formerly Diane's Addled Ramblings... the ramblings are still addled, just like before, and the URL is still the same...
it's just the title at the top of the page that's new

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Post In Which I Say Absolutely Nothing...

It’s Writer’s Workshop time (go to Mama’s Losin’ It and see) and I’ve got diddly-squat. Nothin’. Nada. Zilch. Zip. None of the prompts spoke to me this week. I can’t tell you about my significant other’s best quality because I don’t have a significant other (I don’t think Sundance counts). I’ve never stolen anything (and if I had, I probably wouldn’t tell anyone about it). And I don’t recall any scary encounters with any of my professors (encounters where I wanted to kick a few in the shins maybe, but not scary ones). The last prompt is about poetry… take the last line of your favorite poem and make it the first line of a new poem. Right.

Here’s the thing. I suck at poetry. Instead of waxing poetic, I wax pathetic. My poems sound like a 3rd grader wrote them. A 3rd grader who rides the short bus. I can’t really even read poetry. Well, I can’t read a lot of poetry. Most of it makes me feel stupid because I just don’t get it. See, I don’t want to have to break down each line to find some hidden meaning. That just takes too much energy. I want the meaning to sort of slap me upside the head. I want to read it and just know.

Now, having said all that, I’ve read some poetry lately that I’ve loved… J. Cosmo Newbery, for example, is an amazing poet… sometimes funny, sometimes poignant, always wonderful. And I actually get his stuff (most of it, anyway). He tends to keep his lines short and he likes to rhyme… I think that makes it easier for me to keep up. And Sometimes Sophia has done this fantastic series on the little field mice who keep taking up winter residence in her house… they’re brilliant (the poems, not the mice). And StuPidasso and justsomethoughts are two of my favorite bloggers who write really good stuff (and I usually understand their poems, too).

I wish I could do it. I do. Not being able to write or read poetry makes me feel inadequate… unintelligent… unsophisticated. I keep hoping I’ll acquire a taste for it or learn enough to understand it without having to try so hard. It’s very much like how I used to feel about wine. You know how some people are beer people and some are wine people? Well, I’ve always been a beer person but I always wanted to be a wine person… they seemed so sophisticated to me and I was (am) so… well… not sophisticated. And it all tasted icky. Then I had the good fortune to visit my cousin in England – my cousin who owns a fabulous restaurant and has a stocked-to-the-rafters wine cellar; my cousin who has never seen an empty glass; my cousin who knows a lot about booze in general and wine specifically; my cousin who loves to see me drunk. He gave me wine lessons and I soaked them up (literally). I found out what I liked and didn’t like… and I stopped buying wine just because the bottle was pretty. Now I’m a wine drinker. Yeah, I’m still a beer drinker, too (nothing beats a pint, or several, in an old pub!), as there’s room for both in my life (and the occasional tequila shot, too).

So anyway, that’s what I’m hoping will happen with poetry. Hey… something just occurred to me. Maybe if I try my hand at poetry while I’m drinking wine… hmmmm… I might be onto something there. Boozy writing could work for me! It did for Hemingway, right? I can see it now… The Merlot Diaries… I might even have to change the name of my blog. Now, where’s that corkscrew?

PS… Sorry Kathy. I failed miserably at this week’s assignment. Sigh. If you’d just included a prompt about wine (or beer… or tequila), I would’ve gotten an A+!

36 comments:

The Odd Duck said...

I'm horrible at poetry writing as well so don't feel like you're alone in that.

And thanks, reading the end of this has made me want alcohol. Badly. Mmm, tequila.

Summer said...

I get bored just thinking about it. ;-) And I used to write it...ha ha!

Jenners said...

I am in love with J. Cosmo Newbery's poetry! I've been trying to come up with an original poem myself to "pay homage" to him but like you ... I sound like a 3rd grader on the short bus to school. (Because we are twins, you know!)

And Sometimes Sophia seems to have the same gift for effortless funny poetry!

You know ... I think your 100 things posts are like poems. You could use that!!!! Not that I'm telling you to rewrite your assignment or anything but truly ... they are like poetry to me!

