“can’t start a fire without a spark…”

From the initial strains of that heart-thumping, powerful melody, I feel like becoming a welder, writing three novels in succession, declaring my love to someone underneath their window, and building 100 cabinets. Joy, inspiration, fist-pumping energy–all from the moment that music starts.

Although I have many favorites by The Boss, I think this one perfectly captures that feeling we all get sometimes: just wanting to do something, no matter the hurdles, the potential obstacles, the dark. Per music lore, Springsteen wrote the song out of frustration from trying to write a hit single for the Born in the USA album. Music lore is music lore–and therefore largely unverifiable–but I think knowing that only adds to those incredible lyrics. The narrator wanting to simply make things happen despite himself, his own limitations, the world around him.

I get up in the evening
And I ain’t got nothing to say
I come home in the morning
I go to bed feeling the same way
I ain’t nothing but tired
Man, I’m just tired and bored with myself
Hey there baby, I could use just a little help

You can’t start a fire
You can’t start a fire without a spark
This gun’s for hire
Even if we’re just dancing in the dark

Message keeps getting clearer
Radio’s on and I’m moving ’round the place
I check my look in the mirror
I wanna change my clothes, my hair, my face
Man, I ain’t getting nowhere
Just living in a dump like this
There’s something happening somewhere
Baby I just know that there is

You can’t start a fire
You can’t start a fire without a spark
This gun’s for hire
Even if we’re just dancing in the dark

You sit around getting older
There’s a joke here somewhere and it’s on me
I’ll shake this world off my shoulders
Come on, baby, the laugh’s on me

Stay on the streets of this town
And they’ll be carving you up all right
They say you gotta stay hungry
Hey, baby, I’m just about starving tonight
I’m dying for some action
I’m sick of sitting ’round here trying to write this book
I need a love reaction
Come on now, baby, gimme just one look

You can’t start a fire
Sitting ’round crying over a broken heart
This gun’s for hire
Even if we’re just dancing in the dark
You can’t start a fire
Worrying about your little world falling apart
This gun’s for hire
Even if we’re just dancing in the dark

By the end of the song, when Clarence Clemons’ sweet saxophone wails as the song dies away, I’m typically walking around with my fists clenched and a plan to scale some mountain somewhere. Inspiration at its best, if you ask me. What song gets you moving/thinking/planning/inspired/wanting to be a welder?

The one and only time I wanted to be Courteney Cox...
The one and only time I wanted to be Courteney Cox. 
Advertisements

Autumn Promises.

morefallDear Autumn,

I promise to breathe you in when you get here, and I won’t mind that you arrive late and stay for just a little while, as you tend to do.

I promise to walk outside as much as possible and gaze at those orange moons you prepare for me.

I promise to take in the electricity of my favorite season and use that spark to write, write, and continue to write.

I promise to find the snazziest boots and skirts this side of planet Earth for my autumnal ensembles.

I promise not to worry when the days get shorter and the darkness seems more profound than usual. ‘Tis the season, right?

I promise to get myself to Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire–places where I know the vivid shades of you are waiting for me on a silver platter.

I promise not to allow the wishes to share my favorite season with a Mister by my side to prevent me from simply taking in your beauty (beauty is beauty, whether accompanied or solo).

I promise, though, to briefly wonder if the Mister might be waiting for me at the end of a leafy path…

I promise to defend you to those who complain about your brevity with a kind just enjoy it.

I promise to spend at least one afternoon outside with a good book and a mug of something yummy.

I promise to regard October and my greeting of a new age with curiosity, goals, and optimism. And if those things should fail, to simply laugh and move on.

I promise not to frown when I see you eventually pulling away from me at the end of your tenure, but to keep you alive with fiction, poetry, and James Taylor’s Walking Man.

Here’s to the coming autumn and enjoying every bit of it.

fallday

Storytelling and Nursery Rhymes.

In the end, I think it was inevitable that writing would become my passion. Starting from the beginning, my fascination with words and stories was engendered by the original, the best, and the most compelling storyteller of them all: my mother.

