poetry, Poetry Month, Spring

Is There A Poem in Your Pocket?

Hello,

I hope this month finds you better in mind, body, and spirit than last month.

Masks are coming down, venues are up, and people are venturing into museums, concerts, and other large inside gatherings. I’m excited about the avenues opening and cautious at the same time.

Unknown Bird in the Garden

The month is ending and rolling into May, bringing a sunnier springtime and birds I’ve never seen before into the garden. We usually have crows, sparrows, and other birds in varying shades of gray, so spotting this red-headed beauty had me tip-toeing for the camera.

But before we slide into May Day, Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day, my own mother’s birthday, and Memorial Day, I’d like to commemorate April’s Poetry Month.

April 29th is the day to share a poem (Poem in Your Pocket Day). I found this one, or it found me:

Instructions on Not Giving Up by Ada Limón

More than the fuchsia funnels breaking out
of the crabapple tree, more than the neighbor’s
almost obscene display of cherry limbs shoving
their cotton candy-colored blossoms to the slate
sky of Spring rains, it’s the greening of the trees
that really gets to me. When all the shock of white
and taffy, the world’s baubles, and trinkets, leave
the pavement strewn with the confetti of aftermath,
the leaves come. Patient, plodding, a green skin
growing over whatever winter did to us, a return
to the strange idea of continuous living despite
the mess of us, the hurt, the empty. Fine then,
I’ll take it, the tree seems to say, a new slick leaf
unfurling like a fist to an open palm, I’ll take it all.

Patient, plodding…growing over whatever winter did to us…living despite the mess of us

I love the colors and visuals in the poem. What strikes me most are the words the greening of the trees. This makes me think of growth even when a plant is dormant.

The rebirth, despite the mess of us. Despite the collective state of the world and our miniature worlds. The verse points to the beauty of life’s realism and the not very appealing aspects. This makes me think of how joy can live after hurt, how the emptiness can be filled, and how we can blow life into dying embers.

The poem reminds me that we can nurture the strange idea of continuous living. I want to remember that instruction.

So, to remind me, I stare out my window and see the succulents in the garden. They were various shades of green until they bloomed their flowers. Now, we have an abundance of butterflies and bees that makes our cats give us attitude when it’s time to come inside. They too would rather be in the sunshine.

Heidi Ho in the Garden

Writing Life: 14 months to Publication

A couple of months ago, I re-worked my sixty-word description of my novel. Yesterday, my publisher notified me that my manuscript title will have to be ‘retitled.’ The current title is the one I’ve had for soooo long.

I’m a flexible person, so I brainstormed titles with my writing group and came up with a group favorite: Accused. I submitted that one and will hope for the best.

I’m lucky in drawings, and last week I won a 10-minute video session with an editor to go over my query letter for my second novel. The Zoom call was helpful (and humbling). This was sponsored by Manuscript Wishlist.

Next month, I may surprise you with a newsletter format. I’m not a techie person, so wish me luck.

Stay healthy, don’t give up, and enjoy the sunshine, literally and figuratively. See you in May and thanks for reading.

Books, Creative Writing, Encouragement, Writing, Writing Resources

January, The Monday of Months

louisem.com

Hello

I read this online and thought, how appropriate, hence the title of this post.

How have you been doing in the first month of 2022? Hanging in there, I hope. I’m doing the best I can, taking care of things within my control, letting go of other items.

Our house is so much quieter and less glittery and green now that the holiday decorations are gone. There is no more spicy chocolate champurrado permeating the air or steamy corn scented aroma from the tamale pot. No more shiny ornaments for the cats to bat and chase. Now they gaze longingly at the corner of the living room.

I won’t ask whether your new year resolutions are still alive on this last day of January, but hey, each day is new, and we can start again. My daily walk and beginner’s Yoga became a three times a week stroll and twice a week YouTube yoga session.

However, my word for the year “Within” has stayed with me. It’s a word of intention and purpose I’ll focus on as much as possible throughout the year. I love this site that helped me pick the word.

When I reflect on this word, I remember to go ‘within’ to write, meditate, sit in the backyard, pray or eat slower. This works for me because I have a daily desire for quiet and being alone in my thoughts. The quiet time helps to balance out everyday life.

The cold weather (even for Southern California) makes me want to read more than usual. Many of you have real winters, maybe too much winter if you’re undergoing the bomb cyclone on the Northeast and East Coast of the US.

I’ve already spent my gift card on Barnes and Noble. I went on a mini-spree of books, especially in the buy one, get one 50% off section. I haven’t read them all but added them to my ever-growing TBR list. I read e-ARC’s on NetGalley for free, in exchange for an honest review, and also Prime Reads, so I have plenty of reading material.

m.alvaradofrazier

Two five-star books I’d recommend are:

Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson– Two estranged siblings must set aside their differences to deal with their mother’s death and her hidden past. This journey of discovery takes them from the Caribbean to London to California and ends with her famous black cake. This is an amazing read with stunning insight and prose. The cast is multi-racial, with different age ranges, periods, and locations, and still, the author tightly weaves events reflecting a history of a family and best friends.

West With Giraffes by Lynda Rutledge-Woodrow Wilson Nickel, age 105, feels his life ebbing away. But when he learns giraffes are going extinct, he finds himself recalling the unforgettable experience he cannot take to his grave.

It’s 1938. The Great Depression lingers. Hitler is threatening Europe, and world-weary Americans long for wonder. They find it in two giraffes who miraculously survive a hurricane while crossing the Atlantic. What follows is a twelve-day road trip in a custom truck to deliver Southern California’s first giraffes to the San Diego Zoo. 

This month, I focused on another revision of my debut novel and resuscitated an old NaNoWriMo novel.

My mother can’t believe how long it takes to publish a book after signing a contract. She reminds me she may not be around in June 2023 when the novel debuts. She’s legally blind so reading my typed manuscript proved very difficult and time-consuming, but she read the first couple of chapters.

Speaking about writing. I’m amazed at how much people share for free on YouTube or their sites.

A couple of favorites this month:

  • Michele Berger’s The Practice of Creativity offered a mini-training on submission strategies. I appreciate a teacher like her who speaks slower and checks for understanding with her audience. Check out her page, she may offer it again.
  • Author’s Guild YouTube sessions on writing, marketing, and publishing.

Tomorrow is February. I leave you with a couple of funny posts in honor of Valentine’s Day.

I may end up with my books and a pizza on that day. Thanks for reading!