Writer’s Quote Wednesday // Zachary Schomburg

Hello, hello, and welcome to the middle of the week, dear readers. If you are feeling a little run down or if Friday is feeling a little too far away, I encourage you to check out Writer’s Quote Wednesday, a weekly event hosted by Colleen of Silver Threading and Ronovan of Ronovan Writes.

For my contribution this week, I have chosen a quote from the poet Zachary Schomburg.

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zacharyschomburg1Zachary Schomburg was born in Omaha, Nebraska, and raised in Iowa. He earned a BA from the College of the Ozarks and a Ph.D. in creative writing-poetry from the University of Nebraska.

His books of poetry include The Man Suit, Scary, No Scary, and Fjords vol 1. He has said of his work, which is known for its absurd, tender humor, “Mostly I want my poems to generate their own energy through confusion. I want my poems to confuse the reader. Not a confusion in a cognitive or narrative sense, but in an emotional sense.”

Schomburg co-edits Octopus Books and lives in Portland, Oregon.

“If a poem doesn’t scare you, or doesn’t push your heart up into your throat, then don’t do it like that. You’re doing it wrong.”

// Zachary Schomburg, “Poetry as Violence,” published in Evening Will Come

I used to hate poetry. I hated reading it; I hated writing it, I hated feeling so stupid and inadequate when I came into contact with it in any form. I hated it, but I wanted to be a better writer, so I took on the challenge.

I tried a few poems out here and there, some of my own and some belonging to others, and now I hate it because I love it so much.

With poetry, it is nearly impossible for me to hide any part of myself but there are things I am not ready to bring into the light. I love that I am getting down to the real me, the raw parts of myself that live underneath what I think I am and what the world wishes for me to be. I hate that it is happening almost without my consent.

The words come from a place that doesn’t quite feel like me, and yet they are more me than the ones I chose deliberately. The process is mysterious, and I can’t even be sure I enjoy it. Yet, I can’t stop.

I haven’t written a lot of poetry, but I get the feeling that when I do—and maybe when other poets do too—I feel like I am trying to explain and heal the same wounds over and over again. Wounds I’m not always sure I am ready to show so plainly.

I try to beat around the bush. I try to skirt the actual saying of the thing I want to say, but the poem won’t allow it. The poem is doing the saying, and the poem is saying what hurts. I don’t always want to be so open but to contain what I am feeling when I am writing feels wrong. It feels fake and pointless.

So poetry has become something I enjoy, but also something that is both unpredictable and scary. Poetry fills me with excitement and anxiety, but I suppose that is a good thing. I imagine that any art that feels unpredictable and scary is the kind we should all be pursuing. I imagine that is how we can be sure we are saying something important, something that needs saying, something that is worth saying.

To say anything less would be to waste both the readers and the writer’s time.

And none of us have any to waste.

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Original image via digboston

Biographical information via the Poetry Foundation

Short and Sweet Reviews // Paper Girls, Vol. 1

My name is Erin Tieng, I deliver newspapers, and…and my friends and I need help, please.

// Brian K. Vaughan, Paper Girls, Vol. 1

Written by the talented Brian K. Vaughan and beautifully illustrated by Cliff Chaing, Paper Girls follows four teenage girls as they set out to deliver newspaper very early one morning in the year 1988. These girls are just the kind you would expect to be out on their bikes in a predominately male occupation. They like video games, they smoke, they carry a hockey stick for protection, and they curse a lot.

Very quickly you realize that this is no ordinary morning. Strange things happen, aliens arrive, time travel ensures, a gun goes off once or twice, and these girls are caught up in the middle of it all.

“Turns out, the older you get… the more everything just turns to shit.

You girls are lucky you’ll never have to find that out. ”

// Brian K. Vaughan, Paper Girls, Vol. 1

I hadn’t heard of Paper Girls before I bought it. In fact, I was at the bookstore looking for a gift for someone else entirely when I saw it, just one copy on an endcap. I picked it up because of the beautiful cover art, and as I flipped through the pages, I was drawn to the incredible use of pastel colors throughout. It was a book about girls with a lot of girly colors, and yet, it didn’t feel “girly.”

