RoadWriter

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

Archive for the month “February, 2013”

How to Generate Rhymes

I love to write rhymed poetry, and as I have started on another collection of science fiction poetry set in the Aleyne universe, I’m planning to write a fair number of story-poems, a format which lends itself to rhyme.

Psychedelic Mountain

Psychedelic Mountain

I have my own algorithm for generating rhymes (more about that later), but I also make use of an online rhyming dictionary and an online thesaurus.

There are as many ways to write rhymed poetry as there are writers, but one of my personal favorites is a rhyme scheme which rhymes only two lines of a four line stanza, either the first and third or the second and fourth. It’s both less overwhelmingly sing-songy and easier to write.

Here’s my algorithm for generating rhymes

As a crossword puzzle fan, I realized early on that, aside from single letters, only certain sound combinations could start words:

consonant plus “R” sound:  br, cr, dr, etc.

consonate plus “L” sound: bl, cl, etc

and a few others: ch, sh, ch,  s + almost all the other two-letter combos, s+l,

and a couple of consonants plus “w” sound: kw (quick),  etc

The key,  of course, is to concentrate on how the word sounds and now how it’s spelled:
Thus, to find all words of one syllable rhyming with “ack”:

b + ack : back
bl + ack:  black
br + ack:  brack (not a word)
bw + ack bwack (not a word)

etc.

Here’s one of my favorite poems. In the seven-line stanzas below, the third and seventh lines rhyme.

 

 The True Nature of Housework

The clack and the clatter
of pots and pans
rattle and ruin the peace.
Sit under the window,
it sounds like a band
that’s quite out of tune.
Will noise never cease?

The gurgle of water
that drips down the drain
says the faucet continues to leak.
The doors on the cupboards
are coming unhinged.
I can clearly hear
the kitchen door squeak.

The plates he just washed
he’ll plunk down with a plop,
creating a crack or a chip.
The dishwasher door
is still open, I know
and I’ll bet there’s a plate
that sits poised on the lip.

The silver’s all tarnished
and needs to be wiped
with pink polish and a clean rag
It’s been just like that
for the last month at least.
It looks like it came from
a rag picker‘s bag.

I sit staring out at the
peaceful blue lake
and try not to think of the mess.
If I sit here and listen
I’ll just grind my teeth.
I’m going inside;
then I won’t have to guess.

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Make Visible: Workshop Poems

To continue our series on the Muse Online Writers Conference and our Poetry Workshop last fall, I present to you two poems that were written during the conference.

 

 

Even though the Poetic Muselings were “teaching” or facilitating the Poetry Workshop, we also “learned” from each other and the participants.  I always come up with new writing when I attend MuseCon and this time was no exception.  Here are two poems that literally wouldn’t have existed if not for our workshop and MuseCon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Persona Poems

 

 

 

Persona poems are poems that are written in a voice other than that of the author, where the author pretends to be someone else. ~Margaret Fieland

 

 

 

This is the prompt I used for my Persona Poem:

 

 

 

– The loneliest keys on the keyboard that never get used

 

Typewriter Keys

Typewriter Keys (Photo credit: jon|k)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Question

 

 

 

 

 

Q?

 

I have a question.

 

Why am I so neglected?

 

You like E and A

 

and I far too much.

 

You never type Quasimodo or Quack

 

Or even misspell, using Q for K.

 

I’m in a quandary.

 

There’s not much I can do,

 

the letter Q

 

on your keyboard,

 

lonely, upset, tired.

 

I know I shouldn’t quomplain,

 

but I do.

 

Q?

 

 

 

 

 

© Anne Westlund

 

 

 

 

 

  • Ekphrasis / Picture Poem

 

 

 

An Ekphrasis or Picture Poem is a poem inspired by a work of art.  I was inspired by Visual 5, a collage by Lin Neiswender.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visit to the Beauty Shop

 

 

 

 

 

Like a chorus of blondes

 

they tell me my hair is fried

 

from at-home color

 

 

 

These hairdressers

 

all perfectly coiffed

 

like angels of desire

 

swoop in and mutter over

 

my split ends

 

 

 

In need of proper maintenance,

 

conditioning and decent upstanding

 

expensive $$ permanent color

 

 

 

I don’t know whether to laugh

 

or cry

 

 

 

I’ll stick to my box color

 

I’ll stick to my free hair cuts

 

thank you very much!

