Only three more, I promise

Okay, I actually have three more links that I really want to share:

Lear Table and Chair 3Right Hand Pointing’s Issue 77 is, as promised, hilarious. The poem by Matthew Allen Thompson alone just made my evening.

Page 12 plum - Abundance, Burbank, German Prune, October Purple.jpg

Creative Bloomings has a lovely interview with a poet who has joined us in the past at inourbooks.com, Pearl Ketover Prilik (aka “Dr. Pearl”). I enjoyed reading it, and I also liked seeing how Pearl has built her creative writing over the time since we spoke with her. Plus it includes one of my favorite poems by Dr. Pearl: “Girls In Plum Sweaters.”

Lastly, continuing on the “I’m not talking about that NoCar poet laureate thingy” tradition, there’s a nice article in the NYT from a few days ago talking about the wide variety of poet laureates (and the requirements to become one) around the US. [Note to self: if this is an ambition, need to move to a state where every third person is not a poet]

So now I really am going to give the links a break for a while. Back to regularly scheduled programming. Unless you have a link to something really great which we really ought to share. In which case, drop me a line or tell me about it in the comments. Otherwise, this is it. Really. I can stop any time.
A garden party (taken from life) (HS85-10-8754)

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Some Good Reads (and a kitten)

I don’t like creating posts that are “just” links. Over the last few days though, some confluence of good friends and good fortune has provided me with a variety of links to articles which were all, in their own way, really interesting. At least, in my humble opinion. So I figured, share the good stuff with our lovely readers. Thus:

Birth of the poetDear Editor, Dear Writer, Please Stop! A funny, reasonably concise summary of things writers wish editors wouldn’t do and vice versa. Some nice advice here.

Betty Adcock: of poets laureat I swore – I SWORE – I wasn’t going to say a word about the North Carolina governor’s appointment (and subsequent self-dis-appointment) of Valerie Macon as the state’s poet laureate. But Betty Adcock says so clearly what needed to be said that I thought, in case you weren’t already bored to death of the whole story, that this link (which  Ed Madden brought to Facebook) was worth passing on.

Best New Poets has their 2014 list of 50 best new poets out. A few of them I’ve read and loved (Corey Miller’s “Willow Lake Mine” is phenomenal, and while I haven’t read the Benjamin Goldberg poem mentioned, what I have read of his work is phenomenal), which I’m hoping is a good sign for this collection.

CascdiaIf you’re in Cascadia (as a NoCal gal, it’s unclear whether I count, but I thrive healthwise in Seattle. If it weren’t for my sun-loving spouse we’d be up there now. Of course, he’d say if it weren’t for his fog-head wife, we’d be in SoCal, so it’s always something…), the dates for the Cascadia Poetry Festival have been set. I know a few people who’ve gone and who loved it, so if you’re a Cascadian, this might be just what you need to refresh your spirit and meet other writers.

And in case links weren’t enough to make your day, well, here is a kitten:

Kitti cat

A kitten.

 

 

How I learned to love August (and you can, too!)

I am not a summer person. My version of the book would start “Now is the summer of our discontent.” I’m sure that there’s some deep seated reason for it…or maybe it’s just that I don’t like being hot all the time.California Desert Landscape 35

And of all the summer months, I used to think of August as the worst. The dregs of summer. The scrapings of the sunshine barrel. The flowers are blown; the grass is wilted; vacation is over but school hasn’t started. Everything is weary and jaded.

Two years ago, I discovered the August Poetry Postcard Fest. And lo! Now August is my favorite, favorite month – not just of summer, but of the year. Postcard AlbumSeriously, I think it edges out December, and that’s going some. It’s the combination of getting personal mail (I mean, it doesn’t get more personal than a poem written by a real person that your eyes see before ANYONE else’s)  and poetry! Amazing, personal, varied, creative poetry.

If you want to join the fun, it’s not too late. You can sign up until this Friday (July 26th), so just click THIS LINK and ask to be added to the mailing list. I guarantee that as a writer (even if you don’t think of yourself as a poet) this will be one of those experiences you’ll never forget.

See you there 🙂 ~ ina

Blog Tour Continues!

I want to introduce you to two of my writer friends, whose blogs are “next-stops” on our blog tour:

Theresa_MunroeFirst, novelist TA Monroe: Theresa is one of the writers I’ve met on Facebook, and our FB friendship is one that’s very meaningful for me. She works really hard – really, really, really hard – on making her writing not just good, but great. Her book, Another Place on the Planet was one of the first ebooks I ever bought. A new edition is out and can be found on Amazon through this link:  Another Place on the Planet.

Her official bio: T.A. Munroe lives just outside of Phoenix, AZ with her husband, two cats and one very active puppy. She’s been telling herself stories all her life, but has only been writing them down for the past six or so. Another Place on the Planet is her first novel. Its sequel, Places Bright and Dark is scheduled for release in September.

Please check out her blog, where her “tour date” is currently being held, to find out all about this writer’s process: TA Monroe.

We’ll also be meeting the second writer I’ve asked to be on this tour: poet Daniel Ari. danielariDaniel is one of my few FB writer friends that I’ve met in “real” life: after hoping to get to meet him for years, I finally got to read with him and several of his friends at a gallery show, and what a lovely event it was! He’s a phenomenal poet (he won an early contest here on inourbooks) .Some day I’ll have to talk about their involvement in the best mother’s day present I think I’ve had: my husband surprised me with a trip to see them – I won’t say more now because it deserves a whole blog post. Let’s just say it was wonderful and amazing and relaxing (and I am NOT a relaxed chick, let me tell you).

