Tag Archives: Wolfe Butler

Lesson 6: … I don’t know much

I’ve learned that I really do not know very much.

Years ago, I read an illustration about our own perceived intelligence. I cannot remember it verbatim, but to briefly paraphrase it said, as teenagers we tend to think that we know everything. In our twenties and thirties, we still think we know most everything but also start to see the need to get some instruction from others. By middle age we realize we only know half the things we need to know. And finally, in old age, we realize that we know nothing or at least very little in the grand scheme of things.

I am not an old man, at least from my perspective. A sixteen or twenty-year-old might view me that way, but I am determined that I am not old. It’s the whole, “Build it and they will come” mentality. If only that worked.

Up until now, I have always considered myself a relatively intelligent man. I keep up with current events and have always been an avid reader. In this digital age, I still prefer to read my news or instruction manuals rather than watch videos. Everyday I make it a point to learn at least one new thing and am always looking for ways to improve myself.

Over the last few years, it has become increasingly more obvious that in reality, I know almost nothing. Never has this truth shined brighter than the last couple months of starting a blog and self-publishing a book. All my dear writer friends, why didn’t you warn me? As I read more blogs, interact with more writers and consider their work, I feel overwhelmingly unqualified and outclassed.

I did not just jump into blogging and self-publishing without any guidance or forethought. I read blogging advice for several years before finally committing and starting one of my own. I perused publishing and writing journals for years contemplating publishing options, comparing traditional to self-published routes, whether to get an agent or editor or not. I felt like I had done all my research and was prepared to move forward. Wrong!

Wrong

Jumping into the arena, or fire as it might be, and getting started has revealed a whole world of things I never thought to include in my preparations. There have been hundreds of questions that I did not know to ask. Should you monetize your site? How do you keep a posting schedule? What social media sites should you use? What should you be posting on them? How should you interact with your followers? How often? And on and on and on. In addition, there have been systems and procedures that I did not know to implement and unexpected expenses I was not fully prepared for. Add to the fact that I was still working a full-time day job for the first two months, and it is amazing that I have any hair on the top of my head. Although it has grown noticeably grayer in the last two months.

I had been in my prior career field for 18 years before decided to leave and pursue writing full-time. I was the go-to person for a lot of my colleagues because I had put in the time and was constantly working on learning more and improving myself. To go from a seasoned veteran to a flailing newbie has been a true test of my mettle.

Please do not misunderstand me. This is an amazing experience and a dream come true. I worked so hard for so many years so that in time I could devote myself to my writing passion. Never was I so naïve as to imagine that this would be a seamless and painless transition. Still, to interact with all the amazing writers I have had the pleasure to interact with, has not only made me feel like I am out of my depth, but that I need to get out of that Olympic pool and go back to the kiddie pool. Probably floaties would not be a bad idea while I am at it.

yellow bath duck toy

On the flip side, oneamazing, heart-warming and completely unexpected lesson I am learning is that writers are true kindred spirits. We are all laboring to bring our wordy offspring into this world. It brightens my day to get on social media and see how writers are constantly supporting other writers, supporting me. In the financial world, it was every man for himself. This sense of community and support has been my biggest buoy to keep afloat as the waves of what I don’t know keep crashing over me. My hope is that in a year or two or five that I will be the veteran writer, blogger and self-publisher that is out in the world encouraging others and convincing them to continue forward.

As I tend to do, I have again gotten completely off track. My life lesson learned is that the older I get, the more I recognize just how much I do not know. I am trying to own that and seek guidance from as many sources as I can find. I will never know everything, but tomorrow I will know more than I did today.

Until next time.


Mysterious – a Poem

Mysterious

Mysterious

A presence near
The heart sincere
Goodbye to fear
Home is here

A man a soul
A worthwhile goal
Looks black as coal
Fits the role

The burning fire
A living wire
Children to sire
Deep desire

Behind a veil
The heart will wale
Break free from jail
Meant to fail

Not one but two
And much is due
You thought you knew
If so, who?

 

Author’s Note: We are all more than one person. At the very least we are two: the one we present to the world and the one we are deep inside. Most of us are much more than two as we have a “person” for each part of our life. Family, friend, work, social, parent, strangers… Not everyone sees the same person when they look at us. Indeed, we do not present the same person to each person we meet.

This poem was written in my late teens, early twenties when I was trying to figure out primarily what person I was going to be. I hope you enjoy.

If you enjoyed this poem, please share it with others.

