Apr 30, 2009

Sestina Madness!

The Day Twenty-eight challenge was to write a sestina. Okay. As much poetry as I’ve written in my life I have never written a sestina. Never even heard of a sestina. So what is it?

A form of torture, that’s what it is. Robert Brewer says: “You pick 6 words, rotate them as the end words in 6 stanzas and then include 2 per of the words per line in your final stanza.”

Okay, I can do that. I can even make it rhyme. And this is what I came up with:

Writing a Sestina

A poem that doesn’t rhyme?
How will I find the time?
Maybe an hour or two . . .
Oh, what will I do?
The best I can, I guess.
This poem will be a mess!

I’ll try a line or two . . .
*shrug* It’s what I do.
Though the living room’s a mess
Where’s supper? Anyone’s guess.
In truth, I’ve lots of time.
For a poem that doesn’t rhyme.

Third stanza, I’ve done two . . .
please read them all, please do.
It’s awesome that they rhyme
each and every time.
The rhythm? It’s a mess.
I’ll take it slow, I guess.

Four down and four to do,
four’s so much more than two . . .
My brain is such a mess
I need a snack I guess.
And still my poem has rhyme
Still worthy of my time.

The passing of the time
makes me falter in my rhyme
I’ve lost a marble or two . . .
if you find one, tell me, do!
And still I type this mess
Just stubborn is my guess.

Close to the end I guess.
Can you believe this mess?
I thought that I would do
a stanza, maybe two . . .
Instead I wrote in rhyme,
the champion of all time!

Alas for me this time, sestinas do not rhyme
It doesn’t count I guess. No wonder, it’s a mess!
So now what do I do? Write another, maybe two.

Then I went to an external link where I discovered it’s not enough to use the same end words in each stanza, you have to use them in a specific order. Can we say frustration? I’d just spent the last several hours coming up with that stupid poem that rhymed, only it wasn’t a true sestina.

So I painstakingly went through the whole thing and put the lines in the proper order and came up with the following, which, by the way, is not the one I finally submitted :-) (I'll include it for Creative Friday)

Writing a Sestina

A poem that doesn’t rhyme?
How will I find the time?
Maybe an hour or two . . .
Oh, what will I do?
The best I can, I guess.
This poem will be a mess!

Though the living room’s a mess
This poem still has a rhyme.
Where’s supper? Anyone’s guess.
In truth, I’ve lots of time.
*shrug* It’s what I do.
I’ll try a line or two . . .

Third stanza, I’ve done two . . .
The rhythm? It’s a mess.
Please read it all, please do.
It’s awesome that they rhyme
each and every time.
Just take it slow, I guess.

I need a snack I guess.
Three’s so much more than two . . .
Three down and four to do
My brain is such a mess
And still my poem has rhyme
Still worthy of my time.

I don’t know what to do!
Just keep on going I guess.
Why did I think to rhyme?
I’ve lost a marble or two . . .

And still I type this mess
with the passing of the time.

The champion of all time!
I knew that I could do.
Can you believe this mess?
Close to the end I guess,
a stanza, maybe two . . .
but it doesn’t really rhyme.

No wonder, it’s a mess! Alas for me this time,
sestinas do not rhyme. So now what do I do?
It doesn’t count I guess. Write another, maybe two.

So after creating the above work of art, I gave up on the sestina and worked on the other three poems I had stacked up - poem about an event; poem involving miscommunication; poem of longing. I finished them, got them posted, and managed to get down the first stanza of a real sestina.

I finally finished my sestina, which was not as painful a process as it first appeared to be, and even did the next day’s poem which was to have Never as the first word in the title.

Today is the last day of the challenge.

Have I mentioned how happy that makes me? ;-)

Apr 29, 2009

Whimsical Wednesday

First, a minor rant.

Don’t talk to me while I’m writing. Not only is it distracting, I’m not paying attention to you.

Last night I was trying to write my daily poem. It was another one of the more challenging ones so I’d put it off ‘till late in the evening. Writing poetry requires more concentration than writing anything else, at least I find it does.

So, the husband comes home from work and sits down with me to watch Stargate SG1. I have to turn up the T.V., which is a minor annoyance but one I can live with. But then he starts talking to me. About bowling. I’m sure what he had to say was very important, but what I heard was: Blah blah blah bowling. Blah blah blah bowling shirts. Blah blah blah blah blah.

* * * * * * * * * *

Long enough ago that I can’t remember exactly when, I saw a YouTube clip on someone’s blog that showed college students reading out loud from works of erotica. It was hilarious! I thought it would make a great post for my Whimsical Wednesday, but I can’t remember what blog I saw it on, nor can I find it on YouTube.

So, instead you get a quiz that’s kind of a follow-up on Saturday’s book meme. What kind of reader are you:

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm

You're probably in the final stages of a Ph.D. or otherwise finding a way to make your living out of reading. You are one of the literati. Other people's grammatical mistakes make you insane.

Dedicated Reader
Literate Good Citizen
Book Snob
Fad Reader
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Go ahead, take the quiz. And don’t be afraid to leave a comment letting me know how you did.

