Monday Motivation.

I joined #5amwritersclub this morning and I am feeling great. Starting my day off by focusing energy towards my passion = a fantastic start to the week. I hope you’re following your dreams too…even if you have to wake up extra early to do so before you head to your day job like me. ✨🌛

“Write while the heat is in you.” -Thoreau

Happy New Year & Happy “Christine will write more than 9 blog posts this year.”

Before I begin, an old picture of fire brought to you by Valentine’s Day 2016:

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I tend to not give myself a lot of credit. Not just in conversation, but in my own head. Over my Christmas break I was suffering from a really nasty sinus/upper respiratory infection and I lost my voice. Forced to use a pen and paper (marker and legal pad to be exact) as a means to communication, I found myself uplifted despite the pile of tissues. In dialogue with my roommates, they noticed my positive spirit emerging.

In fact one of them asked, “Do you feel happy because you’re physically writing?”

Suddenly I realized that she was 100% right. Even though my head was pounding and my body was fighting off a fever, mentally, I was feeling better. The physical act of writing was restoring something inside of me. Then, the ever so obvious reminder popped into my head. What would happen if you gave a poem a shot?

Yes, folks, it’s been a few months of writer’s block for me. The ideas were there, but the fear was back. The fear to let what I truly want to write out of my being onto the page. So, in that moment I could see clear enough and allowed the words from my dear Frost Place Poetry Seminar Sister Tiana Clark (follow the link & read her chapbook) echo in my mind. “Let’s be brave together,” she said. In 2017 I will be brave. I will write what I want to write and I won’t let the opinion of others stop me.

The rest of that day was spent with my other roommate, discussing life, poetry, creativity and all inspiring things. She read 20 pages worth of conversation due to my absent voice and we wrote next to each other for hours. Since then I’ve churned out two poems and I’m happy to report that I am so excited about them. I’m excited about the plan for what I hope will be my first book of poems, and I’m finally feeling passionate again.

Now, back to the picture of the fire. While I was writing today I was reminded of this quote by Thoreau:

“Write while the heat is in you. The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with. He cannot inflame the minds of his audience.” ― Henry David Thoreau

That is something that I’ve definitely neglected over the past four months. I used to work in a library and I jotted down my ideas almost instantly upon them entering my brain. Even though I work at a desk job now, there’s no reason to not keep the same scraps of paper next to my desk that I used to carry in my pocket. I also stopped keeping those same scraps next to my bed. I’m happy to report they have taken their rightful place on my nightstand once again. I will write while the heat is in me.

In closing, Happy New Year to all of you creative folk out there. Good luck with whatever writing goals you have and feel free to tweet @AWritersWay if you want to chat with me about them.

Until next time,

Christine

 

The Forecast Reads: Poetry With A Chance Of Poetry

I returned from my Frost Place Seminar adventure in New Hampshire about one week ago, and I still have a smile on my face. I suspect that it will stay that way for many months to come as the experience was just that life changing for me. I could have never predicted what an emotional and spiritual journey I would embark on during that week in the mountains, but I’m so thankful that it happened.

During my week long trip, I had the pleasure of staying at the Inn at Sunset Hill. A beautiful bed and breakfast with delicious food and two unforgettable innkeepers named Dick and Sally, who made me feel so at home. (I can’t forget Dudley, their sheepdog. He was pretty great too.)

Each morning I sat in front of a large window and ate breakfast while staring out at the mountains. Views like this were a daily occurrence…

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Then it was off to the White Mountain School for a 2 hour lecture, followed by lunch with the fellow participants, a 3 1/2 hour workshop with your selected group, a break, dinner, and a poetry reading at Robert Frost’s barn. While the schedule changed a bit every day, it was mostly the same which created an organized feel to the entire seminar. I liked knowing what I would be doing every day and I felt comfortable in knowing what each day’s schedule would be like.

Now, when I put it all into a paragraph like that, it seems pretty straight forward and simple, but it wasn’t. The lectures that I mentioned were held by each of the chosen faculty for 2016 and they were mind blowing. Topics had a wide range, from narrative predicaments to exploring classic forms and making them your own. I felt like a student back in school again as I took pages and pages of notes not wanting to forget a single word that was said.

The most beneficial part of the seminar for me was the workshop experience. I was lucky to be put into a group with six very talented individuals, all of which brought a different perspective to the table. My workshop leader was the incredibly inspiring Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon.

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Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon reading at Robert Frost’s Barn

I never thought I’d be so fortunate to spend so much time with someone as courageous and determined as she is. She helped me to learn how to explore my craft in a more efficient way and taught me things that I will carry with me every day as I continue writing poetry. I highly recommend grabbing her books. They’re fantastic.

While I seriously adored every member of my group, I also want to give special mention to Tiana Clark. Over the course of one week, Tiana taught me how to be brave with my poetry and encouraged me to write what my heart tells me to write no matter how scared I am. I’ll be forever grateful to her for that. With that said, go pre-order her chapbook here. It’s dynamite.

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Tiana Clark reading at Robert Frost’s Barn.

Each night spent at Robert Frost’s barn, and at his house in general was a dream come true for me. I’ve long admired the poet, mostly for the terrifying nature to his work that is rarely acknowledged. To spend so much time in the places where he walked filled my lungs with the air I had been craving for so long.

