Nov 8, 2017

Learning To Read. Pt 1

You probably know by now that I love to read poetry. It's the reason I got into writing in the first place. 


And in the short time I've been reading publicly, I've been lucky enough to find so much encouragement (btw thank you for all the kind words. they mean a lot to me). It's become such a big part of my life, that I decided to talk about how I learned to read and hopefully get more people to try.

Quiet a few years ago, a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company visited my school and read On The Eve of St. Agnes.To tell you that it was an important moment for me would be an understatement. It changed how I wrote, how I read, how I understood poetry. 



And while I am nowhere near on that level, I am better for what I learned from that experience. More about that specific reading later but here are some things that have stuck with me since then.





Part 1

Poetry People and Poetry Is The Message


Let's start with an uninspired, blanket observation: poetry isn't for everyone. And while that's true for almost anything, I have found such a hot or cold reaction to Poetry that I can't help but try and theorize why something I love so much, can be so hated as well. So I'll move to my second cliche and move to the beginning of these experiences.

Most of the time, when people find out that I love poems, I'm met on some scale between confusion, annoyance, distaste, or anger.

Rarely.

                 Vary rarely.

I meet someone who enjoys poetry too. 


It's not impossible. But I find those encounters to be outliers. And of those few encounters it's even harder to find someone who enjoys the same kind of poetry I do. Maybe this is do to my geography, or the small circles I keep, and maybe this would all be solved if I just got out more?... but this has been my experience.

So younger me, often kept poetry as a solitary subject. Something not to bring in to conversations with my friends. The times I remember best, ditching class, to have time alone in a corner of a library, or in my room, or on the university lawn, or hiding in the front seat of my car with the windows down. Quietly absorbing every line. Taking in the page as a secret passed thru history just for me. And I was fine with that. In fact it was exactly what I wanted. A way to enjoy my lonerism.

After all, poetry wasn't about making friends. 

Still isn't. 

Poetry is something I do for me. I read and write cause I want to. It's my desire that is it's own reward. There's no monetary value. No good job or high five. No reason other than a desire to read and write. I can share a moment with a writer's thoughts, see if they speak to me, if I like it or not or if I want even want that message in my life. And everything about Poetry, hinges on me. And while yes, sometimes it's another author who wrote the piece, the conversation is strictly internal. They were merely the fuel for my own imagination. I hold the conversation. I dictate how it ends. 

And I imagine this true for you, if you are a poetry person.

Maybe that's where the disconnect occurs? Maybe some people don't understand why they should put so much work or thought into a poem when it takes so much effort to understand and they receive no tangible reward. Poetry is slow. Its practice requires calming that internal itch for fast and easy and waiting for a longer, personal reward that may not reveal its purpose until years down, when a reader can recall a succinct and poignant line.

And while poetry is personal, at its origin, it's meant to be communal. Meant to be spread and shared. That was a big lesson for me to learn from the Shakespearean Actor and my wonderful Romance Professor. What's the point of writing, of publishing, if not to spread out like a virus thru time, infecting futures with the strange ramblings of your mind? 

Poetry, like all writing, is the message. Every poem has one. From the author to the reader. From reader to listener. And often that message is simple, though sometimes it is obscured in difficult layers of representation. *(More on this later)


That communication is the most important part of reading. Even if you're alone in your room, on a recording, in bed with a lover, or on a stage in front of a room full of people, or live on Instagram, the point is to uncover the message. 

Bring it out. 

Give it warmth. 

Slowly make it live. 

Only the reader can do that.

A good reading should help the message emerge. A great reading should bring the author's voice off the page and into our reality. Into the moment.

Sometimes it takes a lot of time and re-readings to ever get to a comfortable place and say - I know this poem well enough to read it.



I hear a lot of people read unconfidently. And this is probably because they aren't precisely sure what they are saying. 

So take time. 

