Journey To A Poem

for Writer’s Island prompt #14  Journey 

Yesterday, I spent a lot of time reading other people’s poetry. All different responses to one prompt. Each one distinct, different and unique. But each one a journey for its author and creator. We talk of the ‘process’ of creating, and that process is again, different for each of us.

Some of its details are easily sorted out, a memory of where, when, or who spoke of doing a certain thing which we decided sounded good so added it to our own process. Other parts within that journey of creation, are not so easily identified. Why one person chooses blue and another lavender seems to have a bit of mystery about it. A bit of magic, if you will, or a great deal of intuition.

In the middle of reading those responses, I have already mentioned, I also chatted with an old friend using the instant messenger. In the middle of that conversation, we were discussing something and I typed out a phrase that fitted into the flow of the conversation, but when I saw it typed on the screen, knew intuitively that it had a poem inside of it. So, I jotted it down and went on with the conversation.

Hours later, after running some errands, visiting with my oldest daughter, then coming home to finish reading, I turned in my chair and found that brief note I had made so much earlier. It caught my eye, but also that inner space inside of me that stills just before the beginning of a poem starts its journey from inner space to paper.

I was sitting at my computer, so it was easy to pull up the Word Processor program and begin. I knew exactly where the phrase had found its beginning. And because of that, I was a bit hesitant, but the words started flowing and I followed them, which is another part of my process.

The words had come from inside of another poem. One I wrote this past week and had posted yesterday morning. It was a rather dense piece of writing and might be defined as a prose poem, something I hadn’t done much of in the past. But as I was tweaking it, a memory flashed before me and I simply put the image into the poem. It fit. You can find that poem at:

But the memory was only one from a time in my life filled with experiences I have tried hard to put behind me. That means I have not written a great deal about that particular period of my personal journey, only made mention of it vaguely, in a sort of off-handed manner, telling myself that it was all so long ago, it is barely worth mentioning.

However, the phrase that was underlying this new poem was marching me straight at those walled in memories. I got just about half way through the poem, and decided to stop. Put it away, let it rest a bit. Can you hear that stubborn wall of denial I was putting up? Actually told myself I’d get back to it tomorrow, lol.

But, as will happen, the poem didn’t want to wait, and as I started winding down from a full day, I could hear the next part of the poem trying to make its way to the surface. So, I pulled up the poem, but what I heard, wasn’t the poem, but the lyrics to a song I had heard many years previously.

It came from a young woman who lived in my home for a number years and who had introduced me to an entire world of music I had never heard before. This, the one I was now hearing in my head, was a particular favorite and I knew most of the words. So, I looked it up on YouTube and found the end of the poem within its lyrics. You can watch and listen to the song here (it is the first song, didn’t realize I had captured two, but the second one fits as well):

My process is not static, I would not think that anyone’s is. It grows and evolves just as we ourselves do. Mine however makes lots of room for those intuitive associations I have learned to listen to over the years. And part of that process also includes allowing someone to hear a poem which includes a need for further action. Otherwise, I could just put the thing away and forget it altogether. Here is the poem that came out of my process:

       Memory Dust

The dust of a bad memory
crept in and curled itself
inside a poem I was writing.

I fear the brush of its slight
weight might collapse wall,
crumble it like cracked plaster.

But, it fit dammit, right there
in that space, that place my words
so unwittingly made for it.

That wall restrains a torrent
of other words spoken
in moments long past.

Images from which I flinch
instinctively. Shoulders hitched
eyes pressed tightly, I remember:

Blows that landed with knife
sharp accuracy, exploding a reality
that had been only hoped for.

Sent it crashing to the ground
with the sound of grinding teeth
clenched tight against speech,

silenced for dread of rendering
just such an outcome. But, I alone
built this wall, one brick at a time,

year after year, filling in all cracks
with the mortar of living one
moment at a time.

That bit of dust will accumulate
ever more over coming days, weeks,
months, maybe years, if I’m lucky.

And I can huddle here, against
my wall, waiting for the inevitable
to fall upon me. Or, I can stand up,

begin smashing, one brick at a time.

Elizabeth Crawford  7/31/10 




About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here:
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45 Responses to Journey To A Poem

  1. Stan Ski says:

    The process sounds very long winded, written down, but it’s actually not a million miles away from my own approach to writing. And the poem exhibits a keen eye for detail and great power of concentration.

