Friday, November 30, 2012


      It's that time of year: Tinsel, stockings, Christmas trees, snow (not here!), carols, and ++++. It's also the time (I figure it starts around Halloween) when hours, days, and weeks speed by with such intensity that I've come to believe clocks worldwide are a jumble of frenzied gears trying to make it through the year. Certainly, my noggin is that way, and it's not yet December 1.

     Take, for example, my post of November 11th. Achievement washed over me that day. Morning poems were stacking up. I felt on track with writing and revising other pieces. But like the imagined clock gear, it began to unravel.
     This last week, I have written pages of false starts filled with cross outs and strikethroughs. Okay, the Christmas storage bins needed to be brought into the house, then opened, and sorted through. Time to decorate the front of the house. No one could find the door wreath. An incomplete Christmas gift list sits on the counter. When will the tree be set in its stand? To write or not to write Christmas cards? Also, up in the air.
     Sorry––strayed for a minute, another common occurrence these days. The point is my recent writing efforts have not held my interest. Momentum drops. Pressure mounts. Words go against the grain. I cross out more than not, even give into full-blown X's through paragraphs or stanzas. I watch the clock. Time speeds along. Was that a knock at the door? I barrel out the room turning the corner on a dime. Preoccupied with a gadzillion things, I smack my foot into a heavy storage bin. Convinced I'd heard someone at the door, I hobble to open it, and found just what I needed––a box of inescapable mediocrity delivered by and to my very own frenzied mind. Oh my!!!

P. S. I fractured a toe in that "turn on the dime." Really. I did. If that can't slow down gears at this time of the year––I don't what else could. Here's the good news: It's an end-of-the-year hiatus, and I must accept it as just that. I am a writer. A new year––and a new clock––dawns.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Creative Jump-Start

In addition to my blog earlier this month (Morning Poems), I've another jump-start for the imagination to recommend. (November/December 2012) features The First Line in their "Standout Markets" by Tiffany Luckey. In this issue, Ms. Luckey notes:

"Every story in an issue begins with the same sentence. Although these first lines are identical, the individual stories are unique: Each possesses distinctive and
compelling plotlines, characters and, of course, endings."

It's enticing to me and I will certainly go to to gather more information for first lines and submission deadlines. I hope you will, too.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Culling Files

Friday, November 23, 2012

Enough of this, I thought as I scrolled through my computer files. Something had to give, and so for the last three weeks (one day a week) I've been culling or purging drafts of stories, poems, and essays. Each of them got started with good merit and intention, then revised once, twice, some more than that. In fact, a few had so many revisions that if I were to print them out, I could wallpaper my writing room.

I decided to keep the ones that ignited a spark as I reread them, and make them a priority for finalization in the upcoming year. I'll do my best to salvage what I can before I part with those. Other snippets of prose and poem have already knitted themselves into something new. A larger plan hangs over those early word attempts, and if you could see me now, you'd know I was smiling. They will go somewhere; they will become something, and if it all leads to thinking just can't make them work, I'll have to double-ax them. Always a tough thing to let go, isn't it?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Morning Poems

Peggy Miller, an editor with The Comstock Review and a faculty member at this year's (2012) Florida Writers Association Conference, recommends daily morning poems. "Cultivate a cooperative relationship with your imagination," she advised. Creating this ritual builds writing confidence and creativity, and because these poems are meant to be thumbnail sketches, they provide fodder for more polished poems later.

So I've been at it, and have since captured 17 days of three-to-eight line poems using found words or snippets of thought at the beginning of my day. For the morning, it's enough to get the juices pumping––jamies and all. I open my notebook, enter the date on a fresh page, and set a word or two down. It's amazing. Stream of consciousness takes over, I write fast, and don't worry about structure or mechanics. That'll come later. I shut the book until the next day.

This exercise proves to me that by merely coming to the morning table––pencil and notebook in hand––and writing for a few minutes can be pretty satisfying in the short run. I know it'll be rewarding for the longer run. And part of that reward will be the cooperative relationship I've built with my imagination.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Every writer needs to win

A winning basket of writing journals, how-to's, A Cup of Comfort for Writers, highlighters, sharpies, bookplates, mini-compo book tabs, pencils, pens, paper clips/binders, Post-it notes––is what I hope to win!