By hook or by crook, I’ll create a chapbook

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My dear blogging friend, Mike Allegra, made a particularly interesting comment after reading one of my blog posts.  I had published a poem that day and he recommended that I get working on a chapbook.  I was humbled by his comment and embarrassed that I had never heard of a chapbook.  (Thank you to the kind people at Google for making me slightly more knowledgeable!)

chapbook

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I rolled the thought around in my head for a while and then that thought, like all the other unrecorded ideas, escaped the confines of my brain.  Much to my delight, the idea had not completely exited my cranium.  The word chapbook popped up again on my radar and made me ponder the thought once again.

I began to go back through my previous posts to reacquaint myself with my poetic entries on this blog.  I was actually surprised at how many poems I have published and I enjoyed reading some of the poems I had completely forgotten.

When I began my writing journey I was a slightly awkward sixth-grader who really knew nothing about stanzas or rhymes.  Words just seemed to come from somewhere and I gravitated more to poetry than I did to storytelling.  Thankfully I have since embraced both but there is always a draw to poetry when I feel the need to express more emotion.

Poetry allows me to tell tales of love and loss.   It gives me permission to dream.  It lets me hope that the world will be a better place.  And it lets me believe in my desires.   By clicking on those links, you’ll see how much I enjoy poetic expression.

I think a chapbook is just the project I need to begin 2016 on the right foot.  Any thoughts or advice in the comments section would be very welcome.

Happy New Year to all and may 2016 bring you all the things you desire!

 

The Christmas Poem – 2015 Edition

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Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the blogs
Edward Hotspur had his bacon, Angie’s Grapevine had her dogs.
The synonyms were used by Idioglossia with care,
And Conscious Cacophony, her feelings she would share.

Short Stories was nestled, all snug amongst his words,
While Susie Lindau had artistic visions taking pictures of the birds.
Graceful Press was getting poetic, authoring memorable scenes,
And Drinking Tips was creating while snacking on Poutine.

JannaTWrites newest blog had created such a clatter,
And Carrie Rubin’s comments only added to the chatter.
Away to the keyboard YeahWrite flew on its quest,
Tore open the gates of creativity posting its newest contest.

The Modern Philosopher, his brilliance did show,
And masterful words from Dianne Gray, were shared from below. (well, Down Under, but it didn’t rhyme)
When, what to YarnSpinner’s eyes should appear,
Ned’s Blog, in all its glory, showing no WordPress fear.

With a well-versed writer, so lively in blog,
I knew in a moment it must be Trudging Through Fog.
More majestic than eagles the stanzas were put,
And I knew in a heartbeat, Campari & Sofa was afoot.

“Now Grammar Ghoul! now Wordy! now Moi and Leigh!
On, Margie! On, Harlon! On, Bad Guy! on, Wine and Cheese!
To the top of the Fresh Press! to the top of the wall!
Now write away! Write away! Write away all!”

As Rarasaur roars before the wild hurricanes fly,
When they meet with Two Sentences, and mount to the sky.
So up to the Matticus Kingdom they flew,
With Yadadarcyyada and a Writer Fellow too.

I didn’t have my glasses on but I thought I still had heard,
Nicole Marie and Candice Curry happily sharing their words.
As I closed my keyboard, and was winding it down,
The Silver Leaf Journal was making a sound.

Jill Weatherholt spoke with a great deal of fervor,
And words were carefully crafted by The Mercenary Researcher.
A bundle of phrases HastyWords took from her stack,
And Shouts from the Abyss, the words he attacked.

With their keyboards they created with zest and with zeal,
They wrote just as passionately as brunch for every meal!
It was Apoplectic Apostrophes, the words she did reap,
And, in between writing, they read shrinksarentcheap.

They wrote from their hearts, like it was their favorite job,
And inside of them all lurked a Geeky Book Snob.
The Cutter rambled and wrote to make you think,
While a little Fish of Gold was readied with paper and ink.

