Poem: Library 

stacks of books
quiet corners
and table nooks
The chairs are patterned
The carpet’s soft
Daylight beckons
Here’s where we start off:
Pick your destination
A rocket to space
Mars like universe
A romantic place
He’s on a pirate ship
She’s in the sky
Stomp through
castles and lakes
Watch dragons fly

Hiking through jungles
Searching for treasure
Double-secret-agent-lives
Just for her pleasure

Here’s the adventure:
Giants and elves
Magic spells
Risking your life
One sunny afternoon
All on bookshelves

Just Reminiscing, Poem: Summer

I love this time of year, and I couldn’t resist sharing this poem I wrote a few years ago. I love this poem. 

Summer is like magic. Summer is the part of yourself that is happy when the sky is blue and the days are longer. Summer is about childhood memories, fireworks and sticky marshmallow fingers sitting around a campfire. Summer is about reminiscing. It’s about dreaming.

Source: fstoppers.com

Source: fstoppers.com

Summer

 

People say there is something

about the way light shines across crystal

across diamonds, too

 

But there is really something to be said

about thousands of lightning bugs

on a warm June night

that makes the world glitter and take a deep breath

 

These are the diamonds of the mid-night summer

these gems of remembrance

these flashes of yesterday.

Our Vacation Out West Part 2: The Desert

After driving through the Rocky Mountains, Mike and I watched the landscape turn dryer, the rocks and dirt became a burnt red and orange. Small bush-like trees grew across the desert. And if you looked towards the horizon, the land continued for miles and miles in every direction. Flat and sparse and rocky, shadowed by giant mesas, we were just accessories to an already finished masterpiece.

This was the Utah that first greeted us. We drove for miles with no one around, except for the sparse trailer or house dispersed across the barren landscape. We drove through a good portion of the Navajo reservation and much of the landscape was the same; houses dotted a flat landscape of orange, red and brown.

Whoever lives here must drive for an hour to reach the nearest grocery store, or a half an hour at best to reach the nearest gas station. Little huts which promised finely woven Navajo rugs and pottery and jewelry, started to pop up every couple of miles alongside the highway.

We felt awed by the difference of this landscape compared to what we were used to back home. Upstate New York is green, the mountains are gentle hills, breezes tease the trees and rainstorms nourish. Here in this desert landscape was a harshness and a palette of colors we had never encountered before.

As the we drove into higher elevations and then drove back down, we kept our eyes out for eagles, and looked for big-horned sheep. We saw a few horses, and the occasional grouping of cattle, which chewed on the brown-yellow grass.

During our journey, I’m thinking about Star Wars, about a lonely teenager longing for adventure his desert home doesn’t provide. I’m thinking about science fiction stories of life on Mars, or a desert planet much like this one.

I fell in love with the desert’s stark beauty in a harsh and unforgiving landscape. Of dirt, and hot wind and a sun that blazes so hot and bright, it makes the sand burn underfoot.

I’m already in awe and we haven’t even made it to Zion National Park yet…and as we soon discovered, it’s always beautiful in Zion.

Our Vacation Out West Part 1: The Rocky Mountains

I haven’t been MIA on purpose…this month has been crazy. Started a new job that has a lot more responsibility than I’m used to and just yesterday, Mike and I just got back from a beautiful, ten-day vacation.

This year, we camped and went to Zion National park and then, the Grand Canyon. Our trip started in New York and then we cut across country; through a small bit of Pennsylvania, then Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, and then down into Utah.

The first night, we stayed over in a hotel in Morris, Illinois. That first day of driving was stressful. Between tolls and getting stuck in traffic in Columbus,Ohio, and the insane traffic in Chicago; we were ready for bed.

The next day, it was endless cornfields in Iowa. How many times a day did I say: “Is this heaven?” “No, it’s Iowa!”

Too many times!