 

 

 

The choir shrieks off-key

 

paling against the vagaries

 

of economy

 

 

 

So much for a “free” consultation

 

 

 

I don’t leave a tip.

 

 

 

 

 

© Anne Westlund

 

 

 

 

 

Please check out the Muse Online Writers Conference and sign up for next year’s conference here: http://themuseonlinewritersconference.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

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Saleema and Persona poems

On February 5, I introduced Saleema, one of our workshop winners. I noted that Saleema was a winner in our Persona category. Today I’d like to share that winning poem with you, as well as a follow up poem she has since shared with us. In a Persona, the poet writes in the voice of another person or thing. As you’ll see below, Saleema really immersed herself in this challenge.

I choose Jalāl ad-Dīn Rumi, a 13th century Sufi poet, as the voice for the assignment.

Following is a short clip about Rumi and his teacher Shams Tabrizi:

Persian Miniature“Shams-i-Tabrīzī… is credited as the spiritual instructor of Mewlānā Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Balkhi, also known as Rumi. Shams is referenced with great reverence in Rumi’s poetic collection, Diwan-i Shams-i Tabrīzī (The Works of Shams of Tabriz).

According to contemporary Sufi tradition, Shams Tabrizi mysteriously disappeared. Some say he was killed by close disciples of Mewlānā Jalāl ad-Dīn Rumi, who were jealous of the close relationship between Rumi and Shams. It is also said that Shams Tabrizi left Konya and died in Khoy, where he was buried. Sultan Walad, Rumi’s son, in his Walad-Nama mathnawi, just mentions that Shams mysteriously disappeared from Konya with no more specific details.

As the years passed, Rumi attributed more and more of his own poetry to Shams as a sign of love for his departed friend and master. In Rumi’s poetry Shams becomes a symbol of God’s love for mankind; Shams was a sun (“Shams” means “Sun” in Persian) shining the Light of God on Rumi.”

[Above Information is from Wikipedia]

Note: I used the speakers name (Jalāl ad-Dīn) at the end of the poem, because Sufi poets often mention their own names in their poetry.

My Sun

The night we met the full moon winked
You etched your heart onto my soul
We whirled like the planets in the sky
Your wine washed my stumbling feet
Each spin swept a part of me away

The day you left my heart’s sun set
Heaviness haunted every breath
Your prayer carpet felt forlorn
Bereft I twirled, alone, undone
Your guidance quit
without a glance, a hint, a word

Yet, while I longed for your return
Piece by piece
my heart began to burn
Whispered words thundered
through my throbbing core
Would you raise me above the sky,
then hide a Sun that lights the way?

No! Shams would not abandon
what he loves
A mother caringly shares her breast
when she hears her hungry child cry
Neglect is not my Shams’ way
So, I will surrender to your whim
Let all think Jalāl ad-Dīn’s alone again

Like a possum I’ll play dead
while your songs ring louder than before
with words so clear they’ll shutter nights
in notes that tell of all you taught
The Divan-i Shams-i Tabrizi
Takes me to untraveled heights
Where in the One, all reunite

Shams’ earthen form
Our Beloved’s ruse
Led Jalāl ad-Dīn Rumi to Eternal Truth

By Saleema E. Giltinan 10-12-2012

The following poem was written as Sham’s answer to the poem written in Rumi’s voice (about Shams’ leaving).

NOTE: The dervish Shams-e Tabrizi had traveled throughout the Middle East searching and praying for someone who could “endure my company”.Shams Tabrizi
A voice said to him, “What will you give in return?”
Shams replied, “My head!” The voice then said,
“The one you seek is Jalal ud-Din Rumi, of Konya.”

(Wikipedia/Mawlana and Shams by Sefik Can)

Al Noor: One of the 99 Name of Allah meaning Light, Enlightment
Al Mumeet: One of the 99 Names of Allah meaning “the bringer of death”.
The esoteric meaning of this Name is: The bringer of the first death,
the death to the world of illusion,
the death of the idea of separation and duality. Also known as “die before you die”.
Al Haqq: One of the 99 Names of Allah meaning “Truth, Reality”.

