Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Contest Reminder

Hey, everyone.

This is just a reminder about the haiga contest. All you need to do is write three lines. Three little lines. The inspiration is my photo (below); the words are yours.

If you need the link again to Claudsy's post CLICK HERE.


Thursday, June 5, 2014

Wednesday Hodgepodge - June 4, 2014

It's been a while since I've taken part in the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Joyce at From this Side of the Pond always lists the questions and participants supply the answers and add a link to their post on her list. If you are interested in taking part, head on over to Joyce's blog by CLICKING HERE for more information.

Now, for my answers to the eight questions.

1. I've read several posts and status updates recently describing end of year school field trips. Do you remember taking school field trips as a kid? Where did you go and do you recall a favorite? For any parents responding today, have you ever chaperoned a school field trip, and if so where?

There were lots of school trips. In elementary school we took day trips to places like the Franklin Institute and Longwood Gardens and took extended trips to Fellowship Farms and to the Poconos. In later grades we went to the United Nations and to Disneyland.

I'm never good at picking favorites but if I have to I'd say the 4-day trip to a camp in the Poconos with my fifth grade class was most memorable.

Have I helped to chaperone a school field trip? Certainly have. Quite a few, in fact. To the zoo, the dinosaur exhibit, the nature museum, etc. I was always willing to tag along when they needed extra people.

2. What's something you're tired of seeing online?

Pop-up ads. 

3. June is the month for roses. Which of the following expressions would you say could most recently be applied to your life-'everything's coming up roses' 'there's no rose without a thorn' came out smelling like a rose' or 'wearing rose-colored glasses'? 

I think the expression "there's no rose without a thorn" always applies. I follow the philosophy that nothing is perfect. All people are flawed in some way, relationships have their ups and downs, each career/job has good and bad points. Some thorns dig deeper than others and some are bigger challenges to overlook, but we need to accept them and deal with them the best we can. On the flip side, just because things are flawed doesn't mean we shouldn't see the beauty in them. Take time to smell the roses when you can. It's those good things that keep us going.

4. When grilling outdoors do you prefer gas or charcoal? Who does the grilling at your house? What's the last thing you ate that was cooked on a grill?

Both are fine but I love the flavor of  food cooked on a charcoal grill. I tend to marinade/prepare the food for the grill and my husband does the grilling. The last thing we had on the grill was Schweinehals (pork shoulder steaks) marinated with garlic, mushrooms stuffed with feta, and vegetable skewers (cherry tomato and zucchini), but one of my favorite things to make on the grill is eggplant marinated in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.    

5. Are you afraid of the dark?

No, just what lies within it. :-)  

6. Share a favorite song with a number in its title.

This was the hardest of all the questions for two reason. Firstly, I LOVE music. Also, as I mentioned earlier, I am always bad at picking favorites, so deciding on one song to highlight is torture. I started a list. It included songs like Green Day's 21 Guns, Kylie Minogue's 2 Hearts, Fleming and John's 6,570, Jason Mraz's 93 Million Miles, and Lou Bega's Mambo Nr. 5. I mean, seriously. Pull out some of your cd's or go through your MP3 or wherever you have your music. It seems everyone has a song with a number in it. One of the most well-known old songs in Germany is Nena's 99 Luftballoons. And if we include songs with the word ONE in them, the possibilities are endless--Colbie Caillat's One Fine Wire, Robbie Williams' She's the One, Jamie Cullem's Just One of Those Things, Sara Bareilles' One Sweet Love. The list could go on and one.  So I am not going to pick just one. Here are two that I like. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to insert the video so I've included links. Just click on the song title. 

My husband's favorite artist is Trombone Shorty. Not only is he an excellent musician but he sings, too. All his CDs are good and he puts on a great concert.

Trombone Shorty - One Night Only  

Another great artist, who I admire for his versatility, wordplay, and sometimes poetic lyrics (like in Bella Luna), is Jason Mraz. I already mentioned 93 Million Miles, which is an excellent tune, but I really dig this song from his Love is a Four Letter Word cd. 

Jason Mraz - 5/6 

I was going to add a German song (1000 Fragen by Silbermond) but couldn't find a good video for it. Most of them were covers. Oh, well. So it goes. 

 7. "Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding about ourselves."(C.G. Jung) Do you agree? Why or why not?

