Naked Trees

My newest publication by Maria L. Berg 2022

Thank you readers!

Experience Writing has over 1,000 Followers!

During my break, Experience Writing reached an exciting milestone. Over a thousand people have chosen to experience writing with me. Thank you. I’m so glad you are here. Please let me know how I can bring value to the time you spend here.

Also during my blogging hiatus, I got my copy of 2021’s Writer’s Games winners anthology 72 Hours of Insanity Volume 10. My story “To Know Her Inside” placed third in the third event. My mom read it and said it’s “creepy” and “very well-written,” so high praise.

I’ve made some small changes to Experience Writing, including adding a publications page where you can find links to my stories and poems that have been published, and are upcoming.

My break lasted a little longer than anticipated, but it was just what I needed. After looking at January journal entries from previous years, I noticed that I had the same goals and ideas I’ve had every year, and though I make a little progress every year, I appear to get derailed and distracted from my main goal which is finishing and publishing my novels. So this year will be different!

I spent the last three weeks evaluating where I get derailed and making small changes in my mind-set, environment, and behavior that are already showing results! I’m so excited to share what’s working, but I also want to continue the things I enjoy about blogging so . . .

A Winter Toupee by Maria L. Berg 2022

Haibun Monday

Today is Haibun Monday at dVerse Poet’s Pub, and the theme is Winter.

Naked Trees

It is quiet. The trees must not threaten when naked, for there is no whine of chainsaws, even though it is not raining. Winter is when I forget the battle of man and nature while I watch the birds, and the lake is only a mirror for the mountain when it brushes back its cloud toupee.

Robins in the yard
peck, then stand at attention
while seagulls gather

Winter Robins by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Year of Finishing

Though I really enjoyed the daily photography and poetry posts I did last fall, I didn’t reach my main goal which was, and has been, to finish my novels. I’m not willing to face another January with the same exact goals, so I have to make some real changes. I hope you will join me for this year’s exciting writing experience of finding the grit and drive to follow-through to the finish.

The first step that was very important for me, was to look back through my journals and notebooks and critically look for where I get derailed. Lucky for me, I write dated morning pages, and have for many years, so I read from January first where I would be writing about all the great goals I had with all my hope and enthusiasm and then read until it fell apart. What did I find? Cramps, erratic sleep, and the next new distraction.

I readily found three areas I could work on: Better sleep, hormonal imbalance, and priorities. I have a wonderful local library system that lets me check out twenty-five e-books at a time, so once I had defined the areas where I want to make change, I filled up on every book I could find. As I finished one, I found another, and I have many on hold, that will trickle in as I learn. I will be adding a resources page to Experience Writing with links to the best books, websites, and other resources that I am using and finding valuable. If you have similar issues to mine, or are interested where I started, these are the three books I would start with:

Sleep Smarter: 21 Essential Strategies to Sleep Your Way to A Better Body, Better Health, and Bigger Success by Shawn Stevenson : This is where I started and it quickly became clear that all of my efforts would intertwine and work together. The small, actionable steps in this book were a great place to start.

In the FLO: Unlock Your Hormonal Advantage and Revolutionize Your Life by Alisa Vitti: I wish I had found this book a long time ago. I was diagnosed with endometriosis as a teenager. The doctor delayed the laparoscopy until after his vacation as if my pain was nothing, and then after burning the external tissue off said the only treatment was the pill and my mother refused. As an adult, when I did try the pill, I ended up having my period twice a month and couldn’t afford it anyway. Because of shame and bad doctors, I have ignored my hormonal health (and possible condition) and suffered my whole life. Now, I am taking the small step of color-coding a calendar with the possible dates of my cycle so I can explore how my hormonal changes affect my productivity. And the best part is the book talks about every aspect of respect for your cycle like diet, exercise, mind-set, etc.

Your Best Year Ever: A 5-Step Plan for Achieving Your Most Important Goals by Michael Hyatt this helped me look at the whys of my goals and breaking them down into actionable steps.

Soon after I found the areas I wanted to work on, I stumbled across The Best Year of Your Life Summit, which was a free series of videos put together as a ten day online Summit. A majority of the presentations were about meditation and mindfulness. It was fun for me to watch Sharon Salzberg’s presentation because a friend gave me her meditation CDs a very long time ago and I enjoyed them. It also reminded me that I had Madhu Bazaz Wangu’s Meditations for Mindful Writers , which has been a great anchor habit to create my daily writing habit. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

If you would like to join me on my journey to finishing my novels, and I hope you will, the first step is reflection. You may have another goal, it can be anything, that you haven’t been able to finish because it overwhelms; because you don’t feel good enough; because even though you love it, you can’t seem to finish. Please join me.