 

A poem about who you really are on the inside. #Poem #Poet #Poetry

Façade – Poem

Facade poem wolfe butler WB

 

 You smile, you cheer

You meet and greet

You walk and talk

You run your feet

 

You shine so bright

You look complete

You call yourself

The sun beneath

 

What you don’t know

Is what still shows

That your façade

Not only glows

 

For what you think

You safely keep

And what you hide

Your restless sleep

 

Is not so hid

That we don’t see

But shines as bright

As does your glee

 

And looks at us

With ugly truth

Betrays your peace

Destroys your youth

 

And once you find

That pain can’t hide

That nothing veiled

Stays locked inside

 

That pieces fall

From damaged minds

Keeps treasures lost

From future finds

 

You’ll look for us

Those you deceived

And want our help

Like we believed

 

Still on your terms

You’ll search for us

And beg for strength

And lots of fuss

 

But then may be

A bit too late

Who could have helped?

You’ll meditate

 

With no one there

In cold night air

Your truth will call

And steal your fare

 

Because you chose

To just deceive

And share no truth

But tangled weave

 

To keep your heap

Of shattered dreams

And endless bout

With silent screams

 

Your tears will fall

On lonely grounds

No one to hear

Your empty sounds

 

And maybe then

You’ll see the cost

Of that with which

Your lies have lost

 

And those who grieved

To just see you

Will long have moved

Far from your view

 

Because your mask

Of endless bliss

Drives us away

To nothingness

 

So I pray soon

You’ll see your fate

And please change it

Before too late

 

For I am here

Right now I reach

My heart is free

I still can teach

 

But can’t hold on

Without your hand

You need my help

To understand

 

November 11, 2004

mask-2014555_1920

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Poetry

New Year – New Possibilities

In the last few weeks I have had the opportunity to visit a variety of different blogs. Many offer writing advice, both in general and regarding blogs specifically. All of them recommend posting consistent content on a regular basis. Some recommend posting every day. I would like for that to be my goal.

It is a funny thing that in the past few years I have pondered at length having a blog. I am opinionated and thought it would be nice to have a platform where I could rant whenever I wanted. Now that I have taken the plunge and started a blog, I find myself with few words. It is not for lack of crazy things happening in the world. One only needs to follow the Twitter feed of a few well-known individuals to have an abundance of fodder to rant or muse about. Still, the posts are coming with much more difficulty than I expected.

Another topic I have seen repeatedly is writer’s goals for the new year. Some have quite ambitious goals of writing five or more books this year. One writer told me he just set out a fourteen-year plan for himself. Another writer has listed in her profile that she had written over fifty books in five years. Fifty in five years? That figure blows my mind, especially since I languished for fifteen years on Getting Home and it still is not what I wanted it to be. I finally self-published for the sole reason that it would force me to stop editing and move on to something else. That is probably a tidbit I should not share with my readers, but the whole reason for this blog is for me to rant about things.

One or two completed books this year would be ideal for me. I have six works currently in progress. I have finally forced myself to commit to one, at least for the time being, and will hopefully carry on to completion of the first draft. In addition, I intend to post at least weekly posts on my blog. Posting daily would be a wonderful achievement. I know that if I impose that requirement on myself, one of two things will happen. One, I will start posting meaningless dribble. Or two, I will get so frustrated and discouraged that I will stop writing altogether. I have committed to too much to allow the latter to happen.

It would be nice to know what a variety of writers have for their 2018 expectations. I imagine the dreams of a newbie will be considerably different than the realism of a veteran writer. Please post your comments below or reach out to me on Twitter or Facebook. I would love to hear what you have planned.

Until next time…

Music for Writing

Music for Writing

To say I love music would be an understatement. As a child I spent hours recording songs as they played on the radio. Much of my allowance went to buying cassette tapes. Waves of excitement would wash over me as I hit record every time a new song came on the radio. When I got older I became obsessed with CDs and built a pretty enviable collection. Digital music came along, and my collection was growing exponentially until the option of music subscriptions. With some now, like Amazon’s Music Unlimited, you can listen to pretty much anything you want whenever you want. I buy much less music as a result.

This blog post is not about collecting music. Maybe I will devote another one to that topic later. Rather, I would like to rattle on a little about using music while writing.

Are you a writer? Do you play music while writing? If so, what music do you turn to?

My music tastes are very eclectic, largely decided by the mood I am either in or want to be writing about. If I am dabbling with a bit of romance, Adele or Dido might be my artist of choice. Dealing with confrontation I may turn to something a little angrier. Two of my fallbacks are Linkin Park and the heavier tracks from Evanescence. A mellow passage might turn me to Josh Groban, Sarah McLachlan or Enya. Looking to be happy or humorous, I may call on Michael Bublé.

Editing, we all know how painful it can be, typically points me to something without words so I can concentrate fully on butchering my work. My favorites are piano based, but there are many orchestral ones as well. There is a techno old favorite, David Arkenstone’s In the Wake of the Wind, that has been with me for decades. The soundtracks to A Beautiful Mind and Pride and Prejudice are also calming favorites.

I am not stuck in the past as many of the above references might imply. Streaming today’s pop, alternative and country stations frequently create the right mood or desire. Much of today’s music draws me, but a good playlist is like comfy slippers and a well-worn cardigan. Hence, I find myself returning to old friends often.

