Home » Creative writing » Poetry » Filters


Writing the longer piece (I’m still scared to call it a novel) is harder for me than I thought, so I joined Week #15 of Julia’s 100 Word Challenge in the hopes that a short respite would help. Julia threw us a curve this time, directing us to use only 50 words plus the prompt “the autumn leaves”, so I linked my entry here instead of at Words One Hundred where it wouldn’t fit in.

(If anyone missed the announcement for my other blog, you can get to it with the link on my header’s menu, or the one at the end of my blogroll.)

We’re supposed to relate this week’s entry to the season. As always, feel free to tell me what you think. Here’s mine:

Photo by Ben Matthews via Flickr


The autumn leaves much
Too many filters —
for the furnace,
for my shards of thought.

‘Don’t spill
distaste for cold
on steadfast friends.’

‘Complete chores of this dark, turning season
alone underground.’

through dust. cobwebs. pieces of death unrecognized.
like spring begins.
summer inside.
Pretend winter awaits your call.’


41 thoughts on “Filters

  1. I understand now your dislike for autumn. I hope you find warmth and comfort throughout all seasons of the year. And don’t let writing the “longer piece” intimidate you. Have you ever read Anne Lamott’s BIRD BY BIRD? In it, she recommends (I’m paraphrasing here) you approach projects with small assignments. So, you are not writing a novel, but today you are writing three paragraphs that introduce us to a character, or you are writing two pages that reveal a major problem, or you are writing 100 words that describe a location. Focus on the small assignments and eventually you will achieve your goal.

    • Thanks for the encouragement, Lisa. (Further encouragement. 🙂 ) I’m trying to get over the miles I have to go before I can be finished with this new project but I got slammed again unexpectedly with a lot of aggravating errands and chores that I have to take care of now, if not yesterday. I’ll try to remember Anne Lamott’s advice. I can see how right it is.

  2. This is deep! I have an interpretation on it, but not sure if it is what you intended and won’t be sharing in case I’m wrong! (Bad experiences of int. poetry as a child . .) I would love you to unpack the meaning in the phrases, so I can see and understand the images in words from your perspective . . . Thanks – will check back later

    • Thanks for your interest, Gill. I’m glad you do have your own interpretation of it. (I’m trying hard to learn to let it go if someone’s meaning isn’t the same as mine.) When anyone ponders anything I write, it makes me feel even more, that writing is what I’m supposed to do. I’ll try to “unpack” a little of the meaning this has for me.

      The first section is about the way autumn can heighten feelings of what’s missing or going away in one’s life, and how those sad thoughts may be prickly conversation topics with friends so you filter them to be kind. (Furnace filters can be aggravating, too, especially if you forget the numbers or can’t find the right one.)

      The bits in quotes are filtered thoughts. First: don’t aggravate the friends who’ve stuck with you, just because you’re upset about the things that come with the cold. (This implies that some friends left; I didn’t expand on why, but I meant a failed marriage.) The next filtered thought: they won’t go away, so just get in the basement and do your chores alone. Then: work through the tasks and the things that scare you in the dusty dark, and in your life. Do it like you do in spring when you feel more hopeful. Pretend you are warm. “Fake it till you make it.” And pretend that winter won’t come until you’re ready.

      I’d love to hear your interpretation, Gill. I hope you’ll let me know.

      • Wow, that’s fantastic . . . I feel a bit of a literary pleb now, but pleased you shared as I have got much more out of your piece. Thank you so much for unpacking it for me!
        I feel I am almost being insulting to share the simplictic angle I was seeing . . . . A creature that hibinates, that desires the leaves for it’s big sleep/winter duvet. Trees and branches that disect the sunlight (the creature describes the sun as a furnace) shards of light = it’s thoughts/shards of thought . . . And so my interpretation went on . . .
        I wish I could understand the depths of poetry more . . maybe I need more practice . . . maybe I just need to keep asking : ) Thanks.