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Poetry does seem harder than prose, somehow - Have a look at the poetry of Merseyside's Roger McGough, of Lily The Pink, fame! He's a people's kind of poet, example:

PAY-BACK TIME

O Lord, let me be a burden on my children
For long they've been a burden upon me.
May they fetch and carry, clean and scrub
And do so cheerfully.

Let them take it in turns at putting me up
Nice sunny rooms at the top of the stairs
With a walk-in bath and lift installed
At great expense.....Theirs.

Insurance against the body-blows of time
Isn't that what having children's all about?
To bring them up knowing that they owe you
And can't contract out?

What is money for but to spend on their schooling?
Designer clothes, mindless hobbies, usual stuff.
Then as soon as they're earning, off they go
Well, enough's enough.

It's been a blessing watching them develop
The parental pride we felt as each one grew.
But Lord, let me be a burden on my children
And on my children's children too.

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Mrs Moon by Roger McGough

Mrs Moon
sitting up in the sky
little old lady
rock-a-bye
with a ball of fading light
and silvery needles
knitting the night

Diane, you could kick his teeth in, poetry wise, no disrespect, and this man is (deservedly) a Commander of the British Empire for his services to poetry... Just trying to gird your loins, sis!

Braja said...

Don't knock yourself out; poets are born, not made...you do or you don't, it's no big deal...

J Cosmo Newbery said...

So, what makes you think that you are not already writing poetry?

Michelle said...

Your poetry to me!!!

You should write poems while drinking wine AND beer!!! Imagine the possibilities!!!

Love ya!!!

Heinous said...

Your prose is poetry. I wouldn't worry about it. It was all downhill after the English Romantics anyway ;)

Mel said...

And, see there Mr. Heinous had to go and mention the English romantics right before my comment and make me think of my ludicrous high-school crush on Lord Byron!

You know what I find fascinating about David and the wine? The way he can fill it up right to the very top of the glass without going over. I know there's some secret - like counting to 15 or something, but it's still cool. I can do it with Dr. Pepper, though, and I even have foam to deal with.

blognut said...

Diane... Diane... (shaking my head slowly)... GET OUT OF MY HEAD! I. swear. to. God! I went over to Mama Kat's and looked at the prompt this morning and said, "No way. I am not prompted by the prompts this week." And then I scroll down and find that you don't do poetry for much the same reason that I do not do poetry. And then I scroll down further and find you saying what I ALWAYS say about trying to like wine, but really liking beer better. I have to know - when did the voices in my head start speaking to you too?

Jane! said...

I'm so glad to hear you say what you said about not 'getting' poetry. Makes me feel much less like a 3rd grade short-bus rider.
Unlike you, however, I'm willing to live with my handicap. I'm happy just stepping over the stuff when I run into it, and writing my own 3rd-grade silly poems when it strikes me. And drinking wine.
But good luck to you.

Lee said...

Beer when I'm hot. Wine when I'm not.

Poetry's easy, what the problem?

Maithri said...

To quote my little sister "Dont even go there girlfriend" lol i really cant pull that off can i....

You are most definitely
a poet

I'll look forward to reading your friends poetry also.

Much love, M

joshlos said...

I thought I had poetry all figured out. Then I got a 'C' in poetry class in college. I've never recovered.

Tom said...

I love beer especially if it comes with a good pub. I've also learned to love wine, as long as it's red and called Shiraz. Tequila? Yeah, OK, I've drunk that in the past. A good whisky? Now you're talking, as long as it's Irish.

What I have learned though is never mix any of those drinks in one evening. Stick to one for an evening. Beer one night, wine the next etc. You'll live an accident free life that way. Tequila? A good one to avoid in my opinion. Whisky? Great stuff, just avoid it unless you're sober to start with. Definitely a bad mix if there's been beer and wine beforehand. Trust me. The ER surgeon told me that as well when he stitched up my skull. Never again.

Lessons learned I guess...

Protege said...

