About two years ago I found myself on stage – yes, on stage- reciting one of my poems. Not only was it on stage but in my home town. Before traveling the world and living abroad in four cities, I would never had done anything as bold. It’s like I thought I was a foreigner in my own country now and so that was an OK thing to do. I only told three people, two of whom are close and bought my poetry book- and of course my loving husband. I was sifting through as calmly as I could to find the right poem. Having to read out a poem made me realize the inadequacies of some of them. Aren’t we all critical of our own work?
“No, not that one,” I thought. “Perhaps this one.” Until I found the one. And boy was I in for a shock when I got up on stage- I looked up and saw the audience members had just sat there, waiting respectfully. I thought that whatever happened, I’d at least get an applause.
What struck me was that at the end of it, everyone that I didn’t know (of course) were telling me about how brave I was. Nothing about how good the poem was, or which bit they liked. It got me feeling somewhat insecure about my writing. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I cried towards the end of it, and had to bite into that to finish the reading. Or maybe it was just foolish and crap.
After that I went along to cafe poetry gatherings (two in fact) and a gathering for critique- I may have made a mistake by presenting a story close to my heart. The main message was that it was beautiful and I needed to be clear about it. But I also asked a friend to go. And felt it a dreadful mistake. No offense- she liked it and continued to go to the events but I wasn’t anonymous any more. Which brings me to the important point that funnily, this is the main reason why I started to write. Anonymity set me free, and I didn’t feel judged, humiliated or anything like that, and if I were then it wouldn’t matter. I’d leave and no one would care.
Wild Words was the most memorable, which was where I got up to read my poem. I entered the Literary Awards and it was a buzz just to be invited. Then I decided to do a Writer’s Workshop with Marianne Butler. To be honest the discount in the price was an incentive to become a member of The NT Writer’s Center. I’m forever on a budget- aren’t we all? If I said it was fabulous, it would lack essence, especially for a laterally thinking mind- one that gets distracted by this and that and has a hard time focusing. Which was why I enjoyed the course coincidentally, it allowed me to do just that- focus. Now I have a few more skills and knowledge on how to write stories. Each poem I write has a story- it’s just a matter of telling it.
I’ve heard people say they don’t like blog posts that are written for the sake of writing anything. Why the hell not? If that were true, we should stop having conversations, small talk, and so on. I understand the idea of the quality of a post, but what intrigues me about language is the unpredictability of what comes. And on that note, I thank you so much for journeying with me on my writing endeavors as I try to simply get better at it. Making friends is the most rewarding experience gained but not just any – friends who understanding what you’re actually on about. If that’s you, or not- I welcome your likes/comments. I also make the point of visiting other blogger’s posts.
Thanks, keep on writing, and dancing!
On my quest to improve my writing and solve the puzzle about what’s missing in my poems, I’ve decided to give writing a break. But not altogether. I can’t help keeping a collection of symbols; phrases, snippets of thoughts, honest reflections and so on. So much so that now I have a lot of material to sift through and sort into some kind of order. Meanwhile, I’ve been reading and watching a lot of books and movies. Collecting my thoughts, I’ve also decided to move on from any other ideas I may have had about dance. Bellydance is evolving but do I really want to be part of that without studying the classics?
I know it seems like I’m jumping themes, but I’m not. You see, without studying up on writers, dancers, artists and so on, you may never have a point of reference to work from. It’s like not receiving guidance from a parent, friend or family member, and going at it alone. But in saying that, not relying too much on other works, and having the courage, confidence and discipline to be uniquely you, and pull away from the norm. Without knowing the rules you cannot break them, right? So in other words, to get a grip on what the critics are trying to convey, I must know what good writing looks like.
And so on my quest to find a writer just like me, a fellow member of Frankfurt Writer’s Group, referred me to a poet, W.H. Auden (1907-73).
He told me that this is one of his more famous works and that ‘it has a quality my poems possess — the use of ordinary words in new, daring combinations, which open up new ways of seeing.’ I like that.
Lay your sleeping head, my love,
Human on my faithless arm;
Time and fevers burn away
Individual beauty from
Thoughtful children, and the grave
Proves the child ephemeral:
But in my arms till break of day
Let the living creature lie,
Mortal, guilty, but to me
The entirely beautiful.
Soul and body have no bounds:
To lovers as they lie upon
Her tolerant enchanted slope
In their ordinary swoon,
Grave the vision Venus sends
Of supernatural sympathy,
Universal love and hope;
While an abstract insight wakes
Among the glaciers and the rocks
The hermit’s carnal ecstasy.
On the stroke of midnight pass
Like vibrations of a bell,
And fashionable madmen raise
Their pedantic boring cry:
Every farthing of the cost,
All the dreaded cards foretell,
Shall be paid, but from this night
Not a whisper, not a thought,
Not a kiss nor look be lost.
