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In November

Outside the house the wind is howling

and the trees are creaking horribly.

This is an old story

with its old beginning,

as I lay me down to sleep.

But when I wake up, sunlight

has taken over the room.

You have already made the coffee

and the radio brings us music

from a confident age.  In the paper

bad news is set in distant places.

Whatever was bound to happen

in my story did not happen.

But I know there are rules that cannot be broken.

Perhaps a name was changed.

A small mistake.  Perhaps

a woman I do not know

is facing the day with the heavy heart

that, by all rights, should have been mine.

 

                                         ~ Lisel Mueller

 

Laurits Andersen Ring, 1898

Ere on my bed my limbs I lay,

It hath not been my use to pray

With moving lips or bended knees;

But silently, by slow degrees,

My spirit I to Love compose,

In humble trust mine eye-lids close,

With reverential resignation

No wish conceived, no thought exprest,

Only a sense of supplication;

A sense o’er all my soul imprest

That I am weak, yet not unblest,

Since in me, round me, every where

Eternal strength and Wisdom are.

 

              ~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge

 

“Un Rêve d’Amour” by Franceso Vinea, 1895 (photo by JoJan)

Snow would be the easy

way out – that softening

sky like a sigh of relief

at finally being allowed

to yield.  No dice.

We stack twigs for burning

in glistening patches

but the rain won’t give.

 

So we wait, breeding

mood, making music

of decline.  We sit down

in the smell of the past

and rise in a light

that is already leaving.

We ache in secret,

memorizing

 

a gloomy line

or two of German.

When spring comes

we promise to act

the fool.  Pour,

rain!  Sail, wind,

with your cargo of zithers!

 

~ Rita Dove

 

“A Lady Reading While Playing the Spinet” by Arthur Foord Hughes, 1914

With the first of November just around the corner, writers everywhere have stockpiled paper and food and bid farewell to their family and friends as they prepare to hole up in their writing caves until December 1.  November is National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo, an annual internet-based creative writing event that challenges participants to write a new 50,000-word novel in thirty days.

The project was founded by Chris Baty in 1999 with twenty-one participants, and the official NaNoWriMo website was launched the following year.  The number of registered participants has grown steadily every year, and the affiliate Young Writers Program and official podcast were developed in 2005.  A summer version of NaNoWriMo (Camp NaNoWriMo) was introduced in 2011.  In 2017, over 402,000 writers from six continents registered for the challenge, and over 58,000 ended the month as novelists.

The novel can be on any theme and in any genre.  However, it cannot be a project already in progress.  Writing of the new novel cannot have commenced prior to midnight on November 1, and the 50,000-word mark must be reached by 11:59 p.m. on November 30.

While I will not be working on a new novel during NaNoWriMo, I will be researching and crafting approximately twenty-five new pages or 7,500 words of my developing dissertation in November.

For a comprehensive list of FAQs and guidelines, visit the website at www.nanowrimo.org.

Have fun, and good luck!

 

Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month.

Even the sun-clouds this morning cannot manage such skirts.

Nor the woman in the ambulance

Whose red heart blooms through her coat so astoundingly –

 

A gift, a love gift

Utterly unasked for

By a sky

 

Palely and flamily

Igniting its carbon monoxides, by eyes

Dulled to a halt under bowlers.

 

O my god, what am I

That these late mouths should cry open

In a forest of frost, in a dawn of cornflowers.

 

~ Sylvia Plath, born on this day in 1932

 

“Oriental Poppies” by Laura Muntz Lyall (1860-1930)

Opportunity

Master of human destinies am I!

Fame, love, and fortune on my footsteps wait.

Cities and fields I walk; I penetrate

Deserts and seas remote, and passing by

Hovel and mart and palace – soon or late

I knock, unbidden, once at every gate!

If sleeping, wake – if feasting, rise before

I turn away.  It is the hour of fate,

And they who follow me reach every state

Mortals desire, and conquer every foe

Save death; but those who doubt or hesitate,

Condemned to failure, penury, and woe,

Seek me in vain and uselessly implore.

I answer not, and I return no more!

 

                               ~ John James Ingalls, 1833-1900

 

I Am Waiting

I am waiting for the day

that maketh all things clear

and I am awaiting retribution

for what America did

to Tom Sawyer

and I am waiting

for Alice in Wonderland

to retransmit to me

her total dream of innocence

and I am waiting

for Childe Roland to come

to the final darkest tower

and I am waiting

for Aphrodite

to grow live arms

at a final disarmament conference

in a new rebirth of wonder

 

I am waiting

to get some intimations

of immortality

by recollecting my early childhood

and I am waiting

for the green mornings to come again

youth’s dumb green fields come back again

and I am waiting

for some strains of unpremeditated art

to shake my typewriter

and I am waiting to write

the great indelible poem

and I am waiting

for the last long careless rapture

and I am perpetually waiting

for the fleeing lovers on the Grecian Urn

to catch each other up at last

and embrace

and I am awaiting

perpetually and forever

a renaissance of wonder

 

                        ~ From “I Am Waiting” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

 

“Expectation” by Richard Eisermann, 1927

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