Friday, April 30, 2010

Razor's Edge for April 30

For the last day of NaPoWriMo - here is the final April prompt from The Writing Vein Playground, where we have been posting a poem a day all month long!

...with the addition of a little Piazzolla...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Announcement: New Writing Workshops

I am partnering with two people for two sets of workshops. Both will be starting in the summer and below is a preview of what's to come.

One group of workshops will be in collaboration with Ridgefield Kayak in Ridgefield, Washington - 30 minutes north of Portland. This is my "Paddling Poet" series - although it won't be limited to just poetry. I will give more details as Ridgefield and I get everything set in place. The dates will be Thursday 7/15 evening, Thursday 8/5 evening and Friday 8/27 late morning/midday. There will also be at least one fall date added - probably in conjunction with the arrival of the winter birds at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge (early October).

The second group of workshops will take place in August and September. These will include an outing component and a studio workshop component. You can do all four or one. These will be focused on presence and creativity, which includes - but is not limited to - writing. Much more information will be forthcoming! This series will include elements of Miksang and Wabi Sabi.

I'm excited to be putting these workshops together and especially with these two wonderful women. Writing and water; writing and nature.
[note: Ridgefield Kayak has kayaks and gear available for regular rentals, as well as guided paddles and basic instruction classes. They do an excellent job of fitting you to the right kayak (in terms of size, skill, experience) and they offer shorter and longer trips for all experience levels.]

Herman Creek photo,
bottom right, by gaijinrunner

heron photo is from
the Ridgefield Kayak website

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Noticing how I miss my novel when I don't have time in a day to work on it. How I think about how to round out a character. How I carried the folder around all day in hopes of having 30 minutes; or 15; or even 5.

Noticing how much better I feel after two days in a row of at least eight hours of sleep. Not so tired at the end of a long day.

Noticing how the wind and the current in the water change as the sun goes down over the west hills and the dark clouds start to roll in. How the rain starts slowly, picks up, slows, stops. Rain drops on our rain coats blending with splashes from paddles in the river.


In this moment.

I will remember.
plaster excavation

Monday, April 26, 2010

Work in Progress

Three of the important things in my life right now are: the MissFit Dragons (dragon boat team), getting back to 100% health after this prolonged irritating illness, and My Novel.

The dragon boat team is going great. We have a few new people and mostly returning and experienced people. We are strong and paddling well. I love this group of women and, again, am reminded how lucky I was to get into the right team last year. As we paddle on the river, passing and being passed by, other teams, I hear coaches yelling and berating and belittling. I'm not saying that our coach doesn't reprimand if needed - but it's not her modus operandi. We are a cohesive team - a recreational team who wants to be competitive. Don't misunderstand - I don't think we'd mind if we won, but our goal is to do a good job as a team and be proud of our efforts. This week we add a third practice to our weekly schedule - and that's good, although it does take a chunk out of one of my days off. But we are a community, not just teammates. There are a couple of people with significant life issues right now and it's wonderful how the team is pulling together to help them out. We have fun, we laugh, we workout, we train, and we do other things besides paddle together.

And this illness. Enough, already. This is one of those lingering things and it is also one of those Life Lesson things, I think. It's forcing me to take naps or sleep more. It's forcing me to slow down. And in this process I am finding that I feel better when I sleep more. Lessons. My Naturopath will be happy that I'm learning this lesson. I am much better. A little better each day, if I get enough sleep and if I nap if I don't get enough sleep at night. I think this is my longest running illness ever in my life. Even longer than when I had walking pneumonia as a kid. It will pass. And I'm learning how to pace myself - which is including not doing my pace training. Sadly. But part of this lesson is to listen; not push; check in and follow what I find. And to keep going. Balance, anyone?

And, definitely not least on the list is The Novel. It has a working title, but I'm not telling. The working title will be changed. I did the scene cards and a few notes. Then went back to add margin notes and add a few scene cards. Right now I'm about 2/3 of the second pass through for scenes and full margin notes. And I'm thinking - okay, what's next? This is the first time I've edited a full novel. Some parts of it I really like; some parts are confusing. Some characters are pretty solid and clear, some are caricatures and need to be filled in a little more. Some facts conflict themselves. All in the process of writing and editing a novel. Right now I can't think about editing the whole novel - the sitting down at the computer and revising, rewriting, deleting. But I can think about scenes. And stories. And characters. Some pieces I have edited for my writing workshop/group. Some are as raw as when they were first written. But I will get it done.

