Langston Hughes

Yesterday was Langston Hughes‘ birthday; he would have been 113 years old. Did you see the Google Doodle that was made in honor of him? If you don’t have the time to watch it, here’s the poem featured in it.

I Dream a World
By Langston Hughes

I dream a world where man
No other man will scorn,
Where love will bless the earth
And peace its paths adorn
I dream a world where all
Will know sweet freedom’s way,
Where greed no longer saps the soul
Nor avarice blights our day.
A world I dream where black or white,
Whatever race you be,
Will share the bounties of the earth
And every man is free,
Where wretchedness will hang its head
And joy, like a pearl,
Attends the needs of all mankind-
Of such a dream, my world!

langston-hughes-1I wonder, have we obtained the world he dreamed of?

Hughes was a part of the Jazz Poetry era–it’s hard not to feel the rhythm in this one poem while imagining it being set to music. That’s something that I would like to be able to do with my poetry someday. But I’ve never been good at rhythm.

Honestly, what I’d really like to be able to do is achieve the timelessness that Hughes created in this one poem. These 16 lines have both a power and a very real presence in our world today, over 40 years after his passing. All of us become memories, but some memories last longer…

It’s my work more than my name that I’m concerned with though. If I could write something that helps just one person, something that they remember and share with others, my ultimate writing goal would be fulfilled.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Hughes!

Writing Goals for 2015

I know that there are a couple of days left in this year, but I felt like the beginning of the week would be just as good a place to put this post as any.

Looking back at the goals that I made for 2014, the only thing off of that list that I actually accomplished was finishing the novel I started for NaNoWriMo 2013. As you know, I did this by completely rewriting it for NaNoWriMo 2014. And, while I’m disappointed in myself for not having completed any of the other goals, I do think that the fact that I completed the big one, so to speak, is pretty exciting.

So, here are some of the writing goals that I have for myself for this upcoming year.

  1. This year’s “big” goal is that I want to finish editing my novel, Collecting Humanity.
  2. Another main goal for me is that I want to try my hand at freelance writing again.
  3. I’m also planning on blogging regularly both here and at No Penny Required. I made a commitment to both these blogs when I decided to purchase their domain names. I’m also playing with the idea of once again trying to create some sort of author website using Wix.
  4. You may have noticed in the sidebar that I’m going to give myself the poem a day challenge again as well. Even if it’s winds up being something I can’t use, I want to get something down.
  5. The same applies to short stories. I want to try to write as many of those as I can during the year as well, and the Story Pieces series that I’ve started doing here should help.
  6. I would also like to submit my work to different literary magazines,
  7. attempt to find a literary agent once my novel is complete,
  8. and get some professional head shots made for the web and also for, one day, the inside cover of my novels.

There are so many things to see and do and learn in 2015. What are some of your life and writing goals?

JC

This poet actually submitted her work to me during April, which was national poetry month. Yes, this was two months ago, but (as you know well) I can be an unfaithful poster at times. Anyways, this poet wishes to remain anonymous, but was kind enough to still give us a biography.

JC is an odd duck currently living in Nashville, TN, who spends his time contemplating life, being extraordinary lazy, and annoying his cat through interpretive dance. He wishes Seanna the best and hopes the rest of you have an awesome day!

If I Should Have a Son

If I should have a son, I’d tell him to be just like his daddy.

 

I’d raise him to the right thing, even if nobody else was watching.

I’d raise him to be the sort of man his grandfather would be proud to call a friend.

 

Regardless if he likes boys, girls, or something in between, my son will know how to both change a tire and make world-class brownies.

He will know how to defend himself with both words and force.

He will learn not to push someone to their breaking point just because he can’t explain he likes them.

 

If I should have a son, I will overload that boy with so much knowledge that he could dwarf Napoleon.

 

I would do all these things not make him some evil genius bent on conquering the stars, but to provide him the tools and show him that if wanted to, he could anyway.

 

I would show my boy that the world is his for the taking.

I would not demand perfection unless he demanded it from himself.

I would tell him to seek out knowledge wherever he could and make things better when given the chance.

I would tell him, “You’ve only got this one life and this one Earth, so make the best of it!”

 

And when the weight of the world grows too heavy for his shoulders to bear, I’ll wrap him arms and say, “It’s okay. Let me carry this a while. I’ll carry it just as I carried you, one day at a time.”

 

When his first lover breaks his heart in two, I’ll be there to help him pick up the pieces and clean the dishes as he eats his heartache’s weight in chocolate.

 

When his car dies on the interstate the first time, I’ll let his daddy talk him through it, even as my heart screams at me to rescue him.

 

I will be there for my son when his emotions make him feel like he’s going insane.

 

I will understand my son when he needs his father because only he can understand the silence, the nothing that is man that words simply cannot explain.

 

I will arm my son to the teeth for whatever life throws at him.

