Something old

This week, in the absence of poetry or a story (I promise I am doing more than it seems), I though I would share this little snippet with you. It is from an e-portfolio that I was supposed to create for A&M’s university honors program. No longer a part of that program, I had completely forgotten about the post until recently, and decided that I would publish it here for you all. I hope that is alright.

~~~
The first time I heard about an e-portfolio, I was a freshmen at Richland Jr. College. I was largely still a high school student, had no understanding of where I wanted to go, and considered the assignment to be nothing more than busy work from a class that didn’t really matter. Inadvertently, I had adopted the perception that everything I did should have an obvious objective; I believed that if I was to be troubled to work on a project or class, I should know and understand just why I had to do that work.

Long, rambling story short, I failed that class, largely because

Oops…

of my lack of attentiveness to the e-portfolio project. Adding salt to the wounded ego, I still had to retake the class, because Richland required it of every student entering their program. Like it or not, I would have to work, and on a project where I might not understand the immediate benefits. I was going to have to take myself out of the drivers seat once again,and I would have to trust that my instructors understood enough to point me in the right direction.
I will not insult your intelligence by tying this into some absurd attempt of perseverance triumphing over all troubles. I won’t even go so far as to say I have fully learned the lesson that I stated above, but I am learning. I’ve realized that right now I have two options. I can sit in some corner, pretending that my limited understanding is all there is, or I can humble myself to the truth that this world is a lot bigger than I give it credit for, and there is plenty more to learn.

Credit to Hannah Alger for this little gem.

Is it perfect? No. Nothing is. Like I said before, this isn’t some corny “you can do it” story. It’s not even complete. I expect that I will have to be taught to learn time and time again. We’re not willing to learn unless we admit that there is something we don’t already know, which implies personal weakness or deficiency.

While I’m in the process of deviating from required content, I thought I might insert a short quote by C. S. Lewis. I will probably quote Lewis a good number of times, as I am continuously humbled and inspired by his work. In his fantasy work, “The Horse and His Boy” Lewis made a very simple, yet very striking remark: “Do not dare not to dare.” I think that while I might never reach the apex of mental ability or writing effectiveness, I should still try my hardest to improve on myself – dare to grow, as it were.

A Few Notes and A Poem (or Two)

First things first: I don’t expect to write a new post every week. Present variables considered, the best I can hope for is to present something new every other week. I will try to include something creative in every post, if I can manage, but I will also be including a handful of updates, and maybe (if I dare) a few random thoughts as well.

Second, while I am woefully behind schedule (with regards to my summer plans), I do hope to have all parts of my MFA applications finished by summer’s end, and possibly have a short story or two written as well. These, depending on how they turn out, may find their way here. If such is the case, I will add a new page on the blog (like I did for “Gamer”).

Lastly, I’d like to take a moment for shameless plugging: if you enjoy or are encouraged by anything in this blog, would you please share it with any friends who you think might also enjoy it? While my first reason for writing is an enjoyment of the craft, my second is that I am striving to create a life from it. Yes I realize that attempting to write professionally is much like flying to the moon with only a bathtub, and that much of the work here is imperfect. Still, I’d ask that you please consider sharing these short, somewhat awkward attempts at writing. If nothing else, it might spur someone else to write better on a topic that I touch on.

Now for more poetry!

P.S. I should state that, while some poetry I write is derived from a sort of overflow of emotions, other poems are very much written in the abstract and without any foundation in my personal experience. Simply put, do not necessarily believe that a writer is telling you exactly how they feel by what they write down. We are, above all else, very good liars (for that is what a story teller is).

In the company of Shelley — Imagined primarily from considering the differences from older forms (primarily from the romantics) and the current form of ‘Spoken Word.’ In no way am I antagonizing S.W.. If I was, I would be far more direct.

“An Archaic mess of Tasteless color.”
“Old fashioned thoughts weighed down by older form.”

A younger mind might submit to such squalor;
I confess, I don’t want to just conform.
A sordid mess, that self-centered haiku.
When did the loftiest form roll in the mud?
Such vivid shades of Brown! Better on you.
The shades of gold and green – those subtle buds –
The romantic greats like marble gods!
Their eyes fixed out, their hearts awash in light.
A world alive and heightened by a verse.
Allowed to sing, to dance, to fly, then die.
As mutinous children all run away,
In the company of Shelley I will stay.

Doormat — This piece is a tad more recent that some of the other works I’ve posted. The effort was create a sort of energetic flow in the lines. You can decide on the success or failure of the attempt for yourself.

A walked on little terrier,
That’s how I feel sometimes.
Always around, and seems so sound,
He’ll help once more, its fine.

Perhaps a doormat’s more fitting
Description of my state.
No real thought is ever given
Until I start to break.

Yet muted stare, my one response,
No loud protest offered.
Instead I frown, or just look down,
No battle to offer.

So come right in with filthy feet
Or ball to make me fetch,
It’s plain to me you’ll never see
No plans of mine to catch.

