adventures in dysthymia

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Prayer-Book

Hold up your hands that they
might be my true prayer-book.
I will read there my matins,
my lauds, my vespers, words

of praise and supplication.
Before I sleep, as I
begin each day, I'll pray,
and you, you shall be heaven.

To you, I raise my eyes.
In you, I seek the day,
in every page, in all
the hours of my office.

And when this book of you
I finish, each prayer spoken,
believed, there waits the church
my heart has longed to enter.

I will, and worship, find
within your hallows all
in daily prayers I've asked,
read from my true prayer-book.

Stephen Brooke ©2011

One needn't be in love to write love poems. It does help, however, to remember how it was.

The internet took another nosedive this past Sunday and I've barely been online. It's terribly frustrating to log on at such slow speeds. And when I do manage better (I'll accept anything over 24.0), I often get knocked off line again in a few minutes.

So I've been devoting time, when I have time, to writing. . Reading through the advance copy of Sparrow Alone on the Rooftop got me thinking about my own stories and novels. Well, if one and a third novels qualifies as 'novels.' I did write a Young Adult novel of some 53,000 words more than a decade ago that I titled 'The Middle of Nowhere.' I consider it unpublishable and essentially an exercise. And I don't really even like the story that much. I've cannibalized bits of it for other stuff by now, too.

The other 'third of a novel' is my fantasy story 'The Song of the Sword.' Or whatever title I actually end up with. It was to be written in three parts, three novellas that could stand on their own. I finished the first one some time back, around 21,000 words. It's been revised and edited to death and is very much a complete work.

The hard part has been to get going on the next novella. I finished off the first chapter (somewhat first draft-ish) a couple days ago and have made a start on the second. More importantly, I sat down and wrote out 'arguments' as to how the plot will go. I'm not one for a formal outline, but a list of questions and points and plot elements works well for me.

As I read through the first section -- and made a very few minor edits -- I also wrote down every name and word and description and such that is important so I have those cataloged for the continuing work. Getting all that down will help.

So I know pretty well now how the novel is going to go, how it is going to turn out. I also know that all I wanted to include will probably not fit in the intended three sections! This may have to expand into two books. And, beyond that, I did already have the plot for a sequel in mind.

I've been looking over my other stuff as well. I do have things I intended for children that are ready but simply need to be illustrated. I just don't know if I'll ever get myself together enough to do that. Or whether I actually have the proper set of artistic skills to do illustrations of the sort I desire. I'm probably way too much of a perfectionist to be satisfied with my own attempts.

There are short stories in various degrees of completion as well. Finished completely, in need of rewrite, partially written.

Incidentally, I looked at at a story recently by a friend called 'Asanas' about a yoga instructor. It's pretty short and a little sparse, practically a synopsis, but I liked the idea and am urging her to expand it into something perhaps novel length --- and suggested I might publish it if it turns out okay. We shall see about that. I know a bit about being a yoga instructor, by the way.

Hence, this little essay:

YOGA

I was seriously into hatha yoga at one relatively early point in my life. Enough so that I was a yoga instructor for a while.

Hatha yoga is the 'physical' school of yoga, the various postures we've all seen. It's pretty much what most people think of when we say 'yoga.'

When I became a serious weight-trainer, the yoga went by the wayside. I recognized that the lifting exercises, if properly chosen, served the same purpose as yoga postures. Moreover, it was actually easier to fall into a state of concentration, of meditation. I can see why tai-chi (though I've never practiced it) could have similar results.

As can, of course, the dancing of Sufi dervishes, drum circles, chanting, etc!

However, a deeper problem with yoga developed for me as I delved into the philosophical side of it. It was the renouncing of self and world as illusion. This was as I was coming more and more to see illusion as an illusion. I do believe that what we may call illusions are actually partial glimpses of reality. I do not dismiss them.

I am real. Why? Because I am part of a greater reality, an infinite reality, all of Being.

So I embrace the real. I embrace the self and I strive. Yes, strive to become more, to recognize the spark of God that lies within me and nurture it.

SB 2011

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