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Tag: writing

New Poem Tonight: “Nightlight, a celebration”

NIGHTLIGHT, a celebration

3:30 am—brother born, & the air in the house shifts 
like a pedaled drum. I touch his hair, 

his skin, & remember your similar textures, 
the softness. How your eyes, like his, looked to me

in adoration—looked to me & saw Mother, 
First Love, Captain of this ship sailing somewhere

into the sea. How things have changed 
as you’ve grown—how things will change 

for him. In the dark, I hold you, sleeping & close, & 
breathe you in. 

You are the growing cotton in the field. The seed
& the earth. The rock, the bed, the snow. 

You are the fire in the man-groves. 

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New Poem Tonight: “An Accord”

AN ACCORD

In the early light, their see-through dress wings
show against my shirt, their bodies

muted yellow, & I do not mind if they might harm me.
The mutual understanding here is simple: let me live. The small

non-exchange of a sting for the smack of a hand. The need
for the bee to have somewhere to burrow its body

is the same as my need to rejoice
in the ruby red of the flower. We live our own lives

in a breath, only to minimally address the rest.

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Tuesday Motivation: What Are You Working on This Week? Let’s Make It Happen!

Happy Tuesday, friends! I hope you had a wonderful weekend and Monday. Today, I wanted to share with you what I intend to work on this week, and to talk to you about overcoming boundaries. I don’t know about you, but when I’m working under a tight deadline, or have a few too many projects going at once, I have a tendency to make it worse by procrastinating, cleaning, or writing other pieces with a looser (or no) deadline.

This week, the larger theme of my work is establishing myself, and also writing some things off my chest (some people talk to their barber; I write!). What this technically looks like: Writing several pieces about motherhood and mental wellness (each with a different focus), further studying the art of copywriting, pitching and writing a few pieces on current hot topics in entertainment, and submitting poems / collections to various contests and reading periods.

Now, this is a lot, honestly, so how am I going to make it happen? What am I going to do to ensure that I don’t put something off, miss a deadline, or clean my entire house instead of write a piece, or go on an embarrassingly-long Facebook-or-Netflix-binge?

To be honest, my day has taken sort of a slow start. Well, in all honesty, my week has gotten off to a slow start (I mean, I used to do Motivational posts on Monday, not Tuesday!). But, actualy, I like the idea of this Tuesday check-in. Even if Monday ends up being a throw-away day, or a “blah” day, you can still take charge of the rest of your week by re-focusing and fully committing on Tuesday!

All tangents aside, my week has gotten off to a slow start. One of the charms of having a three-month-old in the house (I’m so sad I can’t call my son a newborn anymore! the time is moving too quickly!) is teething. I was talking to my husband last night about how I felt like I had a routine down with my toddler and newborn, but now that my newborn is three months old and cutting multiple teeth early, I feel like I’m less put-together than when he was first born. Which, I know isn’t true, but I’m certainly scrambling to make heads or tails of my schedule again!

Instead of continuing to give the power over to exhaustion and indirection, though, I’m taking some steps this week to make sure all of these tasks happen (and don’t worry, this blog post was on my list of things to write!).

Keep these ideas in mind for you, too. You can approach them in a different order than I’ve written below, and I’m sure you can adapt the finer details to how you work best, as well as what you’re working on.

Keep Your Schedule to Paper; Leave the Rest to Chance Your Computer Screen

I don’t know about you, but it’s so easy for me to become distracted when I’m working with a screen. Even while writing on my blog right now, I’m tempted to wander over to Facebook or check my email. I know there are all kinds of media-blocking apps and time management trackers—some of which I plan to try out and review in the coming months—but I honestly find it easier to begin by handwriting / brainstorming / webbing / listing my ideas, prior to tying and re-entering the world of the interwebs.

This also applies to my schedule. I carry with me a lovely Passion Planner, where I outline everything: work, homeschool, family, life—one week at a time. Again, this keeps me away from a screen and temptation, and is easy enough to edit when things change. Without the use of an electronic planner, I’m faced with one less reason to use and mindlessly peruse my phone.

Review Your Schedule and Decide When You’re Willing to Work

No matter what type of work you’re doing, you have to set clear boundaries. When are you willing to work? What type of work will you do? What compensation do you want or need? Knowing the answers to these questions will provide you a more productive work situation, and I believe the schedule is the most important. Look at all the time frames you’d be willing to work, and compare them to when you actually work.

Change Up Your Routine

Performing the above comparative work (when you work vs. when you’d be willing to work) may open your eyes to how you could vary your schedule. Physical Trainers highly recommend varied schedules and combinations when working out, for your body to perform optimally, and your work schedule is no different. By moving your writing time from the morning to midday, or spreadsheet creation from the evening to breakfast time, you may find an awareness and better mindset in the new time that you had lost to too much regularity or even prior poor scheduling decisions.

