Bad poetry = better prose?

I’ve been doing a lot of writing since the kidlets started school. Of course, not all of it is good (or even passable) writing.

If you’re a writer, you have probably heard the oft-repeated idea of getting your “shitty first draft” committed to paper (or tablet or phone or whatever means you use to write). There’s a lot of merit to that, as writing well, for most of us, requires quite a bit of mucking through the mental swamp-fog and pasting up more than a few cruddy turns of phrase, mixed metaphors, or inane plots.

So, in addition to being involved in the GreatWashington_Crossing_the_Delaware_by_Emanuel_Leutze,_MMA-NYC,_1851 SinusInfluColdergy of September 2015—a personal battle, to be sure—I have been producing some bad poetry and reading some much more interesting stuff. There again, I am hoping that mucky, funky poetry is the gateway to better (badder?) prose.

Although I am way behind in reading blogs, and I miss them “somethin tur’ble” as some of my relatives are ‘like’ to say, I also have had the great pleasure to beta-read a friend’s fantasy novel. I will be excited to unveil that, I’m hoping, in the next few months.

What about you? Would you like to share what you’ve been reading (or writing, for that matter)?

Lastly, in my readings whilst slumped in bed with a ton of tissues, I’ve also been dipping into literary short stories, in a collection called Contemporary West Coast [of the United States] Stories. I have to say, several are “razors pain you” good; in my estimation, those are at the forefront of the book, by Richard Ford, Joyce Carol Oates, Tobias Wolff, and Amy Tan. (You know, the usual suspects!) I’ve not read all the stories in this collection, but several of the others left me underwhelmed with their tepid endings.

Speaking of the opposite of winning, let’s round this out with some amateur poetry (#amwriting). After all, it’s a Tuesday. (And it’s five o’clock somewhere!)

Living in borrowed bones

Begrudge the birds

their unmarrowed bones,

unmoored, not holding onto

words—that way you insert ‘n’ in smattering

or songs—“Reveries of a Girl”—

all that “in”-ness.

Lost to light, loft.

Moments grounded

then gone.

Perhaps we are not

so different.

Each in borrowed

body

Mortality ribbed

with tines:

Here is the church

Here is the steeple

Open up the doors

Here’re all the people.

Each heart, a hand:

a wing

unfolding.

Push through the bars

sealed by goodbyes,

slough off lacings

of regret and love.

Buoyed by light threads

lifting.

Bunnies with Bombs: A Year (and Then Some) of Writing Dangerously

Bunnies with bombs_rotated

“Bunnies with bombs,” she says; I say: like a good book!

I write rough. And judging by the spate of rejections in the last 8 months, quite rough.

But this post is not about that. It’s my 100th post—pop the literary corks, y’all—and I’m reflecting on the past year and five months that I’ve been blogging on WordPress.

First and foremost, I thank you all again for being here.

Suffice it to say, I never expected to get to this destination. This writing-and-sharing-my-angst depot is a surprise, but a welcome one.

I never expected you wonderful 200-odd folks to trip the lines, occasionally fantastic, along with me, from my first few tenuous, nonfiction baby-blogging steps into full-blown fiction and what turned out to be a serial novella, called “Undelivered Valentines.”

My nebulous goal, I can safely say—to write more regularly and, moreover, to take gut-twisting chances with my fiction (and the occasional poem or nonfiction piece), including submitting it to applicable publications and contests—has been achieved, gang-busters.

Spooling through my Submittable account (one of the leaders in content-submission systems for fiction and poetry writers—hint, hint—along with others like the up-and-coming publishing platform Medium), which nevertheless doesn’t embrace all the legwork that I’ve done, I see I’ve submitted to at least 10 publications and/or contests since late November 2014, which exceeds what I’ve been able to do in the past, working within only a wedge of part-time. Several times, I’ve tried the same market; I haven’t pitched the same piece each time, but I have re-submitted. You know what they say about not succeeding the first time . . .

Speaking of submissions and rejections: if you are a writer, are you making time to resubmit your work? See Damyanti’s provocatively titled “Do You Submit Like a Man?” for inspiration.

That said, I have even had the good graces to not submit a piece but be approached to have a poem appear (titled “Bivalve’s Love Song”) in a literary magazine. This time, it was in Grammar Ghoul Press’ spring 2015 issue of The Ghouls’ Review.

