Getting back into the writing groove

Our Grand Canyon adventure and my husband’s healing process have taken me far afield from my writing life. Everything just seemed to stop on November 16. Interesting that I had carefully packed some paper and a pen so I could write a journal entry after my walk down the Grand Canyon that day. Unfortunately I never used them after hearing the news of my husband’s injuries and the challenge I faced in getting back to the rim and to the Flagstaff Medical Center to be with him. However, in this past week I’ve sat myself down at my writing desk and managed to write a couple of poems in response to Robert Lee Brewer’s poem a day challenge – that ended on November 30. And it felt good to “poem” (as Brewer likes to say) again. I am also putting together a new chapbook that I’ll submit for the Frost Place contest that’s due on January 1. Though I’m not back to my writing in full force yet – as you can see from how long it’s been since I wrote my last post here, I’m getting back slowly. … [Read more...]

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Please join the November PAD Chapbook Challenge with me

For the last several years I’ve participated in the Writer’s Digest poem a day chapbook challenge in November and April. It is managed by the WD poetry editor Robert Lee Brewer. The prompts are always very interesting. The challenge is work but a lot of fun.   So, in case you’d like to join me, here are Robert’s guidelines. Please sign up and you’ll receive a prompt from Robert every day from November 1 to November 30. I’ll be sharing some my poems here throughout the month. Here's Robert: Here are the basics of the November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Beginning on November 1 (Atlanta, Georgia time), I will share a prompt and poem each day of November on this blog. Poets are then challenged to write a poem each day (no matter where you live on the planet) within 24 hours (or so) from when the prompt is posted. Don’t worry: If you fall behind or start late, you CAN play catch up. Poets do NOT have to register anywhere to participate. In fact, poets don’t even nee … [Read more...]

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How I’m finding my muse again

I’ve had a tough time getting back to my writing routine since completing my recent consulting job. While consulting I did manage to write a journal entry almost everyday, but that was the extent of my writing practice. Besides the grueling proposal work I lived out-of-town in a hotel and ate bland uninteresting food – for about four months. I had hardly anytime to do anything else besides work. There were no muses in that hotel room, believe me. The first thing I did when I got home was sleep. I napped several times a day for two weeks, until I finally felt like myself again. Although I worked out in the early mornings as usual, not long after breakfast I needed my first nap. Finally I started to look for something to kick-start my writing, to bring back my muse. I had put my list of poetry prompts into my Dropbox folder so I’d have it handy while I was away, but I never once opened that file. I didn’t even update it with the prompts that came by email every Wednesday. So that … [Read more...]

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A poem in three acts

I've mentioned before that I write to Robert Lee Brewer's Wednesday poetry prompts that he posts on his Poetic Asides blog. Robert is one of the Writing Community Editors at "Writer's Digest Magazine." He also provides a prompt a day during his April and November poem a day challenges. Some Wednesdays writing to his prompts comes easy, some days it does not, but I always copy and paste them to a running list of his prompts with my sporadic poem attempts. I also religiously take the PAD challenges - just to keep up my poetry training, if nothing else. Last Wednesday Robert's prompt said: "Write a poem in which you’ve imagined a story for a stranger. Maybe someone you see on public transportation, a couple at the laundromat, or a neighbor. Is the person more fabulous than expected? Fallen upon harder times? Exactly as one might guess?" This one hit home because a couple of years ago I decided to write a series of poems about people I didn't know. I found it to be a very fun exercise … [Read more...]

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April PAD challenge poems

To stay on the poetry theme, I’m going to share a few of the poems I wrote during Robert Lee Brewer’s April 2014 poem a day challenge. This year he asked a daily guest judge to determine each day's winner. I haven’t heard any results yet, but no matter. I feel like a winner just having produced thirty poems during the April challenge. Day 7 Write a self-portrait poem. Two Self-portraits Dorianna sits lonely and forlorn in my attic. Her wrinkles deepen her liver spots multiply and enlarge her hair grows dirty white, straggling down to cover her sagging breasts that splay over her bloated belly. The joints of her hands swollen, stiff, grow more immobile by the day. All the while I live downstairs. My face clear, almost devoid of age, my figure svelte and supple, my legs always yearning to keep moving. Here I sit tapping my fingers quickly on the keyboard to keep up with my racing mind. I wonder when Dorianna and I will meet. Day 16 Write an elegy … [Read more...]

