Every October, we engage in a week-plus of utter madness and frenetic activity with the Muse Online Writers Conference — a free, international event filled with close to forty hours of real-time live online chat-format workshops, plus dozens and dozens of forum workshops on various aspects of writing, editing, web presence, and much more.
Those who attend are involved for about ten days of action. Behind the scenes, however, a group of about thirty members of the ModSquad handle ALL the bits that make the event possible. These are the chat moderators and forum facilitators; coordinators of schedule, presentations, handouts; handlers of registration problems and lost people. They help the presenters figure out how to use the system, do all the foot-work to see that everyone who is supposed to pitch to one of the publishers or agents makes it to the right place at the right time.
The ModSquad is like the 7/8ths of the iceberg you don’t see — the part that supports the gorgeous crags that leave you breathless.
The Poetic Muselings taught a weeklong forum workshop, plus three hours of live chat-workshops, during the Oct. 2012 Muse Conference. We had a blast, met some amazing poets, and helped connect a few to form their own critique group. During the month of February, we are honored to introduce some of these poets, and present work they did during that week, as we explored poetic forms and followed inspiration.
We lead off our series with Melanie Hamilton, who handled Moderator and Facilitator duties for the Poetic Muselings, as well as for several other presenters. Melanie kept us calm, organized, taught most of the group how to do what was needed to function, which made my job as Head Moderator much easier, since I could concentrate on the major fires, and didn’t have to worry about our workshop.
Melanie, we thank you for your courage to share, wild sense of humor, and all that you did for us. We are delighted you agreed to join us here on the Poetic Muselings blog. Congratulations on rediscovering your other creative talents, like the photo, below.
A single finger
sweeps across my skin
friction releasing me
mote by mote
A focused thumb
presses me down
while fingers stroke
You found out I kissed her
Pressed my lips against hers
Felt her teeth, hard and sharp
You found out I laid on her
My body long and thin
Felt her ribs, hard and round
You found out I wanted her
and placed me
behind the garden wall still
I am round soft
I love deep warm
I laugh bright loud
I dance easy liquid
I sing dark low
I touch strong light
I see true clear
I speak straight craft
I dream wide new
do not think me
gentle for all that
I am strong
I love fierce
I laugh wicked
I dance raw
I sing blue
I touch hard
I see truth
I speak Yes!
I dream the world right
My name is Melanie Hamilton and I can usually be found as MMV Hamilton. I do have other personas on the net. Meham and Meela are the usual alter egos. I’ve been writing all my life. I remember writing something about a bunny in third grade, and writing stories and poems when asked. I started writing poems more seriously as a teen but circumstances intervened and I stopped. Stopped writing except in journals.
Decades passed while I tried to figure out what kind of writing I wanted to settle on, until I finally gave in and started playing Dungeons and Dragons. I was forty-something. That is when it all came together and I was introduced to Nanowrimo. In the meantime, I stumbled across a local class Writing as a Form of Healing. The class is based on the work of Pat Schneider. She created the Amherst Writers and Artists group which supports the voices of everyone. Their premise is that we tell stories so we are all writers. While I was about four novel drafts into Nanowrimo, this class had the effect of freeing my poet’s voice again.
Two years taking workshops with Savvy Authors has yielded a portfolio of short stories and lots of confidence in my prose writing. From Savvy Authors I followed a few of the workshop teachers over to the Muse Online Conference and fell in love! Almost at once I wanted to be part of something larger than just writing. I found my opportunity becoming a novice moderator.
What an amazing experience. The intensity of coralling, I mean gathering teachers and students into a learning environment that is both fun and informative feeds the part of writing that I don’t get to experience often. Helping.
By day, I work as a home-care LVN working in a family with a special needs child and her sister. OK let’s call it what it is—specialized babysitting! Some days it’s just one long play date. Others it’s rescuing a family from stresses they were not expecting waiting for their first child.
I’m getting close to retirement and I know that some of what I receive from half a lifetime of helping must go with me. I am hoping that writing and my writing communities will give me that. Meanwhile, I write, with fellow Savvy members, on our blog The Speculative Salon (http://speculativesalon.blogspot.com/) and am getting my shorts portfolio ready for submissions. I’ve had micro success being published so far. Micro Horror took my Zombie Walk story and Apollo’s Lyre received my shorter short, a six-word story both thanks to the tuteledge of Jim Harrington.
Flash fiction is close to poetry, the link between poetry and the longer forms of story and novel. I like the shorter pieces because they are satisfying to complete and give me the opportunity to investigate aspects of the novel worlds I build that don’t fit into the larger work. They let me world build through characters. A little like playing Dungeons and Dragons again.
Comments on: "Meet Melanie Hamilton, Our Muse Conference Moderator" (6)
Learning about the other people at the workshop is going to be so cool! Nice to “see” you Melanie!
So, that’s what the rest of you is about … pleased to meet’cha ModMelMeham … again!
Hello ladies. Crawling out of my revision cave to drop by. *hugs to all*
Mel is so awesome, as are the rest of you.
Hope t see you all again this year. Have a wonderful vacation Michelle.
So great learning more about you, Melanie. And thanks so much for being our awesome Mod. You helped our first workshop to run smoothly. 🙂
[…] If you missed it, read the first post in our workshop participants series. […]
Hi Melanie. I really like your poem “About Me”… the words match your lovely photo and great smile.