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I found what I was looking for during the Frost Place Poetry Seminar. Being away from my comfort zone, my friends, my boyfriend, it was difficult. However, it forced me to completely focus on my craft, my poetry, and with that I felt my mind expanding. This quote rang in my ears about halfway through the week…

“The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

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That’s exactly how I feel about my experience. Thank you to everyone at the Frost Place Poetry Seminar for all of your support, encouragement, and for just being amazing people. I’ll never forget it. As for what lies ahead…the forecast reads: poetry with a chance of poetry.

Until next time,

Christine

The Fig Tree

 

Do you ever find yourself obsessed with a thought? A quote? Perhaps, a poem? Over the past few months, I’ve found myself constantly thinking of a quote by Sylvia Plath. Back in May, I read The Bell Jar for the first time. It was a book that I had wanted to read for years and years, but never got around to it. While I have many thoughts on the book, this isn’t a review, but a post to share this quote with you.

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Here it is…

“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”

-Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

It is a relatable picture, isn’t it? I mean we all have our own figs hanging off of a fig tree. I’m sure you know this already…life can be overwhelming, and while we dedicate a lot of energy and time to certain “figs,” others aren’t given enough attention. You’re probably thinking of something right now that you’d like to pay more attention to or dedicate more time to.

For me, that something is poetry. I’ve been working so much the past few months, I haven’t had as much time to dedicate to writing my poetry or even attending readings for that matter. Thankfully, the end of the month will bring me to my Frost Place Poetry Seminar Adventure. I’ll be gone for one whole week and will surely be fully immersed in poetry.

Thoughts on the quote? Tweet me @AWritersWay.

Until next time,

Christine

Reflecting On National Poetry Month

A few days into May and I’m sitting at my desk, drinking coffee, reflecting on National Poetry Month. It’s taken me a few days to let the full weight of the month absorb into my mind. A hurricane of pencils, scraps of paper, and sheer determination surrounded me for the full 30 days in April. What started out as an incredible first Thursday of the month soon led into three more Thursday nights joined by a group of people just as passionate about poetry as me.

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Yes, each Dose of Poetry event was unique and inspiring in its own way. Below you’ll see a variety of photos from weeks two through four. (Photos from the first week can be found here.) What was truly amazing was how the poets that we were honoring each session heavily influenced the tone of the night. It was interesting to compare the impact that Whitman and Dickinson had amongst the crowd compared to Yeats. Besides that, having so many wonderful voices gathering to share their own work was something that filled me with so much inspiration. I’m truly grateful to everyone who participated.
When I set out to make these poetry events happen, there were some challenges. Determined to not let doubtful comments stop me, I instead allowed them to fuel my spirit. Thankfully, it all paid off. It’s always a coin toss with these kinds of things. Especially at a University library where things can sometimes be poorly attended. However, the numbers remained steady and full each week. I truly appreciated every single person that came to celebrate poetry. With all that said, I can only hope that the future will yield more Doses of Poetry, and that I will be able to plan and host them just as I did last month.
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As if all of that wasn’t enough, I also participated in April’s National Poetry Month challenge 30/30. It may not seem like a lot to write a poem a day, but it certainly is. I still have yet to sort through every single one of the poems I wrote, but I will say that it was an excellent learning experience. The topics varied from day to day, and I began to become inspired by more instances and objects that occurred or appeared during my daily routine. From the sea salt brownies I bought one afternoon, to the black cat sitting in the middle of the street one night when I was driving home…I used it all. I know the best part about the challenge was incorporating the habit of writing a poem everyday into my schedule. It has since spilled over into May and poetry is still very much on my mind all the time.
To close, I want to share some more happy news that’s on the horizon with all of you. I applied and got accepted to the Frost Place 2016 Poetry Seminar! Looking to further my knowledge and work on my craft, I applied unsure whether or not my poetry submissions would be good enough to get in. I was thrilled when they were. I won’t be headed to New Hampshire until the end of July, but it’s something wonderful to look forward to.
Until next time,
Christine

National Poetry Month Is Coming…

National Poetry Month is almost here, and it seems like I’ve been preparing for it for an entire year. I can safely say I’ve been living and breathing poetry since last April, and I have learned so much about writing and myself. Next month I will be hosting four poetry events at Georgian Court University Library. The series is entitled “A Dose of Poetry,” and it’s going to be an inspiring set of events. I hope you can make it.

Besides that, I attended one of the best open mic events I’ve ever been to last Friday night. Poet Cord Moreski hosts a series entitled “Words on Main” bi-weekly in Asbury Park, NJ. This was the first time I attended one of his events, and I can safely say that it was an inspiring experience. The entire audience was welcoming and just as motivated about poetry as I am. I definitely recommend attending Cord’s events too.

Moving forward, I heard a lot about “30/30,” which is a National Poetry Month challenge where you write 30 poems in 30 days. Quite the challenge, yes, but I would imagine it would be worth it. I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo several times, and this is a poetry challenge in the same spirit. I believe it can be done. So, what do you say? Are you up for the challenge too?

Let’s chat about it on Twitter. Tweet me @AWritersWay!

To end, I’ll leave you with some Whitman…

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