Jilted Lover

11 05 2015

Jilted Lover, I’m quite certain that’s how my blog feels right about now. I’ve not made an update since my November trip to Beaufort (which went wonderfully by the way). So I should probably catch you up on the writerly things going on…

I have successfully finished my first year of graduate school and am passing with a 4.0 (all that writing/studying is why I’ve been so distant lately, sorry bloggers). It feels great to be back in school though I do admit it has completely taken over my life. In other news, I will be teaching English Composition 101 to my very own class of college freshmen next semester.

I have been writing like crazy: flash fiction, short fiction, lengthy memoir pieces, and of course, poetry. I have several pieces sent out to journals across the nation… still waiting to hear back from them though.

The newest editions of the Birmingham Poetry Review and PoemMemoirStory are out and available for your reading pleasure. These are two publications that I am on staff with. So you should go read those things considering how much time I and my colleagues spent on them. Wonderful publications.

Tonight I got to sit with several published writers and listen to their journey down the publishing path. It seems very complicated and daunting, but I’m up for the challenge. I guess I have to actually finish something first don’t I? I have been working on my illustrations and hope to have several more lino cuts done by the end of summer (actually I hope to have all of them done.) Here’s a peek at the most recent one I’ve finished.

hashimotoI still feel like I have forever to go. Just chewing through it one bit at a time.

oh and I did just get back from Monroeville (the literary capital of Alabama). Some pretty exciting things happened on that trip but that’s another blog posts. Don’t worry I promise I’ll post it soon! anyway, hope things are well in your world!

~Cheers for now!





Spending Money to Make Money… Eventually, Hopefully

19 08 2014

Welp, I’m $100 (about 75 Euro for my international readers) lighter. I just forked out some dolla billz to become a part of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators or SCBWI for those who know. My professor has been urging me to join for quite some time and I just now managed to scrap together enough play money to join. Hopefully this will help launch me into my publishing career. I have a least a half dozen children’s books written and awaiting illustration (some I will illustrate myself and some I’m ok with other’s working on.) And at least another 2 dozen bouncing around in my head waiting to be written. My newest story involves Slue-foot Sue and it’s turning out to be quite quirky and awesome. Anyway, they gave me this spiffy little badge for spending my money. So here we go, it’s official.

Member badges

 

 





Raising up the Youngin’s

20 06 2014

I’ve been working with a creative writing workshop for highschoolers at the college over the summer. It’s been three weeks of awesome. I had the chance to do this last year and they invited me back to work with them again this year. These kids are awesome! And if you feel like patronizing the arts a little why don’t you head on over to the blog they set up and give it a lookie-loo.

The Writers’ Block 2014

Cheers!





Dunt Dunt Dunt: another one bites the dust

28 03 2014

Praise the Lord and Hallelujah! I just got done with another drafting of Joshua Burnam and the Killer Cereal. Hopefully it’s one of my lasts. The story is coming dangerously close to completion. This week I will be asking some of my trusted Englishly peoples take a look at it and give me some feedback. The majority of plot holes have been filled during this last run though which was probably the biggest overhaul it’s seen yet. It’s taken over a year’s worth of primping and polishing to get it to it’s present state.  I have people constantly asking me how it’s coming and my answer is always the same, still revising.

I feel like I could revise myself into the ground sometimes, but it is a necessary part of the process. I often remind myself that the difference between a writer and a published writer is revision. Someone seeking publishing should spend about 25% of their time writing the story and 75% of the time revising it. And man alive, I use to hate revision. Revision, to me, use to mean that I hadn’t done things perfectly on the first go around (and who really want’s to be told that their writing is crap?) It use to mean that I could potentially cut a paragraph that was awesome and then it would be gone forever.

But as I have become more established in my writer’s ways I have come to realize that there is a certain freedom in revision. It is admitting that: yes, I didn’t get it right on the first try but I can come back to it. And that takes a lot of pressure off preforming such monumental undertakings. Additionally, it is super productive. Knowing that you can revise later on helps you to get what’s in your head out NOW. Sure, maybe it might not work well with the story as it is but you don’t risk losing that great idea because it’s not yet perfect. In food terms: First you gotta get the icing ON the cake before you can smooth it out.

 

Anyway, I just wanted to share the news with you peoples cause you’re awesome and continue to read these posts. Hope your March went well! here’s to a better April!

 

Cheers!





Finito… for now

20 12 2013

Something kind of spiffy happened this weekend. Dressed in cap and gown of blazing green and gold, I walked across a sage in front of a few thousand people and shook the president of UAB’s hand. They tell me I’m graduated. It’s hard to believe. Sister, myself and Momma.

