sharing a poetic LIFELINE with the world

Posts tagged ‘Muse Online Writers Conference’

Creativity and the Decluttered Knee

dscn2012-version-2
Soon, I shall experience full knee replacement surgery, leap from hobbled old Crone, muttering to myself and others through a pain-med haze, foggy-focused at best most days.

I’ll push through worse anguish for a bit, then — magically — break through to the exquisite tedium of a lifetime of daily attention to reach a level of mobility and sanity I’ve missed. My world has become smaller in scope, narrower in experience, limited by decisions I’ve made to balance constant pain vs. clear-headedness.

Thinking (and writing) have receded to the background. Every six hours, I joust the bits of my brain that control pain receptors. I succeed at times, but the price is an ongoing trip to la-la land. One small knee twist reminds me to be grateful for the advances in medical technology, and keen to get this over.

A couple of weeks ago, tripping in my la-la land, I discovered a site called 365 Less Things, a journey of decluttering life as well as belongings. Yes, the blog owner is aware of the grammatical situation. People who cannot see beyond the title are missing out on a huge benefit.

As I read the archives, from the first post, comments, links that still work, etc., I’m fascinated. I’m up toApril 2012 posts, getting closer to current in snatches online.  I’ve followed the joy, sharing, and breakthroughs of this international community. Watched them mature, fine-tune their concepts as well as their tactics. I recently sent in a couple of ideas for future posts.

I’m always looking to get my life under control, to make it easier to sit down and work instead of clear my space (and head) in order to attack my writing time productively. The 365 Less Things blog is shifting my life.

I declutter my house by noticing what’s in front of me. I’m looking at my office supplies and books (THE most difficult things for me to let go of) with new eyes. Took extraneous “stuff” off my dining room table. Checked out how to recycle an older iPad and iPhone for a Mini Mac; if we could figure out what to do with the dreadful Windows 8 computer we got hubby late last year, we’d do it in a minute.

But back to my knee –the shredded ligaments, cartilage-less kneecap, shifting lower leg bone, and lots and lots of pain. (I don’t know what they do with old knees; maybe bone donations? They have my okay already.) For my new knee to work, I must exchange my old lifestyle — give up non-productive habits, like I have eliminated gluten from my life — in order to truly live.

This cannot be a sprint — ever. Every day, I must re-earn the right and ability to walk and get around. Every day, I must push beyond my ingrained procrastination genes, well-developed excuses, and creative idiosyncrasies. Embrace boring, mundane, and important actions.

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During recovery, as I come off drugs that have kept me from screaming and behaving even crazier than I normally do, I’ll have time to rethink and rework other parts of my life.

I WILL put rehab first in my life. Choose small changes in my mental and physical environment, Clear space, be ready to write during my “writing time”. Play during playtime. Prepare and follow-through with what’s appropriate to heal body and spirit with nutrition, sleep, and attention to the present.

In a strange way, I’ve been heading to this crossroad for the past year. Prior to the 2012 Muse Online Writers Conference (this year Oct. 7 – 13, 2013), I promised my husband I’d turn over my major role in 2013 to others, so we could celebrate his 70th birthday in style. Since his big day comes right after the conference, he’s had a frazzled wife for the past five years.

My present was to be present for him this year. We planned a nice trip, and I worked on a surprise party for him. A couple of weeks ago, we knew this is not the time for this trip. I can barely get around, and can’t imbibe bubbly spirits.

So, no trip, no party, but no other obligations through the end of this year. Nothing else to sneak ahead of what I will do to bring congruence into my life. I’m approaching TaCaMeFi from a very different direction.

I hope you have an opportunity to reassess what’s important soon, but not because you are forced, like I am. May you keep your personal North Star in sight to guide you in all seasons, and enjoy your journey.

Michele

 

 

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Make Visible: Workshop Poems

write-picTo continue our series on the Muse Online Writers Conference and our Poetry Workshop last fall, I present to you two poems that were written during the conference.

Even though the Poetic Muselings were “teaching” or facilitating the Poetry Workshop, we also “learned” from each other and the participants.  I always come up with new writing when I attend MuseCon and this time was no exception.  Here are two poems that literally wouldn’t have existed if not for our workshop and MuseCon.

  • Persona Poems

Persona poems are poems that are written in a voice other than that of the author, where the author pretends to be someone else. ~Margaret Fieland

This is the prompt I used for my Persona Poem:

– The loneliest keys on the keyboard that never get used

Typewriter Keys

Typewriter Keys (Photo credit: jon|k)

A Question

Q?