As I said before, the posts where you say you have nothing to write about are your VERY BEST!
Poetry is difficult to write I think, as it has to have a certain flow; you are restricted by more rules. I have a feeling you are not a rule player but a free spirit, and that might be at least partly a reason why you do not like to write poetry.;))

Sometimes Sophia said...

Only you could write so eloquently about nothing. Don't get hung up on this poetry thing... it's just some kind of fancy shorthand for people who are too lazy to spell the things out. Your writing is accessible, insightful, and funny - and you are adored by your many readers. Can't ask for more...

Ladybird World Mother said...

Fab post, and some brilliant comments, which is the sign of a Brilliant Post!!
Poetry is just total bollocks for a lot of the time and then one comes up to you and BAM! You totally get it. Then you think you like poetry and you find its total bollocks again.
Oh, well. (I cant write it either... I sound like depressive teen monster with dyslexia)
X (oh, and I am so envious you know about wine. I still go for the labels.)

Pauline said...

Well, then. Go read some Billy Collins or Mary Oliver and you'll see that poetry can be accessible and fun and inspiring. Sometimes prose can be poetic (reread your own post about defining moments). I expect an ode to beer soon ;)

Stu Pidasso said...

The whole sequence about your cousin is darn near poetic! I can hear the emotion in your writing, the description over and over of how he is and how he affected you. You have it in you Diane and it doesn't have to be in any kind of format or rhyme or organization. Just let it pour out and put it on paper, play with the words a bit (I am always looking for that one particular word to convey my feelings), and let it go. You write poetry allright, maybe a bit prosy; but you write it.

Heather said...

I, too, have always been a beer person. (Or whiskey. YUM) I do like wine, but I feel like I don't know about about it to be an informed drinker. And I think it's important for a wino to know their wines well. :)
Maybe we'll throw back a few pints in March? We'll be there for St. Patty's day. Irish car bombs, anyone?

Stephanie E said...

I found you thru summers page!! I love the quote...I am going to steal it and use it on my emails!!

blueviolet said...

You don't need poetry. You do A-ok without it. Always entertaining!

Melissa said...

I suck at poetry too...except of course for the "roses are violets are blue" type.... :)

KatieZ said...

Holy cow am LMAO right now! Very funny and you didn't even need to write about one of the prompts! I don't drink anymore, but when I did, I was a beer person too. Then a good friend of mine put me onto the trail of wine happiness! I think The Merlot Diaries sounds like a great idea! You should try it!

namaste said...

I loved just reading your post!!! It was just as complete as if you had followed the assignment... maybe better! thank you!

Cat said...

I am with you 200% on the poetry thing. I don't like trying to interpret meaning. Just tell me what the hell you mean already.

Unortunately, my English major requires quite a bit of poetry, both reading and writing. I'd better figure it out fast.

Amy McMean a.k.a McSunshine said...

There you go you could be the next Hemmingway. does sundance have too many toes like hemmingway's cats because if so I think thats fate.

Astharis said...

(Came over from Mama Kat's)

When it comes to reading poetry, some things just speak to you more than others... Just like songs and music. I wouldn't worry if you can't get into most of what you read; you obviously haven't found anything that really speaks to you yet! :)

tara @ kidz said...

Maybe you should try writing a poem about beer??? ;O)

La Pixie said...

I dont "get" poetry, either. Im too literal, I think. the only poem thats ever really spoken to me is Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening.

creative kerfuffle said...

i relate to both. i WANT to understand and enjoy poetry and wine because i assume people who do are witty and sophisticated and smart. i prefer beer too, guinness. and we still buy wine for the label and then never drink it : ) as for the poetry, i sometimes try to write it and it's fine for ME but not anything real people would like. and if i have to work to understand the hidden message in a poem i don't like it.

Ashley @ Frexy Mama said...

Hello, I ride that 3rd grader-poem writer-short bus with you :)

HLiza said...

Oh get me in that bus ride too. I suck at poetry even in our mother tongue..it's even sickening that my mom and her favourite son (the brother I don't quite like) are good at it.

Mama Kat said...

I'll remember those writing prompts for next week!! But that was really nice of you to link to a few of my favorite blogging poets...love them!