Category: Write Away

Nov 13

In Bloom

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms.”  Sensei Ogui, Zen Shin Talks

A beautiful quote and concept, but… wait a minute. What is the purpose of an individual flower? To be fertilized, so it can produce seeds (with or without fruit). So, each flower, on its own, seeks to produce new life. But if this is the goal of each, wouldn’t it follow that flowers are in competition with one another? No, but why not? Because the more flowers that are fertilized, the greater the chance that the plant will reproduce successfully. The goal is survival of the species. Though the flowers work toward that goal individually, their collective successes benefit the whole.

Image via pixabay/Neustart

We’ve all experienced the presence (or absence) of this blooming concept in our own lives. Since I write, I’ll use that as an example. It might not occur to everyone, but writers and their writing constitute small businesses. We hope to earn income for our work, and in turn, we financially support editors, cover artists, publishers, and others. As small business owner-operators, it would follow that authors are in competition with one another. Correct? Well, some authors seem to think so, but I believe they miss out on a lot when they see it that way.

Let’s look at J.K. Rowling, with her off-the-charts success. Should I start writhing in bitter jealousy, turning a putrid shade of green whenever I think of her? Never. Why not? Well, I love her books, first of all… and, like Atwood and Bradbury and Faulkner and Kingsolver and Austen and the Brontës and Flaubert and (and, wow, so many, many others), I greatly admire her talent and hope to learn from it, but I also celebrate her books’ success.

Image via pixabay/Oldiefan

When people read good books and enjoy them, they are likely to continue reading and (hopefully) enjoying, and so on. The success of quality books directly helps build and strengthen a community of readers and, by extension, benefits society as a whole. (Teachers are, of course, another fundamental part of that building and strengthening and benefitting–and massive kudos to them for it.)

Would it work as well if writers were constantly driving one another down, trying to bring about the failure of each other’s books? Um, nope. And, thankfully, that isn’t usually the case. Some of my best mentors have been other authors.

Image via pixabay/Photos

While I see great appeal in contributing and cooperating, I’ll confess, I tend to avoid competition whenever possible. I would much rather push myself to reach my personal best than try to outdo someone else. Yet, I understand that competition can sometimes be a good thing. Through recognizing another’s abilities, we might sharpen our own and drive ourselves that much harder toward success. It’s when we try to undermine others for our own benefit that competition gets ugly. That’s where it seems to detract far more from the whole than it could possibly contribute.

Honestly, would the trees in spring be half as beautiful if only a few flowers succeeded in growing, while the rest withered and dropped? People are unique, and so are our contributions. So much of the world’s richness would be lost if only the boldest got ahead. Isn’t there value in all the different voices, coming together?

Image via pixabay/jmclain

Aristotle once spoke of how the “whole is greater than the sum of its parts” and I believe this can be said of humanity at large. Synergy. It’s what we create when we support one another.

So, go on. Bloom in your own, uniquely beautiful way, but don’t forget the magnificence that happens when we join one another.

Image via pixabay/kazuphotos

*I’d like to take this opportunity to say again how deeply grateful I am to each and every person who has helped support me in my life–including in my writing endeavors–whether friend, family, or fellow author. I’m so glad you see me as a member of your team and I truly think we bloom brighter together.

Image via pixabay/yukiqwa

Just thought I’d share some of my favorite writing from the authors I mentioned above (I could have gone on with my list of works and authors–as I hope we all could):

J.K. Rowling – The Harry Potter series; Margaret Atwood – The Handmaid’s Tale; Ray Bradbury – Dandelion Wine; William Faulkner – A Rose for Emily; Barbara Kingsolver – The Poisonwood Bible; Jane Austen – Pride and Prejudice; Charlotte Brontë – Jane Eyre; Emily Brontë – Wuthering Heights; Gustave Flaubert – Madame Bovary.

 

Oct 20

The Little Ghost, by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Ghostly or not, I found this poem to be sweet and a little sad. It reminded me some of Anne Rice’s character, Claudia, from Interview with the Vampire. (It was, incidentally, my favorite book among those I’ve read of Rice’s vampire series. Her main character, Louis, will forever hold a piece of my heart. But I digress….)

Back to dear, sweet little ghosts, as this Feels Friday poetry share. What about you? Have you ever seen a ghost? I’m pretty sure I haven’t and I tend to be a bit of a skeptic, but it’s difficult, living in a house where things sometimes have gone bump in the night (or in the middle of the day). I’m hoping to share a few ghost stories in my next post or two, so I hope you’ll join me in the fun.

For now, though, I’ll let Ms. Millay take the lead…

 

Image via Unsplash/Vladimir Tsokalo

The Little Ghost

Edna St. Vincent Millay

 

I knew her for a little ghost
That in my garden walked;
The wall is high—higher than most—
And the green gate was locked.

