Sunday, April 27, 2014

Submissions are open at Calyx - Flash Fiction contest & Poetry contest


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Reading & Writing & Shakepeare

The interpreted performance of Othello was last Thursday. And we will be interpreting it again next Thursday at the matinee. But the first performance is the one which requires hours and hours of preparation - and even more so for Shakespeare. The second interpreted performance requires a refresher and perhaps a few changes based on the first one - but all of the time goes into preparing to do it the first time.

It went really well and I'm looking forward to the second interpreted performance, which will have a large number of D/deaf/Hard of Hearing audience members. Which always makes it more fun.

Even with working on Shakespeare, I have been writing every day. Writing at least one poem every day, and sometimes working on a short story as well. I like these creatively fruitful times. And I hope they will last - and I feel there is a chance this river of creative flow will continue, since I have maintained it during this heavy show preparation period. 

I have also done four floats for the Float On Writers' Program this month, which required that I write and submit something which came from the float, within 24 hours. This has been an interesting process as I have not floated on a weekly basis before. I have done some writing after floating, but not at this level. It has been interesting to see what has come out of my floats onto the page. 

It is not surprising that water has been involved in all of my float writings. The first two were essays about my float experience, both with some abstraction or surrealism. The third piece came out as a poem. Again, that probably isn't a surprise since I have been writing a poem each day since April 1st. But I didn't intend to write a poem and tried to steer it towards prose, but it wouldn't budge. It was a poem and wanted to stay that way. Then my final piece was a hybrid prose + poem and it was much more abstract than the earlier three pieces. I was also able to take the notes I made immediately after my float and turn them into my poem for today.

My creative energy is also being fueled by reading. Which is as it should be and, I know, is also not surprising. I am reading some good books right now, so I thought I would list them as well. I am still reading them - but from what I've read so far, I recommend them. 

"Contents May Have Shifted" by Pam Houston (fiction)
"Three Uses of the Knife: On the Nature and Purpose of Drama" by David Mamet (writing, nonfiction)
"This Won't Take But a Minute, Honey" by Steve Almond (stories & essays)
"Show Your Work" by Austin Kleon (creativity, nonfiction)
"The Red Road" by Denise Mina (crime/mystery novel - I'm listening to the audiobook while I drive)

I realize I haven't written about the writing workshop weekend in Port Townsend a couple of weeks ago, either. Rather than glossing over it and not giving it the space and time it deserves, I will just say that it was an amazing weekend with Lidia Yuknavitch and Pam Houston, and eleven other writers. It was work the cramp on my schedule and I have another insight for the M-book which is going to make a significant difference. I will write more about all of this later.

Writing is happening. Interpreting work is happening. Theatre is happening. 

Life is good.

Oh, and we saw Cirque du Soleil's "Totem" today and it was fabulous. And inspiring in color, sound, and seeing what the human body is capable of doing.

Sunday, April 20, 2014


I have been writing every day. At least once every day. And I do mean creatively writing; not just responding to emails, business correspondence, taking notes, etc. Really writing.

In case I haven't mentioned it (I know, I know - I've said it; more than once) I am participating in NaPoWriMo - National Poetry Writing Month. I mean, it is National Poetry Month, so why not join in the fun and create some? Right?

All of my daily poems are being posted over on The Writing Vein Playground. In their mostly first draft states. A few have had some minor edits; some are right out of my brain/heart-hand connection. One of the poems - from Friday 4/18 - is an excerpt of a longer piece. It was created after the third of my four "writing floats" - as a part of the Writers' Program in which I'm participating at Float On. Since the piece was written for Float On, for potential use in an anthology in the future, I posted only one stanza and left the piece in its entirety unpublished.

I still have my Tuesday morning writing jams with Rooze. We are trying a new location this coming week, as the place where we've been meeting has taken to turning up the volume on their music and there seems to be more conversation (amongst and from the staff; over the music). And it is too loud and distracting for writing. We will continue to meet and write - just changing the venue.

It has been a bit of a challenge to write a poem every day, continue the Tuesday writing, create another new piece of writing every week within 24 hours of my float - and to be in heavy preparation to interpret "Othello" next week. But I've done it. I am doing it. Perhaps proving to myself, again, that writing begets writing. Right? The more you write the easier it is to write and the writing comes easier and so it goes. For me in this moment, it feels pretty amazing that I am still doing all of this writing - and prepping for Shakespeare.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"The Microsoft Windows of English Poetry"


I clicked over to NaPoWriMo to get the daily prompt. Oh! A form! I'm doing well with writing in form for NaPoWriMo this year and this is a new form for me to play with.

