RoadWriter

Heart, Soul, and Rough Edges — A Gypsy Journey of Words and Wonder

Archive for the month “November, 2012”

Looking back on November: Poem a day

Again this year I participated in Robert Lee Brewer’s November Poem A Day challenge. The poems are supposed to form a chapbook, but I wasn’t aiming for that. I simply wanted to write poetry.

My muse has been in an un-serious mood most of the month. I’ve done a lot of rhyming and a lot of, well …

Here are a couple of poems:
Poetic Formless

Dust like stars. Any storm in a port. The eye of my apple. Dust the bite.  Blind a turned eye. Fuse a blow. Worm an open can. A death worse than fate. Ice the break. Knot the tie. A society of pillars.

Moons with rock piles made of diamonds, worlds of water where huge ships sail, never reaching shore, jungles full of purple cows, green tigers, and yellow elephants, dragons, fairies two feet tall, ten-foot-tall giants, magic wands, movies that turn themselves on with a blink of an eye.

My car sprouts helicopter wings. I look down on the cars lined up on route 95 as it winds through downtown Providence, and I open my mouth and sing, loudly, beautifully on pitch, remembering all the words.

The Truth about Truth

I desire a Truth
in my Christmas stocking.
Instead, in my head,
I hear a voice mocking.

“Truth’s much too fat
to be hung from a ledge
above a hot fire.”
Alas, though I pledge

she’ll never get burned,
she just shakes her large head.
Perhaps I will dream her
tonight in my bed.

She’ll plop on my blanket,
speak low in my ear.
I hope I’ll be able
to shut up and hear.

When He’s Gone

Alas, my laptop, Joe, is dead.
He tripped and fell right on his head.
The light went off. I almost cried,
the night my laptop, Joseph, died.

I had another laptop, Lou.
Unfortunately, he’s finished, too.
I spilled some coffee on his head,
and now my laptop, Lou, is dead.

Alas, I fear I’ll be offline
until November 12 at nine
AM when I return to work,
and leap onto my desktop, Kirk.

So for a time, I bid adieu
while I consider what to do:
to buy another or repair
or find someone who has a spare.

 

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Make Visible: Gratitude

This is a post on gratitude, following Thanksgiving Day here in the United States.

 

This is my Gratitude and Receiving Notebook.  I don’t keep up with it the way I should.  It’s fun to look back and see what I’m grateful for and what I received on that day.

The whole concept of a Gratitude Notebook is to write down five things you are grateful for that already exist in your own life.  This is to get you out of the endless loop of always wanting more and to cherish this moment and what you already have.  This applies to things, people and animals, and experiences too.

 

I used to just do gratitudes.  Then I got the idea from The Receiving Project to keep track of what I received as well.  The idea behind Receiving is that if you notice the gifts the Universe is sending you each day, you will develop an attitude of reception and more good things will come to you.  Gratitude along with Receiving is powerful magic!

 

Here’s what it says on the homepage for The Receiving Project:

 

Welcome to The Receiving Project!

Your next step in the Law of Attraction.

The Receiving Project is a Free 32 day E-Course designed to help you learn how to receive all the amazing gifts that are waiting for you.

Are you a “giver”, giving of yourself and time, but have a hard time when other’s want to appreciate you? Is it a challenge to receive from The Universe?

Are you receiving the experiences that you want in your life?  When you are ready to make a real change in your life, join The Receiving Project!

By signing up  for The Receiving Project you will receive:

  • The experience of learning to receive abundance, inspiration, prosperity, support and love.
  • 32 days of emails full of wisdom, guidance and gifts to help you through the process
  • Opportunities to bust through the blocks that hold you back from manifesting and receiving all you want

OK, so by now you probably think this is all mumbo-jumbo.  Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t.  All I know is that when I focus on what I’m grateful for and what the Universe is sending me the world seems warmer and brighter.  That has to be a good thing!

 

Anatomy of a Gratitude:

 

October 25th, 2012:

 

Gratitudes:

 

  1. nature (must have gone on a walk that day)
  2. movies (Hot Fuzz)
  3. my cooking skills
  4. leftovers to make soup (chicken noodle soup)
  5. IGA (local grocery store)

 

Received:

 

funny movie

good soup

blackberry jam toast

cuddly kitty

great salad

 

It’s the little things that make life worth living!

 

“Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen.”~Robert Bresson, French Film Director

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Mary's Expression: Embracing the Passion

Mary's dove music boxI am a passionate person. Most people don’t get to see that. In fact, most people don’t really see me at all. I’m the quiet one in the background, invisible. At times I felt there wouldn’t even be a ripple if left. No one would notice. But there have been a few special people who have seen through that invisible shield, seen the passion I have inside.

