Writing and Meditation

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I am a meditator and a writer. I meditate in the morning and write in the morning. I also practice yoga. To me, these are all intertwined.

While yoga originated in India, its been universally accepted. The U.S. alone has an estimated 36 million yoga practitioners. It has adapted to local socio-political and cultural norms world over so much so that it can hardly be called an Indian custom. The system of yoga has physical, mental, and emotional dimensions in addition to spiritual underpinnings. But yoga is not a religion. It has no dogma. But the practice for me is essential to my writing and brings me to a place where I can write truth.

Meditation helps improve focus. Something essential for the good writer. I began meditating years ago with a meditation method popular at that time, Transcendental Meditation. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi developed this mantric method of meditation in the 50’s in India, and it spread widely throughout the world. For me, it was a good place to learn the technique, but my meditation practice evolved when I combined meditation with yoga, especially Kundalini. Kundalini is a spiritual energy or life force located at the base of the spine, conceptualized as a coiled serpent. It didn’t matter which type of meditation I was using, as long as it focused my mind and enabled me to write from that place.

Meditation slows the world down to make room for creative thought and exploration. It’s an ideal practice for the writer or artist.

I will be blogging on Thursdays and Tuesdays, as announcements as they come along. Follow me at http://www.EileenPKennedy.com. I will be on hiatus for the summer until September. See you then.

Using the Library for Writing

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I was struggling with writing a poem about a historical incident. I just couldn’t find a way into the poem. I tried locking myself in my study, ignoring the phone when it rang, procrastinating with housework, but nothing worked.

Then a writer friend of mine made a suggestion. Go to the Library. I live in Massachusetts where every town has a town library, but it just didn’t occur to me. I’ve read many articles and blogs on how to focus as a writer, but I hadn’t tried my local library.

I organized my writing materials as best I could, convinced I would leave important things at home that I would need there. I allowed for time to get to and from the library (about eight minutes each way. ) I carried my computer and notes to the car and set off.

When I arrived there, I found a lovely place to sit, a desk with partitions that actually blocked me from other desks. It was quiet and I easily tuned my computer into the wifi, and soon enough I was writing a rough draft. I came to a point where I needed to confirm some historical information, and the reference librarian was at the ready to help.

I wound up bringing the draft home and finishing it there. I recently submitted the poem. I don’t know if it will be accepted, but at least I finished it and it’s off my desk.

I’ll be blogging on Thursdays and doing announcements on Tuesdays as they come along. Follow me.

LISTENING TO YOUR INNER VOICE

Sometimes I wait until the last minute to write what I want. Why is that?

In the end, I try to listen to my inner voice that speaks my true thoughts that ultimately helps me cut through nonsense that sometimes enters into my writing. Good writing comes from the true self.

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Join me in imagining and getting in touch with your inner self. Try writing from that one true voice.

I’ll continue to blog on Thursdays, with announcements, as they come, on Tuesdays. If you’d like me to make an announcement for an upcoming reading, publication or award, get in touch with me her.

Nurturing Your Creativity

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To support our creativity, we all need compassionate spaces. We need to do our best, but not pressure for more and more. We should renew our inner resources to overcome obstacles and difficulties.

Especially in these difficult times with wars and pandemic, we need to remind ourselves of the beauty that exists. We need the support of our fellow artists.

I remember seeing on television a cello player performing amidst the rubble of bombed out buildings after an attack by the Russian army on his Ukrainian village. When interviewed, he said, “We’ll rebuild.” His message was one of hope through creativity. It’s an antidote for despair.

I’ll be blogging on Thursdays, with announcements, as they come along, on Tuesdays. Follow me on WordPress at https://www.eileenpkennedy.com.

Why We Need Literature

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Literature is important. In this materialistic era, where the pursuit of money often comes before the public welfare, literature becomes even more important than ever.

Not having literature prevalent in American schools has caused a deficit in education. Dana Gioia states “.. A time of crucial intellectual and emotional development bypass the joys and challenges of literature is a troubling trend.”

At a time when businesses are claiming they can’t find employees who are able to expand their minds to different horizons. They want employees to think out of the box. An education with a wide range of world literature is essential to doing this. Reading literature in childhood, and becoming lifelong readers is essential for broadening the mind.