Perusing my digital playlists, I seem to be drawn to certain themes. Many of the songs in my collection have “home,” “breathe” or “rain” in the title. It remains a puzzle as to what that means. Still, I am fascinated by the fact that I am drawn to songs with similar subjects.

At times, rare as they may occur, I may turn off all music. Sometimes the voices in my head need to speak clearly for me to get through a particularly challenging passage. The silence does not last long. While it helps to focus momentarily, I tend to find myself drifting mentally or inclined to walk off and do other things. The music comes back on and I can (mostly) focus again. Music helps to drown out some of the lesser voices that are not needed in the moment.

Music is an important part of my writing ritual. What rituals are important to you?

Getting Home – Official Trailer

Frozen Lake – Poem

Frozen Lake poem wolfe butler WB

I tried to walk

Alone across

An endless frozen sea

 

T’was dark as coal

All twilight gone

A path I did not know

 

I walked in vain

To reach no goal

Direction had no road

 

No markers there

Or signs to guide

A frozen land nowhere

 

Though not yet doomed

My trip grew worse

As through a hole I fell

 

To gasp for air

And fight for strength

But all to no avail

 

For in the dark

With water deep

I found no hole to flee

 

A grave unmarked

No man to know

A myst’ry plain to see

 

No light to guide

No helping hand

Instead this silent sea

– July 25, 2005

Read more poetry here.

Poetry

 

Eternal Pain – a Poem by

 

Pain from a toxic relationship can be overwhelming. Read more in this painful poem by Wolfe Butler. | #Poem #Poet #Poetry #Dark

Screaming on impact, agony wails

Lines stolen from time, ever prevails

Fierce violence lives, blood baths move on

Though scars are now hid, nothing is gone

The weapons have changed, little with time

With pain still as fresh, each new land mine

A true no man’s land, desert with sand

The smart from a fist, sting of a hand

Dark bruises still heal, death won’t come yet

Battles are lost, that you can’t forget

War wages onward, taking its toll

Love leaves in earnest, empties the soul

Each torture stake, heavier with time

Breaks down the spirit, searing the mind

With each occasion, nothing feels real

Scars heal in pattern, leaving their seal

Emptiness far worse, than death could weave

Taints every scene, you can perceive

So no one gets close, no warmth is felt

Insanity binds, tied like a belt

Is anything left, should we hold strong?

Or are we beaten, ending our song?

November 11, 2004

Author’s Note: Thank you for reading my poem. If you enjoyed it, please share it on social media and with friends. Thank you for your support!

Pain from a toxic relationship can be overwhelming. Read more in this dark poem by Wolfe Butler. | #Poem #Poet #Poetry #Dark

Getting Home – A Retrospective

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November 2017 will forever be a pivotal date in the story of my life. This month I decided to stop making excuses and a bucket list and start checking old items off said list. I have promised myself since I was a small boy that some day I would be a writer. In the second grade, writing with colored markers and crayons on three-lined paper, I began to tell my stories. That love of storytelling has since grown inside me, but this is the first time I have ventured out and decided to share my stories with the world.

This month I put my first novel out for self-publication. Getting Home is the culmination of fifteen years of hard work. It was the way I worked through the loss of my best friend and then the death of my soulmate. It was the means I used to forgive myself for past mistakes. It provided me with validation that I was not the monster I was rumored to be. It was my way to heal and forgive. It was my voyage to peace, to catharsis.

Book cover

It was a rainy August afternoon when pen first met paper. The words of the prologue came first. Writing a novel was my dream, but I did not have a story waiting to get out. I only knew that I wanted to write. I immersed myself in the moment I was experiencing: the rain outside, the sound of birds, the sound from the aquarium next to me. The prologue is almost entirely my experience on that August afternoon. From that simple opening poured the tale that I hope all of you will read. Tom Jacobs was born. He was as real as the pen in my hand. The sky was not fully dark that evening when I knew what path Tom Jacobs would take and how the journey would ultimately end.

With the flood of details that washed in upon me, it should have been a simple task to sit down and write every word. It would be an exceptional blog post if that were true, and many of you would be contacting me wanted to know the secret of writing a novel in one sitting. As I approached each part of Tom’s life, I was forced to look deep inside myself and discern what in me was the catalyst that spawned what we be Tom’s journey. That process and the subsequent chapters took years to complete.

Part of me feels like I cannot take credit for being the scribe of this narrative. Yes, I did put each word down on paper and those words seeped directly from my mind. I wrote the prologue and gave Tom his name, but from that moment on it was no longer my words. Tom became a real person relating his experiences and honoring me with the opportunity to put his journey in written form.

After fifteen years, Tom and all the other characters in Getting Home are old friends and family. I know their pasts, their likes and dislikes, and for some, I know how their stories end. I am not sure if I will ever put more of their words on paper, but I am happy to have known them.