    • 1sojournal says:

      Thank you, Stan. And now, after some sleep, and rereading it again, I realize several things. Whoever said that poetry is distilled moments hit the nail on the head. And yes, written out it seems long and even a bit torturous. But, in actuality it was no more than moments occuring in a string, happening in and around and through all the other things I was doing at the time. And the poem, itself, although written in two distinct pieces of time, took no more than about fifteen minutes to write, total. And I, no more than an observer, watching from a safe distance, if that makes any sense.


  2. vivinfrance says:

    and is, in a way, frightening. I agree with Stan, your poetry-writing process probably rings bells with most of us who try to string words together. I regularly come across scraps of paper with odd bits of sentences, stray words. Not able to remember where they came from I put them carefully into my notebook and sooner or later, they become part of a poem.

    • 1sojournal says:

      Viv, which is frightening, the poem or the process? I was tempted to leave your and Stan’s comments together because one seemed to finish off the other. But, we are discussing the process of creating something from less than whole cloth, and I personally am intrigued by all of its details. And each of you have added several different tangents that could create a feast, so I left them separate in hopes that any who follow might find a more intersting morsel than I have chosen.

      And the one that I have chosen from your ‘plate’ is the reality that each poem is also a different and distinct process in its own right. I don’t usually take a lot of notes, nor do I find a song always interrupting what I might be trying to say. But, something does catch my attention, stills me and I examine it for a moment or more than a hundred (I’m serious,lol), before any writing takes place. I had a poem that actually took ten years to write. It just wouldn’t fall together until one night, with a friend, I read it aloud knowing other ears were hearing it. All the words were there already. But, in hearing it, from that perspective, they suddenly fell into their proper order and even defined a title which I’d never been able to settle on before, no matter how hard I tried. It is far easier for me now to reveal my still to be born childrean because of that experience. And without it, who knows? I might have storage boxes full of poems that have never seen daylight. As it is, there is only one storage box and a partially filled drawer in an old filing cabinet. Hate to think what that could be after this many years of creating and niggling on poems and the process.


  3. vivinfrance says:

    Yes, it’s the poem that’s frightening, as I can feel it very closely.

    My creative process is very similar, except for every proper poem that I write, there are 5 or 6 silly ones. Those are too easy, and distract from ‘real’ poetry. Real poetry tends to take me by surprise in the middle of the night, and won’t take no for an answer: get up and write this. Yes, I know I’ll regret it tomorrow and be bushwhacked all day, but I’ll regret it even more if I let the poem go by unwritten.

    • 1sojournal says:

      Viv, again although you answered my question, you bring up another issue. What is a silly poem? My poems are children I have given birth to. Some come so fast, I can’t believe its even happened. Others go through hard labor, sometimes three times over, or more. But they are all my children. What constitutes a silly child? And do you dismiss the silly child because it is somehow less real, because it is not encased in formal ‘acceptable’ language?

      During my first teaching experience, doing a class titled “Connecting With Your Creativity,” I had a woman declare to me that she had tried ever thing possible to do Art, with a capitol A. Then said what she had discovered was that she didn’t have a creative bone in her body. My first thought was to demand why the hell she was in a Creativity class if she actually really believed that. But, I weilded that one in, and we proceeded to have a very lively class discussion about what art really is. After which, she mumbled that she would stick around and ‘see’.

      And by the way, after that initial 15 hour, 1 credit class was over, she lead the rest of the classroom in a petition that I be allowed to teach a second class immediately. The second class started three weeks later, and I’d never made that kind of money before in my life, but I hope you understand what I’m getting at.

      Thanks for coming back and joining in. This is funnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!


  4. Mary says:

    It is my feeling that writing poems is very helpful in smashing bricks that need to be smashed; and no one or nothing gets hurt in the smashing! And you will feel so good!

    • 1sojournal says:

      Ahh Mary, you nailed it right on the head. First time out. Congratulations.

      Bottom level, that is what poetry started out to be for me. Damned good therapy, that I did not have the resources to pay for. And although, I do exactly what Viv is talking about on occasion, and have definitely spent hours innumerable, honing my craft, it still remains my main source of self-awareness and exploration.

      This poem however, is a warning shot over the bow, sort of speak. I’m putting my psyche on alert. I do feel good, but also know I’ll be tackling some of the most difficult stuff I’ve ever made contact with. Wish me luck and thank you so much for being a part of this discussion,


      • Mary says:

        Thanks for saying I nailed it, Elizabeth. I would guess a lot of people have used writing poetry as therapy at one point in their lives. I really don’t do this that much any more, but I do use poetry sometime as a way of finding out what I think. Perhaps that is ‘therapy’ as well. Sometimes my thoughts surprise me. I enjoy reading your reflections.