Page by page.

Follow the current
- of the river for the dragon boat
- of my body for healing and working out
- of the story for the novel.

Works in progress.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Time: A Writer's Friend or Foe?

I've been experimenting recently with having one full day devoted to writing. Yes, I have to schedule the occasional chiropractic appointment or something on that sacred day once in a while - but, overall, everything I do is devoted to writing. Which includes actually writing!

And, as I've commented here before, it doesn't mean that I *only* write on that one day. But in this time of novel editing and revision, it is benefitting the progress of said novel by having one day where I know I have chunks of time to be with it and work through scene changes and make notes and research, and so on.

But I've been afraid of only working on the novel because, while I'm getting better at the editing a long piece of writing process, I still really like to write new material. Which is where the other days of the week come in. Or maybe even on my writing focused day if I have a deadline and need something new.

Then tonight I went online and stopped by my blog reader program and there is was. A post from WOW! about writing in bits and pieces. It's worth clicking on over to read - if you have short bits of time and wonder what you can truly do with only 10 minutes. Personally, I find it hard to get much editing done on a longer work in that time - but I can see some of their suggestions working out. And isn't it all a step along the path to shifting the balance of a writer's life to include more, well, writing!

Here is an excerpt, with a link below to the entire article.

What Can You Write in Ten Minutes?

There are some days when it feels like my writing time is divided into ten minutes segments. Ten minutes of writing then the washer buzzes. Ten minutes of writing then the UPS man is at the door. Ten minutes of writing then my stomach starts growling. Ten minutes of writing then the dog needs to be let out. After a few interruptions I’m ready to call it a day and head for the hammock. I needed a solution for days when I know there won’t be long chucks of uninterrupted writing time. And with three kids they are plenty of those!

Why not try writing magazine fillers?
Click here to read the entire post, full of ideas!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Razor's Edge for 4/23/10

This Razor's Edge is simple. Below are three videos. Watch them. Watch them one by one and respond - with words, with dance, with color, with clay, with whatever you feel moved to use. Or watch one. Turn your thoughts inward and listen to your body as you watch the power of the earth.

Respond with your Creativity

Monday, April 19, 2010

NaPoWriMo: day 19 "envelop"


by dot.

your ash covers me
threatens to smother me
makes my breathing hard
makes the cars stop
the planes won't fly

we try to harness you
to build over you
to go around you and deny
your power
to ignore you

but as we grow and sprawl
as we multiply in numbers
as we take and extort
and ignore the subtle or not
so subtle rumblings

you don't sleep
you wait for the moment
you wait, you warn us
if we listen, if we try
we can hear you

your beauty envelops me
changes sunlight to dark
blues and greens become muted gray
your power your breath
I stand in awe


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Letter to my Writing Group

I try to present myself as calm - in control, not easily excited. Confident.

Then yesterday I passed a personal milestone. I've been submitting more writing to publications - a couple I've tried before, either rejected or published, as well as some new ones. Yesterday I sent off a piece to a publication I've been wanting to submit to for the last couple years, but didn't feel quite ready. But yesterday - I did it. And immediately sent a letter to my writing support/critique group to announce my submission. Below is a copy of that email, showing that I am not always the cool and confident writer.

Shared with a smile.

= = the letter = =

subject: eiiyieeye!!!

I just submitted my piece to Tin House!!!! I'm so excited and wondering why I hit the SEND button and.... wow. I did it. Submitting to Tin House has been a long time goal. And it's funny, because the piece I sent -- was the one recently not selected at Glimmer Train; and what's funny about that (or sad, depending on your point of view, I suppose) is that when I sent it to Glimmer Train, I was thinking of Tin House (I have the last two issues of both at home). I was visualizing Tin House and thinking that piece fit the publication well, yada yada. Then, after I submitted it and I went back to make sure it had actually uploaded (I do online submissions as much as possible), I realized that I had been thinking of one but submitted to the other.

No big deal.

But a few minutes ago I actually sent this in to Tin House. (Their submission window closes on May 31st.) Me. To Tin House.

squeak: yay.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Razor's Edge for 4/16/10

Richard Foreman has been a playwright, director, creative advocate, and more for decades. He has a specific style and has a theater in New York City, where many go to intern and learn and develop their own plays. It is called the

Of the amazing work he does, one thing is the creation of his "notebooks." Every day, he writes dialogue. This dialogue is not in any particular order, nor is it attached to any characters or scenes. And these notebooks are available online, for anyone to use (read the use guidelines).

