Category Archives: Writing

My Poetry Table

No, it is not a table piled high with books of pomes. Guess again. Nope, it is not a tabletop laminated with a collage of pomes snippled from the New Yorker, though that is a neat idea, now that I’ve mentioned it.

I’m talking about a table in Word, like my cupcake table. You do remember my cupcake table, don’t you? I still have it! And I can prove it… don’t test me. Anyway, I was doing tables at work last week to organize a project, as you do, and the idea began to form that hey I could organize my pomes like this. The problem I’ve been having with my latest poetry project is that the book is in four sections and I keep rearranging them instead of writing anything new.

Obviously I can’t write new things until the old things are in their proper place. I was mired in an OCD loop of cutting and pasting and flooping things here and there, but it’s hard to keep the entire concept straight in my head when some of the ideas are still only one line and not fleshed out, as it were. Listing the titles of the pomes in the various table sections, and rearranging them there, made so much more sense. Once I’m happy with that, then I fix the actual document. Now I see everything at a glance in the table instead of scrolling through the doc yet again (trying to keep it all in my head without stopping to revise) ~ not only the titles, but also how manu pomes are still unwritten in each section. I’ve already made so much progress in the last several days and feel very poetically productive.

Obviously this table is only for me and won’t appear in the book, which will have an index, since I’ve noticed that newly published Real Poetry Books have indexes, not TOCs, for some reason. This must be why my otter books did not fly off the e-shelves. LOLZ, I make funny.

Yay table! Yay organization! Well, I know at least one person who will appreciate this poast. 🙂

Organized

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Buffet Paralysis

Choice is good; too much choice leaves me paralyzed. Not talking about dating again, though I could be, but that’s too boring. I’m talking about social media generally ~ there is simply too damn much of it now. When we had only Usenet (BITGOD), supplemented by our frantic, gossipy, occasionally flirtatious backchanneling emails, that already took up way too much free time, especially for those of us trying to do Serious Writing. Gawd forbid if we had Real Jobs too, yipes.

Then came, what, some other drippy sites, then blergging, then faceblop, which isn’t just one thing now, but has spawned into a devilmass of special groups to soak up every fucking minute of the day. Yes, you can turn off all those notifications, and I have. Also, there’s twatter and instapeep and group chats on messenger… and this doesn’t even touch actual news sites and e-magazines we might want to read and a constant flow of shows to watch via Prime or ‘Flix or whatever thing plus books on Kindle all piled up and regular books too and it’s all driving me insane. Good for you if you have a handle on all this shit. Yay you.

I’m paralyzed by this. I feel if I neglect Facebook and chats, then friendships will fade, especially with people I don’t see in meatspace. If I give up Twitter, then I won’t have a “presence” to promote the books I never write anyway. Instagram is no big deal to spend less or no time on, but it takes up the least time in the first place, so that doesn’t help much. I already don’t read as much as I’d like to, for a writer. I don’t actually watch many movies at home and no TV shows now that Game of Thrones is done for a while. I’ve been writing nothing this summer, nothing at all.

Summer’s almost over and I’m really bummed about my lack of progress. I have a few new poems this year, that’s it. No inspiration for a new novel and only a few more ideas for poems. BITGOD I used to feel I had plenty of time to myself, plenty of time to write, even time to exercise after work, and I have that same amount of time now… I just have to stop letting the internet steal it. September is always a good time for me to make a fresh start. Perpetual student here.

~*~

PS: Don’t bother looking up BITGOD since I just invented it. Use your noodle. 🙂

Romance Awareness Month

August is RAM. I bet you didn’t know that. I didn’t know that. But luckily I have romance novels set as a key term in my Google News feed and ~ voilà ~ an article materialized to inform me of such.

I enjoyed reading what the various authors in the linked article had to say about the genre, about the joy of the happy ending, and especially how predictability is not a bug but a feature. Sarah MacLean noted that the genre is evolving to highlight not only the empowerment of women in general but also has given prominence to the “non-standard” heroine. Yes, we can have overweight women finding their soul mates now, along with older women, disabled women, women of color, on and on. Gone are the days when only “perfect” 19 year old white girls were allowed to find true love.

But romance novels are still scorned by many in a way that other genre novels are not. Sure, there are a lot of crappy romances out there. There are also a lot of crappy science fiction stories, crappy murder mysteries, etc. It does take some effort to find a good romance, since the market is flooded with them, but the same holds true for the other genres as well. This is where the library comes in handy, so you don’t waste $8 on impulse, and/or exchanging paperbacks with friends.

SSC: I have been on a break from romance novels for most of this year, but I’m sure I’ll go back eventually. I always do.

SSC2: I may do NaNoWriMo in October (would end my count on 10/30 to be fair)!

20150719_143550

Twelve Years Gone By

Please excuse my lack of bloggery… I was busy attending my daughter’s wedding. ❤

I seem to be out of writing mode, which will change shortly as I’ve rejoined a great prompt group that meets weekly, plus September always motivates me. I’m a student at heart. New school year, crisp notebook, let’s go!

