One Kind of Courage

River Shore

“Of course we need art to explore the darkest recesses of our lives and minds, but we also need art to tell us why this world is worth loving and therefore saving. Praise too is part of any whole artistic and existential vision. Joy is one kind of courage.”
– Christian Wiman

Do you listen to podcasts? I’m mildly addicted. One podcast I’ve fallen in love with is The Habit Podcast, a conversation with writers about writing, produced by The Rabbit Room. Today’s quote appeared in episode 11, during Jonathan Roger’s interview with Karen Swallow Prior. I listened to the episode yesterday on my way to work, and it was exactly what my soul needed. That last little bit has stuck fast in my head⁠—joy is one kind of courage. Today, I choose to be brave. Will you join me?

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A Familiar Place

My grandma has lived in the same house for as long as I can remember. A distance of 1,500 miles is no easy thing to traverse and sometimes, the time between trips is much longer than I’d like. But then I’m there again—darting up the back steps toward the kitchen, the pacific coast breeze playing over the garden, the scent of fresh-baked banana bread teasing my nose. Every knickknack and plate in its own familiar place. Jesus still leads his lambs. The clock chirps the hour. And suddenly a year feels like a few moments, a mere exhale. My grandma sings out a hearty hello and scoops me up in the biggest hug. I’m so glad you came for breakfast this morning!

The Rite of the Right Way to Write

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What is the right way to write?

There are a few ways, so I’ll set you aright.

First, seize your right—tis your right to write

And tis right that it’s so.

Write the sound of the birds in flight

Copy the might of the failing light

And the vast, encroaching night

Record the squabbles and the fights

The lazy arc of the summer kite

And humanity’s enduring plight

The nightmares that give you fright

And the growing season’s blight

None are too trite: W R I T E !

I don’t care, gape and stare

Note them all, bad or fair

Listen to the sounds that blare

And the subtle creak of the rocking chair

In the town square

Or in your private lair

But above all dare…

Dare to write.

Writing is the right way to write

Seize this right, and make it your rite.

Clackity*Clack

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He gave me a typewriter

With clackity*clack keys

And a chime that rings

When I’ve gone too far

And need to

Return.

 

This sort of typing

Feels more like writing

Fingers flexed

Ink on the page

Uneven, imperfect

And glorious.

 

Strike the keys

Stamp each stroke

Hard or soft

It’s up to you

The writer, the typist.

 

He gave me a typewriter

With ribbons blackened

And linkages yellowed–

All things considered…

I suppose he really is a

Decent sort of fellow.

The Adventures of Piet

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Katy wasn’t watching.

Usually she did.

Today she forgot…

Slip, tumble, and a gentle plop

Piet dropped.

 

Wait Katy, wait for me!

Came the tiny, yarn-like shriek.

Over books, under a chair,

To the door, and down the stair…

Hang on, Katy, here I come!

But there were many steps,

And not just one.

 

Jump, hop, skip,

Grab the railing tight

And  s l  i  d  e

But mind the puddle,

Jump aside!

Katy, where’d you go?

My stripy legs are a tad bit slow.

 

Is that the subway up ahead,

The subway that they always ride?

There is Katy, but she’s climbing inside.

 

Hurry, Piet, don’t be left behind—

I’m coming, Katy, just in time!

The doors hiss shut, but where is Piet?

There he is, by Katy’s feet.

Katy?

 

Katy, startled, dropped her pen

And picked up Piet instead.

“Silly monkey… did you wander off again?”

Mind the Walk

Three months… far too long. But I’m back from my summer hiatus! To say this summer has been zany would be the understatement of the century. I graduated from Tarrant County College and transferred to the University of Texas at Arlington. Did lots of drafting, outlining, and character sketches for my book. Took a trip down to Corpus Christi. And got engaged to my best friend. It’s been a lovely whirlwind of a summer.

Now that the spring semester has concluded, I’m excited to share some of my writing excerpts from Creative Writing with you! This particular one was doodled in my favorite stairwell nook on the TCC SE campus. And as always, thanks for taking the time to read. It’s so lovely to be back again!

When walking, there are really only three kind of people: those who gaze at the ground beneath their feet, those who keep their eyes fixed straight ahead, and those whose glance flickers from side to side.

Those of the first category are usually fewer in number—they drag about from one place to the next, only noting the gray pavement beneath their feet and the shoes they happen to be wearing that day. Stoop shouldered, hands thrust deep in their pockets, the weight and cares of all the world bearing down on their bowed heads.

The second group is driven, even impatient—no time to turn aside. What is to be done must be done and not a second later than it ought to be done. They couldn’t tell you how many seats are at each table, nor describe the muddied stains spread out before the door, or even the state of the garden next to the walkway.

But the third… ah, the third. Many walk briskly, but their eyes are not fixed ahead. Their gaze sweeps to and fro, taking it all in, and noticing each tiny detail. They could tell you tales about the muddy footprints caking the walk, spin yarns about swirling leaves and scraggly branches. They could relate the history of the rust stains beneath the old metal window frames. They could tell you about the table shades; about each creak and wobble in the wind, and how they sway like so many top-heavy mushrooms. Ask them about the people crossing the walkway… because it is they who notice those around them.

mind the walk