I first found out about the notebooks a few years ago when a friend told me about The Richard Foreman Festival right here in Portland, Oregon. The concept was fascinating and I had to go. How it works here is that Linda Austin selects a section of one of the notebooks. Various artists/performers are given this piece of Richard Foreman text, along with specific instructions - such as which parts have to be used (they can use all of the rest of it, some of it, add, change, and so on - but specific words or phrases must be used), and one or two props that must be included. Then each performer/performance group has (I think) 10 days to prepare something from that. There are two days of performances. I enjoyed it and had to learn more about Richard Foreman's work. Then, a year later, I went to New York City for three weeks for work. I stayed with a friend in Brooklyn, worked during the day, rode the train back to my friend's house to change and go back into the city for theater/dance/dinner - whatever I found to do that day. Of course I went to a performance at the Ontological-Hysteric Theater. Wow. And I love that this famous writer/director/playwright/performer puts his ideas out into the world for people to use.

So - today's Razor's Edge includes a section from one of his notebooks (Dismember) to use as a prompt or to include in a story. Read the outtake below, then click on the video for relaxing sounds and write until the video stops.

(from Dismember notebook, by Richard Foreman)

Instant of careful attention

The hallucination chamber

The dark space in which I hurt.

The bright sun inside the dark space.

The five fingers, flying into the brain.

What's to be seen

What's to be crossed out

As the eyes erase with attentive looks

Swiviled on glass.By passed, all normal channels.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Branching Out or Turning Inward

I wonder what I was thinking?

I wrote up a post two days after this and went into my previous posts and pending posts to make sure I had it scheduled for when I wanted it to appear. And there, below, was a draft, waiting to be completed and posted.

This one. This title.


If my intention comes back to me, I will write it up. But I like the title and find it intriguing. I hope you do, too.

Feel free to write your own comment or post with this title!

Monday, April 12, 2010

A NaPoWriMo poem

I posted this prompt over at The Writing Vein Playground a few days ago - and thought I'd share it here, along with my poem. My poems are there under the comments sections, as well as some fantastic poetry by Deb and a few by Jenny (I know she's writing more poems than she's posting - hello, Jenny!).

photograph by Serena Davidson
at "We Are Conduit"
benefit performances
July 2009

Flesh Tone
by Dot

Muscles taut not tense
the skin smooth and forgiving
reaching out to you to me and back
we grasp and reach no strain
our bodies in opposition yet touching

knowing you knowing me we react
flesh on flesh sinew to muscle to bone
counterbalance counter
connect correct

we ask why or not
we wonder why
or not
if I let go
will you
if you let go will I

if we hold on
for how long
balance in relation
temperatures cool and rise
and cool again
skin on skin
muscle feeds muscle
tones connect

skin to skin

feet naked

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Spring Burst: Listening to my Body

Some MissFits Plus
at the Reason to Run
Spring Burst 2010

There we are - the group that ran (1) and walked (everyone else) the Spring Burst this morning. It was cold and windy - but we warmed up soon enough. This event took place in Cook Park in Tigard, just a few miles south of downtown Portland. It was nice because it was off street, some of it even on trail, with a little mud here and there (well, one big muddy spot). With part of the trail along the river. Very nice. It was also generally sunny and not a raindrop fell.

I had hoped to walk the10k - that's what I signed up for. But my body had other plans, combined with the cold temperature and the wind. At one point I was going to push myself to do the 10k because, well, I thought I could and, therefore, should. I'm good at pushing myself.

Which is probably one major factor in my succumbing to the illness for the past nearly four weeks.

I worked out with the trainer on Thursday - the first time in a couple of weeks. She had me do cardio and advised me to see what the temperature was this morning before making my 5k/10k decision. "If it's too cold," she said, "do the 5k."

So, her advice, and my lungs getting sore and tired, my hips starting to hurt (I haven't done anything over half a mile in almost a month - until Thursday with the trainer) - the wind and the just below 40 degrees : I decided to be kind to myself and turned toward the finish at the place where the 10k participants kept going.

It was hard.

But the thought of potentially setting myself back - healthwise - for another month was enough to make me follow through.

