I just enjoyed the first presentation of Crime Writer’s Week with author Leigh Russell. She had lots of tips for writers and mentioned poetry often. I’m looking forward to the next panel. I hope you will find time to enjoy some of this free conference this week. I have crime in each of my novel manuscripts from literary fiction to science fiction and even in some of my poems ;). And I’m having fun thinking about all of them.
There you are swimming to the surface as I want to dive in Laying some eggs –that will be tiny fish by the thousands soon swarming the ladder– leaving a trail of excrement, flaunting your occupancy
You slimy, slippery, carnivorous cannibal, yeah, I saw you slipping into shallow waters under children’s feet to freak them out with your slithering slime, then shimmering off to hide in the shadow under the dock
Don’t you know that’s why you’re so easy to catch? but that’s another tease isn’t it? The excitement of the tug on the line then your scales are sharp and cut and you’re so full of bones, not enough to fry you’re only good for choking on
I was inspired by the chapter “collage” to look at some collage programs online. I had a lot of fun with Word Art, creating a shape for each line of my poem, starting with another chapter title, “Who were you in my dream?”
Then I put those images into another program called ribbet to make a shape collage. I didn’t enjoy ribbet as much as it made me sign up for a 14 day trial and wasn’t as simple and straight forward as Word Art. But, it made a fun collage to illustrate my poem.
There’s a lot going on today. The Write Hive Conference has workshops and presentations all day and it’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday (#SoCS) with the prompt “mash,” so that should be an interesting combination (a day of stream of consciousness while attending a conference).
One of the sponsors for Write Hive is Prowritingaid which will have another free conference next week. Crime Writer’s Week starts on Monday and has interesting presentations and events all week. The Networking events look like fun.
Over at the A to Z Challenge they are asking what you do on your “Off Day.” I really like today’s Janus word, overlook (1) To watch closely; (2) to fail to notice
Time for some stream of consciousness. Hopefully, there will be a poem in there.
It worked! All of the prompts came together. Even “mash” got into the poem. Just for fun, here’s a section of my stream of consciousness before I got to the poem:
. . . “mash”: a pulpy mass. I mash black beans, then fry them up for my feta and beans on toast. That’s pretty much the only thing I mash. I just mashed a tiny, black sugar ant that crawled on me, that’s what my summers are about” mashing ants. Not this year. This year I will win the battle somehow. . .
The battle plan for the ants goes on for a while then I get to the poem when I write, “What does any of that have to do with mash or overlook or the moon or waiting?” Then the poem kind of spilled out.
He is a Selfish Moon
Am I waiting for the moon, so I can mash his stupid, smug face in– the way he overlooks the pain he brings, the tidal pull of our waters, powerless to the moon’s whims
that peeping moon’s bright light, pouring across the lawn, and streaming through windows in the middle of the night, does he think I don’t see him reflected in the water in the morning?
Over at A to Z Challenge we’re reminded that this is a challenge and to Never Give Up! The Janus word is nonplussed. It can mean so surprised and confused that one is unsure how to react or not disconcerted, unperturbed.
A Skewed View
completely nonplussed this trip to Palouse is a bust everything covered in dust and the haunt cancelled, I trust curse this wanderlust but if I adjust my view just a touch to the rolling hills of lush green and rust swirling and diving in natural flux the sun piercing the clouds makes the dust in a gust sparkle like stardust
I can’t believe we’re already at the halfway point. The days are flying.
There’s a free online writing conference this weekend starting tomorrow called WRITEHIVE. I signed up yesterday. There are free workshops and presentations all weekend. Did any of you attend last year? I hope you’ll join me. Let me know in the comments and I’ll look for you. Now to poetry!
Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is to a small habit picked up from a parent. Pushing through while journaling really got me somewhere I hadn’t looked before.
The NaPoWriMo prompt is to write a poem about the meaning of your first or last name.
The April PAD prompt is to write a poem inspired by your immediate surroundings.
My Janus word for the A to Z Challenge is left. As a past tense verb, it means “to have gone”; as an adjective, it means “remaining.”
