Heart, Soul, and Rough Edges — A Gypsy Journey of Words and Wonder

Archive for the month “September, 2012”

Devon Ellington and the Muse Online Writers Conference

Read more…

Reach for the Light – Responding to Other Work

Aurora borealis in Alaska

Aurora borealis in Alaska (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve posted this before, on other blogs, but letting it re-inspire me now. Especially needed after my last post.

I was challenged to write a response to a song. I chose one that’s always resonated with me, and wrote back to it, made it my own. At the time, I was struggling with finishing my first book. Now that I’m struggling to finish a second, I need to listen to it again.

Song lyrics in orange, interspersed with my own thoughts at the time:

Reach for the light**

Deep in the night the winds blow cold,
And in a heartbeat, the fear takes hold.

The fear can freeze me—
fear of failure, rejection, even success.

Deep in the storm, there’s a place that’s soft and still,
Where the road waits to be taken, if you only will.

The potential is in me,
all I have to do is find the iron will within.

The voices inside you can lead you so astray,
Believe in what you dream,
don’t turn away, don’t you turn away.

I must overcome the doubts that haunt me;
I’ve wanted this my entire life, I won’t give it up.

Reach for the light,
you might touch the sky.
Stand on a mountain top, and see yourself flying.
Reach for the light,
To capture a star,
Come out of the darkness and find out who you are.

I know who I am—I am a writer.
So many dream but don’t follow through.
I can never be published if I don’t finish writing the book.

Somewhere in time the truth shines through,
And the spirit knows what it has to do.

This is my purpose in life; without it, I am not complete.
Time will show my dedication. Time will bring success.

Somewhere in you there’s a power with no name,
It can rise to meet the moment and burn like a flame.

My muse will lead me if I give it the chance;
I simply need to set her free.

And you can be stronger than any fear you know,
Hold onto what you see don’t let it go, don’t you let it go.

I’ve made it this far. I have it in me.
Nothing will stop me.


There’s no turning back.
Your destiny is calling.
Listen to the thunder roar,
And let your heart break free.

Whether I chose this path, or it chose me, it is the path I’m meant to be on.
The thunder of my accomplishments shall roar, and my heart shall break free from fear.

Oooh, Reach for the light!

<refrain x 2>

Yeah! Yes reach for the light.

If I don’t reach for the light, for my dreams, then the light may as well go out.

will finish my book. I will get published. I will reach for the light.

** Music: James Horner. Lyrics: Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil. Singer: Steve Winwood

Have you ever used music to inspire you? Take a song or poem, and write a response to it. Write it in your own words to make it personal, or counter it in some way.


Enhanced by Zemanta

Make Visible: Staying Alive: Book Review

I don’t often write book reviews.  I must recommend, highly, this collection of poetry:  Staying Alive:  Real Poems for Unreal Times edited by Neil Astley.  The poetry collection was published by Miramax Books originally in 2002.

Staying Alive

The poems contained are in several categories: Body and Soul, Roads, Dead or Alive, Bittersweet, Growing up, Man and beast, In and out of love, My people, War and peace, Disappearing acts, [Me, the Earth, the Universe], and the Art of poetry.


While the editor seems to like poetry with meter, there are plenty of un-rhyming poems in the collection as well.  Although there are a few classic authors included; the collection is comprised of mostly contemporary poets, including international ones. It’s just a beautiful book that one can dip into and find a gem on almost every page.  I’ve read it once through and am slowly reading it again and marking which are my favorites.  Staying Alive is 496 pages long, so this should take me awhile!  You can buy it from Amazon here:


For an example, here are the first two poems, two of my favorites:


Wild Geese by Mary Oliver


You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.


Living by Denise Levertov


The fire in leaf and grass
so green it seems
each summer the last summer.

The wind blowing, the leaves
shivering in the sun,
each day the last day.

A red salamander
so cold and so
easy to catch, dreamily

moves his delicate feet
and long tail. I hold
my hand open for him to go.

Each minute the last minute.




“Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen.”~Robert Bresson, French Film Director

Enhanced by Zemanta

Remembering 9-11

WTC pre WFC 1984 from boat Hudson NYC

WTC pre WFC 1984 from boat Hudson NYC (Photo credit: Ibfraz)

I spent the last several days watching TV specials on the tragedy of 9/11. Some were new, some old, but all touched my heart strings. It gave me hope for humanity to see the EMT’s, doctors and nurses, Police Officers, Firemen and ordinary people rising to greater heights caring for the injured and getting them out of harm’s way. It reminds me that good can come from horrible events, but some memories will be with us forever. The survivors and the slain will always be in my heart.

I thought it might be healing to write poems about that day. You can write on any aspect of the events or people and post it as a comment.  Here is mine:


All Fall Down


Shining towers in early morning sun,

So strong, so beautiful, something meant

to last a hundred years

All fall down, vanishing in hours.


