#SoCS: Peril of Purloined Patience

The Patience in Impatience and Impatience in Patience by Maria L. Berg 2022

Contradictory Abstract Nouns (Photography Challenge)

Today I’m looking at finding the impatience in patience and the patience in impatience. While thinking about what I wanted to say about patience and impatience I thought “It takes time to have patience,” so I thought of my cog-clock filter. It wasn’t raining, so I hurried outside to play with my outdoor light set-up.

Wow, it was bitey cold out there! That’ll make someone impatient, but it takes patience to find the shot that represents these contradictory abstractions. I think purple LEDs represent the agitation of impatience well. And I liked how the net lights brought a patient order to the ticking of time.

Impatience in Patience by Maria L. Berg 2022

Stream of Consciousness Saturday (SoCS)

Today’s prompt for some stream of consciousness writing is “your favorite word.” Linda invites us to choose our favorite word and use it however we would like. But how to choose?

Purloined is not my favorite word; it just seems to go very well with peril. For today’s peril poem, I did some word collecting and came up with around two hundred words having to do with peril. A lot of them are great words like exposure, gash, slipperiness, and one of my favorites wonder. But what to choose for my favorite word?

I just opened The Art of Voice: Poetic Principles and Practice by Tony Hoagland and read:

“A poem strong in the dimension of voice is an animate thing of shifting balances, tones, and temperature, by turns intimate, confiding, vulgar, distant, or cunning—but, above all, alive. In its vital connectivity, it is capable of including both the manifold world and the rich slipperiness of human nature.”

Tony Hoagland 2019

How often do you read the word slipperiness twice in one morning? It’s a great word. And I love that phrase, “the rich slipperiness of human nature.” So great. But slipperiness is still not my favorite word.

In April 2021 in response to a NaPoWriMo prompt, I made a Personal Universal Deck. It’s a deck of cards with words you like on them. I kept it, so I pulled it out this morning, shuffled it and picked a card. Each card has two word on it: one at the top, and one upside down at the bottom. The card I picked had the word “silence” at the top. I read it out loud to the cat twice, then said “That’s wonderful,” so I’ll go with “silence” as my favorite word today.

I adore this time of year for its silence. The boats of summer pulled and gone, the whooping boaters and their horrible choices of blaring tunes forced on everyone so they can hear barely an impression of them over the boat engine as they wake-board or wake-surf, or whatever the latest new fad is for pulling a body behind a boat. Now is the time when the vacation homes are vacant and the full-timers return to indoor lives. The revving of chainsaws, howling of leaf-blowers, and high-pitched squealing of power-tools lay dormant as glistening raindrops fill the air. And there is no sound, except the occasional haunting train whistle in the distance, even the planes and helicopters seem sparse today. So do I sit silently and soak in this silence? No. I put on a movie I’ve seen a million times, to silence my inner-critic, drown-out my mind-voice, and distract, so these words will flow. It appears I love silence, so I can choose what to fill it with when I can’t stand it anymore.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

Today’s prompt is to write a peril poem.

Exposure to the Risk of Being (Destroyed)

Prickly sweet almond smoke
Obtuse spikes hazard taste buds
Exposing misconceptions of danger
Trouble steeped in gasoline fumes
Rough and hard and suddenly too close
Yells yield to yawns needing more air

Injury can be seen and unseen
Menacing snarls alarm the senses
Pitfalls surround the doubtful
Exhibitions of horrible imaginations
Remembered after nightmares
Indecision leaves one vulnerable
Looming risks a nuisance or threat
Soaked in sweaty incertitude

Stabbing in the pitch-black night at
Intimidation, an evil laugh’s shadow
Lording over, bigger than you
Endangerment, anxiety’s wager
Nerves afire go for broke
Chance brings quicksand’s change
Expressed as an exposé of panic

Patience in Impatience by Maria L. Berg 2022

NaNoWriMo

I woke up thinking about my novel! I’m excited to report that my draft is coming along very well. Though I have yet to have a day that I get to my novel before noon, it appears to be working for me, because I’m already over 17,000 words. I think this is my best start ever. And since I barely managed any planning, I believe the success so far is due to 4theWords.

This weekend I would like to organize what I’ve written so far into my Scrivener file, and into a chiastic outline; take some time to plan out my major plot points. But as long as the words are flowing, I’m going to keep having fun.

