Wednesday, September 12, 2007


I find it interesting that my e-mail adddress states that I "luv2writepoems", and yet I haven't written but a few in the past two years. It really got me thinking as to why that was, and the conclusion I came to is this: poetry makes me dig deep and doing so has just been too darn painful. I won't go into a chronicle of all the heartache the last two years has offered, but I will say it has been the two hardest years of my life.

Over the years, my self analization has brought me to the understanding that emotionally, I'm a stuffer, which has resulted in many an explosion of nervous-breakdown proportions. So, to battle this tendency to stuff, I had to do the opposite: express myself - and how better to do that than in a beautiful, poetic form? Poetry turns pain into art. I chronicled the lives of my boys from the day I found out we were going to be able to adopt, to their terrors in the neighborhood, and I discoved that it helped me find humor and joy in their progress. So why now, when I need it so terribly, have I found it hard to express myself in a form I love so much?

The answer is that writing got in the way. I know that sounds a little funny, but I think I made a mistake when I joined a poetry group. All of a sudden I found myself comparing my poetry to theirs, which is nothing like what they write, and it just didn't measure up.

I stopped writing.

Instead of allowing myself to be plain old me, I fell into the pit of comparison and couldn't find a way out. I rationalized that it was okay, that maybe poetry wasn't my thing after all, that novels were my TRUE calling, but I forgot one thing: I never wrote poetry for anybody else. I wrote it for me. By no longer expressing myself poetically, I let myself down.

Well, once I realized this, and being the stubborn, contrary person that I am, I decided I was going to write a poem, even if I had to pry it from my screaming heart one word at a time. And you know what? It worked. Sure, it's not the best poem I've written, but I felt like it at least captured the essence of the place I was, and that's what I wanted - but most importantly, it finally freed my heart to express itself again.

So, I'll share my poem here. Not for praise, or glory, but because I need to share the fact that my soul is awakening and learning to speak once more. I need to share it so that I know the world hears the voice crying from inside of me. I need to share because I love the music of the words.

Settlement Canyon

Mustard moss on twisted bark.
A maze of spindly branches and leafy fans.
Sharp rocks jut from the hillside
and a fallen tree with still green leaves, broken.
Bare wood points skyward - accusing fingers
not sure who to blame for the pain.
Blinding sun plays peek-a-boo,
one minute harsh and painful,
the next offering welcome warmth.
Crickets sing in the middle of the day.
A crisp, autumn breeze cuts
through a narrow ravine while a jet
streaks overhead.
An occasional whooperwhil sounds.
A chipmunk explores left-behind food.
Flies and bees come to see the bright cans
and shampooed smells-like-a-flower girl.
Tick-tick-tick the locust start their song,
while the ash-powder dirt stirs in the breeze.
The usual green leaves are painted now-
half up the mountain's side
freckles of orangy-red change the view,
and here the girl sits to write,
here the woman comes to find peace.

So, the moral of my story is this: Be true to yourself. Write what is in you, and don't you dare judge it. Express it. Let it be what it is. Learn. Grow. But most of all, allow yourself to speak. Be who you are and love it with everything you've got, because it's precious -more precious than you know.

Quote of the Day: "You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club." - Jack London


~paulette said...

you know karen, you said a lot of things in this last post that somehow spoke to me... but it's hard to explain.
...i could write an entire novel right here in your comments if i don't control myself :)

i was mocked by a missionary-companion i looked up to, about how horridly my skills in the english language were. she, being a professional in everything she did (and constantly reminded me of that strive), took it upon herself to remark about my weaknessess in the skill (among so many other things), correcting every word i miss-spoke and looking over my shoulder as i wrote in my journal, until i ran out of tears and was deaply depressed. Any attempt to express my feelings to her, ended up only in blank stares and repetitive blinking... having no idea what i was expressing, followed by attempts to fix my failures...