        All of my writing, -daily journal, prose, poetry, personal essays, and now maybe a bit of fiction- is my tool for self-exploration and continued understanding. It is what I taught because it is also what I live. That might mean I live only on paper, may even own no more than a paper persona, but that is my choice. The choice of a very young child who was named a liar, someone not to be believed, and eventually someone not to be trusted. And for some, that may still remain true. All I know is that it wounded me deeply, and almost silenced me completely.

        It brought on a great deal of depression and a lack of self-esteem and self-doubt, that found me married to a man who beat the shit out of me because I refused to be only what he wanted me to be. Until I found a place where others wanted to hear what I might have to say and found value in my words and I found the only weapon I owned to fight all of those things. I did that because using words to create anything is creative energy and creative energy is what heals such things. Heals them from the inside out, one word, one brick at a time.

        I’m glad you like reading what I write. That is definitely one of many reasons I continue to do so. But the most primary reason will always be what I have just written.


  5. I believe you’re going to clear those bricks away and end up with no damage. Go ahead and stand up! It’s hard not to think of ugly, frightening moments from the past, but please stand up to them! I think this is a brilliant poem, Elizabeth.

    • 1sojournal says:

      Oh damn, there’s that word brilliant again. I never really know how to handle that one. Or why it makes me squirm. But, thank you Diane, for the word, and the hearty encouragement. I have faced up to ugly frightening moments before as I told Mary. And this poem is definitely a statement of intentions to do it again. But… that doesn’t mean I’m not scared. These are the worse ones, I believe, or maybe I should qualify that with an up until now statement. And the wall of which I speak in the poem actually feels like the main strut to a Hoover Dam in proportions.

      And that statement just walked me into a rather neat image based in other knowledge. Water is the symbol of life, all that is life, its ebb and flow, its drips and trickles, as well as its occasional floods. And guess what? I never learned how to swim properly, at best can only do what we used to call a ‘dog paddle’. But, I am proud to say, I’m a hell of a floater, always have been. Bouyant beyond belief. OOps there comes that pelican again. I love it. I may actually use this discussion for an entire series of poems. Now that would be a hell of a lot of bricks, wouldn’t it?

      Thanks Diane, for all of it and now, the inspiration. Love it when that happens, don’t you?


  6. pamela says:

    Elizabeth this is a wonderful poem and your process is similar to mine
    But sometimes those bricks want to stay in place and we must be persistent!
    I say stand up!

  7. 1sojournal says:

    Thanks Pamela, I’m smiling and grinning, and humming inside. I did stand up, the moment I pushed that publish button and let all of you see the poem and the process that yeilded it. Your warm and generous responses are all around me and actually written here in black and white. How wonderful that I can come here when the willies want to step in close and run those long sharp fingernails down the back of my neck. Those are just feelings masquerading as facts. These written responses are the facts that I can make contact with at any time.

    I am so pleased that I put this particular poem out there. And Viv, I almost thought it was a ‘silly’ child, because of the way it came into being. I mean…REM from the late 80’s? Just a note on a pad of paper? And under fifteen minutes with a cuss word included? Bless this silly child, me, and all of you as well.


  8. b says:

    The best tidbit of all was almost hidden at the end…”And part of that process also includes allowing someone to hear a poem which includes a need for further action. Otherwise, I could just put the thing away and forget it altogether. ” I have always felt blogging was all about the process. Perfection is for another place!

    Thank you.


  9. Marianne says:

    And aren’t we brave to put our deepest, most intimate and private thoughts down on paper and share them for all to read! I choose to say brave. We are fearless when it comes to sharing parts of who we are , in an effort to better understand! Well done, Elizabeth!

    • 1sojournal says:


      and I wonder at how many really think of writing, the very act of doing it, as what you say, “our deepest, most intimate and private thoughts” made public. I have people all around me who say, “Oh you write? That’s nice, or how interesting, but what do you think about that man over ….?” And promptly change the subject almost as though I have just made some sort of social gaffe. They are curious sometimes, but I don’t believe they really want to know. Maybe because the passion for it is perhaps foreign, or frightening to them. And that thought makes me sad.

