By Liane Carter
On Sunday I set myself a goal to write a sestina. I’d never written one before.
I had to go look it up, read famous ones, and process all the A,B,C,D,E’s and F’s switching places. It seemed rather long and difficult for this poet. I took cards, pen and paper to the forest. My goal was to write a sestina out in nature so I would do two things I’d promised myself- getting out with trees for a while, and doing this new, challenging thing.
The walk was wondrous, highlighted by an owl, crickets, and someone’s dog lying on my lap. I walked and talked into my Dictaphone, ideas flying through my mind as I felt the joy of being with pines, stones, water and breeze. I found a bench, wrote three more poems and the sestina told me no. I froze. She didn’t want to be written here. She wasn’t ready, nor was I. I was wasted.
I’d done a 24 hour poetry marathon the day before, my man was keen to get back for food, and my body badly needed a seven hour siesta. I got two.
The sestina picked at peptides so I knew she’d have to be sated. We waited. I flowed like the sea I had no energy to visit. I’d picked my six words before we left for the walk. I sat them back on the table and knew I’d return. My neurons knew they could nip me into neurosis if I dared ignore a self-challenge.
Instead, I did other things, like spending time with my man, cello, clarinet, more poetry, planning, clients and food. Then Tuesday, I received a gift; my first client overslept. I had a wide window if I told her I’d see her the next day instead.
I grabbed the gift like a crazy Christmas kid and flew upstairs to do a little kettlebell and a heap of kundalini and meditation. I knew my body needed to check in at the soul station and fuel up on its food. It shone from sweat and joy.
I did my normal meditation asking my inner child, younger self, shadow side and higher self what they wanted to do today. They each answered and I fed the younger self first, as she has the most healing to catch up on. The shadow side said poetry. We’d written maybe fifty poems in three days. I shut my shrilling. I know never to argue with these aspects. They are wise. I’d throw her a poem sometime in the day.
I sat down to do what my higher self knew I needed to do and first, to delay this big scary task—at least in the illusion of my mind—I decided I’d just get that poem out of the way for the shadow side. I wrote one, and felt a little easing inside. Then, before I realized I’d moved, I’d jumped from my seat, ran down to the table and snatched the paper with my six words.
My shadow side wanted to write the sestina. We were ready. I was excited—nervous.
I started and my enjoyment drummed over the negative thoughts of “you’re not smart enough,” “you’re rubbish,” “you can’t do it,” “give up, it’s too hard,” because they’d been reduced to a piccolo in my brain band in the last few weeks, either due of lack of sleep or because I had been feeding my soul more.
So I had an idea which of course all my inner aspects threw out the window, and I wrote something totally different.
I finished. My shadow side wasn’t done. My younger self and higher self joined the party. They all wanted to do another, and threw six words at me. I wrote, then sat back in the reward of rest. I’d written two sestinas.
This morning, I had been overwhelmed with the challenge of conquering some fear every day. I know it was my shadow side saying, “Hey, baby? We’re writing that sestina like it or not.”
I liked it. A lot.
I didn’t reach my goal of writing the sestina on Sunday. It took me until Tuesday, but I wrote two instead of one. I’m hungry to explore and write more. Like Steve Chandler says, “It’s not what a goal is. It’s what a goal does.”
And sometimes it does something a whole lot better.
Liane Carter writes fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Her first two books ‘The Chronicles of Joya’ and ‘The Dream Devils’ are available on amazon. She adores her clarinet and cello and fits in other instruments when possible. Her soul also needs to paint, practise kundalini, read, sculpt and be out in nature. You can discover her work here and on her website.
Photo: Public Domain Pictures
Editor: Peter Schaller