Sunday, December 21, 2014

Writing Short-Writing Long




Darkness unfolds like a cape over the earth turning the sky a deep blue and draining color from every object outside my window. The dark trees are illumined with holiday lights and inflatable Santas and snowmen decorate the front lawns of neighborhood houses. In my writing room I am gearing up for the coming new year.

Today, being the first day of winter, seems like the perfect time to make my writing plans for 2015 and they are many and varied. The novel is taking a back seat to some other writing projects and upcoming online classes as I assess the things I want to do with my writing life in conjunction with the amount of time I have to spend on each work-in-progress.

The classes that line up for January include a six month long memoir course, a course in getting short stories published (because it's time I sent out my little flash fiction darlings to some journals so they can grow up in the world of literature,) and a journaling class with Amber Starfire. This class will facilitate deeper journaling which is something I need to do. I spend too many pages in my large number of spiral notebooks complaining and it's time to go deeper. I think deeper journaling will guide me to some places I need to go in order to write the memoir.

Projects that are now organized in binders and notebooks on my desk, waiting to be finished include two chapbooks of flash fiction that I will enter in the Rose Metal Press chapbook contest in November. A connected series of prose poems for another contest from Rose Metal Press. That one is due in May so I really need to set a daily quota and get going--though I have a general outline of where the poems need to go, a poetry collection and of course the memoir.

I feel nature deprived this time of year and longingly await longer days and more sunshine. I'm hoping to get outdoors over the holiday break from work and rejuvenate myself so I can get busy with writing.

Though some of these projects are up to 50 pages long, the poetry collection closer to 100 pages and the memoir is book length, with the course requiring a total of 60,000 words by the end of the course in June, I have lots to do. I would like to write the memoir as a series of flash memoir pieces complete in themselves yet connected by an overall plot arc. Here's why:

I love to write short. I initially only wrote poetry when I started writing as a little girl and so I have a penchant for short pieces where I can finish a first draft in one sitting, then go back and revise it a few times and feel like I accomplished something. So different with a novel where the first draft alone seems to go on forever, never getting completed. And then comes many revisions before it can even be shown in the light of day.

So in 2015 I am reverting to writing short. To my poems and flash fiction and to flash memoir to compile a book. I have to have a "can-do" attitude and make sure I don't let stress or exhaustion from work keep me away from my writing desk. For it is at my desk, with a pen in my hand and notebook opened to a blank page, that I become totally myself.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Where do You Write?


Where do you set yourself when you begin to write? Do you have several fave spots or one particular corner that beckons your muse?

Natalie Goldberg in "Writing Down the Bones," as well as other writers of inspirational writing books, suggests going to public places like libraries, cafes, diners, the park. They claim the noise and chaos of such places helps to dispel the inner critic so you can get down into that deep place in your soul where poems, stories, and personal reminiscences begin. I've tried it with minimal success.

I have strolled quiet arboretums and grasped a few poems that flitted through the air, inspired by a rippled river, a particular dahlia blossom or the erratic walk of a heron poking in the mud for a midday snack.

I have forced myself to write in the cafe at Barnes and Noble when I had a plot snag to work out. And a few poems emerged there while being nosy and spying on other people enjoying coffee, tea and perhaps a scone. But in bookstores I am too distracted by all those books. I can wander the fiction shelves, check out new memoirs, find how-to books and new age volumes or get lost for hours in the poetry aisle. Other times I am drawn to magazines, both on art and writing, that lure me away from my notebook with their pretty pages and sage advice and instruction.

So while others like chaos and noise, I prefer solitude and silence. It is within the soft cloak of silence that my muse emerges and focus centers me enough to go deeper. While Goldberg advises against making your writing space too perfect and attractive, stating that the time spent in planning, shopping and decorating could be better spent writing, I prefer to make my writing room a calm and welcome place.

Although I share the space with my artist husband and I use the space not only for writing but for art and scrapbooking as well, I did paint the walls a calming sage green, I made sure my writing desk with its wonderful little cubbies was in a good spot. I hung some art dolls on the walls for inspiration and placed my CD player with a flowered box of CDs on a book shelf. Soft meditation music or solo piano offer a nice background to writing as long as they are only instrumentals. That calm music helps me go deep down where my poems live inside my soul. A lit vanilla candle on the desk also seems to taunt my muse into coming out of her hidey hole.

I must add that the perfect writing place seems to be the apartment in Amagansett that my writing group rents twice a year is beyond perfection. It has everything we need and we have no obligations for three and a half days but to write! It is steps away from the beach where we can stroll to get some sunshine, fresh air and a bit of inspiration. And the best part is the collective writing energy that builds when you sit among other writers doing nothing else but writing! It's a gem that doesn't happen nearly often enough.

And that's where I write.

Where do you write?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Mixed Genres--Part II

It's cold here in the northeast. The days are so short you barely feel sunlight on your skin. I wake and leave for work in the dark and get home in the dark. I only see daylight if I find a brief few seconds to go for a walk at lunch time or sneak next door for a hazelnut coffee from Subway, which I have become quite enamored of. I wouldn't say I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder but the winter certainly is not a warm and happy season. But there is always light.

I mentioned already that I have plotted a novella-in-flash-stories and will write it as a chapbook for the Rose Metal Press chapbook contest in November. I have a second idea for another flash fiction chapbook as well as a flash nonfiction chapbook. So I will be writing quite a bit in 2015.

Although will take a lot of my creative time, there are still other creative projects brewing. Rose Metal Press just announced a mixed-genre contest with a May 30 deadline and I need, badly need, to take advantage of this opportunity to expressive my creative side.

There is a contest for a 48 page, or longer, collection of any genre of text along with art work. And there is a prose poem contest that also requires a 48 page plus book ms to be submitted. I am taking this genre mixing to one more level for this particular contest.

I plan a linked series of prose poems that will include mixed media collage work. It will be 50 poems with 10 pieces of art. It's a huge endeavor given it's deadline of the end of May. But perhaps the joy of poetry writing and the brightness of working with images and paint will brighten up these short days.

By the time I emerge in the spring with a completed prose poetry and art book the days will be stretching into more sunshine and warmer temps and I can stretch myself out while I muse on the completion of the chapbooks which are due in November.

I'll keep you posted on my progress.

And head over to Rose Metal Press and see if these contests appeal to you too.

Monday, December 8, 2014

A Mixed Bag of Genres

As most of you readers know I write in a variety of genres and never seem to be able to focus on just one. I write poetry, short stories, novels, memoir and essays. I also dabble in art journaling and mixed media. But the combining of genres into one project is something I've only touched on, having once written a memoir in poetry and short fiction.

