Tag Archives: feed the muse

All the World’s a Stage by William Shakespeare

All the World’s a Stage
by William Shakespeare
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman

O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman
O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up-for you the flag is flung-for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths-for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head;
It is some dream that on the deck,
You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won;
Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes

Dream Deferred
by Langston Hughes
What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore–
And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

There Is Another Sky by Emily Dickinson

There is Another Sky
by Emily Dickinson
There is another sky,
Ever serene and fair,
And there is another sunshine,
Though it be darkness there;
Never mind faded forests, Austin,
Never mind silent fields –
Here is a little forest,
Whose leaf is ever green;
Here is a brighter garden,
Where not a frost has been;
In its unfading flowers
I hear the bright bee hum:
Prithee, my brother,
Into my garden come!

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

Where the Sidewalk Ends
by Shel Silverstein
There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we’ll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.

Have You Been Called to Rise?

We Never Know How High We Are

by Emily Dickinson

We never know how high we are

Till we are called to rise;

And then, if we are true to plan,

Our statures touch the skies.

The Heroism we recite

Would be a daily thing,

Did not ourselves the Cubits warp

For fear to be a King.

Why did I choose this poem for my IWSG post? It speaks to the limiting nature of insecurity. Here is my interpretation:

We never know how high we are

Till we are called to rise;

We don’t know what we’re capable of until we’re tested.

And then, if we are true to plan,

Our statures touch the skies.

If we rise to the occasion, our confidence increases. We realize our limits have been self-imposed.

The Heroism we recite

Would be a daily thing,

We could do great things…

Did not ourselves the Cubits warp

For fear to be a King.

if we just believed in ourselves, but often our self-doubt prevents us from reaching our true potential. Fear holds us back. We’re afraid of the responsibility that comes with power.

“With great power comes great responsibility.” ~ Voltaire

For those who may not know, a cubit is an ancient unit of measure based on the distance between the elbow and the tip of the middle finger. “Did not ourselves the cubits warp” means that we misinterpret our self-worth, we distort our measure.

Don’t let fear hold you back. Rise to the occasion. Be a king.

What is the Insecure Writers Support Group?

IWSG badgePurpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time.

The IWSG is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. This month’s co-hosts are:  Laura at My Baffling Brain, Mark Koopmans, Shah Wharton, and Sheena-Kay Graham! Please visit their blogs and thank them for supporting this amazing group.

Are you an insecure writer? Would you like to join the group? Click here for the sign up page.

If by Rudyard Kipling

Do you read poetry? While I’ve read it occasionally, I have to admit it wasn’t something I routinely turned to.  I have my favorite poets and have shared a few of their works on this site.

After reading Ray Bradbury’s book Zen in the Art of Writing last year, I decided to make reading poetry part of my daily routine. Bradbury said you must feed the muse a diet of poetry, essays, and short stories. In fact, he recommended reading one essay, one poem and one short story every night before going to bed.

“Poetry, essays. What about short stories, novels? Of course. Read those authors who write the way you hope to write, those who think the way you would like to think. But also read those who do not think as you think or write as you want to write, and so be stimulated in directions you might not take for many years. Here again, don’t let snobbery of others prevent you from reading Kipling, say, while no one else is reading him.” ~ Ray Bradbury

 

If by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son

Conversations with My Kids: The Key to the Magic Kingdom

I was reading the post It Might Look Like Random Crap over at Ionia Martin’s blog Readful Things the other day. She was discussing the random things she cares about, and the first image she posted was a key. It reminded me of a conversation I had with my daughter a few weeks before her sixth birthday.

Me: What would you like for your birthday?

She contemplated the question for a moment, and this is what she said:

CJ: The key to the magic kingdom.

She doesn’t ask for much, does she? I was expecting something simple like a Barbie or a bike, or perhaps some clothes for the little fashionista, but certainly not this. Where does one find the key to the magic kingdom? No ordinary key will do. We’re talking the mother of all keys!

