Spring Survivor

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The Robert Frost Trail
Amherst, MA

ROBERT FROST TRAIL

Ok, this is awesome:

I’m in the middle of the world.

Water moves by slowly.

Straight, tall trees march up the hill

And cling to rocks.

A few trees have fallen across the water

Casualties of winter

But I won’t be one.

I have my face to the sun for the first time in months.

I am blown away by love

But I’m in love with nothing so petty

As a person:

The whole universe.

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Home Town Inspiration

Atkins ResevoirThe other day I was told, “You are lucky to have grown up in a place that people will always want to come back to.” 

In the spring months since my homecoming, I’ve enjoyed bringing my notebook with me out in the woods and doing free writes. I’ve been turning these into poems, which I am looking forward to sharing. Here is one:

ATKINS RESEVOIR

I’m writing from the spot of so many firsts

Far from cities and nightclubs and bathrooms.

The mountains are dark blue

The sky is grey.

Driving here I passed a sign:

Your community farm.”

Whose community?

Whose farm?

Send me back to the city

Where I belong

Or at least where I can disappear.

I always go to Target when it’s raining

And try to forget about the world outside.

Writing letters to you is my new poetry.

I miss the tortured city days.

I miss the destructive side of myself.

It gave me an edge.

Now the wind blows the pine trees and little else.

I am dying to be swept away but then why on earth are my feet planted on this ground?

This ground that is so much my own.

I can’t share.

I’m selfish as an only child.

This is my turf and no one can possible know it like I do.

In the summer I will walk on the other side of the reservoir.

Maybe I will be alone

Through the woods

Until I reach the rock.

There I will hang my belongings on the knob of a tree

Remove my clothes

Climb the rock

And dive in.

I’ll swim across the expanse on my back

Till I reach the island

Emerging on land like the first dinosaurs

Gasping

Eyes wide open.

I’ll sun myself

Pine needles sticking to my wet skin.

The sun shining red behind eyelids.

But today is just a rainy spring day

And I am eternally waiting.

 

Two Month Writing Marathon-Day 1

Today marks the beginning of an important step in the work on my novel. I have gotten to a place where all the writing I have that is being used in the manuscript is in order. The chapters are laid out. Now, I am embarking on a final round of intense edits.

I have decided to give myself one week to work on five chapters. This way, I should get through the entire manuscript in two months. July 15th, here I come!

As I go through each chapter, I will perform basic grammatical edits. On a sentence level, I will work on pairing down, in an attempt to make my language as concise as possible.

I will perform additional research which is needed to fill in details. On the top of my search list are: Los Angeles, professional women’s boxing, district attorneys, Naples and the Neapolitan Mafia. Feel free to fill in the blanks.

I would like to purchase a tape recorder, so that I can read each chapter out loud and listen back to it.  Listening to the words, instead of just reading them, is essential in developing a natural rhythm and cadence.

Today is a starting point. The idea is to put in four hours a day. It’s about to get very real.

Any tips from writers out there on their favorite editing practices?

Suggestions, personal practices and advice are always welcomed and encouraged.

Happy Editing!Image

Practice Makes Perfect

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Main Street Writers held their annual reading at Food for Thought last Thursday

Last week I had the pleasure of participating in two public readings. One was an open mic in Northampton, Massachusetts hosted by Straw Dog Writers Guild. The other was the annual reading for Main Street Writers at Food for Though Books in Amherst.

I read the same piece for both readings; an excerpt from my novel. I chose the introduction to Little Ho Peep’s back story, a surreal story about a little girl growing up on a dump with her one-eyed gypsy abuela.

I am not naturally inclined to public speaking, it is always nerve racking. But reading my work out loud, to an audience, has been great practice.

It was such an honor having my friends and family there to support me. It also is so humbling to listen to the amazing talent that is prevalent in the Pioneer Valley. Becoming part of this community has been so important to me.

I encourage everyone out there to share their passions. Whether it is music, poetry, visual arts: I believe that the simple act of sharing can broaden our appreciate for our craft.

Happy Reading!

Main Street Writers…Read!

Main Street Writers holds an annual reading every spring. The reading takes place at Food for Thought Books in Amherst, MA.The past week or two I have been helping organize this event.

The writing group has three sessions a week, and there are a lot of writers involved, about 20. All of us will have opportunities to share our work. We hope to have a good turn out of people to enjoy the experience together.

While I have been busy signing up our writers for different drinks and finger food, I have yet to pick a piece to share! I look forward to reading a scene from my manuscript. I think the perfect piece will be no more than five minutes long, spoken. It should be exciting and interesting without being confusing. I want to pick something that doesn’t involve too much explanation as well.