But in the meantime, I wanted to say something, so I decided to turn to my trusty old Ultrablog archives. Apparently I said nothing 10 years ago (hard to believe), so I went back 12 (I don’t like elevens). Twelve years ago I was married, had two children living with me, and for some bizarre reason went to see the Dukes of Hazzard movie.

Now, if you had asked me point-blank an hour ago, Paula, did you ever see the Dukes of Hazzard movie? I would have said no and I would have probably even denied knowing there existed a Dukes of Hazzard movie. But archives do not lie! And if Google Drive says I saw a movie, then I saw it. I suppose in the scheme of things that forgetting the Dukes is no great loss. I hope I don’t forget anything important however, such as a subthread from Game of Thrones.

I said I liked the movie except for Burt Reynolds being miscast as Boss Hogg. I also said the TV Roscoe was funnier and I was disappointed that “Boots” played over the credits at the end and we didn’t get to see the sexy car wash scene. I have no idea what I meant by that. The Nancy Sinatra song? Wha? I suppose I could look all that up, but someone will know, so I’m not going to bother.

I really miss when my online writing friends blogged instead of blopped on Facebook. FB is junk food for writers ~ and not even the good junk food like tacos or Oreos, but the worst junk food like those skinny yucky pretzels. You can sit there for hours and eat a million of them and you’ll never be satisfied, only thirstier and thirstier.

Pretzels

More Than This

The first time I heard Roxy Music was at Stacey’s apartment in downtown Chicago, in the spring of 1983. I was a classic rock girl and Bryan Ferry was club music. I didn’t go to clubs; I listened to the Beatles and Stones alone at home. Actually, nothing has changed… but that’s beside the point. I don’t remember why we went to Stacey’s either. We were both taking a computer class and broke for lunch or something. She lived nearby. What I do remember is that she turned on the stereo and fired up her bong. It was the first time I’d seen a bong too. I lived a very sheltered life, in the middle of Chicago. I declined her offer of smoke, but I did get intoxicated with Roxy Music and bought an album soon after.

The only reason I’m even bringing this up is because I was listening to RM’s greatest hits the otter day in my car and I thought, holy shit, I’ve been telling peeps the wrong thing all these years. I always say I moved to California because my parents said they’d buy me a car, which they did say, but that’s not why I left ~ I left because my heart was broken.

Stacey and I were talking about men that day, of course, and I confessed I had a crush on Mark, who was also in our class. Mark and I regularly created outrageous fictions about adventures we had together and no one really knew what was going on between us (nothing), and the rest of the class thought we were very entertaining. Sometimes I would create my own individual stories for Mark, so he wouldn’t think I was such a boring boring. He had his own individual stories for me as well that I didn’t know what to make of ~ they were wild and crazy, occasionally verging on the sad.

Eventually we became lovers, in the summer, though I knew it wouldn’t last. My heart broke the first time we were together, as it always does when I know something will fail, and I floated off into that strange limbo of soaring dreams mixed with crushing despair. It’s a potent drug. I never turn something like that down; I simply wait for it to disappear because I know it will. Each time might be the last, so each time is incredibly wonderful, like I imagine it might feel to be on X, though I never have been. What writer would turn this down? How many chances do you have to experience this in your life? You wouldn’t be able to describe it otherwise. I might have only had the once… but as luck would have it, it’s happened a few more times.

Our relationship ended mundanely ~ I had to work, and Mark wanted to go camping. He asked me to go with him, and I couldn’t, so he took another girl. That was in August and I kept working as my parents planned their move out West. I vaguely said I might stay and find a place with a friend, but I made no plans. My job consisted of formatting disks, all day long. I sat at a reception desk and did that, crying silently.

In September, my mother said, you’re not really staying in Chicago, are you? My father said he’d buy me a car if I moved with them. It sounds amusing to say I left for a car, but I would have left in any case. Chicago is nothing but a big frozen heartbreak; that’s why I’ve never gone back, not once. I like to leave places that remind me of bad times; I like to throw everything away. If I can’t, I gather it all together for an emotional bonfire and a story is born. Sometimes the story lies dormant for several decades, apparently.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Dormant

November Is Coming

Some of you are probably going huh, wut, November? It’s the middle of the summer!

Confused

But a few of you will know exactly what I’m talking about.

November is coming.

And I’ve spent couple years faffing about writing poetry, NTTAWWT. Poetry is nice and all. Sometimes you just need to write poetry for a while… well, I do anyway. But then you get tired of creating adorable appetizers and delectable desserts and you want to make the main course again… you need to tell a story.

At some point in the near future, I’ll be organizing the poetry I wrote over the past few years, together with some relevant material from the distant past, into a new themed e-book available for purchase. I may also have one or more of my works narrated into an audio book and see how that goes. Dunno if I’ll do that with a poetry book or one of the romance novels; need to look into the whole dealio first, but it seems like a neat idea.

