Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Brush Strokes

I realize how much in awe I am of artists like Monet, Van Gogh and Seurat.  Imagine painting a subject--and you are close enough to your canvas to use small brush strokes, and yet your subject comes alive with light and dark and shape and line, and we see it as a complete work.

That's what it's like sometimes to write a long work--or even a short one. You concentrate on the small brush strokes that you hope lead to the big story, the big picture.

That's all I'll say about that.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Synchronicity, Part 1

Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, a former Poet Laureate of the great state of Kansas led a workshop a couple of days ago. It was at the Writers Place in Kansas City and was called "Write Livelihood," basically an introduction to making one's life writing with heart and integrity, and living the life you were meant to.

This was like the repeated mantra of the past few days: a friend said she was tired of being a shill for corporations, for making money for them and not for herself or the company. Non-profit corporations might be better, but--you have to truly love the cause.

Also, I recently bought this book "I Always Want To Be Where I'm Not: Successful Living with ADD & ADHD," by Wes Crenshaw. I had just finished the chapter on doing what's right, not what's easy (Chapter 3, "A Right Path").

And so going to this workshop seemed like a bit of synchronicity.

Because a lot of what I learned there was not some magical answer: do this correctly and you too will be a famous and well-paid author. It was more like: do the right thing and that's the way to live.

Part 2 will explore more of what I mean by this...

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

The Wall of No

I worked with Valerie Liberty briefly on some issues that I felt I needed to work on.  One of the things we identified and named was something called "The Wall of No."
To me, it was like an impassable obstacle made up of the echoes of people who never expressed confidence in me: family, teachers, lovers.  Voices I'd internalize that seemed to rule--and fuck with my decision-making process. 

Envisioning a Wall of No was helpful. I could climb over it, go around it or blast a hole through it (my favorite) and watch it crumble. Amazing how it rebuilds itself!

So I am dealing with the inevitable: rejection. Yes, my wonderful work has been rejected by a wonderful journal.  I'm letting myself indulge in a tiny moment of doubt, but after that, get back to work as if I was the most brash and confident poet in the world!

My schedule has me blogging tonight and here I am.

Here's Montana Skies, fantastic cello and guitar duo with Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall."

Sunday, March 02, 2014

The Writing Life: What do I do?

Just some things I have been thinking about: If you are not a decently paid writer, how do you pay the bills? With a "day job" of course. So, when people you meet for the first time ask you what you do, what do you say?
     I suppose that depends. Are you just starting out thinking of being a writer? Are you in a writing program in school? Are you a journalist?  And you've seen that "What I think I do/What others think I do meme, right? The one which has pictures of a Writer?
     People who know me, know I left a job to write. But I also had a bunch of other things to do, and much crap to go through before I actually tasked myself to write and identify myself as a writer. Often when I thought of "what do I do?" the end-product would be the answer, but it's more complicated than that. It's a process.
    I am practicing saying, "I'm a writer," whenever anyone asks me what I do. If they further ask me about the end-product, say "what have you written/published?," I can answer, "I write poetry and novels and I have a blog. One of my poems is going to be published..."
    It's amazing how visible the disconnect is, when I respond, "I am a writer," and how defensive I feel. 
   Do we ask accountants, say, "Wow, that's cool! How much money did you account for today?"
   Most people-in-occupations never have to justify or account for their work. Ask a receptionist, "Cool! What exactly do you do for the X Company?" and see what kind of answer you get!
   I write. I put words on paper, or virtual paper. I play with words. I arrange words in order to make sense and to tell a story, to tell the reader something about my feelings--maybe they are your feelings too.
   That's what I do. I think I'll try that response next time I hear, "What do you do?"

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Dusting off those cobwebs, again!

Since it has been so long, too long really, since I've posted here, I will not do a Facebook "lookback" at all the highlights of the nearly-two years during which I've not blogged. Suffice it to say there were highlights, but it was the lowlights that kept me away.

I will just say that I'm working hard at writing, taking a poetry workshop with Denise Low-Weso, for one thing. Starting to submit my work for another.

And with that comes exciting news. The I-70 Review is publishing one of my poems, publication date will be this coming fall, with a Release Party and Reading on September 26th at The Writers Place.

It will be the first poem I've published in an actual ink-on-paper magazine since...maybe high school. Of course I've published some poetry here, and I'm hoping that I can work on some of them, revise them and see what happens.

Monday, June 04, 2012

4 Tips to Help You Make Your Life Your Own

Hello. It's been a long time.  I've been dealing with: paperwork for my son and moving my mother to an assisted-living Memory Care unit. My brother bears most of the burden for my mom, but since it involves my traveling, I feel I have not been present in my own life!

It has been easier to catch up on Facebook than it has to sit and think things out thoughtfully.

But I'm getting back to it and I'd like to offer some tips on getting back to who you are.

Tip 1: Wake up on your own terms.  This is very important. When you wake up just so you can get to work on time, the day belongs to someone else (your boss!). Take an hour, half an hour, 15 minutes, whatever to get up and do something just for yourself.

Tip 2: Morning Pages:  I've written about them before and I am utterly convinced that writing Morning Pages is a life-changing tool. I've also written earlier that I am not slavish to the 3-page total.  What does the action of physically taking pen to paper do for me? It's exercise! It gets blood flowing to the brain. Even though much of it is stream of consciousness, it takes a little bit of thought to get those words out. It brings me back to myself.

Tip 3: Take a walk. Or do any other physical exercise. For yourself. I think of this video as a motivator in a very positive way. 

Tip 4: This is something I like to do, but often forget and it's key: Take time before sleep to write down a few things you did that day. What you accomplished, what you have left over to do, but don't be judgmental. Just make a little list and breathe deeply. Julia Cameron calls something like this a "Ta-Dah" List. 
Your day is over, your very own day and you get to do it again, even better, tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Write Brain Trust!

w00t! I'm this week's featured blogger for the Write Brain Trust, a group of writers who came together to educate themselves about electronic publishing. My topics this week start with copyright law and will continue with what exactly it means to be published online.
Click here!