Out Of The Blue

Poetry, Day Six: Screen

You’re reading these words on a screen. Screens — comforting, addictive, inescapable — are everywhere, especially when we read and write (and blog). Today, write a poem about, against, or in homage to the screens in your life. Or write about some other kind of screen — for example, the one stretched across your window, or the piece of cloth on which movies are projected at the theater.

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It chased me in my dreams

it chases me when I wake

Facebook

              why do you follow me

              into the bathroom?

Facebook

              why do you care what I eat

                                          what I wear

                                              what I think?

Are you a God?  A Devil? A Demon?

      You judge my harshly Facebook, you frown upon me, scold me

         When I chose to think

             for myself

                   or chose to be

                                alone.

Facebook

               You ask when I sin

                       when I vote

                           when I’m good

                                      and when I’m bad.

                                          Did I fly a Rainbow flag?

                                             Did  I weep for the kittens

                                                left in a bag, on a road

                                                    all alone

                                                         defenseless in the cold?

Facebook

                                                 Do you think you

                       are

                                 Santa Claus?

My Mom or my Dad?

                                           Because I  know you are not

                           I’m glad you’re not.

  You have

no passion

no Soul

housed

in your cyberbones.

Facebook

   I wish we could

pull your plug, cut  your cord

 live again

without

stating

repeating

endlessly

relentlessly

to the very end

of each and every day.

Facebook

How can we turn you off, turn you away, live for the moment

 without looking down

without looking away.

We can live out of the blue.

Facebook

we

existed

without you

before.

Bill Traylor

Bill Traylor

June 1, 2016

tumblr_mj3yp2bYMB1qghk7bo1_500WAVE THAT FIST!

SHAKE THAT BONY FINGER.

SPEW, RANT, RAVE.

BURN THE WORLD DOWN

DON’T LET ME STAND IN YOUR WAY.

BESIDES.

I

DON’T

CARE.

WHEN YOUR RAGE IS SPENT AND YOU ARE LONG GONE.

I’LL WRITE ABOUT YOU, SING ABOUT YOU, PUT YOU IN A SONG.

AND THEN.

I’LL

EAT

GELATO.

If My Eye Offends Thee

The Artist’s Eye

Is there a painting or sculpture you’re drawn to? What does it say to you? Describe the experience. (Or, if art doesn’t speak to you, tell us why.)

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One Summer I decided to learn about art, paintings and sculptures. So I studied the works of various artists-and found I  wasn’t partial to any at the time.

Then I took  class and ended up at a gallery.

It turned out that even though it was an Introduction class, most of the people in it could have taught the class themselves. Or maybe the ones who didn’t know about art kept their mouths shut because they were intimidated and were able to look really smart.

I’m sure I was coming across as one of the dogs who tilts their head to the side when you talk to them- but what the heck, I was there to learn.

As we went from painting to painting,  people in the class took turns impressing each other with their knowledge. It was hard to sort it out, but it sounded like they were saying the same thing.

I finally sucked it up and I volunteered some info about what I saw and wouldn’t you know it? I was looking at the painting I had read about the artist, I scanned the cheat sheet- I mean ” program” they handed out at the door but was told I didn’t understand what what the painting was ” saying”.

From that point it went on.

I had never been called stupid in so many classy big words in my life.

I felt like a door had been slammed shut in my face.

Fine, I thought. That’s just fine.

Pompous jerks- why on Earth would I spend my hard earned money to be called ignorant…excuse me ” a novice…ho ho ho. “

It was years before I went into another gallery again.

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It seems fitting that after being banished from the world of art, I should be welcomed  back by this painting:

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This is Lucifer by Franz Von Stuck.

He was hanging on a wall, in a place of prominence- or maybe it just felt that way on the day I saw it for the first time.

It was funny because people wouldn’t walk up to it and stare- they didn’t walk around it and stand in different spots on the floor to observe it the way you’re supposed to in order to see the painting from different perspectives ( I actually liked learning to do that ).

It was the biggest, loneliest picture in the room- given that I had no idea it was such a famous picture- but I knew I liked it because I understood it and I’m not going to eat it and  say  I’m wrong.