Beauty, midnight, vision dies:
Let the winds of dawn that blow
Softly round your dreaming head
Such a day of welcome show
Eye and knocking heart may bless,
Find the mortal world enough;
Noons of dryness find you fed
By the involuntary powers,
Nights of insult let you pass
Watched by every human love.
W.H. Auden (1907-73)
The dangers of reading too much is that if you’re like me in my teens, you could become put off, and feel that you could never write like that. And give up. It’s not a competition, and everyone’s different. That’s what makes writing intriguing. It’s like your signature, and finding your own voice is your greatest quest. I’d like some time away from reading and dive into writing. I feel tensions of moments leading up to this, which will release what has been inside me for the last few months.
Which brings me onto the next topic, Mentors with Caution. After hurt, one needs time to heal, and part of solving the puzzle on what is missing in my poems is trust. Can I trust myself to write truthfully, how is this possible if I can’t be sure what the truth is, and does it have to be true? There’s a danger in idolizing anything, I think that you may start to forget about your needs. You may even feel guilty when you serve yourself and then put a lot more energy into other people. You are then vulnerable to get stabbed in the back.
Givers are not always respected because ultimately they may be seen as takers. It’s that reverse psychology people who take advantage use to make you feel bad. So the givers stay low, behind the scenes. Which is why a writer, dancer, artist must break free of anyone who claws onto their gifts. It has happened to me a few times. Now, that I’ve broken free from that pattern I’m more cautious and won’t allow anyone in my life who will do that to me again. I have a dream job teaching music, with enough hours to relax and do other things. I’m appreciated and recognised for my work. I can decide slowly on how I’d like to spend my spare time and enjoy my peaceful creative work. Just for the sake of pure enjoyment.
And so, I apologise if I haven’t published anything new. My work is kept private for now. But I do look forward to publishing my next book soon.
Mute this video and listen to my poetry. Wait for the dancer to start moving before you start my first audio.
Let me know what you think?
Last night, after dwelling in my subconscious for so many months, I forced a poem out of myself. Yep, it’s a not so amazing poem and as egocentric as this might sound, I know I can make it better… I have this vision of what I want to express, and this time round it’s not happening. And I see the cause related to the lack of training due to time. To write, one must have an abundance of time and belief that the spiritual self will reveal itself. No matter what you might be told or what I’ve told myself in the past, you need time. Time in abundance to just be, to do nothing in particular, to have an empty space in your head where you are devoted to this emptiness that drifts and bumps into bits that inspire a poem. Bits of emptiness that bump into the soul and listens with indescribable senses- the unconscious self. I know it’s a not so amazing poem because it lacks the essence of I, it lacks vision and it is too literal.
Clothes thrown away
Turned to grey
Fronts of spaces
She couldn’t bring herself to try
No! I Cry
I can’t any more.
I block my ears and cry
Hide in whisper
My pain identifies
No! I Cry
It lurks from her mind
Where clothes are thrown
Out of sight
And then POW! I woke up and wrote my poem again with soul.
Enjoy! And keep on dancing!
I forced myself to do it
I threw my clothes away.
I turned my head in abundant grace
And pictured a child at play
Fear of what could become of me
I forced my soul to simply be
But naked breaths on my defiant face
turned my clothes to disgraceful greys
Fronts of spaces appeared
A body raced beneath my soul
I couldn’t bring myself to cry
Said Little Me to Mighty Me
“I can’t any more!”
I blocked my ears and tore my hair
to bits that hid in tiny whispers
Identifying details of my pain
I turned to see my clothes again
Direction denied my chance to roam
Death lurked deep below
A mind saw a vision of a heart that sang
But the only cure was a bell that rang
Alerting my soul to finally weep
I was finally released
By Maria Grujicic
The weather permits me to dance
Sensations build through passing years
Rain grows and returns to the sky
Wind blows in sudden reply
I hide to avoid the ache in the sea
It bleeds as I dance
To rhythms of chance
I turned and saw
Broken glass was left in the sea
Nature’s miracle changed them to
clear, smooth stones
The bits healed like meditative clones
An anonymous dancer
And a subconscious heart
Led a silent breath to ask
Does he look handsome
When I dance?
By Maria Grujicic
Dedicated to my big love.
This was a poem that I started to write and edit before I went on holiday, and continued editing in Sydney. I romanced and tried to take my breath away from myself as I envisioned what the surroundings were telling me and expressed my feelings for them. My big love? My new-found love for Sydney, the air that I felt while I was there, and my amazing handsome husband who was there with me! I wonder if you can sense these emotions and impressions in the poem, and if you can relate to it in some way too.
Upon waking up today I started thinking of a quote
my subconscious made and I wrote.
Last night I used this quote
as the subtitle of my next poetry book.
Upon waking up, it occurred to me that people may not understand it or perhaps misinterpret it, and I discussed it with my husband. Upon doing a quick internet search we bumped into a video showing a pattern on a screen that moves in a predictable way.
