"When truth and compassion part ways, follow compassion." ~ Unknown

Saturday, August 9, 2014


The term came out of one of those word jazz sessions Kristiana, M. Lee and I were having the other day, at my expense. At the time it was FiveOWriMo. Later I changed it to FiveOWriteO or its colloquial fiveowriteo. Of course, both are based on the now famous NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) which has, over the years, kicked a significant number of people off their duffs to take the plunge, resulting in huge gobs and boatloads of words getting launched during the month of November and some manuscripts actually becoming published works of whatever. Even I managed to assemble 50,000 words one November spurred on by the collective frenzy. Don't ask. The deal with FiveOWriteO is to write for five minutes everyday, one day at a time. Of course, a commitment to write five, f-i-v-e,  5 little minutes a day will only be of interest to individuals suffering from writer's block, which includes me. "Writers write, Owen" . Smirk all you like, writer's block is a drag. So, of course, the important thing about a FiveOWriteO is the word "write" because write is a verb.

And yes, I've been telling myself for years to set a daily time and write. I used to tell myself to write four hours a day. When I failed at that I lowered the time to two hours a day, that became one, then one half-hour, which worked until it didn't.

I've been doing my fiveowriteo for about a month now and have gotten quite attached to this little morning interlude. God, that must sound so pathetic. I am embarrassed to discuss it, even here, but now Roy at Blogorahma has upped the stakes and started occasionally posting his five minutes worth (thanks a lot, Roy). His, of course, are good. Mine are not and they are really short but, these days, I'm grateful to be writing at all so, in the spirit of fun and fair play, I am posting this morning's fiveowriteo.

It's hard to make a beginning without a starting point. I do not have one. I start over and over from the middle of nowhere. Is it some kind of twisted snobbery to forego a beginning? A foundation? An idea? The spiral continues its twist. Over and over, Billy (Collins) starts at his window. It is not his privilege alone, something he himself makes abundantly clear. "The poets are at their windows." And I am at mine only, for now, my window is the screen porch.
I am sitting in my screen porch. It is morning. The black birds are at work on the peanuts and seeds. It is 2:26 PM in Addis Ababa. I have never been to Addis Ababa but have wondered about it since I was a child. I leave the porch and wander the shade of its narrow, winding, packed-sand passageways which open occasionally onto bazaars filled with wares and food of every description. The whole scene is ablaze with color and swelters under makeshift canopies and tents and throbs with a cacophony of voices, braying, cawing, banging and music. People look down on the scene from tiny balconies attached to brightly painted buildings.

And then I am back on Alligator Creek with the dive-bombing black birds who, in the time it took to visit Addis Ababa and return, snatched all the peanuts from under Frida Kahlo the squirrel's memorial pineapple palm tree before the squirrels arrive.

Friday by Roy deGregory
Monday by Billy Collins


Roy said...

I really enjoyed the Billy Collins window poem. That must be it--this writing business. The writer is of course the observer, which is us, we who sit in the middle of the ego circus, who don't know whether to laugh or cry at the clowns.

asha said...

...or perhaps we are the clowns.

Roy said...


The most powerful thing about that poem, for me, anyway, is the train of thought concerning the writers' purpose in the world. Dare we say it--we do have a purpose!
Or not. Hm.