On The Homefront took a few precious moments to reflect,
While somewhere during Red’s Rants and Raves their writing they did perfect!
JoeTwo spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
Blending a symphony of phrases, responsibilities they did shirk.

The Lonely Author pounded endlessly on the keys,
While Scraps of Paper were tossed at the typewriter with ease.
 You’ve been Hooked had amused us, EagleAye surely did see,
And we quickly lost H.E. Ellis to the feeling of writer’s glee.

Inspiration sprang to its feet, to its words gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like a high powered missile.
But I heard it exclaim, as our brains turned to fog,
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good blog!”

 typewriter

(image credit: lhj.com)

 ~~

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and happy holidays.  All of the links should take you to a large number of the blogs I follow, so if you are looking for new things to read, they are just a click of a mouse away!!

In the wee small hours

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With no curtains for protection, the jagged streaks of moonlight spilled through the bedroom window across my duvet.  I had awoken only moments before, trying desperately to talk my body into falling back to sleep before my brain woke up but it was too late.  In the same time it took me to blink twice, my brain had formulated twelve simultaneous problems that it was determined to solve before I was allowed to return to slumber.  And, as an afterthought, those cranial neurons began formulating ideas for new blog posts and I was scrambling to record them before they evaporated into dream dust.

I have lost count of the number of times I have awoken from a deep sleep with a great idea for a post.  But between the darkness on moonless or cloud-covered nights and my inability to locate my phone to document them, those potentially great ideas vanished into thin air.

vault

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There must be a gigantic vault of lost ideas – a safe so large it contains all of the great writing ideas that were unable to come to fruition because they were never forced from our subconscious onto our keyboards.  It hides in the vacuous space of our imagination and traps wandering thoughts as they escape during those wee hours in the morning.  If only I knew how to break into that vault.

As my late-night Kathleen Turner voice gurgled out incomprehensible syllables I tried my best to recall and record the latest gem last night but, as I replayed the audible gibberish this morning, I couldn’t really comprehend where my thought process was taking me.

One day I’m going to crack that safe and I’m going to need a lot of Red Bull to keep me up long enough to record the wealth of ideas that is trapped in its metal casing.

 

I already went through this once…

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“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” ~ E.E. Cummings

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It is a rite of passage and a fact of nature that, when we grow from a child to an adult, our voices change.   Perhaps I hadn’t realized when I began my blogging journey that I was a child of writing.  I was a mere toddler grabbing at words like they were all mine but contrary to a toddler’s way of thinking I wanted nothing more than to share those words.

Recently, I have been going back through the moments of my childhood.  I have not been pouring over photographs in family albums but I have been going back through the early stages of my blogging days and I am amazed at how dissimilar my writing voice is from then to now.  The nuance of my phrasing is a far cry from what it once was and my voice has changed to signify the growth in my writing.

Contrary to going through that awkward teenage phase in life, my progress as a writer has been uncomplicated and relatively steady.  I feel comfortable in my writing skin and I walk down the hallways of the writing school in my mind with great confidence.  There are no cliques to contend with, no teachers to please and the only club I wish to join already has my name on the roster of its members.

I want to write, plain and simple.  I want my voice to continue to develop and be able to show the experience I gain each day by simply writing more words on a page.  I want my voice to whisper.  I want my voice to sing.  And I want my voice to yell at the top of its lungs when it has something to say, anything to say.

Maybe this is the puberty stage in my writing.  And just maybe I have reached the cusp of adulthood and I can finally embrace the voice that will truly represent who I am as a writer.  There may a be a few breaks in the inflection and the tone but I think this voice is here to stay.

