It Is For Such Days…

I am 56 years old, my son is 31. For years circumstances have widely separated us geographically. We have remained best friends through the wonders of technology. The kid got his first computer at age three. He is wildly creative, has over 100,000 words on a novel you will hear about soon enough. He has been home with me since early December, except for a few trips he took to visit others.

I irritate him a lot; I have bizarre idiosyncrasies. We get along, though, and we work together somewhat. He wants me to be bold, like himself, I am a coward. I asked him last night if he would go with me today. I explained it was Norma’s memorial service, for which Richard requested I write a poem and read it there. He surprised me and said yes. Alex is an inspiration to me always; we have been through so much.

We got Chick-Fil-A for lunch, which Alex puts up memes about being God’s restaurant. He allowed me to read the poem because I do not do public readings. He said I did it well. I thought, well, maybe I can do it.

We got there way early. My Mom always believed in being way early, and I seem to carry on her habit. We talked. We went inside, and I was reproached because there was an individual there, and I mentioned it to Alex. He was right, but… and he says there are no buts. Anyway, we went back outside. It did not seem many people I knew were about that early.

When we came back inside, one of the funeral directors talked to me and gave me an order of service. We spoke to Richard when the room opened. When we sat, one of my favorite people came up, and I got hugs. I love hugs. We promised to be better in touch. I hope it occurs.

When the service began, some very renowned poets were read by a very distinguished person. She opened the floor for attendees to speak, there was no movement or sound. So she said, maybe Jo Ann Jordan, who is a local poet, would like to say something. Yeah, me. I walked up to the steps and prayed that my knees would allow me to make it up to the podium. It was a near thing. You do not know my knees.

Next, I stumbled through the presentation.

Betwixt Times

Sometimes two people
Find the perfect match within
One another and mesh
So their souls permanently
Entwine, declaring them complete.

Cherishing each other
They come to understand
Their bond is so rich,
Their complement so pure;
Lives shared are exceptional.

Norma and Richard
Were always present to give,
Contribute whatever
Was required for their success;
And helping others do their best.

Love infused their lives
So there could be no doubt
Their dedication
To one another was sure and true,
Adoring, always respecting, the two.

Working together
They did it in perfect sync,
Creating things of which
Others could only dream;
They were a successful team.

Norma was a rare beauty,
Quiet in public, but given
To laughter and devotion,
Kind, tender, precious, sweetness,
Expressing love at home.

It is a tearful loss
Dealt out of season, against time,
The world a bit dimmer,
Without the smiles and gentleness
Norma so freely shared with all.

Her creativity
Dedication, work ethic,
Motivation we can
Hope to reflect, even as
We miss Norma’s selflessness.

© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan
Thursday, January 16, 2020

“With Norma and our two kitties, we have had a home full of continuous love, respect, laughter, and adoration.” – Mr. Richard Nichols

I did the poem reading my large print copy with some muddling when I had to change pages. When I did manage to look up, there was Alex, smiling, which no one knows how that helped.

I got all messed up on Richard’s quote adding extra ands, but it really is a miracle I could do it at all. I love and respect Norma and Richard more than I can express. They have been mentors and friends to me. My copy editing is directly due to their influence.

I forgot to pray before I headed down those steps, and what a mess I made.

The service was the most inspirational memorial I have ever seen. Richard spoke, and I managed not to cry there, but I have tears now.

Norma had a truly angelic spirit and was one of the most highly intelligent creative people ever. She will be sorely missed.

© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan

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Gotta Be Quick

Day 16 – 2020 Creativity Project

Today is one of the days I work as a Copy Editor. It is a limited engagement with a few hours, but when I am on, it is demanding. So this is rushed.

I finished the poem in the wee hours to read at the memorial service, and it was approved without change. Got the awe-inspiring stamp!

I have thought for a while that I could do poems on demand, and this proved my hypothesis. There is this raw idea I have been noodling – but I am a coward.

I have been faulted as not living up to my potential, if I could believe I had any, maybe I could achieve it.

I need to color my hair, pick out clothes, finish proofing the magazine, so this is a done deal. If the person who requested the poem approves, I will post it sometime soon.

I just hope while I am reading tomorrow at the service that I do not stumble over my own words too severely. The other poets who will be read are superstars from times ago.

Yeah, you all take care. God Bless.

© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan

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Somewhat a Block

Day 15: 2020 Creativity Project

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It was a day! Awakened by a dear friend who requested I write a poem and also read it in public. No pressure, right?

If you think that, I have not made myself clear. It is after 11pm, and I have not begun. I almost skipped this website entry, and it is a commitment. Anxiety.

I did go to town with my son for lunch and necessity shopping. While the whole time, the resistance to doing the poem built.

I know I can do it. I write all the time. I am afraid of disappointing my friend and embarrassing myself in front of a gathering. I committed to it, though, so do it, I must. How do I write something outstanding? It must be more than just a poem, it must reach hearts, every heart. No pressure, right?

How do I stand up and present what I created? I am not a compelling speaker, I rush. This is important, though, and therein lies the fear, fear of such failure I lose face.

I did not get to so much today. I did no art, I ate disgracefully, but I read The Raven and Lenore by Edgar Allan Poe. The hope was that reading them aloud would prime whatever it is that writes poems. I also read stories in the latest issue of GRANTA, which is my all-time favorite magazine, each issue a book, glorious. Reading is supposed to calm me. Sometimes it makes my inferiorities bolder for me to see.

