“’Speaking onto the page’ (is) letting our fingers be guided by the mental process we use effortlessly in everyday speaking.” –Peter Elbow, Vernacular Eloquence (Oxford, 2012)

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

For any of you who have practiced Elbow’s freewriting technique, “speaking onto the page,” is it a useful method?  Whenever I get stuck, I do this.  I’ve done it in writing groups, speaking into a recorder, or just reading aloud for myself.  It seldom fails to produce some piece of writing.  The writing may not be my best, or may wind up unused, but it’s a way of getting started and perhaps generating something that eventually will be used.

Elbow also recommends this for editing, for writing that winds up ‘correct.’ You can do this while keeping those virtues of natural speech, and getting rid of what’s not suitable for the genre you’re writing in.  This can also add a new infusion to your old writing, by speaking it onto the page, reading it out loud, and hearing what sounds easy. Sometimes when you hear it, it just sounds different than when you read it.  I used this technique in developing my new collection of poetry, Touch My Head Softly.

This is the link to my new collection at Finishing Line Press:

https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/touch-my-head-softly-by-eileen-kennedy/

This is the link to my new collection on Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3609820860https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/touch-my-head-softly-by-eileen-kennedy/

“What one has written is not be be defended or valued, but abandoned”–William Stafford

By this, I think he meant that we shouldn’t judge our own work, but let it go out in the world. Others will judge it. If you think of it that way, it frees us, as writers, from nagging insecurities. There’s always someone who has one a prize for their work or gotten public recognition, and it’s easy to be envious. But if we just keep our sights on our own work, and trying to make it the best we can, we can gently return to ourselves.

I have a new book coming out soon, a collection of poetry called Touch My Head Softly from Finishing Line Press. It is about my experiences with my partner’s having Alzheimer’s. I try not to think about how other people will judge my very personal poems. I wanted to do it and now the poems are out in the world: abandoned.

Here is the link to my book at Finishing Line Press:

https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/touch-my-head-softly-by-eileen-kennedy/

Here is the link to my book on Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3609820860https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/touch-my-head-softly-by-eileen-kennedy/

“We did not feel prepared to be the heirs of such a terrifying hour” –Amanda Gorman

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

For any of us who watched the insurrection of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. last week, the words of Amanda Gorman, the inaugural poet, rings true. This poem was, ultimately, optimistic, portending a better future. Poetry can speak to us like nothing else when times are dark.

I wrote a collection of poetry after my partner died of Alzheimer’s Disease. It was a very dark time in my life. My partner, a brilliant mathematician, deteriorated quickly, leaving me in darkness. The writing of the poetry helped me to process what happened. I have been working on Touch My Head Softly with my publisher, Finishing Line Press, to finish the process. It has given me purpose through the pandemic.

Here is the link to the book at Finishing Line:

https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/touch-my-head-softly-by-eileen-kennedy/

Here is the link to the book on Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3609820860https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/touch-my-head-softly-by-eileen-kennedy/

Culture and Writing

Culture is a fuzzy term. Some cultures just have speech, no writing. Language affects the way we write. Some writers are multilingual, and that’s a definite advantage. Speech is flexible and can be used in particular ways in a cultural setting. We speak naturally in many diverse backgrounds as babies, from the playground, to school, to home. Writing can also be a misery for a child in school who hasn’t mastered the rules.Writing is where we must be precise. Speech is where we get to be imprecise, to play.

Imagine, as writers, playing with our words the way we play with speech. We can make magical words in our writing. Witness the incantation to open the caves entrance in Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings. Gabriel García Márquez made frog kings.

So how do we make magical writing in our culture? I’m not sure. Does anyone want to answer this question, just reply to my blog.

My latest collection of poems, Touch Ny Head Softly, will be out soon from Finishing Line Press.

Check it out here:

https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/touch-my-head-softly-by-eileen-kennedy/

You can also find me on Goodreads at:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3609820860

Personal Essays About Topics Related to Your Book

Have you ever written a personal essay on the same subject as a creative book you’ve published? My upcoming book, Touch My Head Softly, is about my experiences with my partner who died of Alzheimer’s Disease. I learned a lot about Alzheimer’s when my partner had it. I also did quite a bit of research on it for the collection of poems that I wrote.