The Leaving  (In Sham’s Voice)
by Saleema E. Giltinan  (Copyright @ 12-12-2012)

Our yearning drew me back again
Al Noor revealed
Clandestine sight
We twirled, then rested
in Its sparks

Only you endured
my company
Reveled in my
sacred subtleties

Mumit’s roasting pot…
too bright for foes
One birth, one death,
that’s all they know

Our friendship fueled
Konya’s ire
Only holy hands
caress Love’s fire

My ways softened
as they stung
you alone coddled
my striking tongue

Affinity plants fondness
in earthy ground
I watched the leaving
lurk around

Quickening happened
You began to soar
Our destiny
at last fulfilled

Then time asked me
to pay the price
My head
a tumbled garnet gneiss

I turned to powder
in His hands
His breath sent me
where He willed

Separation plays
an ugly game
Al Haqq destroys
disquieting claims

My absence lit
your cooking pot
You died before death
tied its knot

Now whirl my son
His Light is Mine
Our steps are One
Our paths entwined

Spin until we are no more!

Thank you again, Saleema, for really embracing this form, and for allowing us to share your work here.

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Meet Carla Girtman


Carla lives in Central Florida with her family and three cats (who claim they write better than she does). She has been writing since sixth grade (and
image00still has most of her handwritten work in a box somewhere), but didn’t really have anything formally published until 1996 when her story “Me? I’m No Writer” was published in the Phoenix (Valencia Community College) magazine. She received her BA in English in 2000 and her MA in Technical Writing in 2005.

When she isn’t working undercover at an international airport or teaching online, she manages to write speculative flash fiction and especially enjoys writing microflash. Her flash stories have been published in Clockwise Cat, Flashshot, Demonic Tome, Flashes in the Dark, Short Humor Site, Blink Ink, 101 Fiction, and her work has appeared in two print anthologies, The Zombie Cookbook and Vicious Verses and Reanimated Rhymes. Carla is spearheading the anthology: Midnight Tarot: A Fool’s Journey; Mermaids, Zombies, and Vampires – O My! A collection of published and new fiction; and Fits and Starts: 102 Prompts For Story Inspiration. Carla has participated in the  National Novel Writing Month four successful times. Her first Nano novel When Elves Return has actually sold copies she didn’t buy herself.

She doesn’t really consider herself a poet and generally writes when the Muse stabs her with a pen.  Her poem, “When God Awakens,” appeared in The Corner Club Press and the poem “The Ring” found a home in Dark and Dreary Magazine. Her friend Linda, got her involved with the Muse Poetry Workshop which she helped develop the participant’s workbook. Carla mostly lurked in the Muse Conference due to restraints of grading 15 thousand-word rough drafts for her online composition class. Her favorite part of the Muse Conference was working with the Poetic Muselings and creating the workbook! She also enjoyed creating an aragman poem which did get into the workshop, and of course, it was about cats.

What kind of advice would she give to writers and poets? Set aside a regular time to devote to writing. (She’s also not very good at taking her own advice!) Don’t be afraid of rejection or be discouraged by it. A word written today is one less written tomorrow.

She enjoys reading, watching movies, and collecting antique books and the McDonald’s Madame Alexander miniature dolls.

Below are some poems that I have written.

Alarm! Tracing
the cat who hides
Alarm! Crating
The cat who snarls and yowls.
Alarm! Carting
The cat to the vet.

Alarm! Cat grin!

Aragman for the Muse Conference Poetry Workshop

Break Up

Upon the tin roof
Rain drums its tantrum.
Silver pillows of clouds
mound the sky.

Flashes of lightning
Flit like knives of firelightning
Following the trail
To where my love lies.

Charting the storm
Which roils my heart,
I weep from loss
And wait for dawn.

(Photo is from Microsoft word’s clip art file.)
Poem was inspired by specific words for an anthology and was eventually withdrawn.

To the Young Mummy Recently Found

Atop an ancient volcano
Buried hundreds of years agoAtop
In a sanctuary shrouded in ice
a girl child was found below.
What thoughts went through your head
When to the altar led
To become the sacrifice?