Apr 28, 2009

Gah! Just when I thought I was doing well, I ran into a brick wall with the PAD challenge. I finally settled on an event to use for Day 25, but Day 26 (write a poem about a miscommunication) and Day 27 (a poem of longing) have left me stumped. I’d better shake it off, only a few more days to go and May 1st is the cut off for submitting the poems.

So, while I was waiting for my muse to get off his butt and inspire me to write poetry, I thought I’d spend some time editing. You know, like the goal I posted yesterday promised. Only first I had to check out AW and for some reason ended up in the short story forum.

It’s been a long time since I’ve written a short story. I can’t honestly say why I stopped, other than at some point I must have decided I was a novelist instead of a short story writer and never the twain shall meet.

Silly notion that. I've got a lot of short stories in my files. Some of them need a lot of work, but some of them aren't bad. I’ll have to remember to include short stories in my goal setting.

Isaac Espriu posted an interesting piece about word counts yesterday. You can read the whole thing here and I suggest you do. I’ve never really given much thought to how I should be determining word counts and I was surprised at the difference the different methods made. I posted a comment showing the results for my own experiment with word counts, again, with surprising results.

Okay, a topic for the longing poem came to me so I’m off to write poetry. Maybe I’ll come up with something for miscommunication on the way.

One can only hope.

Apr 27, 2009

What Happened?

The weather man promised me a nice weekend. I want to know what happened to it? Yes, it was much warmer, but it was pretty grey for the most part, with lots of rain late Saturday. Nice means sunny, not just warm. I don’t care about the warm, I want the sun!

Okay, I’m finished ranting. Well, about the weather anyway. I have more rants on my every day blog. Guess I’m just in one of those moods.

I hope everyone else’s weekend was better than mine. Saturday I woke up tired and I still had the headache I went to bed with the night before. It was one of those grey days that hurts my eyes and the headache only got worse. I finally took a couple of T2s (Tylenol with codeine) and had a nap. I felt better afterwards, but I was annoyed because I missed the first ten minutes of Smallville so I had no idea what was going on when I tuned in.

Sunday (which was also grey) wasn’t much better, and I was in a real grumpy mood. I have no idea why. Maybe it had something to do with the fact I didn’t get any writing done, not even my poems for PAD, but I can’t blame anyone but myself for that. I had the time, I just didn’t have the sit down and do it.

One of the more constructive things I did this weekend was take a good, hard look at the amount of time I spend playing games. Saturday night I started playing games on the lap top and couldn’t believe it when I came up for air and it was 3:45 a.m. And they’re not even interesting games, like World of Warcraft or Runescape. These are mindless games that serve no purpose whatsoever, except to waste time.

So no more games. I’m quitting cold turkey. Even Spider Solitaire and Mahjong. Well, maybe not Spider Solitaire. Sometimes I’ll play that when I’m trying to work out a plot problem.

I’ve been reading other writer’s blogs and I’ve been very impressed with the goals some of them are setting. Maybe setting goals would make my writing a little less scattered.

This week the goal is to avoid the games and become a more productive writer. This is the last week of the PAD challenge, and along with my daily poems I would also like to get serious about editing Driving Into Forever and maybe add a few words to one of my other works in progress.

I will be setting proper, weekly goals, but that’s going to have to wait a couple of weeks. I’m starting school May 4 and it will take me a week or two to adjust. It’s been a looonnngg time since I was last in school!

Apr 25, 2009

Book Meme

I couldn’t decide which of my blogs I should post this on, so it’s going on both. I was tagged by Benjamin Solah and you can check out his blog HERE . I, in turn, tag anyone who cares to have some fun!