Daniel’s official bio (which will tell you all you need to know about why I think he’s great):

Daniel Ari married poetry in 1987. Today the relationship is intimate and subtle like the flavor of vichyssoise. A poet, copywriter, teacher and performer, Daniel deeply loves words and is awed at their power, but he still needs help spelling vichyssoise. His forthcoming book One Way to Ask pairs poems in an original poetry form called queron with illustrations by 60 different artists. He has recently published poems and essays in Poet’s Market (2014 and 2015), Writer’s Digest, carte blanche, Flapperhouse, and elsewhere. He would submit poems to a journal, if one existed, called Vichyssoise.

Please check out Daniel’s blog Fights With Poems to check out his entry on his poetic and artistic process. And please top by his collaborative poetry and creativity blog, IMUNURI, to which I am going to be a contributor (if you can’t hear the 10,000 gleeful and excited exclamation points, just insert them in your imagination).

I hope you enjoy these two great writers as much as I do.

ina

Virtual Blog Tour: Hi, World

1I was fortunate enough to be invited to be part of this virtual blog tour by Claudette Young. I met Claudette when  I was first becoming aware that there was a supportive online world of creative writers and was putting out tentative feelers at places like Writer’s Digest and Facebook.  She’s inspired me in so many ways – among other things, she and her blogging partner, Meena Rose, were the inspiration for this blog. Theirs was the first writer’s blog I’d seen that was co-written: Two Voices, One Song. I can’t recommend the blog enough.

Claudette herself is an ongoing inspiration: she’s been writing seriously since 2008 in multiple genres: poetry, science fiction/fantasy, flash fiction, children’s literature, women’s fiction, along with creative non-fiction, essay, and memoir. Claudette has been published in numerous online publications for poetry, fiction, and non-fiction, as well as print magazines and two international poetry anthologies. I’m always amazed at the number of writing projects she has in the works – you’d never know she was juggling so many different enterprises (including her blogs), because she makes it look so effortless. Even as I type, I know she’s working on some book length work as well as some poetry. I can’t encourage you enough to stop by her collaborative website and blogs at: http://2voices1song.com/ as well as her one-woman blog at www.claudettejyoung.com/

I feel so fortunate in the friends Andrea and I have here, and Claudette is proof of that. But for now, let’s move onto the tour info. The point of this blog tour is to give people a chance to see the writing process as its engaged in by various writers. So I’m giving you a picture of my writing life as well as pass this tour torch to other writers who can share their process with us.

The tour questions:

1) What am I working on?

SQUIRREL history america gray 1This is a tricky question. I know that the minute I tell you what I’m writing, I will instantly think of four more things that sound great to start on, and trying to rein myself in..well, it’s a bit like harnessing squirrels.

I’ll take the risk though and say that right now I seem to be working on three things: First I’m writing a poem a day. It’s not for a contest or challenge or anything; I just have the time and mental space to do so. It’s convenient because August Poetry Postcard Month is coming up soon; it’s absolutely my favorite writing event each year, and I’m already in the rhythm for it.

Second, I’m working on an epistolary novel.Well, sort of. It started as a vague idea that I’d like to write a novel with a writer friend. We decided that her protagonist and mine aren’t writing to each other, but they are communicating. Between worlds. Without, at first, knowing it. No spoilers, but I will say that I am having a blast and without the pressure of having to do the plotting myself, I am writing much more than I’d planned.

Third: a few years ago at NanoWrimo, I wrote a “novel” that wasn’t – it was more like a really long world-creation exercise.  I’m now writing a couple of short stories set in that world and at the same time writing a longer piece in that world that seems to be turning into something that looks suspiciouslylike a novel.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I’ve been writing since I was 5, and published my first poem when I was eight. But if you ask me how I defined myself, even early on, I would have said that I was a biologist, not a writer. I used to draw pictures of paramecia and imagine walking giant ones on a leash down the street. I spent lots of time just imagining the way in which humans and other animals were alike, with parallel bodies and live minds. I had pet fish that I watched avidly, trying to understand them, and tried to grow every kind of plant from cuttings. That sense of being part of the biological universe still seems to pervade everything I write.

3) Why do I write what I do?

Partly, I can’t help it. A phrase or a sentence pops into my head and it sticks there until it’s on paper. Partly, though, it’s because I’m a very poor visual artist – often I can see something beautiful with my eyes or in my mind but can’t draw it or photograph it, so writing it, describing it with words, is often the only way I have of sharing what I’m seeing with others.

4) How does my writing process work?

Gerrit Dou - Scholar sharpening a quill penI used to have a sort of process. When I was in school, I’d come home and write almost every night – not because I had set aside the time but because I’d be “downloading” everything I’d seen or felt during the day. Now with a family and a young child, I find myself having to put off writing more than I like. I do two things to help with that. First, a yellow Post-It notepad.  I write poems in the five minute slots between doctor’s appointments and chauffeur duties to sports events on a yellow sticky pad (I have a lot of sympathy for William Carlos Williams, who often wrote poems between patients, fitting them on his prescription pad). Second, I keep a list of inspirations. At the back of my family to-do notebook, which I also carry with me, there’s a page with a completely random list of phrases, images, notes on a place to go back and see again, sometimes a sketch or a website. That’s where I go when I’ve managed to snatch a few minutes for myself.

So that’s a look at my writing process. I want to say thank you again to Claudette for inviting me to join this amazing tour. I am looking forward to our next tour stops, with writers:

I’ll post when more information is available about each of these “tour stops.” In the meantime, there have been some really inspiring blogs and bloggers who’ve gone before me on this tour. You’ll really enjoy:

Xo – ina