Monday, July 29, 2013

LitShare: Lemon Wedges, Giraffes, and Poetry Geniuses

a room of one's own with a view: my hosts back yard
Wondering how to put together that pesky poetry manuscript?

From Paper Darts, poet Anis Mojgani offers straightforward, valuable advice to emerging writers, and about the writing process in general.

Junot Diaz is a Poetry Genius, declares the Los Angeles Times, because he shares an excerpt from his novel on a annotation site.

Just because I love giraffes so much, here's "Giraffes", a poem.

TweetSpeak's Poetry Top Ten list for last week has some neato tidbits.

Weave Magazine's reviews editor Nicole Bartley's "Popping A Cherry With A Lemon" for Diverse Voices Quarterly begins, "A buxom young brunette loomed above me with a lemon wedge pursed between her lips. She set a full shot glass of Lemon Pucker with sugar beside me." Who wouldn't want to keep reading after that?

Gigantic Sequins gives Karen Lillis' pop-up indie bookstore a shout-out.

Finally, Napa is wonderful. Two poems drafted, one workshopped today. I may have to skip Wednesday this week, but we'll see how things go.


*Got some literary news to share? Send it via Twitter or G+ and/or use the #litshare tag!

Friday, July 26, 2013

LitShare: Primal Vowels, Creative Spaces, and Twitter Poems

the best buttons ever via Portland's Wordstock Festival
When it comes to advice about writing or just living, Maira Kalman has wise words to offer, including her most-recent thoughts on optimism.

Poet Kelly Egan muses about the primal experience of vowel sounds. She will read for Quiet Lightning (again!) in October along with former Weave contributor Patrick O'Neill.

Fiction writer Natalie Sylvester discovers less is more when it comes to her available writing time.

Poems by my CPITS students are up on their website! I'm so proud of these young writers. You can donate to their IndieGogo campaign to help support poetry in the schools!

Here's a cool journal I recently discovered Dress Room Poetry. While we're on the subject of rooms, enjoy some photos of the workspaces of some of the world's most creative minds. Also from BuzzFeed, 49 really freaking beautiful libraries (hashtag iwanttogotothere).

Bitch Magazine's Nijla Mu'min writes a smart response to the film Fruitville Station in light of the George Zimmerman verdict, addressing the notions of facts, fiction, true stories, dramatizations, race, and portrayals of authentic human beings in film.

Lastly, according to some poets Twitter promotes poetry through the economy of 140 characters.

Have a fab weekend, lit lovers.

*Got some literary news to share? Send it via Twitter or G+ and/or use the #litshare tag!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Lit Roundup Renamed LitShare & Other Delightful Literary News!

my word list from this morning. you're welcome.
Why rename a blog series? I like this name better. It doesn't make me think of lassos, nor does it make me want to say, "Giddy up!" Plus, LitShare has great potential for hash tagging. Expect these short posts (almost) every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Speaking of hash tags, the next #poetparty on Twitter is August 4th @ 9pm EDT / 6pm PDT, so spake Ruben Quesada. Thanks, Ruben!

Found a cool journal for lady-writers: When Women Waken. Also, Unsplendid has an open call for writing by ladies for their next lady-themed issue. Also, Codex Journal wants your digital poems (.MP4 or .MOV only poems/stories less than 3 minutes long).

Karen Lillis has been hawking indie literature all over Pittsburgh.

Two former Weave contributors, MRB Chelko and Alicia Salvadeo, are Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship Winners! Congrats!

Trying to write daily like me? Here are five scientific ways to build habits.

*Got some literary news to share? Send it via Twitter or G+ and/or use the #litshare tag!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Creating a Daily Writing Habit

Hello, dear reader. If you're still with me, well by gosh and golly gee, you must really like me, my poetry, and/or my silly little blog musings. It's been a while, and even before then updates were less frequent. I can't promise to be more frequent, though I should promise. Not-blogging is similar to not-calling a friend you haven't spoken to in a while: the more you wait, the more awkward you feel about reaching out.

Well, awkwardness be gone!

Writing has always come to me in waves. poetry, blogging, essays, stories, emails, descriptions of pretty hair accessories - whatever I'm writing, the words are never steady. I'm a good writing-sprinter. This process works for many, many writers.

A few weeks ago I decided it doesn't work for me anymore.

If you know me, you're probably used to my dramatic, sweeping lifestyle changes. Every few years or so I have a new job, life path, hobby, partner, apartment, and favorite snack (Triscuits!). But these things have remained mostly the same after year one here in San Francisco. Still a poet, 4+ years with Sal in the same apartment (good god I never want to move again). And while the last two years were full of many new things, as I begin my third year in San Francisco this month, I realize that I've kinda got this down. Perhaps that's why I'm doing so well with starting a new daily-writing habit.

My new friend (ok...) therapist pointed out last month that it seems like I don't take my writing seriously. How could this be?! All I do is writing-related! And that's it right there. Related. Not writing, not mine. I've got Submission Bombers, Weave, teaching, copy writing, readings, submitting, etc. but none of these things boil down to Butt-In-Chair (BIC) Time (trademark pending...).

Most of the time, I decide to do something and then do it for a day and then forget. Or I do it for 5 minutes and get distracted. Occasionally I do it for a few weeks and then forget. And sometimes I decide to do something and I do it. Today. Yesterday doesn't matter (though I'm proud of it), tomorrow will come (though I do prepare for it). Today is most important. Today I spent four hours in a cafe (mostly) writing, which included the following exercises:

  • revising old poems
  • revising more recent poems
  • reading old journal entries
  • writing word lists
  • pilfering words from the Hayes Valley Newsletter
  • pilfering words from word lists
  • writing 11-syllable lines
  • turning 11-syllable lines into a sonnet

I also spent time doing the following non-writing things:

  • writing postcards (doesn't count as creative writing for now)
  • posting pictures of tea and breakfast to Instagram
  • Tweeting too much
  • IMing with Sal about Justin Timberlake & Jay Z concert tickets
  • securing said Justin Timberlake & Jay Z concert tickets (24th row!)

My estimate would be at least 2/3 of my time was spent on writing, which is pretty good for me. I'm not so distracted because small exercises like word lists or 11-syllable lines count as writing time. I never have to draft a poem even. It helps that I'm reading Jane Hirshfield's Nine Gates simultaneously. She describes both boredom and interest as distractions. I don't write because I desperately want to in these morning hours: I write because it's my job, my art, my life-work. I'm developing habits so that later in life I'm not struggling with the same old tired issues, and I can learn to concentrate, in that poem-making way, on what it is I have to say.