I share this because creatives struggle sometimes. Making something out of thin air is magic, hard to master.

I am going to do this poem. I am going to present it. God help me, even if I do not believe I can.

© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan

Eleven Haiku and Other…

Today is a day where I tried to catch up reading some periodicals. I cleaned part of the cupboard and wrote several haiku as well.

I write a lot of haiku, it is like singers singing scales, a warm-up. Although often it turns out haiku are the full product.

I have been thinking of working some other forms, but forms are complicated at times. I like what I know. Most of us are not incredibly fond of change, even though it is a constant.

Anyway, here are some haiku from my journal, I decided not to inflict my handwriting on others today.

  1. The village remains
    Empty, all humans are fled
    The owl sings who songs.
    ______________________________
  2. Pleasure greater than
    Life’s intermittent agony
    Is the goal we seek.
    ______________________________
  3. The rain leaves imprints
    On all the drabbest fallen,
    For Winter prevails.
    ______________________________
  4. We are here awhile
    Our time fast slipping away,
    Swift moments, hours, days.
    _______________________________
  5. Not today will you
    See that fragile hurting face,
    My smile is in place.
    ________________________________
  6. Why can we not be
    Happy with the small pleasures
    But have to chase more?
    __________________________________
  7. Feeling guilty when
    There exists no right reason,
    Always in the thoughts.
    _________________________________
  8. No, I will not go
    On my own so far from home,
    I’m meant for this place.
    __________________________________
  9. The smile lit his eyes
    A brighter glittery hue,
    Inhibition flew.
    __________________________________
  10. Fear like crocodiles
    Can tear into everyone
    Without fair warning.
    ___________________________________
  11. When love gives a nod
    Calling you out for its own,
    Never run away.

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If you are not writing haiku, you should. The form is excellent for expressing an emotion or image. Questions, leave a comment.

A lot of the pictures I use I take on the property. It is mostly fallow now and somewhat overgrown. This field often used to contain wild turkeys. I have seen none recently, but they probably still visit.

I am still exploring art in the hope of regaining my former skill. The piece below is based on a dog toy, but I took a bit of poetic license, so it lacks reality. I never was fond of still-life. I am a bit of a fantasist.

A Prompt: Write some haiku, draw a picture, take photos, bead, dance, do anything creative. Let your muse run loose.

All the best to everyone. God Bless. Remember happiness is a state of mind, you can choose more of it in your life if you are lacking.

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© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan

Simple is OKAY

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Time is valuable because it goes in one direction, and we cannot buy it or get a moment back once it has passed. How we spend it is immensely consequential. It is well to use it for our betterment. Sometimes creation is best because it grounds us at the moment, and the accomplishment can elevate our mood. Endorphins are way cool. There is a calming effect with creativity if we can eject the internal critic.

The critic can be a right pain. When we try to write, it can tell us how wrong we are. When we attempt art, the critic is likely to say, “Oh, that is so childish, it cannot be shared.” With poetry, there is a comparison to any number of celebrated poets, and of course, the poem is not worth the words used. A book, “You think you can write a book, you cannot even sort socks.” A song, “Nah, go listen to XYZ, you will never be that good.”

The best advice is to totally ignore the critic unless we are in “editing mode.” Ideally, the first draft is complete before any edits. Most critics are stubborn brats, even if we throw them to the curb, they come back, like significant others we toss out who keep showing up in places we wish they would not be.

My use of we is because I prefer not to use first-person when I can do without it. It is not a tic because of circumstances. Sometimes I am very self-conscious, let’s amend that to always. Life’s a beach.

Anyway, when we create, we are aiming for enlightenment and results, not to please the nasty critic. The critic is a hater, internalized. Most of us would be well to send ours to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, bury the cur there, and leave forever. Good luck with that!

When we write a lot, art or photography can still engage us in the making but allow us some lightness of being, without the hard struggle of language. It is like the valve atop a pressure cooker. We can ease off the accelerator and coast downhill with art, writing can feel like a curvy mountain road’s ascent. Watch out for falling boulders. For some of us, all creativity is a minefield, but when we make it across, we feel ultimately alive.

A friend wants more exposure. This person is extremely talented. The recommendation of a website was made. Maybe it will happen. Advised the name for a site is a priority. The web address should be memorable and fast to type, short because most will avoid extended ones.

Haphazard Creative came to be because there was a desire to highlight creativity as it is an integral part of any process. A mentor recommended a bunch of names that were in a preexisting list. When Haphazard came up, that was deemed right, because one can find almost anything here. This was a new chapter of online life. Chronicles existed before and has the previous Creativity Project on it.

Ah, Simple is OKAY. Everything does not have to be perfect. Perfection is a lie. We do not need perfection, we need to be our best. There are times when just creating whatever is enough because one work can lead to another. Life is hard enough without pressuring ourselves to compete with some ideal. When we do our best, it is all we have at the moment, and we are always precious. Love is all around us, inside us, in anything we do, and anywhere we are. We are not alone; we are cherished.

This meanders, but what we need to remember is the purpose is love. It is simple. Life is given for passion, and creativity expresses love in so many beautiful ways.

Banish the critic, create, be you, reach for your highest goals, be wonderful wherever you wander, because you already are.

Creativity
Love’s living expression now,
Blessing forever.

© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan

I once began a novel called “Whispers In The Mailbox.” It wound up like this, slain by the overzealous critic… Do not let it happen to you.

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