      I have tried to approach it far more obscurely, only to get a similar response. “Well, I spend a lot of time on the computer.” And the response is, “Oh, my nephew does that too, and I’m always encouraging him to get out more, get into the sunshine, try to make some real friends.” That one has me looking for an exit far more quickly.

      I think that the concept of having and maintaining a passion is very difficult for many to comprehend. They are far too busy living some ideal of a life, than in exploring their own motives for doing so. But, all of that brings me back to your use of the word bravery. Bravery is a 16 year-old girl, here in the small city where I live, walking through the mall, chatting with her Mom on a cell phone, and looking up to see a man running toward her, security people chasing him, who then calmly says, “Hang on for a minute, Mom,” puts the phone away and promptly tackles the man and holds him down until the security personal catch up. Asked what she was thinking, she proudly says, with a grin, “I don’t know, don’t think I was thinking anything at all. Just saw what was happening and acted.”

      Whereas, I think most writers, this one included, think as much about the actual writing process as they do about the writing itself. Constantly making choices, continuously sorting this from that, plotting how to get from A to B, and back again. And still maintain some sort of consistency, focus, and purpose in all of that. Actually, I think that is more an element of courage. An element that constantly contains the question, “Do I have enough courage to do that?” I, for one am not fearless, never have been, and admit that openly and freely. I actually got into writing to find out why and how to heal the ongoing fear that plagued me. And writing allowed me to tackle it in small portions. Am still doing that.

      Thanks for entering into the discussion here. The more the merrier, as they say,


      • Mary says:

        It does take courage to put one’s words and thoughts out there. I think of myself at the moment and my need to limit access to my blog to ‘sincere poets.’ A couple of ‘nosy people’ who only wanted to see things about my life, but shared nothing of theirs, discovered my blog, and I felt as if I was on display from inside out when they would share nothing of themself, not even their real name. It bothered me greatly. I wish it didn’t. I still want to write openly and honestly, but for others who are willing to do so too….not the voyeurs of this world.

        I do understand your feelings, have some of those myself, especially as I too have attracted that sort and worse. It can’t be helped. If we speak, we draw like energy to that with which we expell. Inspiration is all about breathing in and out. And just as all of the air we take in isn’t necessarily ‘healthy’, so too the words we write and put out there might not always attract only those of like minds or feelings.

        But, I have also found that there are even more who have been silenced, either by another, or themselves. They want to speak, so they come and just listen, I think in the hopes of eventually finding that courage within their own person. And that is not a bad thing. I was in college for a couple of years, just listening, wishing, and hoping. Far too shy on too many levels to participate except when almost forced to do so.

        But there is also a portion of any given population that will never be able to give voice in anyway, and I’m not necessarily speaking of people born without the ability of speech. There is so much wrong within our societies, so many who are never allowed to speak, let alone encouraged to do so. And I want to believe that they deserve a voice that does. Sometimes, that voice is mine. Sometimes it is yours, or someone else’s. When we speak our truth we do not speak into a vacuum, even though, at times, it might seem so. There is no vacuum, and I believe that is one of the best reasons to conitinue to write, and to speak.

        I also believe that there is a Universe out there that seeks its own balance in mysterious ways we may not understand. Who is to say that years from now, when I am no more than dust memory myself, some creature on the other side of that Universe, will not find these words I voice today, feel some sense of resonance within and raise its own voice?

        This morning, when I came here to this site, I found a possible break in whatever security is enforced here. Someone, something altered the appearance of this site. But, I refuse to be silenced ever again. I have notified the proper authorities, and am now, once again raising my voice, waving my paper persona in the air like a flag. It might draw even more attention. I have no way of knowing, so I will continue to be me, continue to smash bricks by making words, by speaking.

        And Mary? I thank you and your words today, for encouraging me to do so.


  10. systematicweasel says:

    I think that there is similarities like this in a lot of peoples writing process, mine included (that’s not to say I think the process is the same, it’s more of a root connection). I started writing poetry to “smash bricks.” I think self exploration is one of those firm roots for everyone, even though it may not be the main reason or source of their writing. This is wonderfully written, and very insightful. Great post!


    • 1sojournal says:

      Weasel, thank you for reading and commenting. And I really like your idea of a ‘root connection’. That rings true to me about the whole process and its outcome. But, I’m not much of a gardener, only know how when one turns a plant out of a pot, what is there in the bottom of the pot, are all those tiny filaments tangled together, bent around, and sometimes, even through one another, using up, or filling most of that space with the dirt simply supplying them with the means to do their thing. I can see how words and all their permutations could easily become such a system, providing the nurture needed for me, the writer, to thrive.