Photograph by Maria Stenzel/NGS

Were you proud or full of dread?
You were ten, maybe twelve years old
Too young to shed your innocent blood.
The priests had hoped it would suffice
And appease their angry god.

You were frozen and preservedyou were frozen
Your body to the god reserved.
Only once again to become a sacrifice
On the altar of science to be observed
And solve the riddle that would show
Why was a young novice
Buried hundreds of years ago
Atop an ancient volcano.

Photograph by Natacha Pisarenko/AP

Written for UCF poetry class inspired by a news story. Glose form.

Pictures found on http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/09/photogalleries/mummy-pictures/photo6.html


Shadow of Demons

With shadows of dread
In stillness dark, I alone
wrestle the demons.

Haiku – poetry group challenge

Ocean Song Ocean Song
Under the window, near the sea
Trembling lip sings sad stories
By mermaids who pluck strings
Of harps against a bare shoulder.
I sit by the window, bow against fiddle
Harmonize with the mermaid’s harp
Joining songs. Seductive dreams
Invade my sleep until morning’s rays
Chase the splash of a fish tail
Beneath the ocean’s wave.

Photograph by Carla Girtman


Published in issue one “use these words” 2008. Specific words were required.

Why A Cat StaysWhy a cat stays

Languid, fluid, aloof
Basking in sunshine
Nothing is required
From a cat.

Limp, boneless
A puddle of fur
Lying in the shaft of light
Streaming from a window.

Nothing is required
From a cat.
Not even affection.

Which can be doled out
At the cat’s whim.
It may come – or not  when called
When called.

Regal, royal, proud
A hunter with quiet steps
To pounce on a prey
Unexpectedly.

Nothing is required
From a cat.
Nor does it ask for
Anything.

So why does the cat stay?
It knows a good thing
When it sees it.image07

Inspired by a poetry group challenge. Included in an altered book submitted in art contest which won first place. 

Photographs by Carla Girtman

 

Meet Kitty Barton, Author and Emerging Poet

Today we’re delighted to have Catrina (Kitty) Barton join us. Kitty became a new Moderator during the 2012 Muse Conference, and was an active member of our Poetry Workshop. She considers herself more of an author than poet, but we recognized the lyrical quality of some of her writing, and the depth of emotion in several of her poems, so we believe she can proudly wear the title of Poet, too.

Kitty Barton

Catrina Barton is a real go-getter, who turned her avid reading addiction into a vigorous passion for writing. Especially Young Adult Romances. She draws on her knowledge as a Kung-Fu Instructor to make her fight scenes both realistic, and action packed.

When not indulging her fertile imagination to craft stories for your reading pleasures, she enjoys hiking with her family, and amateur belly dancing.

Her love of writing, and her family, rival by her exhilaration from helping fellow writers. She is a proud member of many writing and marketing groups, an active participant at Critique Circle, and several other crit groups.

She’s sharing three poems. The first two were written before the work shop. The final on was written during the workshop, during the Persona Poem exercise. Enjoy her poems and comments, below.

My one, my only

Cold and lonely was my life
Lost in darkness knowing only strife
Forever to drown in sorrow and shame
Until into my life you came
Appearing before me pure as a dove
To show and teach me a miracle called love
Never again will I be lonely
Thanks to you, my one, my only.

Only Bliss

Surrounded by mist
We dance and twist
Our bodies in tune
Beneath the moon
Both in our prime
In a rhythm old as time
Entangled like this
We know only bliss

Persona Poem:

My computer

I sit before you each day, watch you staring at me but we never play.
You use me to play with others but never give me a passing thought,
unless I act up and then you’re annoyed.
Show me some love and help fill my void.

 Kitty says:

I adored the variety of enlightening workshops and have applied all of the lessons I learned to my writing since them. {Especially to my upcoming novel release} I enjoyed meeting so many awesome people, who are as passionate about writing, reading, and helping others as I am.

I am a published author since June of 2012. First full length novel due out the end of March.

Words of wisdom: Do not miss the next Muse Online Conference. 🙂

Favorite personal quote:

“An author cannot grow without both constructive criticism and encouragement.”