I never read aloud the first time. And I never perform without many, many re-readings. I imagine this was equally true for the Shakespearean Actor who read at my University.

Read unfiltered, then Re-Read asking lots of questions like:

What did the author mean? What is actually being said here? What should the reader get from this? Why is the poem divided up the way it is? Are the rhymes and rhythms supposed to be emphasized or is it just a background mood? What is the tone of this poem? Etc.


There are a million questions and even more answers, but with every answer you find (different readers will and should find different answers) you should get closer to understanding your message.


 This is the work of reading. It's not easy. 

And the reward... that's even harder to define. 

Maybe here we can revisit this Love/Hate problem. 

Why work so hard for words? Why go slowly over an idea, again and again? Why obsess over someone else's thoughts? If you see no value in it, it is the equivalent of eating a chunk of rubber tire. Hard. Distasteful. Unrewarding. It's easy to understand why someone would hate the thought of it. Or think it strange that other people enjoy it.


I think that's the inherited attitude of our High School understanding of Poetry. And for that, I won't blame them.


But if like me, you are a Poetry Person, you know there are universes of ideas to escape to. Dreams to make. Experiences to feel. Each one has made my life so much deeper. Has taught me to appreciate others. To Think. To Feel. To Love. To be cautious of the words I use. To be mindful of my form. To be something more than I could be without Poetry. 

Human. 

So I challenge you to find a poem, record yourself reading it the first time, then read it over until you find some new insight into the meaning, and record it again. Hear the change that comes with understanding.

Much love


-rene

ps. as always like, share, subscribe and if you want to talk you can reach me on this blog, youtube, facebook and twitter. Also my new website ReneTheWriter.





pps. Let me know if you liked this and I can do more.

Oct 10, 2017

- (A Demonology) pt 2

Slowly.

So slow it didn't seem like such a big deal at first - I cut one rope, then the next.

Never really knowing how many I had left. Just a desire to remove.


I'll take an aside here to say, I know I'm talking about a lot of abstracts and metaphors here. Stay with me.

>>> cut/cut/cut

I thought the only way I could learn to be a better person was to remove the excess. 

Slice and hack away at outdated beliefs. Superstitions. 

Anything that didn't serve me to be better. Anything that held me back from progressing as a thinker. As a writer. As a person. Anything that clouded my judgment had to go. 

The more I cut, the more I kept finding. 

Always, layered underneath, these old undesired parts of my character hiding away. What did I believe that wasn't inherited from some past belief or circumstance of history? What did Rene really care about? What do I believe in?  What do I want to be? My life seemed to be false understandings masquerading as Truths, until I began to believe there wasn't anything left of me that was real.


But those old ropes were my safety. The links to my family, history, city, state, country, god, dreams, masculinity, and self. Whatever perspective held me down also used to be an old comfort. They gave me answers to questions I couldn't know. They made me feel secure in this infinite mystery of existence. Protected me from the fear of ignorance, even if by giving me a different ignorance instead.


I wish, mostly in my weaker moments, that I could turn back to those old comforts, but I can't. 

I know.  

I learned how dangerous it is to put a knife to an old belief. 
There is no way back. Imagine trying to re-believe in Santa.

When you sever yourself from a tie like family or religion, or masculinity, there is no way to re-thread it. They become cut forever. Having been proven to be brittle. Frayed. Devoid of old power.

And the magic of those bindings are equal parts safety and danger. Some of us protected by it. Some strangled. Because their power is in fear. Without them I became alone to face my fears of the unknown, my fears of humanity and existence alone. 

And the more we have to fear, the more we need and the more necessary those bindings become. Clinging tighter to something that felt real but is daily slipping.

...

So to my nights (if you are following from the last post) when my mind is buzzing in thoughts and sleep won't come and the dark room seems filled with my memories. And I want to reach for past comforts, but dead prayers don't get answered.

