Poetry Sketch – Haibun

This is my response to a writing prompt on gather.com.

I do not draw or sketch. I write. My first published writing was a creative nonfiction story, but since then I’ve concentrated on poetry. At the writer’s conference, I was given a blank journal and pen. The cover of the journal had an ink swirl on it: You know you’re bored when you draw tornadoes. Not my reaction at all – ink swirls on a page isn’t boredom. It’s the writer’s way of conquering the abyss staring at him.

Where do I begin
An empty page taunts my pen
Sketch me poetry


Southwest Writer’s Conference Wrap up Part 2

When the hour was up for the second workshop, it was time for lunch. Well it was free food provided by Sam’s Club. I’m not going to complain.

The third session I attended was Seven Steps to a Successful Book Launch. Someday if I ever get off my procrastinating butt, I will get a chapbook compiled. I’m ahead of the game for a successful launch. They used to talk about your elevator pitch. If you’re ever in an elevator with an agent or publisher, what is your 30 second spiel. Now it’s what is your 140 character spiel. Yes, social media is our friend. I already share most of my poetry on twitter and facebook.

Aside – my biggest reason for not having a chapbook compiled yet. It’s too much fun replying to weekly/daily challenges on social media. Instant gratification. Also why I enjoy fanfiction – readers reply quickly to a post. Print publishing can take a year or longer before your words reach readers.

This week https://twitter.com/pssms Micropoetry society’s challenge is #dance

Words waltz to and fro
as pen dances across page
Poetry spills forth

Last night at the #poetparty on twitter, I talked about the tyburns I wrote in October. I was introduced to the form back when we learned the Little One would need surgery on her foot. One of the first tyburns I wrote:

Like pirouette twirling, swirling spin
Life can be a hurling, whirling win

I share both old and new poetry on twitter and facebook. I also submit poems for publishing. When one is rejected, instead of sending it out to another market, I post it. I know I approach writing more as a hobby than a living, but I’m enjoying it. Someone may just have to compile my poetry into a chapbook when I’m gone and done having fun with this writing experiment. In the meantime, I don’t mind sharing my writing via social media. At least I’m not stressing with edits and galleys.

I have seen my words on galley pages. I admit it is cool. But checking over a few pages is a lot less stressful than checking a book. Which brings me to the last keynote speaker of the conference, Jenn McKinlay . Her latest book, Read It and Weep will be released tomorrow. She told us how she almost missed naming the poison. The galleys were already proofed and somehow the poison went unnamed. Now there is a big stressor. The omission was remedied before going to print. McKinlay fans do not panic; the author saved her own neck.

Life can definitely be a hurling, whirling win. On Friday, Nov. 1st, the Little One participated in team day. She scored a win, capturing the other side’s flag and racing it home without being caught. Yes, this was the same little girl in a wheelchair and crutches last year. Look out world; she’s twirling through life again! Although since my big birthday is less than two weeks away now, could someone slow the Earth’s spin a little? Thank You!

Writer’s Conference Wrap Up

Yesterday I attended the 4th annual writer’s conference right here in Avondale. I attended the first conference back in 2010 for free. The town put it together with grant money. It was very well attended. What writer in her “write” mind would pass up a free conference.

I enjoyed it very much, but the next two years with a $100 price tag and no poetry focus, I didn’t register. This year the price went down slightly and breakfast and lunch were included. Also I have a big birthday coming up in two weeks. I decided to treat myself to an early present.

Wow! What a difference charging to attend makes. I talked to someone who has attended all four years and he said every year attendance has dwindled.

There still was no poetry focus. I put on my survey sheet to try and get Alberto Rios as a speaker next year. Yes, Arizona finally has a state poet laureate. However, I did enjoy meeting other writers and the workshops were fun.

The first keynote speaker, Annette Rogers from Poisoned Pen Press, spoke about the hook in the first page/ paragraph of your book. She also said to make sure your book was perfect before sending it on to publishers. Now I got Poisoned Pen Press is a small press and they don’t require agents to sell one’s book. But there is a huge difference between a well written book and perfection. The press does have editors. You tell novice writers to seek perfection they’re going to freeze.

Fear of perfection
Keeps my pen at a standstill
Freezing me in place

Well onto our first workshop. I chose the Fanfiction one. Yes, folks, I overcame my fear of submitting my writing to perfect strangers to judge writing Fanfiction. I submitted my Star Trek stories to the Strange New Worlds anthology. I never had one accepted, but I met some wonderful writers the years I submitted and received some great critiques. That very first year I submitted to Strange New Worlds, 2002, I sold my first story.

I always enjoyed reading and writing Fanfiction. I just finished reading Who Killed Kennedy by David Bishop. A very well written Doctor Who Fanfiction. Yes, you can actually get paid to write in someone else’s playground. Though most writers do it for free. It’s a fun genre and I enjoyed the speakers in this workshop. Though I was amazed how many of the writers did not know of the existence of Fanfiction or of fanfiction.net.

The second workshop I attended was Story on the Spot, hosted by page one literary center. And yes, we wrote stories on the spot. Each workshop was only an hour long not enough time to really work out a story. But we collaborated with other writers and had to work off the cards from the story telling game.

My table got romantic suspense as a genre. Yuck! Where is Sandi Layne when I need her. Still we managed to brainstorm something which may turn up on page one’s website. We were their guinea pig group. And they did say a workshop like this would most likely be at least three hours at their facilities. I said, poetry would have been a better genre with only an hour to work.

More on the rest of the conference in another post.