I could tell from the scan that it contained a ton of bad language, aliens, and something about time travel—a few of my favorite things—and I knew I had to have it.

I can’t say that it was everything I hoped it would be. I am a big fan of Vaughan’s Saga series and to me, this was nowhere near as exciting or interesting as that. Then again I don’t think anything is, that series set the bar too high and has severely skewed my expectations.

What I will say is that Paper Girls has my attention. I love the small town, the late 80s setting, I liked the instant action, I liked the girl-centric theme, and I loved the artwork. I had a few gripes; the plot moved too fast at certain points, and I am a bit confused about a few things. My hope is that everything will be made clear in future volumes.

All in all, I was left feeling anxious to know what comes next, and I will definitely be picking up the next volume.

I encourage you to check it out too and if you do, or have, please, let me know what you thought of it :)

“…you girls… reminded us… of us…
…kids just trying… to make a living…
are always… the good guys…”

// Brian K. Vaughan, Paper Girls, Vol. 1

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Speak Nothing but the Truth, Your Truth

Hello dear readers and happy Monday! I know I know, Mondays aren’t supposed to be happy days, but let’s imagine for a moment that they are. Let’s imagine that Mondays are the days when we get to start all over again. Let’s imagine all the bad things that happened last week don’t matter anymore and that we’ve been given a second chance to do it all right again. If that were the case wouldn’t you be a bit more excited about Mondays?

Yes, you would, so let’s make that dream a reality. Treat this Monday as your big chance to get out there and get shit done!

For me, this Monday has been a rough one. Not because anything bad has happened, it’s just that I know I am going to be busy, plus it is that time of year again when we all bid for our hours and schools we’ll be working for the school year. We bid based on seniority, and while mine is high, it isn’t high enough that I don’t have to worry at all. Someone may take the hours I want or the schools I’d like to work with. I could be stuck with a schedule I will hate for the next ten months.

I’m doing my best not to worry until I know for sure what will happen.

“There’s no point in saying anything but the truth.”

Amy Winehouse

It is always easiest for humans to lie to themselves first, then the lies we tell the world don’t feel much like lies anymore. We do it our whole lives; we are built to do it. We want to fit in, we want to be accepted, we want to be loved, and so we lie.

We don’t mean to cause harm. We aren’t acting from a malicious intent. We are only caught between our need for companionship and the security of belonging to a social circle. If we reveal our truth, we may be rejected, and if we keep ourselves hidden we will never be accepted for who we truly are.

This week, I’d like for us all to be ourselves. Let the people you love and who love you too see the parts of yourself you have been too afraid to show them. Let light into the corners of yourself that have been shrouded in the dark for as long as you can remember. It may be scary to let the chips fall where they may, but I can tell you, with near certainty, that everything is going to be ok.

We each have only one little life to live, and when you step back and look at the bigger picture, it seems so trivial to pretend to be someone else your whole life. It seems stupid to work so hard to fit in while your spirit rots from want of freedom and light. It seems pointless to say or do anything that doesn’t align with the kind of person you are or want to be. It seems pointless to speak anything but the truth.

It may be hard to know your truth so if you need to take the week to start getting to know yourself first then do that instead. Learn who you are, what you are about, and stick to it. Never let yourself speak anything but the truth because life is too short to be spent lying and hiding.

Let go of your fear and let yourself be free.

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Featured image via Unsplash

I’m an Auntie Again!

Hello Dear Readers! I wanted to stop in really quick and let you know that this blog and my newsletter will be on a little break this week. My baby brother has gone and grown up and become a father to a beautiful baby girl.

Between being present for a very long labor and trying to spend some time with the newborn, I haven’t, and won’t, have time for writing. So, I will have to put things on hold. No worries, though, I promise to be back to regularly scheduled programming first thing Monday morning.

I do hope you all have a good week and until next time :)

I'm an aunt again! Welcome to the family Mariana Leah. You are beautiful :)

A photo posted by Lisa Blair (@zenandpi) on

Do Not Forget Your Frailty

Hello, and happy Monday Dear Reader. I hope your weekend was relaxing, and you feel ready to take on the demands of the work week. I know Monday’s have gotten a bad reputation over the years, but I am aiming to change that. Can you believe that we spend one whole day out of the week feeling bitter and unmotivated? Let’s change that, shall we? Let’s not waste another week starting off on the wrong foot.

