Hey Lou Writes

The Grey Matters


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I said I’m Here

You called out       to me

I said     I’m here

you shouted out my name

in the day

then at night

I said     I’m here

You went sailing on a sea

so very far away

You sent a message

I said     I’m right here

You cried and shouted

I matched your efforts

And screamed     I’M HERE!

And I’m still here

You fumbled and fell

I did hear your yell

And said yet again

I’m

Right

Here

But here is no good

When your biggest fall

Was nowhere at all near

I’m right here

Meant nothing at all

When you needed me

there.

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The Best of the Best

 Blog Every Day In May Challenge

Day 21, Tuesday: A list of links to your favorite posts in your archives

writer, hippy, fiction, hey lou

lou and lou

I know you are all probably dying to know about my hippy weekend. But alas, I’m still waiting on some pictures from my sister. I don’t have a camera at the moment, or a smart phone, so I’ll just have to wait. (and so will you)

In the meantime, this challenge allows me for sort of an easy day. However, I have spent a lot of time on my favorite blogs (the best of the best, in my humble opinion), and I HOPE beyond hope that you will take a look at them.

I’d also be honored :)

Blogs:

It’s Official- We Are Parents

Lou’s Really Good At…

Things I {Hate To} Love

Gone Girl, Marriage, And Being Cool

Confidence, Truly

Short Stories:

Proud Mothers

APPEAL

I Looked Over Jordan

Poetry:

Fare Thee Well

Just Exactly

It Was Life

LOVE, Lou

 


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One Art {aka The Art of Losing}

Today I want to share with you my favorite poem. Not just my today it’s my favorite or one of my favorites, but my true, kindred spirit, love of my life poem. I had to read it in my American Literature class a few years ago when I was still in college. It was life changing. Not only does this poem point out our trivial wants and needs, but it also points out what truly matters in life. What could possibly break us, if we let it, and why sometimes losing something is our own fault… or completely out of our control.

~~~

ONE ART

by Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn’t hard to master; 
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster,

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

– Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like a disaster.

~~~

I get chills when I see the (Write it!) and I feel as though I should look around for a pencil and write down everything I have lost. This poet, Elizabeth Bishop, had a hard life. Her father died when she was a baby and her mother was “institutionalized.”( Given that time period, ~ 1916, it was a touchy thing… the “hysteria” of women. Gives me the chills to think of what her mother went through.) We’ll never know what exactly happened to Elizabeth’s mother, but we know enough already to see that her childhood wasn’t exactly normal. She lived with different grandparents and always remarked upon her life with a dark tone. “I’ve never concealed it,” she wrote, “although I don’t like to make too much of it. But of course it is an important fact, to me. I didn’t see her again.” How… sad.

The beginning of this poem makes me laugh at myself. We’ve all lost our car keys. We lose items, as well as time, when we go looking for them. Do car keys get lost intentionally? No, they’re not alive. But losing them has never been a disaster in and of itself. (Except for when I made it the 35+ minute car drive to work, and Greg called me, saying that the other set of keys must be in the console to the car I was driving… and I had to drive all the way back home, then back to work. At the moment, I was feeling pretty disastrous.)

I already feel as though I’ve lost certain aspects of my life. Memories that slip away of where I’ve been or who I’ve known. My life goes on, there is no disaster there. If I really try, I could probably recall such things. They’re only lost to my everyday life.

To Elizabeth, losing her mother’s watch might have been a disaster. Imagine your mother being taken away at the young age of five, and having only a few items of hers left. (Maybe she feels that her mother was one of the things “seemed filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster.” But that’s just me, speculating almost 100 years later…)

For those of you who have traveled to another continent, I wonder if you would especially connect with the idea: “…vaster, some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent. I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.” I haven’t traveled all that far, but this is how I feel when I think of the river I used to see at camp every summer in Colorado. I loved the camp, the people there, the green mountains, but I most often find myself remembering the flowing river. I would sit beside it during our morning “quiet time” simply because it was the loudest place. I felt hidden. So much happened there, as far as the inner workings of my brain and heart were concerned (all during the tender ages of 8-15.)

And finally, we get to the personal, human to human part of this poem. I love it and it makes my heart so heavy. Who did Elizabeth lose? Who had the joking voice and the gesture? She wrote it for me. And you. She wrote this poem for anyone who ever dared to read it. I truly believe that.

