and girls said no to drugs even in the midst of the popular kids. I had devoured these sorts of books all summer and had finally exhausted the library’s moderate selection. So, as any other little girl would do, I began perusing books for the coolest, hippest teenage girls on the cover, the girls I wanted to be.

It was time to go and I was desperate to find something to read. By chance (or was it?), I saw a really pretty blond girl, whose hair was crimped and massive, sitting with her mother. I hastily picked up the book and ran to the check out.

Later, I examined the book more closely. The book was called Mother, Please Don’t Die. Which, of course, meant Mother was, in fact, going to die (but I wasn’t a savvy reader back then so I held out hope things would end well). The book followed a girl’s journey through her mother’s dying and her own grief as well as the difficult transition from being a little girl to being a teenager. Megan made sense of her mom’s worsening symptoms as best she could as a young girl; she told me about the terrible pressure and the anger bubbled to the surface at baseball practice, resulting in her consequent suspension. After her sister’s wedding, Megan sat with her mother and they had the first truly frank conversation about death that I had ever read; Mother was not going to be there for Megan’s wedding. She was dying.

And when she did die, my heart was shattered and I sobbed out loud. I’ve been reading and sobbing ever since. I developed a voracious appetite for the dying genre. Through my middle and high school years, I learned about living with diabetes, juvenile arthritis, kidney failure, and AIDs. I felt enlightened with each page. I groped for all the empathetic artifacts in the words that were written. I began to live with all of these hardships. I felt I knew what it was like.

The year before, 1986, had been a bad year. In January, my grandfather died of lung cancer. It was the first death I’d experienced. It was scary flying from North Carolina to Arkansas, only to see a dead body, dressed in blue and not breathing in a wooden bed. Two weeks later, I sat forward with the rest of my class, eyes glued to the television as the Challenger exploded and everyone on board was killed. They sent school counselors around to speak to us about dying and grief. I felt terrible for the teacher on the Challenger, but I cried terrible, painful tears for my grandfather.

Weeks later, I randomly asked my mother if she had had any other children before my brother and me one night before our bath. She hesitated and told us she had given birth to a little girl when she had been previously married, but the girl had died when she was a toddler from cancer. I nodded and soon forgot about it, as children will. It wasn’t long before my subconscious mind kicked in and I began to wonder if I had cancer, too, and asked my mother if I was going to die. Months I asked her and for months I must have drove a stake in her heart.

Little girls don’t understand these sorts of things. I didn’t. By the time I held a copy of Mother, Please Don’t Die in my hands, I needed to read about grief. The only problem is I never stopped grieving. The reading and the grieving is a question of insignificance; no matter if the chicken came before the egg, the chicken and the egg exist.

When I was eighteen, a very receptive former teacher gave me Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt as a graduation gift. Since then, it’s the real stories of laughter and pain that have touched me the most. Into Thin Air. Devil’s Knot. Young Men and Fire. Books about the Holocaust, 9/11, surviving freak accidents, OCD, alcoholism, depression. The stories are compelling but they are most important to me as conduits for processing my own life (and grief).

In a nutshell, I read books that are too sad for other people. A book is deemed good if I cry. It is deemed brilliant if I can still sob thinking about it a year later. There are many brilliant writers out there.

Right now, The Dark Tower: the Gunslinger is impatiently waiting on my bedside stand for me to finish it. The sojourn will be short and I will soon return to form. Stacked in the corner are my standard fair, books about the Taliban, mental illness, murder, the Mormon lifestyle…all await me. I can only think greedily of the sobs I am soon to cry.

I can’t help but think I’ve made Lurlene proud.

Over the course of the last two weeks or so, I have had the pleasure of being involved in a fantastic discussion about writing and living well. As interviews go, this one offers insight and sincerity, and I hope you, dear reader, appreciate the self-depricating wisdom of our very own Uncle Tree.

#1. What made you an Uncle and not a Father or a Cousin or a Step-son Tree?

An anonymous young fellow, or dame, named Diablo, penned Tree on me. At a site called Intentblog (now closed), I talked about camping by the Missouri River, and mentioned a few of the things, including spiritual awakenings, that I’d experienced at my favorite spot. He must have thought I sounded like I was stationed there, or had put down roots there, in order to call me a tree. Since he claimed to be in his 20’s, I thought of him as a nephew, which made me his uncle.

Father Tree would have made me look like a priest, and Brother Tree sounds to me
like a deacon, and I really didn’t want to be cornered into anything too specific, such as Elder Tree, Sir Willow or Mr. Elmwood.

#2. If you had to choose between wilting in the sun or crumbling from the cold, which would you prefer?

Uncle Tree would prefer a climate ideally situated on this earth. That place would be a habitat that allows all of nature to express itself fully throughout the four seasons in equal measure. He feels that the coldest part of the year is the toughest to endure. Summer’s sun is warm and penetrating. In good years, when spring brings plentiful and copious amounts of refreshing rain, he reserves some of the moisture in defense against the blazing heat, and only wilts on top.