A Couple of old Poems

A few small bits and pieces as I again work to reignite this old thing:

1. There  will likely not be any new stories posted for some time. My prose work will, for the next half year or so, be entirely focused on preparing a portfolio for my MFA applications.
2. That said, there will hopefully be poetry, and maybe a rant or two thrown in for good measure (because I can’t seem to avoid such for very long).
3. Also, I do plan to try and create some fashion of regularity to my posting, but that isn’t certain yet. I will need to first figure out what I plan on showing to you all.

So there you have it– a game plan for what will hopefully be a slightly more active summer. All that remains now is to give you a poem or two, so….

Sonnet 1: From Bleeding Side— This particular poem was my first weak attempt at sonnet form. I fully admit to the somewhat bland imagery– a flaw that my friend Laura was quick to point out almost two years ago. 

My crime remains, a failure to believe Your truth,
Maker, I call myself, instead of one who’s made.
A lie believed, and now I sell for naught my youth,
While cry I more from wounds that grew out of my blade.
For what?’ I ask as ruin falls where I reside
What king am I? Whose land is built beyond the night.
A lifeless lump of clay ‘til You alone decide,
A hollow shell until my eyes You chose to light.
Creative soul, hear now the truth about your King,
Our goal, to see all Heaven in imagined scene,
Is handed down from throne to cause your art to sing,
A grace to see, to tell, and then at last to mean.
Through this clear view, begin to see my fate,
With art from bleeding side my hope did He create.

Silence— Silence belongs to the category of poem fragments. They often are incomplete, but this particular one managed to feel adequate without having too complex a meaning. 

Into rocky winding song
Valley narrow, verses long
And with bleeding hands hold on
While the burden tumbles gone.
Cold refrain at valley’s head
Sing aloud until you’re dead
Perhaps one day to be read
“On smooth sheets now rest your head.”

A Few Alterations

After nearly a year of inactivity, I found myself coming back to the familiar and dusty realm of this blog. It was a royal mess (a clear indicator of the disorder that has often plagued me in creative endeavors), and for a moment I was tempted to again flee.

I originally started this blog as a means of public practice and refinement. I refuse to assume on the idea of any of an eventual public success, as the odds are greater that I will somehow fly to the Moon using my bathtub as a space shuttle. Instead, my passion rests on a love of an ideal that is both perceptible, and yet…

There was a problem, then, and it is still here as I type out these words. It corrupts my pens for seeing, and perverts the sounds I am making. In the midst of all my ideals, I find myself to be the greatest hindrance- the thing most in my way.

I didn’t start this blog thinking that I would spew forth a dozen and a half posts of misspelled rants. I didn’t initially plan to cover the walls of this space in work that was only half-cleared of debris. The problem was and is that while I continue to see and aspire for art, I am reminded that in the end I am a flawed instrument.

The purge I enacted with my return hides the evidence, sure. I can once more charge out with the ambition to create something of value, but in six months or less I will be weighed down by stones: each representing one sin I’ve committed in writing this little experiment.

It’s here, I suppose, that the change must begin. It is downright silly to pretend that I write in a way that is truly fantastic, and yet I am unwilling to quit. Instead of these two options, I’m opting for the clichéd third: a flawed but determined effort.

It’s this option that will color my content, though my effort will always center on revision. Posts may not fly out as quickly or regularly, but I will try to make them orderly and interesting (in some fashion or form).

So if you are new to this blog, welcome! If you’re one of my handful of subscribers, hello again and welcome back. If nothing else, the fire always needs kindling, right?

Ice, Run, and Permission

Come with me to the river,
The ice is broken tonight.
Shed gilded robes of comfort,
Free form of frozen future.
Water cuts like knives through veins,
No comfort from memory.
Only know the one promise,
And safety found in numbers.
The least punishment is death.
Does ridicule last that long?
But chosen paths of warfare,
Defiant claims- they all are lies.

 

Performance, respite.
Ascend with each step.
Reach forward to win.
Revel in limelight.
Inspect every mask.
Share with one father.
Home is the next right.

 

Question motives, hopes, and what my eyes are set on,
Inspect the tail, head, teeth; judge it to be wanting.
Critique and appraise, and search for any mistake.
Press and console, give words of what life really is.
The L.E.D. glow mixes well with comfort fish.
Realize the salmon is swimming upstream now,
And only one nod is needed for permission.

The Lies I Lead

[Another poem from a currently unnamed set. The original work was just the first two stanzas, but the others came as I worked on revising and rethinking the pieces.]

 

With Certainty I spoke a truth that I alone could see.
My voice was loud with trumpets proud before the silent three.
Yet rather than a chorus poured to mimic all I’d said,
An empty hall with all who saw, my worldview truly bred.
So stood I there with such a care, I looked upon my needs.
I saw at last where ignorance’ grasp, had grown up from small seeds.

