SOL: Just Write

Ego Tripping (excerpt)

I was born in the congo
I walked to the fertile crescent and built
the sphinx
I designed a pyramid so tough that a star
that only glows every one hundred years falls
into the center giving divine perfect light
I am bad

— Nikki Giovanni

Let’s just say it now: there are too many things to love about Nikki Giovanni.  She is such an incandescently bright light.  Her voice, her words, her eyes, her smile.  She is a gift to all of us.  And she is most definitely bad.


And the itchy-scratchy struggle with the Zeno continues.  I’m not really feeling very “poem-y” these days.  Not sure what that’s about.  I remember hearing Germaine Greer speak years ago and during the Q&A someone asked her what she did when she had writers’ block.  Her answer was, “Write.”  At the time, I remember thinking that wasn’t a kind answer, that the person who asked was clearly struggling and wanting something to help her get through to the other side and Greer’s answer seems so flip.  But she was so perfectly right, though, wasn’t she?  The only way to get past whatever’s in my way with writing is to put pen to paper.  I’m certainly not going to get past it by laying about moaning on over over.  And so the Zeno and my decision to try to write one every day for April.  I keep fighting it … and keep writing, too.  I know that eventually something’s going to click and I’m going to feel this form.  I’m not anywhere near there yet, however …

Sometimes I can forget my name.
I am blank canvas
with the trying.

And yet —
hand still open,


It’s the first Tuesday since the end of the month-long slice-of-life challenge … and that means it’s time for Tuesday SOLs again!
You can see today’s slices of life over at Two Writing Teachers.

13 thoughts on “SOL: Just Write

  1. I missed where you explained how a zeno is written. I looked it up on the internet, but I don’t think I found the right info. The one above is intriguing.

    Personally, I can’t do what Germaine Greer said. It only upsets me when my ‘voice’ sounds mangled. (And mine does when I force it.) I read more and do other kinds of creative things when that happens, and usually come out of the block after a few days if I don’t push. I guess it’s whatever works for the individual.


    1. I agree that getting past writers’ block is an individual endeavor, that the solution can’t possibly be one size fits all. I have come to like Greer’s answer a lot, however. I wish she hadn’t given it so flippantly in that moment, though. I have found again and again that the only thing that gets me past a blank period is to just pick up the pen (or computer), no matter what kind of writing (I mean creative writing, not the seemingly endless waves of grant writing I do in my job) and start writing something. Occasionally it leads to frustration of a different kind, but at least I’ve put some words down …


  2. I’m catching up reading your blog because I’ve been away from internet – imagine…. Anyway, thank you for the poetry you’ve been sharing and creating in your last few entries. The Zeno form intrigues me – I might have to mess around with it.
    As for writing when you can’t write – I have heard that from so many writers (published ones) now that it must be true. I have found that the Tuesday slices do keep me writing – or figuring out some way to respond with words to something.
    I’m looking forward to more conversations with you.


    1. I need to start catching up on so many of the blogs I missed at the end of March! Thank you for coming and catching up with mine. The Zeno has really been a hard slog for me … of course I’ve said that at the beginning of April every time I’ve tried to do this one-form-for-a-month thing.

      I, too, found the slicing challenge to be helpful. Just seeing so much writing all month long was inspiring!


  3. Yes, to remember to write, when my mind is trying to tell me I have no words left. My mind is begging me to hide in the closet and to never reveal anything personal again.
    I want to check out the form you are writing.

    hand still open, (so much hope)


    When my world feels brown or black, or dark and deep, I find a sunbeam in the house, and lay in it.


    1. I love the image of you stretched out in a sunbeam, Pamela! That’s the definition of self-care. The Zeno is a strange form for me. That out-sized first line has been trouble. It feels so out of balance.


  4. Now that poem changed my life! And meeting her years ago and hear her read it, double WOW! I took her with me and she took center stage with my students…
    What a voice of power.



    1. Oh, that poem is amazing, all of it, but that opening just blows me away every time! I think I need to go back and post the rest of it, right? Giovanni is such a bright light. I just love her!


    1. Cool! Actually, maybe I need to see them that way, maybe that would help me “find” them. I’ve been having such a struggle with this form. I have to think on that a bit more, but I like the meditation idea …


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