And yet I did not think of that
Till after she was gone—
I knew her by the broad white hat,
All ruffled, she had on.

By the dear ruffles round her feet,
By her small hands that hung
In their lace mitts, austere and sweet,
Her gown’s white folds among.

I watched to see if she would stay,
What she would do—and oh!
She looked as if she liked the way
I let my garden grow!

She bent above my favourite mint
With conscious garden grace,
She smiled and smiled—there was no hint
Of sadness in her face.

She held her gown on either side
To let her slippers show,
And up the walk she went with pride,
The way great ladies go.

And where the wall is built in new
And is of ivy bare
She paused—then opened and passed through
A gate that once was there.

·

Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950) was the third woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. She wrote prose and plays in addition to poetry, and was highly successful throughout her career. Millay was known for being a feminist and nonconformist, not only in her writing, but also in her personal life.

·

Thank you for stopping by! Hope you’ll keep your eyes (all three of them!) open as you meander through these days and nights…the spirits are restless this time of year, so you might spy a little ghost of your own!

Sep 29

Wind poems, by Rossetti, Stevens, Frost

I love the wind. Love it as long as it’s not so icy cold that it bites your skin (and even then, if I’m in the mood, I find it thrilling). Love it as long as it doesn’t threaten with tremendous gusts (and then, as long as no terrible harm is done, it leaves me awed). The winds I love best, though, are the warm, light breezes–so soft you have to close your eyes to feel them–and the wild winds, the ones that run ahead of the storm, chasing their own tails and blowing your hair every which way at once.

But enough about me and my wind infatuation, here are some poets’ thoughts on the subject:

Image via pixabay/blickpixel

Who Has Seen the Wind?

Christina Rossetti, 1830 – 1894
Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you:
But when the leaves hang trembling,
The wind is passing through.
Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I:
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.

To The Roaring Wind

Wallace Stevens, 1879 – 1955

What syllable are you seeking,
Vocalissimus,
In the distances of sleep?
Speak it.

To the Thawing Wind

Robert Frost1874 – 1963

Come with rain, O loud Southwester!
Bring the singer, bring the nester;
Give the buried flower a dream;
Make the settled snowbank steam;
Find the brown beneath the white;
But whate’er you do tonight,
Bathe my window, make it flow,
Melt it as the ice will go;
Melt the glass and leave the sticks
Like a hermit’s crucifix;
Burst into my narrow stall;
Swing the picture on the wall;
Run the rattling pages o’er;
Scatter poems on the floor;
Turn the poet out of door.

 

Thanks for stopping by and braving the winds with me! Sending you wishes for a weekend full of happy moments and soft breezes!

 

Sep 15

Two Butterflies went out at Noon, Emily Dickinson

In honor of the butterflies we’ve been “raising” (post on them to come), I thought I’d share Two Butterflies went out at Noon, by Emily Dickinson.

Dickinson was born (1830) and died (1886) in Amherst, Massachusetts. She lived in relative isolation throughout her life, although her family provided her with intellectual and emotional companionship. The rare visitors to her family’s home also had a significant impact on her, as can be evinced throughout much of her work. Though she was not publicly recognized for her writing during her lifetime (her first volume of poems being published posthumously), she is considered to have helped create a unique, distinctly “American” poetic voice.

I love Emily Dickinson’s poems, not only for their natural themes, but also for their seeming simplicity which often belies deeper meaning.

Two Butterflies went out at Noon

Emily Dickinson1830 – 1886

Two Butterflies went out at Noon—
And waltzed above a Farm—  
Then stepped straight through the Firmament  
And rested on a Beam—  
   
And then—together bore away 
Upon a shining Sea—  
Though never yet, in any Port—  
Their coming mentioned—be—  
   
If spoken by the distant Bird— 
If met in Ether Sea
By Frigate, or by Merchantman— 
No notice—was—to me—

Thank you for reading! Hope you’ll join me in wishing our two butterflies well as they enter the Firmament!

Sep 01

Sheltered Garden, by H. D.

I took only one poetry class in college, but during that time, I was introduced to the poems of H. D. (Hilda Doolittle)  and have loved them ever since. I associate them with gardens and seascapes, and pine trees bending in the wind.

A bit about her: Doolittle was born on September 10, 1886 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She attended Bryn Mawr College and, later, the University of Pennsylvania, where she met William Carlos Williams and spent time with Ezra Pound, among other poets. Doolittle traveled to Europe in 1911 and remained abroad for the rest of her life. She died on September 21, 1961, and was later buried in Bethlehem, PA, near family.

