Ramblings from a writer

william_cullen_bryantToday I sat down to look over a poem I wrote earlier in the week. I have sent it to a few good first readers to get different viewpoints. I have spent way more time on this one poem than I ever planned on, but then I never really planned to write it either. A line just sort of popped into my head one day, so I wrote it down and the rest followed. That’s usually how poetry works for me. Often that is the way stories work too.

I am pretty much one of those people who write by the seat of their pants. I rarely plan anything out. I think it is more fun that way, even if it is a bit chaotic. However, if I am writing non-fiction, then I do plan things more carefully. I have the ability to plot things out, I just don’t usually do it because it seems to make getting the words down harder for me. I tend to daydream quite a bit as well.

The idea that I don’t plot things out drives a few of my writer friends crazy. They always plot. I know others that never do. I mean, there is always a vague idea where the story is going. Usually.

I do have eight pages of a work in progress that just kind of popped in my head like poetry normally does. That one I have no idea where it is going. It probably won’t turn out to be anything good enough to share with the rest of the world, but it is fun to write so I am keeping up with it as sort of a writing exercise.

Anyway, my rambling point is that I have spent a lot of time working on a poem. I like this one and I want to get it right but it isn’t quite there yet. I am not sure where “there” is but I am working hard on finding it.

 

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Poetry in Whining

A Monday Lament from a Night Walker mugging fork

My back aches 
My shoulder hurts
I want to go back to bed

My bones creak
My brain’s still asleep
I hurt to much to be dead

My coffee is faulty
My movements are halting
Monday has come around

I worked the weekend
And work tomorrow too
Yet I am still Monday down

Monday’s have their pull
On the working world
It doesn’t matter when they come

At the beginning of the week,
In the middle, At the end,
Even after the setting sun.

Late Night

Weep not for me and my lost sleep

Pity not my missed nightly dreams

For I have been traveling the word roads

I slipped between sentence spaces to journey

I danced among worlds hidden in print

I’ve drunk the tears of dragons and feasted on fears

Now I return to this world sated

I may yawn till my jaw cracks and my eyes may blur

But every traveler pays a cost to take a worthwhile journey

And I have willingly given away sleep and what nightly dreams may have come to mine.

Aphelion

aphelion june 2014Looking for something to read? Or maybe a place to submit a science fiction short story or get some great feed back in order to improve your writing?  Let me introduce you to an awesome webzine  called Aphelion.

Aphelion publishes original work in poetry, fantasy, sci-fi, and horror fiction.  It is a non-paying publication, or rather Aphelion doesn’t pay money.  It does help new writers polish their craft.

Aphelion Editor Dan Hollifield is a self proclaimed “Godfather” of new writers. He has a passion to help new writers ” learn their chops“.

Imagine a white haired southern gentleman sitting behind a dark wood stained desk, dressed to the nines, and with  big dragon fly wings that flit into existence every so often.  Sort of like the Godfather/Fairy Godfather of Amateur Writers. Mixing horse heads with pumpkin carriages

(This imagery was sparked by a conversation with Dan on Facebook, by the way.  “Listen to me, Kid. If you don’t start usin’ your spell-check, I’m gonna turn you into a pumpkin! Capiche? Gratzie…” )

If you are looking for a place to get some decent feed back or even just to connect with other writers, I suggested you check out their forum. If you are looking for some good fiction read the webzine. If you have something you would like published, submit it. And to make it even better?  It doesn’t cost you a penny. Aphelion is free and without advertisements to interrupt your reading.

 

 

 

Now I’ve done it…

overflow cover via amazonTwo days ago I published a book.  It is just a small chapbook of poems but it is out there, floating in cyberspace and available on Amazon.  I went through createspace and Amazon KDP, so I guess that means I am self-published. Or I went indie. Or I am a micro-press with a client of one.   You can take your pick on which one you want to use. I am still in that stage of semi shock, where I ask myself  “Okay I’ve got it, now what do I do with it?”

vampire-hunting-kitI know there are people out there turning up their noses and sharpening stakes because I didn’t go through the usual long trek up the mountain of publishing.  Hey, calm down it’s a chapbook, 24 pages at the most. And I have said all along that if I got my wish I would be a hybrid author. (I think I’ve said that here…I’ve certainly thought it enough.)

