sharing a poetic LIFELINE with the world

My favourite poetry book

My favourite poetry book (Photo credit: Nick Kenrick . enuf protesting)

This being National Poetry Month, I challenged myself once again to writing more poetry. Last year I wrote a lot of new poetry, but didn’t make the goal of a new one every day. I followed one community’s challenge, and some days the prompt simply didn’t work for me or I tired out.

This year, I am following not one, but five challenges. The Poetic Asides blog is doing it’s annual Poem A Day challenge. I discovered the NaPoWriMo (National Poem Writing Month) blog which posts daily prompts. The 30 Day Challenge page on Facebook is another to write a poem a day. I also joined the A to Z blogging challenge, which means blogging every Monday through Saturday in April with a consecutive letter of the alphabet. And there’s the challenge on the Sims game forums again this year, but for a poem a week instead of one a day.

Last year I ended the month with 19 new poems. This year, I have written at least one poem every day. Some days more. With nine days to go, I already have 30 new poems! What really made a difference was having so many prompts to choose from. I could combine different prompts, or choose just one, or do something completely different. In addition to just the prompts, I met new bloggers and poets, and was inspired by their poems. It was from following a fellow blogger‘s AtoZ challenge that I learned about the Elfje poetry form, which in the few short days since I tried it has become a favorite.

Don’t limit yourself. It’s by broadening our horizons that we find inspiration. 

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Boldly Going Where I’ve Never . . .

For the first time in my life,
I’m in control of colors that surround me.
Always the good girl in the past,
I chose what seemed right
rather than what made me smile.

For the first time in my life,
I’m responsible — me, responsible –
if it works, is dreadful,
or simply tolerable . . .
such a heavy weight to bear.

For the first time in my life,
I’m listening to that passionate
inner me, the one who wants
brilliance shining, nudging
me to try more scary things.

Rose Parade1

For the first time in my life,
my office will have a Rose Parade
red wall, cheered on by dove gray.
I’ll make my own bulletin board as
a canvas to hold treasures.

Teal, Magenta, Gray

For the first time in my life,
the loft next to my office
will share the dove gray
with Albuquerque Teal
to remind me of joy.

 

For the first time in my life,
Victorian shades of magenta, tinged
with orchid, will define my bedroom.
Rich, sensuous, ripe, emotional,
dramatic dancing colors.

Bedroom1

For the first time in my life,
the rest of my house
will pull in some glorious greens –
true connection to the beautiful
backdrop we see from all sides.

For the first time in my life,
I am boldly going where I’ve never
gone before. Courageous,
steadfast, scared of my swatches,
I’m a fledgling on a colorful limb.

 

 

 

I have sleep apnea, and am in the process of getting treatment. Yesterday I saw the sleep doc and gave her one of my cards.

“Have you written any poems about sleep?” she asked. “I’d be interested to see them.”

I went home and checked. I searched SLEEP and NIGHT in my large Google Docs colletion of poems. I have a lot.

Here are a couple of my favorites:

Weather Reportblueroad

The far side of the room
might as well be Europe.
I conjure morning’s gray sky,
stumble over backpack,
piles of pillows
tossed onto cold, bare floor.
I need a new lamp.
I knocked mine
off the nightstand,
my hand unsteady
from sleepless nights
dozing over a book
until four AM.
Coffee spilled
on my kitchen floor,
a wild whirl of my arm,
some time between
sleep and waking.

Night Journey

I drift weightless in nothingness
On my left is a yellow pail
Full of sea shells
On my right, a dirty white fox terrier
The terrier barks and runs towards me

I walk at twilight down a road full of shadows
The only sound is the clack-clack
Of my buster brown oxfords
On the uneven pavement

I round a corner and the fox terrier
Jumps out from behind a bush
He clamps his teeth around my ankle

I walk on a beach
Of smooth pale sand
That slopes down
To a navy blue ocean
A sliver of moon hangs on the horizon
The wind blows in my faceWP_20130517_002

I turn and the yellow pail erupts from the sand
My fingers melt onto the handle
I scream

The fox terrier crawls out of the hole
He jumps up and grabs the pail in his teeth
He pulls and I am free

The next morning the fox terrier
Is curled up on the end of my bed
A shell sits on a table by the door
My feet are wet and sandy

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Poetry book news

One of my goals for this year was to publish my poetry collection Chiaroscuro. Last year I researched publishers, and compared their sites and stats. I made a list of what I most wanted in a publisher. It wasn’t about the royalty. It was:

  • clear information
  • print options
  • listed response time
  • ease of submitting (email)

I know self-publishing is an option, especially for poetry, but I’d prefer to go through a publisher for the formatting, marketing, cover book, all those things that intimidate me. It’s a process I’d rather not go through alone.