And I rewarded myself with a trip to REI to pick up my s
Publish Post
uper deal rain pants for the Grand Canyon trip (with my 2009 dividend and my member 20% off, I got these awesome pants for only $11). Of course I purchased far more than I saved on the free shipping by having them sent to the store. But most of that was on three styles of socks for walking distances. One thing with getting more fit - I've lost weight in my feet. Go figure! So now, I have to change the types of socks I'm wearing. Which is fine - now I need to find a new favorite style that is anti-blistering and cushioned!

Especially since I have some ideas up my sleeves which involve walking and/or hiking and writing!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Update on "disablism"

My friend did get the situation of the $720 parking ticket resolved. I haven't heard what happened with the friend of the friend. The mayor's office responded promptly and appropriately. It seems there more is being done to enforce appropriate use of the disability placards, based on the actions of a task force, to prevent misuse or abuse.

The details are still a little fuzzy - but I'm happy to report that, at least in this instance, the situation was resolved appropriately.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


This is from my friend and fellow interpreter. He has put out this call to action to help fight Disablism in Portland. If you know me, you know I don't forward this type of thing on very often - but this one needs to be addressed.

Today, we got a $720 parking ticket for parking in a Disabled spot, even with my placard, because the "placard numbers did not match the license plate." I was carpooling with my intern. The same thing happened to another friend today, so obviously, there is some new policy, or some sort of "crack down". This practice means that Disabled people who need those spots cannot borrow cars, rent cars, or carpool. Please call or email the mayor's office and object to this blatant discrimination. (503) 823-4120. Ask for the Public Advocate, or email at

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sharing the Energy

I was wondering what to post. I was thinking about expanding on my recent Facebook update about my experiment to see how long one person can survive with only consuming Ricola, Halls, Coffee, and Chinese herbs. (Yes, I'm sick; how'd you know. Sigh.) But this has been going on so long I'm losing my humor about it. Just enough left to keep me from long walks ("long" currently being anything over half a mile) and missed dragon boat practice tonight because of the threatening cold, wind, rain. But it's a boring topic; old news.

I did get the second round of interns placed; only the new ones to go. That feels great. Boring.

Then I opened up my email, again. One thing about being sick and hanging out more is that I'm checking my email more often. For the good or bad of it. This was good. A friend and her husband-musician partner sent out an email of their recent accomplishments and they've each been nominated for some important awards.

Good news! That's what I want to post about today. What is happening that is good in the world. Then there was a link to The Portland Upside, which
is a locally-owned, volunteer-driven publication that is dedicated to finding
and printing the positive stories of the Portland, Oregon, metro area.
Another sign that it's time to drop the coughing-sneezing-sniffling-cuz-I-feel-lousy posts and move

Without further whining, here is the happy update about one of my favorite local (and becoming national) female songwriters, Julianna Waters of Heart and Hammer. She announced that she is
one of ten national finalists for the Wildflower Songwriting Contest out of
Dallas, TX for her songs "I Am Not a Mother" and "Wyoming Skies."
She and her husband, Barry Crannell, will be off to Texas on May 14th to "see what the Lone Star State has in store..." But not just for Julianna, but for Barry as well. As Julianna wrote,
Barry recently got notice that he's been recognized by The Great American Song Contest for his tune "That's What I Do." If you haven't heard this little gem, you should. This song really brings out his kind and earnest nature, something we all know and appreciate about him. You can listen to it at along with my two songs.
Just last month, I attended a concert at Artichoke Music; I hadn't heard them perform for a couple of years. Still great and getting better. It was smooth and warm and they are seem so comfortable on the stage, performing their music, and singing their stories. Storytellers, both of them - to music.

They're also taking donations and booking house concerts to raise some funds to offset the costs of the trip to Texas. Maybe someone I know has a new studio space that might hold a dozen or twenty people. Hmm.

Good luck and congratulations to Julianna and Barry. They are both very talented. Treat them well, Texas!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Finisher Shirts - for writers!

Sparked by a conversation during Bonnie's recent tour stop here, I decided that writers deserve finisher shirts, too.

As I told Christi, who first commented on thinking in "finisher mode," runners and walkers of marathons get finisher shirts. Many participants in 10k's get finisher shirts. I haven't yet done a triathlon or biathlon - but I'm sure they get finisher shirts.

Writing a novel is at least as hard as running/walking a marathon. And takes just as much preparation. No, I take that back - more preparation. For many of us. And, we're not done when we cross that finish line of the last page.