I have a strong empathy for people. This leads me to blindly trust, believing a person to express truthfully. I need to believe in the goodness of people. There is so much pain and ugliness in the world. I’d rather see the beauty, even if it blinds me. I’m sure I’ve been lucky so far. I haven’t been badly burned. Not since I was little anyway… but I digress. I live by my emotions. My head may plan and compare and list, but my emotions are generally stronger. They’ve gotten me into much more trouble than my blind trust.

But I’d rather feel strongly than not at all. In eighth grade I was hospitalized for depression. Depression isn’t a feeling, it’s not accurate to describe it as sadness. It’s a lack of feeling. No sadness, joy, passion, pain. It’s a lack of emotion. It’s much more dangerous to not care than it is to feel. At least this way I can experience, learn, and grow, rather than remain stagnant. It can be so easy to retreat within myself, to block out all emotion, but that blocks out people as well. People that are an important, wonderful part of my life. People that care for me. Maybe that’s why I haven’t tried to control my feelings. I’m afraid that if I block one emotion I’ll do the same to the rest. I can’t afford to go back to that. I have responsibilities, people that need me. So, I will direct my passion rather than cut it off completely.

There are many things in this world that I enjoy, but there are few that I am truly passionate about, that I cannot live my life without. As you may have surmised, my close friends and family are up at the top. Other passions include dancing, poetry, my fantasy novel, books, playing the piano, and nature. I thought I could live without the last, but I find I crave fresh air. I need to spend time outside, feel the sun and the wind. These passions are what make me feel alive. Take away one of my passions and I will survive. Without a piano, I could only play when I visited my parents. But, as I crave the outdoors, I crave to feel my fingers on the keys of a piano. To make music, let it enfold me. As I read, the urge to write my own stories builds. They are all connected. Take away all my passions and I think I would die. What would I have left to live for? My fire would burn out. I’m grateful to those who have seen my passion and helped to keep the fires alive.

What are you grateful for? What are your passions? What drives you?

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Waiting to hear on a proposal for a workshop

I got email from the Mass Poetry festival letting me know they’d received my workshop proposal. Fortunately they copied the email I sent them, because I forgot to save a copy.

I don’t know if they will go for it, but, hey, at least I sent it in.

Workshop

Even if we don’t suffer from writer’s block, we often dismiss our ideas before they have a chance to develop. How many times has a line of poetry popped into your mind only to be dismissed? A subject you dismissed as trite or as something you’d never write about? What are you afraid to tackle?

Don’t let your inner editor choke you off before you start. This workshop will include a series of exercises designed to free your inner muse.
Equipment Needs

  • Table for Presenters
  • Chairs for Presenters
  • Dry erase board
  • Paper and pencils

Target Audience: Anyone who wants to dig deeper and free themselves from their own critical thinking.What makes this distinctive and compelling? We’re all inclined to doubt the worth of our own work and to not pay attention to what it is we want/need to write. We will use group writing exercises as a warm-up to generating poetry, brainstorm starting lines for poems, write poems from various points-of-view: ex mother-in-law, best friend from high school, glass of water on your nightstand, unused computer keys. Anything goes.

This workshop is meant to be fun, to generate some ideas the participants to take away, and to start to develop some techniques they can use to get started when inspiration fails to strike.

Publicity & Audience Development Plan *I blog monthly on writersonthemove.com, twice monthly on poetic-muselings.net, and on my own blog, as well as guest blogging. I would use these to promote the workshop.

I’d promote on facebook and twitter, try for an article in my local papers, community tv station, and on internet and regular radio as well as emailing my list of contacts about the workshop.

Have you produced this or a similar program before? If so when and where? *I am one of the six Poetic Muselings. We presented a workshop, “Poetry: Not just for writing verse,” at the Muse Online Writers Conference this October.

 

 

 

 

Make Visible: A New Addition

My creativity extends beyond poetry to crafts.  I just got a “new addition” to my creative arsenal, a sewing machine!  It’s not really new, in fact it’s a 40-year-old Kenmore, all metal construction.  I haven’t sewn since I was 13.  I’ve already done a bunch of straight stitches and figured out how to stitch in the opposite direction.  I haven’t filled a bobbin yet or threaded the top and bottom of the sewing machine.  I plan to do crafts to start with, like aprons and potholders.  Here’s to my new hobby, sewing!  Below:  the Kenmore, a book to help me, and some fabric to start with.

