Back by popular demand…

I posted this late last night, then deleted it this morning (10/20), thinking it was too negative.  Gee, it’s a blog about writing, I thought.  How can I post a poem about hating words?  That’s not veryencouraging.  But perhaps it was only those old inner critics rearing their ugly heads.  Those guys never quit.  Perhaps they’re best stomped on and I should let freedom ring.  So here goes:   (Thanks to Barbara and Kathy!)


I hate words   


Pale puny things.

How inadequate.

How thin.

How weak an antidote.

I turn to them;

I rush and hide and hope,

but they are only black lines on white pages–symbols, not saviors,

measly metaphors standing in for the poison of my pain

as if they will cast me a line, a way out of here.

How often I run to them, seeking deliverance while I know none is to be had,

even here, in that place I know best

where urge meets page

and words unveil that particular something,

which is better than doing nothing at all.

90 responses to “Back by popular demand…

  1. Ann- I am rereading “If You Want To Write” by Brenda Euland, the book you suggested I read back in BWW. She talks of honesty in writing. And truth in the telling. Deep down to the core kind of writing. I needed reminding of this. And then I wake up this morning to your poem. And I just sat back and whispered, “yes”. This is it. This is honest, deep down to the core kind of writing.

  2. The Attraction of Opposites

    I love words.
    Bold, brawny things.
    How priceless.
    How intense.
    How perfect a discovery.
    I turn to them;
    I rush with arms wide open,
    and they are, in their black lines on white pages—symbols and saviors;
    mighty metaphors providing release for the thoughts in my brain
    and they cast me a line, a way to cleanse, a way to creative surcease.
    How often I run to them, seeking deliverance, knowing it is there always.
    Especially here, in this place I know best
    where urge meets page
    and words unveil that particular something:
    it is better than doing anything else in the world.

  3. Ann, your inner critics need stomping! Your “Words” unleased of fury of them in my head. Isn’t that the point of all this Goofing Around. Thanks for reconsidering. You watch–the Defenders of Words will rise in their defense.

  4. Sorry. Using a laptop with a teensy keyboard and a bad habit skipping up a few lines. Stick an “h” in “unleased” so it reads “unleashed.” Words are funny that way.

  5. Gullie,
    There is a kind of painting called a “diptych” (dip = two/tych = fold) which consists of two, side-by-side paintings that complement each other in some way. I think you and I got that going here, don’t you?

    Anybody up for a triptych?

  6. Yes, ma’am. You beat me to the “triptych.”

  7. Triptych

    I distrust words.
    Deceitful, undependable things.
    How untrustworthy.
    How insidious.
    How inadequate for love.
    I think: hold me, tell me we can work through this.
    I say: I don’t think I want to see you anymore.
    And he takes me at my words—foolish, ill-considered words,
    measly metaphors standing in for my doubts,
    as if by speaking them they will cast me a line, a safe way out of doubt.
    No more will I run to them, seeking deliverance while I know none is to be had,
    especially here, in this place I know least,
    where heart meets mind
    and foolish words unveil my frailty,
    and there will be no more arms around me at all.

  8. Oh, my. That one came out more powerful than I’d intended. Strike anyone else that way?

    • It is very, very striking. You have a massive treasure chest of words in your possession which you have a tremendous power over. Your ever increasing vocabulary is at your beck and call, ready and willing to perfectly craft your thoughts.

      Your words struck me down and I lie on the cold floor. And yet, I’m content and warm. I’m wrapped in the warm cocoon of your glorious outburst.

      Would someone hand me what’s left of my Bailey’s Irish Cream?

    • I love it when you write more powerful than you intended.

  9. Hey, Shaddy, Rodale’s Synonym Finderis the secret of my vocabulary. It’s priceless and I rarely go anywhere without it–all 1365 pages and two and a half lbs. of it.

  10. darksculptures: Heck, there’s more in the frig. Grab the bottle and sit on the floor with me. We can drink all we want and won’t have to worry about stumbling and falling down.

