The Vicarious Tightrope

This is a poem that was inspired by an illustration from the New York Times ARTS AND LEISURE section, March 1 2015.  The illustration (by Alessandro Grassani) shows a man walking an invisible path, spanning a mountain range.

I am intrigued by the ‘bleed through’ images that occur as I read a reed-thin paper medium like newspaper.  Here we see a ghostly image of Sarah Goldberg from the following page.  You can see her face as an ephemeral image hovering on the left, just above the mountain peak.

For this poem I took extra care with the imaging.  I edited and re-scanned the image to get just the right feel I wanted, then typed over it.

Large thanks to the New York Times for your continued inspiration in both your writing/editing, and in your tactile facility.  ~TH~

click image for enlargement

The Vicarious Tightrope

The Vicarious Tightrope


A new landscape presents itself upon waking.

Places that were dreams drift outward.

Past becomes present; stars earth; flight, a grounded stride.

I might assess these thoughts as if I have a choice –

as if I might climb back into slumber; reestablish a cloud,

reshape a fog already escaping.

Thoughts of coffee with cream creep in,

old latticework mends itself even as I try to stop it.

“Reality, it’s not for me, and it makes me laugh.” Ha.

FUCK IT.  May as well shower and get on with it.

Yet along the drive, my mind keeps wandering…

Will I ever catch that dream again?


The Hidden Message, A Writer In The Wild

The hidden message

yes he is

He did spend some contemplative time between the lines.  I did not disturb him.

covert photo of a writer in the wild.  Don't spook him!

covert photo of a writer in the wild. Don’t spook him!

Looks like my scanner is killing itself.  Grrrrr….  ~TH~

The Write Tools To Stay Motivated

The Write Tools

The Write Tools

Here you see the tools I use to keep moving on my writing.  The binder packet is kept in my mobile book bag – it has stickies, hilighters, pens, markers, binder clips, earbuds, reading glasses, and a digital audio recorder.  You should build one of these for yourself if you’re a writier.

The book shown here (The Art Of War For Writers) is one of several that I keep around me.  I can highly recommend this particular book as a self-check, self-help, motivational coach to keep you from getting buried in the mud mentally.  When I’m feeling sluggish about my work, or when I’m having trouble developing a character, setting or dialogue, I will often reach for a book on writing and just flip it open.  Kismet can be a marvelous thing and if you’re like me, you’ll often find the answer to a conundrum hidden within the subtext of a head-clearing bike ride, the random flip of a book page or several moments strung together with your eyes closed, sprawled out on the floor.

This business of writing is not for sissies.  If I were flying commercial airplanes for a living I would be well acquainted with mechanical maintenance, preflight checklists and takeoff procedures.  Once I put my plane in the air I have no choice but to land it somehow.  My passengers are depending on me, so they are certainly on my mind – I am aware of them.  At the same time though, the passengers are a secondary concern most of the time because my safety is on the line as well; I’m equally interested in a successful, event-free landing.

When writing, your readers are your passengers.  When you get that storyline going it is imperative that you check to make sure the story is sound, that it will hold up under scrutiny.  Then you need to go through your checklists to be sure the sub-plots and characters within the story are plausible, relatable, and that everything will work together seamlessly before heading down the runway.  Once you’re “in the air”, you’re committed.  This is not the time you want to lose your head, give up and release the yoke.  Before takeoff make sure you have the strategies in place to help you over those rough spots.  You know they’re going to happen, right?  Anticipate the problems and know where to go so you can quickly resume your momentum.  Keep working at it, and bring that big bird in safely!

Wait, what…?   Are those cheers I’m hearing from the cabin?


Excellent article on re-writing

Here’s an excellent article on the writing process.  This article points to novel writing, but the information here is easily applied to song writing, short stories, poetry… any kind of writing.  If you’re a writer read this.  ~TH~