1972/73 Kenmore

“Sew Everything Workshop”

100% Cotton Fabric

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen.”~Robert Bresson, French Film Director

Simmering Muse

It was only a couple days before the month began that I decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) this year. I was already planning on doing November Poem-A-Day (Nov PAD). With two projects going on, I knew I’d have to prioritize one of them.

Since the novel will take up more words and hours, that took top spot. This also kept me from stressing over the poetry prompts. In previous years, I’ve struggled getting a decent poem written off prompts. It’s a very finicky process. I’m way more reliant on my Muse to cooperate for poetry than fiction. In fiction, I can push forward and just write. That doesn’t work for poetry! At least not for me.

So Day 1, I read the poetry prompt early. No ideas come to mind, so I shrug and allow myself to focus on my novel. I worried that since I wasn’t coming up with even an idea, or giving time to it, that the poems would be a bust again this year.

But that prompt was still in the back of my head, doing its work. Turns out I need to have more faith in my Muse/subconscious. For first thing the next morning, when I was trying to get more sleep, there was that prompt, and accompanied with how I was going to use it. I even had a repetitious phrase!

Lesson learned: For the poetry, read the prompts but don’t stress it. Let it simmer, sit in the back of my brain while I do other stuff. When it’s ready, I won’t be able to ignore it.

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TaCaMeFiMo, NaNoWriMo, and Reality

I decided to start a new kind of “month” — “Take Care Of Me First” month, or TaCaMeFiMo (TAH-CAH-MEE-FEE-MO) — and invite everyone who reads this to join me. Details below, but first, a bit of background:

The idea was to do this concurrently with crazy November writing ambitions: NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month); the November PAD (Poem A Day, through Poetic Asides) Chapbook Challenge; NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month). Yes, I planned carefully how to be a NaNo Rebel, working in the various projects as adjunct to the new novel.

The paradox: do it all in support of my BIG GOAL — to step back from major projects I’ve handled with groups of writers and others, and take care of my own health and sanity needs FIRST:

– Establish functional sleep habits.
– Take my buns and the rest of my body to the health club five days per week and continue the healing process from my accident two years ago.
– Let go of the 25 lbs. I gained back.
– Work on strength and flexibility.
– Establish constructive eating patterns to reach and maintain a sane weight.
– Laugh and play more.
– Reduce my incessant worrying about the future, and second-guessing decisions from the past.
– Pace myself! Limit the time spent on writing projects, and fill the space with healthy stuff.
– Embrace and cherish what is wonderful in my life. Live in the “now”.

I began to plot this out in my “Never Forget Your Dreams” planner book (from Refuse To Choose, Barbara Sher’s amazing blueprint for “Scanners”). The ideas flowed and I realized I have ways of dealing with pieces of all of the projects I want to handle (or at least start) without having to dive fully into almost any of them. Yes, shamelessly, I would weave the silk into a net that surrounds me and this experiment in living what’s important:

1. Write my NaNoWriMo as a joint project with my husband; we did this in 2006; I won by completing 52,000 words within the time frame. He came up with the story idea, characters he wanted, plot and story line, and I wrote the book, adding scenes, all the words that made it to the page, massaging it when necessary.

So far this year, we’ve talked through the basic story line, have the title, main characters, villains, supporting cast, location, main story line and critical subtext identified. We know the triggering event, lots of possibilities for high and low points, and have a general idea of the ending. Like last time, Hubby’s imagination supplies most of this. I’ll throw in conflict, intrigue, twists, and whatever else strikes me during the writing phase.

In my NaNoRebel garb, I decided that the female main character would do a few more unscripted things during the month — write in her journal, plan out the portions of a book she’s writing about her travels, create a month of poems for another book she’s rewriting, and track her plan for gaining control of her life, one good step at a time — all while engaged in living the story being written.

2. 100 Words – a daily no-more-than-one-hundred-word piece, sharply focused, on one of my blogs:

Poetic-Muselings.net (2 posts) — on my scheduled posting day.

Gluten-Free Travel by Graf (4 posts) — long dormant and lonely.

RoadWriter (12 posts) – my blog the Tripod cyber-trolls destroyed a couple of years ago. I started a new version on wordpress a year ago with my domain name, and grappled with its purpose. Recently (when I let go of trying to know) I got a clear sense of what I want to do, and how I want to do it: use the 100 Words posts to sketch out, idea by idea, what I have, and what I need, to pull together Heart, Soul, And Rough Edges, my book of poems, prose, and pictures about our decade of living and traveling all over the US and Canada.