My blog for writers: KittyB78.wordpress.com/

Other Social Media Links:
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6423796.Catrina_Barton
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KittyB78
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Kittyb78

Make Visible: Jennifer Ruth Jackson

From the shadows of the Muse Online Writers Conference emerges an outstanding poet, Jennifer Ruth Jackson.  We were delighted to have these particular poets in our poetry class at the conference.  They all displayed enthusiasm and grace in tackling new forms.

Without further ado, here is Jennifer Ruth Jackson:

Who I am

 

            My name is Jennifer Ruth Jackson.  I’m a wife, writer, crafter, and murderer of stick figures.  I have written poetry most of my life and short fiction is climbing up there.  I love horror/fantasy but am not tied to any genre.  My work is forthcoming/published in Strange Horizons, Paper Nautilus, Kaleidoscope Magazine, and more.  Oh, and I’m disabled.

 

The Muse Online Writers Conference

 

I believed, at first, the Poetic Muselings were playing a joke on us conference newbies.  A poem based on anagrams.  Sure, right, uh huh.  Then we’re supposed to describe them in alternating lines.  Good one, ladies!  Oh, wait, they weren’t joking.  Crud.

I wasn’t the most cheerful attendee when the first homework assignment came at us.  Usually, I enjoy playing with different poetic forms but this one seemed so, restrictive.  I didn’t think I was even going to make it through.  But, I did.  I found words that worked and tinkered around until it sat fairly well.  And then I let everyone share their thoughts on it with me.  That is where things really began to shine.

The people who worked with me and for me during that workshop (and entire conference) were the best assets to the whole operation.  I received incredible feedback, met people much more talented and insightful than myself, tried new things, and got what everyone has always told me a “great conference is supposed to give”.  I even found a new writing partner.

I took multiple workshops (and lurked in others) and was always surprised by how much there was to take in.  The offerings were so numerous that I never lacked for something to do.   If you attend this year, you are certain to see me there.

 

My Writing Advice

 

I can’t tell you anything you haven’t already heard but, if I have to repeat something, it had better be something darn good and something I apply to my own life/craft.

So, here it is:  Be true.  True to your readers who are looking for the wounds, the passion, the excitement, the connection to something larger than themselves.  True to your writing by creating worlds that resonate with you and don’t just chase a trend.  And, hardest of all, be true to yourself and every messy, silly, embarrassing, enchanting thing that comes with it.

Pandora’s Jar

My mystery kept her up all hours.
While her husband slept oblivious,
she caressed my contours with gentle hands.
Her breath, excited in the darkness,
shot through me like an arrow of misery.
Evils stirred inside me with every touch.
Sick, slimy things that snaked through me
whispered, “Soon”.

I struggled against the drowning panic,
knowing one day she’d hold the key
and release everything I tried to keep inside.
Realization and dread would finally quell
her innocent curiosity gone awry,
with only hope to comfort her kind.

But I miss the nights of being hers, just the same.

Mary Harrsch Pandora

Darkness Reign

Dark genre sins
dance beneath moon and pen
Raking redness
across a million backs
And regress ink

to smeared, wet syllables

 

Designers rank

Stephane GinerDarkGenre

Passage

 

Spinning straw to silk

Spindle golden needle thread

Once unrelenting

Through patient hands, steady wheel

To become butterfly wings

BarbaraHobbs

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

Spotlight on Saleema

Today we are featuring another of our Muse Conference workshop participants. During the week of our workshop, we challenged poets to write three different forms. We chose winners for each, and Saleema’s “My Sun” was clearly one of the best in the Persona form.

We are happy to have Saleema joining us today, to look back on her experience during the Muse Con, and share some of her poetry. And now I’m going to turn the floor over to her.