If there is a purgatory, I imagine it looks something like Iowa. Flat, and sunny and endless. Miles and miles of cornfields with puffy white clouds and blue skies, and a road that cuts through it that goes straight and never ends. It is beautiful, and timeless and repetitive.

That second night was another rough one. This is only because it was pride weekend in Denver, Colorado, which was a bit of bad luck on our part, as many of the hotels we tried to get rooms in were sold out. Finally, we found one and spent too much money in a Comfort Inn and Suites.

(Note the blurry squished bugs on the windshield, bahaha. We hit a ton of them!)

The view the next morning, however, more than made up for it. We woke up and headed down the highway, and I got my first view of the Rocky Mountains.

They quite frankly, took my breath away. And I know that’s cliché, but I’m totally going with it. I probably took about two-hundred pictures of these mountains alone.

I grew up in upstate, New York, but our mountains are hills in comparison. In the Colorado Rockies, there isn’t just one shade of green. The mountains are capped with snow and then there’s the smell of pine trees and a sky so blue, it could be a mountain lake.

Barreling down a mountain at seventy-five miles per hour surrounded by traffic is both exhilarating and terrifying; and Colorado is such a strange combination of tree-hugging hippies and republicans.

Note how you can see my reflection in the side mirror taking the picture, as I bravely put the window down to get at least one glare-less photo.

I fell in love completely and would go back in a heartbeat. But this was only just the beginning of our vacation!

My Early Birthday Present

Feeling the Sunday night blues a lot tonight. Whenever there is a job to go to on Monday, the blues sink in and it’s hard not to feel sorry for yourself, your sudden lack of weekly freedom and the fact that being creative is always put on the back burner when it comes to paying bills, having a place to live, etc.On a happier note, thought I’d share some pictures of an early birthday present that Mike got me. I used to have an older model of the simple touch nook, but the poor thing died on me a few years ago.

I love having one again and I discovered my digital copy of Maggie Steifvater’s The Raven Boys, which is one of my favorites. I almost forgot I had it and it was a nice surprise for me. Don’t you love finding things that you didn’t realize you had?

Anyway, this weekend passed quickly. Too quickly. Mike and I went to a spring festival around in here in upstate NY, the weather was beautiful and we are fast discovering that Summer is bringing back with it all the freedoms that we missed and love: sunshine, vacation, and camping!

We are in the middle of planning a camping trip to happen in a few weeks; I am happy to spend some days hiking, sitting around a camp fire and being with the one I love, though sometimes I think he doesn’t realize just how much.

These are the days of summer, people: my birthday, no seasonal depression and days spent discovering the earth again in all its beauty; in all it’s rich, glorious beauty…

I hope everyone had a great weekend! (And if these coming days are your ‘weekend’ I hope those are great as well!)

Happy Writing!

Poem: Writing Mind

Managed to spend a good four to five hours writing today! This is good news! I worked on a few projects at once, but one project I really got in to today. I realized I could probably submit it to the writer’s digest contest by June 1st, but to do that it needs some serious rewrites.

I got in the writers mindset a lot today and trying to emerge…is like waking up from a deep sleep. (At least it is for me.) I get this spacey expression on my face, and conversation is difficult, because part of me is still thinking about character’s dialogue in my head or planning which way a character is gong to go next.  It is an interesting feeling to say the least, but hey, at least I was productive today!

Pictured I snapped this weekend at the lake.

a writing sort of mood

everything sounds like poetry

blank stare

“Whaa…”

emerge from the world

like a band-aid ripped from a wound

jarred back to the present

words are like poetry

the trees are like poetry in motion

and everything is heavy, heavy, heavy

like a dark blanket

trapping the sun

in its shadows

Poem: Loser

Because…sometimes. :/

Had bit of a rough week this past week – I know…what else is new, eh? But, sometimes…you just feel it, you know? Everyone is telling you to keep your head up but inside you feel so…unworthy. The facts are there, the encouragement is there, but your mind is telling you: what’s the point? what’s the point? It’s so hard to find the right direction sometimes, when your heart is telling you: “you are lost.”