Hardback, trade paperback or mass market paperback?
Perhaps a better question would be print books or e-books. I prefer a book I can hold in my hands. Size doesn’t matter. ;-)
Barnes & Noble or Borders?
Barnes & Who? This is Canada baby. It’s Chapters/Indigo all the way.
Bookmarks or dog-ear?
Bookmarks. You dog-ear one of my books and I’ll beat you to death with it!
Amazon or brick-and-mortar?
I loves me a good bookstore. I’ve only ever bought books once online, and that was because these particular books were only available through the publisher that way.
Alphabetize by author, by title or randomize?
Um, how about piled up by size because I need another bookcase (again!). Some day I would like to have my books alphabetized. You know, when I can afford to have someone do it for me.
Keep, throw away or sell?
What kind of question is this? Of course I keep my books! This is why we have lived in the same house for 30 years - no one can face having to pack up my library.
Keep dust jacket or remove it?
Keep it.
Read with dust jacket or remove it?With the dust jacket - in a pinch the flap can unfold and be used as a bookmark.
Short story or novel?
Yes. :-) It depends on my mood. I like anthologies ‘cause the stories don’t require a large investment of time, but I like novels because sometimes I like a story that lasts a long time.
Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket?
I’ve only read a couple of Harry Potter books and none of Lemony Snicket, so to be honest I don’t really have an opinion either way.
Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks?
You’re supposed to stop?
“It was a dark and stormy night” or “Once upon a time”?
How about “Once upon a time it was a dark and stormy night”?
Buy or borrow?
Oh, please! Have you not seen my posts on my everyday blog about my pilgrimages to Chapters? Trust me, I don’t go there for the Starbucks!
Buying choice: book reviews, recommendations or browse?
I’m mostly a browser.
Tidy ending or cliffhanger?
Tidy ending. Unless I know ahead of time that this book is Book “x” of a series, then I think cliffhanger endings are a cheat.
Morning, afternoon or nighttime reading?
All three.
Stand alone or series?
Both. I prefer books that are part of a series but can stand alone as well.
Favorite series?
Um . . .uh . . . there’s a lot of them. The Swords & Sorceress anthologies, edited by Marion Zimmer Bradley; the Valdemar series, by Mercedes Lackey; the Newford books, by Charles de Lint; Lynsay Sands’ Argeneau Vampires; J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood books . . . I’d keep going but this is a pretty long post as it is.
Favorite children’s book?
One Kitten Is Not Too Many; It Came From Outer Space; Whose Mouse Are You? (I forget who they’re by, all different authors though). Anything by Robert Munsch.
Favorite YA book?
Honestly, I’m not a big reader of YA, but the last one I read was If I Have A Wicked Stepmother, Then Where’s My Prince.
Favorite book of which no one else has heard of?
Probably the Woodwife, by Terri Windling.
Favorite books read last year?
Okay, I’m a voracious reader. I carry a book with me wherever I go. I have books in every room of the house, even the bathrooms. Last year was four months ago, do you know how many books I’ve read since then?
Favorite books of all time?Pretty much anything by Charles de Lint; the Woodwife, by Terri Windling; the Lord of the Rings trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkein; The Stand, by Stephen King - I’d better stop here before I get carried away.
What are you reading right now?
Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke; The Mammoth Book of Women’s Erotic Fantasies edited by Sonia Florens; The Lost Garden by Helen Humphreys.
What are you reading next?
The Mystery of Grace by Charles de Lint; Secret Life of A Vampire by Kerrelyn Sparks; Mona Lisa Craving by Sunny.
Favorite book to recommend to an 11-year-old?
Probably the Enchanted Forest series by Patricia Wrede.
Favorite book to re-read?
The Woodwife, by Terri Windling.
Do you ever smell books?
Only if one of the cats has been bad. ;-)
Do you ever read primary source documents, like letters or diaries?No, not really.

Apr 24, 2009

Creative Friday

Okay, now where did I leave off last week? Looks like it was the Day Eleven poem about the gargoyle . . . Interesting, I still seem to be almost equally divided between free verse and rhyming poems. After finishing yesterday’s I felt like I had written more that rhymed. Maybe it’s just that my rhyming ones seem to work better. :-)

Anyway, first up is Day Fifteen, in which we were to take the title of a poem we like, change it, and write a new poem. For my poem I took Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s How Do I Love Thee.

How Do I Procrastinate?

How do I procrastinate? Let me count the ways.
I procrastinate to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling lethargic
For the ends of Boredom and ideal Laziness.
I procrastinate to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by neon and halogen-light.
I procrastinate freely, as men strive for Progress;
I procrastinate purely, as they turn from Television.
I procrastinate with a passion put to use
In my old excuses, and with my childhood’s justification.
I procrastinate with an energy I seemed to lose
When faced with work, – I procrastinate with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! – and, if the Muse choose,
I shall continue to procrastinate until death.

Next, since I was so whiney about it, is my Day Sixteen poem, which was to be about a colour. Remember I couldn’t settle on just one colour?


You think of me, a vow once made
for weather fair, so it’s portrayed.
An arc of colour blended well
I reach from Heaven down to Hell.
Seven colours in my bow,
my shimmer sets the sky aglow.
Red, the first, the outer rim,
stain of passion, anger, sin.
Orange, the next, the hue of fire,
flamboyance, warning and desire.
Caution comes with yellow’s line,
it brings the warmth of pure sunshine.
Nature’s green is next in view,
sign of hope but envy too.
Blue so icy, cold and calm,
the shade of sadness, winter’s psalm.
Indigo, the great dispute.
Newton’s claims were oft refute.
And last the mystic violet, hue
of harmony and kingship too.
You’ll find me when the weather clears
after the rain has shed its tears.
Trapped in a prism too, am I
released by light, I never die.

Is it just me, or are my poems starting to get longer? For my last selection today, I’ll give you my Tuesday Twofer. This was Day Twenty-One, where we had the choice of writing a haiku or writing about a haiku. Being the over-achiever that I am, I did both.

come journey with me
through the future and the past
time is a spiral

On Writing Haiku

A strain on my brain.
Writing haiku’s insane!
Three lines to make sense
(with no recompense)
and the syllable count,
something else to surmount!

How many was that?
Twenty-seven, oh drat!
Carve away ten . . .
start all over again.
Now that word won’t do,
I’ve still twenty-two.

What’s a one syllable word
for something absurd?
I sigh and I fret,
nothing written as yet.
I stare into space
whilst making a face.

Wait! That line is five
I really think I’ve
got the hang of it now.
Next is seven somehow . . .
Five more and I’m done!
Break out the bourbon!

Wow, only one more week of the challenge to go. I sure don’t envy Robert Lee Brewer the job of having to wade through all the poems that have been posted. Most days have seen between 700 and 800 poems posted and I believe he’s choosing five for each day.