Know What Kind of Energy Fuels You Best

Finally, know what’s fueling you, and decide whether or not it’s best. Artists and writers are always talking about coffee and tea, and I am no exception. But when I am honest with myself, I know that copious amounts of water, and writing after a yoga session or walk in the morning, and writing again in the afternoon-evening after a high-intensity workout or dance routine, is my body and mind’s true love language for success, good writing, and productivity.

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Today: Three Tiny Poems

BAR TALK

You remind me
of a father figure—not

my real father
who I leave absent

from my poems. Maybe for him, there are
too few words, or maybe

I prefer him like a ghost:
imprinted on walls. More words

I can leave scattered
on his grave.

 
WINTER BIRTHDAY

To the sister who has never
forgiven me, I often think of you

on a swing, as the young girl you were
before I was born. Every year

your birthday passes, and I place flowers
on a rock where I imagine you might one day

spread your ashes. To the young girls
we both used to be, these magnolias

in the snow: What a dark, inflamed heart you wear.

 
COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS

A heart full of sadness and blood
is really just any other heart. So common,

you might find one
at your local supermarket.

Aisle sixteen
next to the empty canisters.

On your way, pickup in Aisle two.
Outside, a broken

shopping cart gate
and a pile of runaway carts

now stacked against the nearest
Toyota. Outside, an old woman dropping

a brown paper bag
with something glass

inside.

Outside, the birds humming
with oncoming fall.
 

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July 22: This Week’s Publishing Round-Up

 
Hi friends! Happy (very early) Sunday! I hope you enjoyed your week, are able to rest this Sunday, and are looking forward to the start of the new week.

This week was sort of a game-changer for me. I’ve written on here before, and discussed with some of you personally, what it’s like being a writer while also working, while also being a mom, while also being pregnant for a second time… The list of “while…” clauses could go on and on, as I’m sure they do for many of you reading this.

But this week—and I’m giving a LOT of the credit over to the planner that I use—I was able to see how all the pieces could fit together, if I worked really hard to get through my to-do list, cut out the reasons to skip writing for the day, not hit the snooze button—again, I’m sure you can follow me and also do / have done some of these things that limit your ability to write. All of that being said, I wrote everything down that I ideally wanted to do, and only those things, and I was able to see where I had time to actually complete all of those things.

And I did. I got all of that writing time in that I wanted to. I literally feel like that stereotypical chick writing in a field (except I’m writing at a desk or on a couch, often with coffee, at all late hours and early hours that I can—but it’s still really freeing. Read that and weep if you want.).

What that means for the lovely people who are also the ones who follow this blog, is that I’ll more often have publications to list from now on. I joined a few freelance writing teams that I admire and am now writing for, I’m getting back into regular book-reviewing, I’m making time to write at least one poem per day, and I’m aiming to write 500 words per day toward a novel through the end of the year (which would approximately equal the length of a novel AND many of its edits).

But—I’m not going to bore you or bog you down with a post every time one of these pieces goes live. Rather, at the end of each week, I’ll do a round-up of all the freelance pieces that went live, and probably an opening snippet about how the writing process is going (much like the one I’m writing and you’re reading right now, though much, much shorter). Poems will be the exception, because there’s no “weekly” guarantee of them being published, and I also want to create an extra tunnel through which you can find and read these publications, because they are small, literary, and awesome (whether or not they publish my work!) and should get appropriate attention for that.

And—I would say that’s enough rambling from me for now. Thanks for reading this far; I hope you’ll keep coming back to see what’s going on in my writing life. Here’s this week’s round-up:

Wednesday:What Coming in 2nd Means to Croatia: The Wild and Heart-Warming Receipt of Their Finals-Placing Team Said More about Croatian Heart than Winning Ever Could.,” on Medium. For those of you who know my story with my husband, he was born and raised in Croatia, and he lived in Europe until he was twenty, well after the war had ended. During my visits to his home, it always strikes me the heart of Croatia’s people and the country as a whole. This was meant to be a sports-related piece, and it is, but it amounted to much more about a culture that many U.S. Americans are only beginning to learn about.

 
 
Thursday:How to Include SEO While Keeping Your Writer’s Brain Happy: Avoid ‘Dumbing Down’ Your Writing Style While Accommodating SEO,” on Initium: How Writerpreneurs Think! via Medium. I’ve just joined an excellent team of writers that focuses on various business aspects, and I’ll be producing pieces that largely focus on different areas of freelance writing and marketing. This is a straight-forward piece about what SEO is, how it can be difficult to utilize for a more independent or creative writer, and how to maintain your personal flare while employing SEO.