To other bloggers out there: How do you go about selecting an appropriate piece for a reading? I would love to hear your suggestions!

The reading is on Thursday May 9th, from 7 to 9 p.m. I encourage anyone in the area to check it out. There will be beer, wine, food and most importantly, excellent writing!

As always, every day, Happy Writing!Main Street Writers...Read!

A Stab at Poetry

Cover of "Writing down the Bones"

Writing Down the Bones

Fiction has always been my forte. I usually stick to what I know. But recently I have gotten into the practice of doing free writes in a journal. This was a suggestion I picked up from the great book, Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg.

The act of putting pen to paper is so different than writing on a computer. I found it refreshing, tapping into a different part of my creative brain. I would like to share a free write that I did on the bus home from New York City last weekend. I decided to type it up in the form of a poem.

This is something vastly different from the work I usually do and I am looking forward to any comments or suggestions that my fellow bloggers would like to share. As always, and in any capacity, Happy Writing.

4/14/2013

I dreamt of the terrifying fear of jumping off the high dive.

I swore I was in love.

I was so happy

And woke up feeling so sad.

I am powerless in your presence.

I feel pain and hurt and I haven’t seen you for years.

Does this make me weak or does this make me a butterfly?

Am I transforming?

I no longer know if I have wings or if I have toes.

I apologize for my inadequacies.

I apologize for my restless, ruthless emotions.

Why should I shun my failures?

Why shouldn’t I sit on a park bench with nothing but an empty coffee cup?

I like to feel the subway rattling below me.

Last night in bed I felt it again, but further removed

No physical shaking, just a soft noise

Like a moan or a creak of the bed.

Was that it?

Is that all he has for you?

Maybe there is more, but I won’t stay around long enough to find out.

I want to feel the bones under my skin.

How does the sun look in your eyes when you wake?

Will I ever get the chance to know that beautiful secret?

There are so many cars.

But are there as many cars as gravestones?

I would count but I don’t have the time.

My time is more important than money.

I want to lick a penny.

I want to write until the bones in my hand turn to jelly.

New York is there-

On the other side of that hill.

The wind blows all the reeds in the same direction

Except one.

A Canadian Goose stands alone by the side of the highway.

The Turkey Vulture makes fun of its long neck.

I love your long neck.

I want to bite till I draw blood.

I want you to remember me forever.

Why are people biking?

Why is everyone exercising and smoking cigarettes?

I see your face everywhere I look

But it’s only a memory and you are a stranger.

Billboards ask me questions that make me self-conscious.

I always make the wrong decisions.

Where am I going now?

Best not to ask.

It’s strange to see green again, like I don’t believe in Spring.

Soccer fields show their wear with bare patches of dirt.

How does mine show?

I am transparent.

I am a dandelion in a hurricane:

Blown Away.

I am a circle and you are a square.

I hate your corners.

I want to smooth down your edges so we can finally fit together.

I slept until Hartford where I got off to buy a coffee,

To scold my insides back to life.

Remember me: Life?

No, give me more death.

Please, I’m not ready for this shit.

I’m not ready to be surrounded by passengers asking me the same question fifty different ways.

I’m not ready to go back into the woods with two people in love

And a bunch of animals who won’t show themselves. 

The Anxiety and Excitement of a Workshop

For the past three weeks I have been participating in a workshop at Flying Object in Hadley, Massachusetts. The workshop, run by an amazing writer named Rachel Glaser, is called “Serious Fiction.” The requisites were previous experience in workshops, an sample of writing and a letter of interest, and most importantly a serious interest in writing,

There are twelve women participating in the group, each one with a unique and interesting perspective. The pieces submitted so far have ranged from flash fiction, prose poetry, short stories and other original formatting.

It has been great experience reading my peers’ writing, critiquing and listening to other people’s feedback.

Last Monday, I submitted my first piece for critique. I decided to submit the first two chapters of my manuscript. My first inclination had been to submit a different scene I was struggling with, but Rachel made a good point: when submitting a manuscript for review or possible publication the beginning is so important.

Even if I am happy with how it is, who knows what kind of amazing suggestions or ideas I could get? So I decided to submit the beginning of my manuscripts in hopes of receiving great feedback.

I have been anxious all week. I am very excited to hear what kind of critique people will say in next Monday’s workshop. No matter what, it will be a helpful learning experience.

What experiences have other writers had with workshops? Have you found the feedback helpful, distressing, obnoxious? I would love to hear from all of you bloggers out there and  as always, Happy Writing!