    What the heck, everyone’s invited. Bring your laptops and we’ll have another brawl like we did on Gully’s deck once upon a time. Remember that, Maureen?

  11. Words? They mean nothing to me.

    Just like the love of a good woman,
    Or a scotch while listening to jazz,
    Or the Granddaughter’s smile,
    Or the laughter of my mother.

    The writings of friends, old and new,
    The diction of the classics,
    The freshness of a new book,
    The comfort of Scriptures

    Words. They mean nothing to me.

  12. Ann,
    I love this and I totally relate. I am going through something so angering, so hard right now, and these words resonated with me:

    “but they are only black lines on white pages–symbols, not saviors, measly metaphors standing in for the poison of my pain
    as if they will cast me a line, a way out of here.”

    And then…what else can I do but write about it?

  13. Words are my world. The word “word” is only an “l” away from the word “world.”

    Without words
    Where wouldst I wander?
    How would I wonder?
    Weary and wilted,
    Without words
    For what would I wish?

    Winning the world
    with wonderful words
    Is the who, what, where and why
    Of me.

    • “…………I shall be telling this with a sigh
      Somewhere ages and ages hence:
      Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
      I took the one less traveled by,
      And that has made all the difference.”
      Robert Frost

      Describes our writing wanders does it not?

  14. A slave, I am
    A terrible master have I
    In a word, Words.

    They tell me where to go,
    Like so many others do also.
    They tell me what to do,
    As if I had no clue.

    They take me to exotic places,
    Door County,Moose Pass, Longleaf Preserve.
    They transform me into a villain
    Or the hero if I have the nerve.

    They teach me good English
    Hard for the Okie in me.
    They guide me through a class
    Like BWW or a quilting bee.

    They tell me of friends,
    New and old.
    Their lives and mine,
    Now entwined.

    My cruel master,
    The Words in me.

  15. WAlk and Shaddy: you guys rock!

  16. Words?

    Kind words?
    My breath,
    My soul’s heart,
    A delight.
    Hidden inside.

    Intelligent words?
    My substance,
    My minds exercise,
    written grit.

    Words have their dangers,
    Eerie, dark, sadistic side!

    Evil words?
    The stalkers,
    Strangling writes,
    Hope killers.

    Blah words,
    The borers,
    Blasé’ notes,
    Yawn inspired.

    The full gauntlet of words,
    A thesaurus delight
    Even, exasperating.

  17. I don’t need a reference,
    Not any old book.
    You say words without meaning
    You’re a thief, a word crook

  18. Hey, darksculptures? You rock, too.

  19. Walk (regarding your terrible master of which you spoke yesterday):

    Your master has a cruel grip, yet with that same hand he leads you to the yearning well within your soul and teaches you how to satisfy your thirst.

  20. I went to a dance, looking for romance,
    Saw Barbara Ann so I thought I’d take a chance With Barbaran, Bah, Bah,Bah, Bah,Babaran…

    You’ve got me going now Walk…

    …for I believe that I belong,
    by your side, WRITE or wrong…

    …lonely days are gone, I’m a goin’ home,
    my babe, she wrote me a letter…

    …bop, bop, do, bop…

  21. NaNoWriMo is visible
    Just over the hill.

    From where I now breathe,
    If I stretch my neck
    To see beyond the crest,
    A surging body of letters, words,
    Sentences, paragraphs and pages
    Beckons me to its edge.

    Must I reach into the ocean
    To select50,000 words
    From that nearly infinite
    Sea that boils up,
    Threatening to pull me
    Into its midst
    and to hold me down
    Gasping and thrashing
    For air to sustain me?

    No, they’ve no power.

    I choose to turn my back
    On those external enemies
    Of creativity
    Who long to destroy
    My chances of success.

    To reach my lofty goal
    I’ll ignore the endless
    Skirmishes between
    Words rivaling
    My consciousness
    For selection.

    My 50,000 words
    Will be brought up
    From within myself,
    Bubbling up, rising to
    The surface of their
    Own accord,
    Regardless of the
    Screams and grasping
    Of other voices.