H. D. is often identified with imagist poetry, though she eventually grew beyond this movement. She is also considered a modernist and metaphysical poet, and feminist themes run throughout her writings. She completed novels and non-fiction works in addition to poetry and received various awards for her writing, including the Gold Medal from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Brandeis Award and the Longview Award.

This poem is a favorite; it speaks to me:

Image via Unsplash/Benjamin

Sheltered Garden

I have had enough.
I gasp for breath.

Every way ends, every road,
every foot-path leads at last
to the hill-crest—
then you retrace your steps,
or find the same slope on the other side,
precipitate.

I have had enough—
border-pinks, clove-pinks, wax-lilies,
herbs, sweet-cress.

O for some sharp swish of a branch—
there is no scent of resin
in this place,
no taste of bark, of coarse weeds,
aromatic, astringent—
only border on border of scented pinks.

Have you seen fruit under cover
that wanted light—
pears wadded in cloth,
protected from the frost,
melons, almost ripe,
smothered in straw?

Why not let the pears cling
to the empty branch?
All your coaxing will only make
a bitter fruit—
let them cling, ripen of themselves,
test their own worth,
nipped, shrivelled by the frost,
to fall at last but fair
With a russet coat.

Or the melon—
let it bleach yellow
in the winter light,
even tart to the taste—
it is better to taste of frost—
the exquisite frost—
than of wadding and of dead grass.

For this beauty,
beauty without strength,
chokes out life.
I want wind to break,
scatter these pink-stalks,
snap off their spiced heads,
fling them about with dead leaves—
spread the paths with twigs,
limbs broken off,
trail great pine branches,
hurled from some far wood
right across the melon-patch,
break pear and quince—
leave half-trees, torn, twisted
but showing the fight was valiant.

O to blot out this garden
to forget, to find a new beauty
in some terrible
wind-tortured place.

     ~ from Sea Garden, 1916

 

Thank you for reading. I hope you felt something special this Feels Friday.

 

Sources and recommended reading:

http://www.imagists.org/hd/bio.html

https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/h-d

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/h-d

Jun 23

Inscription for the Entrance to a Wood, by William Cullen Bryant

It’s time for another installment of Feels Friday, since I haven’t had time to catch my breath lately, let alone write something of my own. This week, I’m going old-school with a poem that’s a longtime favorite of mine: Inscription for the Entrance to a Wood, written by William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878).

Bryant was known for writing about nature in his poetry and is probably best remembered for his poem, Thanatopsis (which, I’ll confess, I haven’t read yet). He served as the editor of the New York Evening Post for fifty years, until his death. He was also a human rights activitist, often championing workers, immigrants, and abolition through his writing.

My kind of guy. Now, without further ado…

Image via pixabay/Coco Parisienne

Inscription for the Entrance to a Wood

William Cullen Bryant

Stranger, if thou hast learned a truth which needs
No school of long experience, that the world
Is full of guilt and misery, and hast seen
Enough of all its sorrows, crimes, and cares,
To tire thee of it, enter this wild wood
And view the haunts of Nature. The calm shade
Shall bring a kindred calm, and the sweet breeze
That makes the green leaves dance, shall waft a balm
To thy sick heart. Thou wilt find nothing here
Of all that pained thee in the haunts of men
And made thee loathe thy life. The primal curse
Fell, it is true, upon the unsinning earth,
But not in vengeance. God hath yoked to guilt
Her pale tormentor, misery. Hence, these shades
Are still the abodes of gladness; the thick roof
Of green and stirring branches is alive
And musical with birds, that sing and sport
In wantonness of spirit; while below
The squirrel, with raised paws and form erect,
Chirps merrily. Throngs of insects in the shade
Try their thin wings and dance in the warm beam
That waked them into life. Even the green trees
Partake the deep contentment; as they bend
To the soft winds, the sun from the blue sky
Looks in and sheds a blessing on the scene.
Scarce less the cleft-born wild-flower seems to enjoy
Existence, than the winged plunderer
That sucks its sweets. The massy rocks themselves,
And the old and ponderous trunks of prostrate trees
That lead from knoll to knoll a causey rude
Or bridge the sunken brook, and their dark roots,
With all their earth upon them, twisting high,
Breathe fixed tranquillity. The rivulet
Sends forth glad sounds, and tripping o’er its bed
Of pebbly sands, or leaping down the rocks,
Seems, with continuous laughter, to rejoice
In its own being. Softly tread the marge,
Lest from her midway perch thou scare the wren
That dips her bill in water. The cool wind,
That stirs the stream in play, shall come to thee,
Like one that loves thee nor will let thee pass
Ungreeted, and shall give its light embrace.

 

Image via Unsplash/Silvestri Matteo

Thanks for reading, and Happy Weekend to you!

