Tuesday Tabellion – Reflections at the end of 2017

As I complete Glyph & Grey and 2017 comes to a close, I find myself reflecting on the past few years.

The first poetry book I ever published was The Heart of Autumn on September 13, 2011. The first poetry book of 100 poems I published was Smoke & Spirit on October 9, 2012. I started writing Smoke & Spirit in August 2011 along with Flare & Fetter. Since their publishing, I have published 13 other 100 poem books of new work, 4 other smaller books of poems I wrote prior to 2011, 5 collected works, and 16 chapbooks.

From August 2011 through today (and the completion of Glyph & Grey), I have written 1515 poems toward stand alone poetry books which roughly averages out to 288 poems a year. I have also written another 300 or so poems in attempts at novels in verse and other poetic styles. One of these days, those poems might come out to play but for now, they sit and wait for me to decide what their fates will be.

While all the poems are personal to me in one way or another, Flare & Fetter remains one of the most personal books as it was written while I was “forced” to confront significant issues with Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. This condition and other issues do play out in other books and their poems but not in the same way.

The most challenging book to write was Hallow & Hearth. I wanted to give myself a writing challenge, and it delivered fully. I never expected letter H would give me such problems because it only applied to the titles. For a long time though, it and some personal crap stifled my creativity and I did not write. When I did write, H was very easy to deal with in short bursts of awesomeness.

The quickest book to write was Passion & Prudence. I wrote its 100 poems in 30 days as a creative endurance challenge. I continue to be amazed that I did so well. The poems turned out fantastically. My brain did feel like ooze for awhile after I was done but it was worth it.

My absolutely favorite book continues to be Russian Hymns, a collected work of poems from several books. These poems were inked to and/or involve a fictional character I had often dreamed about nicknamed The Undertaker aka Zephyr. I still dream of him from time to time but nowhere to the extent I use to. I have no idea why he is such a vivid creation in my dreams. Supposedly, the faces we see in our dreams are faces we have seen before. The Undertaker’s entire physical form is very precise in my dreams but I have absolutely no recollection of ever seeing such a face or encountering such a person.

 

Tuesday Tabellion – Return Once More

I did not mean to disappear. Responsibilities landed elsewhere for awhile. Far, so far, away from writing and the creative drive I hold so dear. As I type this, it is 1am. I should be sleeping but my neighbors are decidedly obnoxious – the downside of living in an apartment – and my mind is busy contemplating what to do with an idea. An idea that was once applied to a potential verse novel. This novel died a most horrible death in the long run because of flaws with the world building, character building, and lack of a true antagonist. It was my first attempt at taking my very organic spur of the moment poetic writing style and turning it into something structured. Parts of it went well. Other parts…not so much. I learned a lot about myself as a writer and as a poet from this process.

I considered taking it apart. Reusing some pieces, discarding the rest, yet this seemed like the wrong route to take. Starting over entirely seems to be the most logical way to approach this. It seems to be paying off thus far. The idea has a few antagonists now, and the world sits on a more reasonable foundation & timeline. The characters need more fleshing out as far as their goals and motivations are concerned. Overall, I like the changes. The core concept is still the same as is the two main characters and their ultimate ending. Everything in between, concept wise, is much stronger than in the previous incarnation.

I also ruminated on what to do with the verses of the prior work. I loathe the concept of discarding them entirely. A large portion of them are very beautiful poems. I won’t lie – there are some really horrible poems in there too. I think the good and beautiful will see the light of the day soon as their own book because it seems wrong to keep them in the dark.

For now, I’m attempting to establish my focus on taking this better conceived core idea and turning it into a novel of some kind while also working on Hallow & Hearth. April, June, and September are becoming strong contenders for months that will be a pain in my behind. Trying to be optimistic that I’ll be able to keep some kind of creative momentum going during them while being extremely focused & productive in May, July, August, and the remainder of 2016.

Poetry Wednesday: The Last Christmas

This piece is from the first draft of my novel in verse, Reaper’s Moon. It is an epilogue of sorts. It seems appropriate, given the Christmas theme, to post The Last Christmas on this Christmas Wednesday.

