poetry · writing

For Poetry Lovers Everywhere

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Photo by Oliver Hihn

If you’re a writer and/or a lover of poetry, you’re likely to be familiar with Poets.org.  They offer “Poem-A-Day.”  According to their website:

“Poem-a-Day is the original and only daily digital poetry series featuring over 200 new, previously unpublished poems by today’s talented poets each year.”

Today’s poem is a particularly good one, from Ira Sadoff:

Old Selves

Ira Sadoff1945

Ok, I no longer want them,
the many selves I had to manage

that once exhausted friends. I believed

in angels then, thought I might be
an angel—that was me, flying off

on a tangent, just so we could land
on one of my many balconies

so we could look down on everyone.

 

This reminds me of my youth: the self-centeredness, naivete, and drama. He captures it all in just a few words.

Check out poets.org. They feature the works of poets from past and present. I’ve replaced the daily news with a poem each day and it does the soul wonders!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Personal Success

He(art)

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Photo by Randy Tarampi

“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”

Vincent Van Gogh

The voice might then say, “See? This is terrible!” But great work only comes from practice.
Stop procrastinating.
Creativity is the answer to all the “bad” in the world, because art is a culmination of love over time. It is optimism defeating pessimism.
writing

3 Unchangeable Things

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Photo by Nathan Anderson

“A sober friend of mine from Texas said once that the three things I cannot change are the past, the truth and you.”

Anne Lamott, Help. Thanks. Wow.

 

Why play the past over and over in your head? It’s over.

Why argue with reality? It’s the truth. You can’t argue with actuality.

And people. They are who they are. They have their own stories. You have yours. Do not be concerned with their stories, their opinions, or even them. 

If you accept these three certainties, you’ll be happy.

You want to be happy, don’t you?

writing

A Must-Read for All Artists

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Rainer Maria Rilke 1900

“If your everyday life seems poor to you, do not accuse it; accuse yourself, tell yourself you are not poet enough to summon up its riches; since for the creator there is no poverty and no poor or unimportant place.”

Rainer Maria Rilke

I recommend reading  Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke. This book is a collection of letters 27-year-old Rilke wrote to a 19-year-old cadet who was seeking guidance and feedback on his poetry.

His book will ground you and connect you to the true beauty of creating art…of being an artist. He reminds us that the beauty is in expressing our true selves through our craft, not in expecting fame or money.

Rilke died at 51, a successful novelist and poet.

Personal Success

Tiny Beautiful Things

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Photo from Rejoyce Today
Just finished this. It’s a great read with invaluable advice on writing and life. I highly recommend it. There are lingering doubts about the authenticity of some letters and emails to Miss Sugar. Who cares? Each inquiry is realistic if not completely true. Her responses are what really count. Most of her answers include events from her own life. They are compelling! Check it out. 

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I’m also about to read Help Thanks Wow from Anne Lamott. I know I will love this book, because I absolutely adore Lamott!

writing

Dialogue

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Photo by Cristina Gottardi

“One line of dialogue that rings true reveals character in a way that pages of description can’t.”

Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

Natalie Goldberg recommends that you listen carefully to dialogue and speech when you are in public places. Yes, it’s eavesdropping. But it’s also professional development. You’re not listening to be nosy. You’re listening so that you can be a better writer. Listen carefully to cadences, slang, vocabulary and observe mannerisms, facial expressions and reaction times.

How do people reveal themselves? What are they wearing? What does disappointment look like? What about fear? Joy?

Writers are keen observers. Dialogue is part of honesty that Lamott mentioned in chapter one of Bird by Bird.

The more accurate you are about observing and recording, the more authentic your story will be.

Personal Success · writing

The Key to Writing Great Fiction

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Photo by Paul Brandeo

“The very first thing I tell my students on the first day of a workshop is that good writing is about telling the truth.”

Anne Lamott in Bird by Bird

The truth. It’s clear we want the truth, even in fiction. We can spot a lie within a fiction story instantly.  That character would never do that! And then we get angry. Have you ever watched your favorite TV series and then someone does something completely out of character and it makes you so angry you quit watching? Ahhhh…for the love of ratings!

Great art is about presenting the truth. It has to come honestly from the heart, not from the desire to shock or manipulate emotions or increase your follower count.

Lamott emphasizes throughout her book the importance of allowing the characters to come to you and to reveal themselves to you. She cautions against inserting dialogue, action and plot that doesn’t emanate naturally from the characters. It will sound forced because it IS forced.

I’m not a painter, sculptor, photographer or actor, but I believe this philosophy pertains to all arts.  As a famous sculptor once said,

“…a knot of wood or a block of marble made it seem that a figure was already enclosed there and my work consisted of breaking off all the rough stone that hid it from me”.”\

Auguste Rodin (The Guardian)

Observe. Wait. The truth will reveal itself.