Archive for March, 2014

Finding Lunch

March 31, 2014

Loved the red squirrel tribe who visited one country winter

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Red squirrels have been fun to watch this winter, and even now that it’s spring (these were taken March 21), we are still getting snow, which covers the seeds that the squirrels enjoy feasting  on.

Now where are those tasty seeds? Now where are those tasty seeds?

Are they over there? Are they over there?

Maybe I should dig deeper. Maybe I should dig deeper.

Found some! Found some!

Oh, boy; oh, boy! Oh, boy; oh, boy!

Reminder: click photos to open in larger view.

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Life in a Bottle

March 29, 2014

Cool blog to read about art & inspiration

Spring 2014

March 29, 2014

As Vonnie writes in her closing, want to show some love? Please do visit my Amazon page and consider buying one of my books. As Women’s. History month crosses over to National poetry Month!

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Everyone in Maryland will be just as happy as these cows to see green grass and feel the warm temperatures of spring after this year’s long, cold winter. Enjoy!
I hope you’re enjoying my blog posts and links. Want to show some love? Visit my Amazon page and consider buying a book. 🙂

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Do s and Don’ts for New writers

March 27, 2014

It is a fact that there are many types of professionals in the writing world. Some are legitimate. For example, a literary agent is someone who will represent your book to potential publishers. You do not pay the agent upfront. They receive payment after the book has sold. An editor is a writing professional. There are editors who are in charge of purchasing new works for a publisher. There are line editors who help you go line by line through your manuscript to tighten and correct and revise.

We live in a much different publishing world than when we all saw John- boy Walton’s shame revealed as he realized he had been duped into paying a vanity publisher. We live in an era of much self publishing. An author who self publishes can do this in a number of ways. He or she can learn the program for software and publish as in produce the book in eBook form online. There are many options, Smashwords is one, Kindle Direct Publishing another. Some of these require payment. The next level of self publishing is when you show somebody your manuscript and they tell you how much they will charge you to publish it. You are hiring someone to self-publish you. Be very clear on that and make that decision with an informed mind. Fees can range as high as $1000 for a chapbook. Some charge hourly rates. Some will entice you into programs that include setting up a website for you, a FaceBook page for your book, tee shirts, coffee mugs and so on. 99% of this you can do on your own and much of it for free or minimal cost. This type literary ” professional ” is taking advantage of your desire to be successful as a writer. One example would be someone telling you ” You’ ll never make it into the publishing world as a poet.” To me, this amounts to nothing more than bullying. There are many many legitimate small presses and publishing houses out there that do it the traditional, authentic way. All you do is type in poetry publishers on your search box and click go.
I think that hiring a self publisher has a definite place. An elderly person who would like to publish memoirs for relatives is a good example.
Never let anyone manipulate you into rushing into an agreement because they play on your fears of never being successful OR of publishing at all.

What can I do to help myself make it into the legitimate literary world the traditional way then? I’m just Polly (Paul) Poet.
You can do a number of things. If you do not wish to pay someone else to publish your work and you continue to want to succeed in publishing, you can work as hard as you can at your craft. Go to workshops, writing groups, take classes. Revise and rework and continually hone your craft. Read as much as you can. Think about how the book is put together, what devices the author uses to tell his or her story. If the book won a prize, figure out what about it makes it prize winning material.
Enter contests in your locale. Maybe some organization where you live has a library writing contest or an annual poetry contest or flash fiction contest. Read the guidelines, write the best you can. And enter the contest. Many contests charge an entry fee. This is often where the prize money comes from for the winners. So find out what the fee is and save your money. Usually they are not really expensive. Stick to contests with low entry fees.
Strive to improve your writing every day. Know that if you have been born a poet and all the calamities in the world have not stopped the poetry from coming out of you, you must accept as an indie poet, it will take a long time and many years of small victories (that will feel great). This is no different from many other professions that require long hours, low feedback in the early years and a lot of loneliness.
Guard your desire to be a real writer well. Do not let anyone take advantage of that desire that burns bright in your heart. Keep seeking opportunities to improve, to grow, to enter, to submit and at some point, good writing will find its way onto a publisher’s desk who will say ” Yes.”.

A Special Day

March 26, 2014

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My husband usually takes me to dinner for my birthday, and this year he continued this tradition!  We live between two major cities, so for something different, we headed to New Hartford, New York (a suburb of Utica), to go to “Red Lobster” and take advantage of Lobsterfest!  We both decided on the “Lobster Lovers’ Dream” entree, and it was delicious.  We even splurged on dessert, but I couldn’t finish mine.