I have a question.
Why am I so neglected?
You like E and A
and I far too much.
You never type Quasimodo or Quack
Or even misspell, using Q for K.
I’m in a quandary.

There’s not much I can do,
the letter Q
on your keyboard,
lonely, upset, tired.
I know I shouldn’t quomplain,
but I do.

Q?

© Anne Westlund

 

  • Ekphrasis / Picture Poem

An Ekphrasis or Picture Poem is a poem inspired by a work of art.  I was inspired by Visual 5, a collage by Lin Neiswender.

Visit to the Beauty Shop

Like a chorus of blondes
they tell me my hair is fried
from at-home color

These hairdressers
all perfectly coiffed
like angels of desire
swoop in and mutter over
my split ends

In need of proper maintenance,
conditioning and decent upstanding
expensive $$ permanent color

I don’t know whether to laugh
or cry

I’ll stick to my box color
I’ll stick to my free hair cuts
thank you very much!

The choir shrieks off-key
paling against the vagaries
of economy

So much for a “free” consultation
I don’t leave a tip.

© Anne Westlund

 

Please check out the Muse Online Writers Conference and sign up for next year’s conference here: http://themuseonlinewritersconference.com/

“Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen.”~Robert Bresson, French Film Director

 

Spotlight on Saleema

Today we are featuring another of our Muse Conference workshop participants. During the week of our workshop, we challenged poets to write three different forms. We chose winners for each, and Saleema’s “My Sun” was clearly one of the best in the Persona form.

We are happy to have Saleema joining us today, to look back on her experience during the Muse Con, and share some of her poetry. And now I’m going to turn the floor over to her.

Mary

On the Muse Conference experience

You asked me what I liked about [the Muse Online Writers Conference].  I have to say everything.  The conference is full of talented, generous writers, who go out of their way to be helpful and share their skills.  I must admit that the poetry workshop took up most of my time this year.  I’m not one of those poets who likes to write quickly.  I often get inspirations, write them out in my notebook, and then type the notes (my rough draft) on the computer. After all this, I begin to sculpt the poem.  I edit, tweak, research, and edit some more. For me writing is a quiet, internal process that even my humorous poems go through.   So, given my immersion in anything I write, it’s always a challenge finding enough time to participate in all the conference workshops that catch my interest.  The Muse Conference is boiling over with gallons and gallons of things to do, to learn, to write, to comment on, to correct, etc.   It’s a wonderful whirlwind of activity and learning.  So, I would have to say that the hardest thing about the Muse Conference for me, is having to accept that there’s only 24 hours in a day, and then pick my workshops very carefully.  I’m so grateful that Lea keeps the forums up, so I can go back and catch up on everything I missed.  That extra time gives us all the opportunity to work at our own pace and keep learning after the conference has officially ended.  I enjoy my catch-up time in the forums almost as much as the conference.

The 2012 Conference was the first one to offer a weeklong poetry workshop… and it was fantastic!  The critiques were great, and the spot on comments really helped me take my writing to another level.   The assignments were enjoyable, though I have to admit, I ended up getting engrossed in the one that asked us to write a poem in another’s voice.  I could have spent the entire workshop delving into that assignment.  It was such fun and really helped me recognize the intricacies of my own voice.  Actually, I’m still experimenting with that form.

I can say, in all honesty, that the Muse Poetry Workshop was one of the best I’ve ever taken.  The level of feedback from the moderators and the workshop attendees was professional and insightful.

A Sample of Poetry by Saleema E. Giltinan

Wearers of Wool

Living in the mountainssunset

far from the tower of Babel,
Peak Dwellers fly to the sun
gathering beams to shine
in the valley of snows.
Their points of view glow
with eternal verities
that enlighten all
who wish to see.

Who’s in Control?

Thoughts jump like frogsfreeimages.co.uk photos of objects

plunging, swimming, floating
in deep and shallow ideas.
They are like TV shows
and radio broadcasts.

When their production
turns into a horror fest,
a fear mongering symphony,
or ridiculous repetitions,
simply change the channel.

Cultivating Change

Delve like a mole,
dig deep, deep, deeper;
tunnel through the soil
of elemental thought.
Craft passageways;
some will curve or spiral,
others will be straight
with narrow paths.
Roots of conditioning
groan, as you
toss them aside
Dig, dig, dig, far below
surface appearances.
Remember, when you’re
tired, respite can be found
in the silent spaces
between your thoughts.

delving-deep

Universe Infinity

About Saleema

Saleema E. Giltinan

Saleema E. Giltinan

Education: I have a Master’s Degree in Psychology and a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work.

