Tag Archives: writing

Dear Jane Letter…from writer to penner

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I am currently taking a class called Yoga for Writers and the teacher, Deborah “Zenha” Adams has challenged us to write a Dear Jane/John letter to ourselves from the writer within about why we have abandoned our craft (for those of us who haven’t written much in a while)…and this is my attempt. We were to be honest and simply lay it all out there…

Dear Penner,

We have come to an impasse, you and I, as I no longer have faith in you to pen my words on the page. You have bargained and avoided. You have been complacent and angry. You have suffered long in matters that I have had no ability to assist you in, for you haven’t allowed me to help.

I have been there with you, in you, since you were a child, always the one you turned to in loneliness or confusion, always the one you allowed to revel in your joys and successes. I am your ultimate confidante and you have abandoned me for matters of livelihood and motherhood and relationships, apathy, and of all things, living.

You know I have knocked at the door of your soul when it has been battered, called to you in 2 a.m. whispers and you simply rolled over and went back to sleep. I am the one who feeds the hunger of the urgent beast to create…hell, I am the hunger and the beast.  I am the torture and the salvation. I am the voice that must be heard, whether anyone understands.

You feel the winding paths of prose coursing thru you…I know you still do. You still hear poetry in crowded conversations and city traffic.

I am your respite and I am still here. I am still within the confines of your mind, in the marrow of your bones. I sit with you at dinner and feel you quiver with every orgasm. I am still here, waiting for you.

I know you drift from time to time. I know you take other lovers in the form of activity and laziness and apathy. But I will not let you go, for we have more words to write, more stories to tell and for the love of God, all that fucking poetry to spill.

Sincerely,

 

Writer

Where the Words Come From

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I know what pens the words, the fuel that feeds the fire

I smile, I sing and do everything like every face in every crowd

Inside the demons roar, they call to me to bleed

Weeping, the tears fall, and I’m alone in my own heart

There is no bravery in my soul; I am a broken doll

 

Whose eyes refuse to close; sadness breaks the dawn

Under a sun that always shines, and I put on my plastic

Smile to be whatever, whomever the day requires

 

(photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/kemakeur/65655253/”>Kema Keur</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;)

A Miscarriage of Justice

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I post quite a bit of poetry on this blog, but I thought it time for something else. This is something else.

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 A Miscarriage of Justice by Sheila R. Pierson

 

Fluttering feelings tickled her belly, like flashes of a story that appeared momentarily, and then just as she reached for the words, they floated away as if on helium clouds. She passed the time between her writing efforts with wasted minutes on social networks, telling herself that she needed the distraction. The gnawing ate at her, little pieces at a time. Scratching, from inside, it clawed and grasped at her fascia and tendons and muscle, trying to reach the skin, to find a way out. Sometimes she found it comforting, the way the story pushed and pressed from within. At least she knew something was there. Seemed to be the only part of her that she could count on anymore.

She used to be different. She was eager to please those around her, to her own detriment.  People made demands and she conceded without question. Without warning, life turned on end. Isn’t that the way it always happens? Except for the occasional horoscope spam, it isn’t as if an e-mail arrives in one’s inbox saying, ‘Change is coming – prepare yourself.’ No, it just happens. Life alters. One day she was preparing a roast in the crock pot for her family, wondering if they’d be pleased with her cooking and the next she was in bed with a lover she never intended to have, wondering how and why, but not really caring.

Somewhere between the thrill of the newfound passion and the reality of her new truth, the aftermath of her choices descended upon her. The heaviness of her life threatened to suffocate her.

A new choice had to be made, one that didn’t include misleading her mind with her heart’s deceit. She couldn’t have imagined the pushback, the revolt her heart would stage. The rage of the world funneled its way into the shadows of her soul. Winter blanketed her body and settled into her bones. She could no longer tolerate the feel of her own skin, the way it pricked with heat, the way her soul smoldered under every layer of anguished flesh.

She awoke one Saturday morning to intense cramping pain. The need to sit up, get up, and hurry from the bed into the bathroom was hindered only by the torment in her abdomen. She didn’t move. She lay still, until the next wave grabbed at her from deep inside. What was happening to her? A bulging pressure forced her to hold her hands between her legs as she rose from the bed. Upon standing, gravity assisted the release of whatever was ushering forth.  The bathroom was only a few steps away but those steps may has well have been a mile. Loosening her sleep shorts, she pulled them down to reveal a small gray sac attached to a rather large blood clot. Grabbing some toilet tissue, she caught the bloody gray mass. More blood followed. She cried, hot tears that singed her face. She knew what this was, but couldn’t make herself believe it at first. She didn’t even know she was pregnant. She shouldn’t have been. Lying down on the floor, she allowed the cool tiles to soothe her face.