Western sky, late evening.
Western sky, late evening.

On our way home, the sun still shone in the west, but at times, we encountered brief spurts of snow flurries!  Ugh, where is spring?  This photo above is taken through the car window with my cellphone.

Sunset, 3-24-14
Sunset, 3-24-14

After we got home, I took my camera outside for these sunset views.

Sunset, 3-24-14
Sunset, 3-24-14

I enjoyed my birthday, a memorable day, for sure!

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What should I do when I have writers block?

March 26, 2014

This happens to every writer, every artist. You just have days sometimes longer where no matter how deep inside yourself you reach, you keep coming up with empty hands. Creative expression is a magical process. Since it comes out of you, your heart your soul, it is a generative process. In other words, you are literally using parts of yourself to create the poem. Emotion, memory, wish, hope….think of it this way. When a woman becomes pregnant, as much as she might wish to see the finished product, the baby, next week, if the creative process doesn’t last approximately 9 months give or take, the creation ( baby) will not survive.
It takes time. Think of your periods of not-writing as a field resting fallow before the following year’s planting. All creators need to rest, regenerate, and recharge their batteries, however you d like to describe it.
I believe a poet is always in process including when no poetry is written. We see, hear, smell, listen, feel, watch, absorb everything around us.
It is also sort of like baking cookies. You start with ingredients, measure them into the bowl, mix as directed then spoon onto sheets and bake for a certain number of minutes. Takes time. What began as eggs, sugar, flour, chocolate chips all separate is now evolved into something different and unique.
One of my favorite things to do when I am not in a production period is to read. What better, easier way to learn to write than to read. It isn’t necessary to find a new book either. Some authors and stories or poems delight us over and over. So listen to your inner little kid when s/he demands ” Tell me a story.” Get some exercise, go outdoors and breathe in nature, eat healthy food and soon enough you ll read that one poem, maybe in a magazine or a friend shared it, and it will evoke almost a reflex response in your own self to create one back.
Have faith in your Muse. Even when she is not speaking to you out loud, she is still in your heart working away. Go make unprotected poetry!

Quotable Colette

March 26, 2014

For all of us turning a decade marker and this one in particular, the writer has the right attitude. After all, many are denied the gift of aging.

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Colette Best known for Gigi, French writer Colette (Sidonie Gabrielle Claudine) has many witty, and sometimes biting quotes to select from. One of my favorites: “You must not pity me because my sixtieth year finds me still astonished. To be astonished is one of the surest ways of not growing old too quickly.”

Since I turned 60 not so long ago, I’m happy to learn that others are still astonished in their sixth decade. As for me, I refuse to give up the wonder of childhood.

(As to where I got this photo and many more I’ll be using this year – I purchased a collection of author postcards many years ago. I used them as bookmarks! It was fascinating to look at the face of the writer as I read his or her work).

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Apple of my Odd Eye

March 25, 2014

Another cool post on inspiration and artists

A Very Un-Kosher Mystery by Jill Yesko

March 25, 2014

Looks like an intriguing read!

Whimsical Words

Thanks to Jill Yesko, author of A Very Un-Kosher Mystery, for stopping by and sharing some background information about her new novel.

A Very Un-Kosher Mysteryby Jill Yesko

Jill Yesko Headshot “Orthodox Jewish make up a large portion of Pikesville’s estimated 100,000 Jews. Pikesville is home to Seven Mile Market—the largest kosher supermarket in the U.S.

On Friday nights, the start of the Jewish Sabbath, the streets are filled with Orthodox men in black suits, many sporting Paul Bunyan beards and wide-brimmed fedoras. Some have payot—curly side burns that hang in front of their ears. Their modestly dressed spouses wear loose-fitting dresses that cover their necks and elbows and reach below their knees. Married women hide their hair under stylish wigs called sheitles.

But not everything is kosher in Pikesville.

Like all insular religious communities—Amish, fundamentalist Mormons, Hari Krishnas— Pikesville’s Orthodox have their secrets. Airing the community’s dirty…

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A Murmuration

March 24, 2014

Made me cry. It is a good thing there are wonders and mysteries still in this world.

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This video link came to me in my email, and it is so spectacular that I wanted to share with others.  Enjoy!  Click the link, just below…


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