Madlynn Haber lives in Northampton, Massachusetts. Her work appears in Letters to Fathers from Daughters, Anchor Magazine, Exit 13 Magazine and onwebsites including The Jewish Writing Project, Hevria, Right Hand Pointing, Mothers Always Write, Random Sample, Club Plum Literary Journal, Ariel Chart International Literary Journal, The Sunlight Press, Sparks of Calliope and Adelaide Literary Magazine. You can view her work at www.madlynnwrites.com
Contribute to her efforts to raise money for immigrants at the Center for New Americans at:
What writing releases for me is multifaceted. It gives me permission and justification for my sorrow, frustration, anger. I can put it onto the page, and it may stay there, in my ongoing journal, but even if I am the only one to see it, it’s still a release.
It’s a spiritual path, practiced through writing. I’m not talking about God necessarily. I’m a recovering Catholic who is currently agnostic, letting in the possibility, but not really knowing.
Creativity is a natural process and blocks to it are unnatural. Writing unblocks those pathways and gives us access to our true selves.
I took a spiritual journey in writing my latest book of poems, “Touch My Head Softly.”
I released my pain and frustration about having a partner who was stricken by Alzheimer’s Disease and eventually died, leaving me devastated. Releasing those feelings in the vessels of those poems has been healing for me.
“Touch My Head Softly” is in pre– sales at Finishing Line Press:
“Act as if what you do makes a difference, it does.” William James
Can a book make a difference? We are told our actions make a difference, but can a book, with diminishing print sales, lack of readership, and confusion about meaning, make a difference. This topic has been on my mind ever since I decided to donate part of the proceeds of my book of poetry about my partner who died of Alzheimer’s to the Alzheimer’s Association.
When I approached my publisher about it, she didn’t respond. When I approached the Alzheimer’s Association, they had never heard of such a thing and thanked me for the donation. When I told my friends, they asked if I thought I would sell enough copies to even form a decent donation.
So why do it? Some five million people are living with Alzheimer’s, and the number is growing. I never had it, but the disease killed my partner and wrecked my life ten years ago. It’s strange to write, publish and then read about this experience. I thought if I contributed something to the research, it might ameliorate this whole process.
I also found it hard to talk to people about the donation, because they may see it as some strange hero thing. On the other hand, it can also be viewed as self-serving as people may buy the book because part of the proceeds will go to the Alzheimer’s Association, but as Adele, when she was asked if she was nervous hosting Saturday Night Live, recently said, “But if there was ever a time for any of us to jump head first into the deep end with our eyes closed and hope for the best it’s 2020 right?”
Patricia Lee Lewis, Writer Extraordinaire, is writing 30 Poems in 30 Days for the Center for New Americans for their Family Literacy Project. Patricia is the author of High Lonesome and a Kind of Yellow, which was awarded first place by Writers Digest International. She is the former director of the Patchwork Farm Retreat and has been the beloved mentor of many writers.
Check out Patricia’s donations page and give a contribution to this important cause:
When I have writer’s block, I sometimes freewrite.
What is freewriting? A writing exercise in which you write quickly and continuously, with a free association of ideas.
Freewriting is a good technique to shut down your “inner censor” and let your writing flow. The idea is to put down your thoughts as they arise, without judging them, or the way in which they get expressed.
“If you want readers to breathe life into your writing so that they get a powerful experience from it, then you must breathe experience into your words as you write. I don’t know why it should be the case that if you experience what you are writing about–if you go to the bamboo–it increases the chances of the reader’s experiencing the bamboo. But that’s the way it seems to work.”
The basic technique is to simply write without stopping for a set amount of time, say 10 to 15 minutes. Don’t correct what you write. See what happens.
My latest collection of poetry is coming out soon. Check it out: