Thank you to Lanette Sweeney for Highlighting My New Book on Facebook

I am grateful to Lanette Sweeney, a fellow Finishing Line Press author, for highlighting my new book, Touch My Head Softly, on Facebook. Take a look:

Here is the link to my book:

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

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’m Grateful that Straw Dog Writers Guild is Featuring Me on Their Facebook Page

Straw Dog Writers Guild, the largest group of writers in the Pioneer Valley, has featured my new book, Touch My Head Softly, on their Facebook Page. Take a look:

https://www.facebook.com/strawdogwriters/

The book will be out shortly from Finishing Line Press:

https://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/

Do you listen to music when you write?

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I can’t listen to music with words, as it interferes with my word process, but wordless music, classic or jazz, can sometimes enhance my writing. A Bach piece with choral work or John Coltrane’s horn can bring me there.

I guess combining art forms is usually a good thing. I’ve happily done readings of my poetry in art galleries. I think the art enhances the reading. How do you use the arts to enhance your writing?

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

What Does a Writer Do With the Chaos in the World?

Many of us watched in horror this week as the Capitol of the United States, a symbol of democracy for hundreds of years, was attacked by angry mobsters. Additionally, we are dealing with a pandemic that is infecting more than 22 million people in the country, a failing economy, and a dysfunctional government with many trust issues.

As writers, how do we cope with chaos around us? What does it mean for our writing? Do we become immobilized and stop writing? Do we add to the body of literature on the incident? Do we try to put positive energy out there to offset the negative?

My philosophy is to try to go with the latter.

I have a collection of poetry coming out in 2021 about my experiences with my partner who died of Alzheimer’s. I will be donating part of the proceeds to the Alzheimer’s Society to further their research. I’m just trying to make the world a more positive place. If I can help even one person with Alzheimer’s or a caretaker, it would make me feel better.

What do you do to put positive energy out into the world?

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Here’s the link to my book:

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

Here’s the link 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