Distractions of the Heart (from Emotions in Eruption)

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This is my take on relationships and their often-volatile natures. In this poem I guess the romantic in me, surfaces but finds itself in constant battle with reality because love is too often a rocky road for many of us. It would be wonderful if that were not the case, but it is not always easy to have faith and trust in another human being. As much as I would love a happy ending like everyone else the truth is relationships are dependent on our behaviour and that of others. Sometimes it meshes and sometimes. I think that is why my romance is more about the relationship than the falling in love. The falling in love is easy, the maintenance so much harder but the heart seeks the distraction and who knows it may just be all that our romantic heart desires.

Distractions of the Heart

 Abandonment of all those dreams,

concentration instead on schemes.

Forget the longing and heart-felt yearning,

the future beckons and the wheels are turning.

But I whisper to the wind distracted,

maybe this time I will not be compacted.

Liar, Liar, inside your mind you shout,

this is not the end of the drought.

You are hoping,

you are moping,

you are not ready for another coping.

 

This time it will be different,

you are not swimming against the current.

You came to this with some insight,

you fought a brave and gallant fight.

But I whisper to the wind in sweet rapture,

will loving slowly prevent the fracture?

Liar, Liar, inside your mind you shout,

do not go there and forget to doubt.

You are running,

he is cunning,

you are not ready for another gunning.

 

What do I do then with this Distraction?

Do I turn away from the Attraction?

And so, I do my whispering to the wind,

And hope with all my heart this time he will not rescind.

I am a fool to make this admission.

I cannot help myself, I want remission.

 

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The world in colour by The Human Hand.

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Writing poetry just happened. I didn’t intend it and I don’t even know if I am good at it. There is a chance I could suck completely. Despite this I keep going. Ideas seem to spring up out of nowhere and scream at me, demanding their release. So many experiences in my life have left their mark. This is what happens, we are affected and it leaves an effect on the way we think and behave. However most of us don’t get the opportunity to express our feelings and reactions. Words are a way of getting it out to have a closer look but at the same time words help us maintain a distance, and this distance helps us understand ourselves better.

While writing my first poetry book Emotions in Eruption I became fascinated with colours and the way everything around us has its very own signature shade. An artist makes it his or her business to capture this on canvas, or computer or whatever medium they choose to work with. Nature just lets it happen. It blends and mixes and blends and mixes some more creating constantly, keeping us on our toes if we stop to consider.

I was going through a difficult period and living in an environment that stifled even the very ability to breathe. To escape I found myself caught up in the world in front of me. It saved my life, gave me focus and reminded me that beauty, natural and everywhere around us, is a reason to survive. Emotions in Evolution sprang into being. I delved into the meaning of colours, of plants and discovered nature gives a new start, refills the empty glass.

The book does have other pieces of work including free verse debating life’s problems both individually and universally. People can also bring us those same joys but sometimes we need to see around us without that emotional human tug. Nature and its colours call to us, represent safe emotions, and give us time to reflect. Sunshine yellow or the moodiness of black. and all the in-between grab our attention, make us stop and think, and that is a marvellous thing because we pass it on to those that matter.

I wrote this to remind me about the difference between nature and the human.

 The Human hand

We take a tube

and squeeze

using long thin greedy fingers.

A fisted curiosity lingers.

Rainbow colours grow by our hand

yet if we chance to step away

and just peruse the land

we see that nature has every day

shown us a better blend

to seize.

We watch

and reflect.

Where the brush had our digits curl

now slowly we choose to unfurl.

We copy what is already there,

opening our eyes wide, to see.

We comprehend our gathered fare

as nature bestows the treasured key

and kindly allows us

the grand, the very full effect.

 

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Making wine, or making vinegar – the difference is in the fine tuning

pink-wine-1964457__340There are days when I feel so frustrated with the world of writing that I wish I had never started. The reality of it all, the hoping for reviews, hoping for readers, the media, working on follow up books, both in The Unexpected Series and my Emotions poetry trilogy has meant feeling overwhelmed. Don’t misunderstand. I love writing but it is hard work and so reliant on what others think, much like the creation of fine wine.

Age or time if used wisely improves the process but like first-time winemakers you need to hone your craft by taking on board the reactions of others.  If you haven’t handled the process carefully then vinegar is the result. It doesn’t mean you give up however you do need to add a bit more thought, to your approach.

I’m Italian and I grew up to the stomping of grapes in the cleverly designed concrete contraption housed in our garage. I lived in Sydney so options for my father and uncles were limited.  They made their own, contraptions that is, contraptions that included a still (an amazing construction of dubious metals) as well as the area that housed the bare-feet grape-bashing once a year gathering of relatives.  In the early years the ensuing results were often foul, at least compared to the wines I enjoy these days, but other times they held a certain appeal and the dregs of those good moments extended into a grape jelly I have yet to taste the equal of.