A few weeks ago, while taking a short hiatus from my novel, I had an idea for a novella in flash fiction. And now I have learned this is not a new concept.

Rose Metal Press just released a book titled "My Very End of the Universe" which is a collection of novellas-in-flash. It is comprised of winning entries from their annual Chapbook Contest in which the writers had a unifying plot that connected each flash story, despite the fact that individual stories were self contained and complete. What I like best about this collection is that each author has written an essay that describes their process in composing a novella in a series of short-short stories of 1,000 words or less.

I find that when I have an idea about something I want to write, or a particular leaning toward a project, some article, or book, or facebook post comes along that aligns to what I was thinking. I like to see these events as signs that I am on the right track, or write track if you will accept my punny humor.

I can think of several ways to combine genres and I know I will explore each one. The novella in flash fiction. A memoir in poetry and personal essays, a memoir in flash nonfiction, or a memoir in prose poetry. These ideas appeal to my scattered creative mind that never seems to settle on one form of writing for very long. 

While I intend to at least finish a first draft of the novel, I am eager to start on something new. I think a novella in flash will be my first endeavor. I need to start sketching out a plot for each story as I have an overarcing plot in mind already. 

In January when I start my 6 month long memoir course I am going to consider writing it in a series of flash nonfiction pieces and at some point toward its completion I will consider intertwining prose poems as well.

Rose Metal Press has three books that help the writer learn about and refine their skills in three genres. These are:
"The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry"
"The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Flash Nonfiction"
"The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Flash Fiction"

They are all helpful books along the writer's journey and I hope one day they will create a field guide to writing mixed genre books and chapbooks. In the meantime I will feel my way into this new project of combined genre writing and perhaps find ways to include art as well.  

If anyone out there wants to give this a try please share your experiences and ideas here on my blog.

In the meantime-- Keep Writing!


Saturday, November 8, 2014

When Writing Your Novel Stalls

Committing to writing a novel is a tremendous joy and a tremendous burden. When you combine it with a full time job and at least three hours a day in the car driving to and from work, it makes for lots of stress. But the rewards are immense. The unraveling of thoughts and the re-weaving them into a coherent story people might want to read is a challenge but it makes me feel wonderfully creative and filled with purpose.

The past week has seen little movement toward more pages of "Safe Places," despite having enrolled in NaNoWriMo and needing to keep up with my daily word quota. But here is a weekend in which to play catch up. So on a sunny Saturday morning I am back at the computer looking at my chapter outlines and getting into chapter eight of writing my novel.

But first a little side trip.

On Wednesday night I held a book event at the Salvatore LaRussa Dance Studio in Middle Village. The event was largely attended by co-workers who came to support my literary efforts. I am grateful to all of them for sharing a part of me they don't get to know at work. I was a great feeling to see my colleagues relaxed and discussing things other than session notes, curriculum and caseloads. It was a pleasant night out, at least for me.

Here are a few pics from the event






I love sharing my writing with my reading audience because that's what writing is all about. We don't engage in this neurotic, solitary activity without thinking ahead to publication and the joy of touching the hearts and minds of our readers.

So off I go to head into the next chapter. Let's see what challenges and joys come into Meghan O'Hara's life as her story continues on the screen of my computer. Will she save the pregnant teenager? Will she get her wish or will it be thwarted by the corrupt councilman? Will the return of an old love be a second chance or a disappointment. You'll have to wait till the book gets published to find out. But that won't happen till I write the novel, so off I go.

Have a pleasant weekend.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

National Novel Writing Month

So it's November, which means it's National Novel Writing Month. I'm a rebel according to the official website, since I am not starting a brand new novel this month but working at adding 50,000 words to an existing ms.

The challenge is simple, um hm, choke, choke, just write about 1667 words per day, which equals 6-7 pages. And by November 30 you have the first draft of a 50,000 word novel. I've signed up for this before and then dropped out. This time I'm going to do it. My goal was to have the first draft done by December 31 so if I can get 50,000 words by November 30 I'll be close to the end. As of today I have 20,052 words of the draft, plus two notebooks of scenes written in preparation to plug in wherever they will fit. I think I can do this!!

The obstacle is time and energy, meaning dragging myself home from work, and now it will be dark out by the time I do get home, and getting in a workout, dinner and a shower before knuckling down to write my requisite 7 pages. It's a chore. But I love it.

And all that talk about plotting? I have the arc of the story and the energetic markers in my head and roughly labeled on a chapter chart. Now I'm just writing by the seat of my pants. By chapter four my characters have already led me in new directions and the scenery is just fine so I'm following them all the way.

Stick around, let's see what happens.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Plotting that Novel




In two days National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo as it is affectionately called) will begin. The objective is to write 50,000 words of your novel's first draft in thirty days! Now that's what I call a challenge. I've attempted this before and chickened out at the last minute for a variety of reasons but this year I intend to stick to it and "win" by getting those 50,000 words written.

So how does that happen? Here's where a brief discussion of plot comes in.

There are two major categories of novelists--those who meticulously outline every scene and character (outliners) and those who begin with a vague idea and then just write by the seat of their pants (pantsers.) Of course there are a hundred variations and combinations of the two and each writer must decide for herself which system works best.

I have always been a pantser--just taking an idea from the universal ether and running with it. While this works for many writers, and has worked for me in the past, over the past year a lot of books have come out describing different ways to outline your novel. All of these books are great resources and quite helpful, but which method does one choose?

After reading several of these books and doing some online research I observed that all outlining methods boil down to the same thing:




  • a three act dramatic structure
  • an ordinary world that is disrupted by an inciting incident that launches the story goal
  • a main character who takes a journey and undergoes a transformation
  • a major turning point or crisis at the 1/4 mark, 1/2 mark and 3/4 mark
  • a climax just before the end that leads to a main character/protagonist battle that leads to a resolution where the MC either achieves her story goal, fails to achieve, or discovers a new goal that serves her better

Once that's in place you sketch out scenes that link together from the inciting incident, to each crisis, and to the climax and resolution.

Simple enough right?
Well maybe not so simple because when you begin to write, even though you may have figured out that your novel length requires 60 scenes, how do you know in chapter one what scenes you need to get to chapter 30? Until you start writing you may be in the dark, driving without headlights.

So a combination of sketching out the main events of the story and then writing scenes and seeing where the characters lead you can work. 

It's up to each writer to choose what works and one method may work well for this novel but another method may work for the next novel you write. It's trial and error. As I tell the teachers in my school, what works for Billy may not work for Betty and what works for Danny today may not work for Danny tomorrow.

