April Is Coming: NaPoWriMo & A to Z Challenge & Me

Close-up of daffodils

Life Lessons: Always Learning

These last couple months, I have learned a few things about myself:

1. Joining the YMCA is a good way to pay money to inspire me to stay home and write.

2. In the Fall and Winter, I write stories that will eventually be called for on Dark Markets.

3. When Winter is over, I suddenly want to finish all my stories and send them out to get homes and readers. Guess that’s how I sow (I have plans to sew) my oats, so to speak.

4. I am good at physical (better than my self-imposed) deadlines, but I might as well stop telling myself I’ll start months ahead when I know the work gets done in the final week. It’s not procrastinating; I’m a thinker and I think better while doing other things.

5. And most pertinent to this post: I either blog once a day or once a month and there is very little in between.

Conclusion: I’m creative and like to be in the now of the creative process. I’m not a planner. Thus, starting my day with a blog challenge that includes creative writing is the most reliable way to get content here for you to read (Instead of, say, spending my time making klecksography–magnetic poetry with inkblot illustration–and posting it to twitter: My Klecksography Twitter Moment).

National Poetry Writing Month

With this in mind, I was happy to remember that April is NaPoWriMo – National (Global) Poetry Writing Month. It came to my attention when I did OctPoWriMo last fall. Since I enjoyed writing daily poems and continued to enjoy writing daily poetry through November and December, I am looking forward to doing it again.

Last Fall was an intense re-introduction to poetry for me. It started with the CalArts Poetry Workshop with Douglas KearneyI took (free) through coursera.org. The readings, examples, videos and assignments opened my eyes and inspired me to look for more poetry challenges. October Poetry Writing Month (OctPoWriMo) created by Morgan Dragonwillow( @MorganDragonwillow) was my first daily challenge and introduced me to a plethora of poetry forms.

After October, I wanted more, so even during the intense writing challenge that is NaNoWriMo, I joined another poetry challenge. Writer’s Digest offered the PAD (poem-a-day) Chapbook Challenge. I used the prompts and wrote poems from my characters’ points of view (mostly my MC) and it enhanced my NaNoWriMo experience.

When that challenge ended, I put together my first poetry Chapbook and entered it in the contest, but I wanted to continue and end the year strong, so I did the MoSt Poetry New Year challenge which offered prompts through the new year and part of January.

 

The Book

Journal: Carnet PAPERBLANKS modèle Nocturnelle Ultra 180x230mm – ligné by paperblanks

For Christmas, my sweetie got me the most beautiful hard-cover journal. I love the textured, embossed, old-world style with metal clasps and two attached ribbon bookmarks. To me, it is more than an everyday-morning-pages-stream-of-consciousness journal, or even a notes-for-my novel journal. So after writing in it for the first two days of 2018, I stopped. I thought I would use it for daily poetry, but I’ve been neglecting the daily poetry.  This beautiful journal will be one of my tools during the fabulous challenge that is April.

A to Z Challenge

When I joined Thursday evening’s #StoryDam chat, I was proud to announce that I had signed up for April’s National Poetry Writing Month, but then the second question of the evening was if anyone had signed up for April’s A to Z Challenge. The A to Z challenge is a challenge for bloggers to blog daily about a topic or topics starting with the letter A on April 1st and following each day (except for the following Sundays) with consecutive letters of the alphabet.

Now, I will admit, I had completely forgotten that April was also the month for this blogging challenge, but I quickly realized that it shouldn’t be too hard to combine the two. Since I am new to each of these challenges, this will be an experiment, but I see it being fun. I’m thinking for the A to Z challenge, I will challenge myself to a new word starting with the letter of the day. Then I will use that word in my NaPoWriMo poem.

I also want to continue my Craft Book Reviews. I’ve had a couple Jack Bickham books lined up for this week, but I guess you’ll get those on Monday. The letter B. I’ve also been enjoying a couple of John Dufresne books, so I’ll have to hurry and get those reviews ready for “D” day which will be next Thursday. Depending on how this goes, those may be all the Craft Book Reviews for April because I got excited and requested books by all four living Nobel Prize winning poets (before Bob Dylan; I already read his book Tarantula) from my local library and downloaded some e-books as well.

And if that wasn’t enough to keep you coming back to Experience Writing in April, I am going to see Anne Lamott, author of Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life speak. I hope I have a ton of writer wisdom to share after that!

Happy Reading and Writing!

See You Tomorrow.

 

Advertisements

The Leviathan In The Fog

This week, I had fun with Chuck Wendig’s flash fiction challenge over at terribleminds.com blog. He offered a list of ten titles and challenged writers to choose one and write its story. I tried out a few different titles and story ideas, but “The Leviathan In The Fog” triggered a memory of a personal encounter, so I felt the most connection to this story. And with no further ado . . .

 

The Leviathan in the Fog

by Maria L. Berg

Moments past dawn and it is already hot. Dew, settled on the long blades of grass during the chill of night, sizzles to steam, creating a thick fog that hovers near the earth. The orchestra of invisible locusts plays a deafening song. The leviathan stirs, alert to an invisible invasion.

Fumes of diesel and rubber, hours old, still linger. A pungent deterrent, narrowing possible paths. The leviathan slowly stretches along the cracks and pebbles, finding every sensation an irritant. Gone are the days of wandering in mindless solitude, tentacles swaying fearlessly in the breeze. With the humans encroaching and the new fad of rampant hermaphroditic reproduction, the once vast world feels confining. Recently, the bumbling masses started eating each others’ shells. Eating each other! That’s what their uncontrolled orgies have gotten them. Terrestrial gastropods have no self-control.

Contracting, toward a leaf, the leviathan smells distinct clues of foreign intrusion: an unfamiliar sweet, rotting fruit; soil of a course mineral make-up; the bark of an unknown tree. Curiosity becomes alarm. The invasion is happening, but where are the invaders? The locusts continue their two-note serenade without pause. No breach could escape their scrutiny. Hunger prevails over alarm, but the leaf is all wrong: rubbery and stringy; each vein leaks a gluey, bitter puss.

Dissatisfied, the leviathan stretches further through the fog and discovers, retracting in horror, a capacious piece of broken shell. The deep mahogany and umber swirls are slashed with jagged white edges where violent pressure transposed it from home to waste. Only two other small pieces remain, the rest are crumbled and trampled to tiny specks and flakes. While tasting one of the smaller pieces of shell, the leviathan worries that the pebble irritants, glided over earlier, are pieces of a trail of snails.

The recognition of self in the smell is difficult to process. A perceptual dilemma like sucking on one’s own eye stalk. The leviathan feels ill and wants to recoil, but the calcium is difficult to come by these days.

The sun rises behind the trees. The fog will soon burn off and the leviathan will need to dig into the soft dirt under the tall grass to hide from predators and the blistering heat, but the second small piece of shell is too tempting. Enraptured in gluttony, the leviathan doesn’t hear the lack of locusts’ song, or the generators’ rising hum as lights are flicked on. Vibrations growing underfoot like a stampede gaining momentum do, finally, reach into the gorge. The click and scrape of heavy doors is the final warning.

The sole of a shoe. An earth shattering crunch.

In the throws of death, the leviathan hears, “Ew. What is that? There’s like slime up to my ankle. Is that a snail? A snail? We must be in hell because a snail that big will eternally haunt my dreams.”

Then a scream of shattering revelation.

“They’re everywhere. Oh, Lord help me, they’re everywhere.”