Mary

On the Muse Conference experience

You asked me what I liked about [the Muse Online Writers Conference].  I have to say everything.  The conference is full of talented, generous writers, who go out of their way to be helpful and share their skills.  I must admit that the poetry workshop took up most of my time this year.  I’m not one of those poets who likes to write quickly.  I often get inspirations, write them out in my notebook, and then type the notes (my rough draft) on the computer. After all this, I begin to sculpt the poem.  I edit, tweak, research, and edit some more. For me writing is a quiet, internal process that even my humorous poems go through.   So, given my immersion in anything I write, it’s always a challenge finding enough time to participate in all the conference workshops that catch my interest.  The Muse Conference is boiling over with gallons and gallons of things to do, to learn, to write, to comment on, to correct, etc.   It’s a wonderful whirlwind of activity and learning.  So, I would have to say that the hardest thing about the Muse Conference for me, is having to accept that there’s only 24 hours in a day, and then pick my workshops very carefully.  I’m so grateful that Lea keeps the forums up, so I can go back and catch up on everything I missed.  That extra time gives us all the opportunity to work at our own pace and keep learning after the conference has officially ended.  I enjoy my catch-up time in the forums almost as much as the conference.

The 2012 Conference was the first one to offer a weeklong poetry workshop… and it was fantastic!  The critiques were great, and the spot on comments really helped me take my writing to another level.   The assignments were enjoyable, though I have to admit, I ended up getting engrossed in the one that asked us to write a poem in another’s voice.  I could have spent the entire workshop delving into that assignment.  It was such fun and really helped me recognize the intricacies of my own voice.  Actually, I’m still experimenting with that form.

I can say, in all honesty, that the Muse Poetry Workshop was one of the best I’ve ever taken.  The level of feedback from the moderators and the workshop attendees was professional and insightful.

A Sample of Poetry by Saleema E. Giltinan

Wearers of Wool

Living in the mountainssunset
far from the tower of Babel,
Peak Dwellers fly to the sun
gathering beams to shine
in the valley of snows.
Their points of view glow
with eternal verities
that enlighten all
who wish to see.

Who’s in Control?

Thoughts jump like frogsfrog
plunging, swimming, floating
in deep and shallow ideas.
They are like TV shows
and radio broadcasts.

When their production
turns into a horror fest,
a fear mongering symphony,
or ridiculous repetitions,
simply change the channel.

Cultivating Change

Delve like a mole,
dig deep, deep, deeper;
tunnel through the soil
of elemental thought.
Craft passageways;
some will curve or spiral,
others will be straight
with narrow paths.
Roots of conditioning
groan, as you
toss them aside
Dig, dig, dig, far below
surface appearances.
Remember, when you’re
tired, respite can be found
in the silent spaces
between your thoughts.

Universe Infinity

Universe Infinity

About Saleema

Saleema E. Giltinan

Saleema E. Giltinan

Education: I have a Master’s Degree in Psychology and a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work.

I’ve traveled extensively and spent several years living in India, journaling and studying eastern spiritual traditions.  I have been a spiritual teacher for over twenty-five years.  My favorite writing genre is poetry, although I also write inspirational non- fiction.   My spiritual path inspires my poems.  I enjoy writing poetry because metaphors and poetic stories provide a wonderful format to express spiritual concepts.  The language of symbols is expansive and can speak to many different levels of consciousness.  I love mixing symbols with practical day-to-day experiences as I craft my poems.

Publications:  Other Sheep Magazine published one of my poems.  I actually met the editor at the 2011 Muse Conference, pitched the poem, and got it published.

Thank you, Saleema, for taking our workshop, for the courage to share and grow, and for joining us here on our blog.

If you missed it, read the first post in our workshop participants series.

Mary Butterfly Signature

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Meet Melanie Hamilton, Our Muse Conference Moderator

Every October, we engage in a week-plus of utter madness and frenetic activity with the Muse Online Writers Conference —  a free, international event filled with close to forty hours of real-time live online chat-format workshops, plus dozens and dozens of forum workshops on various aspects of writing, editing, web presence, and much more.

Those who attend are involved for about ten days of action. Behind the scenes, however, a group of about thirty members of the ModSquad handle ALL the bits that make the event possible. These are the chat moderators and forum facilitators; coordinators of schedule, presentations, handouts; handlers of registration problems and lost people. They help the presenters figure out how to use the system, do all the foot-work to see that everyone who is supposed to pitch to one of the publishers or agents makes it to the right place at the right time.