There is an out. Understanding is the knife. The knife is freedom. Yes, there is fear in my freedom. What do I cling to when drift is stormy and the path is dark? When I have nothing but my own voice to answer to? But fear doesn't have to be bad.
You can drift. If you want.

I know. I learned.

So I try to imagine a quiet.

I imagine floating above myself. Free of sound. Free of smell. Free of taste. Only seeing the bed below and the body I've come through the world with and float higher into the night air looking down on the smallness of that bed and the shadow of person left lying.


For a long time it might seem that I am floating in the empty dark, but further still in this meditation, are all the stars and planets. All moving alone like me in to the infinite dark.

Somewhere in that strange dark imagining. There is music. There are words. There is mystery and answers. Cold, sterile, beautiful answers.

Answers that come from no-where. 

Thoughts that bubble and fade.

Everything is

alone

together 

in this natural, terrifying beauty.


-rene

ps. as always like, share, subscribe and if you want to talk you can reach me on this blog, youtube, facebook and twitter. Also my new website ReneTheWriter.


- (A Demonology) pt 1

I have these nights every few weeks.

Bad nights when sleep went come. Even as the heavy weight of exhaustion sits on my mind. Pushing my eyes half-closed. The feeling of falling into the bed hitting like waves. Sleep seems so close.

But the waves wash back, and the eyes never fully fall, and the dreamy mind is busy making a thousand thoughts from all my days past. Rising like ghosts from the dark fissures of my brain.
It has to do with anxiety...

If I think about it too much, everything gets tighter, my body starts to tingle with the lack of oxygen, my heart constantly jolts awake every time I start to drift too close to sleep. And it makes me think about it more. And the more I think, the tighter everything gets.

When I was really young. I'd have these nights and my young mind took this feeling for fear and panic. My mother would lie with me.  Slowly running her fingers thru my hair. Her hands always felt cool. I remember her gentle fingers like a breeze. And her chest. 

The long, slow breaths she would take,as I buried my face against her, telling me to match her.

-In. She'd whisper and start at the crown of my head drawing back thru my thick unkempt tangles, as we breathed together. Her fingers gently flew out of my hair and returned to the top.

-Out. And again her cool fingers brushed thru me. And slowly the jitters would cease. My mind would stay with her. My air would open. And I could breath. And I could fall.

The bad nights still come. I've only grown heavier with ghosts. My mother is now one of them. A face to visit me on sleepless nights. 

Sometimes I can close my eyes and breath with her.

Sometimes.

But I have learned other ways to deal with the bad nights, since then.

Writing is one.

If you can't tell, tonight is a bad night...

One thing about these nights, I know I should sleep. My body is begging for it. I know. 

But.

Ghosts need exorcising.

Maybe I'll work my way thru them. Maybe this will be my book of demonology. Maybe I'll write and write. And cleanse my heart. 

And there won't be any bad nights. And there won't be anything left to haunt me. And I will breathe. And my heart will be light. And sleep will be beautiful.

If only I believed in such things. Still won't hurt to clean out demons you don't believe in... right? It never hurts to write.

I haven't blogged cause I needed a refocus. And now I think I know. Perfect in the time of think pieces. Start some medicinal writing as well as updates as I get closer to my book.

-rene

ps. as always like, share, subscribe and if you want to talk you can reach me on this blog, youtube, facebook and twitter. Also my new website ReneTheWriter.


Jul 7, 2017

A Few Things

I haven't written here in a little while. 
Maybe I've been nervous about it. 
Deciding what I want to say next. 
So i'll start with a few

Things:

1. music is almost done. I've been saying this forever but this time I mean it. there is direction. There is purpose again. and I couldn't be more excited. we have learned so much just pushing ourselves into the music. the first and best advice we ever got: get into the studio. learn who we are.