Aside from all that, however, the story drum is beginning to beat, faintly now, but slowly and steadily growing louder. Tell a story, beginning to end. So, savor my whimsical poasts and musings on social media for the moment. Soon it’ll be time to get serious again.

November is coming.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Savor

Tick Tock

It’s after 9pm and I’ve accomplished nothing tonight.

Well, that’s not precisely true. I spent time calling and emailing peeps in attempts to fix mistakes and figure out confuzzling stuff. But there’s so much more. I feel completely stressed out by all the things. I haven’t written any poetry lately, though I’ve scribbled down ideas when I’ve thought of them. That’s not the same though, a couple words here and there. You lose the mood, the feeling, the gestalt of the piece.

I didn’t do much over the long weekend because I didn’t feel well. But that’s not really true either. I cleaned a bunch, hung out with friends, watched fireworks, crossed a lot of items off my list. I keep adding stuff to the list though! I’ve been reading a good book (Ted Chiang’s Stories of Your Life), but I wasted some hours watching bad movies too. 😦

It seems as though all these electronic time-savers just gobble up more and more time. I long for the days of the checkbook and pencil ~ I am officially old now. So many of my hours are eaten up by “helpful” technology, a sparkly illusion of convenience. No, I’m not giving any of it up or asking for advice; I’m just complaining, right here on my laptop connected to the internet. It’s what I do.

I have a million tabs open up there… mostly poetry sites I want to check out, maybe to submit stuff, or to get ideas, or whatever. They’ve been open for days, maybe a week. But I’m not looking at them tonight ~ I’m too tired now. W10 wants to update again, but I can’t let it cuz I’d have to close the tabs. These tabs, and the whole North Korea problem… it’s all making me very anxious.

Happy belated 4th (USA readers), day late, dollar short.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Illusion

Fireworks

No Off Switch

I create best in silence and it’s easy enough to turn off the sound on all my devices. OK, maybe not the meowful one, but at least he goes into snooze mode frequently. ^..^ When I’m feeling especially creative, sometimes I even drive without music on. Weird, I know! But I absorb so much inspiration from my surroundings that even a bit more data can overwhelm me and paradoxically cause a creativity halt. I’m constantly bombarded with new ideas, almost all of which will turn out to be meh-sauce, but still… ya never know until you explore one a little.

 

Volume

The one noise I can’t turn off though is the ringing in my head. Twenty/four/seven my left ear vibrates with tinnitus and there’s nothing I can do about it. Incurable. Occasionally both ears are affected. I’m used to this, since it’s been going on for years, but the sound does interfere with writing now. Some days I simply can’t do much creative writing at all and have to be content with reading and/or watching movies. Not that this is so terrible. Love reading! Love movies!

If I get super excited by a new writing idea and think it’s the best thing ever, which hasn’t occurred in quite a while, the tinnitus volume appears to automagically dip by itself and I can focus 100%. Part of the problem may be that I remember getting excited by writing ideas in the past, and they mostly turned out to be nothing, so it’s difficult to summon up that kind of enthusiasm again.

~*~

The Daily Post: Volume

The Opposite of Bird

What’s the opposite of bird, she says. What color is five?

She radiates light and energy, and her questions loop about my head like an undulating jump-rope. I revel in her discoveries; she numbs my pain with a fistful of coffee-paper butterflies.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Radiate

False Verse

I have two kinds of poems in the pile: those based on a truth, however faint and hiding behind paint and glitter to make it more interesting, and those based on nothing. Often the nothing verse is technically better because I wrote it in school, carefully, for a grade. One of my nothing poems that I’ve lost now was about a beach in Rhode Island, where I’ve never been, and the professor, an acclaimed poet, said it was good. When I revealed the lie (because someone said the color of the water was wrong), he laughed and gave me an A. I felt good about that back then; I don’t now. (I wish I still had that pome however.)

The reason my poetry was often based on lies/nothing in the early years is because I hadn’t done anything yet. I hadn’t gone anywhere. There was no drama in my life, no big heartbreak. The poetry professors agreed with me that poetry could be fictional; only other students thought this was breaking some rule. I never questioned my own stance back then, since the professionals were on my side. And yet… and yet…

I’ve changed my mind, at least with respect to my own work. When I reread my old poems, I immediately know which is which. The false verse is hollow and dead on the page, no matter how “good” it is. It has no emotional resonance to me, no layering. But when I read one of the truthy poems, I feel the truth again, however old and buried. I know exactly what inspired me to write that pome. Of course I don’t know what someone else would feel reading it (maybe nothing ~ maybe they’d feel more reading one of the false verse poems), but the point is that I know.

I haven’t written false verse since I began writing poetry again several years ago. No matter what I write about now, something in the pome is true, even if it’s just one line or one emotion. These aren’t just words strung together for a grade ~ they actually mean something. Also, the old pomes I poast here for my loyal blogfans are the true ones only. No false verse for you.

Happy May! ❤