Saturday:Watch Shark Week for Fun. Do These Five Things to Make a Difference,” on Medium. This is a brief, introductory-style piece on Shark Week, and what you should read, watch, and do, to supplement (or replace) your annual binge-watch. This was a fun piece to write that digs down into my interests in the horror genre a little bit, while also emphasizing the important role that environmental awareness (and love) takes up in my life.

And that’s it for this week! I hope you enjoyed these, and thanks for the read. In case you’re still reading, I’ll be starting week-long series topics this very next week (this first one focusing on keeping creativity alive in artistic, parenting homes), so if there is a topic you’d like to see covered, I’d love to hear! Happy Sunday, and good night, all!

 
 

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A Quiet Return: Spending Time in the Horror Genre

 
Hi friends! It’s been a really long time since I posted or shared work with you, and it bothers me. I’ve still been reading and writing from my quiet little corner, but I’ve minimally shared, and that isn’t who I am as a writer: not to draw attention to my own work, or to pat myself on the back for any work that I may have done, but for the joy of the writers and their work that I’ve discovered. It would take more time to go back through all the great works that I came across in the last few months than it originally took me to read them—so instead, I’m going to take some time today, on a slow Tuesday evening, to share a little about the genre that has kept me going, or pulled me back into the game.

I don’t know about you, but when I want to write more often, or need inspiration for a fresh start, there are certain authors, and genres, that I run to. These genres and people, they are among my favorites, they always inspire me, and I always think of new material after diving back into their work or into the genre.

The genre I’m referring to, perhaps weirdly enough, is horror.

Retrospectively, when I was a younger writer, I turned to scary stories and novels by Stephen King mostly out of the desire to read something that I loved—but coincidentally, I would always find my way into a poem, pausing at the end of a chapter or at the result of a great line to take down a few lines of a poem that I would inevitably finish within reading the next few chapters. But I finally realized sometime after my first poem was published (back in 2010) that I was drawing energy from the genre, and a lot of the lyrical quirkiness that I owe to my writing relates back to some of those weirder, darker scenes, mostly found in King’s work, among a few lesser-known others.

So, at the moment, I’m back inside the genre I love, both to fulfill that dark want for inspiration but also because I’m pregnant and weirdly fascinated with the horror genre right now (to the point that I keep cracking jokes about this, and assuring others that this isn’t Rosemary’s Baby). What’s interesting and new, though, is I’m directly using the genre to write poems this time around. I’ve been working on writing an erasure poem of a full-length horror novel for a while now (a LONG while now, since it’s unfortunately been on the back-back-back burner), but this time, I’m taking a moment here and there to write down the lines from these books that strike me, so I can take them back to the page in a new way and write a poem.

The style of poem I’m currently poking around in is called a Golden Shovel. I know several lovely contemporary poets who are working in this form, mostly with poetry and lyrics, but I’m really interested to see what happens with fiction. The primary structure of the piece is to take a line or series of subsequent lines that you love, and write the line out vertically on a physical page; one word from the sentence should appear as the final word for each of your lines of poetry, kept in the same order as the original sentence, and omitting nothing. And as long as you recognize the original author and piece in some way in your poem, the poem itself can deviate as strongly from the original topic (or in this case, genre!) as you would like. I’m really interested to see how this goes, in taking moments from the horror genre and transforming them into poems.

In the coming days, I’ll share how the process is going, along with some images of how these Golden Shovels—or, as I am coining, “Horror Shovels”—appear on the page, and maybe even a completed poem. We’ll just have to see!

 
 

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“Sleepwalker” & The Inspiration Behind It

 
Happy Thursday, everyone! I’m arriving a tad late to the party again today, but I hope you each had a wonderful day, and I appreciate, again, you joining me in my writing journey. I’ve been doing things a little differently this week, writing every day, with a combination of free-style pieces and prompt-driven work.

Here is my poem for today, and the prompt/inspiration behind it. I hope you enjoy it, and thanks for the read! I hope you’ll share your own inspiration, and work.

 
SLEEPWALKER

My husband asks me why I leave the bed to sleep somewhere else        why
I don’t come when he calls, &—I have no answer for this. This scares me more

than the image of my nighttime body lurking elsewhere in the house, what I could be
getting myself into, what wall or street, or what small matter, finger sliding

on small screen, clicking ‘like’ on items my mind renders anonymous in its present
state, perhaps awake, perhaps now a part of the dreamscape that follows me

in the dark, has me rolling & begging for what little rest
That my aching joints & migraine temples can get. My daughter rests down

the hall, her snores floating & locked like little clouds out there. I imagine
waiting there for comfort, never opening the door, never looking, but some part of me

always listening—for her snores, her rustle in the night, for some other sign
that she will be more like me than I want her to be, & me always wondering

if there’s some other way for me to quiet that part of her down.

