We savor our horror especially this time of year to experience fears vicariously in dark safety to shiver and quiver while others face danger mouths filling with blood while we taste butter-flavoring and salty-crunch while the sound of bones breaking screams and mangling bring us no pain except that brought on by the empathic brain
my hands itch and tremble sweat breaks at my temple a freeze from my scalp shivers down as I wheeze My horror movie is titled The Gathering imagining the panicked drive through the rain in applied discomfort conscious of all the possible deaths along the way. White knuckles clutch the steering wheel knowing the true horror awaits questions, whispers, and plates tones, bones and nothing to say
No, I scream, No! shield my eyes but spread my fingers she has made it through dinner, her offering praised but then I shut my eyes tight I can’t take a sliver of projected light I must look away when someone says diet while she’s eating her cake I
After looking at all my redrafts, I made a few more changes to my poem and was about to upload it to Scribophile, when I saw that in this version the poem read in couplets. Here is the version I uploaded to Scribophile for critique:
Cleaning All the Dirty Dishes
An impression arrests fruit flies in kitchen sinks full of ideas frozen mid-irritation, like tinnitus introducing dizzying, swirling vertigo
after the ground falls away, my arms and my dress fly above my head my pinky toe the stoical point, stepping out of the spiral my view telescopes
to his sweat on her body behind the bale as if finally finding the source of wafting, permeating decay
Contentment empties glue of flavor and steals scissors of artistry but constant irritation and itching desire keep me in motion
juggling stomach stones, insatiable hunger clacks and clicks what indelible marks will topple to the tongue?
With nothing I’ve left, clean of any sticky coating the bridge burner can’t choose to turn around
Refreshment wriggles among the moles under the tent of solitude having vacated the house with ideas, but left the kitchen sink to fruit flies
fleeing obscures crackling and smoke, suffering the charred frame his erasable touches won’t last past the first rain
the dark, fresh-earth tunnels adumbrate curious spaces for thought where scraping, not smoothing, may nourish new understanding
The first two critiques I received said I should work on the punctuation in the poem. Though I disagreed with the example suggestions, I did find the suggestion interesting. So playing with some more punctuation is a note for the next revision.
I was also offered an interesting word replacement. A reader suggested using “inducing” instead of “introducing” vertigo. My original idea was that tinnitus is like the arresting impression because it acts like an announcer, an MC at an event introducing the next act, announcing the star entertainer, Vertigo, hushing, stilling the crowd in expectation and respect. Though I like the word “inducing,” tinnitus doesn’t exactly “induce” vertigo, they are both separate symptoms. Maybe I want to play around with MC Tennitus and capitalize Vertigo, or look for a different word than “introducing” to clarify my idea.
One critique suggested that the flow from the kitchen to the tent of solitude is unclear which opened my eyes to re-arranging stanzas. And another critique mentioned the distance of the point of view at the beginning not drawing the reader in.
Based on the encouraging and constructive feedback I received from readers on Scribophile, my revision plan is:
Read aloud, paying close attention to pauses and breaks thinking about punctuation
weigh each word and ask if there’s a better one
try the stanzas in different orders for narrative flow
Try more intimate, closer opening
The Final Comparison
This series of posts on revising poetry has been a great experience for me. I finally got my head around meter and its vocabulary after trying many times before. I love the tools and resources I collected and all of the poems and poets I discovered along the way.
Exploring my poetry revision process with you has opened my eyes to the endless possibilities for redrafts. One of the important revision steps after reviewing a poem is to decide which redrafting techniques will most improve the poem.
I found this great article by Suzanne Langlois: Poetry Revision Bingo, and designed a bingo card for myself with my redrafting techniques in the squares.
Inspired by The Practicing Poet: Writing Beyond the Basics edited by Diane Lockward, I have turned my attention to creating a poetry collection. I hope you will join me on my adventure as I explore my themes, and share what I learn, as I put together and submit a poetry manuscript.
Today’s Tuesday Poetics prompt at the dVerse Poets Pub is all about fungi. Mushroom poems–and I was just looking at Alice in Wonderland images. I had so many ideas while reading the prompt poems. Here goes:
My Swedish Mom took me mushroom hunting specifically for chanterelles, small orange ruffles hiding among the stones and birch one would think obvious but for a tween too elusive.
I thought fungus was gross as was all food but she caught my attention as she pointed out the important signs of poison.
Like the beautiful little wild flowers that sprung through the forest floor after the winter waned I had been kept ignorant, though a curious child.
Now, it is understandable that I hadn’t been guided to see, to hunt, to appreciate each unique cap, each frill of a delicate gill, each stalk and ring.
When our mushrooms grow from septic or near run-off my wild palate wasn’t encouraged free food can be dangerous I was already known to eat flowers.
Taught the circle of life, I saw the little trees growing from the fallen as I traipsed across the canyon.
I told my parents I would be buried there. They denied me. Said it couldn’t be done. But now, it’s clear, I was not the only one.
To be put in a sack, made of mushroom spores And planted, it’s happening, possible. Then I read people are making mushroom sneakers. Do I want to be stinky feet? That run comfortably and well.
It’s the last day of OctPoWriMo. Thank you, Morgan Dragonwillow, for hosting and for your inspiring prompts. Thank you to everyone who participated for your camaraderie and sharing your poetry.
It was a productive and creative month. I’m very excited about finally making the step in my exploration of klecksography to draw on my inkblots and write my poems on the inkblot page. I’ve wanted to get to that point for a long time. I’m also excited to continue exploring my new poetry form Tappswave and see where it takes me.
For my final poem, I’m going to try an idea I had over a year ago. When I read (amazon associate link) Night Sky With Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong, I was intrigued by his numbered poems in which the top half of the page had numbers typed in space as if notes or labels to the unseen and then those numbers were footnoted. The spacing of the numbers made me think of markers at a crime scene which led me to create my own crime scene photos with the intent to make poems that go with. I hope you will see what I mean below.
Into the Night 1. howling and yowling pull me from my bed into the moonlight 2. tufts of fur, ripped and torn bring worries of death 3. Don’t look up. I hold my breath as my ankle painfully turns 4. rustling leaves bare nerves aware I am not alone 5. on high alert, I do not turn around, but hurry, limping into the shadows
micro-story : When TV preacher Pat Robertson made his prediction I laughed and laughed. Watching Cthulhu rise from the waves in the light of a nuclear explosion, I have to ask myself: Whose laughing now?
Here we are. The insanity begins tomorrow. The time has flown by and though I am probably more prepared than I have ever been, I still don’t feel ready at all.
Tonight, my region is doing a costumed countdown to midnight. Since I doubt I’ll have any trick-or-treaters, and I’m not going anywhere, it’ll be nice to have an online Halloween with fellow writers.
For my final prep, I mowed the lawns and went to the Grocery Outlet where I stocked up on Amy’s frozen meals and a huge bag of coffee beans. This evening I plan to clean the bathrooms and vacuum, so I can start with a cleaner house.
One thing I learned throughout Nano Prep this month is putting my plans in these posts really helps me get things done, so here are my goals for the first week of NaNoWrimo:
Wake up early and go straight to my notebook for morning pages
butt in seat in office by 9:30 a.m.
take daily walks
I still haven’t decided what I’ll do here on this site during NaNoWriMo. I don’t plan on doing intensive daily posts like I have in the past. I want to get to my draft and write, but I also want to check in here.
What would you like to see on Experience Writing during NaNoWriMo?
I was thinking a daily photograph and something I find inspiring, motivational, or surprising while I’m writing. Other ideas?
Here’s hoping we all write great novels and have a lot of fun doing it.
Today’s prompt inspired a new bokeh filter and photography project. I used wire and tape to create “tracks” on a square-cut bokeh filter. Then I put lights over paintings in my office to put those tracks into and through spaces where no tracks had been before.
micro-story : When he began his experiments with black holes, the excitement of small discoveries, publishing and proving his theories, may have blinded him to the big picture. Now, staring into the powerful void of his creation, he knew the heart-wrenching horror of playing God.
She faces threats with effort and courage defends creative space from distraction two choices arrive of equal value
Wishing balance, she refuses to act until a unique solution guides her as waters rise, she leaves comfort behind
Instinct, an ally, leads toward challenges this new world is not as she imagined unpredictable and tempestuous
but pushing through rewards with abundance the journey back is restful and quiet resurrected the fool, wide-eyed, renewed
beginning fresh, energized with passion facing hope with a lucky, shiny coin
For today’s visual prompt, I chose this image of a woman on a cliff by a mausoleum
micro-story : When I had insomnia, I would often climb the hill just before sunrise. I enjoyed the creepy lone mausoleum on the outcropping, slowly emerging from the morning mist, otherworldly, full of mystery. These chilly daybreaks had become my ritual, so her first appearance was jarring, a trespass. At first, I believed my sleeplessness and the slanted light played tricks on me, but she lingered and I realized the trespass was mine.
yearning for power over fear of the unknown chant into the night
ancient recipes to command earth’s forces and fight the unseen
something from nothing symbols of knowledge reveal the boundary torn
For today’s visual prompt, I chose this image by Anton Semenov
micro-story : Mikey had tricked the guardian into opening the portal to the depths of nightmares. He was starting to regret trapping his little brother down there. If he couldn’t bring him back, Mom was going to kill him.
Forms Yesterday, we were challenged to create our own form. I got a start on it, but needed more time to play around with my ideas. I knew I wanted to incorporate internal rhyme and repetition with slight variation.
I wanted the form to reflect my daily interaction with my environment, so here it is, the Tappswave form:
The Tappswave is made of one or more eight line stanzas. The eight lines are couplets of sensation then reaction that repeat with variation. Each couplet has its own rules of rhyme and rhythm.
Lines one and two: Observation and attention like light shining on the water.
Line one: specifically describe a sensory experience my example An odd sharp chirp came from my plum tree Line two: memory or emotional response my example making me think of children shooting laser-guns
Lines three and four: Choppy, all one and two syllable words, like a cluster of small waves.
Line three: Expand on the sensory experience of line one, include internal perfect and familial rhyme to the last word of line one. I believed the tease or plea was a bird high on a branch unseen Line four: memory or emotional response to line three with internal perfect and familial rhyme to the last word of line two. the alarm bell rung, damage done when I was young
Lines five and six: Show what’s underneath the surface. Use words that rhyme with fish or types of fish for the internal rhymes.
Line five: Reveal a revelation about the sensory detail in line one. At last my search reveals the perp on his perch Line six: memory or emotional response to line five. and I’ll pass on the sass of this non-bird’s wrath
Lines seven and eight: Reflection and refraction/ ebb and flow
Line seven: Line two slightly changed to show reflection That laser-gun battle rages on Line eight: Line one with a slight change An odd sharp chirp from my plum tree
If I chose to write another stanza, I would start with a related but different specific sensory detail and explore it through the pattern of the eight lines.
My first Tappswave poem
Searching Out the New Sound
An odd sharp chirp came from my plum tree making me think of children shooting laser-guns I believed the tease or plea was a bird on a high branch unseen but the sound an alarm bell rung, damage done when I was young At last my search reveals the perp on his perch and I’ll pass on the sass of this non-bird’s wrath The nerve-shredding laser-gun battle rages on as an odd sharp chirp from my plum tree
For today’s visual prompt, I chose this image that was hanging on my friend’s wall.
micro-story : She had always been told she had statuesque beauty. Once she had a fully integrated neural implant, she spent all of her time in the virtual world. Feeling no attachment to her gangly limbs any longer, she decided to fully embrace that beauty.
Read for inspiration and craft
Horror flash fiction story “Shedding” by Deborah Sheldon
I bite into a parsley sprig and as its slightly bitter flavor reaches my tongue I remember a time full of possibility of juice bars and homemade fashions utopian ideals of altruism heady philosophies, discourse and exchange I nibble at tasty lacy leaves and remember easier beliefs
micro-story : As his canoe rounded the bend, he gasped and pulled his oar to slow his approach. The recent earthquake must have caused a mudslide, revealing that what he had always believed to be large white stones was actually a giant skull. He heard a rumble and his canoe rocked. He couldn’t help but personify the quaking of the earth.