Response to Comment, Draft 4,”Being Amused on the Highway”

Being Amused On The Highway

I wanted to write a poem about a lily
or a silly one about dear Lily –
couldn’t until I was racing

down a long highway
at 88 miles-per-hour, and
a Muse did say something
or other my way, but

I can’t remember a thing
in a hospital bed
and neither Lily nor Muse
are crashing here soon
during visiting hours
—Douglas Gilbert
REF: Comment by Bethany
“… My “muse” or subconscious only seems to come up with ideas i find interesting when it’s nearly impossible for me to write, like when I’m barreling down the interstate at 75 mph on my way to work…”.


5 thoughts on “Response to Comment, Draft 4,”Being Amused on the Highway”

  1. You should see my grin! I’m glad you could come up with something from my lack of being able to do so, if i can’t write, then at least i can inspire (which i suppose is an equal trade off of sorts)! It’s great!
    But I suppose I should slow down or maybe take another route to work, ’cause i definitely don’t want to spend any time in a hospital bed. I was thinking about what I wrote in my reply after I wrote it…maybe the reason i start coming up with ideas while i’m driving is because every other minute of the day i’m doing up to 3 different things at any given time. I’ve become the queen of multi-tasking since i moved and it’s not something I really enjoy…
    Maybe my subconscious/muse is finding things to write about but i’m just too busy every moment to sit down and concentrate on them. I must immediately try to fix this dilemma!

    1. Thanks very much. It’s interesting that we were both thinking about the safety issue. So you could have easily written a poem of this type because you had the same information and actually more background material about the scene. I have lots of ideas for poems with a minimum of description, but I usually don’t like them. I’ve thrown a lot away because they’re often sparse and trivial, but when I try to add detail it’s ruined. I once found it interesting that an adjective and the name of a city could be spelled the same and sound differently: nice and Nice. So I spent a long time trying to use it and couldn’t get past a certain point, and beyond the cuteness of the sound couldn’t manage to say anything significant. It doesn’t look like it but this is what I wound up with after 10 or more drafts( I’m ashamed to say I spent so much time on it and came up with almost nothing):
      nice To Be in Nice

      It seems so nice that
      my niece is in Nice
      a sister city with my sister
      in it

      Seems a romantic thing
      to dream and be
      nice in Nice

      But consider this please
      my mid-wife sister:
      when my wife is in Nice
      you could surely assist her

      and wouldn’t it be neat
      to deliver for us
      your pretty nice niece
      nicely born in Nice
      I had other permutations that went nowhere and crashed:

      It’s nice that
      my sister’s with the mister
      a brother-in-law who’s nice
      Seems a romantic thing
      to find it nice to be in Nice
      and a fling could be nice if
      a boy would be born, ’cause
      a nephew in Nice
      would be nice
      and on and on… and it kept getting worse and I didn’t feel like looking up Nice and see if there was some sort of romantic description I could find — I usually wind up showing too much of my ignorance, because I’m usually not very good at faking I’ve been somewhere I haven’t.(Although I once looked up some material about Bhutan from their tourist bureau and wrote a poem and someone in Bhutan said, “It sounds like you’ve been enjoying yourself in Bhutan…”) But mostly someone catches me on a mistake and makes me look stupid. Most of the stuff that the elites in the literary circles consider good poetry is too dense and obscure for me. I can’t seem to fake my way into any of those establishment places.

  2. I would like to feel nice in Nice 🙂
    I don’t think it’s bad! Maybe not your best but definitely not bad. I did notice that when I read it, it almost comes out in the same tone I read nursery rhymes in, i think it’s all the internal rhyme maybe, or perhaps the niece, nice, Nice? Not sure, but I kinda liked the way it all sounded! Maybe I’ll try to write a modern day nursery rhyme. They sent home a reading evaluation saying my son is having an issue with reading comprehension at school! We read all the time at home and he never has an issue here but maybe he’s just distracted and not paying attention at school, which I’ve talked to him about. Anyway, I made up a story about a pretty pink fish named felicia that lives in his grandpa’s koi pond, she was afraid of the new turtle that moved in to the pond but they ended up becoming best friends. The story was a little more in-depth than that, but he remembered all the details after I was finished telling the story and asked him questions to see if he ‘comprehended’ it…So, i’m thinking he’s just goofing off or doing that day-dreaming thing he likes to do instead of paying attention…

    1.      If he’s having “an issue with reading comprehension”, I would say give him two home tests: 1. Write a text for him about something he’s never heard before. Have him read it silently and ask what it’s about and after he’s given his interpretation, ask questions. 2. Write a text for him that he’s never heard and doesn’t know anything about. Have him read it aloud. It’s possible he’s been memorizing things and repeating and not really reading. Does he know the sounds of the letters? I know some schools have some wacky teaching methods that are good only for some students and a disaster for others. Teachers tend to talk in euphemisms and jargon and it’s hard to tell what’s really going on. When my nephew was little the teacher claimed he was “reading” but at a low level etc. One day, my sister handed him a new book and said, “Read to me”. He was totally clueless. He had been listening to recitations in school, memorizing what he heard, and when called on to “read” from the book, just recited what he had memorized. He could not read at all, and the teacher didn’t notice anything. Some teachers can be really dumb. I wouldn’t trust any of them.
           I decided maybe I should try to find some details about Nice. It wasn’t inspiring: it looks like a wonderful place, but I didn’t find any emotional writings to give me a flavor. They just said, “beach,hotels,museums,Monaco near — buy a plane ticket from us, and we have a great hotel for you — oh, and by the way, here’s a snippet of history” but all without any passion. The only thing I picked up was “a pebble beach on the Mediterranean…the Riviera…”
      Started on something to add:

      On the Mediterranean long ago
      she had treaded water, thought
      pebbles were gems
      and now she’s said
      Uncle take me back…

      But that fragment is on the slush pile of papers. Maybe at some future time, I’ll do something with it.

  3. Good idea with the writing different texts, that would be a good exercise for him and I both! I’m positive that he is really reading. He sounds out very long words and I only help him say it if he isn’t able to pronounce it right on his own after trying. The teacher said he is reading at a 4th grade level (he’s in 3rd) but for whatever reason he’s just not comprehending. Most of the children in his class are reading picture books still, but he is reading chapter books. His reading homework is 20 minutes per night (or more) and he has to write two complete sentences about what he read. We just finished ‘How to eat fried worms’. During school he said he’s reading the chapter book ‘Sleepy Hollow’ right now and that is the next one they will test him on when he’s finished but I’m wondering if maybe he’s forgetting the details before they give him the test, since he spends a week reading chapter books instead of a short book per day. They also have us use this website called raz-kids to help with reading (they earn points that go toward their reading goals) but the level of books she has assigned the class is stuff he was reading in 1st grade and he gets really bored with it.
    Teachers do talk in a lot of euphemisms and jargon! I bet your sister was upset when she learned your nephew was just reciting things he had memorized!
    Maybe Nice has a newspaper site that might have a more emotional flavor instead of sites that want to sell vacations. But i like the new stanza,’treaded water, thought pebbles were gems’. Imagining that pebbles are gems is much more exciting than just seeing plain pebbles!
    ok so i rambled on forever about the reading…Have to get ready for work…have a great day!

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