    I will open up
    Onto page after page.
    Heedless to any
    Negative whispers
    That tiptoe from
    Behind and seek
    To mock me.

    Only freedom
    And positive vibes
    Will influence
    The movement
    Of my fingertips
    On the keys
    That will tell

  22. Cool, Shaddy. Hope all goes well in NOv.

  23. Hey!! I just pulled in here. Am I too late for the Bailey’s??? Hope not!

  24. Shaddy drank all the Baileys, but Walk has beer. I think Gullie has something stronger that she uses for those cold Alaska nights (Crown Royal?). Dark Sculptures has a case of champagne under her bed, and Kathy keeps a kegger under her kitchen table for emergencies. I’m not sure about Barbara (double tequila shots?), but Kathan drinks only scotch. I think that mean you bring the next bottle of Bailey’s, Natasha!

    • Eeewww! I don’t drink anything that has worms in it. I prefer a nice sweet port, the kind that coats the sides of the glass when you swirl it. Of course if I’ve had enough of that, I probably wouldn’t notice the worms in the tequila…..

    • 99 bottles of beer on the wall, 99 bottles of beer
      Take one down, pass it around
      98 bottles of beer on the wall

      98 bottles of beer on the wall 98 bottles of beer
      Take one down, pass it around
      97 bottles of beer on the wall

      etc, etc, etc,

      Of course by the time we got to 50 we wouldn’t care that the beer was warm, sitting on a wall.

  25. I’m on! And I’ll bring some Southern Comfort as well!

    • My ex-husband used to use that for cough medicine. He’d put the bottle next to the bed. Every time he coughed, he’d take a swig. It didn’t stop the coughing, but eventually he didn’t care anymore.

      • That’s too funny, Barb.

        That may be just what I need as a companion during NaNoWriMo, not your ex-husband, but the Southern Comfort. If and when my writing begins to get to me, I’ll take a swig (or two). My writing probably won’t improve but I won’t care as long as I keep cranking out the words.

        For fear of being considered an ex-friend, I promise to keep my drinking under control, okay, Barbara.

  26. It’s Maui Splash wine for me, thanks. Or, maybe a whiskey sour. Or two. The Crown Royal I use for whiskey cookies at CHristmas.

  27. Silly words?
    All wiggly
    Two of each one
    too much rum.

  28. Well, I think spirits for – ah – medicinal purposes will certainly be warranted during NaNoWriMo.

    And, Barbara, I’m with your ex-hub (figuratively speaking only, of course) in terms of the value of Southern Comfort.

    Shaddy, can you pour me another snort or two ?

  29. Words
    drifting in the dark
    just me and you
    the dream, the story
    whispering across the page

    before the sun comes up
    and shines its glaring light
    upon a world
    of broken, brazen noise

    floating amid the tears
    escaping indifference
    and trusting secret longings
    swimming inside the heart

    • …the story whispering across the page…

      You’ve lain down some priceless word pictures. I adore the one I rewrote above.

    • Wow! You never fail to pull me into your writing. This is lovely.

      • Barbara & Darksculptures–your comments are so very kind. I always go through the same ritual of thinking ‘what was I thinking’ when I click on the submit button. It drives me crazy.

  30. KathyH:
    That was beautiful!
    Take a bow!

  31. I take a walk with my mistress
    Never leaving my desk
    She pulls me in as she fill my head
    With visions of stories to be told

    That temptress who seduces me
    With smooth utterance of description
    Visions of a world not yet seen
    A love not yet felt

    I listen to this courtesan,
    And put ink to paper the discourse of confabulation
    The reasoning of lust for delectus
    A lexicon for my soul

    • Excuse me, Walk. Let me get my dictionary. I won’t let myself swoon until I know the meanings behind the words. Lust for delectus sort of shutdown the passion I was feeling.

      I’m sure it’s all good but you love to trick us and have done so once or twice over the years.