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The April Poem A Day Challenge is back

I'm participating in Robert Lee Brewer's* month-long Poem A Day Challenge, as I've done each November and April for the last several years. At this point my poems are just drafts, but it's fun just to get something down that I can tinker with once the challenge is over. Robert's prompts are always interesting. Here's a few poems I've written so far, following the days' prompts. 3. Write a tentative poem. The poem could be about a tentative date, a tentative person, a tentative situation. The narrator could be tentative. The subject could be tentative. She once said, I’ll pencil you in. I bristled. In fact, I erased her from my calendar and datebook entirely. I’ve also erased her from my mind. 4. Take the phrase “Hold That (Blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and write the poem. Possible titles include “Hold That Thought,” “Hold That Space,” “Hold That Poem,” or whatever else holds your attention. Hold T … [Read more...]

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More poems from the PAD challenge

I'm keeping up pretty well with the Poem A Day challenge. Sometimes I surprise even myself. Here are a couple I've written in the last week. I've included the prompt so you know what I am trying to express. Day 6 (a Two-for-Tuesday prompt) which is actually two prompts: 1. Write a Left Poem 2. Write a Right Poem It’s About Balance If I work the right I have to work the left like taking my right leg on a ride on the spin bike well, then the left needs a ride too. If I twist to right the left also needs to twist If I cross my legs in the half Lotus with one leg over the other, soon I need to change sides. But it’s hard to keep it all straight. One of these days, one side or the other will get slighted and left out. I’m right on about that. Day 8 Talk back to a dead poet. Choose a poem you like by a poet who is no longer living and offer a rebuttal. Dickinson’s line, “I’m Nobody! Who are you?” is just begging for a response. Maybe, unlike Shakespeare, your lover’s face … [Read more...]

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A spring poem

I love Robert Lee Brewer's poetry prompts. He gives one out once a week except during poem a day challenges in April and November. I don't always do them on time or in order, but I eventually get through them. I guess he prompted us to write a spring poem at first bud. I'm a little late, but here it is. I lay on the Pilates reformer and push on the foot bar, in and out, in and out. My feet, first in the second position at the corners of the footbar then in first position at the center with my heels locked tightly together, I keep pushing and pulling. Two red and one green springs determine the weight for these exercises. And as my legs move back and forth the springs squeak, they yearn to stop, they want to do no more work. But I keep going. I don’t listen to their moans never giving those springs a rest. … [Read more...]

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Create a Time Management Plan – Platform Challenge – Day 23

Robert Lee Brewer’s platform challenge assignment for yesterday was to create a time management plan. He believes that we must manage our time so we can remain connected on our social networks and still spend the majority of our time writing. I have been fully aware of this ever since I retired from my day job in April 2010 and plunked myself in my chair at my home office and began my life as a full-time writer. Even though I allow myself a lot of time to write, I find myself wandering every so often to look at my email, check my Facebook comments and likes, see if anything is happening here at Choices, and respond to Twitter messages and retweets. I feel if I’m going to participate in the social media at all it’s a matter of give and take. If someone gives to me, I have to give back. View from my office Just now I found a comment on an article that went live yesterday. If someone was generous enough to make a comment on my piece, I had to write a thank you right away, didn’t I? … [Read more...]

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April challenges update

I took a break over the weekend and caught up today with my two April challenges. The Platform Challenge Days 5 through 8: Day 5. Create a blog – since you’re reading this you know I already have a blog. I also post at several other blog sites you might not know about: http://redroom.com/member/madeline-sharples/blog/ - Red Room blog http://www.naturallysavvy.com/savvy-over-60 - Naturally Savvy Over 60 blog http://www.psychalive.org/index.php?s=madeline+sharples&image.x=15&image.y=7 - PsychAlive blog http://tlswriters.wordpress.com/ - The Last Sunday Writer's group blog Day 6. Comment on a blog: Robert LeeBrewer posted a few possible ways to respond (and he suggested linking back to our own blogs). I think these are great suggestions. I just need to learn to follow them: Share your own experience. If you've experienced something similar to what's covered in the post, share your own story. You don't have to write a book or anything, but maybe a paragraph or two. Add … [Read more...]

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