Okay, this is going to sound blasphemous but I'm not a huge fan of doughnuts. Don't get me wrong—I fall for them every single time! And every single time, I say "They always look so much better than they taste. Why do I let them fool me?" And you know the answer?
It's that insanely-fresh-yeasty-bakery-shop-intense-warm-inviting aroma of comfort that rises up when you lift the lid off a box of doughnuts. It's an aroma that encourages you to close your eyes, lower your nose closer, and deeply inhale. I should learn that the aroma alone is enough...but I know myself too well. Next time, I'm sure I'll spend longer than a reasonable person should selecting a fat, shiny, chocolate-iced cream-filled (not custard, but cream—you know, the white cream that's kind of grainy with sugar?) doughnut and putting it in the microwaves for exactly 8 seconds. I will eat it slowly, then say, "They always look better than they taste. When will I learn?"
Today I am pleased as punch to offer a guest blog from a writer friend of mine. I met Ed Davis years and years ago (I won't...ahem...say just how many) when we were in a writing group together. He is the author of the novels I Was So Much Older Then and The Measure of Everything, as well as the poetry chapbooks Haskell and Whispering Leaves, and many short stories. He's one of those writers who is crazy good at reading his own work. I would happily sit and listen to him read for hours. You can find out lots more about him at his website. Ed blogs here about writing poetry, but the reasons he lists are mostly true of reading poetry, as well. I recently shared with a writing class that part of my morning writing warmup is to read two or three poems. I look forward to reading Ed's poems when Time of the Light, his new collection, releases this November. In the meantime, please read his wonderful blog on writing poetry below:
to be Happy: Writing Poetry
Rumi and Rilke,
Lennon and McCartney, the Psalms of David . . . ah, poetry!
Like Katrina, I’m a novelist, but one who also writes poetry. I
once thought I couldn’t “serve two muses,” and I quit writing
poems in favor of writing stories exclusively. But I couldn’t avoid
those moments that screamed poetry. And what is it
about poetry, you might ask?
Writing poetry gives me intoxicating
pleasure even purer than fiction. You don’t need all the
infrastructure of plot and characterization. All you need is image,
language and rhythm,mainlined into your veins and shot
straight to your head and heart.
Writing poetry has taught me what the
stuff really is: mostly something I feel in my gut rather than in my
head. Meaning is subordinate to music. Even when I don’t get it—or
even like it—I recognize it. And to hear and to read it was, for
me, to want to write it, which I’ve been doing for about
thirty-five years now.
Using language to make poetry is a
whole “other thing” than prose. I live for the music of word and
line, whatever the breath can encompass. True, prose can be luscious,
poetic to a greater or lesser degree, but pure poetry is the closest
to heaven that words ever get.
Writing poetry perfectly complements
the spiritual inspiration I find in the woods. Being among rocks,
trees and streams takes me to the place where my Higher Power and I
commune most closely. The confluence of nature and poetry gives me
great joy—and sometimes yields poems I want to share with others.
Writing poetry connects me to a vital
community. Poetry-Land is a parallel universe, easily accessed.
Readings are all over the place, from bars and coffee shops to
libraries and prisons. Also, through poetry I’ve forged ties with
poets all over the country.
Writing poetry also brought me the gift
of public performance. For a long time, I thought I could never
share such intimate words and experiences. And yet, if the holy has
happened—as it so often does in the composition process—the
result will, like liturgy, bless both writer and the listener with
Now you . . .
Once you start watching for it, poetry
will find you. And that’s only a step away from you perhaps
writing your own poems. They could even become indispensable. “These
Poems,” a poem which came to me one day in Glen Helen Nature
Preserve, seems to think so:
So, not only do you get to eat a melt-in-your-mouth Dove dark chocolate,
which is really a reason to be happy all by itself, you also get
a lovely little message like, "You are exactly where you are supposed
to be" or "Take this moment. Enjoy it." Reminders such as, "You make
everything lovely," and "Take good care of yourself" brighten any day.
And I did mention that you're eating chocolate, right?
I love my garden. I love fresh pasta sauce. And I love walking outside with a basket and picking everything I need to make it from my own yard—tomatoes, basil, thyme, oregano, peppers. Okay, full disclosure: that onion came from my CSA box. But the rest I grew myself!
I met this fine fellow at the West Virginia State Fair. He was a flirt and kept reaching his head out to visit with me...but as soon as I pulled out my camera, I swear he "posed"—he turned his head to the side and stood very still. As soon as I put the camera away, he returned to his previous antics. Look at those eye lashes! And his speckles! What a handsome guy! I'm a sucker for an animal in a hat.