As I stood there admiring Lucifer, I saw the anger, the loneliness and the defiance of his situation. Maybe nobody wanted to be reminded how easy it is to be in that place. I don’t think anyone wants to be in that situation- and they probably don’t want to be at the receiving end of that anger burning in those yellow eyes.

Some of us have cast aside people we claimed to love, to care about. We have all held someone up and that dropped them to the depths of Hell and watched them burn.

If I were such a person, I don’t think I’d like this picture-because somewhere is someone thinking of you with the same exact look on their face.

I guarantee it.

Now there’s a thought that would scare the Hell out of people.

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Since that day I have become a great admirer of Von Stuck. I love his paintings- the stories they tell, and I don’t really care if I’m ‘wrong’ or if I’m not seeing it the ‘right way’.

I’ve gone on to admire other works- but Franz is my favorite because he opened the door to a world that had been closed to me and my life has become a little richer for it.

Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach

Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach

As a writer I have learned that good stories take on a life of their own- that when someone reads your work and they  see it in their head, you know you’ve struck a chord and your story will live.

It goes out into the world and grows and spawns new ideas and other work.

If you’re an artist, isn’t that what you want?

Or am I not seeing this the ‘right way’?

landscape-with-storm.jpg!Blog

I Only Read It For The Articles

right

Some of you, who are not pure of heart and spirit, may remember the joke people made when they got caught reading Playboy:

” I only read it for the articles.”

We all knew that was balderdash- people weren’t reading Playboy they were LOOKING at Playboy.

I’m not here to judge- and if you want to look at pictures of naked people be my guest.

What I’m here to do is point out that people are dragging that sold old punch line out and they’ve applied it to…

FACEBOOK.

really

Facebook is all about the pictures- we just have a hard time admitting that. So we write little quips and string together one liners and call it communication- but really it’s all about the pictures.

I think it’s fine if people are using Facebook as a way to communicate  if they’re housebound or in a place where for some reason making actual human contact is a challenge.

Moreover not everyone can be a storyteller- so if you want to share your dinner or pictures of your dog and kids and night out with your friends with other people who do that- knock yourself out.

But if you’re a writer ( for example ) Facebook is a creative killer.

Instead of taking those ideas that could turn into actual stories or posts or articles, they disintegrate into a Meme. Or you skip it altogether and instead of turning a person you know or met by chance into an interesting character you just slam this on your wall and call it a day:

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That’s not writing.

It will never be writing.

If you’re a writer don’t fool yourself, you’re not sharing an idea or telling a story. You’re doing the hi-tech version of writing on a bathroom stall.

In the old days picture above would have ended up in the margin of my notebook and I’d have turned it into a  story about two people who end up willing to fight to the death for a parking space- and then when they realize they’re deadlocked they make a deal with the Devil.

Nobody ever will comment under that picture” and what happened next?”

The point I’m trying to make is, if I want to share something  a story about my dog or how my same old daily bus ride is more then it appears or how I saw something strange or cruel or funny- I can do more then slam a picture on FB and post under it:

LOLZ

Or

REALLY?

books

I’m supposed to be a writer. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to be or do.

I shouldn’t settle for  doing less when I know I have so much more to offer.

weirdtype

The trick is letting go of Facebook.

I’ve bought into the notion that this is where people ‘live’ now and if I don’t live there I will not be living at all.

That can’t be true.

It just can’t be.

Write Like An Egyptian

Everything Changes

Walking down the street, you encounter a folded piece of paper on the sidewalk. You pick it up and read it and immediately, your life has changed. Describe this experience.

I didn’t find this story on a piece of paper floating down the street.

In the real world nobody uses paper to send notes- they don’t even Write anymore. They print. Probably in blocky letters because that’s what we see on our phone screens and laptop screens and what ever screen is attached to the electronic device that  we HAVE to carry with us.

I mean, all of these devices are our secondary brains now.

You know that right?