Why the differences in outcome?  It may have been due to numerous work constraints (real jobs I mean) with available helpers, or perhaps it was the type of grapes purchased.  As time passed and I grew older and understood more, I saw the improvements in the equipment and resulting product as someone new to the growing brood of relatives, added their suggestions to the mix.  My father was many things I was often at odds with (cultural differences) but there was one thing he did that stood out I truly hope he passed on to me – he was a willing learner.

Am I ready for real critique, ready to find out whether the product is wine or vinegar? Who wants to drink vinegar?  Isn’t it good for you? I’m sure I read that somewhere. Regardless the journey has been one of bountiful information. I have learned writers build a bridge to what is often unrelated ideas in order to present a truth.   I have learned how hard it is to do this in a unique and novel way. What I didn’t know was how much of a see-saw writing would turn out to be emotionally, and how hard it would be to wait and see if the end product is vinegar or a fine bottle of red (or white but red sounds better).

Actually, I did know emotions would rise and cause havoc but the colour of our truth is grey and not the black and white we presume.  As Antonio says to his daughter Lia, in Unexpected Obsession:

“What happened isn’t black and white, the truth isn’t black and white. Maybe the facts are, this happened, that happened but the reasons are more complicated, full of grey areas. It’s hard to be open to that but Lia, grey softens the edges, helps us clarify what is important.”

I recalled a writer’s workshop I attended held by the Queensland Writers Centre on honing the realities of marketing. This is the behind the scenes hard work to get the created work out there, a time-consuming and confronting operation. If you didn’t love what you did then you would never attempt writing as a profession.  It is a demanding and selfish task master during the process, and in the necessary extensions of the process. Yet that perfect glass of wine does happen but not if you let things get in the way especially the things that may not be palatable.

Self-publishing has been a little harrowing. Yet it was also a liberating experience as ultimately it is the readers, we will answer to so cutting out the middle man seems fair. Jane Davis says the following:

“Self-publishing is the mechanism that freed me to be more ambitious in terms of where I wanted to take my fiction. Instead of being dictated to, I am free to write about the issues I’m passionate about and fascinated by – the big subjects. Remove the pressure of trying of to mold something to fit the current market – which agents admit is risk-averse and overly-commercialised – and it grows wings. For authors of literary fiction, creative control isn’t just a plus. Increasingly it’s becoming a must.

I don’t know about that, but I do know that I want to make wine and am hoping fervently that readers will take advantage of the current $0.99 sale of my e-Books extended now until the end of March, and that they favour me with a review. I am willing to accept vinegar if I end up making fine wine in the long run. I’m here for the duration but I need your support by way of input and that can only come from reviews.

Till next time

Ciao

Barb

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Flavours of Italy

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Tivoli Gardens, Rome

When I got side-tracked by poetry, I wondered what the heck I was doing. I went with it and it surprised me. Not so much in the first book, but certainly in the second because the choice of topic wove itself into the novel series. It felt right and then it slowly dawned on me that maybe it did make sense. The Unexpected Series was inspired by my heritage and by the time I spent travelling. I love Italy and all the wonderful places on offer. Now I was writing about it.

My first poetry book Emotions in Eruption was mostly free style but in Emotions in Evolution I allowed my passion for the haiku to flourish. It hasn’t been easy to work with. Haiku requires discipline and I lack this. It has a condensation of words. My mind struggles with that concept. Yet I know the haiku and the places my characters will visit in Unexpected Obsession Book 1, and the books to follow, fit together, at least in my head if nowhere else. The history of Italy is held lovingly in the architecture and countryside, and in the customs and traditions. Words would never be enough to describe the beauty so perhaps less is really more. It is the essence that matters, the feeling evoked that counts.I hope you like my attempts, done with love in my heart.

I have chosen a few haiku I wrote with Italy in mind and taken the scary liberty of recording them. Too many years teaching have taken a toll on my voice but it fun to try. For visuals I included my pintrest link to The Unexpected Series. My board also holds a collection of images from other countries but I thought you might enjoy the variety. If you have never been to Italy, go. If you are going, take me with you.

Roman Hills cry and whisper timeless tears
 of history

 

dark Gothic remains
Renaissance and Byzantine flavours

 

travellers return to the golden isle
Sicilian sun

Until la prossima

Barb

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Love letters and the past

Change of life

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When I began writing my second poetry book, Emotions in Evolution, I found myself looking back at previous work, then at my life in the past and wondering how much the past does shape our future, and how does the process work.

I guess, we look at what we wanted and compare it to where we are. Is there a huge difference? For me there is. To be honest I am disappointed in myself. I am nowhere near the place I had hoped I would be at this stage in life. On the other hand, I have done things I never imagined I would do, including writing poetry books.

I guess life has its own plans, and the only thing we can do is keep a positive spin no matter what road we travel. We can’t always know what to do, don’t always have the necessary knowledge and hence we do the best we can in the situation presented. I decided the best way to get over my feelings was to write myself a love letter showing myself some understanding. I was young and there was so much I didn’t know. What about you? Is your life what you hoped? Feel free to write in and let me know.

