Published a few months after my grandmother passed. Enjoy.
Where the Poet Roams
My first published poem, many years ago.
The Scent of Poetry
Fall in Love with Poetry
How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry by Edward Hirsch is the most passionate, love filled book about the writing of poetry. It changed how I read and wrote poetry. It changed the way I taught!
This book isn’t prescriptive. No hard and fast rules here.
This is written by a person who loves poetry and wants readers to love it as well. I took this philosophy into my teaching of literature. I want my students to find things they enjoy reading – which I hope will encourage them to read more. We don’t spend hours analyzing poetry only to be told we’re wrong (how many of us have those high school memories?!).
Reading poetry should be like taking a warm bath, sinking into the steamy water, enjoying the bubbles against your skin, the scent wafting over you.
As for writing poetry, it seems there are no rights or wrongs. He suggests you give colors sounds, sounds feelings, etc. My writing grew more descriptive, creative, beautiful. I took chances and created new meaning in the relationship between words and ideas. I stretched my poetry muscles and it has paid off. This month, I plan to share some of my poetry with you.
It was the most illuminating, freeing book I’ve read throughout my academic and writing career.
What Did You Do?
I read an article which stated, there’s no need to feel you have to be productive at this time.
WHAT? Then wtf are we going to do?
I heartily disagree. I think during this time we need to set goals. We need to focus on something to keep us sane!
When this is over, I want to have something to show for it.
When this is over, in another month? another two months? giving us a total of 3 months or more alone in our homes, do we walk out with nothing to show but our muffin tops the size of three tiered wedding cakes?
I’m not telling you not to feel stress. I’m not telling you not to stress eat. I am saying – set a goal and focus on something positive while we’re doing the best we can to survive the pandemic.
This is hard. I get it. We’re scared. If you want to stuff your face full of maple bacon donuts, I’m totally with you. If you have a bad day and want to curl yourself into a ball under your flannel sheets and cuddle your cat – that was my Saturday. I’m not superwoman. I’m not asking you to do anything I’m not doing myself.
When someone asks me, what did you do during the pandemic? I want to say I accomplished something.
I’m setting goals.
I’m in the process of another draft – hopefully the final – of my novel. I want to finish that.
I have two fully drafted novellas that need work – those are next.
I signed up to take two classes. I may take more.
I painted my patio. No shit. It’s nearly finished.
I’m going to have a hell of a lot of rooted clippings – plant speak.
My yard will look amazing – well, for a week or so after the pandemic ends, then the weeds will be back.
I’ve written two new poems. I think I’ll start reading poetry live.
I have a live online reading scheduled for April 24th, if you’re interested.
If you’ve gotten this far, I’m planning on offering a free writing class to whoever wants to share some writing. I may recruit other writers to offer their opinions. I think we should workshop too.
So – speaking from the future – what did you do during the pandemic?
KUDOS and LOVE
to those who are serving,
police, fire, grocery clerks, doctors, nurses, volunteers.
You are my HEROES!
Writing in the Time of Cholera
A number of people have mentioned the book Love in the time of Cholera to me lately. Ron Terranova, fellow writer and Poe lover, reminded me Shakespeare had a very fertile writing period during The Black Plague.
My writer and critique friend, Jo Rousseau, said she’s keeping a journal and thought many people should. It would be interesting, she said, to see the pandemic from different points of view.
There are people who are having trouble focusing on writing. I have to admit, I was one of them.
While others are saying they’ve never gotten more done. Perhaps they are in the minority? Or maybe they write well under pressure?
Just the day before Jo mentioned the journal, I started keeping my own. I’ve been plagued by disturbing dreams.
Our lives are changing, but not forever. We will come out of this, we will get through this, and I, personally, want to have something to show for it.
I started listing the things I’m accomplishing every day. I’ve added some other things, pandemic jokes and memes. Someone else is writing down the use of language, such as “social distancing”, and how those words are changing and shaping our understanding of society. It’ll be interesting how this comes to use after the pandemic.
Beyond all the free things being offered to keep us safe and sane, free yoga classes, free workouts, free virtual tours of national parks and art museums, there are a number of other things to keep us busy.
It’ll help us all to accept that, for a little while, we need to stay home and find alternative ways to sail through our days.
I urge all writers to keep a journal. Not to focus on writing to publish, but a personal historical account for your children, your grandchildren, or for the future. How will this time be remembered? Consider how we think of the Plague and The Flu Epidemic of 1918. What do you know about it? Do you know any people, any stories, any personal or family accounts of the day to day life? Encourage your children to keep journals too – in the future, compare them.
Journaling has helped me get back to writing.
Stay well. Stay healthy. Be safe.
Much love and appreciation.
The Popularity Contest
I know some people are really nice, like super-duper, sticky sweet nice. And I like these people. I used to be one of them.
I used to bend over backwards to accommodate friends and lovers. I would go out of my way for an acquaintance or a stranger.
But you know what happens – People like to take advantage. How people stay so nice, I’m not sure. For me, I needed boundaries.
