Blog Post #28
It’s been a month, hasn’t it? I feel like a whirlwind. I’ve been everywhere doing a bit of everything, picking up and dropping paper here and there, but never feeling like I managed to get somewhere. We’ve had snow and lightning and eighty degree weather here this month to match my shiftiness. I feel rather worn despite physical evidence of my endeavors. I’ll be sure to show you all the numbers for April in next month’s recap post, but for now it’s time to take a look at March’s Word Counts.
The Writing Front
Well, that was rather underwhelming. Especially when compared to Feb’s breakneck numbers. But I suppose anything written down is still something done, right? With that and the two previous month’s work, my total word count for the year (through March) tops out at 31,822 of my 200 k.
Almost 16% when I should be at 20%? I’m not too worried about it. In March, real life happened, and I set some things aside to exist in the moments and feel them like I needed to. I can’t expect myself to go and go and go and give and give and give without down time. I’d burn out brighter than a supernova. Since this month is almost over, I can tell you, April’s numbers are better. So much better, which is why I am this chill about March’s numbers.
The Reading Front
Reading About Writing/Business
I’m still trying to work my way through Joanna Penn’s Marketing for Authors, but I also picked up The Small Business Start-Up Kit as well as two other books. As a former student of business law (yes, it was only one class, still counts), I really want to make sure that I’m guiding this potential business in the right direction, as far as taxes and contracts are concerned. With the idea of a buying my own website batting around in the back of my brain, I figured I would like to be prepared now for what taxes I would have to file next year.
Reading Challenge 2016
April: Local Author
It turned out to be more of a challenge than I could have possibly ever anticipated. Jessica B., another friend in on the challenge, and I went to the library hoping the librarians could point us in the right direction since my internet search left much to be desired. Jessica even mentioned that there had been a specific section for the state (narrowing it down to city would have been far too difficult). We arrived and found that not only was there no section for state specific authors anymore, but the librarians were having trouble getting us anything either. We were redirected to the Downtown Library. I did manage to spot and snag a pamphlet with a list of state authors before we left.
Downtown, we found the state room, but it was all reference with nothing we could check out. We took pictures with our phones of different sections of my list and walked down different rows in the fiction section, grabbing books from each author as we went. Overladen with books, we regrouped at one of the center tables. Between the three of us, we had amassed some fifteen or twenty books. Hands plucking from the center pile so we could read back and flap summaries. Everyone looked at each book. Less than half made the cut. I only took home two.
Of the two, I only ended up reading Becoming Clementine by Jennifer Niven (better known lately for All the Bright Places). World War II, spies, and technology with a female in the lead seemed like a good fit for my interests. Maybe it’s because in my head, I was thinking of Agent Peggy Carter and I wanted a book about another female with her perseverance. Overall, I’d give it a four out of five. While I loved the topics, the action, and the setting, this book sped through like a movie. I wanted more details, literary and specifically. How did they build the spy gear? I need to know this.
National Poetry Month
Happy (Belated) National Poetry Month everyone! I know the month is nearly over and poetry isn’t exactly my specialization, but I figure writers of every sort need to stick together and support one another. Sometimes that support is much more in person than others despite our tendency toward introversion. Since our state is one of the 48 have a role specifically for poets, State Poet Laureate, I decided that I would go show my support for our State Poet Laureate, Shari Wagner.
She stopped by our Downtown Library to have a reading and answer questions we might have about poetry. She talked about the different interesting locations across the state she had visited and the strange little stories you pick up in different towns including the documented eccentricities of interesting people. After her reading, I bought one of her poetry books, The Harmonist at Nightfall, because I unintentionally fell in love with “Helen’s Hill”. She kindly signed it and we had a small little discussion about the lake at my home town. Thank you much to Shari Wagner for humoring me. I loved your poems. Go share some of my enthusiasm and listen to one of her poems being spoken. The word choice is just brilliant.
While the reading had been enjoyable, once again, Jessica B. and I were the youngest in the crowd. I wish more people had been there, and the topic even came up. How do we get people into poetry? What it came down to was the ability to make poetry approachable rather than scholarly. Reading for class very old poems for audiences that no longer breathe is the pursuit of the scholars. I enjoy epic poetry, but it doesn’t feel everyday, it doesn’t grab the population by the heartstrings and shake apart their entire being. To foster a love of poetry, give each person poetry fit for who they are. Give them a poem out of your pocket, one you love, and read it to them so they can feel your emotion toward it. Give them poems they can relate to on that same level.
I’ve always loved poetry even if I admittedly never pull it off as well as others. Maybe it’s because when I was young I was introduced to poetry fit for me? I own Where the Sidewalk Ends and Falling Up by Shel Silverstein. We had read his poems in class, and also, I remember going as a class to see these poems acted on stage. I can still see in my head “The Dancing Pants” on the dark stage illuminated by black lights as well as “Boa Constrictor”.
Even when reading his poems, I found some of them that stuck with me. “Forgotten Language” made me sad in ways I couldn’t even understand then. Some taught me about things I wanted in my life like peace in “Hug O’ War”, new adventures in “Needles and Pins”, trying anything in “Alice”, and learning to create my own “Magic”. Every now and again, I remind myself that so many things will run away and hide from one little did. Here, go have some feels from your childhood if you were like me and read these poems.
Poetry, when it’s real and good and deep, never leaves you. The rhythm of the words embeds itself in your muscles, in your thoughts, and in your soul. I’m a living example of this when it comes to Shel’s poetry. In his best known poems he writes that it is children who know the place, but even I as an adult still smile when I find where the sidewalk ends.