Before I announce an exciting piece of personal writing news, I want to share a poem I wrote. I loved my poetry class in college. The teacher, my classmates and the workshops all had groovy vibes. My fiction class, however, was full of pretentious a$$holes, including my teacher. My teacher thought I was awesome because I was great at meeting deadlines and following instructions, which is something many writing majors have issues with. That class and my recent rejection from KSU’s Share Magazine (and other failures) inspired me to finally express my thoughts regarding the smarmy attitude of starving artist writers:
The funny Poet’s Rant
I’m a funny poet.
That makes Debbie Downer writers frown down,
and that’s not what I’m going for,
though I get where they’re coming from.
In the past I’ve been criticized,
for being simple, whimsical and light,,
instead of wallowing in reality,
or lamenting about life,
or describing the peeling paint on a barn wall,
with excruciating detail.
I went the other way,
making light of dark,
and laughter from life,
but to the too serious artist,
laughs are not literary,
puns aren’t poetry,
rhymes are not realism,
and limericks are games.
They are labeled as easy,
and lacking in depth.
The best humor,
is realized when you hit rock bottom,
and fall face first in a puddle.
You see your reflection,
and laugh in your own face,
because making fun of life’s obstacles,
and making light despite your situation,
is really art.
Having the last laugh takes,
patience, complexity, simplicity and quick timing.
Why overstate the obvious,
when you can find something more intelligent and ironic,
As a new beginning, I sent queries out for my children’s book series about Mr. Socks the cat. I sent ten to start, and I hope to get a nibble. Here is the beautiful illustration Joie Brown did, and the corresponding stanzas, as a sample for my fans:
“…Mr. Socks met pirates,
the captain and his crew,
and they liked Mr. Socks so much
they made him a pirate, too.
The crew had tea with mermaids,
one pink, one blue, one green.
Then another friend came by for tea,
a giant whale named Eugene…”
Finally, I did a Found Poem for my fridge piece this week, and I’m really enjoyed creating it. I had a burst of energy yesterday morning, like star power in a Mario game, and I was able to utilize that short period of “I can conquer the world” time to work on my receptionist blues song and read all the sources for my collaborative piece. It made a morning with no breaks bearable. Here it is:
Found Poem – A poem constructed by taking words, phrases, and sometimes whole passages from other sources (Poems to documents to everyday writings) and reframing them as poetry.
I took poems that made refrigerator references and compiled each line into one poem. Only one line does not have the word fridge or refrigerator in it because I wanted a line with the time I do my cleaning. I have sources for each reference available upon request, if you want to second guess my research skills and work ethic. J
Hearing the mantra of the refrigerator,
my head sits in his fridge,
a knee-high fridge stocked,
of all perishables sealed, wrapped-up and hurried back into the fridge’s uncontaminated airlessness,
[I] put them back in the refrigerator,
[and] pulled two six packs from the fridge.
Opening the fridge I said quietly and perhaps too seriously, trying to impress you:
“My mother lives alone and eats little, but her fridge is always crammed.”
The refrigerator laughs at [me] from its dark corner,
at 4:45, as usual.
To the one at the fridge,
to the refrigerator,
that looks like a moldy refrigerator.
The half-eaten square of lasagna in the fridge,
The sink, the fridge, the lave-vaiselle,
a list of chores and a stocked refrigerator –
[I go] to the fridge and [clean] up the leftovers.
I love your funny poet’s rant. It happens like that in a lot of artistic industries. The heavily cerebral ones have a certain distaste for those of us who choose to take a lighter, more literal path. They don’t believe that our lighthearted-ness and whimsy can possibly MEAN anything deeper that what’s on the surface. And fine, let them continue to think that way. They’re just missing out. Creativity doesn’t have to be all doom, gloom and the human condition. There’s a whole other side to it that can still connect with the audience, and even uplift them as opposed to bring them down. Lighthearted doesn’t mean simple. It just means some of us have a strength to find the silver lining when the other creatives would rather marinate in their own sadness.
It’s so true. When writing the rant and revising it, I thought of our discussions on art snobs thinking illustrations aren’t really art. Life sucks sometimes, so why would I want to spend my writing time, a time to escape and deal with said suckiness, being all drab and like Pinkamina Diane Pie at the rock farm? I prefer rainbows, especially Sonic Rainbooms! Much more epic.
Amen. A time to escape isn’t always for focusing on the negative! Sometimes you have to reflect on negative things in order to reconcile them, but why cling onto them to feed your creativity? Not all pieces of art need fuel from dark experiences, and in my opinion, a lot of artists tend to cling to their baggage for fear that if they deal with it and let it go, they will no longer have that fountain of creativity. They don’t realize that the very act of dealing with something and moving beyond it creates new inspiration all its own– and that then their subject matter can be more lighthearted but is just as powerful as before.