Tag Archives: work in progress

Self-Censoring

I haven’t written much, lately.
The last poetry I wrote was for submissions to an anthology/zine/something out in BC (I have no idea if my work has been accepted or not, or whether the anthology is still happening, as the organizer/editor is dealing with Life Stuff and has other things on their plate right now. Time will tell).
I keep going “but I’m tired”, and knowing that’s not really what’s up.
I mean, yes, I have two (both part-time) jobs + occasional other paid work, my social media feed is a landscape of fear, panic, and calls-to-action that is somewhat less-frequently interrupted with Emergency Kittens and kink discussion than it was two weeks ago, and I’m not sleeping too well these days, but when “I’m tired” – and, more-so, “I’m just tired” starts showing up in my interior monologue, I know it means something more than that.
 
Starhawk, in Truth or Dare talks about the gate of the censor (the book is constructed loosely around the Descent of Innana). She says:
 

Notice when you are bored, when the dull fog of the Censor creeps in. Ask: What is not being said here? What am I not seeing/saying/doing? What do I want to do? What do I fear?

 
This is what “I’m just tired” generally means for me. It means I’m self-censoring. I’m “tired” of… what? From what?
So I ask myself: What is not being said here?
My answer comes back:
 
I don’t want to write a break-up album. I don’t want my queer-poly poetry collection to be all sad and wistful stuff about loss. I don’t want my chap-book of femme-poetry glosas to just be me spending more femme energy on a masc who broke my heart.
 
I miss writing. I miss making the time to write, and I miss generating creative work, but I also miss the ritual of sitting down in a coffee shop, dropping $5 for coffee and a lemon square, and creating for a couple of hours without distraction (meaning: without access to the internet, which I can technically do at home by sitting in the front room rather than on the couch; but also meaning: without the guilt/shame around taking time to Art when my living room and kitchen are untidy). I feel guilty for wanting to take that time, and for wanting to spend that money, when I could be working in the shop to help my wife’s business grow (aka: to help us pay our bills) or donating to Standing Rock or emailing my prime minister about repealing Bill C-51 (among other things). But mostly? Mostly, I’m just embarrassed to be still processing a heart-break that happened almost a year ago (meaning: more time has passed since breaking up than passed during the entire, short-lived relationship), and I want to find something else to speak-from-the-heart about that will contribute to the works I have in progress.
 
Ugh. Ages ago, I read a horoscope for myself that said my break-throughs were going to come from the artistic-output equivalent of singing “Bed of Roses” in a really heart-felt way, while drunk at a karaoke party. So maybe I need to write the damn break-up album and be done with it?
 
I don’t know. I’m working at a cegep tomorrow. If I arrive early enough, maybe I can sit myself in their school cafeteria and scribble something while I wait.

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Femme Dykes Write Glosas (Apparently)

So, apparently, when you’re a femme-dyke poet, you write Glosas. (Thanks, Amber Dawn. 😉 )
 
Dorothy Chan has a poem featured at Matrix Magazine, written from the (theoretical) perspective of a Playboy Centrefold.
 
I find poems like this Interesting because, while there is a tonne of overlap between women who do sexwork and women who write poetry, as a professional naked person who has done plenty of this kind of modeling (albeit definitely not for those kind of excellent rates), I find myself wondering if Dorothy Chan has worked in this particular industry.
Maybe.
Maybe not.
(I admit to a suspicion of Not, but I’ve been wrong before, so hey).
 
So I decided to write a glosa using the last four lines of her featured poem.
I’d originally thought it would be one for “We Are All Jezebel” (a manuscript that I work on intermittently which looks at the intersection of femme, slut, and ho – as per Kathryn Payne’s essay in Brazen Femme) and talk about my own experience as a model doing glam nudes and boudoir shoots.
But that’s not how it worked out at all.
I actually wound up talking about hunger – hunger for food, hunger for sex, how food and sex and bound up together in my head andmy body in a way that has nothing to do with whipped cream and chocolate body paint and everything to do with being nurtured and fed on an emotional/heart level – about asexuality and eating disorders and needing to relearn “healthy eating habits” in my skin.
So it’s going to end up in “How to Cook a Heart” – the manuscript I work on much more frequently that explores queer polyamourous love & desire and the building of chosen family through the lens of local-seasonal food (growing it, cooking it, preserving it, sharing it, you name it…).
 
