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Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

2013-10-30 picture 4  My last few months have been filled with speaking engagements and book festivals, along with conversations and meetings with other writers and a myriad of people in the publishing industry. Somewhere in one of those conversations, and I don’t remember exactly where or who asked the question, but the question was asked.  What are three words that describe the theme of your writing and who you are as a writer?

It didn’t take me long to answer. All I had to do was think of my books that have been published or are in the process of being published: From a Grieving Mother’s Heart; For a Grieving Heart; and my debut novel, Family Inheritance, and my three words were clear: Relationships, Connections, and Overcoming.

As I thought about it, those three words pretty much cover the gist of who I am. My relationships with the core people in my life are what keep me grounded and glad to be alive. My connection with my Higher Power, the energy of those who have passed away, and the endless possibilities of life are what help me understand my purpose and the impact I’d like to leave when I am gone. And I believe that overcoming is one of the greatest opportunities that life consistently offers to all of us. I give credence to the approach, “Don’t tell me it can’t be done, tell me what it’s going to take to do it.”

It amuses me that three words can meld together all of the different facets of me and my writing and paint a pretty strong picture of what my books and I are all about. That is the wonderful, amazing power of words. With the correct word, we can convey a legion of thoughts, ideas, and emotions. With the right word, we can chisel a character’s personality. With the appropriate word, we can set the tone for our story. Oh, what power and responsibility to be someone who is choosing and stringing together words to inform, entertain, and move people.

What about you? What are three words that describe you as a person, and if you’re a writer, describe your writing as well? It’s an interesting exercise and an eye-opening one as well.

 

 

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Image I don’t consider myself a poet—even though I have written some poetry—and I certainly don’t like all poetry. But I have to admit that there is something wonderfully magical and even spiritually healing about writing and/or reading it. Only in a poem can three or four lines resonate with feelings that don’t have to be explained, a back story that doesn’t have to be told, and a voice that is simply accepted for what it is.

I’m not a person who memorizes poetry or even the names of poets, yet I have several poems that are earmarked for easy access, and each time I slowly read them out loud, they calm and mesmerize me.

I love the writings of Kahlil Gibran and often read Song of the Flower. I will share the first six lines with you and highly recommend that you seek out this poem to read it in its entirety.

I am a kind word uttered and repeated

By the voice of Nature;

I am a star fallen from the

Blue tent upon the green carpet.

I am the daughter of the elements

With whom Winter conceived;

Yet, with all its beauty and wisdom, poetry is not as well read as fiction and poets have fewer outlets in which they can share their talent, their craft, and their appreciation for beautifully written verse. That’s why I love it that April has been designated as National Poetry Month. During thirty full days, poetry can take center stage to revel in its own beauty, and poets are encouraged to come to the forefront. It’s a time that those of us who dabble in poetry from time to time are encouraged to slow down, clear our minds of things we have to do or characters we are creating, to let the words flow in lyrical verses that we can then hone and tweak to be shared or set aside to be enjoyed in quiet moments.

From time to time, I’ll come upon a verse whose simple words guide me daily in how I want to live, and I’ll end this post with one of my favorites from Longfellow, A Psalm of LIfe:

Lives of great men all remind us

                  We can make our lives sublime,

 And, departing, leave behind us

                 Footprints on the sands of time.

If you are a poet, or someone who dabbles in the craft, BQB Publishing is sponsoring a poetry contest worth checking out. The information is posted on their Facebook page.

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I feel like I need a drum roll, or a curtain being raised as I wait in excitement and anticipation to see what the audience will think. After all, the cover for my debut novel which will release in October, is a big deal to me.

It always amazes me how things can be happening all around us, all the time, and we don’t notice any significance until we step into those shoes. I’ve been surrounded by book covers ever since I was a young child and began to love and be fascinated by books; and I still have that fascination to this day. But, until I started working with my publisher on my own book cover, I had no idea of the love,  patience, creativity, thought, and work that goes into creating a good cover for a book. Nor did I really understand the extreme importance of a strong cover that will draw the audience to the book and then to open the pages and want to take the book (or eBook) home.

