Consternation and lack of concentration

Dog,

you bark at the birds

as they fly past.

Only you know if you are encouraging

them to flap higher

and soar faster

or if you’re screaming at them

that what goes up

must inevitably come down,

even their own feathered, hollow bones.

You still bark and bark

until I can’t concentrate

and I bark back at you.

 

Inspired by an afternoon of writing on the porch, while this guy objected to the birds that rest in the bush by our house.

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A tribute to William Carlos Williams/starting off

WCW, I have a prescription for you.

Words arranged,

brilliantly,

deftly,

in the small spaces.

 

 

The October Poetry Project has begun! Another thing that’s going to be different about this year’s project is that I’ll be leaving little notes for you guys at the end of each poem, mainly about the writing of it, since I know I’m always interested in how and why writers do their thing. I hope you enjoy and don’t forget that you can participate, too! Leave a photo in the comments and I’ll choose one I like and use it as a prompt for a poem! Thanks for reading and here’s hoping for a month of awesome poetry!

 

Are you ready? It’s almost October…

Hi, everyone! Just thought I’d drop a line and remind you that my October Poetry Project starts on Sunday! I’m so excited!

This year, the October Poetry Project is going to be a little different. I’m going to be incorporating different visual and (hopefully) audio formats for my poetry. I’ve been working on some poems ahead of time and I’ve noticed that I’m taking on subjects that I normally don’t address in any other kind of writing, such as politics, current events, and what truly ticks me off. I hope you like them.

Also, this year, you have the opportunity to participate in my project, if you want! To do so, just leave a picture in the comments on any of my poems that I put up and I’ll choose one to use as a photo prompt! The picture can be of anything! A tree! A rock! A famous artwork! Just don’t send me pictures of anyone’s genitals or anything violent, because I won’t use those.

Just to whet your appetite, here’s a link to one of my favorite poems by one of my favorite poets. See you on Sunday, lovelies!

Check in #2

Hello, everyone! I just have a few little things I want to talk with you about and to let you know what you’ll be seeing more on the blog in the coming months.

  1. Balancing work and art is difficult but insanely rewarding.
    So as I said in my last check in post (which you can read here), I got promoted at work. I’m now working full time instead of part time, which has been an interesting switch. One thing no one tells you about working full time is that you get into such a routine that it’s kind of hard to get out of it, even for a weekend. It’s a first world problem, I know, but I’ve never heard anyone talk about it.
    Coupling a job and art are difficult. There are times when you’re just too tired or there’s too much going on that it feels like you can’t get anything done. But I’ve become good at stealing time or making time to get some writing done. I’m still getting there, though. For all of you who might be struggling with this kind problem, it can be done. Just keep going. You can do it.
  2. Teaching involves a lot of thinking on your feet.
    Quite a bit of the new job is comprised of teaching, especially with technology. In order to be a teacher, you have to be insanely good at reading people and to be willing to try to explain the same things differently to different people. I never quite understood that before, but I think I’m getting there. To all you teachers, hats off to you.
  3. It’s almost fall. How did that happen? But fall means cool writing things.
    I can’t believe that summer’s nearly over. It was a busy, anxious, yet wonderful time. Things in my life have already started to mellow out, for which I am insanely grateful. And I’m planning quite a few things for the blog for this fall.
    As some of you might remember from last year, I decided to create a month-long poetry challenge, in which I post a poem every day. It’s called the October Poetry Project. My thought was that since quite a few people know that NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, more info on that here) takes place in November, why not have the month of October be dedicated to poetry? I realize that April is National Poetry Month (at least here in the U.S.) and I should probably try to tackle my challenge then. But October seems to lend itself more to poetry than April does, at least to me, so expect poetical whimsies every day (I hope) in October.
    And, in case you’re wondering, yes, I will be participating in NaNo this year. More on that as the time draws closer.
    In the meantime, I’m going to do my utmost to try to post at least once a week for the rest of September. I’ve found a few book tags I’d like to do and there are some other thoughts I’d like to share with you.