So outline the best you can. Trust that all your novel reading (because I know writers are voracious readers) has cemented the dramatic arc and three act structure in your brain like a hard wired computer program. Now just let the pen skate across the pages, or your fingers dance across the keys and join me in a month long writing spree in November that will hopefully lead to a workable first draft.

Hop on board and write that novel.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Writing a Novel Means Hard Work



I do admit that writing and preparing poems and short stories for a collection was hard work. It involves writing enough of each to actually make up a whole book. Then it involves revising each until it's as perfect as I can get it, which doesn't necessarily mean perfect-perfect. Then I needed to submit poems and short stories to journals because having a few already published heightens the attractiveness of a collection for editors. I liked writing short pieces and I lowered my standards, constantly telling myself that with a full time job I didn't have time or energy to write a whole novel, let alone revise it enough times to make it palatable to editors or agents, or even to myself or members of my critique group. So I gave up the idea.

But now I have come back to it. My dream, ambition, goal is to be a published novelist and so the hard work begins. I cannot use time or lack of energy as an excuse anymore. I have to knuckle down and do the work.

Over the past month I have returned to a previous novel that has gone through a few changes but was never finished. Now that I have gone back to it I realize how much fun this is and how much I really want this. Developing characters, scratching out scenes, creating feasible but dramatic plots all amounts to a game I love to play. Why did I ever think I'd be satisfied with anything else?

I read a lot of books on writing and books that proclaim to help me reach my goals and they all make sense and provide good information. I've gotten into daily affirmations, visualization, meditation, goal charts, and every other possible strategy for making this happen. But you know what? None of that works until I buckle down and write. Despite all the valuable information, reading those books and practicing the suggested exercises don't get a novel written.

I've been fortunate to have had a five day weekend and a four day weekend recently and that helped me get a firm hold on writing and a good aim at where the story is going. It's given me some deeper insight to my characters. And I have stacked up 70 some odd pages of a first draft.

This week I go back to a five day work week and writing time will be limited, but I am so invested in this story now that I will make it happen. I will do the work and put in the time. Just like with exercise, diet, and budgeting finances the work must be done. All the meditation in the world, all the minutes spent caressing a chunk of pink quartz crystal that's supposed to imbue me with peace and prosperity, will not write a novel. I have to do the work. I have to write the pages. And that's what I'm doing.

I suggest to you would-be writers of novels that you get a notebook and pen, or boot up your computer and open a blank document and get to work. Just write! The story and characters will come to you. So keep writing till next time when I talk a little about plotting, because at some point you do have to plot that story line.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Writing and Reading Novels

So I haven't posted in several days but that's because I've head four and five day weekends and have been diving deep into my novel. Finally I have focus. I have stored away art books and supplies, cleaned up my writing desk and computer desk and put poetry aside for the time being.

Looking forward to National Novel Writing Month in November as well as my critique group's twice yearly retreat, I am pumped to get this first draft finished. I will do it this time, no matter what obstacles get in my way. Because they aren't true obstacles to writing a novel, just challenges to writing that test my commitment.

I have 43 pages so far and most of my important scenes sketched out. I have my characters down including images I found online that give me visuals. And not just character visuals but pictures of their homes too. I know my main character's goals and obstacles and the subplots of other characters. This is very exciting. Writing a novel is a journey I'm up for.

I just finished reading Dean Koontz's "The Husband." What a roller coaster ride of a read. Awesome story with surprising turns and suspense on every page. But most of all I read the book as a writer and I noticed the precision of his writing even before I read an interview that stated how Koontz rewrites every page up to a dozen times. No wonder the words sparkle like diamonds. And while one publisher once told him he wouldn't be a commercial success because his vocabulary was too large Koontz proved that prediction to be wrong. He has achieved far more success than any would be hopeful writer like myself could ever achieve.If you want an exciting joyride of a read go get one of his books. I promise you'll be hooked.

For me now it's back to the drawing board--or notebook as it were. I need to figure out the timeline of my story as well as some backstory timelines for my main characters. Otherwise I will continue to plug in question marks for dates, ages and the passage of time and that makes my manuscript a bit messy and confusing.

So back to writing my novel.

And hope you will go back to yours.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

I HEAR VOICES

I lie in bed as the dawn's silver light slips under the window blinds. I am between sleep and waking, that treasured cocoon that seems to give birth to myriad story ideas and character creations. Dragging myself out of bed I head to my writing desk and open my spiral notebook to a fresh page. That's when the voices begin to hum;

"you can't write a novel"
"you don't know what you're doing"
"you'll never get published, go back to sleep, don't waste your time"
"look at that subplot, it sucks"

Then new voices slip in between;

"come on you can do it"
"just keep your butt in the chair and the pen moving and you'll get it done"
"don't quit"
"four pages a day and you'll be done with a first draft in no time"

Then;

"who do you think you are calling yourself a writer"

I tell you it never ends. One minute on top of the world and the next in the bottom of the writing dumpster. How does anyone get a novel written, revised, submitted and published with all these voices in my head drowning out character goals, plot arcs, settings and dialogue?

It goes on and on, but my solution is to write as often as I can and write fast. So fast that the voices disappear in the fog of a new chapter, or the introduction of a new antagonist.

I write fast and just let the words flow. I can always toss them out later, rearrange scenes, change a character's voice or hair color. I can revise and hone until the collection of 20-25 chapters actually makes up a real novel. I can get that sucker in the mail before I give up and then get on with the business of writing book number two.

I have plenty of ideas for book number two--then three--then four and so on. And I have an idea for a sequel to the novel I'm writing now. But first--let's get this one done and out into the light of day before those voices get wind of this.

Monday, September 29, 2014

A Peek at a Novel in Progress

Meghan stared at her twin sister's pale and lifeless body through a haze of tears. Beneath the white hospital blanket Meredith's slim body was still, so unlike her usual exuberant and hyperactive personality. Had it only been six hours ago that Meghan had left left her sister alone on their sixteenth birthday? Had it only been this same evening that Meghan had chosen her friends over her family? What if she had stayed around? Would Meredith still be gone, or would Meghan have averted this successful attempt at suicide?

Meghan reached beneath the blanket and removed the silver ring from Meredith's hand. She slipped it onto her own ring finger along with her own matching ring. Meghan's parents had given her and Meredith identical rings, two slim silver bands twined together, for a sixteenth birthday present and to honor how alike the girls were.

I failed you, Meghan whispered to herself. I can't bring you back, but somehow I promise I will find a way to redeem my mistake, to honor your life. I didn't see this coming. I'm sorry.