 A love letter to the girl that was

 
It starts as a rose bud.
Tiny tender petals
of youth, of not knowing,
until the bud explodes.
And the sweet, untouched flesh
bleeds with longing as it settles.
There were thorns that lingered,
thorns that pricked,
the unsuspecting digits.
Thorns, not only daring to grasp,
but arrogantly and greedily, fingered.
We took without asking,
assuming our fingerprints had rights
to the leaves of forever young, and
we tainted, misappropriated
while sunshine basking.

(Emotions in Evolution, see links below for eBook and paperback see links below)

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Love, poetry and ideas that inspire

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Looking through some previous work I came across some things I had written regarding genre. I wanted to reassess what motivates me and so I went searching. We need to do this from time to time as a reminder of what we set out to do.

I love the different worlds books offer us, but it seems I am inspired by a consistent idea. If you have followed me at all on social media, you may have noticed I tend to cross genres. Romance, poetry and I am currently working on a thriller.

Yet the common thread is always love, even in my poetry. My latest work is about my love for colour, for nature, for our place on this earth as well as some of the more personal pieces on emotions in general. I love looking at the concept of love. All my characters in my The Unexpected Series, draw strength from love, seek love as a counterpart to understanding, want love so life is shared, demonstrate feelings physically often choosing ways and means that may not suit others.  In brief there is a tiny lean to the darker side of life. Why have I chosen this theme?

Book 2 cover 100px RGB (1)Naively perhaps, I believe that love is the most important thing for us as a human to feel, to share and to be a part of. I honestly believe it is the inability of some to understand love and display it that does so much harm on a local, regional, national and then global level.  I don’t just mean romantic love but parental, the love for friends or colleagues, or the four-footed friends that grace our lives. The Greeks had seven words for love and I thought exploring this in prose would be fun. It was. My leading lady Alexia in Unexpected Passion is Greek, and it felt appropriate. I have used the Greek words; I promise you will understand the meanings from the poem itself. I hope you like this sample enough to want to look at more of my work in my new poetry book Emotions in Evolution. 

Love, it takes all kinds
The bane of our existence.
The reason for our evolution.
The reason for human persistence.
The emotion that lacks solution.
The Ancient Greeks gave us insight.
Separated views of love, have might.
 
Eros was erotic and sexual.
Agape selfless and sacrificial.
Ludus played, flirted, seduced.
Philia to friendship, platonic was reduced.
Pragma we all hope to obtain
for Pragma is shared love and
the one we all hope to retain.
Why not, when it means
long-standing, a couple’s refrain.
And now we move to self-love
or Philautia by name.
A puzzle, often a nuisance from above
when narcissism is the game.
But then self-love can be enabling
giving us a noble redemption
when we lose the ego labelling
with caring as our intention.
And when Storge deems to reveal
we find the best is last
for familial has nothing to conceal
as parent and child, love holds fast.
 
What now, we ask?
Do divisions ease the task?
But love remains the eternal mystery
controlling lives all through our history.

Lia for postSome of my characters are unsure of love and what it means in their lives. In Unexpected Obsession Lia accepts it, allows it to grow, to exist but Nico fights calling it love, is afraid of what it may mean to his life. When he finds the courage to embrace it, Nico finds his life changes in ways he had no preparation for, ways in which life takes on a new meaning.

Nico - CopyHe has someone with whom he can be himself, and it adds a dimension to the physical without relying on frills, yes frills and not thrills. Thrills are a given if done right, frills are toys, fine unless you have to rely on them.

I guess poetry, thriller or even the science fiction flapping around in my brain will always have the idea of love meandering through their pages. After all contemporary romance is a much-loved sibling.

 

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Ciao for now

Barb

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Lucid Tranquillity

Sometimes our fears can hold us back from what makes us grow. Voices from the past remind us of our mistakes. We need to ignore them and instead go forward. We need more faith in ourselves, we need to believe in the voices of the future.

lucid

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Lucid Tranquillity

I hear You.
But, those voices,
those escalating influences
call me and I falter.
Your echo is far better.
It triggers a spiritual spiral
towards a lucidity
so often escaping my notice.
To be calm,
to be tranquil shudders
me into splintered fragile
snowflakes of melting
emotional madness.
I know I am the creator.
I know my power but
still I am hostage to
silvered slides of
syntax makers, who want
their universal limitations,
 to rule supreme
over others, others
who do not understand
the glory of manifestation
and sadly, cowardly
bend to the collector.
I am left frozen,
the withered wraith
of a broken spirit
bereft of presence,
a diminished  aura
of splattered, faded and
crumbling colours
never to blend.
I hear You.
I know what You say.
Be patience generous,
for I am
only now unfurling
from
my embryonic
prison.

 

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Barb