I’ve traveled extensively and spent several years living in India, journaling and studying eastern spiritual traditions.  I have been a spiritual teacher for over twenty-five years.  My favorite writing genre is poetry, although I also write inspirational non- fiction.   My spiritual path inspires my poems.  I enjoy writing poetry because metaphors and poetic stories provide a wonderful format to express spiritual concepts.  The language of symbols is expansive and can speak to many different levels of consciousness.  I love mixing symbols with practical day-to-day experiences as I craft my poems.

Publications:  Other Sheep Magazine published one of my poems.  I actually met the editor at the 2011 Muse Conference, pitched the poem, and got it published.

Thank you, Saleema, for taking our workshop, for the courage to share and grow, and for joining us here on our blog.

If you missed it, read the first post in our workshop participants series.

mary-sig2

Meet Melanie Hamilton, Our Muse Conference Moderator

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.

Michele
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Highlighting Pleasure

A single finger
sweeps across my skin
friction releasing me
mote by mote

A focused thumb
presses me down
while fingers stroke
highlighting “pleasure”

 

m-hamilton-1

Girls’ Love

You found out I kissed her
Pressed my lips against hers
Felt her teeth, hard and sharp
Innocent.

You found out I laid on her
My body long and thin
Felt her ribs, hard and round
Innocent.

You found out I wanted her
and placed me
behind the garden wall still
Innocent.

 

About Me

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 craftm-hamilton-2

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.

 

Mary’s Muse Conference Experience

Last week was the annual Muse Online Writers Conference. The Muselings have a history with this conference.

Our group emerged from this conference, we learned the tools to create our poetry collection LIFELINES. We pitched our book to publishers at a later Muse Conference, and it was during Muse Con of last year that we got our acceptance letter. We owe the success of this group and our book to Muse Conference.

And this year we paid it forward. For the first time, the Poetic Muselings presented a workshop. Poetry: Not Just for Writing Verses.

It was a great experience all around. We talked poetry, wrote poetry, critiqued poetry. Hopefully those that attended learned something and made their own connections to continue in the days ahead.

On Saturday’s topic, Michele brought up some questions to help us look at how poetry can enhance our other writing. It made me take a look at the relationship between my two types of writing. Sometimes I try to keep them in two separate boxes, a poet in one moment and a fiction writer in another. But they are both a part of me, and they definitely bleed into each other.

One thing I’m still working on is taking my strengths from each form and applying them to the other. I need to be more descriptive in my fiction, and use more story in my poetry. My best writing has elements of both.

I spent most of my week in our poetry forum, but I also dabbled in some of the other workshops. One of my favorites of the week was Creating a Writerly Logo. I learned the importance of choosing good font and color, spacing and shapes. It was a lot of fun coming up with a logo that represented both sides of my writing.

Here is my final result:

 

 

If you have different hobbies, or write different styles or genres, how do they overlap?

mary-sig2

 

 

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Devon Ellington and the Muse Online Writers Conference

assumption-of-right-coverI first met Devon during one of the early Muse Online Writers Conferences. Her workshop was thought-provoking, hard work, and immensely satisfying to get through. Since then, I’ve taken several more from her at Savvy Authors (another terrific site), as well as the Muse Conference.

Her depth of knowledge, focus, humor, and structure, all forced me to stretch and go further than I expected I could. I’m so delighted that Devon is back at the Muse Conference this year. Below is a post she wrote, and is included here with her permission.

The Poetic Muselings are presenting a workshop at the Muse Conference, too, “Poetry — Not Just for Writing Verse”. What I learned with Devon over the years influenced the way I look at writing in all genres. I’ve merged the poetic approach in novels, non-fiction, script writing, and even blog posts.

Join us at the Muse Online Writers Conference — but hurry — registation ends on Sept 30!

Later this week, we’ll tell you about our Poetic Museling workshop. But now, here’s Devon.

 

The Muse and I

by Devon Ellington

The actual Muse and I have an on-again/off-again relationship that doesn’t change the fact that I need to get my butt into the chair every damn day and work, whether I  feel like it or not.  In fact, it’s MORE imperative to get butt in chair on the days you don’t feel like it, and often, your best work comes out of the toughest days.