The Last Christmas

The house fills with aromas
cinnamon, vanilla, apple and pine
reminding me that Christmas is coming
I do not hold high hopes for great presents
it would be silly to do so
never set one’s self for disappointment
may it be avoided
I wait for sounds of stirring
an indication it is okay to be up and about
Christmas morning is not until tomorrow
good to be patient and wait when the house is full
of sleeping relatives who do not want to be awakened
by a clumsy fourteen year old girl
noise emerges from the area of the kitchen
perhaps Mama is awake and starting breakfast
surely help would be welcomed with food preparations
I ease out of the warm bed onto the cold floor
frigid and creaking under my toes as I try to be a mouse
creeping, scurrying slowly toward the kitchen
creep, creak, creep, thud as I trip
falling three steps down to the first floor
desperately hope no one has heard
quickly extracting myself from the floor
continue on my journey to the kitchen
wanting so much to be helpful on this day
full of stress, too many relatives, too many expectations
of what a successful holiday should be
Mama stands over the stove starting maple sausages
their maple sweet scent starts to permeate the air
mixing with all the other holiday fragrances
and the increasing odor of coffee
smells of morning alongside a holiday backdrop
combating odors make me feel a little queasy
no, no illness on this day I plead with my stomach
try to make the best of it all
may forgo eating breakfast but no crime in helping
many mouths to feed today
Mama pays no attention to me
she flips sausages on the griddle
then turns to cracking eggs in a bowl
standing by waiting to become scrambled eggs
at the thought of their silky texture I
feel more ill but attempt to suck it up
I move closer to Mama and my presence is noted
‘Your help is not needed Lys, you’ll just make a mess’
story of my life – too clumsy for my own good
‘Thought you may want help, sorry
I’ll just sit here – quiet like stone’
Mama goes back to preparing breakfast
I sit at the table observing
wishing I could be more useful
to Mama, to everyone
always looking in, wanting to be more
find new meaning in days and holidays
this year is not that year
so I sits transparent to Mama
and others who migrating in
shuffling straight for the coffee pot
only grunting at Mama by way of ‘Thanks and Good Morning’
not human until caffeine intake is adequate
I fail to understand the allure of coffee or caffeine
makes me too jittery – a live wire
hate to shame Mama with my inadequacies
year after year Mama’s shame increases
not a thing I can do to ease Mama’s burden
after all I was born and continues to live
I now has full understanding why people
become prone to depression during the holidays
these days always make me more insightful toward
my own shortcomings on full display to
family, relatives and friends if I had friends
like invisible stone, my presence goes without notice
I am grateful
knowing that later I may not be so fortunate
a belittled little black sheep me
breakfast commences and the conversation is silence
broken apart by the occasional grunt pretending to be a request
to pass the sausages, eggs, toast or coffee
especially coffee
breakfast breaks as quickly as it began
everyone scampers off to their corners
like a herd of elephants running from a predator
I make a quick shockingly quiet dash for my room
mercifully unnoticed
I spend the day in my sanctuary
from time to time, my senses are assaulted
by the sounds and smells of cooking
Christmas Eve preparations underway
most of time is passed in napping
not sure what else to do with
time, the rest spent lost in a book
safest place to be when relatives are afoot
night falls and Mama comes to collect me
time for horrors of dinner to commence
no escaping the commentary, the disappointment
all seated around the table
heads bowed in pre-meal prayer
waiting to rip into the ham and each other
a special dinner nothing more than a war zone
war zone with food that goes down like ash
even if it was tasty before it hit the table
escape from battle is futile
I know that holidays are as close
as I will ever know of wartime sufferings
quiet and wanting not to be noticed
prayers cease and food begins its
rounds around to vultures
vultures too lazy to circle their prey
cooked or containing a frantic heartbeat
no words spoken as plates are filled
forks shovel charred morsels quickly toward
waiting snapping mouths
scrapping forks and knives
along vibrating porcelain crying out
trying to taunt those uncomfortable
around this dais of ritual
ritual that should die and never be repeated
with those assembled
trying to be so mouse-like is me
wanting to be absorbed by the chair
giving exit from this prison
nothing, nothing happens but scrapping,
shoveling, chewing, grumbling in consumption
waiting while stomach twists and churns
needing anything, a word
a reason to flee, to hide
did I build up unrealistic expectations
no, never
memories cannot lie
I am behind enemy lines being taunted
taunted with silent words
the enemy will descend without fail
must be ready, don mental armor
even if it is weak, it is better
better than just me alone
silverware cease their porcelain song
is it time
complete silence as predators contemplate
contemplate the best attack method
crouching, itching to strike
I feel their anticipation digging into my flesh
claws coming out from behind eyes boring
devilish smiles drag up lips
a firestorm comes on quick wings
with growls, they bare their fangs
the silence splinters under pressure
a blinding flash of light
pain snares my head
clutching it, I bow
as they howl breaking
from their mission
raise my head up
glimpse the horror
blood pouring from eyes
as howls breaking into struggling breaths
everyone except Mama and
my little sisters, Ellie and Missy
my enemies fighting themselves
fighting what seems to be death
death coming on swift brutal wings
is this the day Mama had spoken of?
the Day of Reckoning?
why are the four of us free
free from this bloody demise
am I really free
pain beating out of my skull
makes me think otherwise
every bone pulsing, hurting beneath
papery skin pulling
what is happening to me
to them as last breaths
come as shuddered sighs
thick in my eyes
slipping under water
hearing Mama’s cries so far
far away from my hands
only grasping the lace tablecloth
to avoid sliding under
drowning unto myself
bones twisting, turning
stronger than before
gain strength in the surrounds
of Death’s guise
Mama, sisters
wailing but unchanging
only sorrow clings to them
emotion vibrant and colorful, new
grey lines streak the sky
shadow lands taken to the dead
taken to the dying
shake my head, maybe
my body no longer mine
mourning cries, wolves sound
wolves so close with purple streaks
accenting the haunting stench of death
screams of terror follow
dutiful little soldiers
marching in line purple, grey, black
perfect circle
yet I do nothing
but sit
gripping the last vestiges
of tangible reality keeping me
anchored, upright
noises muffle, my eyes focus on
the strange swirling colors
purple, grey, black
until new cries join
join into the cacophony
not human, not wolf
the stars
the stars are howling
into this blackest night
I give in, oh vocal stars
I give in
take me home
into the dark