Because I’ve often written about the mountain (Berg in Swedish means mountain), I thought adding a structure or form would help inspire something unique, so I took a look at the Poetics prompt from yesterday over at the dVerse Poets Pub.
I’m glad I did, because it got me thinking about all the fun adventures I’ve had on the mountain and the animals I’ve met there. Kim’s prompt was inspired by the poem The Print the Whales Make by Marjorie Saiser as was my poem.
Black Bear’s Branch
I freeze. You haven’t seen it yet the thick, dark fur tucked among the fir trunks We are too close, my heart jackhammers with fear and fascination Is that how we are: a dangerous shape a few steps off the path? Too late. Can’t go back. But looking up at those sky-filling slopes with awe, I remember the deer and the fox prancing also encountered there and the way the bear licked at the grass, not bothered by the branch still attached to his bum, so peacefully grazing I didn’t notice him until I had left him behind on the return path he wasn’t interested in me and my fear of black bears in dark forests of fascination on the sky-filling slopes slanted sunlight on snow glinting promise of new bear sightings another day
Over at the A to Z Challenge they encourage a quick game of Klondike solitaire to let the mind wander a bit when you need a break. My Janus word for today is killer which can mean something or someone that takes life, or in its slang usage can mean something challenging to do or something excellent.
Today’s prompts inspired some arts and crafts. I began today’s poetry journey by pulling some old local papers from my fire-fuel pile and began hunting for inspiration. Since the local Courier-Herald is mostly full of stories about kids sports and I couldn’t even find the word “luck” in there, I quickly lost interest, so I tried a different source. When I was taking the Futures Thinking specialization courses on Coursera, I signed up for some Futurist newsletters. I found my inspiration from a link in the Science X Newsletter that led me to Phys.org. I found a few different articles that interested me, printed them and then got to work.
Today’s poem about tomorrow’s headline used the following sources:
Janus is represented with two faces, because he was acquainted with the past and the future; or, according to others, because he was taken for the sun who opens the day at his rising, and shuts it at his setting.
It really is fun when the prompts overlap so nicely.
In the Jumpspace of Janus
Just now, as Janus stares at both horizons with conviction, the great fall, and the next rise to be great in the eternal tail-biting race the circuitous circuit at play with each repeating season an echoing voice
Just now in spring, a call of sweet voice sings with reproductions conviction which is, Janus blushes, the impetus of the season building sharply until too great to continue to ignore as play panting and sweating before and after the race
Just now, still circuiting the race, Janus coughs, having lost his voice the tug of war is at barbarous play both sides pulling with such conviction to see them mud-splattered would be great but the ionic repulsion is strong this season
And just now, Janus has forgotten the season he has tripped and fallen during the race seeing his tail so close and so great he remembered the profound words he needed to voice all of the accumulated knowledge believed with conviction but then he wagged and forgot and wanted to play
Just now, Janus stares at daylight at play so many sparkles and shadows this season he has trouble focusing near or far with conviction and his thoughts and memories spin and race he longs to hear that one special voice from his future past of somedays great
Just now, Janus will circle again feeling great dizzy and heady from all this play enchanted by so many echoes of his own voice with similar words for each season at this horizon he chooses to skip the race and stretch his vision with conviction
To sing a great season Janus will play, bringing hearts to race just now, his voice is future and past’s conviction.
Now that I have revised at the story level and the scene level, it is time to dig into those paragraphs, sentences and words. A fun and useful tool to use at this point is the word cloud. I put my text into Word It Out and created this:
The program has some great tools. After pasting the text into the text box, I clicked on Settings at the bottom right and added the character names at the end of the filter words. Then, once I created my word cloud, I clicked on Wordlist and can click on any of the words to see how many times I used them. I definitely want to look at the instances of “like” and “back” and explore why I used them so much.
This time, when I listened to the computer read my story, it was helpful. I noticed a couple typos, some words and phrases that were clunky, and a couple unnecessary sentences. It helped me fix the timing of the ending so it had the punch I wanted. And the most exciting part? I liked it.
I will print it out and read it aloud a few times, and then send it to a few beta-readers for feedback.