As much as I am able, I will teach my son to be a man, just like his daddy is.

 

I hear all the time, “The world needs more good men!”

I guarantee that gay, straight, bell bottom pants or mini-skirts, if I should have a son, he’d be one.  

Writing Prompt #8

Today’s Writing Prompt is:

Write a prose poem…any topic this week!

My Response to Last Week’s Prompt is:

It’s hard not to feel
the terror of these walls
as they slowly cave into
shapeless, oozy blobs of
plaster and paint chips.
There’s not much color
left over from those bright
days it used to enjoy.
Maybe that’s what
happens to certain shades
when there’s no one
there to enjoy it.

It’s been so long
that the plants have
started to take over—
growing on, around, in,
and even through the
old mansion. That aching
spiral stair, marble cracked
and sagging, is still
the centerpiece of stories.
And this must, critter
ridden furniture looks
like lumpy ghosts
beneath the dust covered
sheets left by the
memories of people who
lived together with these
semi-shapeless blobs.

Untitled
By Seanna Lyn Wilhelm

I work in healthcare.
Not in a medical way,
but I still deal directly
with patients, and sick people
can be hateful, as I’m
sure you know because you’re
human and therefore must’ve
been sick at some point
in your long or just beginning
life. But, besides certain
cases–the ones who make
me want to cry–I still
can’t help but feel
tenderness for them.

The friendly ones are what
really get to me though–the
patients that treat me like a
person and actually talk to me.
It’s hard not to learn their names
and become friends with them
and grow to love them as a friend.

And I go home each night
and pray for all the faces
I’ve seen throughout the day–
kind and otherwise–
because I know bits of their
stories from the tales
they tell, especially stories
of their sickness. And
sometimes, you go through
that sickness with them,
celebrating the ups and
mourning the downs.

I know when they’re not there.

Writing Prompt #7

Today’s Writing Prompt is:

Using either Pinterest or Google, do a search of “abandoned buildings” and use whatever attracts you most as inspiration.

My Response to Last Week’s Prompt:

He couldn’t believe that his friend, Susan, had set him up on a blind date with someone called Dr. Knuckles. Was that a name for a wrestler or an actual doctor? But, then again, his name wasn’t exactly what people would call “normal” either.

And, what was probably the best part, Susan wouldn’t tell him what this person’s first name was. This annoyed Billy as he had a thing for names and it left the sex ambiguous. The latter didn’t really bother him that much since he swung either way, but he liked to know how to act in situations that he had time to think about before they actually happened. He was a planner.

He hiked his hood up over his head as it started to rain, shoving his hands in his hoody pocket. Billy loathed parking downtown and wished Susan had picked a different restaurant for him and this doctor person to meet up.

Billy hoped he/she/whatever wasn’t terribly ugly; he liked to date people who at least resembled humans. He sidestepped around a large puddle, frowning at the muddy leaves collecting in the gutter flow. He hated gutter flow. And gutters. And rain. And having to walk through it all because the city’s idea of “parking” were a couple structures thrown in the midst of the old and new buildings that composed their downtown area.

When the street lamp in front of him shorted, he stopped and stared at it with chin raised, rain spattering his face and running down his neck. Billy wondered if a passing car’s headlights had made it think of daytime or if the city was slacking again.

Then he shrugged and kept walking. It wasn’t his problem and the restaurant was close anyways.

As he passed the building before his destination, he wished they were meeting there instead. Billy stopped again and stared in the windows, part of him wondering if the baristas thought him a perv. It was a quaint cafe and bookstore in one that he could picture himself melting into. He contemplated going in the store and buying some coffee. But, if he did that, he’d never leave the store. He didn’t particularly care what this Dr. Knuckles thought of him. But he didn’t want to insult Susan.

Billy sighed, watching the small puff of white float out of his mouth. He was glad that it was starting to get cold again.

He rolled his shoulders as if stretching before a workout, and then marched to the next building and through the doors of The Bistro.

This is just a small piece of the short story that I’m currently working on, which was inspired by the previous writing prompt. It’s getting pretty interesting so far; cross your fingers for me that it stays that way.

Woman Writer
By Seanna Lyn Wilhelm

Even a broken clock
is correct twice a day,
but what of a broken mind?
A writer’s mind?
A writer.
A woman writer.

Have you noticed that
there is no such thing as
a man writer?
It’s typical for a man to write,
but a woman who writes
is “other,” is “abnormal.”

Patriarchy wins the day
again. I imagine
they want to put us in zoos.
Some in cages where one
can write, and some where
writing isn’t allowed.

They’d compare how
the two groups acted.
When they grew bored,
they’d turn us into cadavers
to see what it is inside
the unique brain cells

that makes a woman write.
They’re afraid to set us free
because, what would happen
if the world learned
that our otherness is a lie?