R is for ruddle- Poem: The Cave Wall

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Photo by Jennifer Regnier on Unsplash

Today’s new word:

ruddle n. a red variety of ocher, used for marking sheep, coloring, etc.

v. (used with object), rud·dled, rud·dling. to mark or color with ruddle.

Today’s word was found in a slightly roundabout way. I started at raddleman which directed me to ruddleman n. a person who deals in ruddle.

National Poetry Writing Month prompt:

Write a poem that “talks.” Write a poem grounded in language as it is spoken – not necessarily the grand, dramatic speech of a monologue or play, but the messy, fractured, slangy way people speak in real life.

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

For today’s prompt, write a dark poem. Cave poems, poems at night, and no electricity poems–these are all appropriate for today’s prompt.

My poem

The Cave Wall

ruddle marks flurry along the cave’s wall
my only message
my only proof of existance
I mark the days, months
at first I doodled to pass the time
flowers, spirals, a cat, a little stick person
but this cough is more urgent
what to say?
not some old quote
someone else’s words
a legacy
meaningful wisdom
what has life taught me
to pass along?
Don’t get stranded
and die in a cave
wouldn’t be helpful to many
nor the next poor soul that sits here
reading my message
I decide
and the ruddle marks the wall
I doodle some spirals
I mark the days

Reading

Today’s poetry book for inspiration is The Rain in Portugal: Poems by Billy Collins.

Happy Reading and Writing!

q is for quires- Poem: Now I Lay Me

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Today’s new word:

quires n. 1. a set of 24 uniform sheets of paper. 2. Bookbinding . a section of printed leaves in proper sequence after folding; gathering.

National Poetry Writing Month prompt:

Yesterday’s poem, Little Bee, is the featured poem on NaPoWriMo today. So exciting. Thank you.

Write an abecedarian poem – a poem in which the word choice follows the words/order of the alphabet. You could write a very strict abecedarian poem, in which there are twenty-six words in alphabetical order, or you could write one in which each line begins with a word that follows the order of the alphabet. This is a prompt that lends itself well to a certain playfulness.

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

Write a license poem.

My poem

Now I lay me

acidic
bile building
calcium can’t conquer
dull drunks don’t drown
effervescent ellipses emit
fidgety film
gross
heart hurting
illicit illness insists
jerking jolting jarring jog
killing kiln kicks
license lost
morning
never new
obsess over oddities
plentiful patience, peeking peepers
quires quell quips
ruin reams
sleep
tortured tether
under urban upper-crust
vaulting value vanishes virtues
wintered wandering wonderment
x-ray xenomorph
yawn
zzz

Reading

Today’s poetry book for inspiration is A Trio of Tolerable Tales by Margaret Atwood.

Happy Reading and Writing!

P is for perfidy- Poem: Little Bee

little bee

Today’s new word:

perfidy n. 1. deliberate breach of faith or trust; faithlessness; treachery. 2. an act or instance of faithlessness or treachery.

National Poetry Writing Month prompt:

Write an elegy of your own, one in which the abstraction of sadness is communicated not through abstract words, but physical detail.

This prompt is quite timely. Yesterday, I finished up Billy Collins’s Masterclass and there was a lovely section where he and Marie Howe discussed their elegy poems. Mr. Collins’s was “Death of a hat” and Ms. Howe’s was “What the Living Do.” When Ms. Howe finished reading her poem, I got that great WOW feeling. I can’t wait to go back and listen again, and read it when my hold gets to my library.

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

Take the phrase “Little (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then write your poem.

My poem

Little Bee

Floating
barely a breeze
slight current moving us mountainward
the wake of a boat passing
jostles into
a rocking, lulling
deliquesce

Then
little bee
your perfidy
How
did you find
my hand?

Breaking
the flow
of a comfortable row
with a piercing
then stinging
then ache

like Sunday
in church
when I finally faced
that she would
never be there
again

I didn’t cry
when you told me
she died
a surprise call
on a sunny
afternoon

There
was a space
where her face
was replaced
reality swiftly and suddenly
stung

I keep
breathing
and flouting
and singing
before
the bee
on a leaf
in this lake

Reading

Today’s poetry book for inspiration is What the Living Do: Poems by Marie Howe.

Happy Reading and Writing!