I searched again, and I bumped into this article a blogger posted, that seemed to answer the subconscious questions I had about my poetry. These are the ones I don’t use words to ask. They stay in my mind because they belong to my feelings.
It’s interesting how easily people repress their emotions. Such an allowance is not good for the soul, and thus answered my question again. I must trust my feelings. I wanted to use my quote because it is a personal belief that comes from my subconscious, the way my poems do. My soul needs this avenue to allow my soul to breathe. It is the one place I don’t have to adhere to the pattern of life. Hence, the subtitle of my poetry book.
“subconscious editor for such vigilance” is a quote from the guardian that made me think about the way my emotions and subconscious self edits my poems. And I recall commenting just yesterday in response to Frederick, a friend from my Poems That Dance Facebook page, that I wouldn’t want an editor to edit my words. It would be like editing my emotions and pulling myself apart.
As a teacher, I regard myself a poet and dancer first. I feel that people, like myself, are misled into thinking one must be perfect in an art to announce what and who they believe they are. The place your passion is, is you.
I love this quote from the guardian. If you’re a teacher or/and a parent, and/or poet, you will too!
“I don’t think kids need to learn whole poems to acquire the lines that will matter and mean most to them – the idea behind the recently launched Poetry by Heart campaign – they just need people who love poetry around, teaching it and reading it and being unafraid to be messily moved by it in front of them. These are some of the bits of poetry I’m made up of. Which are yours?”
Have a wonderful day.
- My Poem: A Poem Is Like A Painting-Love Poetry (stephaniejmcgowanwrites.com)
- Saved By A Poem (journeyingbeyondbreastcancer.com)
- Simple Tips on Writing Poetry (bkirbykeith.wordpress.com)
- How strong emotion summons poetry (guardian.co.uk)
Originally posted on Greatpoetrymhf's Weblog:
The Guardian (blog)
How strong emotion summons poetry
The Guardian (blog)
I have seen the sun break through / to illuminate a small field / for a while, and gone my way / and forgotten it.
See on www.guardian.co.uk
with sparkle that touched my heart
please don’t say a word
for my happiness may die inside
I’m running away
to the place
I want to be
his heart smiled
as the anguish of my words
rested in peace
This one’s about my father and it has a beautiful story to it.
Written By Maria Grujicic
I’m doing this for you!
For your youth, not mine!
& my woes of a lost life
Absence of essentials
A mattress is all I have
& I sleep with a ritual for company
It’s not about me!
I live for you
But without you
Kind words fail dutifully
Sifting through clothes & jewelery
A mother and daughter
Relevant only upon death
By Maria Grujicic
Copyright 26th February, 2013
Meraklou is a woman who has style in life and fashion. It’s a word in Greek and knowing this will greatly help with interpreting the poem. This is a fatal end, though I assure you happiness is set in disguise. :) As always, likes are appreciated and impressions are most welcome. Feel free to ask questions, as long as it is respectful, there is no right or wrong in poetry.
Enter our private
I stop at the thought
Lies are free
& a dominant eye
A la life!
You are my mirror
I can only tell time with you
A role that finds peace
& a key
It frames and becomes you
But it isn’t a favourite
Without a dominant eye
Nothing is forever
A collection of others
I smile to hide
Tears swell in my reddened eyes
I feel like a fool
I don’t have the breath to dream
Why do they separate the trees?
Entering the small details of life
I remind myself
It’s not forever
Without a dominant eye
By Maria Grujicic Copyright February 25, 2013
This is a poem that was inspired by my good friend Gala Yakovleva. It is a reflection from a thought she had of the dominant eye.. perhaps one of a cat, which always seems to be awake. I know it has been a long time since I’ve written a poem, but it was worth the wait because I thought about this poem long and hard. And the timing of polishing had to be just right, after pondering on the words I filled on my notebook. I wrote the ideas of this poem whilst in Paris and revised them upon return to Darwin, Australia.
- “For Heaven’s sake, get Spock out of your nose and why is your butt all crusty?” (theembiggensproject.wordpress.com)
- old age woes (bringinganahome.wordpress.com)
- Writing Without Stopping (prefacme.com)
- Blobbin’ Techniques (thelimpcobra.com)
- Stephen Mack: I am left-handed. #saturdayFF (friendfeed.com)
- Vision restored with total darkness in kittens with amblyopia (sciencedaily.com)
- http://ericalagan.net/2013/02/15/illusion-reality/ (I recommend this post. Join in with the discussion on sleep.)
A Love Poem
I feel crazy and lost without you
I clean my essentials to find you
They breathe fire and hide from the rain
Agony rules my mind
Oh my diminished heart
It failed me once more
How arrogant to think the sensation would last
Without you, what is the feeling of love
But a myth of consolation
For my diminished heart
What is life, without you
But a mirrored constructiveness of a sense
Now relieved by the loss of a thought
That I am now without the person my soul
Always wanted to be
By Maria Grujicic