Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Write an Amazement

"What a terrible mistake to let go of something wonderful for something real." - Miranda July

What would you trade for wonderful?  How much practical would you release for a creative solution? Inspire breakthroughs that boost the ability to meet real world challenges.

Creative Write: Write about your last major amazement.  Go beyond the adjectives to reveal sights, sounds, colors, textures and tastes.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Write the Three

The three things we crave most in life: happiness, freedom, and peace of mind, are always attained by giving them to someone else. 

The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped. You have two hands. One to help yourself, the second to help others. — Unknown

Which three things in life mean the most to you? 

If you feel they involve happiness, freedom and peace of mind, give examples. 

Of the three which one would you give away? 

How would you keep the best going?  

In what ways will writing help you attract more experiences in these areas?

Monday, April 28, 2014

Write to Change Your Senses

Do you depend on one sense in your writing and forget to use a variety of sights, sounds and scents to enrich the text?

Select paragraphs from your favorite writer or a piece of your own writing.  Notice what sense prevails. What if you remove it and replace it with another?

Observe the use of adjectives and adverbs. Replace them with a metaphor or action verb to expand meaning.

How would you:

Describe a sunset without the use of color?
Reveal music without sound?
Comment on a meal without describing its taste?
Show the scent of a rose in metaphor?

Challenge your writing by adding elements you don't usually consider.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

A Hopi Elder's View

This is the hour for considerations. A river flows now. It moves so swifty that those will be afraid.  They will try to hold onto the shore. They will feel torn apart.  Know the river has its destination.  The elders say we must let go of the shore and push into the middle, keep our eyes open and heads above water.

Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in the right relationship?
Where is your water?
Know your garden.
Speak your truth.
Create your community.
Do not look outside yourself for the leader.
Who is in there with you to celebrate?  

Take nothing personally least of all yourself.  The time for the lone wolf is gone.  Gather and banish the word struggle from your attitude and vocabulary.  

All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.

                                                                - from a folded paper found by the Willamette river.

Write to answer questions in ways to seek a celebration of renewal. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Write What's Waiting Inside

Do you have a tickling inside that wants to come out in words?   Is a subject or theme rattling around in your brain?  Maybe you have written bits and pieces of the story, essay or poem?

Let those feelings, thoughts and meanings express themselves in an outline or freewrite.

Have you ever wondered what time travel might involve?  Create a situation and delve into it.

Do you wonder about life on another planet?

What if you became a character from your favorite novel and went beyond the book's ending?

Mine for new ideas. Discover what's waiting to come out in writing.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Develop An Athletic Writing Practice

"Practice doesn't make perfect. Practice reduces the imperfection." 
 - Toba Beta
"Practice creates the Master." - Miguel Ruiz

P reparation
       R evelations
             A ctions
                    C uriosity
                          T alent
                                I magination
                                       C enteredness
                                                E nergy

Similar to an athletic endeavor, writing depends on commitment, repetition, trial-and-error, and the insights gained. A positive habit develops the more an activity repeats. Confidence and skills increase with each writing activity. 

Ken Doherty shares his five S's of sports training: stamina, speed, strength, skill, and spirit. The greatest is spirit. These apply also to writing with spirit driving the rest. 

Writers require a foundation in grammar. Expansion on the basics helps to develop communication that readers will enjoy.

A writer-athlete takes time to train by establishing a schedule of regular performance. Fingers and mind coordinate the communication skills of tossing and bouncing words across a page.  

Get started!

Promise a week's devotion. Choose a pen that flows color onto the page. Knowledge of touch typing will free the mind from hunting and pecking. Look beyond the keyboard as you type.

Set a time to develop consistency. Devote ten minutes as first. Discover the best time for the writing mind and muscles to activate. Try early morning, afternoon or evening sessions to
observe how they engage your personal energy and rhythm.

Find a location that provides an observation of nature, movement and connections. Engage with all the senses to enable subconscious thoughts to emerge. 

Settle before you write. Focus the breath with a five count in and out through the nose. Repeat five times.

Begin to write about what moves outside a window or in your  natural setting. Add sounds and scents. Color and texture will keep the flow going. 

Notice the ideas that appear. Don't judge them. Let them flow. Ask yourself, "Where will writing take me right now?" Observe and capture details.

Pay attention to sensations in the body to let the mind wander into areas not considered.

Encourage your child's mind out to play. Silliness and humor add to the mixture. Throw in a funky word or two. Equilate and delevate.

Leave the writing session when you do not want to quit. Stop while writing in a flow. This will encourage your return.

Engage those writing muscles!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Poem-in-a-Pocket Day: Silhouette Tease

Silhouette Tease

Wolf jumps
from the prairie
into the sky
snatch the rabbit 
who lives on the moon

Once the moon glowed
clean as bone
until Sun flung
rabbit there
his bidding
to dash him
the earth

Now Sun
lures wolf
hoodwinks him
with light beams
reveal the rabbit 
in the moon

Sun laughs 
 as wolf howls
at the illusion
 - Penny Wilkes

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Curiosity and Anger

" . . . anger is one of my favorite creative resources." 
 - Justin Kleon

Focus the feelings of anger on the curiosity of that emotion.  Avoid the first reaction of complaining or lashing out.

Instead of attempting to "get even" with the situation, redirect your energy. Take five deep breaths with the eyes closed.

Open the mind to imagination and creative connections.

Write with the color blue, a scent and a favorite song. Blend into the flow of words. You will surprise yourself at how quickly anger disburses.

Get Ready for Poem in Your Pocket Day

Tomorrow Is Poem in Your Pocket Day

Poem in Your Pocket Day is one of our favorite events during National Poetry Month. On this day, millions of people throughout the United States will carry poems in their pockets and share them with others.