I remember watching her when she would tell a story. Her voice would dip into this low, quiet register. Every emotion that the story called for would pass across her beautiful face, causing the listener, particularly me, to breathlessly wait for the denouement. I’ll never forget the tale of her friend, Peace, whose life was turned upside down when she married a man no one wanted her to marry. I remember the stories of Anansi the spider, of the fables of Aesop, of curious events and people. Each and every time, my mother would weave the story as if it was happening right before my wide eyes. I was quickly intoxicated. She also read us fairy tales and nursery rhymes. To this day, there are some rhymes that I know by heart, by rhythm, by sound, all traceable to those times when my mom would read to my sister and me. A few of my favorites:

This fabulous lady and her girls. Me on the left, my sis on the right. Back in Ghana.
This fabulous lady and her girls. Me on the left, my sis on the right. Back in Ghana.
Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes, sir, yes, sir,Three bags full;
One for the master,
And one for the dame,
And one for the little boy
Who lives down the lane

Old King Cole was a merry old soul
And a merry old soul was he;
He called for his pipe, and he called for his bowl
And he called for his fiddlers three.
Every fiddler he had a fiddle,
And a very fine fiddle had he;
Oh there’s none so rare, as can compare
With King Cole and his fiddlers three.

When one of my friends requested that, for her baby shower, we gift her newborn with books, I immediately purchased a copy of nursery rhymes for her. Before wrapping it, my mom and I reminisced about those old days and all the rhymes I could still remember. I could definitely see how happy that made her.

I often credit my fourth-grade teacher, Mrs. Madeline Chrytzer, for starting the journey of my life as a writer. One afternoon, after running to her desk and professing my love for books and reading, she gazed at me with a smile on her face and said, “you know, you can write books too, one day.” I’ll never forget that moment; the sweet shock that I, too, could write the books that brought me so much joy and excitement. Quite a seminal moment. In hindsight, though, I was already born to be a writer. Mrs. Chrytzer fueled a flame that began with the woman who brought me into this fascinating world and proceeded to tell me all about it.

“i was reborn when i was broken…”

As promised. Yesterday, when I heard the opening lyric of my boyfriend’s masterful song, “Lifetime,” I was immediately reminded of a conversation I had with Laura. Essentially, we discussed how pathos inspires our fiction. Creation comes from chaos. And to be honest, to paraphrase my boyfriend, some of my best work has come from being/feeling broken.

20140513-232059.jpg

Don’t get me wrong–personal distress or being blue or working through stuff is root canal business. It stinks. Nevertheless, since I began writing seriously, I recognized that the catharsis that came from writing seemed to make what I was going through endurable. And for some reason, it made the process of writing, dare I say it, enjoyable.

20140513-232726.jpg

Can good times inspire? I can’t say. Actually, yes, I can. Good times, interesting times, head scratchy times, funny haha and funny weird times–these inspire blogging. I find blogging to be the outlet I need when life, in its many facets, intrigues me. But my fiction, my poetry…it’s 90% born from those moments when the blue tint of life needs to be wrangled by way of creative writing.

20140513-234249.jpg

Fellow writers, what are your thoughts? While you think about it, enjoy the sweet sounds of my beau, won’t you?

Herculean.

Oh, hi there. It’s been a while, huh? In short, I loathe winter and with all the polar vortexes and all that, my writing has been suspended by a lack of desire, inspiration, and general movement in my hands. But here we are. Hi, again.

This will be brief. I’m here to post a song that I find hard to not play 100 times in a row, something that pretty much exemplifies my absolute and near manic love of music. (I’ll write another post about music and writing and how, for me, the two go hand in hand.) It’s a song entitled Hercules by Sara Bareilles (if you’re not a fan of hers, I very much want to pinch you for this error in judgment) and I just think it sums up the struggle and the subsequent rallying that exists in the writing life, the female life, the daughter life, the sister life–essentially, everything it takes to be a woman and an artist living on this earth right now today. All encapsulated within an inescapable melody, lovely vocals, and a thumping beat. Listen, won’t you?

In the Corner of the Center of Your World.

so I revolve around your world, do I?
the gravitational pull within your cosmos?
believe what you want,
dearest,
but I fear the truth is shinier than the
stars above your supposedly impassioned head.
here I am,
in the corner of the center of your world,
relegated to afterthought, vague memory, the fabric of a lingering dream.
I starve for your attention while you fool me with galaxies.
well, simply leave me in the corner of the center of your world,
dearest,
in my tiny niche, my nook, my cranny,
and let me enjoy the real stars.