So - today I set up a small shop over at CafePress dedicated to the novel finisher. When I saw some of the other products they had I noticed other things the writer who has finished a novel might need as they head into revisions: like a coffee mug, a mousepad, a wall clock.

Have I told you that titles are not my strong point? They're not. So, in a somewhat uncreative moment of non-inspiration, the CafePress shop is called - tada - Writing Vein Novel Finisher. Just click on that obvious title and you can see what's there. To the right is a picture of the Ringer T-shirt to whet your appetite.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Slowing Down

Editing a novel is not speedy. For me, I have become a master at quick writes, at free writes, at putting down quickly what is in my head and it usually makes sense. Yes, it needs some editing.

And, once in a while, it's pretty good just as it comes out, and needs only minor tweaking. At least I think so.

That's for the short writes.

In 2008 I wrote 59,000+ words in 30 days. That was impressive and felt good. I liked the story. I was delighted and excited by the ending. I promised to put it aside, let it age and rest - like the apples in the drawer (thank you, Bonnie), wait until it was not breathing so hard (thank you, Mama C). And I did.

I also thought I would get it edited before 2009 NaNoWriMo started. Which I didn't. And I was okay with that. Maybe 2009 would be an even better story and I'd want to get that one ready for publication first.

It wasn't. I did pass the 50k mark well under the deadline; but the story didn't "wow" me like 2008. And I never got to the ending. I feel that story still hasn't gotten to the point; about another 25k will bring it to where it needs to be.

But the 2008 novel kept calling me.

So, I have returned to that novel. Editing. Yes - as other writers in Ariel Gore's Literary Kitchen know, I have edited small pieces and submitted them for feedback here and there.

Now is the time, however, to delve deeply. To look at the whole novel, scene by scene, and page by page. Look at where it sings and where it growls. Feel where it flows and where the rapids are too rough for clear passage. Find those contradictions and the gems.

And it is very slow. I was talking about it with writing partner, Jenny, today. It is going to take time. A lot of time. And it will be worth it, she promises. *wink*

Quick write master meets methodical editor.

Okay. I'm ready; notecards in hand and a draft copy being printed as I type.

One step. One bird. One day.

I can do this.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Razor's Edge for 4/2/10

Today's prompts includes two videos. In keeping with my personal theme of "slowing down," the first video is what I watched prior to writing my editing post for today. I know some of you weren't yet on this earth when the song first came out - and some of us were. The first video is
The 59th Street Bridge Song by Simon and Garfunkel. More commonly known as the "slow down" or "feelin' groovy" song. It was one of those songs that got stuck in my head earlier today, so here it is for your listening pleasure and creative inspiration - after you read the instructions, of course.

Your instructions:

step one:
Click on the Simon & Garfunkel video to listen to the song, while
step two:
letting your eyes rest on the Miksang photo by Julie DuBose (found on Facebook via friend, writer & photographer Rooze). When the song ends
step three:
click on the Queen Juliana video and watch, listen. When the video is done, select at least one of her questions to respond to (all will be clear after you watch the video; trust me).
step four:
Go - write, paint, draw, compose, move. Create for 8 minutes. Let it rest. Share what you've done with someone else.

Simon and Garfunkel

Miksang photo by Julie DuBose

Queen Juliana Luecking


...and the winner is...

to Christi Craig, winner of the free copy of Star Crossed: Aries Rising.

Thank you to everyone who stopped by to read and join in the discussion with Bonnie Hearn Hill about what writers do after we write The End. Everyone had great comments and I know I have new inspiration from the exchange.

This event went so well, we're going to do it again. Come back in May when Bonnie will stop by, again, on her blog tour for book two, Taurus Eyes.

Again - congratulations, Christi!

(And keep your eyes open - I am designing Finisher Shirts for Novelists!)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Reminder: book giveaway

Scroll down to March 29th for your chance to win a free copy of Star Crossed: Aries Rising. Last day to enter! (And that's no joke.)

It's NaPoWriMo!

In case you missed the announcement: it's National Poetry Writing Month. If you look around online, there are various places where people are gathering and posting and hosting contests. Some people are just posting their daily poems on their blogs.

If you want to join in the fun and find yourself wanting a prompt - I will be posting a daily prompt over at The Writing Vein Playground. Each prompt was chosen or created with poetry in mind.

The first prompt is already there and waiting!

Feel free to post your poems in the comments at the Playground, regardless of whether you use the prompt or not.