Here’s a sample of what I wrote today:
 

can almost taste her
the edge of memory burns
my tongue on her hip bone I sob
at a kiss
I’m allowed to crave
or am I? This sheath shows every flaw
I want to shrug off
let you have me like this
open
straps falling down, breasts out, bending my body over,

 
It’s a work in progress, as they say. 😉
 
 
TTFN,
A.

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Prose, Poetry, and Shifting Priorities

So, upon saying Yes to doing a show this coming June, I set The Novel aside (temporarily…) in order to focus on writing the raw material for what will, by the time the show rolls around, be a (hopefully) gorgeously-polished chapbook about my experiences as a Professional Naked Girl.
But I gathered up most of those poems yesterday and I’ve got about the right amount, plus a few extras. They still need to be worked on – some polished, some straight-up finished, some (probably) combined to make new, individual poems – but I’ve got enough stuff pulled together that I feel fairly safe bringing prose back onto the table, in some way at least.
To that end, there is this: WritingChallenge.org
Which comes with this handy little essay on Why 500 Words A Day Works for Me (and Might Work for You), which I’m just going to leave here for people to find and read. Go ahead. It’s handy stuff. 🙂
 
Tonight is the VERSeFest Volunteers event, so I’ll be hanging about with other Awesome Poetry People this evening.
TTFN,
A.

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Show! (Long Time Coming, Not Here Yet)

A poet I admire asked me if I would like to read with her.
I said yes.
We are going to do a show together in the summer, possibly with a third poet.
We will be making zero money as the door-take will be going to a local non-profit – although she and the potential third poet will have books/chapbooks to sell – but it’s a show. I haven’t done a show in over a year at this point, so I’m quite looking forward to it.
 
And, hey. Now I have an external deadline by which to be finished one, ideally two, manuscript(s). So that’s a handy thing as well.
 
 
TTFN,
A.

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Yet Another Project – National Poetry Month 2014

So, now that VERSeFest is over for another year, and National Poetry Month has officially begun, I find myself inspired (and also encouraged by my lovely wife) to get a full-length manuscript finished.
 
My plan – inspired, in a round-about way, by a poem called “Food” on the subject of microgastronomy – is to write two poems per day (maybe more, in some instances) following the months of the year and the foods that become (or are most) available during each month. So I have a poem called “Cabbage Water” that fits into January’s cycle, another one called “Rhubarb” that fits into June, and a third, “Coming”, that is for April. Just as a couple of examples.
 
I sat down, the other day, and came up with titles – this is a trick I learned in a poetry workshop, umpteen years ago – so that I’d have jumping-off points for all of the poems. Most of them are pretty clear, and having significant associations with the timing and the… foodways? economic realities? socio-seasonal activities?… that go along with each title, each item on this grocery list of a ToC, I have a pretty good idea of where these poems are likely to go. Writing about garlic mustard and necessity, serviceberries and unexpected abundance, bread and heart(h), river-thaw and hope.
 
They aren’t all about food. Some of them are about techniques, a few of them are about waiting, anticipation (April is made of waiting and anticipation, I-tell-you-what).
 
Anyway. We’ll see what happens.
 
 
TTFN,
A.

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Fulcrum – Poetry of Power and Pleasure IV

Fulcrum
 
The mastiff at your feet knows
a different shape
and the dragon, too
coiled around you
dangerous protection
captive princess
balanced between them
I see you
dancing in your chains

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Word Count Guidelines!

Just posting this here for future reference: On Word-Counts and Novel-Length.
 
I have this problem as well, thinking that 80,000 words is “not long enough” for a “real novel”. What I write is still on the very short end of things, even for a Category Romance (for example), which is good to know. Erring on the side of too short is… still too short. It’s easier to cut than to add, after all. But getting a draft done and then looking for the holes that need to be filled is a good place to start on that front.
 
 
TTFN,
A.

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Skin Whisperer – Poetry of Power and Pleasure III

Skin Whisperer

Breathe in
scent of rubber
gasping
I can take your breath away
but I prefer to play
with skin
handle you with kid gloves thin
as breath
thin as whispers
hand in glove
a lighting touch in leather
skin touching
my skin touching
your skin

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No Fooling – Poetry of Power and Pleasure II

No Fooling
 
Hard edges softened
by time and tread
asphalt crumbling
concrete turning to water
smoothed stone
 
So your hard edges soften
when the camera goes dark
leather and ink are only skin
broken in and
soft
your scowl melts
water-smoothed
not fooling
anyone

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Aflame – Poetry of Power and Pleasure I

Aflame
 
shadows move
flickering light melts
hollows into basins of blue
and white
wax
molten
trickle and splatter
red and black
this yearning
this desire is
a flame

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