      Thanks for the metaphor,


  11. gospelwriter says:

    Oh, I recognize this journey well, beautifully rendered in your poem. And yes, there is that choice, as in the last four lines, a choice that I see essentially in terms of what separates the cringing victim from the powerful creator. I guess at some point and/or or in some sense we all are victims, right up until we get that the walls are ours to tear down. Interesting write about the process too, and the ensuing discussion. Thank you.

    • 1sojournal says:

      Gospelwriter (interesting ID, that),

      Thank you for entering the discussion. I think we much prefer to think that if we are a victim at all, the victimization must come from outside our own person. It makes it so much easier to explain, because then the responsibility of healing also somehow, belongs and remains outside of our own reach. What a shock when we have to face off with the fact that many, if not most of the wounds and scars we own, are self-inflicted. Even those that were demonstrably occasioned by the actions of another. It is we who have clung to those broken and wounded places, and we alone who can but open the door to the healing that must occur. And that it will only happen when we finally reach for the keys and open those doors.

      And thank you for the ‘beautiful’, I like beautiful, a lot.


  12. wayne says:

    well smashed….and so well written….liked it very much and where you went with this…thanks soooo much for sharing all your words

    • 1sojournal says:

      Wayne, and thank you for tossing your hat in here. I know this isn’t the conventional way of dealing with comments, but it’s mine, my choice, my site, and this is something I have wanted to do forever. I much prefer the give and take of honest and genuine conversation. And this comes close, doesn’t it?

      And I had to laugh at your sooooooooo. I wondered if my uncharacteristicly long responses were just me, gettin up on my soapbox, being the teacher I loved being, opening up avenues to explore, sharing concepts and ideas, would make people think I’m nuts. Then heard my mother say, very clearly, “What will peole think?” And knew immediately that I would continue exactly what I had begun. I loved my Mother dearly, but that constant eye and ear turned to other people’s opinions, is so time consuming, worry getting, resentment and guilt building, that I find it simpler to just go about and do whatever. If judgments arise afterward, I’ll find out for myself, if they are or ever were warranted.

      PS Secret? I’m the only one who will see most of this anyway, and probably the one who most needs to be reminded of my own imperatives. LoL!

  13. KB says:

    Judging by the comments here, many of us have similar processes when writing. I often jot down ideas during the day and follow up on them when I have more time. Sometimes they won’t wait though, I have some of my best ideas in the shower. Many times I’ve jumped out of the shower dripping wet searching for paper 🙂

    • 1sojournal says:

      Lol, I love it. I was the writing instructor who seldom could find the pen buried deep in her purse. I always assumed that was rather Freudian of me. But, now, I have more pens than anyone could actually use, even in a large classroom. And so many different colors. It’s fun to write in the color that matches your mood, or the word you are using.

      Anyway, we get inspiration from all sorts of places, especially if one writes. That writing habit also develops the observer in us. Hones that skill almost without our direct conscous knowledge of it. Perhaps you ‘see’ better when you are wet? lol. But, I truly believe there is a constant flow around us if we are open to that.

      Many close themselves off by creating rituals around their writing habits. It just won’t happen unless I’m using this particular pen, or drinking this one certain beverage, or wearing a certain color and the list goes on and on. If allowed to continue, eventually such behavior will totally close down the ability to write at all.

      Have you ever written a poem about the shower thing? I think that might be interesting to do. Thanks for stopping in and adding that wonderful image to my day. It makes me start chuckling everytime I think of it.


  14. vivinfrance says:

    What a lovely discussion. Elizabeth said: “Whereas, I think most writers, this one included, think as much about the actual writing process as they do about the writing itself. Constantly making choices, continuously sorting this from that, plotting how to get from A to B, and back again. And still maintain some sort of consistency, focus, and purpose in all of that. ” I agree with that up to a point, specially about the choices, but a lot of what I do is instinctive. So if a prompt doesn’t immediately ‘speak’ to me, I do a freewrite, sometimes a rhymepool, and see what emerges. Sometimes a first line or two come into my head and then the hard graft and choices start. It often happens that I cut the original lines!

    Writing in the shower: I have written poems in the bath and the loo – mainly because both are good thinking opportunities.

    Coloured pens: I like to have loads of different coloured ones, mainly because I am so scatty that I rely on a mental picture of a piece of writing in colour in order to locate it in the snowstorm that is my desk!