One of my top choice was SynergEbooks. I am very impressed by their website, and how much information they give in the process and what to expect, and what they expect of their authors.

I didn’t have to wait long after querying SynergEbooks to get a response. They were impressed with my sample poems. They were very upfront to answer the few questions I had, and less than a week later I was signing an Author Contract.

I am very happy to be working with SynergEbooks to publish my poetry book. No release date yet. It will be published digitally and available through the publisher website, as well as on Amazon.com and B&N.com. If it does well enough, there is a possibility for a print version.

In preparation for publication, I have created a site dedicated to my Chiaroscuro poetry book. I will be creating individual sites for each of my major projects, where you can learn more, read excerpts, and get news on their status. You can see my new author website here. I also created one for Lifelines.

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Ship of Dreams - Artimals

Ship of Dreams – Artimals

this

is Haiku –
texture writ
through sounds

China Cabinet - Centercrystal
and
whimsy
worn as layers

hidden
in shoulds
and spring snow

weather
rules apply
ruthlessly

when springLisa's Tea Pot
unclutters
what is left
to thrive

scrambled
branches
down

Blue Birdfat squirrels
hog birdfeeder,
never share

ivy thinned
by the deer
it kept alive

defiant bluesScarf and silk
elbow clouds
for the sun

happiness
and

Peace - Kitchen

A recent discussion among us Muselings had us musing on subjects to write about. Sice I am reading Natalie Goldberg‘s Writing Down the Bones , in which she suggests mushroomsgenerating just such a list, I volunteered to post mine — mine and Natalie’s.  Here it is:

What to write about, the list so far

Write about a favorite poem. Wrie about a poem you learned in school. Write about a poem you hate. Write about memorizing poetry. Did you feel differently about the poem after you memorized it?

Write about flat feet. Write about aching feet. Write about orthotics. Write about shoes. Write about high heels. Write about fashion in shoes.

Write about art in your childhood home. Write about art in your present home. Write about art museums.

Write about school. Write about a particular year in schol. Write about a favorite teacher. Write about your least favorite teacher. Write about your favorite subject in school. Write about your least favorite subject in school.

Write about writing. Write about the physical act of writing. Do your fingers cramp? Do you like to write by hand?

Write about pens. Do you have a favorite? Do you like pencils? Do you do crossword puzzles, and if so do you do them in ink or pencil, and why?

Write about laundry. Write about laundromats. Write about laundry detergent. Write about bleach. Write about fabric softener.

Write about a favorite author. Here a few of mne:

Robert A. Heinlein. One of my favorite authors

Lewis Carroll. I am a big Lewis Carroll fan as well, both of the Alice books and of his poetry. I love the whimsey.

Write about a favorite book: Here are a couple of mine

Alice in Wonderland. I reread this every exam-time at College.Peter Pan by James M. Barrie. One of my favorite books as a kid. I also saw the play with Mary Martin as Peter. Pure magic.

 

Bookshelves, and what’s on them.

Food poisoning. Have you had any notable encounters with bad food?

Toothpaste. Rolling up the tube. Squeezing out the paste.

TV Advertisements. Do you watch them? Do you watch TV?

The ASPCA. ASPCA ads. Dogs. Cats.  Birds.

I remember…  Pick a memory and write about it.

Choose a color and write about it. Choose a color word and write about the word.

Write about light. Write about darkness. Write about shadows.

People you have loved.

People who have influenced you.

City streets. Country Roads. Getting lost.

Grandparents.