*** Images embargoed for publication until 15th April 2008 *** BBC Picture shows: One of The Ood. Episode 3. Planet of the Ood. TX: BBC ONE Saturday 19th April 2008 WARNING: Use of this copyright image is subject to the terms of use of BBC Pictures BBC Digital Picture Service. In particular, this image may only be published in print for editorial use during the publicity period (the weeks immediately leading up to and including the transmission week of the relevant programme or event and three review weeks following) for the purpose of publicising the programme, person or service pictured and provided the BBC and the copyright holder in the caption are credited. Any use of this image on the internet and other online communication services will require a separate prior agreement with BBC Pictures. For any other purpose whatsoever, including advertising and commercial prior written approval from the copyright holder will be required.

My sister told me this story and it was so weird and almost unbelievable that I went and  looked it up.

Some schools are no longer going to teach cursive and do you what some of them have offered as a reason? It’s a waste of time. Funny considering most kids can’t tell time on a clock with or without numbers on its face anymore.

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I have a theory, people aren’t writing at all anymore. They communicate in pictures.

Check your Facebook wall.

We use pictures with little quips to express complete  thoughts and ideas.

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The Egyptians did that. They wrote in pictures- but guess what. Those symbols made the same sound ever single time.

 You couldn’t use random pictures to express random ideas or to let someone know your dog or cat died ( pictures of rainbows over a bridge…that’s all you have to ‘write”) You just slam that on the interwebs with your dog’s name and everyone will know what you ‘mean’.

I remember when I was learning cursive in the  3rd grade ( I’d have been about 9 years old ) , we had these workbooks and until you got the exercises perfect you had to print your schoolwork.

I worked like a son of a gun to be ‘perfect’ so did my friend Darren.

But we had the worst penmanship in class and the only reason we got to final write in cursive was the entire class had perfected their penmanship so we got in by default.

Still, I loved writing in cursive even though our teacher  told me and Darren in front of our entire class if he could had held us back and forced us to print for the rest of the year he would have.

So he came up with a new grading system just for us. I could get an ” A ” on my spelling test and an “F” in penmanship so it would knock my grade down to a ” B” or ” C”. Didn’t matter if I spelled every single word write and got the answers right on my test, he still bust me down to a lower grade because my writing was bad.

He didn’t do that to anyone else but me and Darren- because you know, we had the worst writing so it was a special system just for us.

Just as a side note, our teacher went on to be a Missionary. I  had hoped he’d end up in one of those places where there were head hunters and cannibals and he’d end up with his head on a stick or stewing in a pot.. Instead he ended up in a place where he hated the people and they hated him right back. So he returned to our school a few years later where he talked about the ” ignorant savages” who couldn’t be saved ( you really shouldn’t talk smack in a small town ) and when I saw him I said, with genuine disappointment: 

” Oh. You’re alive.”

HIERO2

My point is this: I worked hard to learn cursive- and I had to learn it from a teacher who thought cetain  kids were ‘savages’. So it was a struggle and the day I was allowed to write in cursive was a big day- even though I took a verbal slap to the face on the day it happened.

Cursive isn’t just putting pen to paper- along with telling a good story, or writing a letter it should be pleasing to the eye and the brain. It takes time and it’s worth it.

It actually helps you think about what you’re writing when you can’t just throw up a picture or race across a keyboard.

For a moment, just consider the Egyptians.

Consider all of the work that went into it when they wrote.

When you  look at  what they wrote you can see the beauty and the grace in it.

What’s wrong with having that in your life? With being able to create it, even if it’s just on a shopping list or a note telling your kid to feed the dog.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it at all.

We could all do with a little more of those two things in our lives.

HIERO1

 

Just A Taste…

Humble Pie

Tell us about a time you found out after the fact that you’d been mistaken and you had to eat a serving of humble pie.

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Hmmm, how do I answer this…when the last time I ate Humble Pie or had it very nearly  rammed down my throat with a backhoe?

I have chosen to live a life where being right is ALL THAT MATTERS, WINNING ALWAYS MATTERS, IF YOU ARE WRONG THEN DIE! DIE! DIE!

There is no coming back from being wrong  in the Universe I live in.

Pronounce a word wrong…nose slap, wear the wrong color, shame on you! Support the wrong candidate- OMG if you lose  you have to show up on your knees on election night and apologize for being such an idiot for NOT SEEING THE LIGHT.

