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Archive for the ‘Creative writing by Ruth’ Category

A workshop with a group of strong young feminists was stimulating, satisfying, and exactly what I needed after several weeks of dealing with various health issues.

Most of the participants had been motivated to come after attending recent local shows by the facilitators Carrie Rudzinski and Olivia Hall, of the HWS Poetry Collective. I had hoped to go to one of their shows, but my recent eye operation precluded that. The fact that the workshop venue was our nearby Community Cottage was an added incentive to venture out on a drizzly Sunday afternoon.

The group was open and trusting. A bonus for me was that after I introduced myself as being a blogger another woman asked if I was Ruth’s Reflections and said she follows my blog. It’s always a thrill to meet someone who reads and comments on this blog.

We were all spurred to write freely, sometimes just a few words or a stream of consciousness which may later transform into a poem. Two poems were offered as examples. Calling all Grand Mothers by Alice Walker was an inspiring call to action. I found the second poem Backpedal by Olivia Gatwood hard to relate to, but am always curious to see what new poets are creating.

We were given excellent prompts and useful advice, e.g. to include concrete specific details, and to move while memorising. One prompt asked us to consider how we would like the world to change and to write an Epistle that might change someone’s mind. I was focussed on the war in Ukraine for this exercise, and found myself advocating violence. This is totally out of character for me, so may constitute a debut – useful as debut is the theme for my next poetry group meeting.

I’m grateful to Carrie and Olivia for sparking my latterly dormant muse. Here is my Epistle:

Dear Mrs Putin
your man has gone mad
it’s unbearable to watch him
killing indiscriminately
bombing schools
obliterating hospitals
children are dying
you have children of your own
can you make him stop?
please!
I don’t condone violence
but I think the time has come
for the sake of the world
he has to go
assassination an option
a suicide mission
we need a hero
could that be you?

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I wrote a Fibonacci for poor Ziggy. He’s finding life in a collar hard.

Sun

is

shining

we cannot

go and sit outside

because the cat’s in M.I.Q.

a wound means he must wear an Elizabethan ruff

and stay in the house for ten days

we cannot go out

because he

will see

 and

cry

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Poems and prose
may be born
in the wee small hours
lying awake at 3am
shall I put in my earbuds
listen to the radio?
my mind drifts
considering my next creation
a tiny inspiration lurks
could be forgotten by morning
on a notepad by the bed
I scrawl words in the dark
don’t want to wake him up
will my writing be legible later?
mind churning, I get up
don dressing gown and slippers
turn on a light
feed the importunate cat
settle down to write
get it out on paper
then back to bed
relax, and sleep again

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streets stream with artworks
some there for years
like elephants on Manchester
others are brand new
a giant cat on St Asaph
these portraits delight me
more obscure ones
show video games
alien cartoon characters
perhaps familiar
to the younger generation
I stop and think
their worth is in the eye
of the beholder
it can be a fine line
between street art and graffiti

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Dancing Eyes

When “eyes” was suggested as a topic for our poetry group, I immediately though of a sentence I’d read years ago, and this sparked a Fibonacci poem:

I
once
read of
a couple
who went to a ball
he shyly asked her for a dance
she cast her eyes to the floor and they danced together
I laughed out loud when I read this
picturing two eyes
gliding past
hands clasped
in
bliss

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At midnight tonight some pandemic restrictions will ease. We will no longer need to scan or sign in at shops and cafés. I can stop filling in the Covid Outing Diary I’ve been keeping meticulously for many months.

We do not hug
bump elbows instead
shop in masks
show vaccine passes
keep one metre distant
do what we should
sigh for what once we could

it’s

           a

                          fine

                                      line

between safe                and sociable

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Yesterday was the first time our poetry group had met in its usual venue for six months, and it felt good to be back to something approaching normal.

We needed to show vaccine passes, scan or sign in, and wear masks in the library and corridor. However once we were in the meeting room we were able to remove our masks – much easier for talking and reading poems. Usually we’d be a group of eight or ten, but yesterday there were only five, which meant we could sit well-spaced, and I always enjoy a smaller group. We opened windows and left the door ajar to allow plenty of ventilation.

We were more widely spaced than this!

In the past I took public transport to get to this meeting, and I vacillated over what I’d do under the red traffic light. I discussed this with a friend in Wellington who regularly takes the bus, because she works in the inner city where parking is prohibitively expensive. I’d almost decided I would bravely use public transport, but in yesterday morning’s Press there was a letter from someone describing how she’d been on a bus this week where neither the driver nor several passengers wore masks. After reading that I decided to take the car.

Our theme for this meeting was Before and After. Here’s something I wrote:

Pause for Pandemic

I remember the time
when flu was The Virus
before we were told to stay home
before we all bought masks
before Zoom meetings
became the way to keep in touch

Now double jabbed
and boostered too
we scan in everywhere
show our vaccine passes
use Greek letters
and wonder whether
there will ever be an after

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I love to blog. It satisfies my need for creative expression and gives me contact with all kinds of people, near and far, who read my blog and make comments. I appreciate and value all of you.

Sometimes it’s hard to know what to write. Prior to Christmas I went a whole week without blogging, because nothing inspired me to write and I was busy with other activities. For the past 20 days I’ve posted something every day, and the habit becomes addictive. I keep an eye on my visitor statistics and am always pleased to get comments. Sometimes I think that what I’ve written isn’t very engaging, yet it will spark someone’s interest. Topics come from all around me, but some days it’s hard to find anything to write about especially if nothing new seems to be happening.

I have a book with 642 things to write about, but many of these require imagination and my imagination isn’t very active at present. The book did inspire my recent post about ice creams. My preference is to write about actual events and feelings. Because I’ve been blogging for over 15 years there’s a danger I may repeat myself, especially if I’m writing about the garden and/or seasons of the year. It’s unlikely that anyone except me will remember what I’ve written before, and often the only reason I remember is because they show up in my Facebook Memories.

Lately I’ve been purposefully encouraging my mind to drift just before I fall asleep and when I first wake up. This sometimes gives me an idea to write about, as happened for this very post. I always scribble my thoughts on paper, add a title and a final couplet, then go to seek a suitable illustration. How do others find inspiration for regular writing?

I want to write here every day
but sometimes don’t know what to say

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trust your gut
subconscious
draws on past experience
connects the dots
sends a message
before the brain’s engaged

no need to list
pros and cons
weigh alternatives
or consult others

follow your instincts
she who hesitates
may miss out
just do it!

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Trying a Tritina

A tritina is a specific poetry form where words are repeated at the end of lines. Here is my example:

Ziggy at rest after breakfast

For Ziggy

Our lovely Ziggy is a special cat
a part Burmese with long white hair
he knows when it is feeding time

At 6 a.m. he tells us it’s time
we’re woken by miaows from hungry cat
who pummels at my pillow and my hair

He’s not appeased by my stroking his hair
he says to hurry, it’s his breakfast time
I am the staff. Get up, must feed the cat

One time the cat was God and had black hair

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