Eternal Hell amidst the spell of all we hope to gain,
A fiery pit, your souls will fit, I’ll send them as I reign.
I’ll sit on high in cloudless sky, my dreams of what should come,
You disagree? Ha, I’ll fix thee. I’ll mock you to your grave.
My mind’s dead to all unsaid, alien and truth estrange.
Within my sight is all that’s right. Your dreams will have to change.

And there it rots, the strange worldview- rest well in purgatory.
Perhaps one day you’ll come and gaze upon me in my glory.
For gilded halls, or filth-stained stalls, depends on whom you ask,
But such the place I rest and face myself in solitude.
None wonder if I sweep or shift the grime of ignorance.
But all expect at least some speck of good-faith called “open.”

So obvious it might seem now that my life should just change.
Things would work out, were I no lout, but listened to the range.
Yet I can’t stop but wonder if the thought that is so closed,
Is also preaching open thinking to all who oppose.
Is my worldview just so askew as to forget its place?
Or are the lines of open minds the truth devils in red?

So back to start, your mind must move like piece upon the board,
A new theory from thoughts dreary, until some sense restored.
What, I move too and sit and stew upon the problem now?
No not for I, the task to try and create some real results.
I like the lie I choose to lead of intellect and grace.
Perspectives are so stuck and hard to move and then replace.

 

© 2013 R. P. McDonald.

Silent Lamb

[[A few notes before this piece, I think.

This is a flashfict (fanfict) I did over the summer as a mental workout. The intent was to try and touch on a very very grim story while retaining a sense of dignity regarding the character. In short, I didn’t want the reader to see every moment of what was going to happen, yet I wanted them to have a very real and accurate idea of what occurred.

The end result was this two and a half page piece. The character Mayhoof is one I played in the video game World of Warcraft. She was a favorite of mine given her physical disabilities (inability to speak, as well as a permanently ruined arm). The assumption is that the reader would already have a very good picture of where things were taking place, which is why I follow a more minimalistic approach to details.

All that said, enjoy this short story!]]

 

She was not harming anyone that day. Mayhoof had been sitting on the curbside, her face looking up to the Cathedral with not a word spoken of prayer or muse. Innocence and hope resonated from this woman despite the numberless months she had waited for her miracle.

Her presence had not gone unnoticed. Sometimes a clergyman or nun would throw a few copper pieces at the woman, though they never risked a second look down to the lame beggar. Guards too had observed the Draenei, but these men were not the lions of Stormwind. They were wolves, which only wore the skins of the noble animal as a guise.

“Hey there! What’s a pretty girl like you doin’ all by your lonesome then?” The man speaking wore full plate armor, his visor down. His tabard was neat and unwrinkled, but his shield was not at his side. With him was a second guard of similar appearance, and who spoke next.

“Poor thing. Think She talks? Sure hasn’t the last couple o’ times.” He said.

Mayhoof indeed said nothing. She looked up at one of the guards, and then the other. Their language was still indistinguishable to her.

“Think she’ dumb then? Maybe that’s why the buggers just let her wander off.”

“Shut it stupid! Beggin your pardon, miss. Can we get something for ya? Being you is visitin our fine city.”

Mayhoof remained silent. Was she in trouble? Did she do wrong? Her eyes flitted away from the guards to the cathedral. What if she were taken away from this place, would she still be able to find healing?

“Yap. Dumber than dirt!” The second guard cackled out, only to be pushed to one side by his companion.

“Don’t mind him none. Just light-headed. All this heavy armor, yah? Speaking abouts. You lookin pale yourself. Want somethin to eat and drink?”

Mayhoof said nothing, though she did look back to the guards now, watching as the second man made as to pour an invisible glass and drink it. Her eyes drifted back to the Cathedral.

“Look, uhm. Why do you come with us? You can come back to the cathedral later, when everything’s done.” The second man said. He shuffled forwards, and offered his hand out. “Come on. Come with me.”

For a minute Mayhoof hesitated. Fear and uncertainty ruled in her mind, but still the hope of being lead closer to the cathedral was prevailing in her mind.

So lamb followed wolves,

From light into shadows,

From shadows came no sound,

Though twin wolves were found.

Helpless lamb taken,

And then, just forsaken,

A silent lamb’s cry,

And no ewe nearby.

It had been a warm summer day. Mayhoof had not hurt anyone as she sat on the curbside facing the Cathedral of Light. She now wore rags, torn and dirtied. Her eyes were no longer wide, but instead the Draenei hugged herself with her one good arm, her face turned away from the street.

Only remotely did she hear the words of scorn, spoken in pure Draenic about her. Only in passing did she register the contempt of other Draenei, looking down at what they supposed was nothing more than a common harlot. Still the lamb was silent, even in anguish.

 

© 2013 R. P. McDonald,

Credit for character race, and the city ‘Stormwind’ to Blizzard Entertainment.