#3. Your cheekiness and wit in your writing (blog, poems, AND comments) are rays through clouds. How do you maintain a sense of humor?

I don’t believe anyone can timelessly maintain a sense of humor, no matter what is going on in their personal lives. Ups and downs, and highs and lows are to be expected, and they definitely contribute to my so-called moodiness. That I cannot deny. I never intentionally wish to bring someone down, just because I feel a certain way at the time, but I do suppose it happens sometimes.

Before I had my own blog, all I used to be able to do was comment, so I learned to make the best of them. For the most part, I try to say something appropriate, and attempt to keep my views on-topic. Humor has its place, and laughter is the best medicine, but we can’t always rely on them to get our point across. I can sympathize with Al Franken in that regard.

Me2 was my first moniker. This symbol contains a few meanings for me. It’s not funny or sad, in and of itself. It is rather more neutral than Uncle Tree, which I see as putting me in the category of goofy and kooky, but in a familiar, unassuming sort of way. It’s been fun to play with, and I’m still growing into it. I don’t always write from his perspective, as if I were actually a talking tree. That’s impossible! I do have a couple of poems which he wrote though, and I hope to create more at some period in the future.

My outlook on life is not always positive or optimistic. I accept the full range of emotions as a matter of course. It’s only natural. To deny is to lie to one’s self, and when we do, we’re not fooling anybody but ourselves. The reasons I have for writing poetry the way I do are too numerous to go into here. I want to read your thoughts for you and speak about it, when you can’t seem to find the right words to use yourself.
And of course, if I can bring someone to tears, whether they be joyful ones, or sorrowful ones, I would rightfully call that my crowning achievement.

#4. If you were me and Bryan cyber stalked your new boyfriend, how would you make him pay?*

Dear lady,

Your wish for revenge is in jest, of that I am sure. Nevertheless, it was your boyfriend, as you said. Paybacks are a bitch, but we can be fair about it. You don’t have to raise the ante. The punishment should be a fitting one; one that matches the dastardly deed that Bryan has committed. Unless, of course, you wish to start a war, for wars are not required to be just.

I can’t imagine that ‘Facebooking’ someone is a serious crime. Having said that, I came up with this as I was toying with the idea:

If I were you, I’d tell Bryan that I need to speak to him and his beloved at their place of residence. I would persuade, or talk him into setting aside a time, say 9 or 10:00 o’clock in the evening. Make it a Friday or Saturday night. I would tell him that I had an important announcement to make, and that I wanted the two of them to be the first to hear of it. I would leave it at that, and not hint around or make any wise-cracks.

As soon as I can get him to make a promise about the date, then, in advance, I would hire a professional to perform a session for these young men at said time. And by professional, I mean a dancer. And by dancer, I mean a blonde, gorgeous, well-proportioned, sexy and provocative female stripper.

*Note: I must mention that Uncle Tree answered this one with characteristic grace and a kind sensibility that is incredibly endearing and almost makes me question my urge for seeking revenge. ;)

#5. What makes a poet “good”? (And you are good, Uncle!)

Thank you! It’s nice to know you think of me as such.

Success in any endeavor is highly personal, and the meaning of it depends on where one currently fits into the mix, and one’s general expectations, hopes and dreams. Like happiness, once you’ve had a taste of success, you inevitably wish to savor it again. If at first you only receive a morsel, the next time you’ll want a bigger bite, and so on and so forth until you believe your plate is as full as the possibilities allow.

I take the title of poet very seriously. Within the elite literary circles of today, I honestly do not know the requirements necessary to earn such a lofty label. Personally, I do not consider myself to be worthy of the name, nor can I say that I will ever rise to those heights of grandeur. Therefore my thoughts on the subject will pertain to the ladder as I see it, and the steps that might be involved in the process from beginning to end. Again I will stress that this is my guess, my opinion, my estimation.

Anyone with a firm grasp of their own language is capable of writing. That doesn’t make them a writer. We can say the same thing about poetry. By the age of 10 or so,
most anyone can create and produce a finished product, but that doesn’t necessarily
make them a poet, however easy and natural it seems to seep forth, as if it were on it’s own, and only needed a little direction.

When first starting out on this road, success would simply mean a piece of work that pleases its author, and brings to them a sense of pride and satisfaction; a poem with which the originator may be well pleased.

The next step might be to show off, or to display your new wares to family and friends in order to receive some friendly feedback. It’s up to the author alone to decide whether or not the praise is worthy, or if the unwanted criticisms are well intended. It is highly likely that you will procure positive, reinforcing encouragement from this group of readers. The worst bit of advice you may hear is familiar to all: “Don’t quit your day job just yet.”

If the author is attending a school of higher learning, they could gather up enough courage to show their beloved poetry to a teacher, or professor of literature. Here one would hope to obtain an objective viewpoint, constructive criticism, and maybe even noteworthy praise from an ‘experienced’ reader of letters.