I will continue to blog on Thursdays, with announcements on Tuesdays as they come along. Follow me here on WordPress.

https://www.eileenpkennedy.com

“You Can Learn A lot of Things from the Flowers” said Alice (Alice in Wonderland)

June is flower month. I love fresh flowers. The one pictured is from a recent trip to Costa Rica. I get a sense of renewal when the green buds first appear in the Northeast in March or early April. This time of year, I often feel depleted in body and mind and the flowers renew me.

I plant flowers to have on my porch and in my yard. My partner often brings me flowers from his farm. I have irises now. I love to take walks in the woods and look at the wildflowers

Now that it’s the beginning of June, I feel grateful for the at the abundance of life growing around me. I recommit myself to simplicity, renewal, and writing. I remind myself to “smell the roses.”

As an artist, I celebrate the creativity I have as an antidote for the destruction and chaos in the world.

I will be blogging on Thursdays, with announcements, as they come, on Tuesdays. Follow me here on WordPress: http://www.eileenpkennedy.com.

I’m So Grateful To Be Named A Finalist in the 2022 International Book Awards in Poetry for Touch My Head Softly -Thank you.

Poetry: General

Finalist
A Ligature For Black Bodies by Denise Miller
Eyewear Publishing

Finalist
Death, With Occasional Smiling by Tony Medina
Indolent Books

Finalist
Stars in the Junkyard by Sharon Berg
Cyberwit

Finalist
Touch My Head Softly by Eileen P. Kennedy
Finishing Line Press

Finalist
Warren by Karina van Berkum
MadHat Press

Finalist
Watermelon Linguistics: New and Selected Poems by Alexis Krasilovsky
Cyberwit

Sometimes Failure Is Part of the Process

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Experimenting is part of the creative process. Things can change at any stage in a painting’s or manuscript’s development. 

The writing process is an exciting and adventurous process. It sometimes feels electrifying and at other times, downright discouraging.  A writer needs to go in knowing that it might not work.   It means that results don’t matter as much as the process, the joy and the journey.

I try to keep this in mind every time I sit down at a blank page. An athlete has to work out to get to a point where she wins the competition. A writer sometimes has to fail many times before succeeding. It’s part of the journey to that wonderful piece that finally works.

I’ll be blogging on Thursdays, and posting announcements, as they come, on Thursdays. Follow me on WordPress at http://www.eileenpkennedy.com

Derek Walcott on Life

The time will come 
when, with elation 
you will greet yourself arriving 
at your own door, in your own mirror 
and each will smile at the other’s welcome. 

–Derek Walcott

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Derek Walcott writes about being comfortable in your own skin. In a world of war and international pandemic, sometimes we have to be our own friend.

As writers, we need to nurture ourselves. There is plenty of rejection and criticism out there for the writer, so being our own cheerleader is sometimes necessary.

We crave praise, awards, good reviews, and the affirmation of the publisher, but if we remember the joy of the creative process, we don’t need the positive feedback of others.

As a poet, I work often alone and in solitude. Books tend to be published quietly also. There may be a book launch, but aside from that, people buy and read our books on their own. This doesn’t mean that our books don’t touch people or have a lasting effect. A writers, we know the books that have made that special impact on us and we have to trust that our writing will have an effect on our readers.

Or as Derek Walcott so aptly put it “…peel your own image from the mirror. Sit. Feast on your life. “

I will be posting on Thursdays about the writing life, with announcements, as they come, on Tuesdays. Follow me at WordPress.

April Is Poetry Month

“Glory be to God for dappled things —
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim.”

–Gerard Manley Hopkins, Pied Beauty

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Beautiful, precious things make life worth living, especially in these difficult times. Poetry is a celebration of the beauty, and sometimes lack of it in life.

It’s important to make beauty in the world, especially when war and violence are a threat. I make beauty, as many poets do, in my poetry. This beauty makes life worth living, even in depressing times. In fact, I try to write through the despair.

And it’s important to remember to be grateful for this beauty. Everyday, in my meditation, I find something, even on bad days, to be grateful for, i.e. the sounds of the spring peepers at my local pond, the small green sprouts of spring, etc. I’m sure you can add to this list.

I will continue to blog on Thursdays, with announcements, as they come along, on Tuesdays.