The first step is to evaluate why. Why the goal is important to you. Really dig deep and be specific and honest with yourself. Then, look at why you aren’t finishing: define your fears real and imagined, define your time limits, your self-perception. All of it. Why is this goal not happening so far? Then go back to specifically defining why you want it, really want it.

I’ll talk more about what I discovered exploring my whys and some useful resources in my next post.

Happy Reading and Writing!

#SoCS: Celebrating 100 Days

Feet on the Ground by Maria L. Berg 2022

If you’re curious and want to look back over what I created every day for 100 days, you can click on October 2021 in the column on the right under Archives, and hit “older posts” at the bottom of each page until you get to October 1st when this posting streak started.

Head in the Sky by Maria L. Berg 2022

Stream of Consciousness

It’s stream of consciousness Saturday. The prompt for today is “In the.”

Wading In

In the gray
in the office warming
in the office chair
in the house that
rejected its drainpipe
tossed it to the porch
In the expectation
of a possible visit
for repair In the
cleaner, but still messy
interior with the vacuum out
and waiting in the fifth
hour since waking, still hazy
drinking coffee and
chomping on a candy cane
In the morning pages
in the artist sketchbook
in the middle of the desk
I let the words flow in the
stream of consciousness I hope
to wade in all day

New Poem

For today’s new poem prompt I browsed my WordPress Reader and found:

Fandango’s One Word Challenge (FOWC). Today’s word is Answer.

Paeansunplugged’s Ragtag Daily Prompt Saturday is Clean Slate.

Sammi Cox’s Weekend Writing Prompt #243 is Temerity. This challenge includes a word limit of exactly 69 words.

Facing the Future

If, after a year of temerity,
one finds oneself in disparity
and wishing for a clean slate

wait, and think if erasure
is truly the only answer
before taking such a drastic step

all those hard-earned failures
failed better to face again
and the neural trauma
it will take to clear
every foolish and rash
deed from your pate

might be worth this heap
of embarrassment
in the end

Kitty Yells 100! by Maria L. Berg 2022

And we have arrived! Here we are at the end of the journey: 100 days of photographs and poetry. It has been fun, and I have explored so many new ideas, techniques, and forms. I hope you have enjoyed my triumphs and failures through this writing experience. I’m going to attempt a week (or two) off, then come back with some new experiences for 2022.

If you’ve enjoy the photographs I’ve been taking, I’ve added some to my RedBubble store and I’m excited about the new products. The abstract bokeh really lends itself to product design. So fun. If you get a chance to take a look, please press the hearts on the images you like. It will help my work get noticed. Thank you.

Happy Reading and Writing!

Blackout Poetry Art Day

Putting Art in the World by Maria L. Berg 2022

This is it, the penultimate post of my daily photos and poetry. It’s fun that I will reach day 100 on a Stream of Consciousness Saturday.

Yesterday, I got a rainbow of both chisel tip and thin Sharpies for putting words on the world, so I thought I would continue my found poetry project with some blackout poetry. I’ve seen some blackout poems that don’t only black out the words but make pretty designs over them, and I have wanted to give it a try.

Childhood Quest by Maria L. Berg 2022

Childhood Quest

Did you ever quest for
a hundred other objects
of value, clamored brilliancy
extravagant, wonderful,
and mirth-provoking
mindful of the foam
of perilous seas
through these enchanted
windows the dreaming
hedged about with dangers
at the end?
Childhood has this:
no power to prevail
against its simplicity and
unconsciousness of evil

While looking through and collecting some lovely examples of blackout poetry on Pinterest, I discovered the work of Tom Phillips. His altered book A Humument is a large volume of blackout poetry. I highly recommend giving it a look.

Another Quest by Maria L. Berg 2022

Another Quest

smear thyself
Plunge boldly
to the surface
the bridge

Art Kitty by Maria L. Berg 2022

Happy Reading and Writing!

A Fun Found Poetry Project

Magic Casements by Maria L. Berg 2022

New Poetry

Today is Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub. Head on over to read a diverse selection of poetry and share a poem of your own.

Yesterday, while looking at New Pages and planning submissions, I happened upon a call for found poetry from Heron Tree. The call is to create found poetry from works published before 1927. I hopped up and grabbed my copy of More Fairy Stories Every Child Should Know: Magic Casements edited by Kate Douglas Wiggin and Nora Archibald Smith and published in 1907. I found this lovely treasure in an antique store a long time ago and have not spent enough time with it. I was inspired by this call for submissions to dive into the book and interact with it in new ways.

I did a little research, and it turns out that Kate and Nora were sisters. Kate is best known as the author of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, but she also was an educator that started many kindergartens in and around San Francisco. I tried to find out more about my book and the series it was a part of “What Every Child Should Know Library,” but the only thing I came up with was a Project Gutenberg digital copy of one of the other books in the series, Tales of Wonder Every Child Should Know.

