#OctPoWriMo Day 10: Dancing On Air

Dancing On The CloudsThis OctPoWriMo, I haven’t been as interested in working on poetry forms as I have in the past. However, today’s form, Con-Verse, appeals to me. Here’s my attempt:

She Knows They’re Watching

Flipping off her heals, releas-
ing her toes to the cool breeze

She bends her knees, loose hips swaying
Her skirt joins the music playing

Then she steps and her shoulders drop free
Her arms grow wild and reach out to me

I shake my head, but I’m already there
Dizzy and weightless, I move without care

Something is off. She isn’t looking at me.
I am part of a show for others to see.

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#OctPoWriMo Day 7: Letters Never Sent

lillly padToday’s theme is, again, very timely.

The Letter He Asked For, Never Sent

Dear Crazy Man,
doing everything you can
to spoil my fun without having a clue

You’re committing a crime,
hijacking my time
when you know I have so much to do

Time precious to me
an essential personal journey
and you try to make it all about you

Dear Mr. Selfish,
If this was the whole test,
you couldn’t have failed me more

With every word, every day,
I edge further away,
picking at wounds that you tore

Attention Stupid Man,
I see through your scam
It’s not me that needs more self-control

You make your own choices
and those are your voices,
it’s my time to rock and roll

#OctPoWriMo Day 5: Denied

the senses

image from asiadesignwithpurpose.com

Denied

The slurping sound as mud sucks your shoe off of your foot
The smell of laundry left in the washing machine over night
The taste of bile burning in the back of your throat when
you wake up choking in the middle of the night
The freezing sensation in the pit of your stomach when
you know this is the last goodbye
Fully sensing you’ve been denied

#OctPoWriMo Day 4: The Guilty Man and other animals

The Guilty Man and other animals

Trapped
Cornered
Wild eyes darting
All claws and fangs
Each hair erect
Sprouting from goose flesh
Jaw tight
Muscles twitching
Blood rushing from core to extremities
Flush and frothing
Fight or flight
The uncontrolled response
Is the same

OctPoWriMo Day 3: In Security

dancing in the rain sToday’s OctPoWriMo theme is Insecurity. It is a very fitting theme for my day.

In Security

A crushing blow of insecurity
Why again? The shock. My love wants free
I hope I feel the joy and release
“The single life,” he said with such ease

I see his view. Now I don’t have to care.
The next time he breaks, someone else can be there
The beginning’s the good part, no need to fall
I like the learning, not knowing it all.

But what if there’s no one, no match for me?
Doubt creeps into an obscured destiny
But I don’t have time for tears of self-pity
Not a second for his future self-loathing misery

I can embrace a bramble to feel secure upon a thorn, but
I’d rather dance in the pouring rain with a future freshly shorn.

#OctPoWriMo Day 2: Quickening Notes

Quickening Notes

elongate
stretch to
your whole being
you linger after waves
disipate

split
to share
you give half
to emphasize and sustain
refit

made
to remember
left in haste
quarter for the meter
paid

 

 

It’s Writober! Time for some creepy flash fiction and poetry

across the street sI had pretty much spaced #Writober3 until this morning. Because I’m in New Orleans and my schedule is out of my hands, I won’t be as on top of my daily writing as I have been the last couple of years, but I’m going to try to do the daily poems for OctPoWriMo and I started adding pictures to a #Writober3 Pinterest board to inspire Halloween themed flash fiction.

The first pins I added are pictures I took from my immediate surroundings and a crow claw that I had on my camera from late July.  I decided not to number the images this year. Just choose the image on the day it speaks to you. I am going to start with this one:

painting of a girl s

The theme for this year’s Halloween party  is “Strange Brood” and this little lady definitely came from one. I think writing her story will  set the tone for a great #Writober.

The OctPoWriMo theme for today is Surrender. Here’s the poem I came up with:

Callistemon

Callistemon, the bottle brush tree
releases her red tassels
as I surrender to the moment
From elation as the light shines
through the erect, lush hibiscus
to the frustration of a burning throat
and muddy head of acclimation
I focus on the detailed lines of a glistening dragonfly’s wing
She extends
tail to the sun
on the tip of a twig
fully splayed

Like a kite escaping its tether
on a fitful wind, I surrender
to each fleeting change
Revelations bombard by the hour
The days pass too quickly
Each stuffed full of muti-days of meaning
I swirl in the dance of confusing splendor,
facing my first regret of ever catching your eye while I recognize the truth of my bliss
The white flag
wavers
I yield
to whatever comes

 

Happy Reading and Writing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Rubber Maids Reunite Tonight! A show 20 years in the making.

The Rubber Maids reunite

I can’t believe I flew into New Orleans on Monday and I’ve already been on WWOZ and now the day of the show is here. It has been a whirlwind week of daily practice, costume sewing and promotion and yet somehow it feels so normal, like this is what we always do.

If you want to know more about how our group formed and such, we talked about it in our WWOZ interview . We start talking at 126.