O is for ostracon – Poem: I Am a Piece

Today’s new word:

ostracon n. a piece of pottery, usually broken off from a vase or other earthenware vessel. In an archaeological or epigraphical context, ostraca refer to sherds or even small pieces of stone that have writing scratched into them. Usually these are considered to have been broken off before the writing was added; ancient people used the cheap, plentiful and durable broken pieces of pottery around them as convenient places to place writing for a wide variety of purposes, mostly very short inscriptions, but in some cases surprisingly long. -from Wikipedia

In ancient Greece ostraca were used to vote which citizens should be ostracized.

National Poetry Writing Month prompt:

Write a poem that similarly presents a scene from an unusual point of view. Perhaps you could write a poem that presents Sir Isaac Newton’s discovery from the perspective of the apple. Or the shootout at the OK Corral from the viewpoint of a passing vulture. Or maybe it could be something as everyday as a rainstorm, as experienced by a raindrop.

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

Write a reason poem. If this prompt seems unreasonable, just remember all the reasons you write poetry or enjoy cooking, dancing, singing, etc. Or provide a reasoned argument for your lack of reason. Only you know your reasons.

My poem

I Am a Piece

I am a piece, an ostracon
I am not broken
I am whole and of the whole
I am unique in size, shape and site
I am your surface, your history,
your judgement

I will not return to the whole
I will bare a name, carved, scarred into me
I will hold its weight upon me immemorial
I will be counted among the other ostraca
I will grow in number and strength, deciding
your fate

I have heard the reasons:
I have been abundant and plentiful
I have been accessible and pliable
I have no other useful purpose, but
I have lasted through time and space to witness
your erosion

Reading

This month, I bought myself a very rewarding birthday gift: a year of access to Masterclass. I love it! I’ve already enjoyed about half of Neil Gaiman’s class and Margaret Atwood’s class. The classes come with beautiful, unique workbooks and videos about the craft from the authors. It’s wonderful.

Yesterday, they added a poetry class by Billy Collins. Though I was not familiar with his work, in the introduction video he showed a lovely sense of humor, so I dove right in.

To my great joy, my library system had a couple of Mr. Collins’s collections for immediate access as ebooks and one as an audiobook and a performance of Mr. Collins reading his poems on audio as well. Needless to say. This week’s inspirational reading will be Billy Collins heavy.

Today’s poetry book for inspiration is Horoscopes for the Dead: Poems by Billy Collins.

Happy Reading and Writing!

N is for nyctalopia and nympholepsy – Poem: Catch and Release

Crater Lake July 4th 2015

The hummingbird moth drinking after dark. photo by Maria L. Berg.

Today’s new word:

nyctalopia n. night blindness.

nympholepsy n. 1. an ecstasy supposed by the ancients to be inspired by nymphs. 2. a frenzy of emotion, as for something unattainable.

National Poetry Writing Month prompt:

Write a poem that uses the form of a list to defamiliarize the mundane.

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

It’s two for Tuesday

  1. Write a catch poem. Catch a cold, a ball, a fish, or someone’s eye.
  2. Write a release poem. Release your anger, a ball, a fish, or someone’s head (from a head lock while wrestling, of course).

My poem

Catch and Release

Catch a nympholepsy for the mundane
the light switch, the space heater, the ceiling fan

Release disinterest, boredom and shame

Catch a glimpse of the unknown
in the spiders’ webs that cling to the walls

Release dust while opening and retying the curtains

Catch my breath when I discover the long lost piece
of something I threw out long ago

Release carbon dioxide and stress with each breath

Catch nyctalopia while remembering the times spent
enjoying it before I lost that piece

Release regret, expectation and need

Catch fire with a new idea
Collect the mundane, your mundane
and turn it to gold

Release preconceived notions, cultural norms, and beauty ideals

Reading

Today’s poetry book for inspiration is Hourglass Museum by Kelli Russell Agodon.

Happy Reading and Writing!

L is for lucubration- Poem: Not Alone

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                                                                                                           from giphy

Today’s new word:

lucubration n. 1. laborious work, study, thought, etc., especially at night. 2. the result of such activity, as a learned speech or dissertation. Often lucubrations. 3. any literary effort, especially of a pretentious or solemn nature.

National Poetry Writing Month prompt:

Write a poem about something mysterious and spooky!

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

Write a view poem. Wherever you’re at, you have a view: maybe of a river or sunset. Maybe of a cubicle or a copy machine. Even the blind have a view of darkness, nothingness, or some other -ness. And that’s just being literal, because everyone has views on sports, politics, poetry, etc.