She knew as she stared at the tissue paper with the little gray sac on it that this was the only way things could be. The man whose love proffered this well-deserved loss was too much the coward to even begin to do the right thing, whatever that was. She wasn’t sure why she continued to cry on that hard floor. She was glad not be tied to such a life-changing event, glad that she would not be tied to him. Her freedom had faced a serious threat, but crossed a threshold to safety. She should be happy, not sad and pathetic and wallowing in her tears and her blood.

Time did what it does. It passed. There was no hurrying it along. She couldn’t escape the onslaught of emotions. They struck when they chose. A longing to put pen to paper woke her in the night. Gasping breaths pulled her from slumber, the desperation for air tormented her lungs. She was again suffocating, from the desire for a man she would never have, from the anger over his lies, her lies, and their loss. She was suffocating from the loss of her rose-colored glasses and life before…before him.

With dutiful ambition, she willed herself to be that woman from before, but that woman no longer existed. She made appearances from time to time, when necessity called for her, but she was more of a second personality pushed into the far recesses of her mind. The woman who was always willing to please others could not find an ounce of favor with herself. She was changed.

The story brews within her. She feels it, knowing it’s just under the surface, like the bubbles forming in a pot of water just before it boils. When she finds the words, when they come down from their helium clouds, she will write her story. She will take hold of those words and emblazon them onto the page. They will be as a brand upon her skin, as a red letter worn upon one’s cloak. They will be as that ill-mourned baby in the gray sac falling out of her body, hurried, silent, yet screaming. When they come, she will desecrate the paper with her purging, and then she will be free.

 

**photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/belljar/96776343/”>madamepsychosis</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>**

Recalibrating

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I’m a positive person, really I am. When I write, though, dark emotions, sarcasm, misfits and moody extremes find their way onto the page. I’ve tried to write of sunshine and lollipops – just doesn’t work out for me. Every once in a while something of pure sweetness will bubble up, but it’s not my norm.

It’s strange because I’m one of those people who look for the solution instead of the problem in most situations. Isn’t that the joy of writing, though? To be able to dive into situations different from our own? To be able to explore characters unlike ourselves?

Oh yeah, if it isn’t obvious, I’m back! I took a break, as per my last post, but I’m easing into my new routine and plan to post every couple of weeks. I’m working on another book of flash fiction, and always writing poetry. I may never see an end to that novel that hides in the shadows of my thoughts, but I’m plugging along word by word on various projects.

I hope you all have been well. To my fellow bloggers, I’ve missed you and your blogs in my necessary absence and look forward to visiting you all again soon!

 

Some recent work…

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Recalibrating

 

Imperfect, to err is my way

Life opened to impossibility,

Never did I see the wave coming

That washed over me;

Sublime in the moment, the

Consequences painful, unbearable;

Blinders removed, the light is searing,

Purifying, awakening

 

And I am here – understanding little,

A microcosm of the why;

Wisdom earned in the soul, both a

Balm and a blister on the heart

 

Promises of mercy echo in my mind,

Once believed abandoned, yet I hear

His voice, a gentle affirmation of love,

A whisper of a peaceful tender offered…

Accepted.

 

PhotoPin: photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/pensiero/8488897662/”>Pensiero</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

‘Jerry the Angel’ on Titles

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(I thought it only fitting to have a proper title for this post – hope you approve Jerry.)

It’s been a crazy week and I was stressing over what to post about – yes, I have a poem or two in wait but I wanted something else to blog about. And that’s when an angel of mercy arrived by way of my inbox. Yes, Jerry Guarino may not look like your average angel, but I’ve learned he’s a real sweetheart and boy did he come through for me! So please, read and enjoy Jerry’s insights and be sure to check out his books, his website and follow the guy on Facebook. By the way, he started a Facebook Short Story Writers group that is 338 members strong. Be sure to check it out, too, if you write short stories! Thank you Jerry!

 

Are titles important and where do they come from?