I told my sister about my daughter’s unusual request and she said, “Oh lord! Well, don’t worry. I’m going to find it.”

Being the wonderful aunt she is, she set out to locate it. Her quest took her to far away, and perilous places, places no mere mortal would dare go. Seriously. Have you ever been to Walmart? It’s downright terrifying. All manner of hideous creatures can be found loitering in the aisles. And if you happen to brave the place on Black Friday, you are putting yourself in grave danger. At least that’s what I’ve heard. I don’t shop at Walmart and I don’t set foot in any store on Black Friday.

But my sister was courageous, and after many valiant attempts to locate the key, she eventually she found it. No, it couldn’t be found at a place as common as Walmart. It was masquerading as a home decor item in an obscure little boutique, but my sister knew of its worth upon sight. This was the key to the magic kingdom, no doubt. Or at least that’s what she, and most importantly my daughter, believed.

Here is what the magical key looks like:

magic kingdom keyOkay, so maybe it’s not actually the key to the magic kingdom, but one thing I know for certain: my little girl has the key to my heart.

Conversations with My Kids: The Connection between God and E.T.

E_t_the_extra_terrestrialWhen my son was about four I caught him staring out the window one day, seemingly lost in thought.

Me: Whatcha doing buddy?

KJ: Just thinking.

Me: About what?

KJ: [glances at me] What does God look like?

Me: I don’t know. We can’t see him, but he’s always with us.

KJ: [considered my words and then looked out the window again] I think God looks like E.T.

Initially I fought the urge to laugh, but then I reflected on the movie we had recently watched.

E.T. the Extraterrestrial is a science fiction movie that was released in 1982. According to Wikipedia it was the highest grossing film of all time until the release of Jurassic Park in 1993. The main character is a little boy named Elliott. He and his family are trying to cope with the breakup of the parent’s marriage and an absentee father. It was a particularly difficult time in Elliott’s young life and he really needed a friend.

One night Elliott discovers an alien in his backyard. He fears the alien at first, but he’s still curious enough to get to know him. Elliott sneaks him into his home and they become friends. They develop a unique connection where they can communicate telepathically. They share thoughts, experiences and emotions. Elliott grows to understand E.T. through this metaphysical connection. He knows E.T. is kind and good, and that he misses his home.

E.T. soon occupies a special place in Elliott’s heart. He is protective of E.T. because he knows that many people won’t understand him. He knows they would want to keep him and study him as proof of the existence of life beyond our world. He knows that our world will kill him eventually, so he fights to get E.T. home. He is sad to lose his friend, but before E.T. leaves on his spaceship he reassures Elliot that he will be with him always. Here is a clip of that scene:

Apparently, my son got more out of the movie than I had expected.

Me: [hugging my sweet little boy] You just might be right, buddy. I think God is a lot like E.T.

Okay, I’ve watched that scene about a zillion times and it still gets me teary-eyed, especially when I think of this special moment with my sweet boy. {sniff}

The Lighthouse Shall Lead Me Home.

I was feeding the muse with poetry, trying to find the inspiration to move from 40k to 50k for NaNoWriMo, when I stumbled upon this poem. The imagery and emotion conveyed in this piece is breathtaking.

Poems & People

As the fading progeny of a burning god,
lights the heavens for today’s last breath,
I feel the warmth but for a moment’s nod
and behold the glory of that orb in death.
Although my path is lit with borrowed
and not as brilliant lights fluorescent,
yet fearful leads my bleakest road,
and I it’s traveler from eons spent.
Memories of all my past’s sunshine
and now its successor, these city lights,
shimmer on waves of sweet summer wine
an ocean drunk on this carnival of sights.
Will I see the end someday?
will I have one final chance?
to feel the scent of an ocean gray
and dance to heaven’s serene seance?
I ponder if I had every dream
and wish that I had ever made,
would I have known the sullen gleam
would I now tread the golden shade
of sand where my feet feel the shore,
my…

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