      • Not insulting at all. Anyone’s interpretation could have been tilted in another direction by reading “leaves” as a noun and then moving forward from there. Using that word as a verb may have thrown out a curve, but that may be one of the clues to reading poetry — trying to think of other ways the words and sections can be interpreted until a sort of ‘aha’ moment descends. On top of that, one person’s ‘aha’ moment can be different from another’s.

        I also think a poem can be so opaque that many of us never feel we understand it. I think it’s okay to just enjoy or be moved by the way the words sound together when we find a poem we like. Thank you so much for spending time with mine.

  3. I’m not much of a poetry reader but you captured the spirit of the season quite well, especially for those of us who prefer Midsummer!

    • Thanks, Emmy. I prefer spring and summer, and this may be the first time I say I think I prefer hot to winter’s deep freeze. (I hate hot, but at least my fingers don’t try to freeze while I type!) Thanks for stopping by and giving today’s poetry a read. (I don’t write very much of it, especially on this site.)

    • Thank you, Ventahl. Except for the beauty of the leaves, and candy, I’ve never been a big fan of autumn, but I realize I may be in the minority. I’m glad you liked this one. Thanks for reading!

  4. This is hauntingly familiar, and touchingly beautiful.
    It reminded me of times when I found myself alone…divorced…children grown and out of the house. I was left with unpacking memories by myself – which was a good thing because I almost always cried.

    I tend to do my grieving and my soul searching alone.

    Beautiful work. I’m especially glad that I decided to enter this challenge because of your work.

    • Thanks, Anna. The work of preparing my house for this awful cold has turned out to be a hassle this autumn. (And it doesn’t help that I was writing so much during the summer that I let my housework go. Really.) Now I’ve something unexpected, very much out of my comfort zone, to deal with ASAP, and I’m upset, sad, frustrated and having to do a million things that don’t include lovingly fleshing out a new world. At least it’s here in my head when life lets up on me a little. Thanks for being excited for me. I hope I can get back to the “delicious” soon.

  5. I’m struggling with my own novel at the moment, so I completely understand how frustrating it can be to work and be interrupted, to stand at the bottom of Everest and know you’ve got to climb it if you want to put your flag at the top. But take a step, then another, and another after that, and soon you’ll be able to see the summit and know you can make it. And when you do, we’ll all celebrate with you.

  6. Who would have thought those three words would have set off such an amazing piece of writing & such a fabulous conversation! This is what I had hoped the 100WCGU would do. Thank you so much for your support Sparks!

  7. Ooh, someone else who doesn’t like Fall?! Yay! I don’t like Winter at all, but mostly because it’s too cold, and its snow and ice are messy inconveniences. Fall has always seemed so melancholy to me. The beautiful golden blankets of leaves are so quickly wrinkled and sullied by unpredictable and persistent rains, mowers, and winds. It goes from beautiful to disorderly before I can get my wits about me. The erratic temperatures unnerve me, and leave me feeling disheveled and schizophrenic in my fashion choices and moods.

    So…I absolutely loved this one, LadySparks!

    • Thanks, Ms. Empress! I can’t say it’s great to find a kindred spirit on this subject because it means we’re both annoyed by it, but I can see that you ‘get’ it. How long is it until spring?

  8. RUST is only sixty pages – a good length for starters –
    I started writing novels to desensitize myself to my own
    hatred of writing stuff down – my first project was a triliogy
    but my works have gotten shorter and shorter since then.

    I love Autom – but this may have to do with where I live –
    the wet summer heat makes you incapable of anything but
    apathy. only with the onset of the cool dry fall, – is air made
    fresh and clean – Fall has a smell here – you notice it just before
    the weather starts to cool – like a ray of light through the stifeling
    smothering heat, a sent like rain – or a waft of air from a clean
    refrigerator, or an Ac unit – then the cool winds begin to blow,
    and getting things done outdoors becomes possible. You
    just want eat the air – just lie there with the windows open
    and the curtins blowing. Breathing. You can even taste

    I’ve noticed huricanes have that smell, they may do
    horrible damage but I doubt anything can smell so

I love it when you talk to me ...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s