Because to be human means to lose things every day. They may be big or small. We can’t keep track of everyone or everything. Memories slip away, moments are lost before anything worth remembering has a chance to happen, and most importantly, people slip away from us. This can be a good thing or a bad thing. My sister once wrote a song that said, “Nobody’s happy at no one’s expense.” Do you understand how profound that statement is? It rocked my world. Each time something good happens, chances are, it was at the expense of someone else. This might sound like a terribly negative way to view the world, but I think it’s fundamentally true. Think about it. When you got that job promotion, yay for you, sad for whoever was the runner up. When you got married, your life changed for the better, but someone out there may have once believed him to be their true love. If you were to list all of the factors that make you happy, I’m sure that at least half will fit the bill. Nobody’s happy at no one’s expense. 

Which isn’t to say that you don’t deserve that happiness! We do! It’s simply one of those facts of life, like a revolving door, that good things happen, bad things happen, people are happy, people are sad, and the majority of people get on with their lives.

We all lose someone along the line. Whether that cause is a death, a lost love, or a big mistake… we all have a story. Most of these resonate with people on a personal level. I know I have been in jeopardy of losing the most important people in my life. Sometimes we are blind to just how important they are. Remember to cherish the ones who love you back. (I hear Hanson in my head… “So hold on to the ones who really care, cause in the end they’ll be the only ones there… MmmBop)

Just make sure that the one you are keeping is worth more than the one you are letting slip away. If it’s right, do all you can to find something, even if it desperately wants to get lost. It could be a disaster. Elizabeth- it could be a disaster, and I think you agree. {And you certainly got me to (Write it!)}

It’s been a long day and obviously, my mind is in overdrive. I think I’ll go do these three things:

Tell Greg how thankful I am that we are 6 years in (3 and a half years married) and growing stronger every day. I won’t let that get away. Ever.

Make more tea, because I have been sick all day long.

Try to get more organized so I don’t LOSE anymore TIME trying to find my car keys.

<3 Lou


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Bad Poetry, Bowl Cuts & The Past

We have all done things we regret. Right? Please don’t tell me I’m alone. I’ve done things that I still feel guilty about. I’ve also done things that are embarrassing or just silly. I can’t change the past, even if I really, really want to. Too bad. I can, however, use what I’ve learned and start a better future. My husband Greg always says, in moments when I’m down, “Don’t water last year’s crops.”

It says so much. Last years crops are dead and gone and there’s absolutely no point in watering them. Do, however, water this year’s crops- the ones growing right now. I need to nourish the future I have by taking care of my present. That silly old past- it won’t get me down!!

Here are a few examples of past moments I need to move on from (go ahead, laugh… you’ll be laughing with me, not at me… I think)

My first acrostic poem:

poetry, past, writing, young adult, fiction

Looks kind of violent from far away- all that red

For anyone who might have trouble reading this, it says:

M elinda how creative was that? at least I used two different colors

E nergetic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I still love the exclamation point, to a fault

L emen   ? maybe, although that’s debatable. I do like lemons, though

I nsperacian   my spelling did improve, with time

N eet   never, have I ever in my life been “neet”… or neat

D o   well, that’s just common sense. I do lots of things

A ward   I like to think I’d just won some great award in my classroom, but there’s no solid evidence for that

I’ve been humbled by so many things. I’ve learned not to compare myself to my sisters (my twin, Meredith, wrote a poem just like this and hers is awesome!! straight lines, correct spelling, and words that actually described her) If I did that, I’d just go crazy. I’ve learned to laugh at things that might be embarrassing… like… LIKE THIS PICTURE!!!!

My first “mistake” haircut:

fiction, past, young adult, fictiion

most likely, I wrote the poem around this same time (yikes)

I looked like a boy. My bowl cut matched the baby Tommy doll in the case I’m holding. I think that’s a classic Christmas morning nightgown. I had braces at age 6… brutal.

But I digress.

This beautiful, coherent acrostic poem (and the bowl cut) is in my past. I can’t change that! (which I’m completely okay with…I’m one of those people who can laugh at myself…thank goodness) But you know what else? Something I CAN do?? I can write a new one!!! Yes!!

Here is a new version, written today.

M elinda some things from our pasts shouldn’t change, so there, I kept the original M

E nigmatic sometimes…

L aughing daily

I nterested in almost everything

N ever neat though I’m working on it

D edicated to those I love and pursuing my dreams

A pprehensive at times

There! Done. Changed, or updated, something from my past.

Although- now that I’ve gone and done that, I think I like the original one better <3

Another example of something I can’t change:

The dreaded brown and short hair. I don’t know what I was thinking. Hadn’t I learned from my childhood, that short hair just isn’t my thing? I went through an identity crisis. Luckily, Greg still proposed when I had this hair, but even more lucky…. it grew back.

My second “mistake” haircut:

past, regrets, writing, fiction

not me at all!