Let’s think of Monday’s like a new start, another chance to get it right. Let’s think of Monday’s like the first step to meeting our goals and getting shit done.

For me, this Monday is a hard one. In fact, I beg your forgiveness in the lateness of this post. My baby niece might be on her way to being born today; my dog managed to hurt herself, and my work day has been more draining than usual. Thankfully, I will be heading back home soon.

(How frail the human heart must be —
a throbbing pulse, a trembling thing —
a fragile, shining instrument
of crystal, which can either weep,
or sing.)

Sylvia Plath

Most of the time I encourage people to remember their strengths but this week, I encourage you to remember their fragility. In the body, yes, but more than that, remember your emotional fragility.

When you play a sport or do any intense emotional activity, you wear protective equipment. You wear the right footwear, you wear pads, you wear a mouth guard and a cup. Before you can play you have to practice. You learn how to throw the ball. You learn the plays. You get to know your team. Before every game, you have to warm up. You do all of this so that you can play the game effectively and without injury.

After years of play, though, an injury is just about inevitable. When it happens you carried off the field, you are seen by a doctor who specializes in the part of the body that was hurt. You are looked over, diagnosed, and given instructions to rest and rehabilitate and when your body is ready, you begin therapy.

Bodily injury is talked very seriously but emotional injury isn’t. When you pull an emotional muscle, you do not stop to rest the part of you that is hurt. You do not see a doctor to diagnose the problem and plan your recovery. You tell yourself it isn’t that bad. You go on like the hurt never happened. You do your best to walk it off. This will only result in weakened resistance and susceptibility to further pain.

In any physical activity, you are best served by remembering what the body is capable of and how to do what you do safely. We are given the tools we need to protect ourselves and rely on coaches and teammates to help us along.

In life, we aren’t given the tools we need to protect our hearts. We are never taught what our emotions should and shouldn’t do. We are never encouraged to learn our feeling words, to learn how to express ourselves, and we are not given a safe space to feel our feelings safely.

The emotional self is much more fragile than the body. We are easily injured; sometimes the hurts are big but fewer and farther between. Sometimes they are smaller but frequent, building up over time. The result is the same, though, a breaking down of the mental resistances, like the knee or hip bone, slowly giving out after years of hard hits on a field.

The difference is when our hearts get hurt there is no one to carry us out of the environment that hurts. There is no doctor readily available to diagnose you. There is no time to rest or rehabilitate. Therapy is not encouraged.

So you must do all you can to care for yourself, and the first step is to know and remember your weakness. Remember to protect your most vulnerable parts. Do not make the mistake of thinking you are invincible or impervious to the blows to your soul. The world is often a harsh and hostile place for humans to exist, do your best to make a place within yourself where you can retreat when things become too much.

If you get hurt, give yourself time to rest. Go easy on the parts that have been injured lest they be injured further. Work yourself up to normal activity as slowly as you can.

Rest and rehabilitate.

Therapy is encouraged.

Artists instinctively want to reflect humanity, their own and each other’s, in all its intermittent virtue and vitality, frailty and fallibility.

// Tom Hiddleston

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Image via Unsplash

Written in response to The Daily Post prompt: Frail

If We Were Having Coffee // Pokémon and Messy Art

Hello dear readers! Thank you so much for stopping by for a bit of strong brew and some catching up. If I had my way, we would be having our coffee and conversation in a nice coffee shop where I could people watch, but there is cleaning and laundry to do so for now we are stuck inside. I hope you don’t mind.

This past week felt long and my weekend has been a busy one.

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If we were having coffee, I would have to start by mentioning my weird love of (read: addiction to) the latest craze, Pokémon GO.

I hope some of you can relate because as a 30+ woman I have been getting some very strange looks from friends and family about it. I can’t help it, though, the game is fun and interesting. Plus, it motivates me to get up and get out of the house. Almost every day last week I spent about an hour outdoors, I never do that unless forced to because of a family function or activity.