She bent and kissed her twin's cool cheek then turned and left the hospital room. Her parents waited outside in the hall and they flanked her, one on each side, and held her hands as the three walked out of the hospital to begin the cold and detached process of planning a funeral.

Cold and detached that's how Meghan felt as they walked out into the cool night air.

And so begins my new novel. And so begins Meghan's journey toward redemption. 

Finding time to write a novel is a challenge but I am becoming absorbed in the story and in the lives of my characters and so as each day passes I am lost further and further into my novel "Safe Places" which means I am more and more motivated to write.

Like my characters I have goals and motivations that keep my novel writing on track and I will fight passed the conflicts in order to write this novel and get it out into the world.

Planned deadline for a complete first draft is December 30.

Wish me luck.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

NOVEL WRITING PROGRESS

Wow! Here is is two weeks after I posted "Day One" and I haven't blogged since then. But I must tell you I am making progress on the novel. I gathered together what I have so far and done some revision. I brought a new chapter one to my critique group, "Tapestries" and incorporated some of their fantastic suggestions. I am now revising the prologue, to deepen it, and make it fit with this new draft.

I must say I am getting lots of help and motivation in writing this novel from Martha Alderson's book "The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts." The book assists in writing a novel by providing a daily dose of motivation, a hint about plot development and a specific plot prompt that gets your novel's draft moving along. Though most of my story is written and the ending is in my head, I find these prompts help me write my novel by keeping me on a daily writing regimen that helps me get to know my characters better, build backstory that I need to know though it might not end up in the novel I write.

I'm moving along, getting lots of help, and feel confident this draft will be done by December 30.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

DAY ONE

Despite the fact that I began this novel in 2009 and have already written partial drafts of three different versions, I am beginning anew today. Writing a novel takes hard work, inspiration, time, a good plot, engaging characters and lots of surprises and twists. Without those ingredients in your novel writing stew it won't work.

So taking what I have from the latest iteration of this novel--which is 43 pages-- called "Safe Places" I am basically starting from scratch. And if writing a novel is like preparing a stew then before you cut up and blend the ingredients you have to get the ingredients.

I am following these steps in the first stage of writing this novel.

  1. read the first chapter that was already written and revised it to make it stronger and have it make better sense
  2. went online and found images of people to represent the characters in the book and added them to the character section of my novel writing workbook
  3. created a new story blueprint to solidify this version's plot
  4. printed out pictures of houses to represent the main character's house (Meghan O'Hara), the counseling center (Warwick Teen Counseling), and Jared Carlson's house (the romantic involvement for my main character
  5. created a Beat Sheet to outline the main points of the novel.
Novel writing is an exercise in craft, creativity and endurance. It will take time and hard work but this time around I must finish this, and I mean finish to the point where I can begin to query editors and agents.

I plan on a lifetime career as a novelist and there is only one way to make that happen. While the exercises in "The Success Principles" make sense and I'm sure are worth doing, I want to use my limited creative time to actually write this book. I'll refer to that book when I need a boost of encouragement and motivation, but most of my time needs to be spent writing "Safe Places" Because you can't write and finish a novel unless your writing that novel.

That's all for now as I need to get back to my plot and characters.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Evolution of a Novel

I admit I am one of the most scatter brained, distractible, and indecisive writer and artist in the world. One day scrapbooking, one day poetry and art journaling, next day short stories. But today will be different, and all the days ahead will be different as well.

First and foremost I am a novelist. My favorite thing to read is novels, not poetry or short stories. Within the fiction genre I prefer romantic suspense and thriller. I used to enjoy literary fiction but as I get older I need the fast pace and seat-of-my-pants reading experience I get from more commercial types of fiction. And as many writer, editors and agents admonish writers, you should write what you like to read because of cause you know and have integrated into your mind, the structure of that genre better than any other. 

Indeed while writing craft books are an immense help, nothing can replace learning how to write by reading the kinds of books you want to write. I've read all the Hero's and Heroine's journeys books and can pick out each step along that adventure when reading books or watching movies. I do feel I have integrated the sense of story arc from reading so many novels of any genre. 

As I write I can sense how to end a chapter on a cliff hanger, where some suspense and tension needs to be amped up, and where the reader needs a little pause to read some inner thoughts of characters.

But writing a novel is not only about reading other novels, or reading craft books or taking classes. Writing also requires hard work, time and commitment, and those are elements I've only applied intermittently in the past. But this time around is different.

Again books help to ensure that commitment to the task and the work.

I'm reading Jack Canfield's "The Success Principles," as well as listening to the audio CD in my car during my long commute. I am also reading books by Kelly Stone like "Thinking Write," "Time to Write," and "Living Write." All of these resources supply excellent motivation and tools for sticking to a writing project and I am going to adhere to them and make them work for me.  

In this blog I am going to take you on a little journey. I will share my experiences of what I learn from these motivational books as well as other writing craft books. And I will take you along on my own novel writing journey. You may like of dislike, use or not use, my methods and writing process, but I think it will be fun to travel this road to success together. 

The subtitle of "The Success Principles" is "how to get from where you are to where you want to be." Well, I wish to become a published novelist. Though I may never hit the bestseller category I want some moderate success and the only way to achieve that is to do the work and put in the time and not let any excuse slow me down or halt my progress.

So come along for the ride, it will be fun and you might just learn something about writing a novel, having solid goals, and stepping on each trail stone you need to touch in order to arrive at your destination. For me that destination is to be an established novelist.

Monday, September 1, 2014

DILEMMA

Trying very hard today to make some creative decisions. So far over this four day weekend I have made art, created some art stamping and scrapbooking, written a few poems and mentally worked out plots for a novella or novel written in short stories. All that plus some plot planning for my memoir.

How do I learn to focus in one creative area so I can build a career for my retirement?

Yes writing is my passion and all forms of art are my loves. With only so much time in the day I need to learn more focus.

So a few ideas:
Create a writing routine and follow it.
Come up with page quotas for each day
Work out my one month, six month, and one year writing goals

I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Renee is Writing Short

I like to write short, but not because I am 4'11" tall.
As a poet of course I love the intensity that appears in a few short lines of well chosen words and images. In fact haiku and its 3 line format and tanka with its 5 line format appeal to me quite nicely. All the poems I write tend to come out short and even when reading poems, now or as a child, I would pass by anything longer than two pages. I prefer the shorter forms as they tell such big stories and paint such huge pictures with only a few words.

