To October … the glorious beginning!

Listen … do you hear that? The birds, rejoicing at the cooler air, have started singing again. Yesterday, my breakfast consisted of hot chocolate and buttered toast. The leaves are only just beginning to turn colors where I live, but it won’t be long before they flash some autumnal glam.

Listen … do you hear that? The birds, rejoicing at the cooler air, have started singing again. Yesterday, my breakfast consisted of hot chocolate and buttered toast. The leaves are only just beginning to turn colors where I live, but it won’t be long before they flash some autumnal glam.

For most of the Northern Hemisphere, October signals the true end of summer, but October is my birthday month, so it’s always heralded a beginning for me. At my age, I don’t look forward to tallying up one more birthday, except to give thanks that I made it through another year, so I’ll focus on a beginning.

Let this be the beginning of the year I finally get it all together. Let this be the year I gather my harvest. Let this be the year I cease my struggling to be, and just BECOME.

I leave you with one version of my poem in honor of the season epitomized by October.

AUTUMN

Undeniably, Autumn
looks a bit blowsy
at first glance, with wind-blown hair
of reds and golds and gaze of brazen blue.
You might well mistake her
for a fallen woman,
voluptuous and tipsy
with the fruit of her labors.
Her raucous laughter
takes you by surprise,
takes you in,
takes you under
her wings, soar
on high now you see
this is no slut, no slouch, no lazy woman,
this is strength and honor,
her ease well-earned,
her vibrant abandon deserved,
her motherhood fulfilled,
the harvest plenty.
She’s come back to herself, discovered
her wealth of beauty
and let it fly free and frantic and furious,
one last, brief, all-out fiesta
before twilight bares all
in frosted moonlight,
and she rests.

©Linda Cassidy Lewis, 2010

Out with the old, in with …

As you can see, this old pig blog is wearing a new dress. The font is smaller than on my old theme, but it’s hard to find a newer WordPress theme that isn’t hard on my eyes. Never fear. I use the Firefox add-on called NoSquint, which lets me enlarge the font on any webpage. I think I got all the kinks out, but let me know if you see any problems.

Don’t forget! November is a special month for us writers—no not that—it’s National House Cleaning Month! That zany 30 days designated for us obsessed writers to step away from the keyboard and rediscover the vacuum cleaner, the bottom of the laundry basket, and exactly what lies beneath that pile on the dining room table. If you’re joining me, let me know and get your counter set up, so I can keep an eye on the competition. I’ll also add your name and a link to your blog on the NaHoCleMo page I’ll add on Monday. Watch my counter in my sidebar —>

Things I afflict you with. I haven’t talked about any dreams, nor have I inflicted one of my dreadful poems on you lately. Guess what? Your luck has run out.

MIRAGE

I wrote something fabulous
in a dream.

I read,
heart racing.

Exhilaration.
Elation.
Anticipation.

I woke,
deep sighing.

I wrote something fabulous,
in a dream.

So there you have my Weekend Whoop-de-doo. I wish you a Happy Halloween, Samhain, or whatever your weekend holds.

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The long and short of it

Yesterday, I spent hours—again—researching literary magazines. My goal is to have at least two stories and maybe a poem in submission by October. I’m not sure I have a talent for writing short stories. I feel more confident in my novel writing ability.

I give story writing a good shot every so often, but somehow, the voice I have when novel writing weakens in my stories. Some feel if you truly have the skills for writing fiction, you should be able to write it long and short. But I know other novelists who either stumble at writing short fiction or refuse to even try.

Story writing is a challenge to me. For some reason, I feel obligated to succeed at it, at least once. I feel the same about poetry—even though that definitely requires a different skill set than fiction writing. Maybe I’m just a bit masochistic.

I have a couple stories I think are worth submitting. But, like querying a novel to the right agent, it’s important to find the right magazine for your story. The few literary magazines I’m subscribed to now, are far beyond my level. Only in my dreams would they accept my work.

It takes an enormous amount of time to read online journals, looking for a good match. And I’ll confess that, like agents, a few mags I thought would be perfect, did not agree with my assessment. A rejection yesterday, came so soon after submission, it seems they didn’t even need to read the whole story. That’s a real confidence shaker. Or maybe that editor’s a speed reader. Yeah, let’s go with that.

Now, your turn. Do you write both short and long fiction? Do you write them equally well? Do you also write poetry?

