Ten Minute Poem

Posted by Unrepentant Escapist

Aug. 31, 2011 -- 6:31 p.m.

Well, grad school is more time-consuming than I expected. It's a little daunting to be surrounded by A-students who've been in the full-immersion class environment more recently than I. I'm used to competing with other slackers, not younger, more mathematically gifted versions of myself. I'm used to being at the top of the class, not the back. It doesn't help that everyone else attended BYU and so already seems to know everything about the campus while I'm stumbling around lost wondering what big hunk of brown brick I'm supposed to be going to. I wish there was a shuttle from one end of campus to the other. Getting from parking to my classes is pretty intense in the heat/humidity (yes, Utah does have a little of that.)

Anyway, first assignment due this weekend. We'll see if my writing/analysis ability is still any good. I've forgotten how to do simple things, like citations and mathematical proofs.

I'll try to post pics from Worldcon this weekend. It was awesome, but the kind of awesome that's hard to form into words. Mostly a sense of community. You can wander over to someone and strike up a conversation with people who share your loves, instead of looking at you with confusion and pity. And so many of my idols. E.G., I hung out at the Tor Party before the claustrophobia got to me and someone walked up and started talking to me and it was Lois Bujold. Lois Freaking Bujold just started talking to me like she's an ordinary person and not a goddess of awesome. In my own personal pantheon of Gods, anyone with a wheel-barrel full of literary awards is certainly able to pull a fiat lux out of nowhere and make it bright enough to blind my ass.

All the authors/editors had the same advice for breaking in. Write. Write some more. Write a lot more. Don't follow trends. I keep hoping if I collect enough chips of wisdom, I can cash in for a book deal, but it doesn't work like that. I understand, but I still can dream that someone somewhere will have the magic word that I need to hear.

The writing group with Louise Marley and N.K. Jemisin went well. Both of the pros had some hard things to say, but they were good hard things that I needed to hear. I'll take some of their advice and ignore the rest, but it was cool talking to them. Louise Marley grew up in one of the towns I used to cover with the newspaper I edited. Small world.

Anyway, until I post pics of me sitting in the Iron Throne, here's a poem I wrote in ten minutes, because that's all the time for writing I've had this week. I'll try to lock myself in a closet this weekend, where considerations of calculus don't tread on my creative synapses.


The pencil of Black Moods

is scribbling in my ear.

It makes thick, jagged lines

Whispering as it carves straight into

The pink lining of my cochlea.

From above, its scratches look like

Yarn after the cat’s been in the crochet drawer.

Or maybe letters formed by a two-year-old,

Who abandons things midway to go chasing after orange Jello.

Half-formed memories flow, twisted and taunting,

Belched out by the tip of the dark lead

Pressed against my eardrum--

The next-door neighbor to my brain.

The pencil of Black Moods

is scribbling in my ear.

Scribbling, scribbling…

Good thing I have an eraser.


  1. Lee Ann Setzer said...

    Blarg! The audiologist in me is way, way too emphathetically connecting with the damage you're metaphorically inflicting on your tympanic membranes! Once you've punched holes in your eardrum with your pencil, your eraser isn't going to do it any good. (or maybe that's the whole "point"...)

    I can't wait to see what sorts of fiction the BYU business school provides the catalyst for. Good luck!

  2. Unrepentant Escapist said...

    Yeah, sticking erasers or pencils in your ear, literally, is probably not a good idea.

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