It took years to get back to my “normal” self. In the same way, when I make big mistakes and hurt those I love, it seems as though it can take years (or even longer) for things to go back to normal. Sometimes the people I love most in life surprise me and show me complete grace…forgiving me right away. Greg is the best at this. It is often ME who has a tantrum-like moment and often HIM who smiles and says, “Okay, can we be done arguing now? I just thought of the birds outside and it made me so happy!” Literally. This exact thing has happened.

writing, love, past

Everything is back to normal ;)

I’m so grateful for poetry of my youth, the fact that hair grows back, and people who chose to forgive, rather than hold grudges. I’m thankful for mistakes and the fact that we can LEARN from them, rather than wallow in them forever.

<3

If you’re interested… Here are some examples of my poetry. I like to think I’ve come a long way since the acrostic poem of my younger days, but you should let me know what you think ;)


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It Was Life

{I found this in an old notebook from college. I wrote it on 12/07/10 during an astronomy class! I hope you enjoy it :) }

short stories, new writer, coffee

It Was Life

By Melinda Williams

I am either

taken to a cafe in Europe

looking great- all women there do

smoking, taking a sip, smoking

my lipstick stain on both

the cigarette and the cup

The conversation is enlightened

yet

I have a subtle

I don’t give a f—

attitude.

Men pass by

One wants to buy me my next

This is the true potential

This is where

one can go

OR

I am stepping inside a gas station

I can smell the bathroom

which is right next to

where I fill up my mug

unfortunately

The smell is cheap

Cheap- unlike the

massive amounts of oil outside

The two, dark liquids

our country runs on

Back in Europe

it wasn’t fuel

It was life


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Be Notorious

writer, new writer, short stories, poetry, rumi

The book YOU need to get TODAY and let change your life.

According to the online Webster definition of Notorious, it means:
adj; generally known and talked of; especially: widely and unfavorably known.

This doesn’t sound all that great. I’ll probably never be widely talked of (I’m no celebrity) and the idea of being unfavorably known? That’s a little scary. It’s scary to think that people might not like me.
HOWEVER. This is the quote that’s been changing my life lately:
Run from what’s comfortable. Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious.” -Rumi

I’ve been obsessed with Rumi lately. The old poet who speaks so often of love, God, life and relationships… well, his words truly are life changing. This quote in particular really gets to me.
Take the first line…

Run from what’s comfortable.

Why should I? My life is very comfortable. I’ve been enjoying things. I have a lot to look forward to each and every day. But have I truly felt alive? Have I felt that through all of this comfort, a reason why I might be here on this Earth? No. I know that in order to make a difference and live a life that matters, I need to be uncomfortable. What I’m not sure about is whether it will be a mild discomfort or a big one. I guess I’m kind of ready for both.

Now let’s face the second line…

Forget safety.

What’s safe? The first thing that popped into my head, which I’m sure most  people won’t really agree with, was not having a dog to take care of. Wearing all of my layers in order to not freeze to death… making sure I wake up in time to make coffee and prepare an awesomely healthy breakfast… which means going to bed early enough to do that… safety is everywhere. In every action I’ve been taking. What does this mean? Forget safety? I don’t think it means that I should stop wearing my seatbelt or anything like that. However, I think it means going out on a limb. It means living enough to let things happen, whether they are good or bad. I won’t actually put myself in danger, but I won’t take every little precaution necessary to be safe. If I’m safe my entire life, well… that doesn’t make for much of a life.

Live where you fear to live.

What does that mean to you? For so many it means alone. For some it means living in a new place. It means taking that new job or quitting that old one. It means going for your dream even if you go broke trying to do so. Live where you fear to live. That will make getting up every day much more interesting… wouldn’t you agree?

Destroy your reputation.

Now, I’m not talking Kristen Stewart style or anything. This is inspiring because it really brings home this: It does not matter what other people think. How in the world could it matter? No one else is with you 24/7. YOU are the only one living with your every day actions. You are the only one who should care about your reputation… which means the way you think about yourself!!! Wouldn’t it be funny to hear someone say, “Yeah, I think I have a pretty good reputation. I mean… I like myself.” That would be refreshing. Not only would that person A) be awesome because they truly didn’t care what other people thought, but they’d also B) be even more awesome because they truly liked themselves. I’m craving more people in my life who truly love who they’ve become. I love authenticity, but without the pretentiousness that sometimes comes along with that. Would you be acting differently if reputation had nothing to do with it? That’s what inspires me. I need to do what I want to do, regardless of what others think. Even if that destroys my reputation. My current one, anyway. I guess we’ll always have one. It just might change!!

And finally…

Be notorious.

