Monday, May 29, 2017

Happy Memorial Day!

Hope everyone has found their weekend running smoothly, relaxing, and commemorative.
If you are visiting family or friends, or another trip, please drive safe and patiently. Also, make sure your pets can’t escape during the fireworks by checking gates, crates, and homes. Please supervise children. Many tend to get hurt during this time.
The best thing would be to not to throw fireworks (but that’s a humble opinion). The neighborhood would be safe, there will be less pollution and clean-up for the next day, and your pets will still love you. We can entertain ourselves in other ways that are enjoyable and fun and not hurtful. Just something to keep in mind.
Oh! And if you do throw fireworks, please don’t exaggerate and keep the whole neighborhood up until 6 a.m. or be one of those who keep throwing them for the rest of the month. Thanks.

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Monday, May 22, 2017

Writer’s Workshop 23: Poetry Confessions without the Truth

   Tim Hatch conducted a Poetry Workshop on confessional writing during the MT. SAC Writer’s Weekend in April 2017.
   Hatch had us think about our early in life or recent memories, sacred or not, without having to give every detail to tell the memory. It’s more about the emotion. The more meaningful the memory, the better.
   Then, the prompt continued with a series of questions he would ask, such as:
are you alone in this memory?
what are you wearing?
are you holding anything?
where are you?
what are you doing?
   Hatch mentions that poetry is about getting a response from the audience and not to be attached to the truth because stories can change to service the poem. In other words, a memory poem is like a creative writing piece where you add fictional elements to portray the emotion and subject.
   One way he suggests to clear your mind if you come to a difficult subject is to take a walk outside. It doesn’t have to be a park as long as you are walking. This works well when you have a hard time getting the images down or before you revise the piece you’re working on.
   Another way Hatch suggests to revise is to ask questions like ‘if you could go back to this memory, what would you say to yourself/person in the memory?’
   Sometimes revisions aren’t what we expect.
   After this, you can write for ten or fifteen minutes. Go ahead and try it based on the few questions I have. You can add more questions regarding the five senses.
   At first, I didn’t have a clue as to what to write, but as he asked the questions, I was able to bring out the memory of walking to the bus stop as a child.

   The last suggestion Hatch shared was to write in complete darkness for 20 minutes in order to extract a memory. However, he cautions that this is an intensely emotional exercise and not to have any sharp objects nearby =) I’ve tried this only once and found myself with dream-like poems, but you never know what you’ll get until you try.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Quote 25

“A good rider can hear his horse speak to him. A great rider can hear his horse whisper.”
-Author Unknown

When I read this quote, I thought of the different ways you communicate without speaking by using gestures in place of words and eye contact or facial expressions others could read. It also, reminded me of how you can learn from your pet’s behavior what they are saying. You can learn to differentiate the barks your dog make and the tail position cats make when they are upset. Then, I went further and applied it to writing.

The ‘horse’ is the muse- the creative part of your brain -to which we let loose to write poetry and stories. Sometimes, we force this creativity (‘hear the horse speak’), but if you let it drive your writing, you end up with less description, less details, less spontaneity, and more clich├ęs.

If you stop playing editing cop on every turn, you would find ideas flowing and write things you may have never thought of (‘hear the horse whisper’). You would tap into that subconscious part of the brain where the weird isn’t so weird after all, the creativity is boundless, and new angles to retold stories are found.

Let’s give room to this type of ‘riding’ and enjoy the view.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Short Stories & Such 33: Running with a Ghost

The following short story was written with the intention of following the prompt to the letter, but as any writer would tell you: not gonna happen. The good thing is, I managed to write a story, tried my best to keep it in his perspective, and in present tense (I hope).

The Writer’s Digest prompt from Brian A. Klems’s “Writer’s Dig” March 21, 2016 post follows here:
You start training to run a marathon. Things are going well and you’ve developed a route that you like to run. One day you notice someone peeking out the window of one of the houses you pass, though you think nothing of it. But then the next day the peeper is back again. And the next day. Finally, you decide to confront the peeper and knock on the door. But when the door opens, you are shocked to find out it’s someone from your past—who you thought was dead.