It’s supposed to warm up this weekend, so I hope everyone has a chance to get out and enjoy the sunshine! I know I’ll be trying to.

Apr 23, 2009

Thursday Randomness

I have made an important discovery. I get more accomplished during the day if I avoid the game sites. ;-)

This is why I had my Day 22 poem finished and posted before noon, so I treated myself to a couple of hours on AW where I hung around the blogging thread and the poetry thread (mostly). I critiqued a couple of poems, and one of my critiques actually said more than “I like this”. Then I threw out a challenge to my fellow blog lurkers to start commenting more on the blogs they read.

Of course this meant I had to put my money where my mouth is so I posted comments on five blogs I haven’t previously commented on. And you know what? It was pretty painless. I enjoy these blogs and there’s no shame in saying so.

* * * * * * * * * *

I have been reading the book Letters To A Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke and I’m finding it very insightful, and not just because I’ve been writing so much poetry lately.

For instance, the poet writing to Rilke asks whether his verses are good, he’s unsure about whether or not he was meant to be a poet. Rilke answers:

“Go into yourself. Search for the reason that bids you write; find out whether it is spreading out its roots in deepest places of your heart, acknowledge to yourself whether you would have to die if it were denied you to write. This above all – ask yourself in the stillest hour of the night: must I write? Delve into yourself for a deep answer. And if this should affirmative, if you may meet this earnest question with a strong and simple “I must,” then build your life according to this necessity . . .”

I agree that you have to look inside yourself to discover whether you were meant to be a writer, and this applies to any kind of writing. If you write because you think you’ll make a lot of money or you think it’ll impress other people, you’re writing for the wrong reasons.

Which is basically what Rilke told the young poet.

* * * * * * * * * *

Don’t know how much writing I’ll be getting done today, other than my poem. I have to drive to the city to sign my life away so the government of Canada will send me to school. This is a fairly new program called Second Career, for people who have been laid off work, where the government pays your tuition and expenses while you upgrade or learn new skills in order to find a new job.

The good news is that I get to go back to school. The bad news is my course starts May 4th. By May 5th I’ll probably be kicking myself for wasting so much time playing games instead of writing while I was just unemployed. ;-)

Apr 22, 2009

Whimsical Wednesday

Okay, I totally stole this post by Dana Marie Bell from the Samhain Weblog site, but it was so funny I just had to share.

* * * * * * * * * *
Once upon a time someone (cough) wrote a blog post over at Beyond the Veil titled Thirteen reasons why WereCats Are Better Than WereDogs. Ms. Anonymous of Halle, PA had quite a bit to say.

Well, Mr. BigBad heard about this, and decided to answer. His responses are in parenthesis:

1. Cats pick one human to love; dogs love everybody. Seriously. You’ve watched them lick complete strangers, you know you have. Do you know where your Dog has been, and why he’’s got that goofy, sloppy smile on his face when he comes home? Think about it. ( Dogs may love many people, but they are loyal to a select few. Those select few can consider themselves lucky, Ms. Kitty.)

2. Tree climbing. An important skill to learn, especially if your Hero/Heroine is caged in his/her room/tower by an evil Stepparent/King. While the Dog howls below her window inconsolably, the Cat merely climbs the tree, scampers agilely into the room, and rescues the knight/damsel in distress. (Baby, the Dog IS the Hero. He bites the bad guy where it counts and rescues the damsel every. Damn. Time. Meanwhile the Cat is…… taking a bath.)

3. Dogs will spread their legs and lick themselves anywhere, any time, regardless of the presence of women, children, and Cats. At least Cats find a nice, quiet corner to do their business in, and if you happen to run across one whilst in the midst of performing his daily “cleansing”, he still manages to look both dignified and pissed off that you interrupted his bath. ( Wouldn’t you?)

4. Dogs do not have the innate grace and balance of a Cat. Or the stunning beauty. They’re just big, hairy animals with saliva running off their tongues and onto the carpet. And you wonder why we walk along the back of your sofa? ( Funny. Just the other night you told me you love what I can do with my tongue.)

5. Dogs stink. Have you ever taken a good whiff after he comes in from rolling around in whatever he found out in the back yard to scratch his itch? It’s like, “Oh look, stinkweed! Let’s go roll in it, guys! Arf arf!” And then they have the nerve to look upset when you shove them in the shower before they can touch you. ( I thought we weren’t going to discuss that in public. Or should I mention the time I found you rolling in catnip?)

6. Cats are attractive, no matter the breed. Dogs? Sharpei. Nuff said. ( At least the sharpei has hair. Ever heard of the Sphynx cat? ‘Nuff said.)

7. Dogs chase Cats. That makes them bullies. And nobody likes a bully. ( Dogs chase Cats because the Cats put their claws in their butt during…… right. PG-13 blog.)

8. Because we’re just. That. Cool. (I kinda think you’re hot.)

9. Cats can get away with a little nip at your fingers and still get petted. Dogs get overnight trips to the backyard if they bare fang, or worse…… vet trips! (Don’t even think about it. Besides, if you didn’t taste so damn delicious I wouldn’t bite.)

10. Cats are both feared and revered across the world, and rightly so! Can you imagine a world where a DOG was the sacred animal of the Pharoahs? We’d probably be greeting each other by presenting butts instead of hands. ( Ever heard of Anubis?)

