Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Word for Poetry Friday

It's that time again!  A word to use for Poetry Friday.  Come Friday, make a post, a list, a poem, a drawing and post it up on your blog, webpage, facebook page etc.  Then leave a comment here or tweet it using the #poetryfridayword!

What is the word you ask?  In honor of my excruciatingly aching muscles, the word is sore.  I hope to see some fun stuff out there.  And spread the word.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It's Tuesday - Ten Things

So I've seen this Ten Things Tuesday for a long time.  Thinking back, I can't recall having ever done one.  Well, why not?

1.   It's amazing how the idea of gathering ten random thoughts has rendered my brain incapable of having any thoughts.  What is that? (Actually, that's number one, that's what that is!)

2.  I tried my hand at making a tiered, layered, decorated cake this weekend for a family birthday party.  It tasted great.  It looked, I'll say cute, but I will never be a professional cake decorator.  I'll stick to writing.

3.  I've been grappling with my current manuscript and how dark I can go in a kids' book.  Neil Gaiman is a master at this.  I however, constantly question whether I'm being too bubble gum, so I let myself go dark the way I'm inclined and then wonder if I've gone too far.  Dilemmas.

4.  I hate peripheral noise.  I'm no good at writing when there is a flurry of activity happening in my vicinity.  I can't even listen to music with words while writing - most of the time.  I like to immerse myself in the story, it washes out the physical world.  But when the physical world forces its way back in, it irritates me.

5.  Holiday crafting is in full swing.  I've got 25 days of advent to finish preparing, and gifts to make.  I'm running late as usual.  It wouldn't be any fun if I wasn't rushed right?  Right?

6.  I have a wish list for Santa: a better year in 2012.  It's a short list.

7.  I might also want an iMac.  But I'm thinking the short list is enough for Santa to handle.

8.  It is raining.  It is almost December and it is raining.  I realize that by February I'm going to be sick of snow and counting the weeks (yes weeks) until it stops snowing and melts away.  But right now, my Christmas heart wants snow, darnit.

9.  We've opened the vault of our Christmas movies.  OK we don't really have a vault, but we've allowed ourselves to start watching them now.  My two favorites that we own are The Elf and Love Actually.  Of course, the others are wonderful too.  What is your favorite Christmas movie?  I'm always looking for new ones to add to the collection.

10.  The kids and I were reading some of our winter and Christmas books.  Here are a couple of great books to read to your kids this time of year:  When Will It Snow by Marty Crisp (which apparently is no longer in print?),

 of course Dr. Suess's How the Grinch Stole Christmas,

one of our all time favorites by Margie Palatini Mooseltoe,

and for older kids I enjoy Gary Paulsen's Brian's Winter.

Lastly, this is a book that is not necessarily wintery or Christmasy but it always makes me think of Christmas: The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams.

Tell me some of your favorite books to read for the holiday season.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Poetry Friday: Exclusive

I remembered today that I used to post up audio of me reading these poems.  That was fun.  I'm thinking I might start making video readings of the poetry.  But for today, it is exclusively print.  Without further ado:

The Little Hammer

Here is a stone set on a stone
and a million others
building reverence where
men are still men.
An exclusive world of gray rooms and gray-haired
lords strolling in the confidence of
black.  Here is a stack of floors
holding all the sorrows of a city.
Here are the people caught
in all the nets of imperfection.

Here are the echoes of isolation.

Here the little hammer will fall.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Poetry Friday - words words words

I have my random word generator working as I type (read: husband).

I have been told the word for Friday is decreed as supercalifragilisticexpiali.... just kidding.

It is exclusive. Not as in only some people get to know the word, but as in, it is the word.  Spread it around.  Let's get some posts from lots of people.  Shoot me a comment here or twitter the link with #poetryfridayword (I've changed since #poetryfriday seems to be being used for someone else's friday poetry activities.  just so we know who we are, you see.)  Post a poem, drawing, honeydo list, prose - you can post up anything, include the word exclusive, post it on Friday and what do you know, you're in on Poetry Friday.

See you there.

