Inspiration

It’s finally Sring time! The first official day of Spring was Friday, March 20 and I know I’m not the only one who was excited about that.

sunny_daffodils-2This is a time of renewal and rebirth. And allergies. So many allergies.

Do you find inspiration in this time? In the yellow daffodils and your ability to walk outside without a jacket? I feel like this is the poets’ time. Or, at least a time for those poets who have a passion or attachment to nature.

I know that the weather has inspired me to shave my legs for the first time in months and also to contemplate an attempt at gardening on my apartment balcony. And part of me keeps contemplating tackling the idea of Spring cleaning, but it seems that I’d rather cook and go to the gym.

My fiction writing tends to be affected by the season in which I’m writing it. Is anybody else like this?

I typically start a work off in the season that I’m currently living. I’m sure this doesn’t always hold true, but it’s so much easier to look out the window and be inspired by my surroundings to create a scene than to try to remember what the world looked like before that particular temperature change hit.

Take my novel, Collecting Humanity as an example. I currently too buried in track changes to remember what scene I start it off in, but I’d be surprised if it wasn’t the Fall. I did, after all, write the entire thing in November.

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?

Citations

I know, I can’t bring another Story Piece today, but I can find time to give you two posts in one day instead? We already knew that I was strange.

I recently realized that I haven’t been citing from the book that I’ve been using to find quotes from. And, because I think it’s important for you to use citations in work, it must also be important for me to use citations in my work. This posts is simply giving you a head up that whenever you see some words in magenta at the end of one of my posts, that is a citation from Son of Citation Machine.

ExampleofMagentaCitation

Above is a better example of the magenta that will be happening. I know that it looks pink, but if you have a WordPress account, you can look at your color options and this one is, in fact, known as magenta.

Anyways, I’m going to go through the other few Weekly Quotes that I have and make sure that I have MLA citations for each of them.

QuotationaryThe book that I was referring to is the Quotationary put together by Leonard Roy Frank. This is a wonderful book that I’m pretty sure my grandma found for me somewhere at some point some years ago–it’s been a while. It’s also a book that I think you should make a part of your collection because it is wonderful and also because it is apparently only $0.98 on Amazon.

I’ve always found quotes to be fun to look at it and they can also be an inspiration for your writing. I find that it’s a great way to spark poetry, in particular.

And this book is designed wonderfully. For one thing, it’s huge! It’s filled to the brim with so many wonderfully easy to read and find quotes.

Frank did a great job when he decided to separate the quotes by subject, making it easy to flip through your ABCs until you find the type of quote you might be looking for. The index is also broken up into topic and author, making it even easier to find what you’re looking for. Each quote has the speaker of said quote along with what they might have said it in, be it a novel or speech or letter. There are even some classic, anonymous quotes at the end of each section.

Finding Time

Noveling

This past year has been a big one for me and it’s almost gone. Looking back, I regret not completing more writing projects and not using the gym membership that I pay for every month whether or not I go.

The excuse that I’ve used, mainly to myself when I questWinner-2014-Facebook-Profileion these things, is that I don’t have enough time. But, after once again tackling NaNoWriMo this year, I know in reality that I’m just lazy most of the time. How could that be a wake up call for me, you might ask.

This year, I am among the proud winners of National Novel Writing Month.

The novel that I created is probably the only writing project that I finished this year, and it is also the biggest writing project that I have ever completed. Somehow, I managed to slay the beast that is 50,000 words.

Somehow, this project became a lot less harder and unattainable as the month went on. I’m not saying it was easy–far from it–but it was no longer impossible. When you think about it in the short term, you only have to write 1,1667 words a day.

When tackling a huge project like this or setting a huge goal for yourself, it’s easier to look at it day by day.

Can I get 1,667 words, go to the gym, write that one poem, finish that one book report today? Don’t think about what you’re going to do tomorrow or about how daunting the end goal is, think about what little pieces you can get done now, in the moment rather than stressing about what has to be done.

During November, I made sure to set aside at least an hour a day, most of the time multiple hours a day, to work on my novel. Sometimes, I would write more than I needed, and sometimes I would write less than was needed. But I always seemed managed to somehow manage to get caught up. I even finished the 50,000 words during the afternoon of November 29 when it wasn’t “due” until November 30.

NaNoWriMo_Word_Graph_2

 

I almost cried when I saw that word document hit page 100. And then I actually cried when I verified my word count and the video of some of NaNoWriMo’s staff cheered for my victory.

It’s such a glorious feeling to have completed a novel.

And now I’ve started the editing process, which I have a feeling is going to take me a long time considering the fact that it is rather long and also a shitty first draft. I did finally come up with a title that I just might keep–Collecting Humanity. Thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated.

Blogging

Once again, I haven’t done very much blogging. At all.

I now have plans to blog here at least once a week. I don’t really have a game plan as of yet for what I’ll be discussing, but it’ll be fun as usual!

One idea that I’m thinking about trying out is a series of weekly posts that give you a scene or chapter in a work of fiction that I’m working on. I think that this would be great because it would both keep me accountable and give me the opportunity to share my work.

I’m also going to be blogging a couple of times a week on No Penny Required. This is where I review a number of different things.

Taking a Break

I know that I’ve said I’m going to start blogging again time and time again, and this promise keeps falling through. The funny thing is that it isn’t because I don’t want to blog–I very much do.

And, despite the fact that I haven’t been present here, I very much have still been writing.

I recently finished a short story that I’d been working on. Well, it’s more “finished” than actually finished because I’m pretty sure I’m going to need to rip the thing apart and rewrite it. But, my shitty first draft is done! I’ve also written some random poems and dabbled a little bit with my novel, and I started a new project yesterday.

Said project is going to be a number of retellings of different stories in the hands of a feminist. I’m still trying to figure out how I want to write these–I’m leaning towards short stories at the moment. I’m hoping this project will be one that sticks.

I’ve also handwritten some posts for No Penny Required, I just need to stop being lazy and get the things posted.

I think the main reason that I haven’t been as present here is because I’m feeling inadequate. What right do I have to try to help others with their writing when I am still learning myself? But…isn’t that the point? Aren’t we all always learning? Maybe if I learn to grasp that, open myself up the idea, I’ll once again feel like I’m able to contribute.

And so, the point of this rambling post is that I’ve decided to take a temporary break from this blog I love. I’ll never stop writing, but I feel that I need to take a step back from IBW and reevaluate what it is I’m doing here.

As always, your thoughts are welcome. Happy writing!

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.