11. Speaking of butt sniffing, Cats take a different view of that than Dogs. Cats will sniff delicately once or twice and move on. Dogs, on the other hand, will sniff butt, back, sides, crotch, and then sneeze all over everything they just smelled, all the while wagging their tails like demented metronomes. No wonder humans shove them away! (I did NOT sneeze all over…… um. Right. Next?)

12. Cats can point at Dogs and say “He did it!” with a reasonable expectation of being believed. Although we have not yet mastered the technique known as “puppydog eyes” that invariably get the silly canines out of trouble, we do have the “It wasn’t me, that’s too undignified” look down pat. ( What do you mean, “He did it”? Wait. Belle, what did you do?)

And finally……

13. Our Alpha is smarter/stronger/faster/handsomer/cooler than their Alpha. And how could he not be? Theirs is a Dog. ( YOUR Alpha is a Dog. THEIR Alpha is a Cat. So how cool am I now?)

Apr 21, 2009

Caught Up . . . Again!

I can’t remember where I got this link from, but it leads to a very interesting article about writing poetry. Whenever I start to get discouraged that my fiction writing seems to have fallen by the wayside while I’m concentrating on the poetry challenge, I look at this quote:

“It can be much more difficult to make a poem than it is to write an essay or piece of fiction. There’s so much creative space, and without any limitations whatsoever, it can be overwhelming.”

You can read the whole article HERE . I've also added a link to the website on the right because there's lots of good information to be had there.

Dante seems to have forgiven me. He (unfortunately in his cat form) spent most of yesterday curled up against my legs as I sat reclined in the easy chair with the lap top on my lap. I credit him for my productivity.

Despite the nasty, grey weather, which usually incites me to slack off, I stayed away from the games and actually got my other four poems done, which means I’m caught up again. Again, they’re certainly not the longest poems I’ve ever written, but I don’t believe in adding unnecessary words just to make a poem look more impressive.

Today I have to take the daughter for a dress-fitting, but then I hope to get more writing done. I need to strike while the muse is willing! ;-)

Apr 20, 2009

It's Not My Fault!

So, after my nice little rant yesterday, and my assurances that I was off to get some writing done, I thought maybe I should organize My Favorites (bookmarks) first. However, Dante gave up his chair in the spare room (the one with the hanging plant over it that dripped a couple of drops of water on his tail) and sat on the table and stared at me until I turned my attention to the poems I needed to catch up on.

The colour poem I spoke of yesterday? I still couldn’t settle on just one colour, so I went ahead and did the poem about the rainbow. It probably took a lot longer than a single colour would have, but it’s the one that spilled out onto the page.

Then I turned to the remaining three prompts and drew a blank. Nada, zip, zilch, nothing.

Then my future son-in-law phoned me to remind me of the Doomsday Marathon running on the History Channel. YES! I caught all but the first few minutes of a documentary on the prophecies of Nostradamus, and all of a speculative piece on what would happen to the world if all the humans suddenly disappeared. The only thing I didn’t like about the latter show is that while it described in detail what would happen to the domestic dog, it didn’t say anything about cats.

Anyway, the good news about watching these shows is that I got ideas for the remaining poems I needed to catch up on.

There’s part of me that will be glad when this challenge is over so I can go back to concentrating on my other writing. :-)

Apr 19, 2009

Procrastination Demon

Okay, I just finished posting about Underpants Gnomes on my everyday blog and now I’m starting Monday’s post here a day early. As of today, Sunday, I’m four days behind on the poetry challenge, and yet I was able to hang around AW for a few hours yesterday and even posted a poem over there about things I’d say when I’m dead.

Procrastinator extrordinare, that’s me.

Although, to be fair to myself, I don’t think it’s all just procrastination. I’ve already written more poems this month than I do in most years, and some of the prompts require a lot of consideration. Like day sixteen: “Write about a colour.” The first colour that pops into my head is a rainbow. Then we have a prompt: “write about an interaction”, followed by: “write an angry poem.” How about writing a poem about how these prompts are making me angry?

As far as my other writing is going . . .

I think my muse, Dante, is getting back at me for withholding kitty treats (or maybe it’s because I accidentally dripped water on him when I was watering the plants). I try to focus on the edits for Driving Into Forever and all I can think of is one of the sequels. Not, of course, the sequel I have 20K+ written on, but the sequel I haven’t even started yet. And when I try to focus on one of my WIPs, all I can think of is the one I haven’t started yet. The one that is book two of a trilogy which is going to be hard to write because the main character is legally blind.

Okay, enough with the whining. I’m off to get some writing done. And just to keep myself honest, I’m posting this rant now so I’ll have to get something constructive done to post about tomorrow.

So take that, Procrastination Demon!

