HuffPost, My Writing Muse (Booty Call)

Chances are if you are a writer you’ve suffered writer’s block. Hours sitting at the computer praying, begging the universe bequeath on to you the muse of Hemingway or some other departed master of prose. Whether you’re writing a feature article, a short story, or novel, try as you may, sometime the words just won’t come. Well, back in August I found my muse in the guise of The Huffington Post. After writing one heartfelt post, I quickly warmed to this commenting thing. Now I write with regularity for a very selfish reason. When I feel myself getting writers’ block, I jet on over to Huffpost, read until I encounter something I want to comment on and have at it.

Once I’ve suckled on the teats of HP till I’m fat and happy and can suckle no more,(thanks Gladiator), I return to the serious writing. The writing that hopefully gets me to Athens, Greece, the place my greatest inspiration, Socrates, lived and died. Psst…please don’t tell HP. If  they were aware they’re the equivalent of a booty call, I just might get tossed off the site. Seriously, nothing gets my writer’s juices flowing more than commenting on a topic of  interest. On top of that, Huffpost is an ego booster. If someone likes your comment, you’re faved or fanned and sometime both.

(A screen shot please don’t click below image)


Recent badge received. Go on Mary_Catter!

Yes, in this one area of my life, I seek and welcome validation. Arianna Huffington obviously had her finger on the pulse of the human psyche when she came up with the idea to marry news, content aggregation and blogging on one website. Also, a stroke of pure genius was the addition of site moderators, I call them hawk eyes, to keep commentators from straying too far off the reservation. In other words trolls are kept to a limit. Sometime there’s a lively back and forth but nothing totally outrageous like some other news sites I’ve tried.

Speaking of validation the Huffpost also hands out different levels of badges. If you’re considered to be really socially connected with a certain number of fans and friends and all that good stuff, you earn a badge if you opt to partake. If you’re up on your politicking and super sleuthing and can write to boot, there just might be a badge in it for you. Seriously, if you are a writer and find yourself in the doldrums, try commenting. It doesn’t have to be Huffpost. Any old website you happen upon with an article that illicits your two cents worth will do just fine.

I just happen to love HP because I’m impatient and it’s one stop shopping for my need to read and comment. Not to mention all my comments and interaction with others are right there.  You can’t get a better muse than knowing someone likes your little bits and pieces of commentary enough to fave or fan them, sometime both. So you  return to your manuscript, your writer’s engine revved up, knowing not if but when you falter, your writing muse is but a click away.

How Becoming a HuffPost Commenter Boosted This Writer’s Self-Confidence

One commentary coming right up.

Commenting about issues and hoping to make a difference, is truly empowering. Instead of reading trolls ridiculous mudslinging on,, and several others, I became a power commenter, thanks to The Huffington Post. The moderators can keep you pending but that’s a small price to pay to avoid crossing the troll bridge.

A lack of confidence kept me from engaging right away. Who, I wondered, would give a damn about what I had to say. Then I had an epiphany.  Maybe they wouldn’t want to hear what I had to say, but maybe they would Mary_Catter.  The name’s a play on Alice Adventures in Wonderland’s Mad Hatter. Then I made Tigger’s looking out the window image my avatar, and thus Mary_Catter stepped through The Looking-Glass.

For a long stretch there wasn’t much I wanted to comment about. Then I read a real infuriating article. It was about Todd Aiken’s interview in which he stated if a woman was legitimately raped her body could shut that whole thing down to avoid getting pregnant. That such a Neanderthal zealot could end up in the senate forced Mary_Catter into a passive-aggressive battle.

I marched a battalion of words across the rectangular box reserved for them. The comment was brief but heartfelt. Even if only one person liked it I would still consider it time well spent. So I sent my message to the cyberverse battlefield and returned to my manuscript. Surprisingly, the words flowed like lava. It seemed the mere act of commenting exploded the writing muse inside of me.

Hours later when I returned to Huffington Post lo and behold several notifications awaited me. I clicked on the word notification. To my relief and surprise, they were favs, one F&F and a reply gushing about how she loved the imagery. Of course I thanked them by fanning them and that dear friends felt really great.

I quickly grew drunk with power and found myself commenting with mad aplomb. I’d encountered like-minded individuals, mostly political junkies like myself and I was thrilled I tell you, absolutely Tom Cruise jumping up and down on Oprah’s couch thrilled. Finally I had validation that people, complete strangers, liked what I had to say.

One guy, at least according to the picture, suggested I post more. So I did, mostly comments about political happenings.