The ModSquad is like the 7/8ths of the iceberg you don’t see — the part that supports the gorgeous crags that leave you breathless.

The Poetic Muselings taught a weeklong forum workshop, plus three hours of live chat-workshops, during the Oct. 2012 Muse Conference. We had a blast, met some amazing poets, and helped connect a few to form their own critique group. During the month of February, we are honored to introduce some of these poets, and present work they did during that week, as we explored poetic forms and followed inspiration.

We lead off our series with Melanie Hamilton, who handled Moderator and Facilitator duties for the Poetic Muselings, as well as for several other presenters. Melanie kept us calm, organized, taught most of the group how to do what was needed to function, which made my job as Head Moderator much easier, since I could concentrate on the major fires, and didn’t have to worry about our workshop.

Melanie, we thank you for your courage to share, wild sense of humor, and all that you did for us. We are delighted you agreed to join us here on the Poetic Muselings blog. Congratulations on rediscovering your other creative talents, like the photo, below.

Michele
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Highlighting Pleasure

A single finger
sweeps across my skin
friction releasing me
mote by mote

A focused thumb
presses me down
while fingers stroke
highlighting “pleasure”

M. Hamilton 1

Girls’ Love

You found out I kissed her
Pressed my lips against hers
Felt her teeth, hard and sharp
Innocent.

You found out I laid on her
My body long and thin
Felt her ribs, hard and round
Innocent.

You found out I wanted her
and placed me
behind the garden wall still
Innocent.

 

About Me

I am round soft
I love deep warm
I laugh bright loud
I dance easy liquid
I sing dark low
I touch strong light
I see true clear
I speak straight craftM. Hamilton 2
I dream wide new

do not think me
gentle for all that

I am strong
I love fierce
I laugh wicked
I dance raw
I sing blue
I touch hard
I see truth
I speak Yes!
I dream the world right

 

My name is Melanie Hamilton and I can usually be found as MMV Hamilton. I do have other personas on the net. Meham and Meela are the usual alter egos. I’ve been writing all my life. I remember writing something about a bunny in third grade, and writing stories and poems when asked. I started writing poems more seriously as a teen but circumstances intervened and I stopped. Stopped writing except in journals.

Decades passed while I tried to figure out what kind of writing I wanted to settle on, until I finally gave in and started playing Dungeons and Dragons. I was forty-something. That is when it all came together and I was introduced to Nanowrimo. In the meantime, I stumbled across a local class Writing as a Form of Healing. The class is based on the work of Pat Schneider. She created the Amherst Writers and Artists group which supports the voices of everyone. Their premise is that we tell stories so we are all writers. While I was about four novel drafts into Nanowrimo, this class had the effect of freeing my poet’s voice again.

Two years taking workshops with Savvy Authors has yielded a portfolio of short stories and lots of confidence in my prose writing. From Savvy Authors I followed a few of the workshop teachers over to the Muse Online Conference and fell in love! Almost at once I wanted to be part of something larger than just writing. I found my opportunity becoming a novice moderator.

What an amazing experience. The intensity of coralling, I mean gathering teachers and students into a learning environment that is both fun and informative feeds the part of writing that I don’t get to experience often. Helping.

By day, I work as a home-care LVN working in a family with a special needs child and her sister. OK let’s call it what it is—specialized babysitting! Some days it’s just one long play date. Others it’s rescuing a family from stresses they were not expecting waiting for their first child.

I’m getting close to retirement and I know that some of what I receive from half a lifetime of helping must go with me. I am hoping that writing and my writing communities will give me that. Meanwhile, I write, with fellow Savvy members, on our blog The Speculative Salon (http://speculativesalon.blogspot.com/) and am getting my shorts portfolio ready for submissions. I’ve had micro success being published so far. Micro Horror took my Zombie Walk story and Apollo’s Lyre received my shorter short, a six-word story both thanks to the tuteledge of Jim Harrington.

Flash fiction is close to poetry, the link between poetry and the longer forms of story and novel. I like the shorter pieces because they are satisfying to complete and give me the opportunity to investigate aspects of the novel worlds I build that don’t fit into the larger work. They let me world build through characters. A little like playing Dungeons and Dragons again.

 

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