2. visuals. this is the next big hurtle. to convert a sound to an image ain't easy. and shouldn't be. with a little research I've seen a lot of nonsense around. things masking as creativity have nothing to show. and cheapen the sound. there is motion trying to milk out emotion for art and commerce. but if i never commit to a purpose there will never be a purpose. 

never be fooled. this is art. everything should mean something. this is commerce. everything has a motive

3. words. write more. and more. turn the ink to blood and force it to life. writing can be beautiful and ephemeral and romantic. but at some point. you have to take it into the dirt. this is the most violent of parts. editing. the manual labor. 

4. all of this takes time. time. time. put this into perspective. we will be ready when were ready. but this time i see everything different. this time. 

So where do i start? Jaime is wrapping up the sounds. I write when I can. And the visuals?

find a theme or narrative in the music. not both. thread the idea or the story. the images can not suffer a lack of purpose. everything should be for theme or narrative. emotion and story. this is not too different from fiction writing. not too different from music. not too different from poetry. you find the story and bring it out. the medium is only a toolkit for shaping the how. the stories are the what, and the why.

if this doesn't make sense. you can ask me. but mostly this is just to get my mind right as i move forward. i think ill get back to writing more here.



-rene

ps. as always like, share, subscribe and if you want to talk you can reach me on this blog, youtubefacebook, twitter, and now my website


Feb 24, 2017

Quick Update: Still Alive

Still Alive

New baby is here! More than a little tired. But writing is going exceptionally well. Poems, 2nd Novel. Working on a website renethewriter.com soon... was thinking of starting a novel on here... but i have so many ideas... 

My brothers are working on a new mix of our Idyll Green songs.
until I get things more together, here is a poem I've been working on...


Civics. 

There is no
city when every
thing is apart
brother. from brother.
hiding side-streets. vagrant breaks
like bottle shards
waiting
to flicker in early morning
flames. licked red. for any /see 
comfort we give th'least of us.
being known by our charity. is being Human.

There is no 
city when all
fall by the dividing
lines and walls.
neighbor. against neighbor.
till we are the worst desert to cross.
with no kindness to shadows. suffering
with no warmth to their foot
steps
cold among the cheap cruelty of words.
cruelest. who see / an' know better


an' stay. silent. 

-rene

ps. as always like, share, subscribe and if you want to talk you can reach me on this blog, youtubefacebook and twitter

Jan 5, 2017

Morning. Unwanted pt 5 (a hymn of forgetting)

It started with my eyes.

Darting calmly between the soft, pink floor mat and the florescent light above. Half of my face buried drooling in cotton-shag. Lost in whatever stupor I had fallen into. 

I had lost the hour, when finally the bloodlines around my irises stopped throbbing in a wave of calm.

Coolness ran across my forehead like the gentle massage of loving fingers expanding through my face.

The touch, long and delicate reached back through my brain. Scratching, soothing down the cracks of my spine, across my shoulders.

Light.

Heavenly light. I could feel her. Across the country. I haven't known too many touches like this...

I felt still.
a relaxed feeling 
I've hadn't felt in how long? ... 
have I ever felt this calm?
how do I describe freedom of sadness? 
to be relieved of my knowing?



I looked down at the pink bath mat. As every molecule was cut from its gravity and I was lifted up. Off the floor away from the white tiles. Detached. Forgetting anything that held me to the ground. 

My right hand rose away from me, and like I was turning over in air to the ceiling than back to the floor as my legs hit the light fixture. My spine rolled up to meet it until I was lying flat against the ceiling looking down to the body below. 

There was music for him. Around me. Music for them. I heard the strum. And hymn of forgetting. The music of the stars.

And felt no fear for him. Always to be the face in the water... knowing what I am, and finally forgiving him... there that was a genuine smile.



to be cont.


-rene

ps. as always like, share, subscribe and if you want to talk you can reach me on this blog, youtubefacebook and twitter


mood: Vivaldi: La Follia

  • Sonata in D Minor, Op. 1, No. 12, RV. 63, 'La Follia': I. Adagio (feat. Giovanni Antonini)" by Il Giardino Armonico