Old Writings and Decades Past

Monday of a new week, almost a new month, seemed a good time to roll out something I’ve never really shared before. Back in the day (way back in the day) I used to experiment with poetry. I don’t know anything about forms, or proper meter, but that never stopped me from experimenting. Recently, while digging around in computer files, I came across my poetry folder. Random exercises, these have been languishing on my computer. They’re never going to see the light of day in a book or anywhere else, so I decided to share some of them here. We all have early forms of writing we experiment with, and this was one of mine.

The first piece is about King David of the Old Testament. He is someone I loved reading about and still do. Back in day I penned this short poem to express that fondness:

Stained glass image of King David with harpFor the Psalmist 

Ancient words
penned by an ancient hand,
centuries faded but music still sweet.
From pasture to kingdom
your harp sang praise.
That I might do the same
and dance before the ark
or mourn beloved Absalom,
taken before peace could be sown.

Sweet singer of Israel,
Son of Jesse,
I linger still
in the melody of your song.

~ooOOoo~

That was one of the very few poems I wrote without rhyming verse. I still remember as a kid, when my dad introduced me to a rhyming dictionary and explained how it worked. He knew I loved to write, but poetry was something I’d never tried. My first attempts failed miserably. I was in my twenties when I wrote this:

Crossfire

night sky illuminated with lightning above silhouette of treesLightning dances on a midnight sky,
mushrooming fire and ancient sword,
conjured, unleashed by the Nether Lord.

How we struggle to appease our guilt,
puppets pulled by tattered string,
jesters dancing on a broken gallows,
capering and scraping to the Gallow’s King.

The Weaver of Life threads her loom,
cracking and shuddering beneath destiny’s hand.
We wander down corridors soiled with souls,
never stopping to ponder life’s final command,

In a cathedral of stone, we unleash fragile dragons,
quietly ruing our own masquerade,
forever refining and silently polishing,
gold-plaited images of Self we have made.

Tarnished but chosen, we forge our own demons,
plucked from the bowels of a mute, angry fire,
we are children of circumstance, knighted by time,
torn between failure and noble desire.

~ooOOoo~

Yes, I tended to be a bit strange even then. But all of that strangeness and those old creativity avenues—including my attempts at poetry (more to come)—allowed my writing to venture into the areas it has today. I haven’t written poetry in years, but I still look back on those moments with fondness.

What types of writing did you experiment with when you were younger? Have they shaped your writing today? Did you ever try your hand at poetry? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Yesteryears and Yearbook Memories by Mae Clair

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know I love folklore and legend. You also know I’ve got a book coming out the end of April that features the Mothman, a famous creature from cryptozoology. That book, A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS, is the first of a three novel series (although each book has a definitive ending).

Recently, while working on book two, A COLD TOMORROW, I had to draft a few messages from a high school yearbook for one of my characters to review. I thought I could do that fairly quickly if I looked at some of the notes classmates had written in my own yearbooks.

Turns out all those “yesteryears” were a surprise. One of the first things I noticed is that no one signs their last name in a yearbook. And seriously, why would they? When you’re in high school you expect those friendships to last forever. Sadly, many people who signed “AFA” (a friend always) I’ve forgotten. I’m ashamed to say that there are many people I can’t place at all. It makes me wonder if when others scan their yearbooks and read messages from me all these years decades later, if they wonder “who was she?”

That’s not to say there weren’t plenty of friends I remembered. So many of those scribbled notes now seem innocent and sweet. Friends wishing me the best for the future, telling me how successful I’d be as a writer (bless them), complimenting my gypsy-like clothing, or ribbing me about the fact I was “out there.” (Did I mention I was known as “Starchild” in high school?)

What really resonated was a long message from a close friend who passed away from cancer in her mid-thirties. Reading her note was hard. We were so young with bright ideas for the future, and she’s been gone for decades. The saddest part is I didn’t even know when she passed. We’d lost touch and I found out about her death several years after the fact.

All those yesteryears spelled out in pages…memories that seem like they happened only yesterday, but still resonate with echoes of a long-ago past. My high school years were spent in a time when disco ruled (I was a fan of classic rock), backward masking was a hot topic (anyone remember that?) and a fun night out amounted to a movie followed by a burger at the Red Barn. Senior skip day was spent at Hershey Park and girls wore wrist corsages when our guys took us to the prom.

When was the last time you looked at your high school yearbooks? What do you remember most about that time?

 

Fibbing for Fun by Mae Clair

Recently, my friend and sister author, Cd Brennan, invited me to her blog to share to share five facts about myself for her Sunday S’more feature. Well, actually four facts and a fib. Visitors had the chance to decide which of the five “facts” was an untruth.

Thanks for everyone who hopped over to take a peek at that post. It’s time to spill the beans on Cd’s blog, so I thought I’d spill them here too. This is your chance to see if you were right or guess again. 😀

And, the contenders are:

~ooOOoo~

My husband and I have enjoyed many years of bay fishing and river fishing. Once, while fishing for bass on the river, we got caught in a freak thunderstorm—rain, wind, lightning and hail. As we didn’t want to be sitting on the water in an aluminum pontoon boat, we looked for a place to beach with shelter. There were several small islands nearby, a few with summer cottages, so we beached on the nearest. The guy in the house saw us struggling, and motioned us inside. We anchored our boat and hurried after him.

After about ten minutes indoors we heard a massive crack directly overhead. Not thunder, but something else. We raced outside to find a large tree had been struck by lightning and dropped onto the roof. Seconds later, my husband spied our boat one step shy of being swept into the river—the storm had ripped our anchor free.  Fortunately, he was able to grab it at the last moment and haul it back in, but had the tree not fell we would have been minus a boat. Thankfully, no one was injured and the cottage only had minor roof damage.

~ooOOoo~

The high school me.

The high school me.

My nickname in high school was Starchild.

~ooOOoo~

I was a bit of a rebel in high school and during my senior year led a protest that involved barging into the teachers’ lounge, and demanding that the principal meet my group in the auditorium. There was about twenty of us who cut class, pulled down “no smoking” signs and demanded we be given our own smoking area outside. Remember, this was a looooong time ago, and people didn’t realize how bad smoking was. I was the ringleader of that protest and am still amazed I wasn’t expelled.

~ooOOoo~

A number of years ago I attended a business conference in Arizona as part of my day job. My husband went along and we extended our stay for a mini vacation. The conference was held at a resort of villas that included eight suites, each villa with a private pool.

Late one night, hubby and I went for a romantic moonlight swim. The place was deserted, no one about. We had the pool to ourselves—right up until a helicopter swooped down, hovered above us, and nailed us in the beam of a high-intensity spotlight. I freaked out, my husband yelled something not very pleasant, and the helicopter took off.

We went back to our suite and my husband spied someone prowling around below our balcony. Turns out it was a cop who warned us to stay inside as a convenience store had been robbed several miles away and the armed suspect had been chased to our area. I hate to think if he’d stumbled upon us in the pool!

~ooOOoo~

I grew up with an Italian grandfather who immigrated to the U.S. from Castelleone when he was 28.  He was proud of his cultural heritage and taught me to speak Italian when I was just seven years old.

Pop-Pop looking dapper

My grandfather

~ooOOoo~

And the untruth? It was the last one. My grandfather was from Castelleone and came to the U.S. when he was twenty-eight but he never spoke Italian around us. Even my mother didn’t know a word of it. The only time I ever heard my grandfather speak his native language was when he called home to the “old country” and chatted with his relatives over the phone. To this day, I regret I never learned Italian.

So . . . did you pick the fib? 🙂