” The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” — Sylvia Plath
” The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” — Sylvia Plath
For one brief moment
in the great sea of eternity
we have met;
We’re both small drops of seconds
in the river of time…
Like a single pebble
I’ve caused a ripple
in your cool pond of serenity;
While you’re the soulful wind
that kissed the splendid pearl
from out her shell…
I remember the beautiful name you gave…
You must have loved me then…somehow;
A treasured pearl…could I really be
that way for you?
Whatever that lies between us
then and now…
is like dewdrop from Heaven
so refreshing and sweet.
Yet…life is still far from crystal clear…
The pain of silence torments
and we’re both sad…
For one brief moment
in the great sea of eternity
we have met;
but I know
Immortal we’ll always be
In each other’s heart.
This poem also appears on Writing.com together with some of my other poems.
I wrote this as an example of a stand-alone descriptive paragraph which I often use in my classes (EFL Intermediate level). Students do benefit a lot from others’ examples: student-written compositions; especially, they appreciate teachers’ own writings, and articles by professional writers.
As far as I can remember, there is one special activity that I have always enjoyed doing, and that is stringing words together in a poem. I started writing poems when I was only thirteen years old, but even before that, the rhymes and rhythms of children songs and verses I was learning in school had already fascinated my young mind. The personal poems my parents wrote to each other, which I would chance upon, also delighted me so much that I would recite them to myself, in secret. Reading them aloud would make my heart leap with joy at their melodious sound, especially after I discovered in first year high school, that the beautiful sound they produced was brought about by the way different words were woven together. At that time, too, I remember, I was fond of reading love stories. Hence my very first verses were all inspired by romantic thoughts, even though I had never had any boyfriend. I also remember using the simplest words I could think of and just coining them together to form a very short but rhythmic verse. Here runs one of my earliest verses: “Love me truly…This I ask of you…Be sweet and sincere…Like I have been to you… Say you love me…Oh say you do…I love you dear… So love me too.” Seeing my thoughts on paper then, and listening to the way these words convey my feelings, thrilled me endlessly. Because they were like music to my youthful ears, my poems comforted me whenever I felt bored. Then too, I gradually discovered that for every fleeting thought or emotion I experienced, there would always be a phrase or two that would dramatically paint whatever I was going through. To illustrate, here is a part of the poem I wrote when I was already eighteen years old: “Suddenly, the whole world seemed to crush down on me; an all-confusing pain swept over me as my last straw of hope…Was taken away from me…While my whole being and soul ached for him…He, whom I desire so much, stood there desiring another! How I’ve winced at that gleam in his eyes as he looked at her…How I’ve recoiled at the hurt, at the stabbing pain in my heart it had brought me…How bruised and battered I felt…Oh, how I wished I’ve never seen him again!!!” Whenever I wrote, a great rush of blood would race through my veins, sending me to fantasy land. Pen in hand then, my mind would take me as far as my imagination would let me, and the result of all these are the several collections of my own poetry I have kept all through these years. Even to this day, my spirit won’t rest until I have composed a verse or two that mirror my feelings, thoughts and observations. Writing poetry has always offered me a never-ending excitement and a deep sense of fulfillment for having created something beautiful that records my life’s fondest moments. This is, therefore, the most significant meaning of my favorite activity – that of defining myself as a creative artist who is able to partake of her God-given talents and share in His creative powers.
Life is an adventure
Whatever its course,
At each bend, at every turn,
There’s a hurdle to leap
Sometimes life may be too
Strange for us to behold
Too complex for our naiveté
Times when the things we want
Belong to another time and space
And we try to capture
Just a semblance of those things
In the time we hold now
It isn’t always easy to answer
The hows and whys we encounter
Why we do things the way we do
Stranger still are
Some of the people we meet…
Just like you and I
There’s more to us than meets the eye
There’s always something deeper
No one could just fathom
Not even ourselves at times
Life indeed can be puzzling,
Mysterious and full of rarity…
Like you were my least expectation,
Now you’re a big difference
It isn’t easy to answer the questions
But sometimes all we need to do
Is just to understand
* I wrote this poem about 18 years ago; I also presented this in a Speech-craft session of the Toastmasters Club, Casino de Espanol Chapter, Manila, in 1999. I shared this too on Writing.com, where I go by my username Summerblossom.