Then I saw it - the title I used for today's post. It made me laugh out loud, so I had to share it here.
Today, I challenge you to write a poem in terza rima. This form was invented by Dante, and used in The Divine Comedy. It consists of three-line stanzas, with a “chained” rhyme scheme. The first stanza is ABA, the second is BCB, the third is CDC, and so on. No particular meter is necessary, but English poets have tended to default to iambic pentameter (iambic pentameter is like the Microsoft Windows of English poetry). One common way of ending a terza rima poem is with a single line standing on its own, rhyming with the middle line of the preceding three-line stanza. 
Now on to write my terza rima.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Write a "Replacement" Poem

This one from NaPoWriMo looks like fun!

I haven't written mine, yet. I will. But I have planted all of the spinach (two types), kale (two
types), onions, rainbow carrots, and tomatoes (one plant each of three types). And mowed the grassy areas (or should I say grass-like areas?).

Now I have to clean up so I can go watch Othello tonight! Carolyn and Rich saw it last week and Carolyn and I are going tonight. The three of us (Rich Hall, Carolyn Brockway, and I) will be interpreting Othello at Portland Center Stage on April 24th at 7:30 pm and May 1st at noon (the matinee may already be sold out).


Here is the prompt - I am looking forward to getting my hands on it! Maybe over dinner before Othello.

Today’s (optional) prompt is a “replacement” poem. Pick a common noun for a physical thing, for example, “desk” or “hat” or “bear,” and then pick one for something intangible, like “love” or “memories” or “aspiration.” Then Google your tangible noun, and find some sentences using it. Now, replace that tangible noun in those sentences with your intangible noun, and use those sentences to create (or inspire) a poem. Here’s a little example that replaces the word “lemon,” in sentences from a Wikipedia article on lemons, with the word “sorrow.” 
Sorrow is a small evergreen tree native to Asia.
The origin of sorrow is a mystery.
The first substantial cultivation of sorrow in Europe
began in Genoa in the middle of the 15th century.
A halved sorrow dipped in salt or baking powder
is used to brighten copper cookware. One educational
science experiment involves attaching electrodes
to sorrow and using it as a battery.
Although very low power, several sorrows
can power a small digital watch. 
Goofy, but also interesting! It’s not quite a poem yet, but there might be a poem in there, waiting to come out. Happy writing!

Friday, April 11, 2014

NaPoWriMo Prompt: Drinking Song

From NaPoWriMo : "Poets have been writing about love and wine, wine and love, since . . . well, since the time of Anacreon, a Greek poet who was rather partial to that subject matter. Anacreon developed a particular meter for his tipsy, lovey-dovey verse, but Anacreontics in English generally do away with meter-based constraints. Anacreontics might be described as a sort of high-falutin' drinking song. So today I challenge you to write about wine-and-love. Of course, you may have no love of wine yourself, in which case you might try an anti-Anacreontic poem."

Monday, April 7, 2014

Poetry Prompt for Today

The NaPoWriMo (write a poem each day for 30 days) prompt for today is:

Today’s prompt is to write a love poem . . . but the object of the poem should be inanimate. You can write a love poem to your favorite pen, the teddy bear you had as a child (and maybe still have), or anything else, so long as it’s not alive!


Saturday, April 5, 2014

NaPoWriMo Prompt Poses a Challenge


I won't get to writing my poem today until later, since I'm waiting at the CoLab in Port Townsend waiting for the writing workshop to begin. Today I get to write with Lidia Yuknavitch; tomorrow it will be with Pam Houston. You will be able to read the poem over at The Writing Vein Playground.

But, courtesy of NaPoWriMo, here is a prompt for today's daily poem.

Today’s prompt is a little complicated, which is why I saved it for a Saturday, in the hopes that you might have a little more time today than during a weekday. I think this is a very rewarding form, though, so I hope you’ll enjoy it! Today I challenge you to write a “golden shovel.” This form was invented by Terrance Hayes in his poem, The Golden Shovel. The last word of each line of Hayes’ poem is a word from Gwendolyn Brooks’ poem We Real Cool. You can read Brooks’ poem by reading the last word of each line of Hayes’ poem! (In fact, you can do so twice, because Hayes, being ultra-ambitious, wrote a two-part golden shovel, repeating Brooks’ poem). Now, the golden shovel is a tricky form, but you can help keep it manageable by picking a short poem to shovel-ize. And there’s no need to double-up the poem you pick, like Hayes did.