 

 

 

Excuse me while I expose myself

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The title of this post conjures up several images.  Some of those images are quite flattering and sexy and others are the images that I wish I could wipe from my memory.   Spoiler alert – this post has nothing to do with anything remotely related to nudity, apart from the flagrant display of flashing in the image below. (sorry)

flasher

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When we are authentically naked, when we truly bare ourselves, we are baring our souls, not our bodies.   We let others into our hearts, our minds and our dreams.  All of the hypocrisy is stripped away and we are left naked with no false fronts to hide behind.   We bare ourselves here on our blog sites, with our words, and we run naked through the blogosphere.  We put more honesty and integrity into our words because, here,  we feel comfortable in our skin.  Here, we feel like we are representing our true selves.  Here, we feel a kinship with like-minds and we feel a comfort level that truly allows us to just be who we are, stripped of any preconceived notions.

Our thoughts and prose give us permission to expose ourselves.  The only shroud we hide behind is the blanket of our truth and our musings.  We leave the most important part of ourselves open for all to read and, in that part, we find the inner strength to continue our journey.  Our inhibitions are no longer stifling us from exposing our innermost thoughts and feelings.  We feel accepted in our natural state.

We do ourselves a grave injustice and we add nothing to this world if we cloak ourselves in any cloth that hides who we truly are.   To be completely ourselves, to be truly naked, we need to trust in the path we follow.  We need to believe that the people who are near and dear to us know the true essence of what we represent, and we need to feel that the people meeting us here for the first time understand the inner workings of our brains.

Be honest in your writing, let it reflect who you are, and don’t deny your readers the opportunity to see you as you truly want to be seen.  Let them into your mind.  Let them see you naked.

Time to schedule a disconnect

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It crashed.  It simply crashed and, for a few panic-stricken moments, I didn’t know what to do.  The internet went down at work yesterday afternoon and I felt like a Roombot slowly spinning in circles, bouncing off of walls and random pieces of furniture, lost in a world that was absent of instant communication.

I was moderately frightened for myself when I realized how much I have come to rely on technology.  The increasing ease and speed at which we can sail through mundane tasks makes me forget my humble beginnings of pen-pals and library sessions with encyclopedias and the Dewey decimal system.  I have become a member of a mutated generation that is driven by immediate knowledge and gratification.

I feel somewhat sad that my nephews, who are currently 15 and 12, and like-generations, will never understand what we had to endure to communicate with our friends.  Gone are the days of writing letters in long hand (do kids today even know what that is??), putting those letters in envelopes, dropping them into a giant mail box and waiting weeks, maybe months, for a response.  Making long distance phone calls to a town 15 minutes away is a thing of the past.  And don’t even get me started on the friends who didn’t have answering machines.  I’m sure I still have phone numbers burned into my finger tips from dialing them incessantly until somebody finally answered the phone.

22-amy

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Our society has gracefully surpassed hand written letters, DOS programming and the annoying pings and bleeps of the dial-up connection but throughout that process we seem to have lost a bit of our patience.  If a text message is not responded to immediately, we think we are being ignored.  If an email goes without a response for 24 hours, we question if we have offended the recipient in some way.  And (God forbid) if the internet crashes, our world seems to crumble right alongside of it.

I am certainly not saying that technology and all of its advancements are not wonderful things.  If that were the case, I would not be pontificating my polysyllabic profundities through this medium.  I am simply stating that we are so anxious to feel instantaneously connected to everything and everyone that we forget how to merely connect to ourselves and slow down the pace of our lives, if only just for a moment.

I feel the need to purposely unplug for a day. No Kindle, no texting, no surfing the web.  I want to put a touch of history into how I spend the hours of my day.  I want to write a letter, a real hand-written letter, to the friend in Halifax who will only send letters this way.  I want to hold a paperback novel in my hands and I want to be able to have my brain work the way it was trained to work and not just be distracted by the millions of images on the internet.

The internet may have changed how we communicate, how we learn and how we conduct business, but it should never have the power to change us or the things that make us infinitely human.  Technology is just a tool.  And although it can teach us many things, patience and a capacity for perseverance are not contained in its syllabus.