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Random Vicissitudes

Most people understand – at least in a theoretical sense – how quickly life can change. In the two months since I last posted, the silence hasn’t come about due to a lack of blogging material. No, no, no. Furthermore, every single day without a post brought a deeper sense of unease … the pattern of my life seeming slightly upended! Red-Pencil

But the respite from my daily pattern was necessary and welcome … necessary because life demanded I attend other matters and welcome because it freed me (somewhat) from my irrational obsession to slavishly maintain daily posts – no matter what! With each day that passed, my figurative pencil grew more insistent and red-faced. Much to my surprise, people continued to drop by and read previous posts. (I am gratefully humbled by your interest.) Continue Reading →

Manufactured Outrage

Over the course of many years, I’ve come to realize writers are a rather strange subgroup of the human race. I count myself in that number and readily admit my strangeness … uniqueness, that’s the term I prefer. Actually, I’ve heard it said all creative people are strange, slightly off-center. Maybe so. When I hear of the strange things other writers do, I tend to shake my head and roll my eyes. Then I go on with my life … and my writing.Place, Vanessa

Here’s one example of the strangeness I’ve observed. The Twitter profile (shown above) belongs to a woman named Vanessa Place. (Her name appears just underneath the left-side photo of actress Hattie McDaniel.) From what I’ve read, Place uses this Twitter account for the purpose of tweeting – 140 characters at a time, plus or minus – the entire text of Margaret Mitchell’s novel, Gone With the Wind. I suppose one might argue this is an artistic expression and benign protest by which she registers her disgust with the racial stereotypes portrayed in the 1936 novel. Continue Reading →

Too Beautiful To Hold

On Tuesday, my post referred to a poem (Spring) written by Pulitzer Prize recipient (1923), poet Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950). According to some literary sources, her sonnets are among the best of the early twentieth century. One particular poem I’ve loved many a year is not a true sonnet but still a top-notch and memorable composition in my opinion. It’s pictured below.

God's World - Millay

FROM: http://tiny.cc/t575wx

From the moment I first read this poem, Vincent’s ecstasy and amazement showcased in this poem made a connection with me. (I think I might have been in high school at the time.) This poem stands in stark contrast to Spring. Whereas Spring gives a contrary and cynical view of Nature, the rapture and pure pleasure expressed in God’s World supplies Vincent’s surprising yang to the yin that infuses Spring. So enraptured is Vincent in God’s World, she suggests her passion would necessarily overflow if something as simple as a bird call sounded on her ears.

Continue Reading →

Lightly Turned Fancy

When Spring arrives every year, one finds there’s a great deal of poetic utterance devoted to one or another aspect of the season. There is, in the season, a wealth of subjects on which the poet might reflect and celebrate. I’ve read poems (old and new) that extol the freshly-blossoming flowers … as well as freshly-blossoming love.spring-season

In his poem Locksley Hall, Alfred, Lord Tennyson famously noted:

In the Spring a fuller crimson comes upon the robin’s breast;
In the Spring the wanton lapwing gets himself another crest;

In the Spring a livelier iris changes on the burnish’d dove;
In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.

In truth, only the fourth line above could be described with the “famously” adverb. That particular line is often quoted. Not being a man, I can’t speak specifically to Tennyson’s observation, except to say it is a lovely line in a much longer, rich and emotional work produced with 97 rhyming couplets. Continue Reading →

Out of the Gate!

The horse-race has begun! Can’t you just feel the anticipation? The excitement? The hotly-contested, fiercely-competitive quest for the checkered flag … er, the green jacket … er, the stretched-out tape at the finish line … er, the party’s nod to run for President – that doesn’t necessarily mean victory and White House residency.andtheyreoff

You may actually have enthusiasm for this renewed political season to be kicking off … I’m not. I knew it would be upon us soon enough, but I’ve dreaded hearing various candidates announce they’re launching their campaigns. It seems as though the wall-to-wall nature of media and news has spawned a monster, like a massive and disgusting tapeworm that devours from within. Continue Reading →

Presenting the Englark Sonnet

Readers of this blog know my affinity to the sonnet poetic form. Nearly five years ago in this space, I posted my first poem (a sonnet) and mentioned one of my writing goals was to compose one hundred sonnets, hoping my efforts would allow me to attain a level of “mastery” with the form.Sonnet readerBy my count, I have recently reached the century mark of sonnets posted on Wise Blood. You may confirm my numbers for yourself by following this link (the Sonnets tab at the top of the page). In another post about my sonnet goal, I noted Shakespeare had written 154 sonnets during his lifetime. Continue Reading →

You and Me and Annabel Lee

Ah, National Poetry Month 2015. Are you as excited as I am? Actually, I shouldn’t give the wrong impression. I am eager to take part in celebrating poetry, but in all truth, I’m able to do that whether it’s National Poetry Month or not … and so might we all. So, to borrow an expression from racing, Gentlemen, start your engines!

WriMorPoe2

When I began to think about National Poetry Month and the NaPoWriMo 2015 challenge, my thoughts naturally gravitated to one of my favorite poets, the estimable Edgar Allan Poe. Say it with me, POE – T – R – Y ! If ever a man had a perfect name for writing poetry, it is Poe!

Continue Reading →

A Paleo-Innocence Project

Wrongfully accused … even for young children, this is an easily-understood expression. The concept of fairness seems inborn and children learn at an early age the power of a complaint “It’s not fair!” Job wasn’t a child, but he understood how it felt to be wrongfully accused.

FROM:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake

FROM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake

In studying The Book of Job, I’ve begun to understand how awful it is to be perceived as a wrongdoer … when you’re not! Every time Job proclaimed his innocence, his friends shook their heads and presumed Job was guilty and deserving of judgment. The “circumstantial evidence” confirmed their hasty judgment. Case closed! Continue Reading →

How Long the Hunt for Words?

For a writer, reading the following words may strike right between the eyes:  “How long will you hunt for words?” Maybe it was more of a two-by-four upside the head, but I definitely reacted to this question from Job 18:2. It’s Bildad speaking, responding to Job’s monologue from chapters 16 and 17, and Bildad comes out swinging. He’s anxious for Job to suspend what he considers a monumental (and verbose) pity-party.

FROM:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake

FROM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake

The way I read the chapter, it reminds me of the scene from Moonstruck where Cher slaps Nicholas Cage and tells him “Snap out of it!” Bildad’s attempting to do the same thing:  Snap out of it, Job! You’re letting this suffering thing affect your ability to listen and learn from your friends!
Continue Reading →

#AdviceForYoungJournalists

One of the trending hashtags on Twitter today was #ADVICEFORYOUNGJOURNALISTS. I’m guessing this hashtag was, at least in part, a result of the recent shake-up at NBCNews due to the “misremembering” antics of Nightly News anchor Brian Williams.Screenshot 2015-02-10 20.02.57Back in the dark ages (I called them the 60s), my intention upon high school graduation was to enroll at the University of Missouri to major in journalism. I had earned a scholarship to Mizzou, it was located only a couple hours from my home, and at that time at least, it was considered one of the best J-schools in the country. According to Wikipedia (see subheading in above image), it “may be the oldest formal journalism school in the world.Continue Reading →

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