Along the way, I have received numerous and invaluable feedback moments from editors, guest readers, beta readers, and many among you. I have also done a good deal of reading, although a person can never do enough of that! How does a writerly gal get so lucky?

toasting-image-blogiversary

Yep, I’ve left it all on the page and now am hollow. Time for a story re-fill!

In short, my year-and-almost-a-half blogging has been “bunnies with bombs,” a phrase suggested by my thoughtful and funny daughter (who has not, by the way, seen “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” or its rabbit of Caerbannog). I suppose it’s fitting, as my Chinese astrological sign is that of the {presumed creative} rabbit. (All in good fun, my fellow STEAM-loving friends!) So, something agile and prolific linked to something painful, life-changing, and even lethal, making for quite a novel combination. Yep, that pretty much sums up what writing fiction and nonfiction (and drama and poetry, for that matter) require. Blood on the keyboard, tornadoes in the brain, tears on the cheeks, and vim, vinegar, and perseverance in the veins.

And so, a final toast: here’s to many more years, friends.

Let’s do what you fear most,/That from which you recoil/but which still makes your eyes moist.–attributed to Lou Reed

Share Your World: Week 32, The Supermoon Edition

Share Your World bannerI thought it might be nice, for a change, to blog about me, assuming I’m nice, which of course is a big assumption. So, in the absence of protests to the contrary, here goes with Cee’s weekly Share Your World (SYW) challenge, with an ultimately far-out flavor to it . . .

  1. Do you prefer ketchup or mustard? Um, I have a near-addiction to light agave syrup, as well as the myriad of spices used in Indian, Greek, and Middle-Eastern foods. That said, it depends on what’s being eaten, as to what needs to be covered. I still remember — and am wholly guilty of the food crime mentioned in — that childhood ditty “don’t drown your food.”
  2. If someone made a movie of your life would it be a drama, a comedy, a romantic-comedy, action film, or science fiction? Yes. At one time or another, all of the aforementioned, with documentary, spoof, fantasy, horror flick, B-movie, and musical thrown in for good measure.
  3. If you could be given any gift what would it be? A tough one! Can I wiggle out of it and say je ne sais quoi? No? Okay, then: Foresight, which would likely turn out to be a Trojan horse. Failing that, a supply of self-confidence to not be unwarrantedly cocky yet to still leave the world a better place than when I entered it.
  4. For potlucks or parties do you cook it yourself, buy from a grocery store, or pay for catering? I’ve never given a big or formal party myself, so I’ve never done catering (in the event I could afford it!). Sorry to qualify all these questions, but it really depends on the context. The better I know the people and their preferences and/or allergies or food adventuresomeness, probably the more likely I am to make something of my own rather than grocery-store it. I have a great Indian-inspired spaghetti bread I’m dying to perfect and share with the world, but more accessible dishes are my sausage-stuffing muffins (for those who AREN’T watching their diets, who do have a “cheat day,” and/or who are NOT vegans or vegetarians) or my Greek-based orzo & spinach salad.
  5. Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? I know I used this in a previous SYW, so it’s an oldie, but it’s also a good goodie. I’m grateful to still be experiencing life, warts and all. I’ve been doing some writing, but on the main it’s been pretty angry stuff (for reasons I won’t bore you with, August is overall a historically cruddy month for me personally); this creative famine follows on the heels — wish I could say heals, Freudian key-slip style — of the feast of a couple weeks ago when I had three or more posts in a single week. Today’s SYW post floats and then gently sets me down at 61. Poet extraordinaire Vic Briggs nomenclatures this ebb-and-flow creative process in terms of “the storm passes, the energy . . . recedes.” (Well-said, my friend!) Honestly, as to looking forward, there are several things in the aether I’m grabbing at: visiting with my friend, who herself is journeying into town from Arizona; writing a joy list, à la Chris Donner’s fabulous open-ended post on “Joy Is . . .”; exiting the draggin’ wagon in terms of blog- and other reading and commenting (like for my BBC Book Club); school starting for one of the kidlets (I love the “youngins,” but I also know they need time away from me to gain independence and so forth); catching up on some weeding and yardwork; doing some un-angry writing; and tackling some technical things like setting up a Facebook page and re-doing or adding a page here on the blog to purtify it. 🙂

And now, something else to be grateful for, some far-out supermoon stuff (wouldn’t mega-moon sound better? it alliteratively appeals to my sometimes tinny ear) . . .