      Love ya anyway.

    • Well my goodness Walk, after looking up these words in the dictionary, and after re-reading your word poem over and over, I have come to the conclusion that your poem is magnificent.

  32. Walk. Walk. How wonderful. Better than online games, huh?

  33. Okay, I finally got caught up with reading everyone’s posts here. They made me laugh. They made me cry. And Walk? Yours made me scratch my head in ignorance. But since Shaddy came forth boldly and said she must get out her dictionary, I breathed a sigh of relief. Ah, my secret is still a secret. After I finish writing this comment, I am going to search for my dictionary and look up all those big words. Well, actually, soon as I finish this comment, I’m making a dive under the table after posting that horrific “poem”. Here’s the thing–I am not a poet and know absolutely zilch about them. Ah, here I go again–TELLING you all I can’t write poetry when my poetry SHOWS it. Anyone care to join me under the table? Word has it there’s a kegger under there. I don’t mind sharing…but you will have to bring your own paper cup.

    • I’ll join in the kegger, only because I want to be in the presence of a great writer and, yes, poet. Whatever do you mean you can’t write poetry? “Words” was wonderful.

    • I’m with Walk. Your poem is everything a poem should be.

      If a piece of written work, in whatever form, moves the reader, then whoever wrote it has done a fine job and should believe the feedback he or she receives.

      If you wrote as clearly as you could about the thoughts and feelings you had at the moment, then you’ve spoken and we’ve heard.

      In other words, Kathy, you did good and I hope you realize that.

      Help yourself to some corn candy. Here you go, I’m holding the bowl out to you. Oh, come on. Take a handful, I’ve got plenty more…and you’re entirely welcome, my friend.

      • Candy corn? Well, thank you Shaddy, don’t mind if I do have a little. Actually, I’m holding out both hands so fill ‘er up. Awwwhhh, my teeth are killing me! I saw some candy shaped like candy corn, only bigger and a lighter color. They were called ‘Turkey Toes’. I thought that was funny. But then, it doesn’t take much to make me laugh.

        Thank you for your kind words about my ‘non-poem poem’. I try. You are always so generous with your comments. They always make me smile. Good luck on your adventure with nanowrimo! I considered it for maybe half a second but it passed.

        Natasha- good to have you here. We’re all a bunch of nuts. Well, except for me. I’m the normal one…..

    • Kathy,
      It’s a beautiful poem. Thanks for sharing it.

      And, yes, candy corn and beer DO go together very nicely.

  34. Here’s my paper cup, but hold the candy corn. Never liked ’em. Marshmallows either.

    KathyH: I happened to like you poem a lot. A lot! And, I agree with Shaddy. If the reader is moved by the message, that makes it poetry.

    And Walk, the poetry you’ve been witing has to be much more satisfing than Bodacious Bling, or whatever online game it is that you’ve been playing,

    You guys WILL NOT believe what I did –tried to do — this evening. It doesn’t work well without the pictures, so go to my blog and find out.

  35. I wanted to contribute, but this is the best I can do at the moment. Here’s my minimalist (and minimal) take on Words:

    Words matter.
    Don’t they?

    Well: maybe;
    maybe not.

    –It’s the thought
    that counts.

  36. Words are for me
    what a soft rainfall is
    to a garden;

    Words are for me
    what a safety net is
    to the trapeze artist;

    Words are for me
    what a therapist is
    to the troubled and crazed:

    freeing me from
    the intense reality of life.

    I scatter the little messiahs
    across the pages;

    I sprinkle them with
    the sweat of my brow;

    I wage war with them
    all the while struggling to
    make sense of
    abstract thoughts that
    begin in my mind and end
    on a page stained with
    my own unique ink.

    Words are for me
    my mark on the world;

    Much like squirts of dog urine
    that proclaim:
    I was here.

    • Welcome back, Scribe. I have missed you! Reading your word poem made me realize how much I’ve missed your writing also. You have certainly left your mark here. I can relate to the lines ‘…struggling to make sense of abstract thoughts that begin in my mind and end on the page…’. And ‘…’freeing me from the intense reality of life’. And the ending, well, that is just priceless. I love it.