So that’s all I have to share with you for now. I hope you’re having a great day and I’ll write again soon! Bye!

Sunday reading reflection #4

So we haven’t done one of these in ages. The readings for this Sunday (read them here) were especially poignant considering all the terrible things going on here in the United States concerning race, racial ideologies, and hatred. The pastor of my parish preached a fantastic homily about how hatred and pre-judgement of any kind alienates us from God’s kingdom because anything that comes from God does not divide, but unites.

One line that particularly struck me from the second reading is “For the gifts and call of God are irrevocable.” There’s just something that’s so beautiful and yet terrifying about the gifts and call of God being irrevocable. Terrifying in that at times it feels like we can’t live out God’s call or are afraid to use the gifts he’s given us. But so beautiful in that despite all our fears, reluctance, and stubbornness, he isn’t going to take them back. And he isn’t going to leave us when we don’t follow his call how he might want us to, or if we stray a little too far, “…for he has said ‘I will never forsake you or abandon you.”  (Hebrews 13:5)

His call and his gifts are for all. No qualifications or even willingness needed. His arms and his heart are always open, we need only reach out. And that is so important to remember, especially in such troubled times.

I hope the skies are sunny where ever you are today. God bless.

A letter to Jane Austen, on the 200th anniversary of her death

Dear Miss Austen,

I hope you will forgive my tardiness in writing to you. This week’s business caught me unawares. I’m sure you will forgive me when I tell you I was tending a library.

I feel the need to mark this occasion, though it is a sad one. You have been such a tremendous friend to me and to millions of others, and though I wasn’t a thought in anyone’s mind when your funeral was held 200 years ago, I will eulogize you now.

Though I never did and never could meet you when you were alive, I feel as though I know you through your stories. My mother bought me Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice for Christmas when I was thirteen. I received the rest of your books for my subsequent birthday. It took me a while (I am a terribly slow reader when it comes to the classics), but I grew to love your stories and, through them, you. In your works, I found ladies who understand what it’s like to deal with the challenges of growing up, of finding love and losing it, and of learning how to go after your desires. These ladies quickly became friends and role models. I still aspire to be as selfless as Anne Elliot, as witty as Lizzie, and as determined as Emma.

In your stories, I also found something that I didn’t know I was looking for. I discovered the sense of human continuity that only stories can bring, the knowledge that though people’s circumstances and social and political climates change, human nature remains the same. It is so lovely to pick up a book and read that a heroine from two hundred years ago had the same hopes and fears that a somewhat awkward heroine, such as myself, now has. That sense of continuity, of belonging not just to my time and place, but to a greater family called humanity, is such a gift. And you gave that to me and I’ll always be thankful.

Miss Austen, you worked so hard and received so little success during your brief time on this earth. But I am happy to tell you that things have changed. Women can now be and are recognized as great writers and contributors and storytellers. You helped pave the way for the rest of us and I can never thank you enough for that as well. Your determination in continuing to put pen to paper has helped me and so many others take up our own pens and write our own stories. Your struggles have borne much fruit. I hope that you know that and that you are proud of all of us.

God rest you gently, Miss Austen. May your stories and your legacy always live on.

Infinities of love,

Elizabeth

Check in #1

“Life piles up so fast that I have no time to write out the equally fast rising mound of reflections.”–Virginia Woolf. 

This quote has described many phases in my life, particularly in college, but seems especially salient right now. There’s been so much going on that I’ve barely been able to talk to my parents or think, let alone blog about things. I’ve also realized that I don’t do short posts about what’s going on with me. I do posts about bigger things such as questions or struggles that I’m having, but I don’t write about the day to day stuff. So here’s a little bit about the day to day stuff. A few of the things on this list aren’t small, but it’s been usually busy lately. Hopefully things will slow down now.