    • 1sojournal says:

      Oh Viv, I was hoping you’d come back. And I agree with you about the prompts. Actually, because of the North Wisconsin hillbilly that makes up a fair portion of my person, and is a die hard rebel, I usually have a negative first response. ‘Oh crap, what the hell can I do with this?’ Then I just ooze away and go do something else. But, all the while I’m busy doing, something (subconscious mind?) is niggling away in the back forty, throwing up ideas I try very hard to ignore. Eventually, and with a great deal of exhasperation, I might add, I see myself mentally throwing my hands up in the air, and actually hear myself muttering, “Okay, okay, I’ll go take a second look.” And most often find myself running to catch up.

      That is all very true, up to a point. The point being when something else gets to the back forty first and is standing there, arms crossed, daring me to cross the line it has drawn in the sand. That dense piece of prose/poetry I did last week is proof of just such a drawn line. And, if I’m honest, I’ve been back to my own site to read it several times, cause I’m having a hard time believing I actually did that, lol.

      But, again, I too find that where I start may have very little to do with where I end up, but that might be why we are such suckers for the journey itself, doing it over and over again. It is definitely an adventure. I have to confess, sometimes it hurts a bit to cut those starter lines but I save them, figure they’ll find a place somewhere to show themselves to better advantage.

      And for years, I didn’t have any particular place to write. Large family, constant chaos, so many demands that the loo was the place sometimes, simply because it was the one door with a lock on it. Not comfortable, but certainly less distracting. Stan mentioned that this poem speaks to a strong ability to concentrate. Try being a mother of four, wife of an abusive alcoholic, and a writer too boot. That is a continuous lesson in concentration!

      The colored pens started for me, in my classroom. I was always looking for another way to help people stay on the page. I’d bring in a small folded case of colored markers and have them pick a word out of a hat, then pick a color that word felt like. I participated in all of these exercises and this one was a lot of fun. Changing colors can change whole mindsets, or turn small ideas into funny and notable adventures.

      But, I also like your mnemonic devise using the colors to store a particular writing in your own memory. I, on the other hand, find myself constantly startled when I come across a good piece of writing, really enjoy it, only to find my own moniker at the end of that reading. And that happens more than I’m really willing to admit to.

      Thanks again, Viv, for coming back and re-entering the fray. You gave me a good shot in the arm this morning and I fully appreciate that,


  15. anthonynorth says:

    I think you’ve captured the essence of what writing is all about here.

    • 1sojournal says:

      Anthony, thank you very much, but the essence of writing? I think we each capture a bit of that essence and I just had a strange association pop into my head. There are all kinds of religions, perhaps enough to suit almost any taste, but I doubt that because new ones are always popping up. Anyway, each one has a bit, piece of truth it adheres to. But to get most of the Truth, one would have to adhere to each of this institutions, practice all of their doctrines, and that’s an impossibility.

      I think the same thing applies to writing, all of it, from idea, first word, through process (whatever that might be), to the outcome and the last word. Can anyone possibly capture that essence? I’m not sure. What I do think is that these kinds of conversations, here on this blog, and repeated thousands of other places, with different words, different ideas being exchanged is more the essence of writing than anything else.

      Exploring our truth, found in our writing may someday capture that essence, but like most wild and constantly evolving things, that might actually kill it. I’d much prefer to see that essence as a beautiful butterfly (symbol of transformation), flitting around, settling for a moment, then moving ever onward.

      Thank you Anthony for helping me clarify that for myself, lol. This may be the essence of my writing process, but is it of yours? Or, anyone else’s, for that matter?


  16. Linda Jacobs says:

    I love the image you created in the first stanza and how you sustain it all the way through. I could really identify with this!

    • 1sojournal says:

      Linda, and I love it when others relate to something I’ve said. It gives one a sense of belonging that isn’t always easy to obtain anywhere else. I started writing in the hopes of learning how to express myself in a way that would occasion just such a response.

      I almost blew it though. The first time a man came into the bookstore I managed and quoted several lines of a poem I had recently published, I almost said, “Wow, that sounds really familiar, where did you hear it?” I think I covered myself well, and we went on to discuss how those were his favorites lines because he had done the same exact thing (early morning fishing from a rowboat and listening to the creak of the oars), many, many years before. They were good memories and so were mine.