Apr 17, 2009

Creative Friday

This week you’re getting another selection of the poems I’ve been submitting for the PAD challenge. I admit that some days are easier than others when it comes to the PAD prompts . . . I still haven’t finished my poem for yesterday that’s supposed to be about a colour, which means I haven’t done today’s poem either. Oh, well. Here’s a few that I have finished:

Day Eight we were to write about a routine. After giving it much thought, I created a poem about the husband’s favorite routine, taking out the garbage. Or, as he and his buddy call it, Garbage Eve. If you’d like to sing along, it goes to the tune of O Christmas Tree. :-)

Garbage Eve

O Garbage Eve! O Garbage Eve!
I hate thee with a passion;
O Garbage Eve! O Garbage Eve!
Where’s the can for trashin’?
I hate you when the summer’s here,
But also when the winter’s near,
O Garbage Eve! O Garbage Eve!
I hate thee with a passion!

Day Ten was Good Friday, so the prompt was to write a poem about Friday.

Thank God it’s Friday,
the end of the week!
My job is the pits and
my boss is a freak.
My co-workers hate me
my workspace? a joke;
who can see clearly
surrounded by smoke?
I finished my typing
with nary a sigh
and that’s when some moron
drops a stack off this high!
Home’s not much better
the kids are all sick,
the cat has a hairball,
my husband’s a dick.
So thank God it’s Friday,
I can rest for a while
and then greet my Monday
with a coffee and smile.

Honestly, I have no idea where all this humour is coming from in my poetry! ;-)

Okay, for my final selection I give you Day Eleven, which was to be a poem about an object:


You contemplate the world
from your perch high atop
the cathedral.
Silent, never judging;
older than the building
you protect.
On swift wings time passes
‘til only you remain
keeping your secrets
carved in stone.

Have a great weekend!

Apr 16, 2009

If I Can Do It So Can You!

Woohoo! This is my 100th post on this blog!

I’ve relocated once again to my home office. This is mainly because my router has crapped out on me which means I’m not getting a wireless connection from the dining room or living room any more.

I must admit, the office is more conducive to “getting stuff done” instead of mindless surfing or playing games. And for sure the chair is more comfortable than the dining room :-). This also might help with getting more writing done in the evening since if I want to watch T.V. while using the lap top I can’t surf the net for endless ways to procrastinate.

Yesterday, after playing catch-up with PAD, I wandered over to AW and lurked around the poetry forum for awhile. I read a lot, posted a little, and even *gasp* critiqued a couple of poems. Okay, I’m not much of a critique artist, but at least I’m trying.

Anyway, by the time I came up for air I discovered that three hours had passed. How did that happen? Especially since I didn’t really feel like there was much going on in the forums. Meh, some days are like that.

One of the posts on AW was about challenging yourself. On the poetry board I’ve challenged myself to either submit a poem for publication, or at the very least submit it to the critique forum. However, for a more personal challenge, I would like to start commenting more on blogs that I read on a regular basis.

Which brings me to the post title. I’d like to think there’s people out there that read this blog on a regular basis, but how can I be sure if you don’t comment? Step out of your comfort zone! If I can do it, so can you!

Apr 15, 2009

A Funny Thing . . .

I’m still not getting a whole lot of writing (or should I say editing) done. The last couple of days I’ve even had trouble getting the poems out for the PAD challenge. However, I finally figured out why.

In my Big Book of Ideas, I had jotted down the bare bones for a trilogy concerning three women who get sucked into an alternate reality. For the last several days, all that keeps going through my mind is the plot for the second of the three books. I’ve got it pretty much worked out from start to finish and I’ve started to refine it in my mind. Once I’ve got names for my two main characters I’m going to have to start writing.

The last time an idea took hold of me like this and wouldn’t let go was just before Nano, and we all know how that turned out. Almost 60K words in 30 days. :-)

So much for editing, looks like my muse is demanding a little more action from me. What I don’t understand is why my muse is demanding I write the second book first. Maybe it’s because the hero looks a lot like my muse in his human form . . .

And now, because this is supposed to be Whimsical Wednesday, I leave you with another word of wisdom from Snoopy.

Apr 13, 2009

Monday Meanderings

Even though the chair in my office is more comfortable, I find myself working in the dining room these days.

I’m a pretty visual person. I visualize things in my head, my dreams are very vivid, I think better when I can stare at something interesting. Right now the view from my office window is pretty uninspiring - the leafless tree outside and beyond that the house across the street.

The view from the dining room, however, is a different story. I can see the deck, the pool, the pond garden, most of the back yard, the trees at the back where the squirrels play . . . Right now I can still see part of the house our yard backs onto - the kids are playing with the dog again. They have a toy of some kind suspended from a tree and the dog loves to jump for it.

I must admit, I didn’t get a whole lot of writing done this weekend, at least not until Sunday. Sunday I played catch-up with the PAD challenge, and, to be honest, that’s when I wrote this post. I think my router is about to crap out on me, which isn’t surprising considering its age. My internet connection in the dining room wavers between “very low” and “no connection”.