Youth, you still have a long way ahead
Take your time but use your head
Life is easy if you work hard
Enjoy each day as it passes
Just be sure to leave your mark…
Never take anything, anyone for granted
Youth is not a license to do as you please
Be daring and adventurous —
That’s your privilege
You’ll learn a lot if you don’t
scoop yourself in
Just remember not to go overboard…
Be gentle and firm with yourself
And with others, too
Remain friendly, but be a friend loyal and true…
Look up, aim high
Discover yourself truly and honestly
It’s in accepting yourself as you are
That you’ll be able to see others
as they are…
Do not try to search for everything
For what is truly yours will surely
come your way;
As you go on with your life
Once in a while try to look back
at where you’ve been
Remembering the lessons you’ve learned…
Remember, too, to bring along some memories
Look at the past and remember
That once you’ve passed this way
Lastly, no matter what Life has to offer you
Give thanks and be humble
Know that if you walk with God
You will never be lost.
NOTE: I also shared this poem on Writing.com under my pen name, Summerblossom.
Once there were two people, a boy and a girl, who met in the river of time…it was a ‘relationship by fate’, destined to meet because there was a reason for it. Thus, started their journey of knowing each other a little better each day. Times when the sailing was just fine, the weather was fair. Times when they had to cross rough seas and there would be tension and sometimes, fear. However, sincerity of heart prevailed and flew her sails and quietly, friendship came over to them with smiles, laughter, and words. Everything changed. Day by day, understanding became deeper and acceptance became full. Times when words were left unspoken, yet both could discern what the other would like to share. It seemed their thoughts were synchronized. The sun was shining.
Their friendship was truly invaluable and genuine; both expressed the wish for this to endure the passage of time. It was tinged with sadness though because soon they would have to part when they reached the port. Both would have to go on without the other. Thus, sometimes, her tears would flow in the darkness. It was destined to be so.
Their friendship was truly invaluable, genuine and mysterious. One day, the need to express their care in a special way surged between them and they sealed their bond with a kiss. It was wonderful and sweet. There were other kisses as well as hugs, too, all sweet and tantalizing. Yes, tantalizing. Perhaps it was really such that unknowingly and naturally, if there was pure affection, it would want to find some physical manifestation and they became close. Now she feared this. She did not want to destroy what they had; it was a treasure she would always cherish for a lifetime…she wanted some beautiful memories to live by when they would be gone from each other.
It was a moonlit night. She was sad, afraid, and she cried. In the end, she believed he was truly a very good person, with a pure heart and soul. She remained hopeful he would not lose respect and admiration, and their affection would stay sweet; their friendship would last.
There was a rainbow in the sky.
Now she knew how it was to be truly loved with a pure heart, deep affection and great respect. For that, she was truly grateful.
Dreams are free…so she allowed herself this beautiful chance to live out her deep desire and hope, even if everything seemed impossible. At least she could hope and hold on to her dream.
Today, there was sunshine. Tomorrow might rain. Hence, in her sleep, she found herself not alone. Just like the stream that flows onto the river and cascade as one; just as the flower petals open up to the kiss of the sun.
My first try at story-telling — it tells of the uncertainty of young love. I posted this for the first time at another writing site, Writing.com. I go by the name Mayflower (Marichu), and username, Summerblossom.
One voice failed to catch the wind —
Its words laid out like carpet…
Yet, the waters of the stream might have washed them away
Beneath stones upon stones…
Hence no ripples could they make
To let the mighty wind stop by its side
If only for awhile;
Oh how that soul lies in anguished wait —
As it bleeds beneath the trampling hoofs of its scorn!
As I was browsing through my Facebook, I came across this fascinating quotation:
“Life is like a camera…
Focus on what’s important,
Capture the good times,
Develop from the negatives. And if things don’t work out,
Take another shot…”
Suddenly, I thought this beautiful quote may also serve as an excellent guide not only for living our lives well, but also for improving one’s writing skills. Writing is such an important life skill to learn; in fact, outside school, a student like you has to write a great deal — when you write to your family or friends back home, update your superiors on what is happening to you in your present life away from your home community, when you apply for a scholarship or student loan, or even just to post something on your social network site such as Facebook, or Twitter. More importantly, writing comprises a great deal of a student’s academic life, so there is no way to avoid it. Surely, you would like your message come across clearly, and interestingly, as well.
