Wednesday, April 27, 2016

PAD 2016 - Part 3

Day 21 -
She scares me,
but I'm too little
to do anything
about it.

Why won't
Margaret
just leave me alone?

Just let me play
with my toys,
she buried all
of hers.

It's not my fault.
Can't she be nice,
just for one day?


Day 22 - Home

The robin who builds his nest
in the tree outside my door.
The one tulip that bloomed,
I guess the deer ate the rest.

Kids playing baseball,
behind the fence between the yards.
The groundhog that scurries off,
at even the slightest sound I make.

A dozen feral cats, at least a dozen,
they come and go as they please.
I cut down all the brush,
picked up all the trash from winter.

I hope the woodpeckers are still hungry,
enough to visit as much,
even though the town cut down some
of the trees they used to feast upon.

In the front, a small patch of grass,
sidewalks and the main road through town.
It can get busy, especially in the summer,
Cars, bikes, people visiting the Catskills.

I like to watch people sit at the light
because they don't know where the sensor lies.
I should put up a sign, but like other things,
around the house, I just haven't gotten around to it.

The house needs some work, I want to spruce her up,
but I enjoy my surroundings immensely.
My old dependable van parked in the driveway,
I have everything I need right here.

Some new windows and siding,
will do the place good.
The trees, the animals, the quite serenity; 
my own little slice of heaven on earth.



Day 26 – Home

Take me home,
where I long to be.

But where is home?

Along the River Shannon.

Take me home,
where my girl waits for me.

But where is home?

Along the River Shannon.

Take me home,
where I played as a boy.

But where is home?

Along the River Shannon.

Take me home,
where I can feel joy.

But where is home?

Along the River Shannon.

Take me home,
where I'll feel best.

But where is home?

Along the River Shannon.

Take me home,
when my body needs rest.

But where is home?

Along the River Shannon.

Take me home,
to the River Shannon.
Remember me as you
lay me by her side.

I'll drift upon her waters
all the way out to sea,
once my soul has left
and my body has died.

Along the River Shannon.


Day 27-

Long lines? Seems simple enough, I suppose,
but does the prompt mean it literally,
or is this just an exercise in futility?

It seems, the farther we proceed in life,
the longer all of the lines become.
Though I suppose this is better than a short line.

We see those whose lines have come to an end.
They were so young, they were taken too soon.
Those are the words we say when we don't understand.

I think about what lies beyond, it's nice to dream.
I hope that there is something else, but really we
will never know until our time has come.

We will be able to lift up our spirits and look down,
back down upon the ones we love, or will
everything simply go dark once we pass away?

Thursday, April 21, 2016

PAD 2016 part 2

Day 15
There used to be a
commercial; Doublemint gum.
Where are those twins now?


Day 16 – NYC
We saw Washington Square Park,
we saw the Statue hold her torch high.
We saw where the mighty once stood,
now a fountain where you can say goodbye.

We saw churches, and restaurants,
little shops along our way.
We saw the 2nd Ave. subway.
Will it be completed some day?

As we crossed through the city
one thing still remained,
the notion that a place so great,
can never stay the same.


Day 17
Our language is constantly changing,
some think for the worse,
Some say it's worser,
seems all they do today is curse.

People type in acronyms,
too busy to completely speak.
No use of punctuation,
the whole situation seems rather bleak.

As with everything else, it continues
on course to change and evolve.
Some would say they're all stupid,
a worthless bunch of Solves.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

National Poetry Month - April 2016

I hadn't realized, but I have not made a blog post since last year. So, what better way to start the year than with a month of poetry? Each day I will post a new poem, written from the prompts found on the NaPoWriMo website.

Day 1 – Lune

Live in New York State?
New York City:
a great place to vacation.

They may be worlds apart,
but they are
conveniently located to one another.


Day 2 – Family Portrait

We lost all of our pictures,
in the basement flood,
but we still have each other.


Day 3 – Fan Letter

No offense meant to
Meryl, she won't be here
forever, sadly.

She's entertained us
for decades, with memories
that we will cherish.

Eventually,
one will rise to fill her shoes;
Kathleen Littlefield.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Final Blog Post of 2015

2015 was a good year. I wrote more this year than I ever had in the past. I learned a lot along the way, received some rejections, but also acquired some positive feedback; all things to grow on. I plan to make a few final submissions today, and then continue on in the new year.
One thing I thought about this year was; now that I have so many notebooks full of ideas and stories, I should invest in a fire-proof safe. Why? Because what would happen if there was a fire? All of my stories and poems would be gone. Some of it would be saved, if it is online, but I would also put my external hard drive in the safe.
What would happen if I died? What if I died in a fire? Not only would my writing be gone, but I would be vanquished with it. As with most art, it would probably be worth more once I am gone, so I should probably keep it safe. Maybe someday, someone would find a lost story or poem and it would affect them. That's all I can hope for.
Personally, it has been a good year also. Some ups and downs, but the future looks bright. I am excited about the coming new year, new possibilities, and prospects.
Cheers!