Though I love to read novels, when I write I love the succinctness of short stories and flash fiction. Yes, I know that part of the reason is that with a full time job my available time to write is brief and the thought of delving into novel writing is a scary plunge. I can see it taking years to finally finish a novel length story and revise it to the point where it can be published. 

On the other hand, writing flash fiction of 1,000 words or less is quite attractive. Following a prompt, or some idea that plants itself in my head, can garner me a first draft in a half hour or so. After that I can type it out, print it and let it steep for a couple days. In the meantime I can move ahead to new first drafts.

Once the steeping process is complete I will go over the draft with a red pen, moving things around, weeding out unnecessary words, smoothing out metaphors and dumping adverbs and extraneous adjectives. I might take out or add whole sentences to make the story more understandable and emotional.

Then onto the final revisions where the story takes on a polished shape. In a week I could have 4 or 5 completed flash stories to send out or add to other stories to make a chapbook. 

This quick unwinding of stories and characters and the short turnover time makes this a more doable process that gives me stories that can be sent out and hopefully published.

I already have a few ideas for flash stories that are connected and may one day produce a novel but for now I am sticking to chapbook groups of short tales.

This makes sense to me and I look forward to sharing some of them with you here.

For any writer in search of some prompts for short stories look at Roberta Allen's book "Flash Fiction"

Go ahead, give it a try and happy scribing!

Monday, August 25, 2014

WRITING LIFE

Living the life of a writer can be both wonderful and frustrating, especially if most of your day is taken by a full time job. When you add to that, family, friends, and a slew of other hobbies finding time to write can be a marathon strength challenge. 

For me I wake at 4:15 in order to squeeze in twenty minutes of writing morning pages as per Julia Cameron's Artist's Way tools. It just three pages of rambling that occasionally results in a breakthrough for some indecision or a snag in a plot turn or poem idea. When I feel that morning pages are a waste of my precious time to write I will use those twenty minutes to create a new poem or two or perhaps outline a short story or map out a new chapter, depending on which of my many writing projects is occupying my mind at the moment.

Getting home by 5:00 or later, working out, showering, having dinner, reading a little and then falling into bed exhausted keep me from the writing desk.



But novels, memoir, short stories and poems do not get written if I don't get to my writing space. And paintings, art journals and mixed media art do not get created if I don't get there either. I use this desk for both writing and art so it might be graced with a binder and a spiral notebook  while writing a new short story, or might be graced with an art journal, jars of craft paint, brushed, pens, and patterned paper when working on an art project. I never know and sometimes even am surprised at what I find when I get there in the morning.

Planning is crucial. I need to know on my way home from work what I will be writing or painting when I get home so I can muster the energy to get to the desk, no matter how tired I am. And I know I can do it. There are many blank pages and clear canvases awaiting the creative ideas that ricochet in my brain on an hourly basis.

My mind is a scary place, but for me it works. 

And so onward toward home and straight to the desk. Let's see what awaits.



Sunday, August 3, 2014

poetry in lower case


when e.e.cummings arrived on the poetry scene he gifted us with poems that were written with few upper case letters and very little punctuation. we were in awe of his originality:



"there are so many tictoc
clocks everywhere telling people
what toctic time it is for
tictic instance five toc minutes toc
past six tic

Spring is not regulated and does
not get out of order nor do
its hands a little jerking move
over numbers slowly

   we do not
wind it up it has no weights
springs wheels inside of
its slender self no indeed dear
nothing of the kind.

(So,when kiss Spring comes
we’ll kiss each kiss other on kiss the kiss
lips because tic clocks toc don’t make
a toctic difference
to kisskiss you and to 
kiss me)" 
             e. e. cummings


and though Edward Estlin Cummings is no longer with us, his poems remain an enigma. it dawned on me the other day, as i wrote one of my own poems, how cummings' legacy of lower case lettered poetry has grown in modern day.

in the early centuries, when most if not all poems, were written in heavily structured form, all sentences and proper names were capitalized and all complete sentences ended in a period. thoughts were stretched out and explained. verse after verse told a story from beginning to end and nothing was abbreviated. today it seems things are a bit different

with most poems being written in free verse there is less attention paid to "telling it all" and many poets express big thoughts in brief verses. look at forms like haiku and tanka which can explain intense emotional and philosophical ideas in three for five lines using no punctuation, no articles or conjunctions and few if any adjectives

the flow of lines down the page draw the reader in a smooth expansion of thought, never needing to worry about end stops or pauses, as the enjambed lines flow down the page the reader is carried along as if on a softly flowing stream, adrift on a raft of imagery and emotion

but i want to point out that in no way is poetry a lowercase form of writing, submissive and subordinate to thriller novels, chick lit, or flash fiction. poetry feeds the soul, at least it feeds mine, and i will continue writing it--with a combination of lower and upper case letters as needed and a limited but appropriate amount of punctuation

as i write and order poems for a new collection i am weeding out those that don't sing to me and creating new ones to fill in the gaps. here's a sample poem from the upcoming collection "Ripe Peaches"

STORIES

Threads of imagination
become real
in the gossamer breath
of an unfound voice.

In this dawn
blue as an endless river
I weave unlived stories
in strands of silver truth.






Sunday, July 13, 2014

PREPARING FOR A BOOK SIGNING

Next Sunday, July 20, 2014, I will be reading some poems from "I am My Mother's Only Poem" and perhaps one or two sneak previews of poems from my forthcoming collection "Ripe Peaches." I will also be signing and selling copies of "I am My Mother's Only Poem" and my short story collection "Looking through Windows." There will be two baskets raffled off and blank note cards with my art work on them will be for sale as well.

All this is being graciously hosted by Chris and Mark Tobin at Mattebella Vineyards in Southold on the Nort Fork of Long Island. I hope you will all come along and share a fun and inspiring afternoon surrounded by the vineyards, fig trees and Chris' magnificent flowers.The roses are lush, red and gorgeous.

In preparation I have designed business cards, book related postcards and out together packets of note cards tied with ribbon. I am also in process of choosing poems to read and creating some snippets of background about some of the poems.

This is an amazing journey--every step along every path. There is the writing, rewriting, designing, creating art and working with book designers to get it all together. Now the non-writing aspects of being a poet come along, marketing, setting up events and networking with other amazing poets I had the opportunity to meet yesterday at the Walt Whitman Birthplace in Huntington where I hope to one day offer a reading and perhaps some poetry workshops of my own.

Looking forward to seeing everyone out at Mattebella next Sunday!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

POETIC JOURNEY

This has been an interesting week. I met the other night with a friend who clued me into a newsletter that announces poetry events on Long Island and in NYC. I never knew there was so much poetic energy right here where I live. I'll definitely have to seek these out and meet some more poets.

