On Writing My First Novel
Started writing it two decades ago,
Using a pseudonym for first/last time,
To protect the guilty and innocent,
In this autobiographical work.
Life got in the way of reliving it,
Work, wife, parents with health issues, now gone,
Back burners full of overflowing pots,
The sands of time quickly sifting through my fingers.
Serious writing projects completed,
A dozen plus books published,
Others yet to come, new lectures to plan,
New courses to develop and to teach.
My story untold, lessons learned unfurled,
But not written down to pass down my truth,
About things I know much more than I'd like,
And others should learn, in old age and youth.
Place bound for now on an imposed lockdown,
Chained to my desk like galley slaves to oars,
Taping lectures, attending Zoom meetings,
Depression abounds, if not joy or sleep.
So I'm back again, reliving the past,
In memory still green, though browning in parts,
Taking poetic license where I must,
But gently as a child's butterfly kiss.
Nearly nine thousand words today for just,
One day's events that sowed a thousand seeds,
That sprouted, flourished and died or were pecked,
By hungry vultures out of existence.
Remembering a day in my career,
When I still viewed the world with bright, clear eyes,
And had not opened doors I could not close,
Or walked by closed doors I should have opened.
My world and heart were then innocent, pure,
Full of good intentions waiting to burst,
From a chest that could hardly hold them back,
Foolishly thinking they could change the world.
The painful memories I now drown in,
I will not disclose. The pain I've given,
The pain I've received, I'll whitewash away,
To protect myself and those I have loved.
I'll limit my journey to work alone,
Describe what I've learned that others should know,
Weave the personal with transparent thread,
The professional with thickest red yarn.
I'll search for an agent when it is done,
As I'd like it read, unlike indie books,
And I believe it will find a market,
For it will reveal some essential truths.
It will teach much more that all need to know,
Than my life's work: Lectures, books, articles,
Poetry, fiction, blogs, presentations,
Hope I can write it before my life ends.
My sand's running out, tick tock cries the clock,
Hope lockdown provides, end to writer's block.
If you’d like to hear me read this poem, you can do so at
I Write, Therefore I Live . . . Again
Spent three nights this week
Living in 1987
Immersed in both joy and sorrow
Writing a novel
Of fact made fiction
Relived a critical year
Writing of my former self
Three nights spent towards the end
At my keyboard
Not my bed
Until 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m.
Then two or three hours of sleep
And back to weaving again
A renewed tapestry
From frayed and broken threads
The heart remembers
What the mind would hide
Old wounds thought healed
Begin to bleed again
What is broken is yet mended
Forged in the white-hot fire
Of sweet remembrance
Tempered by tears that can still flow
The novel's done
Reopened cuts begin to heal
And scabs reform anew
Leaving new scars to fade in time
The editing process begins
The mind takes over from the heart
The ghosts return to their cold graves
Their temporary lives expired
Closed doors pried open
Now shut once more
And verdant paths not taken
Once again turn brown
But oh the sweet ephemeral joy
And deepest sorrow
Of the dead past come alive
If only for a time to ponder what might have been
Poetry reading of this poem is freely accessible at https://youtu.be/Fy5UfJJ8vOI
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