Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Write Gift

Another Poem

by Grayson Czarnecki

lost for a few
frantic fleeting seconds

suspended in stasis
withholding the flow
ideas that dangle above cohesion

sudden comprehension
my pen, found anew

How many times, as writers, do we sit before the blank screen, or let our pens hover over lined paper, and as we do so we dig deep into the brain looking for that first word? And that small, invisible voice screeches, "You're no good! Don't quit your day job.”

Maybe I'm just speaking for myself, but somehow, I don't believe I'm alone.

In late summer of 2007 I decided it was time to enroll in college. Fifty-three years old, it seemed like it was time, and I was feeling a "what the hell" moment. Several hours after that major revelation, I was a fully enrolled part-time student.

Long story short, I was placed in Honors English. I had no idea what that meant, except that after the registrant asked me what I'd been doing lately, I told her I had written three novels, and she crossed something off my schedule and said while she wrote, "You belong in Honors English." I said, "Well, okay."

The one and only place where I never felt at a loss to write. The crazy, taunting inner critic went mum every time Professor Curt said, "Okay, let's start the day with a free write...write anything that comes to one's gonna read it. This is just moving your pen and getting the flow going." And then one day he decided that, yeah, let's all read what we wrote... out loud. This he mentioned after we finished writing. Curt's nothing if not a seat-of-your-pants kind of professor. He says, "Who wants to go first?"

A couple of hands went up, or maybe someone just said, "Uh, I'll go?" Anyway, that's when I knew I was at the right place in my life. Mind you, I was THE oldest student, as in, all the others were fresh out of high school. Fresh. Their words as they merged into sentences and onward to paragraphs, were fresh. Like that first footstep on the moon, fresh.

The effect was virulent. No room for envy - each writer unique yet equal in talent. Yet there was one who stood out. I think what grabbed me was one of his free writes about a fly sipping from a can of Red Bull that he had seen earlier in the student lounge. A simple, empty can left by some slob who thought that maybe his mother would be by later to clean up after him.

The story was off-the-cuff brilliant. Just a few sentences that had the effect of an atomic bomb, without the nasty fall-out. Recently this student friended me on Facebook, which is where I snared the above poem (with permission, of course).

It affected me on impact. At Facebook I commented, "Subtle description of writing angst and how it's never-ending, but never forever." And he replied, "It started out as a poem about actually losing my pen for a couple minutes. When I found it, I wrote this poem. Afterwords (sic) I read it, and realized what it was actually about."

Completely off. The. Cuff.

Brilliance deserves its place in the Universe, or at least a featured spot at my blog. There are no further words I can say to describe Grayson’s talent, except that I hope to live long enough to see its fruition, maybe in the form of U.S. Poet Laureate.

Just a hunch.

Enjoy the holiday! Merry Christmas to all and to all, well, you know...


Edie said...

I felt that way looking for my car keys earlier this week! lol

Kath, you made the perfect decision for you. I can tell the difference going to college has made in you.

Happy holidays!

storynattie said...

People like that give me the shivers, in a good way. It's so cool to see that kind of talent!

Kath Calarco said...

Edie, did you ask for help? That always works for me (and I have a tendency to lose things).

I'm in complete agreement. College has made a HUGE difference for me.

Kath Calarco said...

storynattie, Grayson is incredibly gifted. I hope to have more classes with him next semester - hearing his works is like mainlining creativity.

spyscribbler said...

You've heard me say that I don't put much stock in talent, BUT sometimes... there is one in a million who take your breath away.

Kath Calarco said...

Spy, yes indeed. Sometimes there's always the except(ional). The best thing about returning to college is experiencing the beauty of the young.

Caryn Caldwell said...

Wonderful poem! I love finding new writers, especially when they're pre-published and you just know it's going to happen for them one day.

Kath Calarco said...

Caryn, I hope Grayson sticks with his natural talent and not allow any outside forces to whittle it away.

Robin said...

That just goes to show how few words can make a huge impact. :) Maybe if I lost my computer for a few minutes inspiration would hit me? I sat at my laptop yesterday, staring for quite some time. The words eventually came, and I think it's because I said to myself, don't try so hard, this is only a first draft.

Happy writing, Kath!

Kath Calarco said...

Robin, I'm hoping that when I finally sit down to write it'll all come to me just like that (I'm snapping my fingers). Hope you're on a writing roll now.:)

marciacolette said...

That's a great poem. Though I've never been one for poetry, I can really feel his words. I think I need to find this guy on your Facebook page and friend him, too. ;-)

Kath, I think you've made one of the best decisions of your life by going back to school. I couldn't be more proud of you than I am right now. I'd give almost anything to be in that class with you, girlfriend, and feed my writer's soul like that on a daily basis.

Kath Calarco said...

Yes! Friend Grayson! Make sure to tell him you know me so he won't think you're some nut.

I'm so looking forward to school starting back up. Sure, the progress on my WIP will be back-burnered, but so what? I'm not presently seeking any fame.