“Truth crushed to earth shall rise again.” – William Cullen Bryant

 

Jun 10

Summer Song, by William Carlos Williams

I’m a day late for Feels Friday, but it’s the weekend, so are we really going to let that bother us? Anyway, I refuse to allow a little old thing like time stop me from sharing a poem by one of my forever-favorites: William Carlos Williams (1883-1963).

First, a bit about the man: he was a Puerto-Rican American born in 1883 in Rutherford, NJ, who went on to receive his MD from the University of Pennsylvania. He not only practiced medicine thoughout his life, but was also an acclaimed poet. Among other honors, he was named United States Poet Laureate in 1952 and won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1963.

What he is probably most known for as a writer (and what I love best about his style) is his poetry’s accessibility. He often writes about every day subjects, in ordinary people’s lives. He shows us the poignancy and the beauty in the mundane. Although I can’t share some of my favorites among his poems (because they’re copyrighted), I would highly recommend giving them a read (*if you click on the title, the link will take you to the poem): The Red Wheelbarrow, This Is Just To Say, and Between Walls.

I am able to share this one (which is part of the public domain), however, and I thought it was appropriate for welcoming in the summer. Hope you enjoy (and have a great weekend)!

Image via Unsplash/Ramiro Martinez

Summer Song

by William Carlos Williams

Wanderer moon

smiling a

faintly ironical smile

at this

brilliant, dew-moistened

summer morning,–

a detached

sleepily indifferent

smile, a

wanderer’s smile,–

if I should

buy a shirt

your color and

put on a necktie

sky-blue

where would they carry me?

Jun 02

Buttercups

I’ve decided to start sharing poems on my blog…because I can and because I love, love poetry. In fact, though I’ve been writing fiction on and off for some time, what I used to write the most was poetry. Not the best poetry, or even close, but I loved it, anyhow.

Because I’m feeling brave at the moment and because I figure if I’m going to dive in, I might as well dive in deep, I’ve decided to start off my poetry sharing with one of my own. I wrote this poem about twenty years ago, when I took a creative writing course as a senior in college. As with much creative writing, it is part fact and part fiction, and I dedicate it to childhood friendships, especially the special ones.

Image via Unsplash/Ant Rozetsky

Buttercups

We had been exploring the tall, dry grasses of a field,

hoping to sneak up on some living, breathing

embodiment of our collective, eight-year-old imagination.

Instead, we came upon death, catching it

where it lingered still, in the hazy, darkly-glazed stare

that stole the youth from a calf’s large, round eyes.

Its matted black and white fur

hung in loose drapes over delicate bone-shapes.

·

We stared, afraid to see,

but not wanting to leave. It was too young to be left alone,

so we gathered shimmering buttercups and sprinkled them

into the air, scattering their luminous yellow

to encircle its form.

·

I remembered this today,

as I drove past those fields of my memory

and found that they had vanished.

A house, shining and white, now stands

where those bones, now bleached and powdery,

may still lie.

I feel that I must gather buttercups

and lay them at the doorstep.

~ H. A. O’Connor

Image via Unsplash/Sebastien Marchand

As always, thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed this first installment of Feels Friday…it’s Friday and it’s all about the feels… 😉 Hope you have a fantastic weekend!

Jan 05

Newest Release!

Turns out that while I was lost editing someone else’s lovely book, the second book in my Watcher series, When No One’s Watching, was released! I had a little trouble finding it in both formats at first. (Those who know me well, know technology–of essentially any kind–and I haven’t exactly become BFFs yet.) Although I’m sure most everyone is more adept at navigating the interwebs 😉 than I am, I’ll include the links here, in case you’d like to give it a peek online:

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Online purchase links:

Paperback via Amazon

Kindle version via Amazon

Smashwords

Barnes and Noble

 

 

 

Dec 04

Holiday Giveaway!

‘Tis the season for giving–and reading, apparently! My publisher, Wings ePress, has just announced a Holiday Giveaway that allows readers to pick a free book of their choosing. It’s as simple as deciding which Wings’ book you’d like to read–for FREE–and entering that title when you fill out the attached coupon. Then, you’ll go to Smashwords.com and download that ebook–you guessed it–for FREE. (Promotion runs for the month of December.)

Hypothetically speaking, if you were interested in reading my soon-to-be-released sequel, When No One’s Watching, but hadn’t yet had the chance to read its predecessor, My Watcher’s Eyes, you could get the first book for free and reserve the sequel at its pre-release reduced price of 25% off. Two ebooks for a total of $2.99. Not too shabby, eh?

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Whether or not you decide to purchase one of my titles, I hope you’ll stop by Wings and pick up your free book. Served best curled up by a warm fire with some tasty nog or cocoa! Enjoy! Wishing you and yours an early Happy Holidays!