Here’s how you can participate...

Pick Your Poem

Find the perfect poem to share in ournew packet of public domain poems, prepared especially for this year’s celebration.

Encourage Others to Participate

Help spread the word about Poem in Your Pocket Day on social media by using the hashtag #pocketpoem.

Tweet the name of the poem you’ll be carrying to @POETSorg using #pocketpoem for a chance to win a copy of Jon J. Muth’s children’s poetry book Hi, Koo! courtesy of our friends at Scholastic.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Writer's Question

Who am I?

If thrown out of window, it makes a wife grieve.
What's added to the front door helps sustain a life.

Ducks out of a row need a to grow.

Fly removes why and becomes flea.

What happens to blooms in a  monsoon?

Have you solved the first riddle?


Amuse then reuse. 
        Leave out a letter or make an exchange for the better.

It's the letter N.  

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Word Garden

Flowers inspire ways to garden with words.  

Ideas plant the senses to blossom.

Sounds delve into depths of a tulip's shyness.

Like ants in a rush, remnants of rain follow on leaves.

In morning's shiver of dew, stars dot the landscape.

Moving in breezes,

tulip dancers toss petals 
into whirlygigs of mystery.

A cap of red veins teases the

exuberance of bees.

With ease, a bee molds its legs with pollen.

 Swish of a cape and a hidden mustashe twirls.

At sunset, a bell chimes to herald a patter of rain.

Cupcakes wait for frosting.

Memories fall from childhood's swing of discovery.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Ignite the Imagination

Joan MiróSpanish painter, sculptor and cermatitist loved reds, yellows, greens, and blues combined with black and white. Miró insisted that a painting should, "ignite the imagination."

Discovering objects such as spoons and rakes, he created sculptures. He felt anything accidental that occurred in his studio like paint drips or smudges would provide a new work of art.

Writers also can use a sandbox for the subconscious mind.  Consider unlikely and unrelated ideas that might collide to create a collage of experience.

Write from a new perspective.

Try a scent, an attitude and a screech to ignite the imagination.

Add a structure to it.

Find a texture.

Notice what's unlikely.

Add color and write to ignite!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

To Honor Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Farewell Letter
by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

When Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Colombia’s Nobel Laureate for literature, declared his retirement from public life because of ill-health, he sent a letter of farewell to friends and lovers of literature.

If God, for a second, forgot what I have become and granted me a little bit more of life, I would use it to the best of my ability.

I wouldn’t, possibly, say everything that is in my mind, but I would be more thoughtful of all I say.

I would give merit to things not for what they are worth, but for what they mean to express.

I would sleep little, I would dream more, because I know that for every minute that we close our eyes, we waste 60 seconds of light.

I would walk while others stop; I would awake while others sleep.

If God would give me a little bit more of life, I would dress in a simple manner, I would place myself in front of the sun, leaving not only my body, but my soul naked at its mercy.

To all men, I would say how mistaken they are when they think that they stop falling in love when they grow old, without knowing that they grow old when they stop falling in love.

I would give wings to children, but I would leave it to them to learn how to fly by themselves.

To old people I would say that death doesn’t arrive when they grow old, but with forgetfulness.

I have learned so much with you all, I have learned that everybody wants to live on top of the mountain, without knowing that true happiness is obtained in the journey taken & the form used to reach the top of the hill.

I have learned that when a newborn baby holds, with its little hand, his father’s finger, it has trapped him for the rest of his life.

I have learned that a man has the right and obligation to look down at another man, only when that man needs help to get up from the ground.

Say always what you feel, not what you think. If I knew that today is the last time that that I am going to see you asleep, I would hug you with all my strength and I would pray to the Lord to let me be the guardian angel of your soul.

If I knew that these are the last moments to see you, I would say “I love you.”

There is always tomorrow, and life gives us another opportunity to do things right, but in case I am wrong, and today is all that is left to me, I would love to tell you how much I love you & that I will never forget you.

Tomorrow is never guaranteed to anyone, young or old. Today could be the last time to see your loved ones, which is why you mustn’t wait; do it today, in case tomorrow never arrives. I am sure you will be sorry you wasted the opportunity today to give a smile, a hug, a kiss, and that you were too busy to grant them their last wish.

Keep your loved ones near you; tell them in their ears and to their faces how much you need them and love them. Love them and treat them well; take your time to tell them “I am sorry,” “forgive me, “please,” “thank you,” and all those loving words you know.

Nobody will know you for your secret thought. Ask the Lord for wisdom and strength to express them.

Show your friends and loved ones how important they are to you.

Send this letter to those you love. If you don’t do it today…tomorrow will be like yesterday, and if you never do it, it doesn’t matter either, the moment to do it is now.

For you, with much love,
Your Friend,
Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Begin a Farewell letter that you will use as a benchmark for future life and writing. How might you render it with a surreal quality combining the improbable and impossible as real?

Follow the advice of Marquez concerning the journey taken and the form used to reach the top of the hill.

Friday, April 18, 2014

How to Leave it Behind

The Rider

A boy told me
if he roller-skated fast enough
his loneliness couldn't catch up to him,
the best reason I ever heard
for trying to be a champion.
What I wonder tonight
pedaling hard down King William Street
is if it translates to bicycles.
A victory! To leave your loneliness
panting behind you on some street corner
while you float free into a cloud of sudden azaleas,
pink petals that have never felt loneliness,
no matter how slowly they fell. - Naomi Shihab Nye 

Naomi Shihab Nye uses concrete imagery to present her ideas about how to leave loneliness behind. She ends the poem with an image of azaleas that lingers with the reader.

Use a concrete image to reveal ways to leave something behind. Sift through your petals of despair and longing.Let the tears shine to reflect a moment of renewal.