Free Books & NaNo-NaPo

Spending this week making final preparations for NaPoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo. I am also making preparations for the release day of Seasons of Self: Autumn & Winter on April 9th. It will be available as a paperback.

In honor of National Poetry Month, I will be giving away free Kindle books of Smoke & Spirit, Flare & Fetter, and Little Lines I Shared with Death from April 1st to April 5th. The paperback version of Flare & Fetter is still on sale for $9.99.

During NaNo-NaPo, I will attempt to post a poem everyday and – quite possibly – there will be an additional book and/or writing post.

At this point, several of the novels in verse are speaking to me so there is a chance that I will make progress on them in April. I also hope to make great strides in the completion of Obiter & Oleander and Kirsch & Kerosene. When I am not writing, I have edits and formatting to finish on Ink & Ice and Unlined & Undertakers. I have intentions to consolidate my various blogs because I often forget about the others – it would be nice to have everything in one place after all. 🙂

It will be a busy month but I am looking forward to it.

The Perils of Writing

Had this brilliant idea today. I figured I would go to a coffee shop in a city that I normally do not go to. The first five coffee shops were packed to the gills. Decidedly, it is a sad day when a writer cannot find a coffee shop to write in. I was heading to a familiar business, Panera Bread, having struck out on the coffee shops when I remembered there was a small coffee shop in the shopping center I was near. It wasn’t too busy and had ample available seating. Oh happy day! The only problem with Good Measure Coffee & Tea, in Louisville, CO, is the lack of outlets for computer. This lack means I was unable to stay as long as I would have liked. There was a power strip but, for some reason, my computer refused to acknowledge the power coming though it. Nevertheless, spent a decent amount of time writing while enjoying a Turtle (chocolate & caramel) latte.