My poem

Not Alone

In my midnight lucubrations
when this table slips away and
I see my thoughts so clearly
I can plunder and can play

I don’t mean it as an invite
or, maybe, subconsciously, I do
to everything that must bump in the night
to take a walk on through

My sane mind knows that voices travel
on the lake and through these walls
And I’m conscious that old plumbing
can produce those moaning calls

But alone in lucubration
I get an odd sensation
that the smell of smoker’s residue
pressing on my shivering shoulder
is you

Reading

Today’s poetry book for inspiration is Don’t Call Us Dead: Poems by Danez Smith

Happy Reading and Writing!

K is for kayfabe-Poem: The Art of Kayfabe

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Photo by Martin Kníže on Unsplash

Today’s new word:

kayfabe n. 1. (in professional wrestling) the fact or convention of presenting staged performances as genuine or authentic.

National Poetry Writing Month prompt:

Write a poem about a dull thing that you own, and why (and how) you love it. Alternatively, what would it mean to you to give away or destroy a significant object?

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

Take the phrase “The Art of (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: “The Art of Writing,” “The Art of Painting,” “The Art of Showing Up to Parties Fashionably Late,” and/or “The Art of Being Awesome.”

My poem

The Art of Kayfabe

Gray metal folded and forgotten in the closet
scuffed, dented, not quite trustworthy, not quite stable

Kayfabe your faces with humility,
patriotism, determination and love

Pulled out for card night and large family gatherings
a last resort when every other option is used

For you, the fans, it’s reciprocal see?
Of course, those baby-faced heroes love you.

Not spine supportive, uncushioned
uncomfortable, the back hitting blades

Kayfabe the heels with narcissism, egomania
rage, sadism and bitterness

Quickly re-folded and wall-leaned because
one would rather stand

They don’t love you.
It’s good for you to boo.

But tonight, a glorious tool, a gimmick
tonight, the star of the show

Kayfabe a romance
some boobs in his corner

On the edge of the ring made of shiny barbed wire
surrounding some things that will soon be on fire

Will they? Won’t they? She looks
mad. Did he cheat?

Unleashed in a way
that was not intended

With her sister? Her mom?
Is it true love forever?

With the same passion as helping
you reach forbidden cookies

Will she fight her sister and her mom?
A victim vs. cheaters tag team?

And acting as stage to your paper dolls
and holding your paint can, or muddy boots, or filthy cat, but mostly
those extra unseated guests

But not tonight
There won’t be a butt in this seat tonight

Reading

Today’s poetry book for inspiration is Taking the Arrow Out of the Heart by Alice Walker

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 Project: Final Days of February

Feb final pages

Here we are at the end of the first full month of planner pages and looking toward the month of March. For these last few pages, I decided to try a background. I used a section of a painting I did for my niece for Christmas. I lightened it and set it as a graphic background in page format. What do you think? Is it too much? Do you like the white page better?

2019 Planner February Week Four

Please download the free planner pages and let me know what you think. Each page is full of valuable information and planning ideas. I look forward to your feedback, so I can implement your suggestions.

We still have five days left for you to submit. Here are the February and March 1st deadlines:

  • 3 Elements Review       2/28
  • New Myths                     2/28
  • Hinnom                          2/28
  • Black Heart Magazine 2/28
  • Crab Creek Review       2/28
  • Ninth Letter                   2/28
  • THEMA                             3/1
  • Gulf Coast                        3/1
  • The Idaho Review          3/1
  • Upstreet                            3/1
  • Copper Nickel                  3/1
  • The Cincinnati Review  3/1

Look at all those opportunities to find homes for your stories.

If you are new to The Planner Project, information about each of these literary magazines, including who the editors are, the reading dates, and whether they pay and take simultaneous submissions is available on the daily planner pages I’m designing. If you are interested in downloading the pages for free you can learn more about the project and find the pages in my previous posts:

See into the future: no more missed opportunities

Realistic Goal Setting vs. Creative Chaos

The Deadlines: Collecting and Organizing

Here Comes February- the first week of planner pages

Fantasy, Horror and Sci-Fi, Oh my! (week two)

The Planner Experiment: February week three planner pages

I hope you’ll join in my experiment to design a daily planner that helps writers get ahead of the game when it comes to submitting their stories and poetry for publication.