Clouds of destruction

roar down the street

An American Pyroclastic flow

Choking throats and sealing eyelids.


Screams, prayers, curses

Sounds and images of people

Running or walking or crawling, others in ambulances

Race toward what they hoped will be safety.


So much heroism, bravery, compassion

So much loss, so much pain.

Raw grief of survivors mingles with our own

What happened? Who did this?

Looking for someone to blame.

Fighting the inclination to condemn

A whole religion for the acts of a few.


Every year we honor those we lost

Pray that the families could put

Their lives back together with time

And that there is enough

Healing to go around.


©2012 Lin Neiswender







Enhanced by Zemanta

Douglas Adams Was Right

For the past several weeks, I’ve suffered computer meltdown — and I do mean I, personally, suffered from it. Seemed to do everything I could to not go with the flow (except bile, which ran freely through my system). Even my incredible Standard Poodle, Harlee, tuned in to my angst with a vengeance. By Saturday night, we were both howling at the moon most of the night.

What started as a bit of quirkiness grew into anarchy by my home devices. The iMac, recently upgraded to Mountain Lion, apparently decided it didn’t “do” wifi anymore, certainly not with the old D-Link router. If it stood its ground and absolutely refused to allow me internet access, or to network with the other computers in the house, I would have wrapped it up and taken it directly to the Computer Hospital.

It preferred to toy with me, like the cat it is. It would work “sometimes” for a few minutes; occasionally it did this when I first turned it on during the day. Then, obviously it was bored and checked out. The intermittent aspect drove me nuts. It loved to pretend we were buddies again, let me get into something important, and then — nothing. Pleading and threats were about as effective as you might expect.

The iMac also figured it had nothing in common with our five-year-old HP printer, either. Refused to acknowledge that a driver even existed that would allow them to work together. Nope. No way. I couldn’t check for updates, because — wait for it — guess who was not able to get online . . . ?

The Windows 7 laptop got in on the act. It, too, refused to communicate with the Mac. It did pretend it liked the printer, and spit out test page after test page when asked, but nothing else. So, if I needed eighteen original test pages, it would be happy to accommodate me.

As someone who straddles two worlds, Apple and Microsoft, I’m continuously pulled off balance. Documents created or updated on the Mac refuse to hold formatting when exported to Word. Spreadsheets designed for XLS will not open properly on the Mac unless uploaded or created on the laptop first, saved in DropBox, or (when it works) pulled from one to the other via the in-house network/wifi.

My husband’s old XP desktop was still functioning, probably best of anything, until we got our tech-person out; he fixed a lot, but put a password onto Len’s computer, which threw him out of whack.

It seems that my iMac has a faulty wifi card, which needs to be replaced — when I’ll have the “right time” to do it is a mystery. The D-Link fought a good fight, but had to be retired; failing eye-wire-circuit coordination gets to the best of them. The new router, a spiffy Air Express (I think) is sleek, and capable — but, in exquisite irony — can only function well right now to deal with wifi when it’s actually plugged in to the Mac. Um, a hard-wired wifi; I’m sure someone’s made a fortune on a joke about this already.

The laptop also seems to be answering to a higher authority than me — or Mr. Tech Man. He finally took it away with him to find out who’s the boss, telling it to ignore what it needs to do, and stop doing what it shouldn’t — like spitting out test pages.

Only the iPad behaved itself, relatively speaking, during this time. It opened most of the email (but not all of it); let me get into the internet much of the time, as the only sane device around here that at least thought it was supposed to be able to use the wifi system to do it. If only it could have accessed some of the material I desperately needed from the Mac. If it knew how to do that, it decided not to upset the Big Mac, so played dumb.

For the better part of these three weeks or so, I’ve tried all kinds of tricks to get into my documents to deal with crazy deadlines for the Muse Online Writers Conference next month, the next issue of Apollo’s Lyre, posts for this blog, and material pertaining to my car accident from almost two years ago. Time is running out on all of them. In order to use them, they have to be converted to Word or XLS, pulled into the laptop, and handled from there.

I’ve tried to see the humor in all of this, at least today, now that I’ve been able to get most of what I needed for the car accident paperwork at least. I can see a good country music song tangled in the lyrics, or the sixth volume in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy — imagine Arthur Dent, waking up one Thursday morning, knowing he hates Thursdays because everything goes wonky those days. Imagine he opens his front door and Deep Thought, the infamous computer, burps at him. Take it from there into absurdity.

So, Douglas Adams was right when he said, back around 1978, that the Earth is a giant computer, and white mice run experiments on humans all the time. If you don’t believe this, then give me a better explanation of the behavior exhibited around my house lately.  No prissy ideas about hardware and software. No, I want you to get to the heart of this thing.

And write about it in verse, any form you choose. (Hey, gang, what’s crazier than Limericks to deal with the absurd?)

Post Navigation