“Are You Guilty of Isms?” inspires a new game of Pessimistic Moustache

While reading the article “Are You Guilty of Isms” at Psychology Today, I realized I hadn’t played Pessimistic Moustache in a while. Pessimistic Moustache is a game I made up inspired by the wonderfully descriptive phrase penned by Agatha Christie. The idea is to use an ism (like pessimism, thus pessimistic) to describe things. Diana Rose Wilson and I pretty much stuck to mustaches (moustache being the way Agatha Christie spelled it) when we were playing.

The way we used to play was Diana or I would post a picture or gif of a mustache and then we would come up with isms to describe it. While reading the article on Psychology Today this morning, I thought the opposite might be fun: Come up with the description first, then send pictures of mustaches that fit the description. For instance:

What does a speciesist mustache look like?

Who has an ageist mustache?

baby stache

What shape is a nationalist mustache?

french mustache strike

Find pictures of a sexist mustache.

girl with mustache

If you would like to play along, feel free to post your pictures and descriptions in the comments, or head over to #pessimisticmoustache on twitter.

I hope you’ll join me in some fun when you need a distraction from your writing. You might find the perfect description for your character’s mustache.

Advertisements

The Planner Experiment: Final Week of May and Finding Poetry

Fifth Week of May

I prepared the pages early this week and then spaced posting them yesterday, sorry.

2019 Planner May Week Five

Last Week

I finally typed up the ten unpublished poems from NaPoWriMo. I’m letting them sit a bit before I edit them. At the moment I’m not as excited about them as I had hoped to be.

In the meantime, I tried some collage poetry which was a fun and inspiring experiment. I chose two very different books:The Devil’s Teeth: A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America’s Great White Sharks by Susan Casey and Women and the Law (University Casebook Series) by Mary Joe Frug. I photocopied some pages from each book and highlighted phrased that interested me, creating a highlighter color code as I went. When I had highlighted all of the pages, I cut out the selected phrases and put them in a bowl.

I found a small book I had made from scrap paper and magazine pages in my art supply bin. It was a perfect size. I started selecting phrases and gluing them into the book. Over two days, I turned those phrases into five poems.

This Week

I enjoyed my word collage experiment so much that I’ve decided to continue it this week. I have pulled out seven of my morning pages notebooks and have started photocopying random pages from them. I plan to use the same color-coding I used before while highlighting phrases that grab my attention. I’m excited to see if the creation of the poems and the finished products feel more or less personal when using words from my notebooks instead of from books.

Submissions

I still have not been able to re-invigorate my interest in submitting, even though I get excited about the journals as I learn about them and often think one or more of my stories will be a good fit. Hopefully, my original excitement will come around again. Starting tomorrow morning, I will attempt to make my three submissions my morning priority.

Welcome to Summer

Happy Memorial Day to those of you celebrating. It’s beautiful weather here. I jumped in the lake for the first time this year (late for me). It was tingly and brisk. It’s going to get harder and harder to self-motivate and get work done. I hope these planner pages help keep us motivated and on track to meet our publishing goals.

Happy Reading, Writing, Planning and Submitting!

 

The Planner Experiment: May Week Three – New idea for writing prompts

May week three

Finding writing prompts in old movies

The other day, while thinking about which classic monster I wanted to put in space for the Monsters in Space anthology, I remembered I have a copy of Little Shop of Horrors, the black and white, non-musical with Jack Nicholson. I also needed to come up with some writing prompts for this week’s pages, so I started the movie and sat down with a notebook and pen to jot down any writing prompts that came to mine, or any Audrey Jr. in space ideas, whichever came first.

To my surprise, every little thing began to trigger writing prompt ideas. First, I was inspired by the setting of a flower shop, then by the characters, then by getting ideas from films, then odd and fun dialogue. While I was writing the prompts, I noticed that a couple of them could, perhaps build off of one another.

A new idea for the planner

After writing twenty-eight unique prompts, I looked back through and grouped them into four weeks of prompts that could possibly work together to inspire work on the same story throughout the week.

Since I began this project, I’ve had fun making up the prompts, but not used many of them. I think this new idea of using each prompt to build a story through the week will be more useful. As I learned last month, I can write a story a week, so if I use the prompts to inspire a small section of a story each day, then I’ll be more likely to reach that goal of a finished draft each week.

So many prompts

After Little Shop of Horrors, I put in the original Night of the Living Dead and the writing prompt ideas just kept coming (mostly from dialogue). Now that I’ve discovered this technique, I doubt I’ll ever need to worry about coming up with prompts. I have collections of old black and white, even silent, Alfred Hitchcock and black and white Sherlock Holmes. I’m not sure the black and white is necessary for my prompt writing technique, but I’m going to stick with it for a while.

This week’s pages

Last week, I only got two submissions out. But I did get two submissions out, so that’s movement in the right direction. One of my submissions was a photography submission, an exciting first.