Here's my attempt:

Running with a Ghost

Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.
Those words rang in my head for the past half hour. How I got talked into running a marathon is beyond me. Dealing with architecture is more like it. Getting the right obtuse angles on designs no one has thought about gets my adrenaline going.
Though, things are going well. The route I mapped out has worked out and my stamina has gone up. Too bad I can’t say the same for the bedroom.
One more mile and its shower time. Probably the best motivator since I got that new showerhead installed.
Oh, boy. There’s that peeper again. Can women be peepers? Yesterday she was there, peeking out the window of the yellow colored house like she was searching for something. I thought nothing of it, but today, she’s gawking directly at me. So, I decide to run on the opposite side of the street and head home. Only, I couldn’t get her big eyes out of my head.
Jogging in place for the light to change, I wipe my brow and crank my neck. Shivers travel down my spine and I turn to the yellow house. The brown blinds were still open and her figure there.
Call me crazy. Call me stupid. But confronting this peeper will set my mind at ease. At least, that’s what my father used to say. It could be nothing after all.
Ignoring the light change, I keep my jog and head toward the peeper’s house. Once I turn into her driveway, which has cracks and weeds growing out of it, she closes the blinds. Hmm, maybe not the sociable type.
Using my shirt to wipe my face, I take a deep breath, and knock on the green door that may help ease the sight from all the yellow.
While I wait, I do a hamstring stretch and glance at the spider webs lined up along the four plant pots on the floor. I knock again. This time, she opens.
“Hi,” I began. The minute I saw her face, mine froze. Actually, all my body froze like I had just seen a ghost. One that should have stayed buried.
She held the door open with both hands, leaning against the frame, fluttering her heavy mascara eyelashes.
Those big blue eyes. She was supposed to be… dead.
“Hi,” she said with a smile too familiar.
She nods and giggles. Then, she leans out, turns her head from left to right.
Her hair is semi-brushed and her dress straps loose on her shoulders. She stops, looks up at me, and grabs onto my shirt, drawing me in with a strength like a dinosaur. Okay. Maybe a bear, but she held me until she pushed me down on the coffee stain brown sofa. The dark earth colors are starting to creep me out.
“Hey!” I manage to say after I clear the dust blowing out of the sofa cushions.
“You miss me?” She flirts with her hair, pulling it to her left side and tilting her head. “Say you miss me.”
“I should finish my run, Sera.” This whole scenario was a rerun of our past. I couldn’t go through that again. Not with the way she left things, and then, dying…
She took hold of my chin and spread her legs to sit on top of my thighs.
“I have to hand it to you, Beni. I get why your jerk friends tried to, but you?” She made a strange clicking sound with her tongue. It coils like a spring and I blink several times. She moves my face to the side and smells my neck.
I took hold of her hand and moved it away from my chin. “Look, let’s not do this, okay?”
“Do what?” She flutters those big eyes again. Then, bounces on top of me.
“I said, stop.” I pull her arm down. “I didn’t know what they were up to.”
“Yes you did.” She slaps me with her free hand.
Boy, did she hit hard. freight train hard. My cheek pulses like a recently gouged eye. Okay. Maybe just a cut.
“You thought yourself better and left me to rot.” She maneuvers her knee to my groin.
My heart beat like if I was high on something as I look down at what she intends to do to my privates. Shaking, I stutter, “Apparently, you didn’t rot.”
She slaps me again. This time, my lip splits open and out came the blood.
She cocks her head sideways, unblinking, and drooling from her mouth.
I look away and quickly wipe the blood.
She licks her lips and pushes her knee slightly into my groin. “Those so called friends threw dirt on me. Did you know? Huh?” She pushes further in. “Did you know?”
“No.” I caught her knee. “Geez, Sera. I didn’t know. I thought you crawled out… until I heard the report.”
“Well,” she said with distaste, “you’re the last one.”

Monday, May 1, 2017

Why I Write 13: Creativity’s Pull

There are many reasons we choose to write as there are topics to write about. Once you get the writing bug, though, you can’t seem to want to stop. You find ways to write, whether it be ten minutes a day or three hours.

There are stories inside me wanting to be shared, so I recently attended the Mt. SAC Writer’s Weekend in which various poetry, fiction, and art workshops were offered. I wrote until I had creative overload.

It was a wonderful experience and some prompts were challenging. Sometimes, I meandered from the prompt, but I was reassured that as long as I was tapping my creative side, it was good writing.

All writing is good. Getting things down on the page is the first step. Your editing self can stay back until you complete what you started- a short story, article, novel, poem… Fix it later. Research some more after. It will all come together.

Periodically, I will post some of the notes or prompts shared that day and my attempts with them.

Here’s some reasons I continue to write, my poem “Stop to Think” got published on vox poetica April 2017 section of ‘today’s words’ ( Check it out =)

Also, my poem “It Was as if You Cast a Spell Over Me” was published in the Altadena Poetry Review: Anthology 2017 and can be viewed on the preview! It’s also a great collection, so don’t hesitate to support fellow poets.