My Odd Thoughts on Journals – Hand-written v. Keyboard

So, I write poetry. Back in the day, I wrote a LOT of poetry. Being in the military at that time, with a girlfriend back in Shreveport, Louisiana, I sent all of those poems to her. She would cut them out of the letters, and put them in an album. When we broke up, I never saw that album again. But then, I discovered BBSs, and wrote a lot of my poetry while logged in. I was rather prolific there as well. When Renaissance BBS closed down, I was provided with a printout of all the poems I had written there. Two moves – one to Germany, the other back to the States – provided a loss of those poems as well. Thinking back, I believe it may be somewhere close to 400 poems or more that I have lost over that time frame – probably to never be seen again.

These days, I tend to write poetry here on WordPress, and will sometimes back it up on EverNote. But the reality of that has been slim to non-existent, which is a bad habit I have fallen into. A few years back, I submitted one of my poems – Lone Wolf: Innocence in Snow – to a writing contest here at the college. I won first place in the poetry contest, and also received an award for best writing work for the entire writing showcase. I realized at that point, that I needed to start backing up my work, particularly since I wrote mostly in a digital environment.

As I noted, my backup efforts have been sporadic, at best. So, when I finished my Bardic Grade with the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids, I realized that I needed a better manner to protect my writings – particularly my poetry. So, I bought three blank, lined journals – dedicated one to my own personal thoughts, the second to my upcoming Ovate Grade Gwers work, and the third to my poetry. Now, my efforts are towards writing out my poetry by hand into my journal. And in doing this, I discovered something rather strange.

As I started reading through my entries here on WordPress, I realized that I had written poetry that I couldn’t recall. There were a few that I remembered, but as I looked through those, I realized that these were poems I had hand-written back in the late 1990s. The other poems were ones that I had written in the last few years, via the computer. As I sat and pondered over this, it dawned on me that many of the appointments and event schedules that I write in Google calendar are easily forgotten a few days later. Furthermore, I found myself using Google calendar for a few days, and then no longer using it like I had previously. However, if I wrote things down – even as a scribbled note on the back of an envelope – I could easily recall what I had written three, four, and even eight months later.

Maybe its just a learning concept for me. If I write it, I remember it. I remember every single note I took at Pantheacon, earlier this year. I hand wrote all of those notes. A meeting with another department, I couldn’t recall a single note I took. That meeting was less than two weeks ago. I wrote those notes using a blue-tooth keyboard connected to my iPad.

There is a history of Alzheimer’s disease among the male members of my family on my father’s side. My grandfather, before he died, couldn’t even recall who his grandchildren were. My father had trouble with his short-term memory before he passed away a little more than two years ago. Perhaps, its just my genetic makeup?? If so, why should I be able to recall what I wrote at Pantheacon a few months ago with a slightly fuzzy clarity?? And why can I not recall poems I wrote a little over two years ago on a keyboard, and have vivid recollection of poems I wrote back in the early 2000s, and even back in the mid 1980s?? Its certainly a concept to study a bit deeper.

As an experiment of sorts, I have started moving all my writing – save for the blog – to pen and paper. I am also moving my calendar from Google to a daily planner. And I will be taking careful notes about how well I recall things using these methods for the next year-plus. Who knows? Perhaps my clarity of recall has something to do with rote memory of what I write physically with my hand because of the motion. Maybe its something to do with how I learned as a child. Maybe its none of that. Or even all of that. But this is the kind of stuff that puzzles me. And the kind of stuff I enjoy researching.

Connectivity, indeed…..

–T /|\

Poem: Shattered Summer Dreams

The sounds are unmistakable
Frozen in the soundtracks
Of so many steamy Summer days
Baseball striking bat
Baseball slamming into glove
A recorded out for the scorebook

Every player on the field
From outfield, infield and dugout
Dreams of catching the last out
Hitting the game winning home run
Scoring the winning run
In the bottom of an October ninth

All those shared dreams
All those shared memories
Of summers gone by into the mists
Recorded in countless scorebooks
Part of a dusty, unspoken history
Remembered by so few into the future

Only a special few make it to the Show
The basepaths that they have traveled
Littered with the shattered dreams of others
The sounds of crushed fastballs gone
The screams and shouts of the victorious faded
The tears of the losing side, long washed away