Another venture might entail a step that would allow complete strangers to freely read what you have done, as in the case of internet exchanges such as we have at wordpress and blogspot. Just how difficult it is to get a comment from someone you don’t know at all is another short story that I’ll not get into at this time. Again, if you do get one or several replies, it’s up to you to determine their trustworthiness. Your perception of these can then be the deciding factor in the measure of your success.

My personal knowledge of the ladder ends at this juncture. That doesn’t mean I’m done here, nor does it mean that I’m through climbing myself. Moving on up —

If you are now more certain of your abilities, entering a poetry contest may be in
order. From what I’ve heard, there are usually a lot of competitors, and taking the first prize would be akin to winning the lottery.

One more option would be the act of submitting your unpublished work to a magazine or journal that specializes in art and literature. Let us say you are successful. Let us say that you are now one of the critically acclaimed authors of your generation. You may choose to write a book that contains a selection of your finest poetry. The meaning of success from this point forward will depend on the quantity of books sold.

Let us assume your book of poetry becomes a best-seller. I would have to say, “You’ve made it to the big time!” Certainly, at this point you should be deemed worthy of the label, and have a right to think of yourself as a poet. Others will now call you by that name. They may even take a vote, and choose you to be worthy of holding the honorable office, and dignified position of Poet Laureate. This is what it means to be highly successful. And yet there is still more to be had.

You may become world famous. Your work may be translated into several, if not hundreds of languages. You may be nominated, and you may win the Nobel Prize
in Literature. What a success you’ve now become! But have you finally reached the highest heights? Have you reached the pinnacle of success?

Nay, not if you ask Homer and the Bard! If your name, your poetry, and your achievements are remembered, talked about, and taught in educational systems all around this homey globe of ours for hundreds, or even thousands of years, that my friend…that must be the zenith. That deserves the praise of The Masters. That is when we all can say, “You, dear poet, you have shown us the true meaning of success, and the ideal way to live and love that leads to a successful life. Thank you!”

Please visit Uncle Tree’s House at http://me2watson.wordpress.com/.

Bindo let me interview him for my blog. You know you will giggle as I did. (I suppose I should admit I’m not sure if the pronounciation is biiiiindo or beeendo.)

Bindo’s note to you, dear reader. Before I answered any of Medicated Lady’s questions, I felt it necessary to put on Beck’s “Sea Changes” undoubtedly, the most depressing record ever made. Hmm, where are my smokes? Ah, here they are! OK, everything is in place, Ashtray? Check!…Lighter?..Check!.. Coffee? Check! And now……

1. Can you describe your Dark Place? 

Very dark, like a black hole, but with a great paint job and tasteful window treatments.

2. Where does your writing inspiration come from? 

It comes from years of being on the road, smoking, drinking coffee, drugs and booze, hundred’s of dead end jobs and a ridiculous amount of meaningless sex.

3. How did Bindo, the writer, become Bindo, the writer?

After being fired or quitting hundreds of dead end jobs (for good and not so good reasons), it occurred to me that I wasn’t good at anything except writing about not being good at anything.

4. In a no-holds barred, caged fight, who would you want as your “wrasslin” ally: Bryan or me? Also, who would you be up against?  

That’s tough, because you are both extremely cute and I am shallow on many levels. But I think considering everything, I would have you on my team because I could sit back, light a smoke and watch your luminous hair flying as you leap through the air to put the kabash on our opponents…

Segue way?

That would have to be Bryan and The Dalai Lama. First, well ya know, I get to wrestle with Bryan but mostly, I just like to win.

5. I’m at my happiest when I’m terribly depressed. I am allergic to fire ant venom. Is there any circumstance in which you’d ever want to be eaten by a grizzly bear?

Funny you should ask. I was out hunting bear, back in my Hemmingway days. I had a big grizzly in my sight, pulled the trigger and fired. The bear dropped to the ground. I ran over and the bear was no where. I felt a tap on my shoulder, turned and saw the grizzly. He said, “you have two choices: One, I maul and eat you or Two, you let me have my way with you.”

At the time I was feeling very prolific and didn’t want to die at the moment, which is always a strange feeling, so I opted for backdoor number two. Well, I was depressed over my rape and was going home. When I saw the grizzly again, I sighted him up and pulled the trigger. He dropped like a bad habit. I ran over to celebrate my victory over the horny bear but he was no where to be found. Suddenly, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned and there he was with a grizzly smile. He looked at me and said, “You’re not here for hunting are you?”

Be sure to check out bindo’s site:http://bindo.wordpress.com/

Bryan has also reviewed one of bindo’s books on his blog: http://poeticgrin.com/2009/07/03/smoke-breaks-by-bindo/

 

I tell my friend

some people,

you just can’t help

they’re projecting on you

all the things they can and can’t see in themselves

that you’re like them

or different

or approximately equal to

or greater than

or less than

who

what

they are

I tell him

you can change your perspective

but you can’t change theirs

your “I” can become “we” or “she” or “he”

but you can’t help what they need

read

your words are theirs

and you are their creation

 

SOB with me

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