I’d like to write an essay about Alzheimer’s. It’s a terrible disease that needs to be highlighted. It affects more Americans than prostate and breast cancer combined. I’m also donating part for the proceeds from the sale of my book to the Alzheimer’s Association for research for a cure.

Do you have any experience with writing a personal essay on a topic related to your novel or poetry? Would anyone like to guest blog a post in exchange on this topic for a guest blog here on a topic related to your book?

My upcoming book, Touch My Head Softly is due out in early 2021;

https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/touch-my-head-softly-by-eileen-kennedy/

Add me to your Bookshelf on Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3609820860

Reflections on Writing in an Extraordinary Year

I don’t know how writing this year has been for you, but I know that writing has sustained me through this difficult year. I have a new collection of poetry coming out in early 2021 by Finishing Line Press about my partner who died of Alzheimer’s. With so many issues affecting us this year, such as the pandemic, the 2020 presidential election, the struggle for racial justice, I wonder how relevant my poems about Alzheimer’s Disease are in the world. I am donating part of the proceeds from the sale of the book to the Alzheimer’s Association to try to create a positive effect from the publishing of the collection. I am also trying to reflect on what I learned about myself in these trying times.

You can check out my new book here:

https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/touch-my-head-softly-by-eileen-kennedy/

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3609820860

Do you have any reflections on your writing this year?

Luisa May Alcott Lived Here Briefly, But it Affected the Rest of Her Life

Her father, Bronson Alcott, was a Transcendentalist who knew Thoreau and Emerson. He moved here, to Fruitlands Farm, to form a Utopian Society. it failed after 7 months, but it influenced Luisa May, his 10–year–old daughter, to write Little Women and Little Men. What has influenced your writing?

I had a partner who died of Alzheimer’s in his 60’s. It influenced me to writer Touch My Head Softly, due out from Finishing Line Press in January.

https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/touch-my-head-softly-by-eileen-kennedy/

Add it to your bookshelf on Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3609820860

Gaining Control Through Writing

“Many people are now trying to become less helpless, both personally and politically, trying to claim more control over their own lives. One of the ways people most lack control of their own lives is through lacking control over words. Especially written words.” – Peter Elbow

So how do we gain control over our written words? I think it requires work, but it’s rewarding when the result is good. So many problems in the world incapacitate us: the pandemic, pollution, poverty. But learning to use writing as an empowerment tool can be liberating.

I have a new book of poems coming out with Finishing Line Press. Check it out:

https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/touch-my-head-softly-by-eileen-kennedy/

Add me to your Bookshelf on Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3609820860

I will be making announcements on Tuesday and blogging on Thursdays.

Join Straw Dog Writers Guild for its 10 Year Anniversary

Join Jacqueline Sheehan, Patricia Lee Lewis, and Ellen Meeropol
for “Wine and Chocolate with the Founders”

 

on Facebook from 6:30-6:55 p.m. 
Here is the link to the Facebook Event:  LINK

Stay for Writers’ Night Out/In at 7. 
 

Perspective and Art

There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.” ― Aldous Huxley

For the artist, the world is shaped by perspective.  It is that ability to view things from their own unique point of view, yet contextualize this point of view in factual reality. Can everything be defined in a limited world?  Can the artist place his/her/their work in the larger framework?

As a writer, I try to contextualize my work in the larger world, but it changes so rapidly.  I find I have just gotten my pen around one situation when another arises to contradict the first.

I have been doing phone banks these past few weeks to get out the vote for the presidential election.  I try to listen to other people’s perspectives when I speak with them because if there is no dialogue, there is no bridge to unification and understanding between people. If I can’t listen to someone, I can’t convince them of my point of view.  The country is so divided that I fear we will never come together again. There are so many signs in front of people’s homes, even in my own community, that advocate different philosophies.  How will we all find a common voice after the election?

The dream state is sometimes a source of inspiration for writers, but this is the opposite of reality. But writes thrive on illusion, on an alternate view of what is.

As we pass through daily living, we pass through many―colored lenses that paint our writing with its own view. Yet how do we bring our view back to the world view, so everyone can relate?

My book, Touch My Head Softly, was recommended by Brilliant Light Publishing.  It is my perspective on Alzheimer’s Disease.  Take a look:

https://www.brilliantlightpublishing.com/eileen-p-kennedy_poet_massachusetts