Poem: Labeling Theory

Everywhere one looks there is a label to see
One proclaiming that you might get cancer if you use this
Another stating every ingredient contained within
Calorie and nutrition declared for all

Then there are the labels that are not seen
The ones we all attach to other people
Particularly when they do not conform
To the balance of our own outlook in society

We categorize everyone everywhere
By the language they speak, their height
Their weight, the color of their eyes
Even the color of their skin

By their religious beliefs, what God(s) they worship
What church they do or do not attend
The car that they drive, how much money they make
What sports team(s) they root for

Categorize, attach descriptive, and all is known
No need to communicate, no need to talk
No need to discuss, no need to really know
The label does all that work for us

Perhaps Detective Spooner was truly correct
“One look at the skin, and we think we know just what’s underneath.”
All thanks to a simple descriptive that masks strangers
Into faceless, nameless entities

A product of our social environment
Or an example of lazy analysis?
I cannot say completely for sure
But it certainly is apt for our faceless, nameless humanity

Print it, peel it, stick it and forget it
Anytime you need to know, just look close

Poem: The Whirlwind of Voting

The whirlwind can be relentless they say
Air agitated to the very edge of its existence
Pushing, clawing, ripping at they who stand against it

The same can be said for the world around us
Rumor, accusation, words agitated to their edge
Utilized as weapons of destruction against others

Moving through that whirlwind of words
Invites a destruction of one’s own soul
Left naked against a whirling reel of razor blades

Yet, we step forward into this tornado of vitriol
Every year we slid the curtain aside in the voting booth
And mark our choices with dripping blood from the cuts

Poem:The World is Watching

They stand there in peace
Carrying the “weapons” of words and hands
Speaking prayers aloud or in silence
Looking to stop the long black snake

Because where there is danger in the world
There are protectors standing…

You bring pepper spray, rubber bullets and attack dogs
Unleashing violence and harm in response
Swinging batons with harmful intent
Demanding subservience to your methods

Because whatever you think you are getting away with
There are people watching…

Many brought their bodies to offer
Upon the burning pyre of your anger and hate
Others brought cameras and microphones
To record your vicious actions

Because no matter where you think you are
The world is watching….

The winds carry a mournful sound today
A song for those injured from your actions
But soon the wind will howl a different tune
One of retribution, anger and a cry for justice

Because no matter who you think is watching
The Gods certainly are…

Poem: Somewhere Someone is Unaware of Experiencing

Somewhere Someone is Unaware of Experiencing
Robyn Birchleaf
11/1/2016

Somewhere there is a happy person in this world
Someone who does not see the politics we see
Someone who does not see the corporation rape we do
Somewhere is a person living a life happy and unaware

Unaware of people fighting one another over ideology
Experiencing all the beauty that sunrises and sunsets provide
Experiencing a life filled with peaceful purpose and calm
Unaware of the anger and violence propagated to make things right

Someone is out there, finding all the aspects of what we seek
Unaware of the anger and violence that surrounds them daily
Experiencing life as everyone else should, as an equal in peace
Somewhere – they could even be on the bus seat next to you

They Are Real

People have chided me for believing
Scolded me for walking my own Path
Banished me to a place I do not believe
All in the name of being who I am

Far back into the time of my youth
I read about all of you in textbooks
Goddesses and Gods, great and small
An everyday part of a superstitious Past

When I stared out the library windows
Looked into the branches of the trees
I saw what I never could have believed
Goddesses and Gods grinning back at me

“Soon enough” I heard in my ears
No one else made a movement
No one else had seemingly heard
I sat there, alone in my confusion

“Wait. Read. Soon enough.”
And then I saw just the branches of the tree
The silence of the library’s walls
Rushed in to deafen my thoughts

Many years later in a moldy reception area
For an antiquated mainframe system I toiled on
The voices returned, whispering that it was time
Time to step outwards and meet them

One Summer afternoon, I did just that
I got into my car and drove west
Away from where I lived and worked
Out into the western Texas scene

Passing small towns, down seemingly forgotten roads
Stopping at a small grove of mesquite trees
That sang my name in unison as I neared
A few moments later, I found Them

…and was surprised that They were nothing I had imagined
They were REAL…They ARE real