By Jerry Guarino

            First, let me thank Sheila for this opportunity to share my ideas about titles.  We all know that a title is the handle for a story, a novel, screenplay or dramatic play.  It is the first clue to what the content will be and the last way for an author to leave a lasting impression to the reader.  We all have an instant visual when we hear these titles:

The Raven

            The Old Man and the Sea

            West Side Story

            MASH

            Death of a Salesman

            Personally, I use titles to give the reader something to keep in their mind.  I do so for many reasons.  Sometimes I do it to mislead or misdirect the reader, in order to keep them from guessing where the story will go.  Other times I use it to set up a multiple meaning word, phrase or idea.  I have used titles to intrigue, to question, to mimic a sound, a theme or an idea.  To me, titles are very important and I write them before I write the story.

Titles can’t make the story great or memorable but they can detract from the effectiveness of the story.  You don’t see bad titles published very often because authors, editors and publishers will correct that before printing.

Here are some of my titles and the way they are related to the content of the story.

The Bridge Game – uses the word bridge in three different ways.  First, as the card game that two couples play.  Next, as one of the women uses the other to bridge her relationship to the other’s man.  Finally, at the end of the story, the woman crashes her car into a bridge.  Using a key word in the title in different ways is a common device authors use.

Who Stole Asbury Park? – In this story, I used the title to preview the main idea.  It is the story of a New Jersey resort town on the ocean that once was vibrant with people, amusements and life, but has lost all that over time due to fiscal mismanagement and apathy.  It also serves the purpose of disguising the more interesting coming of age love story between a young boy and girl and their first explorations into the opposite sex.  Using a title to set up part of a story, especially with a question is a good way to give the reader something to think about.

Boxes and Ladders – is about three men all interested in the same woman.  In this case, the title refers to concepts.  Boxes are used to hold things, but in the story it also refers to the personality of one of the men, an engineer, who likes to compartmentalize everything, including people.  He takes this into extremes by categorizing people into boxes on a computer program, trying to find a mate.  Ladders refers to the other man’s way of attacking life, by climbing ladders to reach goals.  Of course the woman falls for the third man who approaches life and relationships in a mature and generous way.

Preheat the Microwave.Com – is a story looking at the funny things senior citizens do, although pushed to extremes for effect.  This title uses a quote from the book as the elderly woman tells her niece “You have to preheat the microwave.”  Using a quote from the book can be an effective way of making the story both memorable and different, as the title also suggests a website, another reference to the website the niece sets up in her aunt’s senior citizen center.  Using a quote is particularly effective when it refers to a joke as it is used here.

Coq a Doodle Do – this is one story of a trilogy of love stories featuring roosters as characters.  Here the title gives the reader a clue to one of the characters, by making a play on the sound a rooster makes in the morning, an essential element in the story.  Coq is also the French word for rooster and the theme of France runs through the trilogy.

Practical Goldberg (A Love Story in 3 Parts) – uses the name Goldberg for the main character, a college student, who creates an elaborate bird-feeding machine to attract women for love.  Of course we find out in the end that although he is successful in doing so, the woman was actually doing the same thing to get him to love her.  Using a reference like this (i.e. A Rube Goldberg Machine) makes your title reflect what happens in the story and for those of us old enough to know what that machine was, a delightful but overly complicated way to do something, the story works nicely.

Starbanks – this is a story I wrote about a bank with a Starbucks coffee shop inside.  It is merely a play on words, but one which works well in this quirky look at a how prevalent coffee shops have become in our lives.  I sent the story to Starbucks and it is actually an idea they have thought about doing.  I have no doubt we will see them in banks sometime in the future.

Well, that’s my thinking on titles.  I’ll leave some more here for you to ponder.  The Duke of Yelp, The Grand Poobah, Pie or Die, Babybump.com, The Rich are Going to Hell, Like Father, Like Son, Overdue, The Tightrope and The Devil’s Orchestra.  So pay attention to the title of the next story you read.  The author probably put a lot of thought into it.