Beautiful Title Page by Maria L. Berg 2022

After reading some of the past issues of Heron Tree, I realized that there is an area of found poetry I haven’t tried: fitting to form. I enjoy trying poetry forms each year during NaPoWriMo and OctPoWriMo, and the form challenges from dVerse Poets Pub, but I have never tried a form with cut-ups or collage poems.

I have photocopied the preface of the book and a few of the stories to get started on my quest for found poetry. Along with blackouts, cut-ups and collages, I’m going to try fitting my found words and phrases into some of my favorite forms.

A Parent’s Worried Mind

Three unmarried were too many.
Over with according to the
forest. And be careful. Soon they
recognized anything, that feast.

A father threatened had spoken.
Three unmarried were too many.
Ordered his son, the Hedgehog, be
together and he would cleave to

business brought sharp spines enjoying
themselves then three drops exactly
three unmarried were too many
making straight seven years only

to longer endure parents would
choose one question, so they thought. They
parents thought hedgehog and hedgehog.
Three unmarried were too many.
Truth on the Rain by Maria L. Berg 2022 (because I wanted some extra truth in the world today)

That was time consuming, but fun. I started trying some Cinquains, but liked the repeated line of the Quatern. I found the repeating line amusing.

Happy Reading and Writing!

Poetic Bookshelves

From the Outside to the Center by Maria L. Berg 2022

Today I thought I would have some fun and combine my photography and poetry for Of Maria Antonia’s 2022 Weekly Photo Challenge prompt “On the Shelf.” I rearranged my bookshelves to create poems from the book titles.

Here is how I read the first bookshelf poem:

From the Outside to the Center

The outsider
in the garden of blue roses
below the golden house
is nowhere wild, or
the watcher in the woods
lying in wait
I hear the owl call my name
and say, “The heart is a
lonely hunter. Teach yourself
to dream while on your
journey to the center
of the earth.”
After 20,000 dreams,
does the center hold?

Roads to the City of the Beasts by Maria L. Berg 2022

Roads to the City of the Beasts

Stained glass back roads,
Gaia star mandalas of
cognitive rehabilitation
pass the hollow where
the people of paper
are story-telling. It’s easy
just looking at great cathedrals
along the road to
the city of the beasts.

A cute cat with the word ZEST across him in orange print.
Zesty Kitty by Maria L. Berg 2022

That was fun. Unlike book spine poems I’ve done in the past, both of those feel like starts to longer poems, or works that may become strong poems through revision. And to go along with my title “poetic bookshelves,” the poetry books I’m reading and enjoying right now are (amazon associate links):

Indigo by Ellen Bass

Hybrids of Plants and Ghosts by Jorie Graham

Erosion by Jorie Graham

Happy Reading and Writing!

Winter Comforts

Pretty Pose by Maria L. Berg 2022

I had a pretty visitor.

Eye of the Hummingbird by Maria L. Berg 2022

New Poem


And some days are about comfort
like furry cuddles and pizza
and foreheads full of purrs
that leave the big questions
unpondered or wrestled
and wrangled by other minds
while I wrestle warm blankets
and purloin pets
not striving
for more

Winglight by Maria L. Berg 2022

These images fit with Of Maria Antonia’s 2022 Weekly Photo Challenge prompt “Pretty Little Things.”

Happy Reading and Writing!

Celebrating Play and Treats

What a Difference a Day Makes by Maria L. Berg 2022

As you can see, the snow is gone. I know I said I wasn’t going to publish all my word pictures here, but I wanted to show the result without the snow, and then I did some playing indoors.

Playing Indoors by Maria L. Berg 2022

New Poem

The dVerse Poets Pub is open after a two week vacation and today Lisa invites us to write a “celebration” haibun. I haven’t written a haibun in a while, so I think I’ll give it a try.

Celebrating Release from a Beautiful Imprisonment

I saw large, white flakes fall during my white-knuckle drive home through thick rain and sporadic drivers with speeds from infrared to ultraviolet.

Ten days it snowed since we opened presents, and ate Mother’s delicious strawberry cake, everyone generous and grateful. I remained sustained.

Overnight snowmelt
frees me from joyous ice jail
I return with treats

Playing in the Mirrorworld by Maria L. Berg 2022

And this image of the Mirrorworld fits with Of Maria Antonia’s 2022 Weekly Photo Challenge prompt “Chill,” I think.

Chillin’ in the Mirrorworld by Maria L. Berg 2022

Happy Reading and Writing!