To be honest, my novels started to take a physical form because of that long companionship (nearly a year of my 18month mission) in sole attempts to express in words, what i could not vocally. i didn't have the ability to express to her how she made me feel... and so, my secret late-night writing began (poetry wouldn't have worked for me very well, cuz it takes soo long for me to express what i'm trying to say!) i would put my MC in situations that would allow him to say what i could not. I wanted to see how he would deal with it and how he would express it.(though it wasn't always the best answer) and just before this sister went home, i talked to her in a way that she finally understood.

of course, that's not why i write now... but every time i open my documents, i remember those feelings. i remember somebody once telling me how pathetic my grasp was on the english language and that i better NEVER go into a linguistic feild professionally... and sometimes it's strong enough to make me close the book and not even try. perhaps that's why i fear giving my scripts to anyone... even in my own book-club. perhaps i fear what you felt with your poetry. ...i don't want to find out that she was right all along.

either way... you've made me stop and think today. and perhaps, i'll blog about it later.

...golly, that was kindof depressing... sorry!

Candace Salima (LDS Nora Roberts) said...


Love the post. Not being true to yourself is the quickest way to have your soul sucked dry. Love the poetry. Nature is the greatest source of inspiration, isn't it?

By the way, I know I promised to tell you about the Quantum Touch stuff I've been learning. I'm attending a class tonight on it. I know I should have told you sooner. But you can go to to get the information and contact the instructor. Hope to see you there.

Candace Salima (LDS Nora Roberts) said...


Your MC should have been smacked upside the head. Sorry, but that's just the way it is. No one should ever tell you how to write in journal! Good grief! I'm glad you persevered.

Karen Hoover said...

Paulette, don't apologize! I didn't find it depressing, though I agree with Candace, somebody should smack that woman up-side the head! Nobody has the right to tell you that kind of garbage.

Ether 12:27 says that if we come unto the Lord he will "make weak things become strong unto you". I find myself working the hardest to overcome and improve upon the things that are the most difficult for me. The fact that you love to write should be enough. There are a ton of people out there who have a great grasp of english and not an ounce of creativity when it comes to writing. If you want to write - write! You definitely have the creativity for it and all the other stuff can be learned, as you well know. I have heard that the biggest reason people don't write is that they are lousy spellers. Who cares! That's what editors and spell check are for!

You do it, girl! Just imagine all of us "Paulette defenders" smacking the heck out of that girl and let yourself smile.

Love you, P!

Karen Hoover said...

Candace, thank you. You hit the nail right on the head with your comment. Nature truly is my biggest inspiration. I'm one of those that would live in a cabin in the woods if I could. That's my place of peace.

I would love to know more about Quantum Touch, but I can't come tonight. I'm in charge of tonight's YW project. Maybe next time, eh?

Shanna Blythe said...

Loved the post. And I really think your novel writing is better because of the fact that you really are a poet. But it is very very hard not to compare yourself to other people. I'm glad you're back to writing poetry for yourself!

And Paulette? You and I should SO TOTALLY exchange mission horror stories!! I had one companion who refused to speak to me for three days just to see how upset I would get. She LAUGHED to herself as she watched me cry and stuff like that. Nice, eh?

wom said...

You have a beautiful way with words. I can easly see the sean before me. Thankyou for your poem and thoghts.

Karen Hoover said...

Shanna - Thanks, my friend. I'd like to think I'm a better writer for my experience with poetry. I'm glad I'm back to it too!

Karen Hoover said...

WOM - Thank you so much! I'm glad you stopped by and hope to see you around more often.

Tristi Pinkston said...


I'm deeply touched that you're getting back to your roots. You are a talented poet, but more than that, you have found a way to express yourself so you don't have to stuff those feelings, and that's a valuable way to validate and take care of yourself.

~paulette said...

hey karen... i just wanted to come back and say thank you. it means a lot to have friends. it took me a long time to see what was really happening during that year. a LONG time... and i had to deal with a lot of anger and hatred even for myself, for letting it happen... and it has definately sharpened my "fangs and claws" towards anyone else who thinks they can "walk all over me". Now i'm trying to soften myself again... to not simply kill the first person who tries to correct me. :) But thanks... you too Shanna. "Oh the horror" is right sometimes...

Let's just say, that i proved the old saying true, that all enemies to a writer end up as a rather messed-up victom in the book. (blush) She became the "evil queen" who literally gets torched by my mighty dragon for her dark-ways... only her tortured screams are heard as she runs into the shadows of the mountain and burns to death.

oh blush... :/

Karen Hoover said...

Tristi, thank you. You said it beautifully.

Karen Hoover said...

Paulette, you are very welcome! It's nice to know we can get our vengeance without any repercussion, isn't it? lol