I’ve looked back at the poems I’ve produced for PAD and for the most part I’m happy with them. There’s a couple I wish I hadn’t posted quite so quickly, but there’s nothing preventing me from changing them as I see fit now. The bulk of a poem usually comes quickly to me, but I’ll tweak it for a week or more before I consider it done. So maybe not having an internet connection today is a good thing. It’ll give my poems a chance to sit for a bit before they get posted.

edited later to add:
See, waiting paid off. I was having a shower this morning and thought of a new verse for on the the poems I wasn't happy with. Fortunately, I hadn't posted the last three days' worth of poems so I was able to change it. Much better!

edited again to add: As I said, I actually wrote the above post yesterday, then I managed to connect to the internet long enough to schedule it to appear this morning using the Post Options feature on my blog. However, one must remember that when one is using this feature before midnight, one must also change the time from PM to AM. Which I forgot to do. Which is why this post didn't show up at 8:30 AM like it was supposed to. *sigh*

Apr 10, 2009

Creative Friday

I’m rather pleased with the progress I’m making on the PAD challenge. The prompts give you lots of leeway to work with. And I’m also pleased that each poem is different, as in they don’t read the same with the only change being the words. So far I’m almost equally split between

Day Two’s challenge was to write an outsider poem. You could write it from any outsider’s point of view whether it be yourself, someone else, or an inanimate object.

The Indoor Cat

He sits and stares
fixated on the great beyond
seeing others moving freely
where he cannot go
a shudder releasing
muscles tensed
for a spring
that cannot be made
forever watching the world
from behind a pane of glass.

Day Three’s challenge was to craft a poem that begins with the phrase “ The problem with . . .”

The problem with Panda is that
She is a most curious cat
she sticks in her nose
where it oughtn’t to goes
and she gets into trouble with that.

Day Five’s poem was to be about a landmark.


Standing stones
ring of mystery
keeping secrets
of the deepest past

Petrified bones
of ancient history
immobile spirits
of a knowledge vast.

Too many unknowns
for cosmic harmony
fleeting regrets
overtake us at last.

And finally we have Day Seven, which was a Two For Tuesday prompt. You could write either a dirty poem or a clean poem. Take it however you wish.

Snow (both clean and dirty)

As the season begins you start out so clean, pristine
A gentle white blanket
The landscape a dream.
But the snowploughs get busy, retracting, attacking
Compressing your beauty
Into something obscene.
By the end of the season you’re looked on as irksome, loathsome,
No longer attractive
But something unclean.

Apr 8, 2009

Whimsical Wednesday

A few of the other writing blogs I visit have themes for each day, which I like as a reader because I know what to expect from these blogs. As a writer, I can also appreciate it that it makes it somewhat easier to come up with a post for these days.

I find that having two blogs can be somewhat problematic on the weeks where there’s nothing much going on. I live in a small town where, let’s face it, not much goes on. The big news of the week was that due to inclement weather they had to postpone the Float Your Fanny Down the Ganny race from last weekend to this weekend. This race commemorates the spring of 1980 when the Ganaraska River flooded out the small town next to ours. Which was the “big happening” of that year.

Okay, now where was I?

Right, theme days. Creative Fridays are easy. I just have to pull out something I’ve been working on and voila! I’m done. Whimsical Wednesdays might take a bit more work, but I’m going to try to keep it light-hearted. If I come up with a snappy title for Mondays, I’ll let you know. Right now it’s more of a post-weekend whining thing. :-)

So, to start Whimsical Wednesdays off, let’s hear it for Snoopy! He’s one of my favorite struggling authors and he seems to have the right idea when it comes to editing. Just click on it for a larger image.

Apr 6, 2009

Best Laid Plans . . .

A funny thing happened on the way to editing.

I was hanging out on the poetry forum at AW on Saturday - posted a limerick, even critiqued a couple of poems - and someone did a post about the Poem A Day Challenge over on Writer’s Digest. This sounded so cool that I decided to check it out.

It’s simple really. Every day for the month of April, Robert Lee Brewer will offer a prompt to get you started on a poem. The poems are posted in the comments for each day’s post. At the end of the challenge, the best poems will be included in an e-book and you have a chance to become the 2009 Poet Laureate for Poetic Asides.

The full rules are HERE.

The beauty of this challenge is that you can join in any time. just make sure your poem is posted under the correct day’s comments.

Even though I heard about it on Saturday, I didn’t start my participation until Sunday, which meant I had five poems to catch up on. At first, five poems seemed pretty daunting, but it wasn’t as bad as it seemed. I think the hardest one was the first one, it took me a long time to come up with a subject.

Now granted these aren’t some of the longest poems I’ve ever created - in fact for the day three challenge I wrote a limerick - but at least they’re something. I think you can already guess what’s going to be showing up here on Creative Friday. ;-)

Apr 3, 2009

Creative Friday

This week's offering is the beginning of Driving Into Forever which I may or may not keep. I had an epiphany regarding the FMC, and if I change her the way I'm thinking, then this beginning can stay.

* * * * * * * * * *

It wasn’t the worst bar Hannah had ever been in, but it certainly wasn’t upscale. There were the typical wooden tables with red and white checked cloths on them and matching chairs with red vinyl seats. The walls were paneled in what looked like grey barn board, probably an attempt to block some of the noise. It smelled like cheap perfume with an underlay of stale cigarette smoke, probably left over from the years before the smoking ban.

Hesitating in the doorway to let her eyes adjust to the dimness, she scanned the crowd for her friends. An ear-splitting whistle rose above the noise as her friend Sara stood and waved her over. Hannah waved back and threaded her way carefully through the tightly packed tables. Even the parquet dance floor was being used for extra table space tonight.