Pick subject  you hate and write about it as though you love it, even if you don’t. How does this make you feel? Do the opposit: pick a subject you love and write about it as though you hate it. Do you feel the need for a disclaimer at the top of the article: This does not typify my personal opinion.?

Write about today. Write about yesterday. What was notable? What was different?

Write about ‘leaving’. This can mean anything you like.

Write about your first memory. How old are you? How detailed is the memory?

Open a poetry book, pick a line, and take it from there. See where you go.

What kind of animal are you? Are you an animal at all? Can you do this, or do you draw a blank?

Write about sex. Write about how you learned about sex. Write about your first sexual experience.

Write about the closest you’ve ever felt to God or nature.

Write about God, about your belief, or lack thereof.

Write about the stars. Write about the planetarium. Write about the Museum of Natural History.

Write about the movies. Write about your favorite movie. What movies have you watched more than once? Why?

The most frightened you’ve ever been.

Write about swimming. Write about learning to swim. Write about beaches. Write about sea shells.

 

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Courtship Moon

On this day of romance, we celebrate loved ones, both current and potential. My novel, Fey Moon, has a holiday similar to Valentine’s Day.

The fourth moon (month) in the realm of Dashevona is Courtship Moon. It is the first moon of summer and the traditional month for courting. Those single and at least fifteen years in age are given more leeway this month, with less responsibility. The first night of Courtship is the ritual dancing and exchange of gifts. Though some cities, such as the capital Valadilene, celebrate on multiple nights.

The Human belief is that the Earth created everyone Herself. Her courtship with the moon causes magic in the world. When their dance is strongest (full moon), magic is strongest.

moon dance

Excerpt: The song was a variation of the usual Courtship song, a familiar tale of boy meets girl. She had intended to watch and learn from the dancers, but she couldn’t take her eyes off of Cail. He did have a gift. The rise and fall of his voice put her in a trance. He didn’t stop the song after the third verse, but began singing a fourth one that was new to her.

Courtship Song

A tale I sing of girl meets boy
He labored in her pa’s employ
With wooden flute he played a tune
They danced beneath the Courtship Moon

They walked and talked, their love grew swift
One day he shared a precious gift
A golden pendant, meant to swoon
They danced beneath the Courtship Moon

A picnic meal down by the lake
Where he proposed her hand to take
With hearts that yearned to marry soon
They danced beneath the Courtship Moon

From out of darkness came a birth
And Moon looked down on Mother Earth
His heart engaged, he took a chance
As Earth and Moon resume their dance

With one full turn, from left to right
He courted her most every night
Then with a nod, they each advance
As Earth and Moon resume their dance

From birth, to marriage, then to death
Their love makes magic with each breath
An endless cycle of romance
As Earth and Moon resume their dance

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Blog Post - The Storymatic

Yup. Take “The Storymatic”, with six trillion story/poem ideas tidily arranged in a tasteful box smaller than a grocery-store size block of cheddar. Add a book, “642 Things to Write About”. Send them to your favorite aunt whose Muse has been MIA for the past year or so. Stand back and wait for the fallout. Giggle when you get the call and hear that auntie’s Muse came out of hiding long enough to hyperventilate. Wait for the first poem to pop out. Smile, knowing you jump-started the process at just the right time. This is what my darling niece did for me.

The Storymatic is similar to refrigerator magnet words. In this case, you draw two gold color cards that you combine to create a main character. (Like “daydreamer” and “taxidermist” — two cards I chose at random.) THEN draw two copper color cards to lead you into your story. (Mine were “”handcuffs” and “yet another get-rich-quick scheme”.) Now, you can start writing, using these four cards as prompts.

Blog Post - 642 Things to Write AboutSince I live by the motto, “Why be difficult when you can always be impossible?”, I’m mixing the Storymatic prompts with one of the 642 things to write about. I page-flipped to “She’s lying! This is what she really wants most in the world.”

So, Darling L — here’s what your aunt came up with for her first poem. And, wonder of wonders, a second, deeper one:

The Real Truth?

Part 1: She Lied

When I was a little girl
I was the constant daydreamer
rarely slept, even as a child

always somewhere else
in my head
in my heart

handcuffs of time and place
kept me from drifting
too far from  – what?

For years, my Dad
tried to feed his family
on hopes and smiles

Never at home in his home,
yet another get-rich-quick scheme
slipped away, and away again

My life turned inside out,
a taxidermist nightmare
of guts where freckles should be

when he died
away from home
rotting in the jungle

I said I wanted everything
to be as it was
before. I lied.

What I really wanted
most in the world
was a different life
from start to end.

Part 2:  The Real Truth

She’s lying. Does it all the time.
Daydreamer lost in all the possibilities
Soft, porny handcuffs she can escape
but leaves in place
because it’s easier this way

Maybe one of her wild ideas
will fly today, another
get-rich-quick scheme
that really does work

Reverse taxidermist process
– bringing back to life
all who were close to her –
just for a day or two

To say a proper goodbye
To say what she was too scared
To utter when the time was right
Then, to release them, one by one

This is what she really wants
more than anything else in the world.
To let go with love and compassion.
Closure. Rich beyond money, at peace.

 

The “642...” book not only has interesting ideas, but was written in one 24 hour period by the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto. As the compiler, Bo Bronson, wrote on the first page, the idea sprang from a discussion among a few folks; an email asking for ideas went out, and great writing prompts came pouring in from thirty-five writers. A day later, the finished manuscript was delivered to the editor.

I loved these words in that intro: “…I tell the story because it’s a lesson in hidden potential. You never know what might happen. … And it doesn’t even have to be your own idea. You just have to get creative and plunge in.” That, my friends, is like showing up — and sharing. You never know what can happen. Our book, LIFELINES, is one such creation.

The Poetic Muselings have traveled far together during these past several years. Besides our book, we’ve all worked on individual projects — written and other media, as well as dealing with a variety of health issues. We are looking at our collective work efforts on this blog, and considering changes in 2014. Not sure what direction we’ll take.

We thank you, our readers, mentors, friends, colleagues, guest posters, and critics, for being part of our world. May the New Year bring us all joy, contentment, success in our adventures, and connection with those who are important to us.

Michele

PS: I challenge you to write a prompt poem to share in the comment below.

 

Saint Nick’s Christmas Excess

 

 

One Christmas night,  fat old Saint NickSnow

ate so much roast goose he got  sick,

thus was forced to belay

that night’s ride in his sleigh,

rushed the gifts all to FedEx. How slick.

 

Next Christmas, when faced with a chimney,

hr muttered, “I will not be able to shimmy

down that narrow slot,

with a fire so hot.

I’ll go in the front door, by Jiminey.”

 

What Happens Christmas Night

 

Do you wonder how, in just one night,

783813785_2782529629_0

Saint Nick can make such a long flight?

He sends some gifts by mail,

and some others by rail,

which makes his sleigh load quite light.

I’ve noticed that Saint Nick’s a bit

too big around for him to fit

inside our chimney, Christmas night

the struggle must be quite a sight.

 

Perhaps he oils his nice red suit

all over so that he can shoot

right down the chimney. Then you’ll see

he‘ll cut his hand and sprain his knee.

 

I guess that all those aches and pains

will hurt so much that he’ll complain

that getting down was such a chore

he’s going to leave us by the door!

White Christmas

Winter wonderland of woe

all we have is snow and snow.

Piles and piles of slushy glop,

mushy, wet and nasty slop.

Wets my socks and wets my shoes

numbs my toes and shorts my fuse.

Watch it snow and wish for Spring,

no more snow and shoveling.

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‘Tis the season of giving. This year, I decided to do a Christmas countdown for my husband. I handmade 25 cards, and numbered the envelopes. On each card, I wrote an activity, a compliment or thank you, a service, or a gift. I even wrote him a poem for one. I wanted him to feel loved and appreciated. I took some inspiration from the internet, and had to get creative to decorate 25 different cards. It was a fun, time consuming project which I spread out over multiple days. Here are a few of my favorite cards:

card 1 card 2

In other news, I now have a new desktop muse. Not long ago there was a sale on My Little Pony Funko mystery boxes. We ordered eight. They are so darn cute! Here’s the line-up:

MLP train

This one is my favorite, and has been dubbed my magical muse.

Lyra Heartstrings

Lyra Heartstrings

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