P.S. it dawned on me that some people do not have blogs or would prefer to post up in different forums. Please - by all means.  Just give the link or tell where to find it.  Facebook, twitter, your own website, youtube video, get creative, heck make a commercial on the tele!  I'd love to see them all.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

On Understanding Grief and Happiness and Guilt - The Soup of Defeat

When we first encountered grief, it was a state of shock.  It was difficult to breathe.  It was difficult to accept that people everywhere were continuing to do things like work, play, eat meals, have normal days.  That passed.  Eventually we started working, playing, eating and having days without feeling like robots.  Then I remember the first time I laughed spontaneously.  I felt foreign to myself in that moment.  As time has passed, we have experienced happy moments, good days, waves of sadness, the gamut.

It's the happy days I find the hardest.  During the happy I get caught up in the happy.  But afterwards, the guilt creeps in.  I'm not supposed to be happy.  After all, we lost something so big that it stopped our lives for several months.  So with the guilt, I throw myself back into the grief.  Self-defeatist.

I would tell myself, I should be happy, I have kids who deserve a happy mom.  But they are words in my head and the guilt monster has a louder voice.  So the circle of the soup of defeat spins around me.  Each time though, I get a little bit better at being ok with happiness.  Happiness and I are getting to know each other again, starting anew.

In the end, I feel that the secret to grief is two things:  surrender and forgiveness.  When I surrender to my emotions I push through.  When I fight my emotions it is merely an exercise in clutching to them so tight, they can only pile up inside feeding the fire.  Forgiveness, I'd like to write about again in more depth, but the main thing here is to forgive anything that guilt tries to tsk tsk.  I can forgive me, and thumb my nose at guilt.  If there's one thing I love, it's the freedom to be stubborn.  I scorn guilt.  I invite happiness to cross my threshold, I'll enjoy its visit if I can.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

An Idea Sought and Found. Two TED Talks to Reinforce Belief in Humans

Often times you hear young or new writers being advised to write what you know, or write the book you want to read.  Excellent advice, fairly logical.  But writing doesn't just happen because you know certain things or love to read certain things.  Something more comes into play.  Ideas, original ideas.  After that the work begins, crafting the idea, prodding your characters to come into the limelight, learning to allow your characters to tell you their story, to interact with people naturally.  Often these ideas that start a story are more than one idea that have collided into each other and that lightbulb moment clicks.  Aha!

I am a big fan of Jane Austen.  I have read all of her well-known completed books.  I love them all.  I enjoy period movies, especially the Regency ones.  But I felt I could never write a Regency period book because they are basically romances and there's plenty of that already out there.  I needed something more original.  This has been lurking on the back-burner of my brain for years.  I left it there purposely, feeling that someday the right two ideas would meet and then I'd have a novel in the making.  The other day, two ideas crashed head on in my brain and I sat up in bed feverish to get notes down.  (I most often have these ideas in the wee hours of morning for some reason).  And now, added to my list of books in the queue is a Regency period which will of course be a romance (my first attempt at that genre to boot), but I am hoping to take it beyond the typical romance formula, push it further toward literary fiction.  We will see.

As a writer, I have learned never to throw out an idea all together.  You would not believe the amount of paper scraps, leather bound journals, and random documents in the computer, I have scattered throughout my existence with the slightest phrase or inkling jotted in them.  I keep them all.  I revisit them periodically.  Some of them turn into poems.  Some of them blossom into short stories or full novels.  So, I believe, no matter how terrible the idea seems, keep it.  Tuck it away.  Let your unconscious brain do the work of mulling on it, even if for years at a time.  You may never use it, but it may catapult you into some other idea, or it may one day throw itself on a train track and derail another thought, blending and meshing into the aha moment.

and now for something completely different:

a TED talk I love.
Charlie Todd: The shared experience of absurdity | Video on

I was planning to only post up one TED talk today but this one, you just have to watch:
Thomas Suarez: A 12-year-old app developer | Video on

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Poetry Friday Word

Wow we're back to Poetry Friday already!  I'm posting up the word today to give us all a little more time to boot it around before creating our masterpieces.

Last night I was staring at this art print that my husband gave me for my birthday.  I love this print.  It is quintessential Quebec to me.  Snow and children bundled to resemble little snowmen.

So I was staring at this print when the word FRAME popped in my head.  So let it be written, so let it be done.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Poetry Friday: Homemade

I'm feeling a bit rusty at the poetry under duress medium, but it sure feels good to do a Poetry Friday again.  What fun!

Good Intentions

She posts up her homemade pity;
she's taken pains to weave it.
She'll shoot a photograph
for her store front,
she holds it like a robin's egg
ready to be split and drained.
It's an admiring thing.