This week we’re hitting many of the month’s deadlines, especially for poetry. I’ve been telling myself I’m going to type up my poems that I have not published on this site and send them out, so this week is the week for my new poetry submissions.

This week’s goal, again, is to fill in the daily planner pages and hit those three submissions a day. I hope you’ll join me.

2019 Planner May Week Three

Reading poetry with a twist

I’m reading a lot of poetry. I’m still reading through all of the books I found to inspire my poetry last month. Last week, I tried something new and found it moving and enjoyable. I was reading Taking the Arrow Out of the Heart by Alice Walker, but not getting very far with it, so I downloaded the audio book, read by the author and listened to it while I worked for a while. Then I picked up the book and read along while I listened. I really enjoyed it, having her voice in my head instead of my own. I highly recommend this experience.

This week I’ll also be reading the poetry of

Diane Seuss
Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl: Poems
Four-Legged Girl: Poems

Alberto Rios
A Small Story about the Sky
The Dangerous Shirt

and

Louis Jenkins
Winter Road

Happy Reading, Writing, Planning and Submitting!

Creative Writing for the WWE

Last month, during NaPoWriMo and A to Z Challenge, my word for the letter k was kayfabe. Kayfabe is a word used in professional wrestling for presenting staged performances as genuine or authentic. Imagine my surprise when I found this great video introducing people to the lives of the creative writers working for the WWE. The article that I read about it said it may be a recruiting video.

There you have it, the exciting, jet-setting, action-filled life of writing for wrestlers.

Happy Reading and Writing!

F is for fainéant- Poem: After the Rain

cut wood between trees

Today’s new word:

fainéant n. an idler. adj. idle; indolent.

National Poetry Writing Month prompt:

Write a poem that emphasizes the power of “if,” of the woulds and coulds and shoulds of the world.

Writer’s Digest April PAD (poem a day) challenge:

“After (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Possible titles include: “After Dinner,” “After You,” “After Hours,” and/or “After I Finish Writing This Poem.”

My poem

After the Rain

if the clouds break and spread
releasing blue sky, the sun bursting,
glistening droplets on glass and bush
the blue-green waves pumping rhythmically
then saws and motors fill the air as if
men and women held them still
as long as they could, but the first ray of sun
set them free

if the sun breaks free and turns
the glistening raindrops to steam
rising up to join the receding clouds
let the growling, whining, revving, gnarling
inform the fainéants of their indolence
there is no rest against nature’s encroachment
no peace for those who live
among the virulent trees

if the rain ceases and the droplets are greeted
by the warm sun, spring has sprung
and there is growth, nature encroaches
and the peace of winter, the silent void of winter
is filled with revving and whining and gnarling and growling
if the fainéant sit, their heads soon split

Reading

Today’s poetry book for inspiration is Night Sky with Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong

Happy Reading and Writing!

C is for cathect- Poem:Call of the King Fisher

800px-Houghton_MS_Am_21_(50)_-_John_James_Audubon,_belted_kingfisher

Today’s new word:

cathect vt. to invest with mental or emotional energy

National Poetry Writing Month prompt:

Write something that involves a story or action that unfolds over an appreciable length of time.

Writer’s Digest April PAD (poem a day) challenge:

Write an animal poem. The poem could be about an animal. Or it could just mention an animal in passing. Or include an animal in your title and fail to mention the animal once in your poem.

My poem

Call of the King Fisher

Surrounded by tall fir and cedar,
wizened rhododendron and cherry plum
She chooses a plastic pole (for securing a boat)
Perched atop, only room for one

Squat, blue and white, protruding needle
Her song, unique among the chatter,
cathected call commands my attention
She used to fly off when I came to the window

Day after day
The pole closer to the house
Not the other one
Year after year
Beak parallel to the windows
Not pointing in at me

This spring there is another
They chase each other
flirting through the skies
The farther pole stays vacant

 

Reading

Today’s poetry book for inspiration is Wade in the Water: Poems by Tracy K. Smith.

Happy Reading and Writing!

B is for Brobdingnagian-Poem: Before Work

Today’s new word:

Brobdingnagian adj. of huge size; gigantic; tremendous  n. 1. a giant; a being of tremendous size 2. an inhabitant of Brobdingnag

I came across this word in a book by Roy Peter Clark. It was fun to find out it comes from the fictional land of Brobdingnag from Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift. It’s funny how you don’t recognize things sometimes, when they are out of context.

National Poetry Writing Month prompt:

Write a poem that resists closure by ending in a question.

Writer’s Digest April PAD (poem a day) challenge:

Today is Two for Tuesday. Choose one or both prompts.

  1. Write a worst case poem. What’s the worst that could happen?
  2. Write a best case poem. Take the worst and reverse it!