Next Steps

One of the tools I liked from Write Your Book in a Flash: The Paint-by-Numbers System to Write the Book of Your Dreams—FAST! by Dan Janal (my book review) was using charts, graphs and other info-graphics. I was excited to find them available in open office, but have yet to figure out how to put them in my design (so far, they don’t like to share the page). That’s something I’ll be playing around with in March. Since I feel like the magazine descriptions need the most improvement, maybe I can come up with a bar chart that gives you quick info about each magazine.

Toward this end, Julie Reeser of patreon/abetterjulie, inspired me again. She invited readers to follow her on patreon as she reads and analyzes 300 published short stories to get a better understanding of what magazines are publishing. As I am also reading in hopes to understand what each literary magazine is looking for and publishing, I tried to come up with how I could analyze the stories I’m reading to come up with the information I’m looking for.

Using some of the ideas from The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller by John Truby, which I am thoroughly enjoying, and other story analysis ideas, I created a one-sheet form, mostly of check-able boxes to fill out as I read. Hopefully, as I read a number of stories from one magazine, I will accumulate data that may eventually be worked into a bar graph of useful information about what that magazine publishes. I’ll be working with and fine tuning this story analysis sheet over the next month or so. If I think it’s useful for our purposes, I’ll share it with you and perhaps add it to the front-matter, or appendix of the planner.

In my continuing quest to be a consistent blogger, I will be posting on Sundays and Thursdays for the foreseeable future. Look for the February wrap-up and new pages for March this Thursday. I hope you are enjoying this experiment as much as I am and I look forward to hearing from you.

Happy Reading, Writing, Planning and Submitting!

Realistic Goal Setting vs. Creative Chaos

Rising in the West

The Chaos

Moments after I published my last post with realistic reading goals that I would put in my planner for January, I went to the library and checked out twenty-five books that were not on that list. I’m glad I did. There’s nothing wrong with my reading gluttony. I should not have imagined I could reign it in.

My approach to submissions is similar. Today, I saw a tweet about the guest editor at Smoke Long wanting story submissions, and from her interview, it sounded like she might like one of my stories, so I spent most of the day completely re-writing it and submitted it. Not in the plan, but I submitted and I think the story is much better today than it was yesterday, so mission accomplished.

As you can see, my ideas for my writer’s planner that I laid out in my last post were an interesting hypothesis for my experiment, but do not hold up to the creative chaos of how I actually work.

Realistic Goals

Deadlines

One aspect of the planner, however, the main one of knowing dates for deadlines in advance, has worked and I did submit to the first two deadlines on my list, on the very last day, but still. Stories submitted. I think the idea of having some specific deadline goals each month will definitely work for me and if I already had these dates in a planner and didn’t spend so much time finding them out in the first place would save me a lot of time for writing new work.  So this will be my main goal for the planner: finding deadlines for magazines and contests that will be predictable for next year.

Knowing all the options

The other aspect of the planner that I think will work is a daily overview of a literary magazine. Though literary magazines appear and disappear, often without warning, I’m still in shock that Tin House closed its doors, I think I can come up with 365 options for writers to think about with links to their websites, so the writer can learn more and submit if it looks like a good fit.

While at the library (checking out all the books) I found The Pushcart Prize XLI: Best of the Small Presses 2017 Edition (2017 Edition) (The Pushcart Prize). This was a great find for this part of the project. In the back of the book it lists all of the small presses, with their addresses, that submitted pieces for consideration. For fun, I went through the list and picked out every listing for Washington State. I was surprised how many there are and how different each small press and magazine is from another. I have already submitted to one of the magazines from that list. The great thing about the Pushcart Prize collection is I can read the stories and see which magazines think which stories represent them the best and which magazines publish the most award-winning stories and poems.

The Design

For the experiment, I wanted to create the planner pages in open office so all of you can play around with it with me. I like the idea of being able to fill in the planner on my computer and/or print it out and have a physical copy.

My initial attempt to create the daily layout was frustrating, so I headed to Youtube and found a couple of videos that clicked with me and got me started.

Jenuine Life

Mariana’s study corner 

The trick was to use shapes and text boxes. Though it was very time consuming, I came up with an initial draft of my idea.

feb one left                                           feb one right

So now the experiment can move into data collection. I hope you will join me. What do you think of this initial idea? How’s the layout? Does it include everything for a motivational daily planner? What types of physical properties would you change: shapes, colors, backgrounds, fonts, etc.?

My next step is to create all of the pages for February and start using them, re-evaluating and incorporating feedback each week.

Happy Reading, Writing, Planning and Submitting Your Work!