A poem by Mark Nepo
Let no one keep you from your journey,
no rabbi or priest, no mother
who wants you to dig for treasures
she misplaced, no father
who won’t let one life be enough,
no lover who measures their worth
by what you might give up,
no voice that tells you in the night
it can’t be done.
Let nothing dissuade you
from seeing what you see
or feeling the winds that make you
want to dance alone
or go where no one
has yet to go.
You are the only explorer.
Your heart, the unreadable compass.
Your soul, the shore of a promise
too great to be ignored.
Ah, grammar jokes. Quirky, nerdy, and fun.
This one has me thinking not only about language, but about, oh my gosh…sex scenes! I have joked with my friends that when I wrote “Light in Darkest Days” I was hesitant, not about the sex scene itself, or the need to include the scene, but the actual word choice. Writing things like “entered,” “orgasm,” or “came” was so difficult. It is just as difficult to write it here, and I hardly consider myself a prude.
The hardest one (no pun intended) was writing from a man’s perspective and having to mention his penis. I’d ask men, “what do you call it?” The answers I got didn’t make it any easier.
So, how do we write sex scenes, when we’re not writing erotica a romance novel? How do we incorporate intimacy and sexuality between characters tastefully but with the detail and description we put into other parts of our story? What do we call body parts? Help?
The house is on the market and I not only didn’t do a book tree this year, I also purged my bookshelves of lots of books. Having my house look uncluttered and like a display home has been less than joyous. Anyone that knows me will tell you I can be a bit of a Scrooge (don’t even ask my mother about this), but even I miss the decking of the halls this year. While I gave up traditional trees a while back I have been known to decorate a pop up tent in the living room. What’s better than laying in a lit up tent and having it filled with toys on Christmas morning? (Go ahead and ask my kids about this).
I went to a party this weekend with trees in every room and carols playing from a vinyl record player next to the fireplace. It made me resolute about one thing. Next year, hopefully in the new house, there will be Christmas oozing from every darn corner and books everywhere, even if they look cluttered.
Something is missing here on my nightstand. There’s an alarm clock, a lamp, a pair of old lady glasses, a glass of water, a kitten, but no book. So, what are you reading?
While I’ve been working on the newest novel, not yet named, and “Light in Darkest Days” is with the publisher for fine tuning, there is still this gem out there, Birch Trees at the Old House.
While I wish it was written from a place like this:
most of it was written from an attic office during my years in law school, and while studying for the bar. I still think I would have aced that damn test if not for my muse whispering these poems to me all day long. Somehow these writings actually got me through the lonely and discouraging process of studying and then studying some more. I continued to write poetry after these were compiled, and there is another short book of poems just not quite yet born yet. I am happy to re-introduce this bit of writing to the world. I invite you to read it and tell me what you think.
I’ve been home sick with the flu all week. It’s been driving me crazy to be like this
All this down time and space alone in the house I keep hoping I’ll have an hour to feel like this
Instead every time I tried I looked like this
It has always been hard for me to enjoy downtime. I spend time watching tv thinking of all the things I should be doing. Add writing to my plate and I’m left should-ing on myself more and more. The great novel by Christine M. Kiefer won’t be written while she’s under the influence of codeine and at a temperature of 102. Though that would make a great story, wouldn’t it?
One theme in “Light in Darkest Days” is the relationship between fathers and sons. After his dad comes to visit him in prison, Tim is sure his dad is the best in the world. Tim reminisces about his childhood and his father in a part of the book that mirrors a very real childhood memory of my own. It’s in pieces like this that I, as an author, say, “yes, parts of this story are real.” A big high five to dads, and especially to my dad.
I stayed home sick from work today. After a four hour nap, chicken noodle soup, and 3 cups of lemon tea with honey, I thought I felt well enough to write. Despite saying my little prayer to my muse, I only got down about 6 paragraphs. While “Light in Darkest Days” is in the editing, copyright review stage, the next project is a story I’m anxious to get down into words. It will be a long time if all I can get is 6 paragraphs at a time.
Instead of writing more, I read about Nelson Mandela, checked out all the elves on shelves on my friend’s Facebook pages (what the heck is that thing, anyway?), and even played some weird “save the pets” game after failing at level 102 of candy crush saga. Resistance, folks, at its best.
But as my dearest supporter, John says, “well, you got 6 paragraphs done, that’s good, right honey?’ Glass. Half. Full. Despite the damn internet.
Ah, a quote worth putting on every writer’s desk. Am I telling you the main character misses his old life, or is he spending his days daydreaming about every room of his old house, every pattern on the pillows, every origin of the place mats? Worth thinking about with each sentence, I’d say.