  • I got promoted at work! I’m going to be a full time reference clerk! It’s going to be incredibly different from my work in the children’s department. I was really unsure about it at first but as I’ve been trained, I’ve become less and less scared and more and more excited. I’ll get to build different skills and work with different people. I start the new job at the end of this month and we’ll see how this goes.
  • Two of my best friends got married to each other! Remember the wedding I told you I was going to be in? If you don’t, I don’t blame you, since I told you about it back in November. That was this past weekend! I’ve been so blessed to watch these two go from friends to good friends to being a couple to now being married. It’s been such a joy, so much so that I don’t think I’ll be able to process all my thoughts and feelings about it for quite some time. I’ve already warned the bride that I’ll probably call her up in October and be like “YOU GOT MARRIED???? WHAT THE HECK???” Congratulations, Miles and Abigail!
  • I got my first smart phone recently. I got my first cell phone in 2012 and I got a different phone last year and I’ve hated it ever since. I’ve been wanting to upgrade to a smart phone and this seemed like a good time to do it. It’s been an interesting experience so far. While it’s been an incredibly helpful communication tool, I can already tell that it can quickly become an obsession and a necessity, as so many people view their phones these days. I’m trying hard not to let that happen, but at the same time I’m curious as to what this technology has to offer.
  • I’ve been listening to musicals more recently and I forgot how much I love musical theater. Ever since the Tonys I’ve been on a musical kick. I’ve been listening to Hamilton more and I’ve lately gotten into Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812. Dear Evan Hansen is next, but I’m waiting until things have settled down with me before jumping into a soundtrack that has already made me cry and I’ve only listened to three songs. Definitely give all these shows a listen if you haven’t.
  • George Bernard Shaw is a fantastic playwright. I’ve been doing a lot of rereading lately and toward the middle/end of June, I really wanted to re-experience a play that I saw in college, called Arms and the Man.  Though I hadn’t read it, it was amazing to read the script for it and to remember how wonderful that production was. I was struck again just how witty and how precise he is in his use of language and development of character. I’m reading Saint Joan now and I love it.

So that’s a little about some of the many things going on in my life. I’m going to try to blog more often and to be a little more open and honest about what’s going on in my life on this blog. I hope you all are doing well. Bye for now.

Things I’ve learned from revising so far

Hi, everyone! I’m almost a month into revisions of my novel and while I’m not as far along as I hoped I would be, I have learned a thing or two so far in this process. So here are those things.

  1. Don’t be afraid.
    Revising anything, from a novel to an email, is difficult and slightly scary. There’s always the fear of being misinterpreted or misunderstood. It seems like there are a hundred little decisions for each sentence and that if you get one of those wrong, you’ll mess everything up and it’ll be ruined and no one will ever want to read it. But that’s just not true. Libba Bray once made the joke that writing isn’t like brain surgery, if you get something wrong, you can just fix it. This is so important to remember. It might take a long, long time but you will get there and your story will be what you want it to be.
  2. Don’t start the Beta-reading process right away.
    I called for Beta readers before I even started revising. While I’ve been very lucky in getting quite a few friends to read my story, I made the mistake of thinking that I could just revise the chapters and immediately send them out for review. After just two chapters, I’ve found out just how silly I was to think that way. So make sure you have a good bit, if not all, of your manuscript revised before you send it out to your beta readers. You can send it to them chapter by chapter or send them the whole thing. However you want to parcel it out, make sure the manuscript is as good as you can make it.
  3. Keep going and give yourself time.
    As mentioned before, revising is scary and difficult. But it is important not to give up and to keep going. While persistence is important, it’s just as vital to give yourself time to step away from the story to let your brain recover and to think of new ideas. Always remember: give yourself time because no one else will.

I don’t normally offer writing advice, but I just wanted to share these three insights in case any of you are in this perilous revision boat with me. If you are and you need someone to commiserate with, don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m here for you guys <3.

P.S. If you want to read a little story of mine, you can read it here.