I'm not sure it's true in every instance, but it's certainly true some of the time.  If something irritates me about someone then in most cases I am the opposite. For instance, I am a very patient person and it bothers me when people complain the whole time they wait in line or they refuse to wait like everyone else. On the other hand, sometimes the things we have in common with people cause the irritation. If both Jane and John are confident and always want to be the one in charge, they are certainly going to be irritated by the other's desire to lead the pack.  

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Note for the creative readers. This week I am guest host over at Creative Bloomings. Today's prompt is to write a quintella. To take part, CLICK HERE. Also, don't forget to back-track to Monday's post for the earlier prompt.  

Also, I am co-hosting a contest this month with Claudette at her blog At Home. I won her photo contest and thought it would be a bit of fun to see who could write something nice to go with it. The winner gets a copy of my photo with their poem on it. To learn more about it, CLICK HERE.

Thanks for stopping by today!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Virtual Blog Tour Today!

Virtual Blog Tour

I was asked by my friend and fellow creative, Kathryn Dyche  Dechairo, to participate in a virtual blog tour. Its goal is to introduce talented bloggers and have them share insight into their writing and creative process. You can visit her tour post at The Edge of Silence - See more at: http://confessionsofalaundrygoddess.blogspot.com/#sthash.fZmpB1Dk.dpuf
I was asked by Laurie Kolp to participate in a virtual blog tour. Its goal is to introduce talented bloggers as they share insight into their creative process and current projects. I' have known Laurie for several years and have seen her blossom as a writer.  You can visit her blog tour post at http://lkharris-kolp.blogspot.de/2014/05/virtual-blog-tour.html.

Here's Laurie's bio (but to really get to know her--which you should because she is amazingly talented--you should check out her work in journals online and visited one of her blogs). 
Laurie Kolp lives in Southeast Texas with her husband, three kids and two dogs. She serves as vice-president of Texas Gulf Coast Writers, and contributes monthly to the online communities dVerse Poets and Poetry Jam. Laurie’s first full-length poetry collection is Upon the Blue Couch, published by Winter Goose Publishing in April 2014.
I've already received and read my copy of Upon the Blue Couch and hope to write a post about it in the future but if you can't wait (you know what a lazy Blogger I am lately) then just go out and buy it! I recommend it.
Now, on to answering the four questions.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
What am I working on?
One too many things. I have so many ideas and notes jotted down that I often don't know where to start. The next piece I hope to start is a creative non-fiction piece about a gift my brother gave me to me when I was little. The idea came to me while sorting through old things in the attic. It will be fun writing this story, and since it is one that is dear to my heart I hope that when I've completed it that I'll be able to find an editor who will publish it. I also have a great idea for a picture book and have just begun plotting it out.
I've also been experimenting with haibun lately and find that it is a form I like very much. I've only written three of them but one has already been published and my latest will be featured in a journal in July. I'll post a link then. The third—well, that one needs a bit of work, but I think this form is a match for me. I'm looking forward to writing more of them.
Visually I am making a jump from photos to artwork and am creating a collage for a writing friend's upcoming chapbook. I sure hope it turns out okay and that he likes it. It's been a while since I've done something crafty.
Now, if we want to focus on only this current week, I am guest hosting over at Creative Bloomings. I needed to write a sample poem for the Sunday prompt (more on that later) and will need to write my poem for the in-form prompt on Wednesday. I'll give you a hint on the form. It starts with a Q.
Additionally, I am co-hosting a haiga contest this month. If you follow my blog or are a Facebook friend or friend in the real world, you might remember my winning the photo contest by Claudette at the blog At Home. This is my winning photo.
After being notified I suggested that it might be need to extend this and offer a short form poetry contest with the winner getting a haiga of my photo and his/her poem on it. She whole-heartedly agreed. The contest runs the whole month of June, so go check it out HERE.
Those are just a few of my creative ventures. Of course, I still have a family life and that keeps me busy, too.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
To be honest, I have no clue. I just write what comes to mind. Many people have told me they like my “voice”, that I write in a easy-going style that makes them feel as if I am actually there talking to them instead of just reading my words on paper. Okay, if you say so. As far as I am concerned the only thing that sets it apart from what others write is simply the fact that I wrote it. Haha. Maybe you can tell me what makes my work differ from others.
Why do I write what I do?
I write because I think typing is good exercise for my fingers and I don't know how to knit! But seriously, I write because I want to. Ever since I was about 7 years old I've enjoyed writing. It is just part of who I am. I've gone through long periods where I didn't write—when I was a new mother, when I moved to a foreign country and needed to learn a new language—but I've found that I am never completely satisfied with life unless I am writing. I am like a junkie who needs a fix on a somewhat regular basis. And if I am not writing, then I am either out taking photos or, more likely, reading.
How does my writing process work?

