Category: Journal Entry

Writing a short story has become the new challenge—something different at a time when individual and national complacency has been shaken up. Perhaps, that is the best time to shift gears, when life changes require adaptations and new avenues of effort.

I’ve been trying to remember the many short story techniques I studied during my college years and since then. I remind myself that lyrical poetry and short stories are similar in the use of concise language that, at best, awakens and moves the reader from beginning to end more quickly than a meandering novel. Perhaps, this is because a novel does well to create a believable sense of truth, in spite of the adage that truth is stranger than fiction.

A short stories’ intensity, like a poem, often surprises, even shocks the reader in order to poke holes in consciousness. There is little time for plot complexities and extensive character developments. Just like poetry, the short story, I believe, uses subtle techniques that require careful, sustained attention by the reader best implemented in one sitting.

On the other hand, one sitting would not be adequate for me to produce either a poem or a short story. Once again I recall something heard at a writer’s luncheon—“I have a policy never to revise anything more than three times.” Wow! All I know is that I do not know when the story “Are You a Holocaust Survivor?” will be finished.

Gudrun Mouw (c)

Journal Entry The Process of Writing

I began a poem about my mother early this morning and titled it, “Mutti.” I was trying (she’s been gone over 17 years) to “retrieve her multitude of unspoken words.”

I glance over at a 9×12 flower painting, separated from its frame, lying on the dining room table where I am sitting. The landscape has just recently been returned to me. I had given it to a friend who yearned to see the blue petals of her European childhood.

I am still grieving this British-born friend, who died just a few months ago. A mutual friend, who returned the painting, had brought up its subject. She thought it was “Edelweiss,” I thought it was cornflowers. We were both wrong. We hadn’t accounted for the yellow/orange centers of the blue flowers. On the back of the painting, I notice “Alpine Forget-Me-Not,” written in my father’s handwriting.

My father, the artist, has been gone over 18 years….And now, it will soon be spring. A rebirth. I can feel the change–that brutal morning cold has abated; the California hills are green and flowers bloom. Perhaps, the poem may yet finish itself.

Gudrun. Mouw (c)

Journal Entry

The pen feels awkward in my hand. I see that the last journal entry was written on Jan. 1. Whereas, the last computer generated “Note” was typed on Jan 23. Is this a trend?

As a writer, creating letters, words and sentences on paper is a different process than striking the keyboard. The kinetic sensation of writing goes beyond subject matter. How I’m holding my pen, or pencil, how different pressures affect what shows up on the page, the immediate and visible presence of ongoing corrections, additions, deletions, even the color of ink used; many such factors impact the writing experience.

In spite of a perfectly sized journal, hard covered, easily mobile, conveniently lined, glaring back at me is something that often seems uncomfortably messy. The computer, on the other hand, efficiently hides the less tidy aspects of the writing process. Still, I remind myself; each approach provides a unique value.

Journal Entry The Process of Writing

I sometimes forget that transformation is a creative process which often moves in surprising directions. How we interpret life’s circumstances can either overwhelm or enhance the flow of creativity.

To honor the truth and to transform suffering into life affirming behavior, is a natural, creative path. Nevertheless, the process of moving from suffering to transformation can seem mysterious, even impossible at times.

Today, winter light pulled me outside, reluctantly at first. Following the outline of long forest shadows to the garden fence, I found myself inside an oblong of December sunlight, more precious because its warmth is subtle. Repeated circumambulation became a walking meditation, beyond the pain of suffering faces, the pain of loss. Light became a vehicle for transformation.

That night I dreamed I was learning how to play the violin, meaning I thought, a creative need was calling out to me. I got up to meditate. Afterwards, I turned on the Tranquility Music Channel and practiced Hatha Yoga asanas, beginning with a traditional sequence but soon continuing with positions that occurred intuitively and spontaneously.

Insight at last; I thanked powers beyond my comprehension for assistance I had not even known to ask for on this anniversary of my mother’s death seventeen years ago.

 

December 7, 2017

Gudrun Mouw aka Krishnaprema Jyothi (c)

Journal Entry Personal Updates

The Meditation Group

 

Eight of us sit, a small group in the heat.
We practice cooling breaths, sip ice water
before silence begins, before a rotating fan reaches
skin. That vast field of the mind stretches at warp speed
through oak after oak, and overheated birds begin
to sing, joining a chant to protect the planet
and bring the forest back to life.

 

Gudrun Mouw (c)

A Poem Journal Entry The Spiritual Journey

A ceiling of morning fog contracts around us. Now that the intense heat wave has passed, a cooler brain may function once again. Happily, it’s hoodie wearing time.

Reading “The Search Engine,” a story in Sherman Alexie’s Ten Little Indians, I am fascinated by two powerfully drawn and unique characters who demonstrate the anguish, the calling, the questioning and the imagination of poetry. The world of poetry has many pitfalls, and Alexie highlights the ups and downs in his startling, harsh, fearless and heart wrenching story telling. I am brought to serious reflection about my own journeys in the arena of poetry writing, and I can only hope I have the courage to continue the endeavor and answer the call when it arises.

Journal Entry