WLM 12/31/15

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

13 Tips to Conquer NaNoWriMo 2015

Last year was my first time participating in NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month. I successfully completed the challenge of writing 50,000 words in 30 days. In fact, I came out ahead of schedule; 66,586 words in 24 days.
I have foolishly decided to put myself through this grueling process once again. Here are my own personal tips that helped me meet my goal last year, and will hopefully help me again this year.

  1. Goal: 1667 words per day - If you write more than that in one day, don't slack off and write less the next day. You need to hit at least 1667 each day.
  2. Set time aside - Remove any distractions and stick to a schedule. I would get up every morning, make coffee, and start writing. Stay away from checking email, playing games, and especially goofing off on social media.
  3. Don't edit - You can do that later. Right now, just keep writing!
  4. Make notes – When you are done writing for the day, makes notes for the next chapter. This will allow you to quickly read the notes, pick up your train of thought, and continue writing.
  5. Carry a notebook/ paper – If you are serious about being a writer, you should be doing this already. Always have a piece of paper or a notebook handy to write down any new thoughts or ideas. (I often come up with new ideas at the most inconvenient times; in the shower, mowing the lawn, while taking a walk.) Have your paper and pencil ready!
  6. Research – Do your research on your own time, not during your scheduled writing time. If you're doing research, when you should be writing, you may not have time to write that day.
  7. Don't get discouraged – Take small steps. Meet your daily goal. You can give yourself a pat on the back, from time to time, but don't start celebrating until you hit 50k. (Don't even do it then. Keep writing until the story is done – then you can celebrate.)
  8. Don't let anyone tell you it is okay not to finish – it's not okay. You made the commitment, now stick to it. There are no participation medals; you only win if you finish. This is something you have been dreaming about for a long time; realize your dream. Don't make up any excuses; we all have them and no one wants to hear them (especially another writer). You may not agree with this point, but you will thank me later.
  9. Write what you want to write - If you have decided not to write a novel, but would rather use the time to edit another project, or write a short story, or a collection of poems, or a children's picture book; then do that. There are no set rules. The important thing is to put aside time for your writing. Hopefully it develops into a habit and you continue to write all year long. Maybe this time next year you will be ready to write a novel.
  10. Coffee – Drink lots of coffee, rest well, and be ready to tackle your goal every day. FYI – you will rest easier if you meet your daily goal of 1667 words.
  11. Track your progress – NaNo has some great tools and charts to help you track your progress. Not only do I use their website to track my progress each day, but I also keep a list of dates and word counts in my notebook. If it helps, post a sheet on the wall, near your writing station, to see your daily goal and keep track of how often you've obliterated that goal!
  12. Writer's block – Don't sit and stare at a blank screen. Write something down. Write anything down. Last year, I hit my goal every day, most days I well exceeded it. If I was struggling that day, I just wrote. I didn't care what I was writing, I just wanted to meet my goal. I figured I could edit out the crap later. When I went back to edit, in December, I couldn't remember what part I thought was so awful that I was going to dump it in the first place. That's not to say that everything I wrote was brilliant, believe me it wasn't. But when I started editing, my initial thoughts didn't matter. I cut what needed to be cut and I left in the parts that I thought worked.
  13. Develop a habit of writing every day – I did. Maybe not all of it was great, but at least I was able to get from point A to point B, each day, and keep the story moving. I am a pantser, so this is crucial for me. When I was done, not only had I surpassed the 50k mark, but I had a decent story; one that I was proud of.
So what do you think? Do you have it in you to write the next great novel? You won't know until you try.

You can sign up to participate in NaNoWriMo on their website: www.nanowrimo.org





Thursday, October 1, 2015

Highlights Foundation: A Crash Course in Children's Book Publishing

When you grow up, you sometimes forget that there is magic left in the world. Maybe it comes in different forms, but if you stop, once in a while, and take in the beauty that surrounds you, you can see that it is still there.

I was privileged to receive some much needed magic in my life, recently.

The Barn
High up in the Pocono Mountains, I attended a writers workshop for publishing children's books, a course given by the Highlights Foundation.

The material that was presented, and the instructors, themselves, were invaluable.  Each one of them taught us something different, new, and even fascinating.

The classes were a great source of information which I intend to follow, as I attempt to publish my first children's book. But even more than that, the facility and surroundings seemed to ease my mind and allow me to open up.

I had several new ideas and I started writing a few stories.  I even wrote a children's poem about an owl.

It was about 5:30 am on the second day, I was outside looking up at the stars.  I saw Orion, Taurus, and the Seven Sisters. I was also fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of three shooting stars, all of which I wished upon.  I also saw one star that slowly moved across the sky for about ten seconds, until it turned out its light and said goodbye.