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Creativity Update

Despite my focus on introspection this past week, I did accomplish writerly tasks. I not only reached my Creativity Workshop goal, I also continued polishing my novel, as well as read and wrote feedback on submissions from some of my critique partners. And in related matters, I finished reading two novels I had started weeks ago. All in all, I had a productive week.

One more step up! Here’s the breakdown of how I met my CWS goal for week 3:

Monday: I took another look at the words I jotted down on Saturday for my haiku. Most of the words were okay, but they didn’t produce the right number of syllables. In the second line, I changed sees to mourns and passed to lived. Then I revised the final line and by the end of my CWS session I had the 5-7-5 pattern and a draft of my Winter haiku done.

Tuesday: Woke up in a black mood that just would not relent. All of my work looked horrid to me, even my beloved novel, so I shut down the writing room for the day.

Wednesday: Did no work on the poem today.

Thursday: I read an article by Jane Reichhold on haiku technique. I have much to learn before I can say I have a reasonable understanding of the form. Even the 5-7-5 pattern has been challenged. I played with my words moving them around, making substitutions. My third attempt felt right, so I declared this haiku written.

Friday: I thought ahead to the next poem, which will focus on Spring. I don’t know which poetry form I’ll use, but I’ve narrowed down ones I want to explore to the cinquain, triolet, and rondeau. It’s possible I’ll end up not using any of those, but I will definitely use a form I’ve never written in before.

It’s hard for me to believe that two years ago, I rarely read a poem because doing so made me very uncomfortable. It almost felt I was reading something in a foreign language, and I was sure I never understood what the poet was trying to convey. Many times, I still don’t, but I’m not afraid of poetry any longer. Pamela Villars may be right; I just might become addicted to writing poetry … but for me, it will never supplant writing fiction.

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Week two, during which I entered Poetland

Today is the day I update you on my Creativity Workshop progress. My goal this week was to research poetry forms, necessary because I’m basically ignorant of everything connected to writing poetry, and then to write the first of four poems. My theme for this set of goals is the four seasons. Certainly not an original concept, but it meets the requirement for connection, and I’ve never written poems specifically on seasons before. Also, each season will be personified as maiden, mother, or crone. I recognize two stages to motherhood: birthing and rearing, so Summer and Fall will both stand for mother.

I confess, by midweek I began to question the wisdom of signing up for a workshop when I was this close to finishing the final polish of a novel. Only two weeks in, it’s become a struggle to keep focused on the workshop goals. I don’t write well in short spurts, and at this point in my life, I usually don’t have to. I can and prefer to take the time to “get into character” before I let the story flow and then work until my brain exhausts itself. Breaking up my writing time with a bit of this and a bit of that is taking its toll on the quality of my output.

As requested, I recorded my progress in writing the first of four poems for the Creativity Workshop. This week I did not keep to the daily schedule I drew up before the workshop started. Obviously, I’m not doing so well on marrying discipline and creativity. I did, however, step up a rung on the ladder.

  • Monday: This was meant to be my research day, and I did some, but not as much as I’d planned because the words came first. I wrote some “poetic” thoughts on summer as I recall it from living the first half of my life in Indiana.
  • Tuesday: I researched more on poetry forms. One form I kept bypassing on Monday was the prose poem because it didn’t seem challenging enough. But early this morning, I took another look at the what I’d written and saw that it had already matured halfway to prose  poem–so prose it is. I worked far beyond my scheduled time and finished a decent draft of the poem by the end of the day. Also, viewed Merrilee’s three photo prompts and wrote down nine ideas/thoughts inspired by them as requested.
  • Wednesday: This is the busiest day of my week, so I had to stick with my allotted CWS time. Edited the poem to choose words better fitted to this poem. I consulted with one of my musician sons on use of one term.
  • Thursday: On second thought, I may not keep the prose poem form. I revised to free form, which is not a new poetry form for me, but I think I like the poem better this way. I spent the rest of my CWS time sitting in the sun and reading poetry.
  • Friday: I let the two versions of the poem sleep today. I researched more poetry forms to prepare for writing the next three. My aim is to fit the poetic form to the theme of the poem, but I’m not sure I will be able to do that.
  • Saturday: I re-read the two versions and decided to go with the free verse. I changed one word and added another. At some point in the future, I might know enough to write this better, but for now, I’ll consider this poem finished.

Words for the next poem came to me in the shower yesterday morning. I had been considering haiku for a winter poem and these words were already a close fit. So, it seems I have a head start on next week’s goal.

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