DragonEye Supermoon

Image by me — & Photoshopped, unexpertly, to sharpen, bring out contrast, & brighten — of the Aug. 10, 2014, #supermoon. Really wish I were a better photographer & had better night exposure ability. Dumbly, I also didn’t use a tripod, other than my knees. The exposure is about 5 seconds. Had hoped you could see how the moon looks (to me, anyway) like a dragon’s eye & all the altocumulus clouds (I’m guessing, but please correct me, meteorologists)  looked like individual scales around the dragon’s eye. Anyway, it was cool to see an astronomical phenomenon like the supermoon, & I am grateful for that. For more on the supermoon (thank goodness it’s not dubbed the perigean moon supersized, for acronymization!), EarthSky is one great resource.

 

 

 

Share Your World: Week 10

Yours truly, me, moi, I, me, mine. I tend to shy away from talking about myself a lot here on the blog, because the focus is on fiction, the occasional poesy or parody piece, and even more occasionally, photography. However, I enjoy Cee Neuner’s “Share Your World” challenges. Mostly because I’m able to extrovert myself into the blogosphere and “meet”—emphasis on “e,” for electronic—people from around the world, from various cultures and prisms of perspectives. Three cheers for the blogosphere! I encourage you to take part in the festivities at Share Your World and the ironically famed Club Introvert.

So, without further ado . . . once more into the breach, friends:

Describe yourself in a word that starts with the first letter of your name.

Linguistic. On my worse days, by turns lackadaisical or laissez-faire. Lacerating, laconic, or lugubrious on my worst days. [Why one word when you can use 5,001? Hyperbole, anyone? It tastes better than a trillion little suns shining.]

L&KidsEffex

The kidlets & me in my running duds (a.k.a., everyday clothes)

If 100 people your age were chosen at random, how many do you think you’d find leading a more satisfying life than yours?

Since satisfaction is seated within the self, I can’t say how many people truly, in guarded moments, find their lives satisfying. I know the polls indicate that Americans seem to be the least satisfied of peoples. For myself, I am pretty lucky to have weathered some electrical storms, survived several soul-poisonings from various toxic folks in the world, and come through it to be granted (or have won and earned?) the love of my husband, children, and a few precious friends and family. Pressed to guesstimate, I’d say only about 7-15 people have a “more satisfying” life.

If you were a tree, would you become a book or furniture? Please describe.

First, I’d want to stay a tree. Alive. Life always matters very much (plants included). That said, if I had to be “dead,” I’d want to be a book in my household. My husband knows how to conserve and bind books, so I know no matter how broken-down I became, I’d be treated with the care of a gentle progenitor. Failing that, I would want to be a single sheet of paper in my household; I have a religious fervor for reusing scraps of paper to write everything from poetry to microfiction to grocery lists. And then, I’d get typed and recycled, so I could last—in some form—for a long time, for future usefulness. Call me the Energizer bunny of writing instruments.

You are trapped in an elevator, who would you want to be trapped with?

If a living person . . . First, my husband, though I know that seems boring (sans kids; sorry sweeties!). But it gets more exciting. We would of course create a time-traveling elevator and, never mind Bill and Ted, pick up some fascinating folks from the past and/or present. If I had to limit myself to, oh, about 25 or so from all professions, times, and cultures . . . but I won’t do that to your eyes. For the sake of your reading pleasure, I will mention only a couple handfuls: William Shakespeare, Flannery O’Connor, T.S. Eliot, Abigail Adams (gotta remember the ladies), Carl Sagan, Salvador Dali, Homer or Sophocles, a random Middle or Upper Paleolithic person (not Lower Paleolithic, so as to be able to communicate with him/her better), Stephen King, Peter Gabriel, Siddhartha Gautama (“the Buddha”), and Alfred Hitchcock. Otherwise, dang, it’s gonna have to be a time-traveling cargo elevator.

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I am grateful for being alive and being loved. I hope for more of both this week. 🙂