“Poetry is a naked woman, a naked man, and the distance between them.” ― Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Poetry as Insurgent Art

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Lawrence Ferlinghetti, author of A Coney Island of the Mind, Love in the Days of Rage, and Pictures of the Gone World, died at age 101. He identified as a philosophical anarchist and was part of the beat movement, including Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac. He co-founded City Lights Booksellers & Publishers in San Francisco. He was also a fine artist who painted for many years.

He gained notoriety when he published Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl,” and was indicted for selling obscene material. This led to a famous censorship case, the People v. Ferlinghetti, that forwarded the cause of stopping convictions for selling books. The failed attempt at prosecuting him led him to joke that “the police took over the advertising account and did a much better job.”

He was a rebellious poet, a courageous publisher, and bookseller who would not be intimidated about selling books. He was a major literary figure and force who will be missed.

My new book of poems, Touch My Head Softly, is just out from Finishing Line Press. Check it out:

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

I will blog on Thursdays, and Tuesdays when I have announcements.

Open the Door to Creativity

Have you ever seen a door and wondered what is on the other side?

The idea that you can create by opening a door goes back centuries. A note was found

in a Latin grammar from the monastery of St. Gall in Switzerland in approximately 848

that describes an Irish scribe going outside and writing a poem under trees.

You could open a heart door that would enable you to write about things that you love or your favorite things. The door could be an observation door where you record things you carefully observe.  A memory door could lead you to memories, good or bad, that you have saved away in the back of your mind.  A wonder door could lead you to things you question, or wonder about.  A political door could lead you to write about your concerns in the world.

With the pandemic, the world is in lockdown and there are many closed doors.

We all long for the day with those doors will be open again and life will return to normal.

While we are on lockdown, our minds can wander and explore our thoughts, our wants and our imagination.

My new book, Touch My Head Softly, is now out from Finishing Line Press:

Have you ever seen a door and wondered what is on the other side?

The idea that you can create by opening a door goes back centuries. A note was found

in a Latin grammar from the monastery of St. Gall in Switzerland in approximately 848

that describes an Irish scribe going outside and writing a poem under trees.

You could open a heart door that would enable you to write about things that you love or your favorite things. The door could be an observation door where you record things you carefully observe.  A memory door could lead you to memories, good or bad, that you have saved away in the back of your mind.  A wonder door could lead you to things you question, or wonder about.  A political door could lead you to write about your concerns in the world.

With the pandemic, the world is in lockdown and there are many closed doors.

We all long for the day with those doors will be open again and life will return to normal.

While we are on lockdown, our minds can wander and explore our thoughts, our wants and our imagination.

My new book, Touch My Head Softly, is now out from Finishing Line Press:

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

You can view it on Goodreads at:

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

I will be posting every Thursday, and on Tuesdays when I have an announcement.

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Journaling as a Source of Inspiration

A piece of writing begins with a germ of an idea, an inspiration, a straw dog. Some people use their journals to spark ideas.

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I have been journaling for many years. I used to use pen and a notebook. Now I journal on my Microsoft Word App on my iPhone. I just find that while I may not always have my notebook, I tend to always have my phone. I journal snippets of ideas that I may later develop into a writing piece or poem. Do you journal? When? How?

I have a new collection of poetry out that started with my journal. It will be out soon from Finishing Line Press:

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

Or you can find it on Goodreads:

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

“I read the way a person might swim, to save his or her life. I wrote that way too.” –Mary Oliver

I am a writer and a swimmer and really related to this quote from Mary Oliver, the great Pulitzer-Prize winning poet. During this dark pandemic period, I find both writing and swimming have sustained me. I’m grateful I get to reserve a lane at my gym and swim six days a week (never on Sunday.) I have also been writing through this pandemic and I feel like it has been a lifesaver. It gives me purpose.

I wrote a collection of poems about my experiences with my partner, who died of Alzheimer’s in his sixties. I feel grateful that Finishing Line is publishing this work and it will be out in the world. The work around the publication, particularly, has sustained me during this dark time.

This is the link to my book at Finishing Line:

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

This 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/

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“’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)

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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

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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?