 
 
 
 
Prompt: Today’s prompt comes in the form of inspiration from my daily life, as a reminder that sometimes you don’t NEED an exact prompt in your life to do some writing! Think about something mundane and recurring in your life, exaggerate its features, and bring it into a piece.
 
 

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“I Remember Her Hair” & The Prompt That Led Me Here

 
Happy Wednesday, everyone! I hope you’re all enjoying your week. I’m doing things a little differently this week, writing poems every day, but in a mix of free-writing and prompted writing.

Here is my poem for today, and the prompt that inspired it. Thanks for being here, and thanks for the read. I hope that the prompt inspires you, and that you’ll share your poem in the comments!

 
I REMEMBER HER HAIR

I remember the crack in the ceiling by the front door, still creeping. I remember
the chair in the room, gone now, where I used to look out on our sycamore tree,

our neighbors, our fence that leaned a little bit with snow. I remember the hallway full
of her footfalls, her own small herd. I remember her hair, draped down

the length of the couch, our laps, on her pillow. I remember how it felt
in our fingers as we separated the strands, sunflower from gold

from chestnut and mouse. I remember its length, how soft,
the curls. I remember how the rain hit—our windows, the fog, the fingerprints,

pawprints, the dust. I remember planting flowers in the backyard.
I remember loving you late in the night.

How far off it all looks now. Bursting open.
I remember.

 
 
Prompt: “I Remember” by Joe Brainard, found here.
 
 

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“Where It’s Gone” & The Prompt Behind It

 
Hi everyone! Happy Tuesday! I’m doing things a little differently starting this week, sharing a poem and the writing prompt behind it (I’m back to writing poems each day, some written free-style, and some by prompt).

I know I’m a little late to the party today, but I still wanted to check in. Here is my poem, and its prompt. Thanks for being here, and thanks for reading! I hope you will share your work in the comments!

 
WHERE IT’S GONE

My room disappears one item
at a time: becoming less like the place I go

to rest my weary body, and more
like a place where strangers crawl, searching

the corners for stray marks. I’ve already
mourned this city once and didn’t plan

to do it again. The windows, the trees,
were mine. But now as the suitcase fills

and I see the items creeping up the sides,
I see bare walls, bare windows, until

the trees outside seem to bare themselves, too,
whiting themselves out.

 
 
Prompt: “Will Wonders Never Cease?”, from The Time Is Now via National Geographic, found here.
 
 

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“All My Things Are Empty Now” & The Prompt That Wrote It

 
Hello, everyone! I hope you had a nice weekend and are enjoying your Monday. Starting this week, I’m going to do something a little different. I’m back to writing every day, with a mixture of free-writing and prompt-driven writing.

I’m going to share a poem each day that is driven by a prompt, followed by the prompt that “wrote” the poem. I’d love it if you’d tackle the prompt, as well, to see what you come up with, or to share another prompt that you enjoy.

Here’s my poem and prompt for today. Thanks for being here, and thanks for reading.

 
ALL MY THINGS ARE EMPTY NOW

the kitchen and its table
                dark corners and wax        the bathroom        cabinets
extra items            stored     up     and     away
                wide     open     rooms                   quieter now
the walls and their hangings            my daughter            ’s friends
                cats gone missing               somewhere deep
the dust                the shelves
                the curtain            what white is left hanging
off of it                scarves thrown
over the back        of a chair
                (my suitcase        is full)     what moon
is left in the sky            what stars        what dreams
what        what
 
 

Today’s prompt: “Elegant Things,” drawn from Ivan Morris’s The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon, prompt found here. I hope you’ll share your work in the comments!
 
 

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What Growing Up Tastes Like

 
                —A poem today after a long hiatus

                —Happy International Day of the Girl

 
WHAT GROWING UP TASTES LIKE

 
I sit with my windows open, drink of the air
as if it were the gumdrop from childhood

that never melted, that never tasted
quite like the color coating implied:

daffodil yellow, all-of-your-dreams-come-true-
blue, make-a-wish-like-it-matters-white

cotton. Now, I chew on gum only until
the flavor is out, long before it can turn

gray skeleton, harlequin moon, empty lake
by an extinguished fire.

 
 

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A Walk in the Snow

 

When we were younger, we leveled
footprints in the woods—off

the path, of course, down deep
where the sun could barely

find us, where we blended
with the trees and hid behind

the shrubbery. I found a deer,

small, its eyes glazed and wide, still hiding
from the storm the night before.

Left berries. Made scarce. We could barely
make our way back up that track,

so steep, the rock, the roots.
We made it. We told no one. We

did not say why. We did not
say why.

 

 

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