OOAK Pity Blanket

(she writes in all earnestness)

This is an OOAK piece woven
with all natural organic emotion.
If you look carefully you
will find a less fortunate hidden
directly in the weave.

(she picked this one out especially)

I'm calling this one Soup Kitchen,
as you'll notice the fresh
colors of poverty and strife
enthused with a warmth from
living in the open.

(Ah the greys, browns, and deep ochres of
shopping carts and old coats and setting suns!)

All amounts are in Good Intention Dollars.
Shipping to be calculated at check out.


***Don't forget to twitter your posts for Poetry Friday with the hashtag #poetryfriday!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Poetry Friday and the word is...

I consulted my word dispenser and he has informed me that we are going to be using the word:  homemade.  I hope to see some posts tomorrow with the word homemade in it.  Poems, prose, to-do list, knock yourself out.  Also, if you have a twitter account, tomorrow after you've posted your Poetry Friday post, twitter the url and use #poetryfriday so the word gets spread!  I'll be searching the tweetworld for you.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Poetry Friday

I miss Poetry Friday.  So I'm going to do something about it.  Tomorrow I'm going to force my husband to randomly come up with some word and I'll post it up so that by Friday I'll also post up a new poem and anyone who wants to join in, just make a poetry (or any other kind for that matter, life is too short to be that picky) post Friday using the word.  See you back here tomorrow for the word!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

On Life Lists and Aging

I started making a Life List.  I didn't mean to.  It started out a short term goal thing, trying to move myself to action.  Then I stumbled across and the thought of a list of the things I've always wanted to accomplish sounded cool.

"I'll write one and I'll get started on it right away!"  So I opened a blank document and put down number 1,  the thing on my mind in the first place, get in shape.  Then I blasted into the next four and stopped.  I thought a bit and eventually wrote down seven more.  Then I drew a complete blank.  Complete.  And to tell you the truth some of the things on my list are not all that extraordinary, but they are important to me.  Overall however, I stared at that list and thought, Jeez this is pathetic. I can only come up with 12 things?

I thought about when I was a kid and the things I would have said.  I realized that the list becomes much more constrained as I get older because 1) I realize some things just aren't possible, 2) I've achieved some of the things I would have written before and 3) I think I have forgotten how to dream big.  Forgetting how to truly dream is an occupational hazard of adulthood.

When I was 21 I remember being full of wonder and excitement because life was all about possibilities.  I told my grandmother, "I feel myself becoming a woman," and she smiled the most wonderful smile.  She told me she loved being with younger people because the world is open to them.  So why when we get older to possibilities dwindle?  They don't you know.

Check out this article about the life list of a seven year old.  Talk about dreaming big.  Maybe one of the items on my list should be to reconnect with my child dreamer.

What would you put on your life list?

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Can I Lead the Argonauts?

I've been thinking about passion.  Successful people tend to be passionate about what they are doing.  You can hear it in their voice.  It doesn't have to be some lofty thing, or astounding.  Some people are so passionate about quilting that they make a great living out of it.  Some people are so passionate about programming that they invent new things.  Not only are these people successful, they love their jobs, they have fun.

Heroes are people with passion.  They believe with every fiber of their being.  Imagine Jason pursuing the golden fleece, sauntering through the countryside, whistling as he goes, tossing rocks and stopping in at every pub.  Not exactly the picture of drive.

I've been wondering if I am passionate enough.  I love writing.  I can't imagine doing anything else.  But am I actually passionate about it?  Life has interfered so often in this last year that I wonder if I am allowing it to.  I have begun to feel that living in a place where nuance of conversation is lost so that I have essentially one friend and three family members in my immediate surroundings to talk to, my own family in the wider circle, is this limiting my scope?  I wonder if my world view is becoming bent too far in the direction of the people I am able to talk to.

Is passion something like love at first sight?  Does it hit you over the head and you think, "Bazinga!  I know what I want to do"? (thank you Sheldon for the expletive)  Or is it something you've known all your life?  Is it a combination of the two?  Some element suddenly comes together with another and inside you feel you've found what you've been looking for all this time?  Or maybe it's just the act of sloughing off self-doubt.

I can see myself adrift at sea, not really rowing as hard as I should.  My little lifeboat sort of heads in a direction.  I wish for more passion, more drive.