I enjoyed it so much I even went out and bought real walking/running shoes. I needed them anyway, ever since the cats I used to own peed in the old pair, which is one of the reasons why I used to own them., and this stupid game gave me a reason to get them finally. I am out having fun, taking the dog on hour long walks and enjoying watching

I know it’s weird, but I am out having fun, taking the dog on hour-long walks, and enjoying watching other people in my neighborhood doing the same.

So yeah, I don’t really care if my friends and family think I am a weirdo, but I do wish I had someone to talk to about it.

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If we were having coffee, I would tell you that besides Pokémon GO I am also obsessed with a new project I’ve decided to start. I am making a new art journal for myself.

I’ve tried the art journalling thing before with a notebook I bought from the store, filled with very neat and very clean and very white pages that I couldn’t bring myself to make unneat, unclean, or unwhite, so I stopped.

You see, I am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to notebooks. I currently carry around three notebooks with three different purposes because I cannot bear the idea of messing up one by mixing these purposes into one.

This system works, but it leaves no room for being artistic and messy. Enter the Tumblr Tangled Ribbons Sketchbooks, the best art journal blog I have ever come across. Jennie makes her own sketchbooks out of recycled and random scrap paper and offers a tutorial so that you can do the same. I was so inspired by her work I went out and bought a few supplies to put together my own this week.

Fun fact about me: I am a paper hoarder. I have a lot of newspapers, magazines, envelopes, and bits of interesting paper lying around. I am excited to put all of it to good use. I’ll be starting with pages of all types and colors, pages that won’t look so perfect. Pages I’ll want to make better :)

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If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I got a few new graphic novels to add to my growing collection. I picked up Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur Vol. 1, about a girl genius and a big red dinosaur; it looks adorable.

I also got Paper Girls Vol. 1 which I had never heard of before but picked up simply because it was by Brain k. Vaughan (who writes the amazing Saga graphic novels) and the artwork which consists of mostly pastel shades of pink, purple, and blue.

I’m supposed to be reading Catch-22, and I will finish the damn thing, right after I read these.

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If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am super excited that this blog is very close to hitting 2,800 followers. I am honored that so many of you have felt me and my little blog worth following. Thank you all so much, ever single one of you. When I first started blogging I didn’t know where it would take me, I still don’t, but I definitely did not expect to have 50 followers, let alone 2800 of you and counting. Thank you so much!

I also want to apologize to you too. Many of you have left some very kind words in the comments section, and I have been awful about replying to you.

If you can forgive me, I promise to do better.

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If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I have so much more to say, but unfortunately I have to get going. My girlfriend’s sister and nephews are in town, and we are spending the day visiting with them before the head back to California.

I hope you had a good week. Please, drop a note in the comments and let me know how you have been and what you have been up to, and if you wrote a chatty coffee post of your own make sure you leave a link and I’ll check it out while I am out and about.

Until next time :)

Why?

A photo posted by Lisa Blair (@zenandpi) on

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Original image via Tom Woodward

 

Zen and Pi Weekend Reading Round-up

Happy Saturday everyone! If you’re looking for some interesting reads to check out while you kick back and relax, look no further, here is the best of the web this week, according to me.

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My thoughts are with the people of Nice, France, where a truck plowed into a crowd and killed 80.

My thoughts are also with the people of Turkey, where a military coup is being attempted.

Pokémon Go is everywhere, but should it be?

Are you racist? (Hint: The answer is yes.)

A good existential crisis builds character. Consider going through one today.

I am determined to start an art journal, one I have made myself. You should too.

The end of summer is near.

I want to receive pretty things in the mail too! :(

A powerful and heartbreaking poem about things that have happened to many of us in the dark.

For every artist, there is room to tell the same story, again and again, only different.

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I want this shirt so badly.

And that’s it for this week. Have you read, watched, heard, or written an interesting thing this week? Has something on the internet made you think or feel strongly? If so, drop a link in the comments :)

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P.S. If you’ve been reading these every week you might notice I have made a few changes. I’ll be playing around with presentation for a while but every week I will still deliver the same list of items I feel are worth your time. 

If you would like to receive this list in your inbox (plus some extras), you can visit my newsletter sign up page and enter your email :)

Featured image via Pexels