Thursday, May 12, 2016

Let's Try It and See What Happens!

Just popping in to say HELLO!
Apple blossoms!

Spring is always a busy time of year, but this year even more so because I've got a couple of big projects in the works.

Have you heard... I've finished the first draft of my novel? Kidlit. Middle grade. My goal is to be sending the first 5 pages to an agent over the summer. Yikes!

Spring is always associated with new beginnings. The plants on our balconies have come back and it looks like we'll have apples this year in addition to the blueberries and red currants. I'm trying to grow carrots and watermelons in pots on the balcony because -- why not?!?

I feel like the motto for 2016 so far has been "Let's try it and see what happens!" I'm writing fiction. I'm writing blog posts and sales decks for clients. I'm translating websites from German into English. I'm setting up an online course using an automated platform. I'm developing a new course for one of my existing learning platforms. Sigh.

If the past two years have taught me anything, they've taught me to get out of my comfort zone. They've taught me to try new things.

Take a chance this year!

I'll post pictures of the carrots when they're ready.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Mini-Review: The Sound of the Sundial

Reading is an indulgence for me. The few pages I'm able to read in the evening before I fall asleep are a treasure.

I recently finished reading The Sound of the Sundial, by Hana Andronikova. It was translated from the Czech by David Short, and edited & adapted by Rachel Miranda Feingold.

I had the pleasure of meeting Feingold when she was in Berlin last year. She gushed about the talents of Andronikova, whose novel won the 2002 Magnesia Litera Award in the category of Best New Discovery. Andronikova died of cancer in 2011 at the age of 44.

The novel is focused on the love story between a German-Czech engineer and his Jewish wife. It weaves and leaps from Zlín, through Calcutta, Prague, Auschwitz, and the United States.

Told in a compelling manner -- from a variety of viewpoints often dislocated in time -- The Sound of the Sundial is an incredible and heartbreaking story. This first-ever English translation was published by Plamen Press, a new publishing house based in Washington, DC. Read an excerpt from the novel on the publisher's website.

You can also read Denton Loving's long-form review of the novel at The Collagist.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Before You Post That Quote, Do This!

This morning, I saw someone post a lovely quote on Facebook. It was one of those images with the quote in a fancy script, perfect for sharing on social media.

Unfortunately, it was missing one important thing: attribution.

It's not that I doubted that the person posting the phrase could have written it herself. But I did doubt it, and so I looked up the quote.

Sure enough, I found dozens of other social media-ready images with the quote, attributing it to the correct person -- Ariana Dancu.

Ariana Dancu is a poet who has quotes from her poems available for sale on Etsy products. The Etsy shop where her words are available notes that "This text is the intellectual property of Ariana Dancu. Any infringement or use, in part or in whole, will incur legal consequences and action and will be pursued to the full extent of the law..."

Social media has made it very easy to share the inspirational words of others. For that I am thankful. However, as a writer myself, I am constantly frustrated to see people posting ever-so-shareable images featuring unattributed words of authors.

Before you share a great graphic/quote you saw online, do this: Make sure it's got an attribution. It's only fair to the author that they be credited with their own words. If the graphic/quote does not have an attribution, then find one that does, and share it instead.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Becoming the Solution You Need

When I regularly taught an online poetry workshop, one of the exercises I assigned encouraged students to craft a poem that used the cross-cutting technique typically found in films. I desperately wanted to find a themed reading to go along with the assignment. I searched. And then I searched some more. I asked other poets.

Then I realized that I would need to write the article myself. I found examples of the method I was talking about, which didn't really "exist" as a method for creating a poem. It was just a poetic device that could be found in poems but didn't have a name in the literary world, only in the film industry.

I asked the poets who used the technique if I could cite excerpts of their poems as examples in an article. When the article was written, I spent more than a year sending it out first to one literary magazine, waiting, and then sending it out again when it was rejected. After waiting for about four months to hear from The Writer, I sent an inquiry. Although I did not hear back immediately, I waited another month and a half, and then I sent another query. I really thought it would be a perfect fit with them.

Two weeks later, the editor responded. She wanted to use my article as one of the features in their upcoming National Poetry Month issue.

I am thrilled that the issue has now hit the newsstands...

Mine is the article listed on the cover as "Build texture in poems with film techniques".

If you ever find yourself disappointed that you can't find an article to use for a workshop you're leading, or for a presentation you want to give to a client, maybe it's your destiny to write that article.

Friday, March 04, 2016

Still Poem-ing After All These Years

Most of the creative writing I wrote in my 20s and 30s was poetry and poetry-related. Since becoming an independent consultant, I've had to switch my focus to more lucrative writing so that we can pay the rent. However, I do have many poems that I still submit to journals, and I have a second full-length collection that is starting to make the rounds with a select handful of editors.

2015 was a quiet year for getting my own poems published, but I was happy to have an appearance in Birmingham Poetry Review. I also served as editor for the very fabulous (if I do say so myself) poetry anthology -- My Cruel Invention, which was published by Meerkat Press in December 2015. (Check out the sidebar on the right for more info!)

2016 is looking pretty good so far, with poems forthcoming in Gargoyle and The Broadkill Review. Just yesterday, my poem "Acrostic: Dolores" appeared in the new constraint-themed issue of The Ilanot Review, a great online publication that I've been following for years.

I also have a feature article about poetry forthcoming in the April 2016 issue of The Writer. I have not abandoned poetry!

While I don't focus on crafting new poems at the moment (I've got a middle-grade novel I'm working on!), lines for poems do occasionally happen.

I don't know if I'll write a poem draft this year, but it's still there in my heart, and on my reading table.