Commenting on The Huffington Post news website was just the confidence booster I needed. It’s like toastmasters for those afraid to put their thoughts out there. Along with this blog, Huffpost is now my designated hangout when I’m taking a break from my manuscripts.  If Mary_Catter reads something that elicits a response, she will put her mad paws to the keyboard and bombard you with her words.

The U in Jesus and The Second Coming by Yeats (Blend-Up)


Before U were thought of or time had begun,

God stuck U in the name of His Son..

And each time U pray, you’ll see it’s true,

You can’t spell out JesUs and not include U.

You’re a pretty big part of His wonderful name,

For U, He was born; that’s why He came.

And His great love for U is the reason He died.

It even takes U to spell crUcified.

Isn’t it thrilling and splendidly grand

He rose from the dead, with U in His plan?

The stones split away, the gold trUmpet blew,

And this word resUrrection is spelled with a U.

When JesUs left earth at His Upward ascension,

He felt there was one thing He just had to mention.

“Go into the world and tell them it’s true

That I love them all – Just like I love U.”

So many great people are spelled with a U,

Don’t they have a right to know JesUs too?

It all depends now on what U will do,

He’d like them to know, But it all starts with U.

This poem was emailed to me by a friend. Thanks so much for making my day, by the way. Don’t know who authored it. Not a poet myself so I really love it when someone gets clever with a poem as is the case above.  This poem got me to thinking about the first poem that touched me deeply.  A classic by William Butler Yeats.

This poem is so deep even to this day it’s taught in psychology classes. If you are a smarty-arty in high school, chances are this bad boy has manifested itself in your existence and could be standing between you and college. I, Mary Brown, am even considering using ‘Things fall apart’ as a possible book title. All over the net and beyond you can find some reference to this poem. And yet, put it together with ‘The U in Jesus’ and you still have a beautiful mix or blend of words. Words that may make you think and feel, oh, I don’t know. However, you end up thinking and feeling.

The Second Coming

TURNING and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

The unlikely geniuses among us

“Look, dad! That’s the man who read us the rap the other night,” squealed a youngster during a chance encounter. Then there was the church member. “Man, I’d pay you for some of them poems.” And the one time he and a friend was at a gas station and didn’t have enough money for something. “Don’t worry ’bout it man I’d take care of it.” He swaggers inside the store and recites a poem to the cashier. If she felt it was good, would she help him out? He got what he wanted plus a a couple of beers and pack of cigarettes. That’s my brother-in-law, William. Being a writer I’m a bit bias but I’ve always considered him a poetic genius. Not so much for the profoundness of his poetry, although some of his poems are quite profound, but that he can quite literally go in the back room and emerge within an hour with a poem or rap that will knock your socks off.

My brother-in-law has his demons but I truly believe if he had money he would figure out a way to reach today’s youth. For now he reads them his poetry and rap songs. Stuff to enlighten them and get them to focus on their books. I wish I could quote a few lines from the rap he recited last night. Teenagers could stand to hear more of the positive even if it’s coming from an older person. That’s another thing. William is getting up in age, as am I. The thought of a mountain of poetry languishing unseen unheard, is just wrong far as I’m concerned.

He tells me he reads and/or recites some of his poems at different venues in the small towns down there in Eastern NC. He receives voluminous accolades but his genius, in my opinion, remains trapped there in the small towns. He’s even written a manuscript, its never been typed, hundreds of rhyming pages telling a story about a country girl living in the city. Couple that with his many poems and the sky’s the limit if he’d just go for it. Not only that, with his gift of gab, the man doesn’t know a stranger, he would be a publisher’s dream. William would have no problem promoting himself. His account of the nun who liked one of his poems so much she made copies and they were later distributed.

Sometime, according to William, people who don’t know him and hear him recite one of his poems, are usually floored by his obvious talent. I said to him last night he’s got to get all of that work typed up and get it out there. Here are a couple of his poems he gave me years ago. One poem is on the original paper he wrote it. He was much younger and had hit a rough patch. Maybe that time in his life is partially responsible for the genius. It’s obvious he wrote from a dark place of pain. He said it was an attempt to ease the pain his parents were going through over the whole ordeal. Maybe he and my sister wasn’t married at the time. Anyway, he said it’s okay for me to show these two. They were scanned into PDFs. If you have Acrobat Reader, a click or two should reveal an image. Hopefully sometime in the not too distant future the world will hear more from this unlikely genius and others like him. Like diamonds in the rough they are among us. You probably know one or two yourself.