Posts Tagged ‘tension’

I try not to take it personally.
The country is not for everyone—
lazy stream and open field
and airy glades of cottonwood.
I walk out in the dead grass
and realize how much I love
the dead grass. How much
I love the red stained willows,
bright squawk of jay and scent of mud
and lack of pavement, lack of horns,
lack of benches and stores and street lamps.
I prefer the bustle of birds at the feeder
to any human throng.
It isn’t wrong for him to love something else,
the heart loves what it loves,
though I long to defend the smooth flat stones,
the hawk that even now circles the field,
the mice making arteries through snow.
I wish he were happy here, says the heart,
unable to reconcile the rift.
Across the river, snow sifts in thin white wisps,
escapes through dark red cliffs.

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One Tuning



you and I—

two notes in a minor chord

longing for resolution

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I’m learning to write tension in my scenes,

to add desire, danger and distress,

to focus on what my character wants

and all the forces keeping her from getting

it—a train arrives too early to be caught,

she doesn’t get the job she wants,

she doesn’t have the funds to pay her rent,

she loses her cat in the city again—

I am trying to let bad things happen.

Otherwise there is no tension,

and, as the book on writing says,

No tension equals boring. Think

obstacle, it instructs. Think grief and

shame and fear. But all I want to do

is make my character cheerful,

happy, glad. I want to immediately fix

all the problems I won’t let her have.

I want to make her life easier—

give her security, friendship,

great sex, true love. Is it so wrong

to want to serve her everything

I want? Create opposition, says the book,

and I try, I do, to write in her weaknesses,

let her mess up, struggle on every page.

But oh, to make her life not just happily

ever after but happily all along the way,

perfect and boring, the kind of life

that no one has, the kind of life

that no one wants to read about,

the dream job offers streaming in, the lover

ever attentive, handsome, adoring,

the sun shining as she thoughtfully sips her tea.


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