She goes on to give a few examples on the webpage, so make sure to hop over there to take a look.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Write a Lune - NaPoWriMo Day Four

‎The poetry prompt for today, from NaPoWriMo is...

"... to write a lune. A lune is a sort of English-language variation on the haiku, meant to better render the tone of the Japanese haiku than the standard 5-7-5 format we all learned (and maybe loved) in elementary school. There are a couple of variants on the lune form, but just to keep things simple, let's try the version developed by Jack Collum. His version of the lune involves a three-line stanza. The first line has three words. The second line has five, and the third line has three. You can write a poem that consists of just one stanza, or link many lune-stanzas together into a unified poem. "

You can read my three writing lunes over at The Writing Vein Playground.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Poetry Prompt

From, here is their (optional) prompt for today's poem. I will be posting my poem later over at The Writing Vein Playground. ‎ 

In keeping with today's status as the third day of NaPoWriMo, I challenge you to write a charm – a simple rhyming poem, in the style of a recipe-slash-nursery rhyme. It could be a charm against warts, or against traffic tickets. It could be a charm to bring love, or to bring free pizzas from your local radio station.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Today's Horse Fueled by Recall and Wear Bars

Another day "off" filled with appointments and meetings and. Did I say "off"? What I mean is that I'm not interpreting anywhere today.

Right now I'm having one of those there-has-to-be-a-horse-in-here moments. The "shit" is that my car had a recall, which was announced with a fluorescent yellow postcard, so I scheduled the appointment to fix it for today, which had to be done at the dealer. Then with the car's oil change and checkup last week at our regular mechanic, they confirmed that, yes, the tread on the tires is very near the wear bars and they need to be replaced. So I checked prices and was surprised that the dealer would actually give me a better price on new tires than other places, including our trusted and beloved mechanic, so I called the dealer and added it to the list of tasks to be addressed today.

So, right now I'm sitting at a restaurant, on my 3rd cup of decaf, my breakfast plate cleared. Still waiting for my car. With the recall work and the tires, the time estimate was two and a half to three hours. The recall is a software update, so part of the completion time is dependent on the speed and reliability of the internet.

The horse is that I planned for that. I didn't expect three hours, but I'm prepared for it. The horse is that I have my laptop and the nearby restaurant where I'm sitting has wifi and I'm writing.

I completed the first draft of today's NaPoWriMo poem and it's posted over at The Writing Vein Playground. I edited a short essay I wrote last week and have been searching for a home for that (I'm considering submitting it to Readers Write at The Sun; although it's a little long for that and I think I'd rather find another location where it can be published in its entirety). And right now - well, as soon as I complete this post - I'm working on another story.

I am noticing the absence of working on the M-book. It is not forgotten. I see that it is not on my list. I'm anticipating having a block of time to work on it in May. After Othello.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April also brings: NaPoWriMo

In the tradition of NaNoWriMo, someone started NaPoWriMo in 2003. The goal is to write 30 poems in 30 days. It's that simple. Yes, it is.
The official NaPoWriMo site will have a featured press, a featured blog, and a featured participant every day. They also offer daily prompts.

Here is the prompt for day one:

Our prompts are, as always, optional. If you have your own plans for generating poems, or find prompts elsewhere that suit you better, that’s just fine. Our prompts are there just to help those who are having trouble getting inspired – if you’re full up on inspiration, there’s no need to follow them. With that out of the way, I’ve chosen something I hope will be fun and simple, to ease you into your first day. Today, I’d like you to go to Reb Livingston’s Bibliomancy Oracle. Clear your mind, push the button, and then write a poem based on the quotation that the oracle provides. Happy writing!

My Oracle prompt and poem:

this is the meet-up of movement and memory/ how our ancestors kiss each other in the stairwells of satellites/mischievous and right on time
from “like seeds / or a guide to black feminist time travel” by Alexis Pauline Gumbs

Truth of the Garden
by Dot Hearn

Clematis hiking over painted trellis
slats interwoven green on white on wood
against the cement pillars of the porch.
Sun baking, rain pelting, wind buffeting
leaves and delicate flowers left over
from a decade ago when the house was planted
when the walls erected and the foundation
layed. Memories buried and covering and
hiding everywhere. "If these walls could talk"
has nothing on the preservation power
of roots and stalks and rhizomes
and the flowers they produce
year after year.


This post originally appeared over at the The Writing Vein Playground on 4/1/14.


April is National Poetry Month

...and to start it off, here is a video from Poet Laureate, Philip Levine.