Therefore, I won’t be winning any popularity contests.
I am a nice person. I do go out of my way for people. But I also have incorporated boundaries. I no longer overdo and run myself ragged, and I don’t contort unless I’m in yoga class.
The thing is though – I didn’t win any contests being sticky sweet. Sometimes people took advantage, sometimes people didn’t trust me, and sometimes people mistook my niceness (although that still occasionally happens).
When a person makes a change to incorporating boundaries, people react. I remember one particular person got angry, another tried to manipulate me. Some people, unable to push beyond those boundaries, left.
I’m good with that. I’m good with not winning any contests. I’m really happy to have found a good balance.
In Mirror People,a short story in my book Psychic Surprise Party, Jewel has found her sister much changed and doesn’t like it, doesn’t know how to react, and almost chooses to walk away.
Because a person changes and grows, the people around them have to change their perception and the way they interact. It makes some friends and family uncomfortable and might cause them to question their own behaviors and attitudes. In this insta-world, it’s easier to walk away. It’s probably for the best.
Fortunate For Few
I realize I am fortunate, but not for reasons some may think.
Some people think I’m wealthy. 😂😂 Did they miss the whole teacher thing? However, I acknowledge many people have it more challenging.
But it’s not wealth, material things, or luck that makes me fortunate. Some people have those things and are unhappy.
I have some family, a few friends, a job I love, and those make life feel easier. However, like everyone I have my issues. Sometimes it feels as if I’ve had more than my share, but maybe we all feel like that at times.
Unexpected bills come up, broken this or that, car repairs. I’ve lost a few friends, been ripped off, scammed, and menaced.
I go to bed every night looking forward to the first hints of sunrise sneaking through my blinds, the whistle of the tea pot (seriously, my coffee/tea pot broke – I’m brewing it old school), that first sip of hot tea in the chill of the morning, then the launch into the day – whatever that may bring.
Outside my window, the birds sing in the trees, the sky is usually blue, I’m healthy.
Gosh – that last one – health: we don’t think about that until we’re not! We don’t think about how easily and naturally our bodies flow until there’s an injury, a stoppage, a pain.
We need to acknowledge the good things in our lives, no matter how small.
The bad things seem to outweigh the good only if we focus on them. Focus on the good things, every tiny, little, great thing that makes our lives beautiful.
Little Pieces of Me
In being more authentic, I want to be more open with readers. This story is something I’ve been working on – off and on – for years.
At first, the event was difficult to write about. It’s easier now. After all these years. Sometimes you need years to find the balance between tone, authenticity, and creativity. When you’re under pressure and in a bad situation, a lot of things happen in your mind and your body.
Here’s an excerpt:
In the bathroom mirror, my eyes are raccooned; make-up smeared from tears. My once pretty pink slip dress is wrinkled and smudged.
This doesn’t happen to girls like me. I did everything right. I was careful. Just hours ago I was out with friends; how many hours ago? It’s easy to lose track of time in Vegas. It’s built into the plan. Into his plan.
“Don’t try nothing’.” His voice is on the other side of the door; his thick hand, I sense, on the door knob. The house is empty except for us. I don’t know where everyone else went. But, suddenly, we were alone and his long hair hung in my face as he leaned in and whispered, “lots of people pay lots of money for young girls like you in Vegas.”
Reason and tears are wasted on psychopaths. There’s he and I, and only a hollow door between us.
“Ju…” The word sticks in a sob deep in my throat. I move closer to the door and put my fingers on the lock, turn it as I try again, “just washing my face.” I step back and flip the lever; the water rushes into the shell shaped porcelain filling the silence. I take the dampened towel and rub it around my eyes, lose some of the dark circles as I glance around.
Light pushes through the shower door and I slide it open slowly, quietly. There’s a small square window higher up, but I can reach if I stand on the edge of the tub. I don’t pause to remind myself I’m on the second floor of a two story house; all I can think is escape. My throat tightens, breath narrows.
“You’re stalling,” he growls.
My tears have dried, my adrenaline is pumping, and I can hear my heartbeat bounce off the porcelain. “I have to use the bathroom.” I toss the towel next to the door, push the window open and pull myself up.
It’s a work in progress – still a draft.
My books are on sale this week. You can read or gift Eddy or Psychic Surprise Party for Valentine’s Day.
Thanks for the support!
Have you heard the old adage, the better you do the few people will like/support you. Sad, but true, in some cases. But, as always, we must focus on those who do support us.
Those who wish others wellness and success regardless of where they are in their own life and success are the best kind of people to be around. Sadly, in this ultra competitive world, our success may go beyond jealously to make people feel as if they’re not accomplishing enough.
However, no one should feel that way. Everyone is on their own path and their life is different, their ideas of success might be different. And wishing another well should not hurt.
There is room enough for everyone. There is no proverbial “top.” There’s a large, flat surface where we can all meander, eat cookies, and drink tea.
I want to thank those of you who wish me and others well.
This poster is an example of a well-wisher. Someone, a friend of a friend in fact, made this advertisement for me.
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