Tonight’s show is going to be stuffed full of great music. I’m excited to be reuniting with friends from when we started: The Stacks and Egg Yolk Jubilee. David Rhoden from the stacks made this adorable animation to promote the show:

http://davidrhoden.com/news/2018/the-stacks-with-rubber-maids-and-eyj-this-saturday

Robin, lead singer/guitarist for The Rubber Maids got our recordings re-mastered and pressed to vinyl. The record sounds great and will be available to buy at the show.

The Rubber Maids at Siberia

And next week we’re doing it all again. We have a show at Poor Boys next Saturday. We’re going to play more shows while I’m here and we’ll be posting videos, so keep checking back.

Though my main focus today is music. Don’t forget OctPoWriMo starts on October first, so get your poetry chops prepped for a month of great prompts and poems.

 

 

Top 10 Reasons To Go To A Writers Conference

I recently attended the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Conference (PNWA18). I had a great experience. Here are my top ten reasons to attend a writers conference:

Cover Writing the Breakout Novel10. Autographs – At PNWA authors can buy a table in the “bookstore” to sell their books. There is an autograph party where you can meet the authors and ask them to sign their books. The week before the conference, a member of my critique group gave me a copy of Writing the Breakout Novel: Insider Advice for Taking Your Fiction to the Next Level by Donald Maass. He didn’t know Mr. Maass would be at the conference, he just gave me the book out of the blue. I took itMaass Signature with me and was happy to see Donald Maass signing at the autograph party.

9. The speaker – This year’s speaker was R. L. Stine. His speech was funny and informative. He started off by reading letters he had received from children and followed up with some great advice. He said to always say yes to everything. He probably meant within reason, but I’ll leave that up to you. After his speech, he did a book signing. My friend Stevie was so excited to get her childhood Goosebumps book signed. It was a choose your own adventure about a mummy. I didn’t know he had done choose your own adventures. Mr. Stine was very kind and let people come behind the table for pictures.

8. Author panel – During one of the desserts, Robert Dugoni lead a hotseat style question and answer session with Donald Maass, Julia Quinn, Cat Rambo, and Christopher Vogler. They talked about how they got started and their careers. Mr. Dugoni did a great job of keeping it fun and lively.

7. Pitch fest pitch practice – This is a great opportunity at the beginning of the conference to meet other writers and hear about the stories they’ve written. Each round table has a coach to give feedback on your pitch, so it will be ready when you get your chance with the agents and editors.

Cover Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell6. Question and Answer sessions in your genre – This is a great opportunity to hear agents and authors talk about working in your genre. I volunteered to moderate the literary fiction section. The three agents who were looking for literary fiction talked about how they find and work with their authors, their favorite recent titles and gave great insider information about the literary journals they read when looking for new talent. Hint: Start reading Tin House.

5. Classes – One of the reasons writers really like the PNWA conference is that it focuses on the craft of writing. There are many great sessions to choose from. I got a lot out of “A Novel in Four Drafts” presented by Lindsay Schopfer and “Words Matter. Writing the Literary Novel” with Robert Dugoni.Dugoni signature

4. The agent and editor panels – This is a very important part of the conference. Finding the agents and editors most interested in stories like yours will help you make a successful pitch. It’s important to research the agents and editors before going to the conference, but even when you’ve done your homework, hearing the agents talk about what they’re looking for specifically gives you a much clearer picture if they will be a good fit for your work.

3. Pitching to agents and editors – Here’s the actual professional work of going to the conference, pitching your novel. If your manuscript is complete and polished, or you will have it polished by next year’s conference, I recommend buying the early-bird tickets as soon as they become available. The ticket is less expensive and comes with two pitch blocks. I think it’s important to have two pitch blocks because there is less pressure and if things do not go well in the first block, you can adjust your pitch and try again. Make sure your pitch is about 90 seconds long so there is time for questions. Include a quick description of your main character, the inciting incident and the crisis of your story, but don’t give away the ending.

2. Inspiration / Filling the well – Writing can be a very isolating and introspective vocation. Spending time with writers at every stage of their careers, listening to their personal stories and the stories they’ve written, and going to the sessions all help to get your creative juices flowing. In The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron calls this “filling the well.”

And the most important reason to go to a writers conference is . . .

1. Relationships with fellow authors – I have met some amazing people at PNWA. Meeting other writers online is nice, but it is not the same as meeting in person. There’s just no substitute. Make sure to make business cards that not only express something about your novel, but also show your personality. Make sure to include all of your online platform information and hand those cards out to everyone who will take one. Be open and have fun meeting everyone. The joy of going to a writers conference is the concentrated evidence that everyone has a unique story to tell. It’s amazing.

Getting excited? A good place to start is heading over to pnwa.org and becoming a member. Not in the pacific northwest? That’s okay. You can attend the meetings online and the conference is open to everyone. If you would like to find a conference closer to your hometown, I created a map of US conferences to get you started in your search.

Remember to support your local authors.

Washington’s Emerging Writers Anthology now available!

Information about Almost Paradise, a short story by Maria L. Berg that is in the Washington's Emerging Writers Anthology

Click on the image to get your copy today!