So when do I not eat Humble Pie?

When I’m right.

When am I right?

Hardly ever.

Do I ‘fess up?

Well….

When you are surrounded by people who need to be right at all costs and you will never win  and frankly it doesn’t really matter anymore  so you spend a lot of your time smooshed on the road to Self Righteous and Smug all you can do two things:

Laugh.

Or Laugh Hysterically.

I’ll be damned if I eat anything I don’t want to.

So when was the last time I ate Humble Pie?

I fucking don’t.

What She Said

One of my favorite memoirs was written by Carol Burnett.

It’s called called One More Time-

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I enjoyed Carol’s book because of the way she wrote about her family and friends. The people in her book were in glorious technicolor.I felt could see them as I read her book. On the other hand my family is full of vivid characters so I could relate.

So, where is this going.

I have been off looking for ideas, listening to music and probably eating to many snacks but it was worth it.

I was cruising around FB one day when I ran across a post in a Writer’s Group and an editor posted something where he said this would probably upset people but… ( oh translated this means I’m going to screw with you guys but that’s okay, right?)

his point:

You are NOT a writer because you say so, because that’s what you do. You are not a real writer or an author until someone like him edits your book, you gain ‘approval’  and you end up  getting paid.

I have three little stories about that.

First:

When I was just starting out as a guitarist I used to get offers to join bands- as a singer, but not as a guitarist because these bands were looking for “Professional Guitar Players.”

This criteria was set by 16-19 year old BOYS.

I told my music teacher I was sick of hearing that and what did it mean anyway?

My teacher told me, ” Professional means paid. “

He told me to run through the song I had been working on, I did, he reached into his  pocket and handed me a dollar. ” Here, you’re now a paid musician. You’re professional. Congratulations.”

As to the milestone- getting paid  and published.

Well, by a very rough estimate I won prizes and awards for my writing that ended up being worth a serious chunk of cash before I hit 17, so I guess by those standards I was a professional writer too.

I was in scholastic magazines that went state-wide and I think in a few other cases further than that.

The first time that I was ‘recognized’ as a writer was for   a poem and a short story I wrote about a demon cat.

My teacher was so impressed he passed it  around to other teachers and writers-   all the way to ones who taught college.

That’s right I was EVALUATED and my teacher put together my own lesson plan for the next two years so I could develop my gift, my other  teachers followed it to Junior High and it stopped in Highschool because Creative Writing was only taught to Sophomores.

So I applied for extended credit I came up with a new lesson plan and got credit towards Graduating  high school for writing.

So my story and poem ( which I hate writing poems and that was the only one I have ever written)  were entered in contest I’d never heard of and all I know is I got a check for 20.00 and a certificate and a copy of the magazine which in my infinite wisdom as a 10 year old ( this was in 1973), I cut my stuff out and threw the rest of the magazine away :::facepalm:::

But hey, OTHER people SAID I was a writer and I was good. I was only 10 but whatever right? I was APPROVED BY A HIGHER AUTHORITY

And :

I was in another group where we were doing peer reviews and the only piece out of the dozen or so stories that an editor/writer  liked  ( which was good actually ) she got up and said and I quote ” YOU WROTE IT EXACTLY THE WAY I WOULD HAVE. THIS IS FANTASTIC!”

Oh seriously, really?

Back to Carol’s book.

One of my favorite quotes was by Carol’s Grandma, ” Nanny”. When Nanny thought you were being how can I say this…you were being a mindless fool, she would say, ” You make my Ass want to chew tobacco.”

Now the imagery in that slays me.

I love it.

When I read those criteria by people who I will never know about what it takes to ‘be a writer ‘ and that most people who read what they said about what it takes to’ be a writer’,  will probably never meet and that they took it upon themselves to  define people because they have access to the internet and  that more then a few people would be discouraged by them all I can say to those haters is:

” You make my ass want to chew tobacco. Shut the hell up, go write something  meaningful that could actually help shape a writer or the world in general or give blood or do something useful with your life.

And if you are out there writing, and living the experience and it’s an important part of you life then yes you are a writer.

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise

EVER.

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ps I fucking hate bullies

amm