A poem about poetry

Written By: sherridaley - • •

Ffrankly, I’m tired of poems that have no rhyme or rhythm,

as though putting prose in an artistic arrangement on the page

makes it poetry.

Not that good prose is easy to write.

It’s not.


But the beauty of building love, despair, or exuberance

in a place that has rules,

well, that demands that a writer think.

He has to spend the extra time and effort closing it in,

clutching it like in a fist.


So that when it is read,

when the fist is opened,

and it becomes a hand, a wave, an offering,

the beauty is released.


Fuck free verse.

Even blank verse is better

Free verse is just good prose.

Write a sonnet.

Richard Ford’s books – Read ’em all — well, except one …

Written By: sherridaley - • •

I began my love affair with Richard Ford (I wish!) when I read The Sportswriter in 1986. Actually I think it was Frank Bascombe I fell in love with, that hapless, overly intelligent hero of Ford’s triptych: The Sportswriter, Independence Day, and The Lay of the Land. Bascombe, twice divorced, grieved father of a son who died at 9 years old, earnest lover, failed writer, and successful realtor, attacks every happenstance with the sensible bewilderment of a true thinking man.

It’s almost as if Ford writes his novels in real time, as the books, each one nearly 500 pages long, take place over a couple of days – Easter in the case of the Sportswriter, Fourth of July for Independence Day, and Thanksgiving in The Lay of the Land – and it takes just about as many hours to read each book, not counting the hours both you the reader and Frank Bascombe are sleeping.

I am a bad girl reader.  When the book is not to my liking, I flip to the back to see who gets the girl or what country got pillaged and throw the book on the floor beside my bed.  If the book has some merit, I’ll read ever other paragraph, speed read, as they say — but Ford is too good a writer for either of those.  I didn’t want to miss a thing.  Not a word.

I’m a bit of a word snot. I love words, their etymology, literary allusions, spelling, blah blah, blah. So when I come across a book that has words I absolutely don’t know, I am impressed, hooked. While reading The Lay of the Land, I jotted down words that I simply didn’t know, and their meanings from context were, well, foggy.  Who, except you folks in the medical professions, knew the name of the symbol for medicine, those entwining snakes on a staff (“caduceus”)?  And I challenge anyone except the Pope to tell me where you would find an “aspergill” and what you would do with it once you found it. What would you use a “muleta” for, if you had the balls to use one at all?

“Bosky”?  “Adumbrations”?  I love this one: A “claque” is a group of people hired to applaud!  But “quiddity” didn’t made sense to me even after I looked it up. It can be “the essence of something” or “a trifling point” or “an eccentricity”.  WTF? Don’t those definitions contradict one another?

I do love Ford’s metaphors and similes, a handful of singularly unique ones every page.  My favorite in Lay of the Land was “bored to concrete”.

My love for Richard Ford suffered a little when I read The Ultimate Good Luck, a story of drug-dealing losers in which I didn’t care if any of the characters lived or died.  Not a good sign for a readable book.  It ended up on the floor after I skipped ahead and read the last few pages and still didn’t care if the brother ended up dead.

I love Ford, even though all his book jacket photos make him look intimidatingly serious and frighteningly smart.

Now what?

Written By: sherridaley - • •

I quit writing in a journal a few years ago when I feared that I was beginning to sound like Bridget Jones, whining about not being able to lose weight, get laid, quit drinking, or hang onto a career that would make me rich -or at least pay my bills on time. And since Bridget Jone’s Diary had already been (a) written (b) a best-seller and (c) made into a movie, I had no chance of MY journals being anything but peevish grumbling. Furthermore, my journals had already been made into a book 30 years ago when I actually had a life worth writing about (a) —  although my book did not (b) become a best-seller despite the heroic attempts of my publishers and their PR people, and I still hold the movie rights (c), for whatever that’s worth. I do, however, still believe that my book will be made into a film  Hope floats.

For everyone who has asked me the following questions:

1. Have you read any good books lately?

2. What should I go to see in New York?

3. Isn’t growing old fucking shitty?  (Yes)

4. How’s your love life?  (What?)

5. Why did the impatiens in my garden look like crap this year?

6. How do you stay so thin?  (I’m not, by the way.)

7. How did you keep your courage and spirit during chemotherapy? (I didn’t, by the way.)

8. Been to any good restaurants lately?

9. Why is good cheese so expensive?

10.  How’s your brother?

These and endless other such topics will be addressed ad nauseam, especially #3, as I am tired of the media telling me how great we older women are supposed to feel. Have you noticed?  There is not one style magazine for women over 60.  Not one.  And you can’t count AARP.  Please.  Ari Seth Cohen, please come take my picture!