Friday, November 02, 2007

100 words


[grant this] lovelorn the distance blazed: pursuit of the bond, between lines of olfactory demarcation: I am respite I am rain I am after the dreams of your heart. If you grant this missive, I am yours: All Souls of desperation, the blood simple of misinterpreted flight. Sing: devas of the night: sing low, sing loud, sing with the very wingspan of your eternal sight. Song for the morning, here in the morning cave, morning coming on, but not quite the morning of your mourning’s ancient mornings. Would it twere the later mornings of this afterlife of afterburning afterbirth after.

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Blogger Lee said...

Good morning Murat. I keep seeing these "100 words" in your blog and am wondering about them. Is this like the 10 minutes of free writing I've heard about? Is there a way to approach this or does one just start and then stop at 100 words? What have you gained from it? Do your students do it? The one I'm responding to struck me with the emotions and reactions to time, place, environment. It's a beautiful expressive exercise. Word association also seems to take place as you move from one word to another with a change of spelling...morning to mourning. Fun. Playful.


5:47 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Good morning, Lee. 100 words is perhaps a bit like Julia Cameron's "morning pages," only there are no pages and a lot fewer words. Sometime last year I stumbled over the 100 words website (there's a link in my Links/Blinks margin): it's a bit of a communal writing experiment, with two expectations: write daily, and write only 100 words (no more, no less) for each entry. If you complete an entire month, your "batch" is put up on the site's completions list.

It's really whatever you want to make of it. Some use it as a journal, some just random bits of observation, some tiny "flash fictions," etc. I've probably used it in all those ways, including the etc. It's a quick way to keep the addictive writer busy, a quick bit of writerly exercise, and it's way better than aerobics. On a day when there may not be any time for more extended writing, it keeps the writer at least a wee bit fed. The first part of this entry (up to Song for the morning) started as a poem that got rolling from an Express-News headline as I walked into my chapel quiet 7 AM classroom. I decided to post it on 100 words, with the bit of riffing at the end, to make the 100 count. Ultimately, it's all just a bit of amusement, 3 minute Tai Chi, Qi Qong, Iyengar yoga, what have you.

7:46 AM  
Blogger San said...

100 words a day every day--a sure way to "sing with the very wingspan of your eternal sight."

Keep those wings spread, fly into that light, P. Murat.

Did you ever read "Eagle Exterminating Company" by James Tate? I would think you would love J. Tate.

6:13 PM  
Blogger Lee said...

Thanks Murat! Sounds like something I need to try. :)

I agree with San. I like the wingspan part. I like the way it leads into the "song for the morning coming on." The way the whole thing then moves into time.


4:26 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Lee and San: Thanks for readers' eyes and minds.

Lee, hope you enjoy 100 words.

San, I've been aware of Tate, even have a couple of his books up on the shelf, but never really dipped in. I had a quick look this morning online. Most of what I read had a blithely surreal touch, which was fun. I was struck most by the poem that I've now posted. Thanks for pointing me back his way; I'll spend more time with him.

What came through strongly, and personally, for me about The Lost Pilot were two things: the haunted blessedness of fatherlessness, a strange amalgam, burning loss combined with a sense of Other very early on in life. It appears that Tate lost his father in his first year. I was fatherless from the age of 5.

My grandfather, my father's father, was an Army Air Corps pilot. There is a road in San Antonio named after him that is the main entrance to Randolph Air Force Base: Pat Booker Road: Pat Booker is the name I go by, as did my father, all of us robbed of the pleasure of our wonderful first name Paschal.

My grandfather apparently survived six crashes in his career as a pilot; he did not survive the seventh in 1936. He and my father are buried in a national cemetery not a mile from our house.

I love these last eight lines:

I cannot get off the ground,
and, you, passing over again,

fast, perfect, and unwilling
to tell me that you are doing
well, or that it was mistake

that placed you in that world,
and me in this; or that misfortune
placed these worlds in us.

8:17 AM  
Blogger Lee said...

Pat, I love your name Paschal. When I went looking it up I expected to find things about candles. Instead I found out about the Paschal Moon which is apparently what Easter is determined by. How neat! Will you be offended if I ever forget and call you by it?

Interesting note, my father was also in the Army Air Corp. He served during WWII. I called home today and asked if he had ever been stationed at Randolph. He said very briefly during 1950-1951. By that time he was probably in the Air Force. I was born in 1952 and he went off to fly in the Korean War six weeks after I was born. I have some of the letters he and mom wrote to each other while he was overseas. They are views into my early childhood that I was too young to remember. I also have his air force wings. Thank you for the bit of personal information that took me on a trip down memory lane. :)


10:26 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...

I love the name Paschal, too, and always feel blessed whenever anyone calls me by the name. The father of one of my high schoolers discovered that it is my name and calls me by it whenever we meet.

As a boy who met far too many teachers who mispronounced the name the first day of school (passhal), I got into the habit of quickly pointing out that my nickname was Pat. As a young adult, I grew to love the name, but had staked far too much of my identity on the prosaic Pat Booker. Being related to a road in San Antonio didn't help, but that was no excuse for my years in New Orleans.

When we started going to Reconciliation last year, I thought it was the perfect time to invoke the name Paschal, particularly given the significance of the name in the Anglican tradition, but it was again to no avail. Even I couldn't keep up the game, though a few tried to help me.

It is, however, my artist's name. When I do a piece of visual art, it is signed "Pascal," wihtout the "h." When I write poetry and fiction, it is Paschal who pens the work. A fitting place for a special name.

7:22 PM  
Blogger San said...

Paschal and Lee,

It's a pleasure to read your dialogue. And it was Paschal's 100 words that was the catalyst. The chemical reactions invoked by poetry--powerful, and in the very best way.

8:54 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...

San: "chemical reactions" of poetry: I could not agree more.

6:23 PM  
Blogger Lee said...

Good Morning Paschal,

Thank you again for the directions on how to do 100 words. It took rereading your directions, along with the understanding that I didn't need to start at the beginning (gained from authorblog) to get my first set done. :) Part of me wishes they had totally flowed but the truth is, I played with them a bit till I was happy. How many times do you recount your words? LOL

Peace! & Joy!

6:36 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Lee: There are only two ways to do 100 words incorrectly: to write more (1) or less (2) than 100 words. Lots of room for variation between those two parameters, flow or no flow (flow being, perhaps, an overvalued commodity). I typically overwrite by a few words and then perform the necessary surgery (a salubrious exercise in itself). It's fun to hit 100 words the first time around.

If you're not already doing it, I recommend (as do the folks at 100 words themselves) composing and saving in Word, and then pasting your text at the 100 words website.

8:25 PM  

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