Loser

five letters

of worthlessness

Lonely

Outcast

Socially Inept

Every misstep

Relapse

not a state of being

it is felt

 

Spring Writes! Literary Festival: What I Learned this Weekend

This weekend, I had the pleasure of attending a literary festival in the new town that we live in! What is a literary festival you ask?

From Thursday to Sunday, writers, readers or literary-lovers of all sorts were able to attend workshops, panels and readings from a collaboration of local writers. These writers are all supported by donations, and a $5 dollar entry fee which purchased the cute pin featured above and was my pass to all the events this weekend.

On Saturday I attended: Workshop: Research Secrets, How to Write What You Don’t Know by and Workshop: The Short Fiction Market, Targeted Writing and Publishing.

What I learned from the Workshop: Research Secrets, is that there is never just one source of finding information out there – the internet is a great tool to finding what you need, but also don’t forget the value of your local library and historic museums, if applicable.

Don’t rule out YouTube and Google Maps as excellent how-to resources when it comes to story research and world-building. Also, remember to validate the credibility of your online sources! (Not everything you read or hear on the internet is true.)

And the instructor also pointed out the value of a good interview. Sometimes the best place to get information is from the person who wrote the book in the first place. Remember to be courteous, prepare your questions and always follow-up.

At the Workshop: The Short Fiction Market, the instructor emphasized that getting your work published is more of a science rather than an art and he pointed out some great strategies that writers can use to get your work out there.

Don’t forget the benefit of submitting stories to Contests. Contests have lower pool of submissions, are judged blindly and carry a lot of weight in a future cover letter if you can brag later on down the road and be like: I am also the first prize winner to XYZ magazine…

He says that contests which feature a specific theme also have a lower pool of submissions, and always remember to ask for feedback when you are submitting something. Most editors will probably not offer feedback, but sometimes someone will.

Focus on the number of submissions that you have out there…it is better to have so many balls in the air that after one rejection, it might not sting as much because you have all those other submissions to look forward to!

The more book reviews you write, the more submissions you submit and the more you get out there and talk to other writers, the more you are building up your social network and other opportunities might present themselves.

Today I attended: Panel: “World Building: If you Build It, They Will Come” and Panel: “Intimate Communities, Starting and Sustaining a Writing Group That Works”

In the world building panel, a group of women spoke about their different processes of world building and their favorite part of the process. Each of their approaches to world building was different.

Some of them approached a world as having a central conflict. What makes parts of the world clash? While answering these questions you get an idea of the different cultures, and the holidays and the food that the characters might eat.

A few of the women started with a character first, and then they built the world around the characters.

They talked about the differences of world building for short stories, versus a novel, and how for some stories you don’t have to know everything, because you will also discover a lot of the world in the writing process.

To organize their notes, one of the women uses the software Evernote, which is what I use! And then another, keeps a notebook with character details.

The best part of world building according to the panel of ladies, is living in another time period, and the power trip: you are basically God.

In the panel, for Sustaining a Writer Group, I learned about the importance of knowing what you want personally from a writer’s group, and remembering to have Guidelines in your group.

Establish those Guidelines from the get-go and you’ll need someone to be the leader, to enforce those guidelines and to keep everyone on task.

I learned so much this weekend, and have some great reference points for finding a writing group in our area that might suit what I am looking for; I am so excited to move on to the next step of the process!

Hope everyone had a great weekend, and Happy Writing!

Poem: Saying Goodbye to April

the leaves beckon “come hither”

get off your lazy ass

my trees are full

flowers tilted in bloom

tomorrow is another tomorrow

the sun shines lazily down on empty chairs

all I can hear is the rain to come

feel the cold on the back of my neck

hear the pat-pat of drops on my new umbrella

the world feels empty

if there is adventure out there

I have yet to find it