I’ve spent a little time reading inspiring blog posts this morning and found a few that supported my view of New Year resolutions.
Most of these have to do with writing but I’m sure the advice works in different areas of one’s life.
First, the post from author K.L Krane who writes “New Resolution for 2019: No Resolutions.” She details her exhausting reading and writing goals for 2018 (which left me way tired) and compares this to a new perspective. Check out her blog post.
This drawing from the talented Debbie Ridpath Ohi illustrates what many of us writers do to ourselves. The wisdom given by historical fantasy novelist Juliet Marillier is well said.
In 2018, author K. E. Garland began a new way to create resolutions. She resolved to remember five concepts.
After formulating what she intended to focus on she typed out the ideas on paper and stuck them to her mirror where she’d recite them daily.
Wow, simple, doable, and placed in an area she knew she’d be every morning and evening. I like her idea and am planning to adopt her method and post on my mirror and on my laptop.
Myself? I’m a fan of focus words and intentions. More about that process here.
Whatever you resolve, intend, or conceptualize for yourself this year, believe in your process and I hope you have many happy adventures.
In the spirit of poetry month, I thought I’d make a poem for this week’s post. Last year, I celebrated the month with the post Late To The Poetry Party, offering a poem and several links to other poets (who actually submit poems and win honors).
Have you ever heard a term that sounded so odd you wanted to blurt, “Say what?”
That’s how I felt when I first heard of Ekphrastic poetry but I didn’t ask the question out loud. First, my mind and tongue tried to wrap itself around the weird word. Second, maybe I didn’t want to hear the definition; sounded like a cutting word.
I heard the word from my writing mentor, Fred Arroyo, who participated in this interesting workshop:
“PINTURA : PALABRA, a project in ekphrasis” is a multi-year initiative that encourages new Latino writing inspired by art, above all a Smithsonian American Art Museum traveling exhibit titled Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art. Aspects of this initiative include ekphrastic writing workshops; inviting writers to engage with the exhibit; and partnering with literary journals to publish portfolios of ekphrastic writing. The exhibit debuted in Washington, D.C. in 2013 and concludes its tour in Sioux City, Iowa in 2017.
An ekphrastic poem is a vivid description of a scene or, more commonly, a work of art. Through the imaginative act of narrating and reflecting on the “action” of a painting or sculpture, the poet may amplify and expand its meaning.
Now, whenever I go to a museum or see a lovely piece of photography, my creative juices begin squirting and sometimes land on something I like.
This is a photo which mesmerized me for a few minutes. A story followed.
In another time,
sunlight danced on the shoulders
of forbidden lovers
pressed against columns
moist with passion
a canopy to cover scandal,
sighs of love.
Her velvet gown
crushed by nubby wool
of a friar’s frock,
surrounded by scents of jasmine
and aromatic oils.
More than one great romance
glowed in the shadows
of the setting sun
in another century, in another monastery.
The photo connected with me, perhaps because I love architecture, medieval times, and television shows like “Reign.”
I find that Ekphrastic poetry is a good way to stimulate creativity and can serve as a writing prompt. Many times I need something to propel me to start writing, especially if I’m revising (which is most of the time).
Alchemy is an ancient practice shrouded in mystery. Its practitioners sought to turn lead into gold through a purification process involving heat.
The word “transformation” is a synonym for alchemy. So is “magic” and “power,” both which can describe love.
Love, an emotion, is also a quality we all need more of during these difficult times in our society.
This poem demonstrates the power of love, which trumps hate.
Alchemy of Love (Love trumps Hate)
Never lose grace in faith
Believing there is beauty
To be found in everyone
All of us at one time
Have walked in brokenness
Through the dark corridors
Of our hearts and minds
An empathetic kindness
Compassion without condition
Received from another
Can be the spark that turns
A lost, dark, wounded soul
Towards the healing of light
Mending frayed, fragile lives
Prayers reaching to embrace
The stranger as relation
Engenders the true power of love
I say this with humble gratitude
Knowing I have received love
Undeserved; given love, unrequited
We are called to walk a sacred manner
Believing there is alchemy in love
Reflection by: Frank de Jesus Acosta
This photo made the rounds on Facebook. Eric Gaines, a police officer at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, was standing at a bus stop on March 1 when a teenage boy stopped to pray over a homeless man. The officer snapped this photo.
Eighteen-year-old Stephen Watkins said he was on a bus home from school when a song he was listening to inspired him to get off at an earlier stop in order to bless a complete stranger.
“I prayed for him. I said, ‘God right now you’re using me to bless this man,’” Watkins told WJZ-TV. “Thank you for showing me this song.”
Life can be difficult, sometimes devoid of sense verging on hopelessness. Let’s chose compassion and love to make life a little better in our tiny part of the world. Maybe, just maybe, that gesture will travel and touch someone’s life like this poem and photograph did for me. Keep the faith.
“Out with the old, in with the new.” I don’t like that saying for several reasons, mainly because many old things have value.
But, there is also truth to the phrase. Making room for the new is worthwhile.
A year end review (let’s give this an acronym: YER) is all about looking back. Not to criticize or judge yourself and not necessarily to reflect on what you accomplished but to look back and see what you did and did not do.
A YER applies to any facet of your life: writing, drawing, poetry, cooking, crafting, (insert passion here).
For me, it’s about reflecting on what I’ve done in my writing life.
Here are my reasons for doing a YER:
1. Discovery- If my writing life is contained in a garage, I envision stepping in and searching through the shelves, opening file cabinets, investigating boxes, and poking about the dark corners.
What did I actually do? Is it what I wanted to spend my time on? Did this satisfy me?
I find notes of support, several manuscript rejection emails, a writing conference receipt, a writing fellowship rejection, numerous blog posts, two books on writing craft, 15 fiction books, several poems and an acceptance letter into a mentorship program.
There’s some valuable stuff in that garage. There’s also some dog poop and pee.
2. Appreciation-Look over what you’ve done this past twelve months, close to 365 days, not with a critic’s eye, but with an awareness of what you’ve done.
Highlight some of your favorite sentences, poems, art. “Oh yeah, I did that,” you can say. Post these items on your bulletin board, computer, or wherever you can remind yourself that you did some good stuff-not that this was easy, but you worked at making good stuff. You persevered.
Appreciate the high points and not so favorite parts of your art. Tell yourself: “I took that risk, didn’t work out, but I learned something.”
Recognize that you committed to something. You pushed the envelope. You took action.
3. Motivation-Where did your motivation come from this past year? Are there common themes or images? Why do you think you delved into these areas this past year? Are you still driven to spend your passion on these areas? What inspires you now?
4. Service- Who did you help or what did you bring to light with your passion? Did you share information, resources, increase awareness, touch someone’s heart, or contribute to a community?
Could you do more? (That’s a loaded question, we know we can always do a bit more).
5. Gratitude-What are you thankful for?
I’m encouraged by your thoughtful blog post comments, for allowing me into your life for a glimpse of your world, for sharing your passion and helping me to fuel my own.
I’m amazed when someone subscribes to my blog, comments, or clicks “like.” Thank you for your time. I know it’s valuable.
Our passions are many times a solitary venture so I’m grateful to have a close knit group of writing friends-women who support, encourage, and critique my fiction writing and efforts.
I’m grateful for the patience my family shows me when they know I need quiet in the mornings, when I don’t answer texts or phone calls before 10 a.m., or when I’m spending time away from my home to write.
By going through this exercise, I found I could pat myself on the back (it’s really okay to do that), gently kick myself for wasting time (social media), and feel motivated to continue on with my writing.
I have big plans for 2015 and I’m excited to get started on new adventures.