Today I am going to a poetry workshop and reading at Walt Whitman Birthplace in Huntington where I can network and get to know other local poets. So looking forward to it and to next weekend's book signing at Mattebella Vineyards in Southold.


Yesterday I was happy to have taken the day off. I typed up all the poems I have so far for my new collection, "Ripe Peaches." I know it will take some time to put this one together and I want to send it to small presses rather than self publishing so I have to keep up a steady flow of new poems. Today's workshop should generate a few. I have a class with Lorraine Mejia online and that is producing some new work too.

Melanie Faith is teaching a class at www.wow-womenonwriting.com that focuses on writing about nature. Not sure if I want to take it because I need to focus on poetry and this class incorporates other genres as well. I'll see. It's always hard for me to resist taking a new class.

At the end of the month I am starting a class through the Center for Journal Therapy on the poetry of Mary Oliver and I know that will stimulate the poetic juices.

What a great summer of writing--poetry--and discovery!!

Friday, July 11, 2014

BIRTH OF A POETESS

I have loved poetry since I was two years old and heard my first nursery rhyme while sitting on my mother's lap as she read from the pale green first volume of "My Book House Books" series.



I imagine I was even younger but memory slims as the years speed by. I know I was entranced by the musicality of rhythm and rhyme and the flow of descriptive and emotional words as my mother spoke them, and later as I recited them again and again from memory. It wasn't long after that when I picked up a lemon yellow number 2 pencil and began to scribble swirls, curves and straight lines across blank papers.

I came to love the sound of language and the look of words on the page as my scribbles slowly transmuted into letters, words, sentences and eventually poetic verses.

Once I was able to read by myself I discovered the treasures that sleep in the pages of books lined up back to back, exposing their titled spines to my hungry eyes. I read these rhymes over and over and then progressed to other volumes as they increased in reading/age levels and the stories became more intricate and interesting.

The thought that I could write my own poems was a gift of magic and I created little booklets of rhymes. When I went to the bank with my mother I would collect stacks of deposit and withdrawal slips to pen my poems on and clip them together in what I later learned were called chapbooks. I added little illustrations made with Crayola crayons or Venus Paradise colored pencils.

When I discovered Robert Louis Stevenson's "A Child's Garden of Verses" I think my heart stopped for an instant of complete rapture.



Over the years the activity of writing poems came and went. Sometimes edged aside by summers spent at the pool or digging in my father's gardens in the backyard. Then in the cold of snowy Long Island winters I reverted to the indoor splendor of crafting poetry.

My cutesy little rhymes gave way in adolescence to more angst ridden free verse poems and the poems I wrote in college made me sound far more depressed than I ever was in real life. Now in my sixties my poems are almost all free verse, with some little detours into haiku and tanka, and they focus outward onto nature and how each tiny seed or magenta colored blossom or furry brown chipmunk is a symbol for some universal truth or belief.

Poetry --both reading and writing it-- is a steadfast companion. I get lost in the lines whether those I write or when reading the lines of other poets. I will share all of this with you on this blog and hope you'll come along for this fantastical voyage.

For now here's a new poem for you.

inside this blade of grass
one drop of last night's rain
emerges on my tongue
when I split the green skin

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A change is gonna' come

I've been taking an online class on how to improve my author presence. For the past week I've played around a lot with my two blogs, weaving in and out and changing templates, design and layout elements, and adding new gadgets. This is all new and confusing to me and I am still trying to decide if it's better to let these blogs go, get a website that has a blog linked to it, and thereby feel more like a professional writer. I have two published books, several published stories, poems and essays, have done book signings and I'm working on two new books even as I write this.

So, a few decisions to make. In the meantime I played around with the blogs and now I'd love my readers' opinions on the changes I made to Renee is Writing. I need to add some pages to this blog but still working on that.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

INSPIRING BOOKS FOR WRITERS

There are so many books out there for writers it can become quite confusing. There are craft books for every genre, guidebooks that literally tell you what to write in each chapter of a novel or each line of a poem, and then there are motivational and inspirational books that just keep you going when you lose momentum. Here is a list of some of my favorites.

Bird by Bird by Anne LaMott
Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
On Writing by Stephen King
Escaping into the Open by Elizabeth Berg

Then there are three by Kelly Stone that help you create time to write, a schedule for writing, and goals to get you where you want to be. Highly recommend these three as well as any of her online classes.

Time to Write
Thinking Write
Living Write

And two by Heather Sellers
Page after Page
Chapter after Chapter

Go ahead, read them all and enjoy--then for heaven's sake go get writing!!!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

BOOK SIGNING



On Sunday July 20th I will be selling and signing both my books at Mattebella Vineyards in Southold on the North Fork of Long Island.
This is a special event and I am pleased to be having it at the Vineyard as my husband Frank and I go there often and have come to know the owners, Chris and Mark Tobin, well.

These two people are gracious hosts and the vineyard is a relaxing and wonderful place to go on a summer afternoon. The grounds are beautifully decorated with roses and other flowering plants. They have a quaint little tasting room and a glorious patio as well as picnic tables and two gazebos under which you can hide from the shade. They also grow their own fig trees.

The red wines are rich and bold with the perfect lilt of tannins and the whites are smooth and buttery. Tastings come with several snacks that enhance the flavors of the wines they are paired with. Chris makes her own fig jam which is sweet and tasty and her brownies are delish.

At the book signing I will raffle off two gift baskets and also be selling blank note cards with art work from the book on the front.

I hope you will all come out and enjoy a relaxing afternoon and share some "poetry on the vine" with us.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

MY NEW BOOK

http://www.amazon.com/Looking-Through-Windows-Howard-Cassese/dp/1500129623/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1404233661&sr=8-1&keywords=LOOKING+THROUGH+WINDOWS

Proud to say my new book is out. "Looking through Windows" is a collection of short stories about women and children in dire situations who come out better and stronger in the end. These women have to make some tough decisions and in some cases are still in the process of deciding at the end of these brief stories.

I've posted before about attempting to write novels and memoirs, but as a poet I love the intensity of writing short and the feeling of accomplishment at finishing something in a few days as opposed to a few years. I also like the idea that I can "get away with" poetic prose, masses of metaphors, scintillating similies and visual imagery when writing flash fiction. One of the enduring comments I hear when my novels are being critiqued is that I use too many of these poetic devices, so now, in short stories and prose poems, I can employ my poetic voice and not worry about overdoing.

Sure I still have to revise and edit, cut words and scenes to the barest of bones in order to have impact stories that come in under the word limits, but at least I can be myself in my writing.

