Monday, December 30, 2013

Writer’s Workshop 4: Message Prompt

The following writing prompt was handed down to me during a workshop. I went ahead and extended it to include ‘hesitation’ and a title. Use it to form some specific details about this character. Let’s end the year with a short paragraph/story/beginning of a novel =) Good luck!

A Pointless Game of Fetch

A young woman has been waiting by the phone for a while. She hesitates in picking up the phone. Is she calling someone important? She dials and the answering machine picks up. She leaves a voice message. What is that message?


Monday, December 23, 2013

Books I’m Reading 6

Hot Iron by Elmer Kelton deals with a troubleshooter who lands a job on a Texas ranch as its new manager, but he runs into an illegal cattle stealing operation. The author had some great description for the characters. A great read.

Dust ‘n’ Bones: Ten Ghost Stories and Fangs ‘n’ Fire: Ten Dragon Tales by Chris Mould. These two books are filled with adaptations and illustrations of haunting short stories, including The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and The Eyeless Dragon.

A Dark Dreambox of Another Kind: The poems of Alfred Starr Hamilton edited by Ben Estes and Alan Felsenthal. If you’re used to rhyming poetry, then this collection will throw you into a loop. It’s different. It’s interesting. It makes you think of poetry’s flexibility in expressing ourselves.


Monday, December 16, 2013

Death as Metaphor 6

As was previously mentioned on the October 21, 2013 post Death as Metaphor 5, Charles Darwin had a theory for evolution. In his studies, we see how writing is finding new meaning just like the learning of different species and as humans evolved, so has the mode of communication.

Music, language, art, writing, and poetry are some of these ways. They are symbolic of ideas we want communicated. Most of the time, the changes are useful and influence other forms. For example, poetry has changed in its form throughout time. We are changing ways to represent meaning as Denise Levertov wrote in “Some Notes on Organic Forms” (1965) (

Everything has an organic form that the poet tries to reveal and discover, whether it be emotional experiences or sensory forms. These differences are seen in poems that reveal how we deal with death. Death may be represented as an actual event or a symbol for a loss of something important. Death’s meaning changes as it is used for many purposes in a poet’s writing.

Charles Darwin’s great-great granddaughter, Ruth Padel, wrote a poetic biography about Darwin’s life and thoughts in “A Childhood Remembered.” She says that “poetry is fierce, precise, and exact. It is not vague or loose or witty.” This explanation plays an important role in what Padel was trying to accomplish with writing Darwin’s life in the form of poetry. Poetry has a way to get the reader to react emotionally. Her explanation also answers the need for poets to write about death. It is the emotional expression that evokes a reaction from the reader that allows for such writing. As time moves on, so does the multiple meanings attached to death.

Padel reads some of her Darwin poems at http//

Everything is evolving around us- even Death is an inevitable change. Darwin’s curiosity about life evolving and adapting over time influenced his theory of evolution. His theory also helps us understand the changes we go through in our lives or how we adapt to someone’s death. Similarly, Adrienne Rich wrote in 1971 in her poem, “Planetarium” line 26 and 27 ( “What we see, we see [line break] and seeing is changing.”

As such, Death means many things and it goes through changes as it is used for many purposes in a poet’s writing.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Quote 5

“In time of difficulties, we must not lose sight of our achievements.”

by Mao Tse-tung

Okay, this is what I got from this quote:

-be consistent

-be patient

-reward yourself for any little step closer to goal

-exercise your mind and body
Hmm... maybe I should post this where I could see it!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Why I Write 3: Enjoy your Craft

I’ve been busy revising and editing my YA novel and I wondered whether one would ever get tired of draft after draft after draft. This is probably my third draft (or is it fourth?) and I have to say I like the story even more. That means I enjoy what I’m doing and I can’t wait to get it done so readers can enjoy it, too.

If you run across many drafts of your own and the ‘joy’ is drained out of you, then, it’s time to think about what exactly is causing you to feel that way.

If the changes you’re making don’t make the story better, stop and put it away for a while (a week? a month?).

If you’re having trouble deleting certain scenes, stop and put it aside.

Maybe a second opinion other than your own will open your eyes. I know I have taken scenes out of my novel to keep the pace and plot consistent after hearing others give me feedback.

If it doesn’t move the story along, discard it.

If you love the story, put it away and get to other writing. Maybe something will click while working on something else to get you back on track.

The main thing is that you keep writing in some way.