Day Nineteen: Trying to be Patient

A small foil covered bunny surrounded by colored lights.
Patience by Maria L. Berg 2022

Patience

The bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like; an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay.

Patience and perseverance are important when working on large projects and when trying something new, but also during daily interactions, and growth and self-discovery.

To explore patience visually, I used a tripod and slow shutter speeds, exploring light and shape over time. Talk about needing patience; nothing wanted to cooperate today.

Patiently Awaiting Spring by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Prompts

NaPoWriMo

Today’s prompt is to write a poem that begins with a command.

Poem A Day

Today’s Two-for-Tuesday prompts:

  1. Write a What’s There poem, and/or…
  2. Write a What’s Not There poem.

dVerse Poets Pub

For today’s Poetics prompt Merril provided a list of Country Garden Roses and challenged us to choose one or more to use in the poem or for the title.

A glass ball surrounded by colored lights.
Trying to be Patient by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Poem

Twice in a Blue Moon

Be patient
each second screams
into the hours
as Monday becomes
Sunday raindrops
filling rivers flowing
eroding earth
into canyons

Be patient
each breath whispers
lungs swelling with oxygen
feeding the blood
aging each cell
rusting old swing-sets
and winter-salted
vehicles, crumbling
what was once
holding strong

Be patient
each heart beat signals
skipping into its pulse
fluttering, flushing
deep breaths don’t
stop the pounding
pounding on the door
to the unknown
it will come
and you will
face it whole-
heartedly
eventually
again

Busy Writer’s Life Update: Gator McBumpypants 2 and searching for an agent

Herman becomes a dragon at Hogwarts

Herman becomes a dragon at Hogwarts

I can’t seem to stick to my goal of a weekly blog, but I’ll keep trying. However, while I’ve been neglecting this blog, my writing life has been very busy indeed.

First, I’ve finished the text and taken the pictures for the second book in my Gator McBumpypants series. I’m pretty sure I’ll stick with the title Gator McBumpypants in Herman Learns to Fly. I had the idea for this second book as I was working on the first. The reactions from my readers the moment they finished the first book (e.g. “Herman needs to learn to fly”, “When does Herman learn to fly”, etc.) prompted me to not waste any time before writing the sequel. I hope to have the second book available for the holidays. I plan to finish my guide for self publishing children’s books while I go through the process a second time. That way I’ll be sure I don’t leave anything out. Look for it in late November/early December. If any of you have specific questions about self publishing children’s books  you would like me to answer, please ask in the comment section, so I’m sure to put it in my free guide for you.

Secondly, I’ve been working on my query letter for my Middle Grade Fiction story. A well rounded writing life should at least attempt traditional publishing routes, right?  The rough draft is finished and edited. The summary and hook for the query were positively reviewed by a group of writers. The hard parts over right? Ohhhh, NO. I spend countless hours each week trying to figure out which agent/s I want to query.Many books I read say to read everything I can in my genre, find a book similar to my work that I like and find out who the author’s agent is. Every time I finally find something similar, find out who the agent is, research the agent on agent query or their website –the agent isn’t accepting new clients. So frustrating!

I’ve decided to do the opposite of the original advise: find an agent that sounds promising and accepts new clients, then read the books they represent. This last week I found a little help in my search, a great blog called Middle Grade Ninja. Middle Grade Ninja has mini interviews (7 questions) with a list of authors and a list of agents. I’ve been going down the list of agents, cross checking them on agent query and then looking for any other interviews on the web. Then, if they still look promising (so far I’ve found two), I’ll download the books they represent from the library, saving so much time and money. I usually don’t like reading ebooks on my laptop. I don’t have a kindle or other specific ebook device, so I’m not sure if I would feel differently, but I’ve only read all the way through about 5 books on my laptop. I don’t like the glow behind the words; I tend to read what I can in about 10-20 minutes and then not go back.  However, for this project I love ebooks. I can find out in the first 10-20 minutes if the work is like mine, if I like it, if it was well edited, etc. Imagine having to request each book at the library and wait for the few you could find to become available and the cost of purchasing the ones you couldn’t get from the library. I have to admit, the downloadable ebook is the true friend of the author attempting to find an agent through a query letter.