      • SCRIBE–well, I hit submit and then saw those misplaced little ‘…’ up there in my comment. Don’t ask me why they are there. Actually, it’s because its too early for me to be trying to use my brain! I need coffee!

  37. Shaddy….very, very mice.

  38. Oops/ Post haste again. “nice.”

  39. The words flow in,
    the words flow out,
    they crawl all over
    my head and …

    Oh, never mind.

  40. Ann forewarned us in BWW
    That the class would close
    After every one of us had written
    A 500-word piece of his own.

    500 words seemed a daunting task,
    Something too big to achieve myself.
    I asked Mary and John to help me
    But they were too far gone.

    On my own, I wrote then of words.
    How they’d hidden in dark corners
    And caves within my mind,
    Looking out with red beady eyes.

    I wrote 500 words about demons
    Whom I’d chased after with words,
    Exposing them to the light and
    Ridding myself of shame and guilt.

    Three years of writing have gone by.
    What about all the words?
    I don’t know,
    But I do know: Who I am.

    Now NaNoWriMo takes me
    For a long, long time
    On another trek
    Where words mark the way.

    I’m placing one foot down
    Then the other one follows.
    I don’t look at the path far ahead
    My soul knows the way.

    50,000 words instead of 500.
    What would Ann say
    If she knew I’m not afraid
    Because I know who I am.

  41. Wow, Shaddy, this is really powerful stuff! Thank you so much for sharing it. It’s an honor to be making this NaNoWriMo trek together.

  42. “Well if this just don’t beat all,” KathyH said as she surveyed the room. Empty bottles of Southern Comfort, Maui Splash, Baileys and something she’d never heard of, Pertsovka, lay across the floor. Paper cups littered the place. She rested her hand on the top of her table and it got stuck there. Someone had spilled something and now the entire tabletop was sticky. She managed to get her hand unglued and headed to the back of the room. The floor was speckled orange with candy corn, some scattered and some still in their little packets. She picked up an unopened packet and continued to the back of the room, mumbling as she slipped and slid across the candy corn. Ninety-eight bottles of beer was gone from the wall. A single bottle was left, forlorn and alone on the bottom shelf. She stood there amidst the aftermath with her hands on her hips. “Just like a bunch of “wrimos”. Throw a party the night before and one second after midnight, what do they do? They charge out of here like a bat out of hell, racing after what? Fifty thousand words, that’s what. And I get to stay here and clean up this mess,” KathyH hissed under her breath. “Well, listen up all you maniac wrimos, you just wait. Next year, maybe I will be a wrimo too. And then who will be left here holding the candy corn bag. Hmmmm?”

    KathyH took down the ninety-ninth bottle of beer on the wall, sunk down onto the floor and began singing…”ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall…take one down and pass it around…” but there was no one to hear her. Her voice echoed around the empty room. The wrimos had been gone for three days and had a long way to go. KathyH popped a handful of candy corn into her mouth and continued singing about the ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall.

    • Unfortunately, you’re right on about would-be novelists. They’re a bunch on no-good egotistical social misfits who drink too much, usually from the bottles of their faithful friends and then don’t know enough to stay and help clean up the mess.

      If you feel like singing, I say, sing by all means. There is always someone listening, even if you’re alone and your melody echoes from wall to empty wall. You know whose voice is rising above the mediocrity of just another day…who better to savor its quality than the one from whomst it comes.

      Regarding NaNoWriMo 2010, I’ll gladly hold a bag of candy corn throughout November if you pursue 50,000 words, but I’ll know better than to host a party on October 31st.

      Gully’s deck party and now yours. What kind of animals have we become?

  43. Funny, funny, KathyH. I apologize for spilling the sticky words on the table. I’ll clean them up, I promise. Next month.

  44. It’s a bit late to say so, but Shaddy, I’m glad you’re not afraid.

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