Bio:

Jerry Guarino’s short stories have been published by dozens of magazines in the United States, Canada, Australia and Great Britain. His latest book, “50 Italian Pastries”, is available on Amazon.com and as a Kindle eBook. Please visit his website at http://cafestories.net/

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Writing and Routine

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I should be writing, of pleasant

Dreams and the usual things,

The jester’s in court after all

 

I should be rhyming, words within

Reason while they’re in season,

One never knows when they’ll fall

 

Laboring efforts by a hand with a pen

Or fingers on keys, if only to begin

Dawn turns to dusk on another day

Stories unfold, as is their way

My desk bids me to sit, continue to stay

Surely I’ll finally find something to say…

 

I don’t usually mention my children on this blog, but I am going to say something now – It’s been three weeks of Christmas vacation for my children and they need to go back to school! Thankfully, that day comes Monday. I’m hoping that my brain returns to full function then, as well. I’ve had one truly productive day in this time, and that was only because they were at their grandparent’s house! Isn’t that awful? I simply need the peace and quiet, at least 20 minutes where I’m not being called upon for a snack, stop an argument between brothers, or soothe an upset child after a skinned knee or a forehead-meets-doorknob incident. Can anyone out there relate?

One great entertainment I’ve thoroughly enjoyed during this break time – my little guy has a penchant for story telling. He has been sharing stories with me nearly every day, and wow, he’s got a creative little mind! I love it. However,  I’m very much looking forward to getting back to routine.

This year I have two professional objectives – write, write, write and grow my yoga business. I don’t make resolutions so much as I set goals.

How about you? Are you a resolution maker? Do you like to follow a routine? If you have kids, how long of a Christmas break do they get? Let’s chat…

 

PhotoPin: photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/duncan/121790568/”>duncan</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

 

 

Between Us

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There are days when the words fall softly down upon me like a slow, sweaty rain on a warm summer day.  And then there are days where the words beat and torment, yielding pellets of stinging splatters that refuse to land in one puddle, deflecting linear thought completely. This was a soft day, and the words were a balm to the year’s wounds, where effort was relaxed and the pen enjoyed the rhythm. I wrote one complete short story and three poems today. I am sharing one of those with you now. How do you describe your writing days? Does your writing come on gentle breezes or on gusts of tormenting winds?

 

Between Us

We sit with little words between us,

Those that echo across empty rooms

To enforce the sentiment that bears

The burden of our own thoughts

 

Carry me away with you, to that place

Where once we loved to gather

An existence of newfound truth,

Oh, the glory of the past perplexing

The reality of the present

 

Circumstances beyond reasoning,

Beyond the control of the mind,

At the mercy of the heart

And the little words between us

 

Reflections and Dreams

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This post is a bit of a mish-mash of thoughts. First, thank you all for reading this little bit of me. My blog is a personal reflection of the things in my head, the characters that speak to me, and the visions I have of a fictitious world that I enjoy sharing with you. I appreciate every moment of time you spend here. When I started this journey, I was a little nervous about putting work into the blogosphere, putting myself out there to be critiqued and judged. When I was Freshly Pressed for the post, “Mood Music,” I was blown away by the responses and number of views. It was exciting and humbling. I’ve found in blogging a very supportive community and I am so very thankful I took the chance and I am so thankful for each of you.

One of my goals was to publish a book by the end of this year. I’m so thrilled I’ve achieved that goal with the 5-star reviewed, “Marked: Collected Ramblings.”  I am very excited to be working on new projects, one of them being a book of flash fiction based on black and white photographs my mother has taken. Her photographs will be included in the book. To see examples of her work, please visit Linda Segerson Photography.

Another project is a book of poetry and another book of short stories/flash fiction. I also have a novel in mind – very scary project for me. The novel is absolutely intimidating to me, and if this one comes together as I envision, it may possibly work into a trilogy – very, very daunting for me to even think about, but I’ve already started some free writing and research for it. I’m not putting too much pressure on myself for this particular project, though, because I know me – I know that I don’t outline, which seems would automatically make the task more challenging. Plus, I must really ‘feel’ the writing, love the story and enjoy the work or I won’t finish it. If all those things come together, well then book magic may ensue.

One realization I’ve come to is that I can be brave in my writing and I will be. My editor, Scott Morgan of Write Hook says to “write for the jugular” and that’s what I intend to do. I won’t hold back, and I will be authentic for both the characters and the story. I will not fear criticism, she says, clearly determined to make herself believe.

As I see it, 2013 is full of promise and possibility – why not dream big and plan big? I wish for you all a happy new year and that you all pursue your dreams to the fullest. So, want to share some of yours for the new year? Any big plans, writing or otherwise? I would love to hear all about it!