TaCaMeFiMo (12 posts) — the new one, not yet built, to track and share the journey to Finally Taking Care of Me First. I figured posts on this new blog would run a bit over 100 Words at the beginning, so this would give a word count cushion of a few hundred . . . maybe.

AHA! See? That’s 3,000 words right there!

3. Poem A Day (PAD) Challenge month. My MC will write poems, some may actually work in this NaNo novel. Most of the effort will focus on poems for the rewrite of my 2008 NaNo — The Guilt Ghost: Conversations With My Mother Now That She’s Dead — as a Novel in Verse.

My colleague, Margaret Fieland, wrote her NaNo last year as a scifi book, and did the PAD Challenge. Relocated, her NaNo, and Sand in the Desert, her book of thirty poems, were published this year. Is it inspiration or idea stealing to want to copy her success?

Figuring roughly 50 words/poem, times 30 days = 1500 words! Add that to “100 Words”, and the total word count for NaNo drops to about 45,500.

Time to schedule all of this into the calendar:

1. TaCaMeFiMo time first. Between the health club, breakfast, errands, and appointments, mornings are full. Hmm. Quality (and quantity) time with Hubby and Harlee the Wonder Poodle — a couple of hours per day, at least. More stretch and home PT time (up to one hour daily, broken into six ten-minute chunks). Go to bed by 10:30 pm; get at least eight hours of rest; prep time to make it happen = an extra 30 min in the evening.

2. Other commitments — previously-scheduled get-togethers with friends, postponed from Muse madness (4 evenings); two Oregon Ducks football games (my birthday present to hubby); two Oregon Ducks women’s volleyball games I promised to go to, after the Muse Conference was over; Open Mic Poetry Reading I’m helping with, as well as being a semi-featured reader (one afternoon and evening); Holiday Market Book Event where I’ll be signing copies of LIFELINES on the Sunday after Thanksgiving (prep, travel, set up, signing, breakdown = ten hours); monthly meetings I’ve invited others to attend, so must be there, too (four evenings).

Dropped out of the schedule — five other commitments, including a poetry workshop with the Oregon Poet Laureate, a memorial reading for those we’ve lost in the past couple of years; the Slam series I’d love to attend and try my hand at; the Third Saturday Reading Series, where I got my first break at open mic, and to launch LIFELINES. My Book Club, again.

3. Playing the numbers game . . . for writing:

– 20 days of intense NaNo writing = 2,300 words to reach 45,500. @ 500 wpm = 90 hrs = 4.5 hrs/NaNo writing session

– 20 days to write poems, playing catch-up a few times during the month; I always fall behind. Guesstimate @ 1 – 1.5 hr/poem = 30 – 45 hrs = 2 hrs/poetry writing session

– 10 days to write 30 posts for “100 Words”; I know I won’t do it daily. @ 45 min/post = 22 hrs = 2.2 hrs/blog writing session

This oh-so-sensible schedule = about 145 writing hours for the month = about 5 hrs/day, factored in a 30 day month. But, as you can see with 1 and 2 above, there aren’t a lot of days to spend 5 hrs on writing, let alone, all 30 days.

So, here I sit, two days late with my scheduled post for Poetic Muselings. I wrote a version of this a couple of weeks ago. Felt smug. Then squirmy. Then sighed.

TaCaMeFe won out — in order to take care of me first, much of the rest has to slide into December. I’ll keep my notes for the new site and post ideas, as well as what I do during this month; maybe before the end of November, I’ll get the domain name and capture a site. I love my idea of “100 Words” and hope to start that on Dec. 1, too.

I’ve been to the health club once, on Nov. 1, for my Tai Chi class. Today I have to go there to do my workout routine so personal trainer (who I hired for 30 minute sessions to get me going) won’t fire me next week. I promised us both I’d do it twice a week.

My Dragon voice-recognition program will get going a bit later today, to bring the first words of NaNo to the page. I’m four days behind. Same with Poems. NaNo takes priority for writing time, and I’ll get as much done as I can, working around it, for poems.

Now, after way too many words here, I will go downstairs to spend time with Hubby and Harlee. After I figure out what will thaw out in time for dinner. Forgot to factor that in!

Watch for another installment of this in a couple of weeks. Wish me luck, and think about what you can do to Take Care of Yourself First, starting now. Today. Really. Share your ideas and successes. We are all in this together . . . and I plan to add these words to my NaNo count, since I completely rewrote the post.

Michele

 

 

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