      Thank you for commenting,


  17. brenda w says:

    Elizabeth, I love the way you refer to the memory in the first stanza. This is a beautiful piece. Thank you for sharing it, and thanks for sharing a piece of your process. It seems that you are smashing through those bricks…it will be interesting to see your journey unfold.
    Thanks for all your words,

  18. 1sojournal says:

    Hi Brenda, that first line was the phrase that set in all in motion. And like you, I am very interested in watch the journey unfold. It started when I was 27 and continues to amaze and often delight me, though as the poem implies, its also had its share of bumps and bruises, even a couple of full out stops. And there are far more beginnings than I can count. I just can’t seem to not answer that call, that urge to explore, to see what’s around the next curve and the poems seem most often to speak to that reality. For which I am deeply grateful, it means I’m still breathing.

    Thanks for stopping and for your kind words,


  19. I can’t take my eyes off this poem, it is really interesting and it seem like a journey is about to begin!:D It is exciting, thank for sharing these wonderful words and have a fun week ahead^^~Cheers:)

  20. 1sojournal says:

    Thank you RiikaInfinity, actually I think the poem reflects two things: the end of one stalled journey, and the beginnings of a new more open one. I just read a quote that in my paraphrase says, “Although problems may arise on a journey, that only means one can may choose to change directions, not destinations. ” I think I will remember the quote, or its meanings much more firmly now, each time I look at this poem.

    Thank you for stopping and commenting,


  21. Mary says:

    Well, Elizabeth, I have read your various responses to me… And I also have done some thinking about my blog being put behind ‘lock and key.’ I decided not to be silenced either, not to make it difficult for myself and/or others. My blog is back totally ‘open’ again. In fact I wrote a poem just a short time ago re-opening it. Let the voyeur be ‘d*&@-ed.’ Why should everyone else and I suffer! Here’s the poem:

    unlocked! Thanks for your writing.

    • 1sojournal says:


      Congratulations. I just went and read your poem. It sounds more like a treatise on how not to be a victim, or refusing to be silenced. Maybe we should organize and become a group: The Naked and The Free? Nah, that would definitely draw and attract a certain unwanted element. Just a thought, but I must say I’m grinning from ear to ear. Thank you for your further encouragement today, and thanks for liking my writing.


  22. Jingle says:

    Glad to see you shout out aloud…
    life is not all flowers.
    great write.

    here is my entry for journey…
    thanks for the feedback!

  23. 1sojournal says:

    Jingle, thanks but I’m laughing a bit at your comment. I have been told all of my life that I speak too softly. And I have used that reality to good advantage. People seem to remember with more accuracy, something they must lean into in order to hear. But, even that has informed my writing. Perhaps, what you refer to as a shout, is simply the result of years spent learning how to make sure that my writing is as clear and as direct as I can make it.

    And I do agree with you, life is not all flowers. But, we can learn a great deal from the weeds and common grass that often springs up in the gardens we cultivate along our path. Even the stones and rocks which might make us stumble on that path, have a purpose, if no more, than to get us to stop for a moment, cradle what hurts, then seek to have it healed so that we might proceed on our journey. Healing we can then pass on to any fellow traveler who may have stumbled in the same fashion.

    Thank you Jingle for your words and the images they have authored,


  24. Mory says:

    Strange isn’t it? what a similitude ? you have truly captured the true essence of writing.
    great writing!

    • 1sojournal says:

      Hello Mory, and as I told Anthony earlier, I’m not sure anyone can actually capture the true essence of writing. Writing is a direct act of creation. And the process, of which we are here speaking, is not just the one concerned with writing. It is the creative process itself of which we are speaking. One can learn about writing by listening to a musician speak of his process on notes and tones, and also by listening to a carver, or sculptor speak about their process of wood or stone. It is all the same, yet remains individual and distinct, all at the same time.

      Last year, for several months, I became engrossed in doing pen and ink images in a sketchbook. I called them doodles because they were not representational, just lines and patterns that eventually evoked a lot of response. But, I quickly realized that this ‘doodling’, I was doing was also speaking into my writing process. It was a form of active meditation, and helped me to see that my writing, whatever form it takes, is also a form of the same.

      An act of creativity, takes us outside of our normal everyday living routines. It places us physically, mentally, and emotionally in another frame of relativity. That means it also connects with our soul, our spirit, and our minds are freed to make other connections and associations. For me, that happens immediately upon picking up a pen, or sitting to the keyboard. Those actions are the key that unlocks that other realm of knowing. And that might be why, although I’ve tried and found pleasure in other processes, I always return back to the writing.