You only want to write when you feel like it?  Nice to have that luxury.  Some of us have to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table.  With our pens and our keyboards.  If you only want to write “when the Muse strikes” (and sometimes she uses a frying pan or a brick), good for you.  Skip my classes, though, because I’m not the right teacher for you.

hexbreakeralt1Sometimes my Muse is male, and sometimes female.  The energy takes on whatever attributes necessary to get the job done.  Sometimes I have the Nick and Nora Charles pair of Muses lounging behind my chair, swilling martinis and making sarcastic comments as I slave away over my words.

That’s okay, as long as it gets done.

As far as the Muse Online Conference, let’s see, how many years have I been here?  I know I did six consecutive years, and then I had to skip one — I think it was last year.  I may have had to skip another one at some point because of chaos going on in life, and when chaos happens, it’s not the writing that gets put aside, but everything else.

There are many great things about the Muse Online Writers Conference.  The sheer volume of participants and the joy they bring to the process is wonderful. It’s a great way to dip one’s toe into a lot of different ways to work, and find techniques to add to your toolbox.  It’s a great place to develop new ideas — I’ve developed several novels during the Muse Conference.  If you do Nano, it’s a great place to prep for Nano. As a teacher, it’s a great place to try out new class ideas.  A lot of places want the same kind of classes — at Muse, teachers can stretch and try new ideas.  And those unique-type classes are often the ones that are the most needed by the writers.  It’s a place to find your peers.  The group of people you start with will be the group you rise with as you progress in your writing life — your support system, your Trusted Readers, the shoulders to cry on after a tough day or a disappointment.  What better place to find them than in an intoxicating environment of writing pleasure?

But you can’t find that if you don’t attend.  I hope to see you there, whether you choose to spend time in my three day Supporting Characters Workshop, where you learn how to create a good ensemble around your protagonist and antagonist without letting them run away with the book — or if we’re both students together in one of the other workshops.  A huge part of good writing is good listening — and some of the best listening opportunities happen at conferences!

–Devon Ellington is a full-time writer, publishing under half a dozen names in fiction and non-fiction.  Her paranormal romantic suspense novel, ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT (as Annabel Aidan) is available in print and online from Champagne Books.  Solstice Publishing has the Jain Lazarus Adventures, with HEX BREAKER out now, OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK coming out later this week, and CRAVE THE HUNT sent to the publisher just before this conference.  Her story “Sea Diamond” featuring the take-no-prisoners Fiona Steele appears in the upcoming DEATH SPARKLES anthology, and her plays are produced in New York, Cape Cod, London, Edinburgh, and Australia.

http://devonellington.wordpress.com and www.devonellingtonwork.com.

 

 

 

Lifelines and Apollo’s Lyre nominated for P&E Awards

(Updated with corrected links)

Critters / Critique.org  hosts the annual Preditors & Editors™ Readers’ Poll which honors print & electronic publications published during 2011. (Click here for the official rules.)

DEADLINE FOR VOTING IS JAN. 10, 2012.

Lifelines, our Poetic Muselings anthology, is nominated in several categories. Also, Apollo’s Lyre is nominated in three categories, including Best Poetry ezine — as editor of the poetry column, I’m especially excited. Links and details are below.

To vote in this poll, you must fill in your name and email and the scrambled letters in a “captcha” box — this way they can decide that a real person is voting. You will receive an email with a confirming link to follow, which validates your vote.

Nominees are listed alphabetically in each category, so you can find your favorites that way. We would appreciate your support and your vote for us in the following categories:

Anthology — (Lifelines)
http://critters.org/predpoll/antho.shtml

Book cover, Lifelines, Lin Neiswender
http://www.critters.org/predpoll/bookart.shtml

Poets, Poetic Muselings
http://critters.org/predpoll/poet.shtml

Poetry ezine — Apollo’s Lyre
http://critters.org/predpoll/poetryzine.shtml

There are many other categories being honored. Please check them out including:

Other Apollo’s Lyre nominations are Fiction ezine and ezine editor Jim Harrington   http://critters.org/predpoll/fictionzine.shtml,  http://critters.org/predpoll/zineeditor.shtml

ThePoetic Muselings grew out of the Muse Online Writers Conference, which is nominated under best writers workshops. Learn more about this outstanding conference by following the link with the poll:
http://critters.org/predpoll/writerws.shtml

And we have publishers to vote for, too. InkSpotter, our publisher, is on the list, as is MuseItUp, connected to the Muse Conference:
http://critters.org/predpoll/ebookpublisher.shtml

We thank you for your consideration of us on this poll, and would be happy to hear your comments.

Coming on Friday — the long-awaited results of our contest. Very difficult challenge, but we are ready to post it. Again, our deepest thanks to all of out participants.

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