Which to me, means live with bravery. Be known for doing something crazy or exciting. Be known for going out on a limb and not giving up when you land on your stomach and get the wind knocked out of you. Anyone can survive that… after you get past the part where you can’t breathe.

So I’ll be doing my best to live out Rumi’s words. I feel TRULY inspired. I hope you do, too!!


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Living Deliberately

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life…” Excerpt from Walden by Henry David Thoreau

Yes, I went to live deliberately for two and a half days, and I didn’t even have to screw over an Irishman in order to do it. (if you don’t know what that means, take a closer look at Walden…)

short stories, new writer, outdoors

Raglan’s Roost!

I wish I could live out in the woods deliberately, as Thoreau so beautifully stated. I came close this week when I had the opportunity to spend time at a cute cabin, complete with a name carved on the outside, “Raglan’s Roost,” with friends. The two nights spent there were great. I felt full of energy, even with the two pounds of bacon (and who knows how many pounds of cheese…) consumed by only four people. I felt inspired the entire time. What is it about watching the bird and squirrels eat peanuts from the comfort of a rocking chair? The air smelled sweet and fresh. The sunlight woke us up.

short stories, new writer, trees

The View!!!

“Every morning was a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity, and I may say innocence, with Nature herself.” Walden, too…

I really did feel this way. Cheerful… like Mother Nature was inviting me to have a great day with her. I like living simply. I tried not to use my phone, which was easy because we had no service. I didn’t have my Kindle, but a real book of short stories. I wrote… on PAPER!! Let me tell you, I have a love/hate relationship with that. It’s nice to get an entire paragraph out quickly by typing fast. It takes time to write and the thoughts need to come out more deliberately. I think twice before each sentence. It was a good thing to get back to, if even for only two days. I rarely think to write with a pen and paper at home. It struck me how this all of a sudden made sense. Why not write on a real sheet of paper? I’m up in the mountains, after all. It simply felt right.

This is where I did that writing!

short stories, new writer, cabin

Coffee on the Porch :)

I drank way toooo much coffee.

short stories, new writer, coffee

Coffeeeeeee

We took two hikes total and walked along a river bed!

new writer, short stories, river

Lou and Lou standing by river drop off

I wound up with two small scratches on my left ankle. NOT BAD!!! Greg and I were both worried I’d come out with way worse.

About to Hike….

The uphill hike… WORTH IT!

Beautiful. Simply stunning.

Did I ever mention that I love cows? I do. Happy cows make my day. Unhappy cows make me cry.

When we were out by the cabin we heard a loud “mooooo!” and little did we know, the cows were just down the hill from where we were. The dog we were with chased after them and so we hiked down the small distance and saw not one, not two… but a FAMILY of cows!!!! They’re honestly a little bit intimidating. I knew they wouldn’t charge. But I still ran away from them.

Some Cows….

The whole family! This is where I got nervous. They came much closer!!!

At the end of the day we played games. Thanks to Misty and Mackenzie (who invited us to the cabin in the first place) we now have a fun game called Chicken Foot under our belt. Get some dominos and have a ball! Call us for a fun night playing this! We’ll teach you how!!

Chicken Foot

And we played some scrabble…. Which I have never won in my life. I did score a 22, though. My highest scoring word yet. We were using a dictionary from the 80’s that didn’t yet have the word “Qi” in it, so my real glory moment was dashed to smithereens. It’s okay. I got over it.

What I had to work with…

The big question is this: Does being out in the wilderness really make a big difference creatively? I think in some ways, yes. I had peace and quiet, along with plenty of time to sit and ponder life. Being there made me want to be healthy so that I could keep up with what nature had in store for us. It’s not easy to climb a mountain or keep your balance in a river. It’s so fun to do it, though! When I sat down to write I wanted to look at the birds instead of my paper, truth be told. Nature is quite distracting, but in a great way. Sometimes it’s good to be distracted. We need to let our minds clear out of work and stress. I had to focus on the pine scent that came with the breeze and the sound of a raven in the distance, which was a great break from the constant rambling in my head. “Have I written enough today? Will that agent send me something other than a rejection letter? Should I self-publish? I’m hungry.” It calmed my nerves to simply settle down and notice the simple things in life, like a huge ground squirrel being chased by a tiny squirrel half its size. I find that I live more “deliberately” when I have something to do. I think of my ideas when I’m at work!

I’d like to know if people feel their best, creatively, or otherwise, when they venture out into nature. OR is it your comfort zone, like being at home, that makes you produce your best work? Does it depend on what the goal is? Does in depend on the day? Week? Year?

Let me know! :)

 

TRIP MADE POSSIBLE BY THIS AWESOME FAMILY!!!!!! We love the Bishops!!! :)

Misty and Mackenzie and of course… Jenson!