When we first started creating a book cover for Family Inheritance, I had an idea and concept in mind. Yet, as the publishing team and I worked together, new concepts started to emerge, and the characters from the book began to make themselves known in regards to the cover. (I know . . . for those of you who are not fiction writers, I’m beginning to sound a bit nutty.) Then one day, it just fit. The book, the cover, and the characters all seemed to belong together in one solid unit. Now, I can’t imagine the cover being any different than it is.

So, this phase is done. The book is in its finishing stages of being polished and honed, my marketing plan is coming together, and stage fright is starting to set in. Ahhhhh, the joys of being of author. But, I’m loving every moment of it.

Imagine a drum roll as the curtain slowly opens. Ladies and Gentlemen, I’d like to present . . .

Family Inheritance Cover Art Smaller Family

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A week before Thanksgiving I was on my way to a poetry reading at our local Barnes & Noble where I intended to read from my book For a Grieving Heart. Before the event, a friend and I stopped for dinner at a local restaurant and starting chatting with some people we know. I mentioned that I was nervous about the poetry reading and one of the guys said something to the effect of “You do stuff like this all the time. Why are you nervous?”

My mind filled with responses like “Dah! What do my abilities have to do with my feelings?” but Mom and life have taught me to seldom speak words that quickly rush to my tongue without going through my mind to ensure they are appropriate. So, I bit my tongue, smiled, and explained that because the poetry was written during my time of grief after my son died, it was harder to read.

But the whole conversation got me thinking. What do abilities have to do with feelings? Not a thing! Just because we’re good at something doesn’t mean we know that we are, or that we don’t feel scared, intimidated, less than, overwhelmed, etc. In fact, very often, the things we are good at from the world’s perspective are the things that we feel the most frightened by. But if we can identify our fear, take steps to minimize it to the best of our abilities, and then move forward anyway, some of our greatest experiences and most pleasant moments might just be waiting for us.

I knew that reading my poetry in public was intimidating for me because I’ve never studied poetry, don’t know all of the “requirements” for a good poem, these poems are especially emotional for me, etc. and I had some fear about really making a fool of myself. So, I enlisted my good friend Betsy to come with me to ensure I wouldn’t chicken out, and to give me the assurance that at least one person there would like the stuff.

When we got to the reading I discovered that the event leader that particular night was a retired professor who had taught poetry at Radford University and the knot in my stomach enlarged to the point that it was also pushing against my throat. As panic was pulling me toward the door, Betsy’s chatter and encouragement kept me heading toward the chair.

I made it through, read my poetry, and met some delightful people. My poetry was received well. The professor from Radford encouraged me to keep writing and to even study poetry because I apparently have a natural talent for it. Who knew!

Once again, I was reminded that our fears are seldom attached to reality, but that doesn’t mean they don’t often show up in our lives, grab us by the throat, and tempt us to run and hide instead of moving forward to continually discover more about ourselves and life in general.

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Fall coloursA Facebook friend shared this photo this morning and it triggered my mind into contemplating the beauty and purpose of fall. As the leaves begin to turn colors and present us with spectacular panoramas, most of us take a moment or two to enjoy the view then go back to our hectic, busy lives. But what’s the purpose of fall? It’s a gentle transition from the season of growth and production (summer) into the season of rest (winter), and the way nature does it, the whole transition process is in itself beautiful.

How many of us really learn from nature to understand that there is a time for growth, a time for rest, and the important transition time in between? This morning, as I looked at this beautiful picture, I finally got it. I’m one of those people who is always expecting production and growth from myself, and I rest only when my mind or body says “enough!” For me, it’s not a bad thing because I genuinely love my life and what I do. But this morning as I gazed at the picture I understood that I’m cheating myself out of the beauty of those moments of transition.

I finally understand the lesson here. . .allow ourselves not only to rest but the transition time in between when we get ready for resting, and those moments in themselves hold beauty. So, as of today, I intend to make time for transitioning. For me that will mean taking time to have a cup of chamomile tea and some deep breathing before I go from my full-out day into eight hours of sleep. Or maybe I’ll sit out on the deck and look at the fall panorama and whisper my gratitude before I gently snuggle in for the night.

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