      I do however, encourage people to try other creative endeavors. They do open new avenues, new perspectives, adding deeper color and more understanding to this, for me, most basic form of creativity.

      Glad you like the words and the writing,


  25. Sharon Weir says:

    I find your revealing of the writing process well done. We all have our own path to follow, yet enjoy finding out how similar we all are. Maybe it is because here is our forum, and we would not be her if not for the forum. A cyber community. When I first started exploring this cyber world, I was worried. I asked my digital native daughter, “Is this weird? I have friends all over the world, but I have never actually met them. Are they really friends, if they are only words on a page?”

    “No mom, that is how we all are. We make no distinction between people we know online, or friends we go out on a Saturday night with. Congratulations, you have joined the 21st Century.”

    I still worry.

    Writing is such a process, and I totally relate to your comment a few posts ago where you mention that you write, and others give a platitude back, then quickly move on to something more ‘real’. Whatever that is.

    Writing is action, from a very personal place. Congrats with those bricks. Keep knocking the shit out of them.

    • 1sojournal says:

      Sharon, I had to laugh out loud when I read your final statement. It would seem that the more bricks I smash, the more eagerly the next ones present themselves for prompt and immediate dust making. And, come to think of it, that might not be such a bad idea. To be forever hardened into one cramped space and posture, heavy beyond any movement, when with a few strokes of a pen, one might be released back into the Universe, finally free to move in all directions without boundaries, really doesn’t sound like such a bad proposition.

      And that might apply as well to the beginnings of your comment. I know what you mean, about being startled, repeatedly, by the sudden expansion of ones world, when first thrust into the internet environment. It is confusing and yet, exciting all at the same time. But, there was a time not all that long ago, when one might have a correspondence with a ‘pen pal’ who lived on the other side of the world, and snail mail had us waiting forever, it seemed, for a response to burning questions and curiosity. This is the same, but different as well.

      Now the answers can be almost immediate, and because they are, there is a sense of danger of the unknown that creeps in and may take the form of a certain level of paranoia. I can say that because it has been a part of my own experience. But, I’d rather the risks involved in staying open, then the one that might find me wasting the latter portion of my existence as no more than a heavy brick holding a sign, “Absolutely nothing moving here.”

      As far as the process of writing goes, yes this is a forum, and yes this is a community, sometimes only loosely connected, yet sharing ourselves, our ideas, and experiences over great distances. And there is that funny, but not so little quirk, built into the human psyche for the need to belong, to be a part of a larger whole, to be defined by others who do and are involved in doing and being similar and somewhat the same. Yet, also retain the need to be individual, distinct, and unique.

      I see it as a circle, repeated many times over. If the community is to grow, then the individuals within that community must grow singlely and together. We do that, as we always have, by comparing notes on how we came to be here in the first place. By telling our individual stories, each one with some added ingredient, that enriches and nurtures all of us. We each take away something we need, but then bring back that which we have found. Sharing is an ever give and take proposition.

      So, Sharon, my name is Elizabeth. Welcome to the community and thanks for helping me smash the shit out of a few more immovable bricks. Feels damned good, doesn’t it?


  26. I enjoyed reading your work yesterday. I returned to read again. And thank you for sharing so much of the process.

  27. 1sojournal says:

    Annell, thank you for coming back and I hope you found something to take away with you. As you can see, I’m into conversation and discussion more than the norm. That’s because I am a retired writing instructor, and that part of my life ended much too quickly.

    I just took a look at your visual arts site and I too need to go back and browse a lot more. I don’t believe writing, or any such endeavor is a different process altogether. The creative process holds far too much in common to be thought of in that sort of ‘ism’ manner. I find that my writing informs my black and white sketches, as do my color projects. They are slightly different, perhaps because of the tools and some of the skills involved, but the creative process itself has too many striking similarities from one individual to another. I can learn something from my friend who took up wood-carving that might illuminate my writing process in a new way. At the very least, it gives me another metaphor that can be explored for deeper meanings.

    But then, you must be aware of that because you do visual art as well as writing. And that double level in the creative arena is much like owning two different languages. What might not be understood, or misunderstood in one language, may find a lyrical poetic definition in another. Sometimes words just aren’t enough and I must turn to lines, patterns, and colors. And I would think yours is a simular experience.

    Okay, I’m stepping down from my podium now. I do get a bit carried away. Come back and browse, as often as you like, and if you find something worth commenting on, please do so.


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