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.
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.
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.
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 am terrible at titles. I’ve published three books and each one wound up with a different title than I proposed.
And I’ve published two poetry collections. Each poem,aside from an occasional haiku, has its own title. Here are some things I’ve learned about titling:
A book title should be memorable. It’s the one thing that will lead people back to the book.
A book title should be short. Shorter is generally better than longer. My first collection of poetry was one word: Banshees: Poems. It was one word, but let people know it was a poetry collection.
A book title should provide information about the book. For my poetry book titles, I list the title and then poems, so that people will know it’s a poetry collection. The textbook I published had a very informative title: Ready to Use Lessons and Activities for the Primary Inclusive Classroom. This is neither short nor particularly memorable, but people knew exactly what it was. This is important with nonfiction. My editor convinced me of this and I think she was right.
A title should set a mood. My second collection of poetry was on a hard subject: Alzheimer’s Disease. I wrote it about my experiences with my partner who died of this dread disease. I called the collection Touch My Head Softly. This gave a softer feel to this difficult topic. Check out this book, my latest, at:
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 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.
We have to read to write. It’s that simple. If you want to write a fiction, read good novels. If you want to write poetry, read good poetry.
Reading serves as a form of mentorship, especially if we read as writers, and read good writing. Reading provides rich fertilizer for your own writing.
Writers need to read what they like, what they find stimulating, what other people find stimulating. This will improve a writers writing.
Reading in our genre, and outside of our genre, will give us an idea of the diverse compositional structures that exist and are available for us to use, and use well. For an ode’s structure, read “Ode to a Grecian Urn,” by Keats. For historical fiction, try Real Estate by Kathryn Holzman (Propertius Press, 2020.) For grief or illness poetry, try Touch My Head Softly (Finishing Line Press, 2021.) For a memoir try, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis (Harper, 2016.)
I will be blogging on Thursdays, with announcements, as they come up, on Tuesdays.