As I stood there admiring the early morning sky, I heard a noise in the distance. It wasn't something I was familiar with. At first I thought it was a dog or a wolf.  As I listened closer, I heard a hoot-hoot-hoot, hoot-hoot-who.  I think that was the first time I ever heard an owl.

Not only has my trip been inspiring and beautiful, but it has been a gift; one I hope to share with the world. Who knows how many books I will write, or how many people they will reach, but if I can make just one child smile, that is all the fulfillment I'll ever need.

Listen to your heart, it may be trying to tell you exactly what you need.  Embrace the magic that surrounds you. Be open. Be honest. And love like no other.

Thank you, Bobbie Combs, Harold Underdown, Jo KnowlesLindsay Barrett GeorgeSneed B. Collard III, Allison Kane, and Patrick Greenish, Jr. for all of your inspiration, guidance, and teachings.
I'd also like to thank each of my classmates. It was great meeting all of you, you made the workshop fun and your spirits are motivating.
Finally, thank you, Jo Lloyd and Kent L. Brown, Jr., without whom my trip would not have been possible.

The Highlights Foundation puts on a wonderful workshop program. I would recommend it to anyone.


Last day: Bobbie Combs, Jo Knowles, Harold Underdown

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Mezzotint

Fancy a creepy tale?  Clink the link to enjoy M.R. James' The Mezzotint (1904).

The Mezzotint

YouTube: Audio

Thursday, May 7, 2015

11 Things a Fish Could do, if He had Thumbs



1. Grab things;
2. Use a TV remote;
3. Turn on a light switch;
4. Scratch his head, while he is thinking;
5. Open a can of soda;
6. Hold a piece of mail up to a light;
7. Turn a screwdriver;
8. Tape a poster to his bedroom wall;
9. LIKE something on Facebook;
10. Tip his cap;
11. Turn a page in a book.

Are there any you can think of?

Friday, April 24, 2015

Down By the Salley Gardens

Down By the Salley Gardens


Down by the salley gardens
my love and I did meet;
She passed the salley gardens
The Garden of Eden 1900 by Hugh Goldwyn Riviere
with little snow-white feet.
She bid me take love easy,
as the leaves grow on the tree;
But I, being young and foolish,
with her would not agree.

In a field by the river
my love and I did stand,
And on my leaning shoulder
she laid her snow-white hand.
She bid me take life easy,
as the grass grows on the weirs;
But I was young and foolish,
and now am full of tears.

The Salley Gardens

by Wayne L Murphy

That is one way to see it
but this a way, might be
As she left the garden, I
gazed standing 'neath a tree
A young woman, hair of gold
a smile that lit the sky
upon approach I wondered
I've never seen thee, why?

She gave me a wink, then she
flashed at me her sweet smile,
Sir, if you've a moment,
please come sit for a while
And right there where I'd lost love,
in the salley garden
I found it once again, my
heart would cease to harden

Poem-a-Day challenge; Day 24: Write a parody or satire based on a famous poem. Take a favorite poem of the past, and re-write it on humorous, mocking, or sharp-witted lines. Use your poem to make fun of the original (in the vein of a parody), or turn the form and manner of the original into a vehicle for making points about something else (more of a satire – though the dividing lines get rather confused and thin at times).

I chose to add to Yeats' poem, and give it a brighter ending.  They are meant to complement each other, and be read together.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

National Poetry Month - April 2015

If you did not read my previous post, concerning National Poetry Month, please scroll down for more information.
For the last two weeks of April, I will post my poems, influenced by the Poem A Day (PAD) prompts on the NaPoWriMo website, here.
If you like to write poetry, check out their website. If you just want to read some poetry, I hope you find something here that you will enjoy.

Sure, write a haiku,
it is easy, you will see.
What rhymes with haiku?

WLM 4/15/15

Haiku Battle

Last night I went to a Haiku Battle, organized by the Albany Poets.  It was a lot of fun, and there were many gifted writers in attendance. Some of the haiku was funny, some took on a more serious tone, but all were well received.
The format was a head to head battle, 3 haiku each, best two out of three won the round. There were eight poets battling, and a bracket system was used.  If you won the first round, you moved onto the next, until there was only one poet left standing.
I got knocked out in the first round, but the woman that beat me went on to win it all.  No harm in losing to the best.
Below are the three haiku I wrote and read at the battle.  I got 1 point for the second one, but lost the round on the other two.

Only one red shoe,
but she needs both to return.
There's no place like home.

He is a drinker
with a slight writing problem,
but are not we all

π = 3.
1415926
& ∞

The last one, I call Pi, and I drew it on a piece of paper, so everyone could see it.  It is a haiku written without any words, just numbers and symbols.  I got some good reactions from it.
Check out the Albany Poets website, all this week they are sponsoring events for the 2015 Albany Word Fest.