Well, folks, that is a loaded question, because I don't have a typical routine. I tend to get most of my best ideas while lying in bed at night staring into the darkness, while in the shower, or will riding the bus around town. I've learned to keep a tiny notebook nearby to jot down ideas and phrases, sometimes general plots. But sometimes those ideas come at times when I least expect them.
The writing part? That seems to work best late at night when my husband and daughter are asleep. Quiet and no chance of interruptions is the key for me. Though I must say that when I am having difficulty working out a story or finding the perfect description or wording, I often ask my husband the next day. He's quite helpful. His input might then start new sparks and before you know it I am writing in the afternoon. There is just no consistency to what or how I write.
Then the "why" part of writing comes into play. Often my writing process is spurred by a prompt or deadline. In April many of my poems were written due to April poetry prompts at Robert Lee Brewer's Poetic Asides and other sites with April challenges or contests. Plus, there are opportunities, such as my guest hosting at Creative Bloomings. Each Sunday a prompt is posted and Walt and his co-host post an example poem for the prompt. This week the prompt is: Think of some reasons we wouldn’t be totally truthful to someone. Choose one and write a poem debunking that reason.
I received the prompt on Tuesday or Wednesday, collected a few ideas up until Friday and then finally sat down to write on Saturday. My muse was active but not giving me any good lines. Then I had what I thought was an excellent idea for a haibun. It just came pouring out of me. I made a few changes and knew it was close but not finished. I was completely satisfied with the prose but that darn haiku/senyru at the end is always the hardest part for me. Then I did something that is often part of my writing process. I sent it to a writing buddy of mine.
I have a few writing and critique groups—one for children's lit, one just for rhyming work, one for any type of writing, and also individual friends who write that I know can help every now and then if the need arises. I chose this person because she specializes in Japanese forms and is the editor of a journal which publishes such work. AND she is a totally awesome and loving friend. She looked it over, suggested a simple fix for the end, and then said, “It's good. Email it to me and it will be in the July issue.” My heart did a flitter. I've tried twice to get into her journal without success, and this time I wasn't even trying. I immediately sent a reply notifying her that it wasn't available, that I needed it for a guest post which would go public in less than 12 hours (and I had to go to bed soon).
Then I rethought things. I sent a message saying “If I can come up with something else for my guest post within the next hour, this piece is yours. If not, I'll have to try my luck with something else at a later date.”
Then another common part of my writing process kicked it...pressure. I can be a serious procrastinator at times so having deadlines and knowing, in this instance, that I MUST send something off and soon, my brain suddenly started throwing around a million ideas. I started and scrapped a few then my funny bone kicked in and I decided to let loose a bit and go for humor instead of depth. After all, who doesn't need a good laugh. In the end, I had a new piece within the hour, explained the situation to Walt and asked if the silly rhyme would work and, being the great guy that he is, said “by all means let the journal have the haibun and we'll run with this.” Thank you, Walt!
Now don't think that things always work out like the example above. Writing a haibun and having it accepted the same day is not the norm. There are times I have no good ideas to even begin with, times I begin and never finish a piece, and times I finish but it is so bad I can't send it off anywhere. There are times I have brilliant ideas and plots but can't seem to put the words on paper in a way that expresses the idea clearly or in an interesting fashion. Other times I revise and revise and revise and never make progress. There are plenty of time I fail. That's part of being a writer. 
In fact, I did a major fail with this post. I am supposed to find other writers to whom I pass the torch to in this blog tour. I asked over 20 people and came up short. Not a one! The majority of my friends have already taken part so the playing field was limited. Others just don't have the time. Either they are busy with other writing ventures (like making final edits on their upcoming books),  are focusing on matters in their personal life, or they just weren't interested. SO...
if you want to take part in the blog tour let me know. I will add you to the list and you can answer these four questions on your blog next week and put a link back to this post. And if not, I thank you for reading until the end of this long post. You are wonderful!
As another alternative, here are two links to others who are participating.
If you like wordplay and enjabment, check out De Jackson HERE. She's a great PoetPiratePrincess.
A great nature writer to check out is Hannah Gosselin. And she is such a sweety that many of us call her "sweet Hannah". Read her blog post HERE