My poem

Before Work

I could not return to dreaming of lovers
And so the day has begun, I roll over
and push my legs from under the covers
Aches, stiff joints and pulsing veins
A few tempered steps before toe meets metal frame
Ignore the shooting pain
Tell me that’s the end

Drag that heavy ass up the stairs
There’s coffee to be made, but I glare
into an empty bag. I start the tea pot
In the haze of brainless morning I gulp,
The boiling liquid sears my tongue and throat
burning in my chest as if singeing my lungs
How will I know the end when it comes?

I relax in my chair and flip on the tube
I can’t seem to stop myself and turn to the news
Another shooting and so many lies
scandals, celebrities, murder and suicides
A Brobdingnagian pile of hubris and greed
putrid stupidity repackaged as need
I do not know when the end is coming

The shower runs cold, the water won’t heat
My clothes from the dryer smell bitter-sweet
I rush to the car, my hair worse than bad
The key does nothing, the damned thing is dead
I look up at the sky, all cloudless and blue
And instead of why? ask
Is the end coming soon?

Reading

Today’s poetry book for inspiration is When My Brother Was an Aztec by Natalie Diaz.

Happy Reading and Writing!

A is for Agita- Poem: How to take a picture of the mountain in the morning

the mountain in the morning

Today’s new word:

agita n. 1. heartburn; indigestion 2. agitation; anxiety

National Poetry Writing Month prompt:

Write a poem that provides the reader with instructions on how to do something.

Writer’s Digest April PAD (poem a day) challenge:

Write a morning poem

My poem

How to take a picture of the mountain in the morning

Imbibe the pink hue on the air
Imagine its reflection off of the glaciered peaks
Rush downstairs and scour the regular places
Race back upstairs and inspect the most recent surfaces
Retrace your hurry downstairs, instrument in hand,
out the glass door, startling the birds at the feeder
Dart across the freshly cut grass, your naked toes
collecting cuttings wet with ice-cold dew
Ignore the agita of your stirred morning coffee,
rumbling in your blackened bowels
Steady your arms, your eyes, and your breath
Select the detail that will capture what is left
of the beauty you missed in your flailing
Push the button
Adjust your view
Push it again

Reading

Today’s poetry book for inspiration is The Best American Poetry 2015 (The Best American Poetry series) with guest editor Sherman Alexie.

 

Happy Reading and Writing!

The Planner Pages: Changing course

March week three pages

The Experiment

This month is flying by and I have very few submissions to show for it. My main issue is trying to read enough of each journal to get a feel for it and then when I’ve spent so much time reading the journal, I decide I don’t have a story that fits.

I’ve been debating if I want to continue to list deadlines, or reading period openings and I have officially switched to openings. This week, I finally convinced myself to submit to a magazine only to find they had closed submissions early due to too many submissions. I’m seeing more and more that journals that use submittable will only take a certain number of submissions per month due to costs which makes their deadlines indecipherable. I am also finding that I procrastinate, so deadlines are not really helping me plan ahead. It makes more sense, for all these reasons, to start looking at journals by when their reading period opens. So, after this week, I’m changing course.

This means I will have to redo all of the pages from this quarter for next year, but it was all an experiment, so I’m glad I’ve come to this decision now instead of in the fall.

Reading Discoveries

Though I have hit a slump in my submitting, I have made some fun discoveries through continuing the experiment. After reading an interview with the editor of Hinnom Magazine, I picked up a copy of The Nameless Dark: A Collectionby T. E. Grau. The first story, “Tubby’s Big Swim” is thoroughly entertaining.

In Blackbird I enjoyed Miniature Man by Carrie Brown and was excited to read This Is The Age of Beautiful Death by John Dufresne. I have read and enjoyed John Dufresne‘s books on writing and recommend them often. It was fun to recognize an author I admire as I was reading through the magazines.

In Shenandoah, I enjoyed Tender by Shruti Swamy.

I hope you’ll make some time to treat yourself to these great stories.

The Pages

Here are this week’s daily planning pages with new writing prompts and magazine information: 2019 Planner March Week Three

I hope you are finding the daily planning pages helpful, informative, and motivational. What do you think of the writing prompts I’m making up? Have you tried any of them? How are your submissions going? Do you think you’ll reach 100 rejections this year?

Happy Reading, Writing, Planning and Submitting!

The Planner Experiment: #CallForSubmissions

Over 500 Followers!!

Thank you to each and every one of you who has chosen to follow Experience Writing. I hope you continue to enjoy this writing journey. This is exciting!

The Planner Experiment

How are your submissions going? Are the planner pages helping? Do you have any suggestions for this week’s pages?

I found some new places to find submissions and I’m surprised I didn’t know about this sooner. I just discovered a couple of active and helpful hashtags on Twitter:

#Callforsubmissions

#Submissions

I’ll scour these over the next few days and should have updated deadlines for Sunday.

The Writer’s Games

Writer’s Games 2019 start tomorrow with a practice event. I’m really excited. I hope you will wish me luck as I write through the challenges. Are any of you participating in the games this year? Have you done it before? Any advice?

Happy Reading, Writing, Planning and Submitting!