Hoping to share more about my writing journey on this blog. Have to get back to my focus on writing. 

In the meantime go to amazon.com and order the book so you can see for yourself what I'm talking about. And more to come very soon about a book signing for the new book on July 20!!!!!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Blog Tour -- David Kalish

Today we have a special visit from David Kalish, author of "The Opposite of Everything." He has graciously offered to share his journey in writing this very provocative, engaging and important novel. Once you learn about the trials and joys he experienced you will want to go out and get his book.

Thank you David and good luck with the sale of your book. I wish you many readers.

The Rocky Journey to My Novel
            By David Kalish

The journey that led to my first novel began in 2000, shortly after I remarried. I was a reporter for The Associated Press about to be posted to Mexico City to cover international business news. It was a dream job: I’d long wanted to report from an exotic locale. Though I’d been diagnosed with thyroid cancer six years earlier, the disease was not then causing trouble and I felt at the top of my game. All set to go, I’d already sublet my apartment in Brooklyn, changed my health insurance from domestic to international, sold my car, and arranged to have international shippers truck my worldly possessions from Park Slope, Brooklyn to Mexico City.
But just three weeks before my wife and I were scheduled to board a plane for another life, a routine CT scan revealed that my cancer, until then confined to my neck, had metastasized to my lungs. The news blew away my hopes and dreams. I was forced to stay stateside to focus on my health and undergo intense chemotherapy.
But there was a bright side to this tragedy. First of all, thirteen years later, I got a novel out of it – a dark comedy, no less, that was published this spring. Entitled The Opposite of Everything, it fictionalizes my odyssey through divorce and cancer diagnosis, to treatment and hope. It dramatizes the fact the cancer forced me to reverse everything I’d worked for – completely unwinding my plans to relocate my career and life to Mexico. I was forced to do the opposite of everything, more or less. How the book grew from such disquiet in my life, through more than a decade of gestation, is in itself a story that bears repeating.
The stage was first set in 1994. During a routine checkup my family doctor felt a lump in my neck. It turned out to be an incurable form of thyroid cancer. During back-to-back neck operations my surgeon removed the errant gland and dozens of infected lymph nodes, not to mention a sliver of trachea. My voice became hoarse as a result -- permanently so.
Though I survived the surgeries, my marriage did not: my first wife grew increasingly estranged from me, our relationship cracking under the pressure of a seriously ill husband. The marriage ended in a police showdown after I locked her out of the apartment.
In 1999, doctors re-operated on my neck to remove recurrent tumor that had wrapped itself around my one remaining laryngeal vocal nerve, threatening my ability to speak. The procedure was delicate and difficult, requiring a specialist to “chip away” the tumor from my infected nerve. After surgery I couldn’t talk and wouldn’t know for several weeks whether I ever would again. It wasn’t hard for me to picture the eight-inch gash across my lower neck as a grimace: reflecting not just the pain rippling through me but my uncertainty about the future -- whether I would ever speak again. Or even live.
During that hospital stay, I had a lot of quiet time on my hands, and a laptop computer on the night table. Between visiting hours, and into the wee hours when the throbbing of neck pain kept me from sleeping, I wrote a scene recalling my stay in the intensive care unit, a few days earlier. I remembered how I lay there fresh from the operation gasping for breath. A nurse administered me morphine for pain, but I had even more trouble breathing. Turned out she gave me too much -- my lungs, after eight hours of anesthesia, collapsed from being inactive for so long. A medical team rushed in; I overheard the surgeon mention he might need to bore a hole in my trachea. I felt a slow panic build inside, the notion of a tracheotomy sinking like a lead ball in my stomach. At the last minute, however, the surgeon ordered in tanks of helium, which is lighter than oxygen and easier to respire. Mixed with oxygen, the helium slowly got me back to breathing normally.
I’d come within a hair’s breadth of getting a tracheotomy. And as my odyssey through cancer progressed, last-minute turn-arounds occurred with seeming regularity.
Two weeks after my operation, for instance, I opened my mouth and – surprise! -- heard myself speak. The next year, despite lingering gloom over my failed first marriage, I dated a Colombian woman who lived in New Jersey – a doctor, no less -- and I remarried. And after my cancer spread to my lungs in 2000, forcing me to stay in the United States and undergo chemotherapy, my daughter was born. I still regard this as a near-miracle. My new wife and I were on a deadline: the oncologist warned us that the chemo could hurt my sex cells, making it difficult if not impossible for us to have kids. So we got down to business, and nearly immediately we were successful.
At that point, to steal from the synopsis from my novel, my symptoms from chemo converged with my wife’s from pregnancy. We each turned queasy. I lost hair; she grew hair in new places. Something grew inside each of us. Ultimately the birth of our daughter reaffirmed my faith in a more benign growth – the one to be nurtured with love and caring.
Writing about my troubled past was as unpredictable as the journey itself. My first attempts to get it down on paper felt stiff and distant. I could hardly read back what I’d written. Turns out the format — first-person memoir – didn’t work for me. I was hesitant to express my emotions in a story I starred in. Eventually, after years of revisions, I decided not to be a slave to the facts. I made up characters, letting the story play out through their conflicts. Over years my book turned into a comedy that plays pain for comedy and drama.
And so I mine my past for material, and continue to this day. Currently working on a second novel, I exaggerate, stretch things for humor. I look to situations where comedy reveals painful truths about dying, broken hearts, and busted dreams. I free myself from the shackles of facts. As long as I am able, even if it’s the last breath I take, I’ll write my way out of this pickle I’m in.




Friday, May 2, 2014

Mother's Day is Coming


Next Sunday is Mother's Day and here is a perfect gift. I wish so much my mother was still around to see my poetry collection and know that her daughter's dream has come true. I included in this collection poems about family and it opens and closes with poems about my mother. It was a joy to write, revise and order these poems and to create art work to go with them. I do love combining my poetry and art and I'm looking for other ways to continue this blend of my two passions.

It dawned on me how many of us bring our mothers flowers for Mother's Day and that these gifts were carry in our gentle hands, and offer with our hearts, fade and wilt in a few weeks. How about giving your Mom a gift that won't wilt. A gift she can open again and again. Because I am sure many of the sentiments I share in these poems about my Mom and about family are feelings you can relate to.

I hope, if you do give this gift to your Mom, that she understands the love with which you deliver it.