Trust Sara to reserve a table right next to the stage. She sank into the only free chair at the their table and Sara immediately slid a strawberry daiquiri in front of her. Hannah took a sip gratefully.

“We started without you,” Sara said with a giggle. “You have some catching up to do.”

The giggle made Hannah wonder just how much catching up. “Sorry I’m late,” she said. “I got a flat driving over the causeway. I parked at your apartment building, hope that’s okay.”

“No problem,” Sara told her. She stood up and raised her glass. “A toast, to the woman of the hour, Cindy, who’s found her perfect man.”

“Not as perfect as the men we’re going to see tonight,” someone answered her.

Everyone at their table cheered and raised their glasses in a salute. There were several more toasts to the bride to be and by the time they were done Hannah’s glass was empty. Sara sat down again and poured her a refill from the large pitcher.

The lights dimmed even further and a spotlight lit up the stage in front of them. An expectant hush fell over the mostly female audience.

“Welcome to ladies night at the Blue Lagoon,” the announcer bellowed. “Tonight, we are proud to present, Studs R Us!”

Music, so loud it was almost a physical presence, blared from the speakers. It was all but drowned out by the roar from the crowd. One by one a half dozen very handsome, very muscular men strutted out of the wings and did a circuit of the stage. They did a co-ordinated bump and grind to the accompaniment of cat calls and wolf whistles from the audience. When they were done they made their way off stage leaving behind a dancer with long, blond hair wearing a tuxedo.

“Tonight we start with Double O Stud. It’s up to you ladies to figure out what secrets he might be hiding.”

Another ear-splitting roar from the audience. Hannah finished of her second daiquiri and started on her third. How could he even hear the music over the noise, she wondered. Maybe it didn’t matter, evidently he didn’t need music. He gyrated rhythmically as he peeled away his clothing. His smooth skin glistened under the spotlight. It was apparent, by the end of his dance, that he had no secrets to hide.

Next up was a reject from the disco era in a white suit who stripped down to a silver sequined g-string, then a construction worker who retained only his hard hat and tool belt. By this time Hannah was on her fifth daiquiri and starting to get into the spirit of things. When the cowboy danced his way over to their side of the stage she reached over and tucked a five dollar bill into his g-string.

“Yippe ki yi yey!” Sara yelled. “You can ride me any time, cowboy!”

For the grand finale, the whole group was up on stage. The crowd went wild. Surprisingly, once the show was over and the lights went up the crowd settled right down. The same women who only moments before had been clawing each other to get at the stage and throwing their underwear at the dancers had suddenly turned into ordinary people again.

The bridal party hugged each other goodbye at the door and left as they’d arrived, in cabs.

Apr 2, 2009

Excuses, Excuses

A funny thing happened on the way to editing. . .

As I mentioned earlier in the week, I've been wanting to give my blog a face lift. I've seen several other blogs that have links, widgets and whatnot on both sides of the post column and I really wanted to set up my blog that way.

So yesterday morning I snooped around on the internet until I found the template I wanted and installed it in my blog. The transition wiped out pretty much everything except the posts, the archive, and some links, so it was almost like starting from scratch.

I'm pretty happy with the way it's turned out, especially the pictures of my muse. Notice how his eyes look the same in both cat and human form. :-)

I must admit to having spent a little more time than I expected on it. Everything is the way I want it except for the title. I had a really cool header I created with a graphic and the blog's full name, but for some reason I can't get it to show up. It's probably something to do with the coding but for the life of me I can't figure out what.

Oh, well, what else did I have to do today anyway, write?

Apr 1, 2009

I Have a Plan!

Okay, no more messing around. I’m picking one project and sticking with it until it’s done. And the project that will be stuck to is . . . Driving Into Forever, mainly because it’s the one that’s been hanging around the longest and I’ve got three sequels clamoring to go with it, one of which I have 20K words done on.

Driving Into Forever needs to be taken back to the beginning again. I have two different prologues, both of which I like and both of which are too long. So I’m scraping them both. No prologue, just chapter one and the important parts of both prologues can be included in the appropriate places.

My main characters need major personality transplants. The MMC needs to stop being such an excruciatingly nice guy. My FMC needs to grow a backbone, or at least put on her big girl underpants and deal with the situation she finds herself in. No more Ms. Nice Guy with these two!

I also need to stop agonizing so much over the setting. It’s a freaking fantasy, how realistic does it really need to be?? I think I need to gather up all my little bits and pieces I’ve written about the setting and stick them together so I know what’s what. I need to make a few adjustments while I’m at it, like instead of having the mist like a ribbon, it needs to be more like an octopus. Which would also lend credence to the idea that it’s sentient.

So, why the change in attitude? I’ll tell you. A couple of years ago, I persuaded a friend to do the NaNoWriMo with me. Driving Into Forever was the result and although I did not win the challenge that year, I did come away with a rough draft that was full of a lot of potential. My friend, on the other hand, won the challenge and eventually passed her manuscript on to me for some judicious editing. I just finished editing this yesterday and at the bottom of the last page I wrote: “Where’s the rest of it?” She countered by wanting to know when mine was going to be finished.

There you have it. Thirty days to do a rough draft, and yet I’m still editing. Time to get this sucker finished.