Unlocking New Doors

Wonder World by Maria L. Berg 2022

I’m sitting at my desk, looking at these pictures, singing “This is freakin’ fun, this is freakin’ fun.” Though many of this morning’s experiments didn’t work (the filter didn’t work with my other lenses, so I couldn’t put “WONDER” on the mountain), I’m still so excited about my ability to put words in my world. I love to put wonder in the world and it is also one of Of Maria Antonia’s 2022 Weekly Photo Challenge prompts. It was also fun to discover that the color of the ink is captured, so that can add more possibilities. I’ve decided, as a little side project, I’m going to put my favorite words on my world, one a day all year. I won’t post them here, but maybe at the end of the year, I’ll make a book of them or something.

A fish-eye lens view of the lake and sky with the word "WONDER" in orange floating in the clouds.
A Sky Full of Wonder by Maria L. Berg 2022

New Poem

Poetic Bloomings Prompt #367 – Old or New challenges to write an “open door” poem or a “closed door” poem.

Opening Doors

A revolving door is
at first, fun, exhilarating
pushing the heavy bar
running in circles
watching sidewalk then lobby
park then escalator
man walking dog
woman with briefcase
through the glass

Now I’m stuck and want out
to reach my destination
but I’ve built up speed
and inertia keeps
a body in motion

I want new doors
perhaps heavy oak
with worlds of secrets behind them
I want keys to locked doors
big, ornate, heavy keys
that are kept in locked chests
that need little keys to unlock them
because the process
is the adventure
and unlocking those doors
opens awe and wonder
that won’t come around again

Wonderful Snow by Maria L. Berg 2022

I haven’t heard from any of you yet about what you would like to experience this year on Experience Writing, so I thought I would try a poll. Thank you in advance for sharing your answers.

Happy Reading and Writing!

#SoCS: Resolve to Dissolve

Sky Writing by Maria L. Berg 2022

Today, in response to Of Maria Antonia’s 2022 Weekly Photo Challenge prompt “A New Year,” I tried something I’ve been thinking about. Using the same clear plastic that I used for my “snowglobes,” I created a filter with written words and put them in the world. This opens up so many possibilities, an exciting discovery to start the year.

Snow Writing by Maria L. Berg 2022

Stream of Consciousness

It’s stream of consciousness Saturday. The prompt for today is “resolve.” I am resolved to have a day of stream of consciousness. Let those thoughts flow unfettered. When I looked up resolve, I was surprised to find it’s almost a janus word. It has the definition I expected: to come to a definite or earnest decision, but it also means to break up or disintegrate. It also has the musical meaning to progress from dissonance to consonance which could work well as a triple meaning in a poem. If my song ends resolved, is it determined to act, dissolved and broken, or just not dissonant? It can also mean to clear away or dispel (doubts, fears, etc.), so in that way it is a janus because if you resolve an issue, you can come to a decision about it or clear it away and dispel it.

New Poem

For today’s new poem prompt I browsed my WordPress Reader and found:

Fandango’s One Word Challenge (FOWC). Today’s word is Harbinger. I am a big fan of the word harbinger.

Paeansunplugged’s Ragtag Daily Prompt Saturday is Light.

Sammi Cox’s Weekend Writing Prompt #242 is Goodnight. This challenge includes a word limit of exactly 45 words.

On the Cusp

We have said goodnight but
light’s fingertips grip the horizon
the triumphs and horrors dissolve
and for a moment peacefulness
smells like melting orange dreamsicles
and the chill of brain-freeze
does not hurt but excites
almost every note I breathe
is a harbinger of resolve

A Bright & Shiny New Year by Maria L. Berg 2022
Dreaming of a Happy New Year by Maria L. Berg 2022

If you’ve enjoy the photographs I’ve been taking, I’ve added some to my RedBubble store and I’m excited about the new products. The abstract bokeh really lends itself to product design. So fun. If you get a chance to take a look, please press the hearts on the images you like. It will help my work get noticed. Thank you.

Happy Reading and Writing!

A New Palette for Looking Forward

Snowball Fight by Maria L. Berg 2021

New Poem


What joy to play with light
to join it frolicking
blue flashing white
orange blushing pink
or smiling yellow
I slow the shutter
and move the lens
thinking I can control the dance
but the ecstacy
is in the unexpected
when what I’ve captured
is a delicious panoply
no longer of its parts
but a melded mutation
in motion and now singular
to be copied, resized, or manipulated
but never reproduced

Blue Moon by Maria L. Berg 2021
Firefall by Maria L. Berg 2021

What’s Next?

Yesterday’s post was my 90th day of posting new photos and poetry every day. Though the new year is a good mile post for starting something new, I’ve decided to keep going until I hit 100 days. That will take us through the first week of January. Then it’s time to get back to revision and other writing experiences.

What would you like me to explore in 2022? What would you like to experience here on Experience Writing? What are your writing and reading plans for 2022? Any questions I can help you with?

December Daily Prompts by Maria L. Berg 2021 Please leave your links in the comments. I hope you will join me.

Happy Reading and Writing!