PhotoPin Credit: photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/la_maga_pics/5526373297/”>Maga Soto</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

To Be Among the Literate

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Read any good books lately? I have. I’ve been reading Anais Nin’s “Under a Glass Bell,” a collection of short stories. I love her writing. I would hate to think I couldn’t read her stories, or those of Dorothy Parker, or those of Hemingway or any other author I enjoy. I’d hate to think I couldn’t write my own, as in my new book, “Marked: Collected Ramblings” which is now available on both Smashwords and Amazon.com as an ebook.

The truth is a great many teens and adults cannot read the writings of the authors I mentioned above. They can barely write their names or read simple directions. They may suffer self-esteem issues, have depression and typically have difficulty getting or keeping employment. Their entire lives can change if only they could read. Check out these scary stats I discovered at a site called DoSomething.org.  It’s okay, I’ll wait while you take a look.

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I’ve taught two people to read – an adult who could only write his name and my oldest son, whom I homeschooled for a while and taught to read. The adult I worked with was one of those people who simply fell through the cracks in school. He suffered a terrible injury to his right arm while in the first grade, causing him to miss a lot of school and fall behind. Instead of holding him back, he was allowed to proceed through the grades, although he was not proficient in reading. He finally dropped out of school. He worked but was unable to advance from the  minimum wage job he’d held for many years due to his illiteracy. He was stuck in that job, plus he was a single parent. I admired so much his courage for coming forth and saying he wanted to read. I admired his dedication to learning. He did progress, began to read and was able to move into a different job that paid better. It was humbling for me and so very rewarding to see his confidence grow as his reading improved. Literacy changes lives.

Check with your adult education center in your community if you are interested in learning more about how to teach an adult to read. I went through a training program that taught me everything I needed to be able to teach, and workbooks were provided for my student.

So, what have you been reading? What amazing places have you visited in a book lately? Any characters you just can’t get out of your head? Do tell…

 

(Image courtesy of Microsoft ClipArt)

Writing, Publishing, Literacy!

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FINALLY! My book is ready and I’ve submitted it to Smashwords  and hopefully all will go smoothly from here. I’m also working to get this small collection of flash fiction, short stories and poetry on Amazon KDP.  This process has been a little challenging for me. I thought I would be able to read the Smashwords guidelines and figure it all out myself but that didn’t happen. Then, I thought I could do the cover myself but that didn’t happen either. So, I hired a formatter and someone to do the artwork for me and now, finally, it is done. I’m in awe of you authors who do the entire process yourselves. My brain is simply not wired for formatting. I write. I submit. That’s it. I don’t format. I don’t draw. I can barely take a picture without cutting off someone’s head in the photo. I write. That’s what I do.  I’m leaving the technical stuff to the technical people. I’m including the cover art to my book in this post. It’s simple and kind of funky and I like it.

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I will let you in on the meaning behind the title and the image of the letter ‘X’ on the front. I came up with “Marked: Collected Ramblings” for one main reason:  all the countless people in this world who are illiterate. People used to ‘make their mark’ on documents if they were unable to sign their names. Today, there is still a large population of functionally illiterate people who may be able to sign their names but they are unable to read a book for their own pleasure or to their children. They are unable to read the correct medication dosage on a bottle of medicine for themselves or those they care for. I encourage you, dear reader, if given the opportunity to teach an adult to read, take it! You will never regret that choice and the rewards are incalculable to yourself and the person you teach. Your life and theirs is forever changed. For information for literacy programs in your area, check out America’s Literacy Directory.

I have many more stories to tell, many waiting for me to re-write and submit for editing. Speaking of editing, I’d like to thank Scott Morgan at WriteHook for editing my stories. He is straightforward, professional and gives me a swift kick when I need it. Check Scott out if you’re in need of editing services. Yes, it is important, even for short stories to be edited professionally.

I realized once I submitted the book to Smashwords that I left some things out – like a real acknowledgements page and a follow-up at the end providing information on where to contact me and to see other work. We live and we learn. I’m learning a lot on this one.  Also, I am really grateful for all the support I’ve received from each of you, for reading the bits of things I put on this blog and providing me with feedback. It is so important for me to have that interaction and exchange of ideas with every one of you.

Do I dare call myself an author now?

If this works the way I think it will, here is the link to my book  “Marked: Collected Ramblings”