Thirdly, I’ve been focusing on reading. My whole life I’ve been a voracious reader. I often come back from the library with ten to twenty books at a time. However, for the last few years, the majority of the books I read to the end were How To books. I would pick up plenty of novels, but not get past the first few chapters. Finishing a few of the novels I read  in the last year was like listening to a dentist’s drill through my eyes and letting it echo through my brain. Hopefully, that’s all over. I finally joined goodreads (to set up my author page for Gator McBumpypants) and after reading an article about the new recommendation algorithm, I spent some time rating many of the books I’ve read. At first I didn’t think the recommendations were very accurate, but after a while I started finding book descriptions that sounded very interesting. Every book I chose to read from the recommendations, so far, has been great! I’m very excited. I used to think I was an intellectually eclectic reader, but I’m finding out that, though my interests are vast, they are also semi-specific. It’s nice to not have to wade through ALL the muck to find what makes me happy. I’ve posed this challenge to my critique group: to find a the closest book to your work. I’m looking for something like my novel, but I still haven’t found anything close. I’m hoping goodreads will be a catalyst to finding some similar work through my preferences and friends. Meanwhile search engines and libraries will continue to be my stabbing grounds.

Have you found the novel you will compare your work to, or use after the fact as a learning tool? I’d love to hear how you found it.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! What will you be this year?

Finishing – Making a Picture Book

Gator McBumpypants and Herman in the shady placeContinuing with my theme of finishing what I begin, I’ve been spending most of my time finishing the picture book I started in January. At the moment, I sit in the 24 hour waiting period of review from Create Space (Amazon) before I can get to work on my ebook. While I wait, I thought I’d give you some tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way.

1. PATIENCE– Be patient and multi-task. Unlike what the rate of celebrity picture book publications might make you think, making a picture book is hard and incredibly time consuming. You have to love your idea and see it through while you work on two, three or four other things. The pictures for my book, influenced the story, which then influenced the pictures I took. Over time my ability to photograph my story improved which made me take more illustrative pictures. If I had rushed the process, my characters wouldn’t have had time to come alive.

2. Make your book  for a child who wants it (can be you).  I think it would have taken much longer to finish, or maybe I wouldn’t have finished at all, without my niece wanting her finished copy. She gave me perceptive feedback on my pictures and shared the pictures with her younger cousin, telling the story in her own way, which was the best feedback ever (though I’m still a little confused where some of her story fit with the pictures).

3. Know your Tools – If patience and inspiration weren’t so important, I would have put this first. It is my own fault this keeps taking so long. Sometimes when I work this hard, it seems like the majority of Western Society instantly found ways to buy all of the newest technology, and left me out. It took every tool I had to make my picture book, including gifts from every loved one since 2006. But I did it, so I want to share the things that hung me up. I started being frustrated by the difference between what I saw on the screen (RGB) and what my printer printed (CMYK). I spent a lot of time trying to make my Microsoft laptop video card adjust to match the printed images, but that was awful. I have a Mac with Photoshop CS. I got everything I needed from Photoshop CS and learned what I needed from youtube videos. I have many specific pointers based on specific technical issues, but I will save them for when my book is successfully printed.

4. A Book Is Forever – I started this project with the idea that I wanted to see what the pictures of my stuffed animals exploring my world would look like. Now, I’ve made a children’s picture book and I realize I have to take responsibility for my creation. As I face the final stages of self publishing and prepare to release it into the world, I hear my nagging inner voice say Are You Ready? Are you doing your best?

Just last week my mom called saying she found a box of children’s books in my old room. I think, but don’t trust, I put them there on purpose long ago. She wanted to know if I’d mind if she give them to my niece and nephews. I loved the idea. I pictured paperbacks of the Ramona series and some Judy Blume. I remembered reading the entire series of the Rescuers mice on an airplane and Ralph the motorcycle mouse at camp. But then I also saw me reading Dickens, Jaws and A Clockwork Orange. I raided  Dad’s desk to find real books to read. I wasn’t allowed in Dad’s den, and I didn’t sleep so well. I convinced Mom to look through the box, just in case. She found Ramona books and Ralph on his Motorcycle. Talking about them made me want those books back. Maybe when the kids are done reading them, they’ll let me borrow a few. I hope my efforts bring similar joyful reading experiences as the books in that box brought me.