Here's to mothers everywhere and the daughters and sons who love them.



http://www.amazon.com/Am-My-Mothers-Only-Poem/dp/1494962535/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1399076716&sr=8-1&keywords=i+am+my+mother%27s+only+poem

Saturday, April 26, 2014

DEGAS DANCER

It's a peaceful Saturday afternoon and I am filling myself with writing. Memoir, poems and short stories swirl in my head racing to be the first to be placed on the pristine white pages of a notebook. Just thought I would share this little story with you. It just kind of emerged from the meditative corner of my brain.


 
From the age of four she dreamed of becoming a ballerina. A pair of pink satin toe shoes lured her, but they were so big she could fit both of her feet into one of them.
She went to dance classes and hefted her foot to the barre and stretched her muscles till they cried in agony and cramped in her sleep.
At night she sat on her bed and stretched her arms over head in an arc like a rainbow. She bent from side to side in a slow dance, her pale skin lit by the moon.
She watched her shadow move gracefully to the music hat played in her head. Then went to sleep trying to remember her multiplication tables and the spelling words she was supposed to study for school.
In class she was distracted by the ruffle of tulle and the smoothness of leotards that floated through her imagination. She could hear the swell of the orchestra that would signal her, the prima ballerina, to make her entrance.
Then one night she packed her ballet slippers and a bag of fruit and snuck out of the house. In a black silk bag she carried all the money she had saved from not eating lunch in school. She was rich and thin and knew she could make it.
She sat at the bus depot, a scarf covering her face except for her eyes and made sure no one saw her. Finally she got on the bus and rode to the airport. In the dark night, lit by twinkling stars, she flew to France. Through a cold gray afternoon, with rain moisturizing her skin, she made her way to the dance studio.
The Directress was tall and thin as a willow branch, her back was stick straight and her long gray hair was tucked into a bun. She held in her hand a long reed that punctuated each step she took closer to the girl who waited anxiously at the door.
“In there,” the woman said and pointed her stick toward a door at the back of the room. The girl obeyed and found herself in a dressing room with other ballerinas all warming up to the music of a tinny piano. She changed into her dance clothes and went back out to the studio with its mirrored walls and the Directress who held court there.
With a whack of her stick the Directress silenced the piano player. She went to a phonograph and set the needle on an old record. Through the speaker came the sounds of an orchestra centuries old, the music scratched with age.
The girl began to dance and the Directress of the studio and all the ballerinas who came to watch drifted away. She felt she was in a forest dancing with fairies. Fireflies and stars lit the night. She danced until she fell to the floor unable to dance no more.
The next night she took center stage and danced till her toes bled through her pink satin toe shoes. She collected applause and bouquets of red roses that she held against her heart to keep it from beating right out of her body with sheer joy.
Then she went back stage and collected all her clothes and the last of her money. She found her way back to the airport and flew home where she tucked herself into bed and fell into an exhausted sleep.
The next day she went back to school and tried to concentrate on arithmetic and spelling and the exactness of science. But even then she kept her dream tucked into a corner of her mind where she would go every now and then to remember.

 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Nature Poem Challenge--Day 8

spring tears
soak the dead earth
flowers resurrected
from winter's sleep
birds sing joy


I'm enjoying this year's poetry challenge as I love nature and wish I could spend more time outdoors absorbing her gifts. Since I spend most of my days indoors in an office it's fun to spend some morning time crafting poems that sing Mother Nature's praises.

I do believe in synchronicity and as it turns out, the other day while clearing out some of my numerous books I came across "The Wise Earth Speaks to Your Spirit: 52 Ways to Find Your Voice through Journal Writing" by Janell Moon. I took this as a sign that I should finally open the book and follow some of the exercises. I chose a blank journal with pictures of flowers and strawberries on it that was just waiting in my writing room for something special to be scribed inside it.

Now I have the perfect play area to manipulate words and ideas and write poems for this challenge and to give voice to my soul. I love how everything seems to just align itself to meet my needs and desires.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Nature Poem Challenge--Day 7

clouds like a rippled river
I am underwater
searching the waves
for a sign
~~of peace
~~of tranquility

the only things I find
~~turmoil
~~indecision
as if these clouds
rippling over my head
could drown me

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Day 6--Nature Poems Challenge

 
 
blue heron wades
in fits and starts
probing for lost dreams--
guileless
peace glistens
in her folded wings

Day 5 -Nature Poems Challenge


gentle pond
ripples with discarded dreams
holds the trees and sky
like a million poems
that will never be read

Friday, April 4, 2014

Day 4 -Nature Poems Challenge

 
 
 
rust spotted maple leaf
predicts death
like the age spots on the back
of my hand
 
yet the future
is lit by a crescent moon
dreams swaying
on a hammock of hope


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Day 3- Nature Poems Challenge




the bare branched maple
a monument to death
sap begins to run
under the sun's embrace

bodies, life
yours, mine
inevitable change

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Day 2--Nature Poems Challenge




black earth swells with April rain, pale blades pierce the surface.
leaves, caressed by the heat of the sun's tongue, cradle crocus buds
in their slender arms

ice melts
hearts thaw
peace blooms

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

National Poetry Month 2014

I love the month of April. Tiny green sprouts are emerging from dark brown soil. Even on the coldest mornings you can feel the slight shift in the sun's heat rays. And the birds are beginning to chirp matins for early risers like me. Most of all it is National Poetry Month. Each year I set myself a poetry challenge to write a poem a day based on a particular form or topic. This year's poems will be about nature.

One of my favorite poets is Mary Oliver who literally finds a world in a grain of sand, or stalk of wheat, or the calm eyes of a deer. The nature pictures she paints with her words are amazing. It is that description of nature, and its metaphor for universal life forces, that I hope to emulate with my poems this month. Since the hawk is one of my favorites of Mother Nature's children this is where I shall begin.

The infant hawk lifts her wings for the first time. The sun catches the fragile white down on her chest and it glints like silver against the deep-sea blue of dawn.

angel wings
beckon promises
this new day

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Be Brave

I just bought this doll, Princess Merida, from the Disney movie Brave and put her on my writing desk to remind me to be brave and go for the gusto. I am a "play it safe" kind of gal and I need to take more risks. It means writing more and submitting more of my work. It means being brave enough to announce to the world that I believe I have finally found my passion and my desire in writing. I've written in too many genres. But now that I have a poetry collection published and being purchased from poetry readers from amazon.com, I know that I must focus on writing poetry. I am presently working on a new collection and will send out individual poems as they are completed.
 
I am also going to start a poem a day challenge for National Poetry Month in April. I only have a few days left to decide what my topic and/or form will be. But I will be brave and choose something. I know I can do this. I am looking forward to completing and publishing a second book or chapbook of poems.
 
Okay, off to choose a topic.