One of my favorite quotes:
Because, sometimes, it feels like that!
What’s your favorite quote?
One of my favorite quotes:
Because, sometimes, it feels like that!
What’s your favorite quote?
The second part of the statement of poetics written many years ago included the reason I write.
Of the many reasons I write, comes the desire for order.
Life is chaotic. Many things are not only out of our control, which I can live with, but happen without explanation; the lack of reasoning is challenging for me to accept.
Sometimes I write stories to understand. Therefore, I write stories to order my universe. To put life in terms I can understand.
I read a story many years ago about a child who died from cancer. How does such a precious gift leave us so soon? I wrote a fairy tale called Seeds (never published). The story could never explain or give an answer to such a sad happening, but it did give life to a little girl I never knew.
Of all the reasons you write, can you narrow it down to one or two? Share here or one of the social media accounts.
A few months ago, I found some things I wrote years ago. Among the stories and poetry hid my statement of poetics. As a requirement for one class, we needed to construct a formal (maybe semi-formal, we were all creative writers) statement of our values as integrated into our writing. That’s the simple definition. A statement needs to include your desire for your writing, your intention.
I resisted this assignment. It’s rather challenging to label yourself, pin your writing down. However, I knew I had to do it for myself – to discover what it was I believed of my creative abilities.
One of the things from that statement stuck with me, even when I thought I’d lost it.
“If left to my own devices, I would hermatize.
I would be the strange lady in the old shanty down the street
who wanders her Munster-looking yard by moonight kicking at sticks,
overturning last fall’s leaves in search of new ideas or an old peace of mine.”
Of course, it was not my intention to hermatize; it’s a part of my personality to want to be left alone to write.
What it reminds me of is Virginia Woolf’s proclamation in A Room of One’s Own in which she surmises, we need a room of our own in which to think, write, create.
That was written 90 years ago, but the statement is truer than ever.
Given social media, television, cell phones, kids, work, responsibility and life, we are more distracted than ever! Many of us writers need to actively seek out a quiet space where we will not be hunted down and found out.
And we need to learn to pry ourselves away from those other things which are so important to us – kids, family, work – to form a little space for ourselves.
My intention for 2019 is to seek out that space and to carve out some time for myself to write.
Happy New Year, writers.
What is your intention for 2019?
I had a hellava 2018. It felt like my life was under construction. My house was growing, my family was growing, and it all culminated right around Christmas.
Since then, I feel the desire to run a hundred miles an hour. I have so much energy and joy, I feel I need to focus on my writing.
In 2017, I had 17 publications. In 2018, it held steady around twelve. In 2017, I finished a novel. In 2018, I began three and finished none!
My inbox is suffering from an overload of hiking challenges, yoga challenges, travel challenges, change-your-life, improve-your-health offers. I sat down and thought – all of these things are important to me; I strive to be healthy, happy, in shape. However, the most important thing to me, at this time, is writing. I feel I didn’t do enough in the last six months and want to stay focused.
I believe writers are living more distracted, less supportive lives. In an effort to focus myself, I thought I would begin my day by being inspired and inspiring others. We receive what we put out there.
Therefore, I propose my own 365 challenge. I want to offer a short blog every morning. It will include writing tips, unblocking tricks, inspiration, and writer interviews. Occasionally, it may be as short as a quote or a question – that’s where you come in. Sometimes, I may offer you a prompt, share your response if you want.
You can follow this blog, my facebook page, twitter, or instagram. I may create a group, but I don’t want to overwhelm anyone. You certainly don’t have to follow all or even feel obligated to participate in the prompts. I’m asking you to participate in your own writing life – whatever that looks like to you.
What makes me the person to do this? I mentioned my publications. I’m also a teacher. I feel I have something to offer. If you feel you can benefit – then join us. Come and go as you please, respond or don’t.
In your responses, feel free to be honest, but let’s be respectful to one another as well. In this harsh world, which is getting harder all the time, leave the negativity elsewhere.
I’m not sure I can do this for 365 days. But that is my challenge for the year – to write every day of 2019.
It all starts on January 1st (my birthday, by the way); I intend to hit the ground writing!
What is your challenge?
My novella, “I, Polyphemus,” is now available on Amazon.com. Writing this book has been a labor of love for me, involving a couple of years of rewrites and research. With its publication I thought I would blog an introduction into the book’s genesis.
I became fascinated with Greek mythology when I was eleven after I nearly died from a serious illness. It was also at this same time that I began to write.
The tales of gods, heroes and fantastic creatures were somehow palliative, and drew me away from my focus on my illness. Of the many tales that captured my imagination, Homer’s Odyssey was my favorite, and Odysseus was my favorite hero. He was not the strongest or greatest warrior among the Greeks, but throughout the story he is referred to with the sobriquet “Wily” Odysseus. Reluctant to go to war against the Trojans, he acquiesces, angering Poseidon, who makes his journey home after the fall of Troy a long and tormented one
In book IX of the Odyssey, the cyclops Polyphemus is introduced. Odysseus and a number of his men take harbor on Cyclops Island on their way home to Ithaca. Nearly starving, they discover a cave stocked with milk and cheeses and glut themselves, when the cave’s occupant, Polyphemus, arrives home, and, after perfunctory introductions, begins to devour the Greeks.