As I was getting ready this morning, the verse novels decided to chat it up. I was ecstatic until I went to write. They stopped their incessant yammering as soon as I picked up a pen and/or came near the laptop. Little bastards. I would really, really like to finish at least one of my novels this year but they are being mighty uncooperative. At this rate, I will never finish any of the novels even though the concepts are fantastic.

Three poems so far for today to go with the two I wrote yesterday afternoon. Not feeling overzealous with the writing right now but this is common for the start of WriMo. My writing mojo is good for the first day or two then a lull followed by a whole lot of progress later in the month.

Been looking for some new music and one of my cousins (who has the same first & last name as me – there are three of us!) suggested New Kids on the Block. Sorry but I did not care for them in their heyday and I still do not care for them. Never really enjoyed music from any of the boy bands.

NaNoWriMo 2012 – Day 5 and 6

Thanks to everyone who downloaded books during the Kindle free promotion to honor the 1,000th poem milestone. I really appreciate it. I am very entertained by the fact that The Heart of Autumn and Smoke & Spirit are the most popular downloads. I hope everyone reads, enjoys, and considers leaving a review on Amazon or GoodReads. Again, thank you. If you did not partake in this promotion and were hoping too, worry not. I will be giving away signed paperbacks some time in mid 2013.

As thought, I did not get any writing done for Day 5. In truth, I got very little done. Took care of the usual morning chores and ran errands. Afterward, I decided my afternoon was better spent sleeping. Having been sleep deprived and far more ‘out and about’ lately, I needed some much required downtime. I spend most of my time at home so the fairly constant stream of write-ins during November, while enjoyed, are proving to be very exhausting. Need to find a balance in order to get through this month with enjoyment, health, and productivity on all fronts.

Day 6 has gotten off to a better start. A decent night sleep helped considerably. Wrote down four poems before going to sleep around midnight. While I woke up later than intended, yay for sleep. Household chores and some data entry work are a priority today. Some chores are already underway and I prepped the data entry work last night to help it go quickly today. Striving to find balance in all I need to get done and work out a multi-tasking schedule on the things that can be multi-tasked. Currently, the word count is at 7649 and today’s suggested total is 10,000. While not entirely optimistic for 2351 words with everything going on, I am certainly going to try.

Both Ink & Ice and Unlined & Undertakers are at 43 pieces including the pieces written this morning. The characters of Reaper’s Moon are still giving me the cold shoulder. Not sure why or what I should do to coax them into conversing with me. Perhaps it is because they now know one of them will die soon. I don’t even know who. It depends on how the upcoming battle scene comes about. If I can even get them to that point. There’s a lot of happenings before the battle that I still need to do. Those could change the course of battle too. When it comes down to a battle between sides at war, someone will die. Sadly, it is a fact of life and of fiction. Even the “immortal” can die…

NaNoWriMo 2012 – Day 2

Another slow day of writing. Not sure what is up with that. I typically write 1000 to 2000 words a day normally. Why should NaNoWriMo be so difficult for me this year? So far, I have put up eleven poems. Three for Unlined & Undertakers and eight for Ink & Ice. Almost a third of the way through each book. While I am pleased with this progress, I find myself extremely frustration by the lack of communication coming from the characters in Reaper’s Moon. It is challenging to write their story when I’m getting cold shouldered.

Write-Ins are not going as well as usual. Seating is uncomfortable. Coffee was very bitter at the new coffee shops the local group has been trying out. I accidentally consumed something I’m allergic to at the early afternoon write-in, making the evening write-in very uncomfortable. All in all, not a good day. This morning, the laptop refused to work. First the car then the laptop. I was violent toward technology for a little while but, thankfully, I got the laptop back to working order. Although, I came prepared to do write-ins with pen, paper, and iPod if things boiled down to it. I do prefer to write with pen and paper but not the most practical during NaNoWriMo. I’m still trying to get the forty-one pieces I found in October typed up, I don’t need more typing work out of NaNoWriMo.

The free promotion on my books seems to be going well. A lot of folks have downloaded copies. Smoke & Spirit and The Heart of Autumn are the most popular downloads. If you’ve downloaded a copy of any book, please read and leave a review. I would love to know what you thought of it.