Will that wish ever be granted? Who knows.  What I do know is that I gathered a bunch of words I wrote and turned them into a book.

Was it easy?  Well, no.  I didn’t know what I was doing at first. I kept making stupid User-errormistakes and formatting was confusing.  But I kept at it until I was satisfied. (The formatting probably wouldn’t be that difficult for anyone else, it was user error on my part.)

I didn’t just slap the first draft of the chapbook up there and call it done.  I must have re-uploaded that thing at least two dozen times.   The important part is that I did it, and that I did it to the best of my ability.

I had someone I trusted look over my work for mistakes.  I didn’t settle with widows and orphans left on pages because of a single space. I went back through a took out the extra space.  Then re-uploaded again.   At one point all of the contractions were translated into kanji for some reason.  I went back and fixed that too.  Then I ordered a proof copy and priority-mail-boxwaited days for it to arrive so that I could quadruple check everything.

I decided on the cover. (It was a picture I took on a walk.) I decided the font, the color of the cover, the title, what went on the back, and even the color of the paper.  I do wish there were more font choices, but all in all I don’t think I did that bad.

Velocipede_for_LadiesThe thing is, now I know I can do it and that is kind of scary. Kind of like learning to ride a bike.  When you first ride by yourself it’s exciting. You made it to the end of the driveway! Go You!  But then you realize there are more places to ride than just to the end of the driveway.  There are hills out there. And hills are whole different terrain than the familiar flat drive way.

 

The poetry of sleepless nights

I couldn’t sleep Saturday night.  I had gone to a Doctor Who themed picnic earlier in the afternoon with my daughter.  We had a good time and met some new people.

I was hot, tired, and just a tiny bit sunburned when we got home.  I thought about taking a nap but it never really happened.  My brain would not stop.  This unfortunately continued until around 5am Sunday morning.  I tried just laying there. I tried reading a book. Nothing worked.

I spent most of the night cobbling together poems I have written over the years to see if I had enough decent ones for a chapbook.  It passed the time and by 5am my brain was finally calm enough to let me sleep.

I still need to locate or write another five or six poems. (I have them scattered everywhere.) Then I need to get them copy edited.  After that…well it looks like I will have a book of poetry coming out at some point this year.

 

Poetry

Alice_in_wonderland_1951I’ve been reading poetry lately.  Yes, yes I know. Nasty habit. All those feelings and thoughts expressed in just a short space with precise words.  But sometimes when things feel too close to heart it is nice to know that others have felt them as deeply.

Now I am not saying that such things can not be expressed in prose.  Of course they can. However, as a poet myself, I understand the need to get a sudden intense feeling down on paper.  Really you are just trying to express things that hit you hard right in the heart.

I often don’t even have the words for whatever it is I am feeling until I start to write them catapillerdown.  And it can be about anything.  Headaches, coffee, heartaches, sleeping children, dreams, simple musings, cats sitting on your feet…I’ve written about them all.  (Okay, all except that last one.  But I have a very soft fluffy white cat putting my left foot to sleep right now, so I should.)

In fact I’ve written two or three poems just this week.  Not that anyone else will ever see them. I wrote one to express frustration, one was a random musing on sanity, and the other… Well, okay that one did end up on face book but it was only a few lines about a headache that wouldn’t go away.

6_950_alice_in_wonderland_blu-rayI love poetry that echoes things that I have felt before.  I love elegant uses for words.  I love harsh slashing phrases that bring feelings to life.   I read Keats, Wordsworth, and Shakespeare but I also seek out newer poets too.   It is the words I am interested in.

I don’t know why I am surprised when I find out that some writers I know are poets as well.  I am, my dad is, why can’t others be?  Writers play with words all the time.  Words are treasured friends.  Is it really a surprise that when we feel things deeply that words are what we turn to?