Let us see then how each pointer can help you craft an excellent piece of academic writing.
Each of these pointers, if followed patiently, diligently and with care, will surely give your readers a very interesting, clear and well-detailed picture of your ideas. Indeed, to paraphrase — writing is like a camera!
Note: I refer to these pointers as general rules to follow, and students should be aware of the other writing requirements needed for their specific task. (TeacherMarich)
I had just been going through the first few paragraphs of the 1st chapter of the book, “Finding God at Home”, when it startled me to discover I was reading something about myself, or rather something about my quest for something akin to what the author calls ‘Life on the Edge.’
A longing to meet a deeper reality could aptly describe that stage in my life when, without my recognizing it for what it was, the need to overcome or resist some norms in my normal Catholic upbringing started to surface. A high school student at the time, I didn’t know the reasons for such need. Nor do I now remember exactly what those norms were.
I had been brought up in a deeply religious Catholic family, and had been educated in an exclusive (all-girls) Catholic school run by nuns. Later, I pursued my Psychology course at the oldest university in Asia, a pontifical university. All throughout my childhood until I got married, life at home had been characterized by daily family prayer-time, regular Sunday Masses, and various church activities like singing in the choir.
My parents were both active members of our parish with my father as a lay minister and a member of the Knights of Columbus, while my mother as a member of the Apostleship of Prayer. One of my younger sisters is a member of the contemplative order of the SSpSAP (‘Pink Sisters’), and a brother is a priest.
Perhaps then, even in this kind of family atmosphere, I had not been able to define what ‘Spirituality’ was, because honestly, I thought it only belonged to the priests and nuns. At the same time, I had prided myself for being a part of such a family.
Years later, I slipped away from that kind of religiousity, and went on to question some practices like praying the rosary, ritualized prayers, and novenas. Although by not praying in my traditional way, I also felt not Catholic,and I felt some guilt and fear because I no longer had a sense of belonging.
Yet, I kept moving between the Church and some other Theosophical thoughts. I once thought I was perhaps looking for some easier way to connect to God, or for some justification why I shouldn’t be praying the traditional way because at times I found them tedious or too much of a ritual.
Becoming a mother didn’t stop me from that kind of “search.” I even experienced what the author described in the chapter on “Life at the Center” as ‘to feel energy, talent, hopes and ambitions all being slowly drained’ because I felt I was always another person for someone else, for some people, never for myself.
If our lives are our gifts to God, our offering to Him, then I didn’t somehow realize this, as it was like I was full of many things, but was nothing at all.
However, after more defining experiences that brought in wisdom and maturity, answers – good answers have started to take shape in different ways. Now a single parent and a grandmother, this book seems to give more meaning to what I am now. I may be like the first kind of soul: I am a bow in your hands, Lord, draw me lest I rot.’ Reading the book, I have realized here are newer and fresher insights.
The article “Finding God in the City” is a very good example for me of life being lived ‘on edge’ and ‘at the center.’ The author’s 7 principles are inspiring and worth living by, too.
Like crystal waters, the thoughts and examples presented by these two authors came to clear my mind of some doubts.
Note: I share this as one example of how students can write a personal reflection based on an assigned reading. It was a personal reflection I wrote as a requirement for one of my courses at the graduate school. Again, students are advised to follow their professors’ specific guidelines/requirements.
This is a poem I wrote in 2000, inspired by both Enya and a postcard of a Shanghai Buddhist Temple. Though it is in poetry form, it is also a good example of how to write vividly by using descriptive details that are concrete and specific. Doing so can help our readers use their imagination to see, or hear, or feel what we as writers present in our composition. (my note to students)
Like folded hands steepled in prayer
The Longhua Pagoda solemnly beckons –
Where are the stars that paint the sky;
Only the gentle moon silently casts its light
On the mysterious city of Shanghai…
What a cold, lonely night
As I walk through its snow-laden grounds
And I behold the haunting sight
Of winter trees and stones;
And hues of blue and gray and white
Dance to the eerie sounds of silence…
Upon its lace-mantled bosom
A golden light glows
A solitary glimpse of warmth
For a distant soul in hope
Of Memories and a China Rose…
Poetry Prompt #17 – Dreamflights