In the Odyssey, of all of the characters Odysseus encounters, whether it be Circe, the Sirens, Calypso or the Lotus Eaters, seemed knowable. But Polyphemus was a brute riddle. For me he represented the existential absurd, as it seemed he was put on Earth for the sole purpose of encountering Odysseus and eating his men. He is a one dimensional enigma.
As a writer, the challenge to flesh him out and make him a sympathetic character was akin to the alchemist’s feat of turning base metal into gold. But what if in my story he is a loving shepherd who feels his sheep are his children? What if in my tale, Odysseus and his men instead of eating his cheese, murder his children? And what if the violation unleashes the dormant poet within the brute?
Through the years, as I would revisit the Odyssey, and as my political world view evolved, my perception of Odysseus evolved as well. He became more nuanced and less sympathetic. His wiles now seemed deceitful and duplicitous. He was complicit in the murder of civilians in the villages surrounding the walled fortress of Troy, he was an active agent in a war of aggression and the architect of the wooden horse that brought down Troy. He could now be recast as an imperialist, sociopath and war criminal. In my story he is the antagonist provoking Polyphemus into violence and madness.
This is a novella, but stylistically it has elements of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey as an epic narrative poem. The narrative is almost exclusively in the voice and point of view of Polyphemus. In portions of the story the narration weaves in and out of dreams, and enters the realms of Magical Realism and Surrealism. As in Homer’s works, the characters exist in a duplicitous world where intervention from the gods and Fates is constant.
The most central character next to Polyphemus is the centaur Chiron, who represents reason and denies the gods’ existence, and becomes a benevolent father figure to Polyphemus. Incorporating numerous characters from Greek mythology into the story was at first a challenge, but ultimately I felt I chose the right ones as my vision of Polyphemus began to take form.
As a character grows and begins to take shape, it is almost as if at some point the writer passes the torch to the character; the writing almost seems co-authored. For me, this happened when Polyphemus goes mad. It was as if I had become an observer merely chronicling what I saw as Polyphemus came to full, complex fruition- a mad poet, a vengeful father and a killer who kills with dark, sarcastic humor and a flamboyant joie de vivre. The complicated anti-hero Homer would never recognize was born.
I put everything I’ve learned and everything I had into this book, and my reinvented protagonist has become like a brother.
With that, let me introduce you to my one eyed friend- the cyclops Polyphemus.
I’ve begun procrasti-writing.
That’s where you write, check social media, write, check email, write, look at the book sitting next to you, write, take your dogs outside. Writers know what I’m talking about.
I’m usually pretty good about sitting my butt in the chair and staring at a blank screen until the power to make words appear overcomes me.
Writing is somewhere between a mystical experience and an un-tameable superpower.
Not really – it’s just hard work.
Maybe it’s the holidays, or the construction, or the baby-waiting game, but I am fighting inner-distraction at all angles.
I’ve also searched for church conversions on google. Don’t ask me why – it’s procrasti-writing. And Google is there allowing me to search anything my heart desires.
Remember the good old days, no internet, television turned to white noise at 2am, had to walk ten miles in the snow, uphill, both ways, then read books for actual research? And now, we sit at home, go no where, search google and amazon for random distractions, while not writing.
Ways to overcome procrasti-writing?
Use yoga techniques: When your attention strays, acknowledge it (close your browser), and come back to your breathing (which for a writer is writing).
Acknowledging that this Wednesday Writer Blog is a Thursday Procrasti-writing distraction, I leave you now to go back to my book.
Much love, readers and writers.
Where have I been? A tad busy: End of semester biz, daughter about ready to burst with baby, and baking.
I wandered accidentally, whilst grading on the couch listening to background noise on the tele, into baking and cooking shows. They have reawakened my passion for dessert chemistry.
I’ve posted pictures of these cookies on my instagram and facebook and the original recipe ideas link on my pinterest page. These recipes are not mine – but I always do some this and that to make it my own and have been asked to share.
These are Mesquite Chocolate Chip cookies (on my favorite Roscher porcelain).
Although they don’t seem very holiday-like, they are delicious. Softer in ways than a regular chocolate chip.
I wanted to halve the recipe; the original recipe makes 50 cookies. I didn’t need that many. I wanted to sample before I committed.
Here are the changes I made.
1 cup of flour
3/4 cup of Mesquite flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup of butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup of oats
1 fully generous overflowing, maybe more cup or so of chocolate chips. I used semi-sweet and bittersweet. (My faves!)
Then I followed his directions, including the pat down which I originally thought of as strange – but they do get puffy.
Of course, we ate them right out of the oven –
Some of the middles were stuffed with chocolate; this was definitely the winner. If/when I make them again, I may try to purposefully load the center.
We had more when they cooled, then more later, then more the next day. Fortunately, I have willing taste testers who will try them at all stages.
The mesquite flour makes them light and airy. (I intend to bread some chicken with it and see what that gets me).
The cookies were delish! I wonder what other types of cookies this flour would compliment?
I’m going to try to post a recipe a day for the next few weeks – if you’re interested, like, follow, favor. 🙂