Now that I have all this free time on my hands I was finally able to rework and relaunch the website for my new project The Birmingham Voice.  I and a buddy of mine have taken over editorship of Birmingham’s only street paper. It helps employ the homeless and is a really cool concept. Do us a favor and check it out. 

Also I am taking myself on a lovely long vacation to Hawaii to visit my best friend. I’ll be there to recharge for the next two weeks and I so very much look forward to it. Props to my Daddy for surprising me with the plane tickets. I had scrimped and saved for a year to get the ticket and was shopping around when with a “happy graduation” and a voila he presented me with one round-trip Delta. 🙂 Isn’t he the best Daddy ever?!

While in Hawaii I will be applying the final edits to my Joshua Burnam and the Killer Cereal novel. As soon as I get back I hope to be sending out query letters to agents!

And another thing I haven’t mentioned yet: I am applying to UAB’s graduate English program. Two years was not enough time to study under the fantastic professors in the creative writing program. So I signed myself up for another two years. We’ll see if they take me 😉

Hope y’all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! As always, thank you for your readership!

Cheers!





Community

12 02 2013

Community… not to be confused with the awesome TV show by the same name, is defined by Merriam-Webster as:  “a group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society.” One of my favorite poets, John Donne, has a few words to say on the subject. You’ve probably heard it before but read it again.

“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.”

One of my favorite Biblical passages can be found in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 whhiiiich states:

Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

No one should live their lives on their own. Sure it can be done. And solitude is a blessed thing to escape to every now and then. BUT it’s not healthy as a permanent situation.

One person has the power to change the world. But TWO people, two people don’t double those odds, they more than double them. Basically the influence of  1+1=10.

One can create a community. You’re probably a part of several without fully realizing it. Your family, co-workers, church group, bingo partners, college classroom,  knitting club, gamer enclave …etc. You have influence in these circles. But just as importantly, they have a strong influence on you. I have several jobs and full time school. I’ve been in a lot of social situations. However these communities were not life giving. This kinda left me out on a limb. Working and going to school and working and going to school with some power naps in-between. I was around people all day long but the social interaction was very draining. Creative juices ebbed. Something had to change.

So I seized what bare-bones spare time I have to involve myself with others in what I consider two very important areas of my life. 1. My faith. 2. writing.

I’ve joined a new Bible study. It’s awesome! I only knew one person in the group to begin with but it’s a fantastic group of ladies, we’ve all connected and I’m loving it. We are studying the book of Daniel, which to be honest has a lot more to it than I’ve picked up on in my previous readings. Reckon that’s why they call it a Bible study. Anyway we’re using Beth Moore’s Daniel: Lives of Integrity, Words of Prophesy. It’s all about being culturally relevant without becoming spiritually irrelevant. And it has been such a blessing.

The second community is my poetry group. And as I promised to you in a previous post here I am telling you more  about it, or rather us. I recall telling you that we now call ourselves the Jones Valley Poetry Company. I even set us up a cool new blog site which I will now shamelessly promote. Check us out at jvpcompany.wordpress.com. Boom. Now that’s where it’s at. We started out just attending poetry class together studying under the incredible teacher I’ve mentioned before, Adam Vines. But then we started hanging out together. And poetry infused all of our meetings. Things just kinda went from there. We’re a fairly diverse group, however, our love of poetry and the city of Birmingham (which resides in Jones Valley) binds us together. We’re working towards cultivating love for these two topics within the Magic City (which has so much potential yet is widely misunderstood. Birmingham is trying to change it’s stereotype. A lot of times it gets a bad report. Don’t get me wrong it does reside within the top ten most violent cities within the US. And it by no means is the most gorgeous city out there. It has more the rustic or rather rusty charm about it. But against all odds, it’s trying. And we’re gonna help as much as we can.)

Communities, when faced with a common challenge/goal, get things done. When there are people there to support and encourage you, laugh when you laugh and cry with you when the world busts you in the face… it’s this human interaction that builds a home, a nation a world.

My communities are important to me. Be it my family, best friend, close friends, church family, writing group… they all have influence over who I am and how I’m interacting with the world. And Lord willing we’ll produce fruits that will touch and influence the lives of others.

That’s all for today,

Cheers!





The Courtyard

8 04 2012

(As a side note, this poem was written in real time, so I was composing the events as they were happening, the poem I mention writing was in fact the one you are about to read. enjoy)

We both traveled the same path

Opposite of one another

I arriving first

Just by a hairs breath

Into the secret courtyard

It’s deserted except for us two

With a heave and a sigh

I relive my back of its heavy strains

And set my pack upon the stones

Looking up I see her mirror me

As I being to disassemble the load

Our eyes meet

There is no friendship in them

Glances remain brief and suspicious

Will the one impose the others work

I watch her in the reflection

Of my lap top screen

Sheesh, we even sat the same way

Facing the sun

Soaking up its warmth

With both feet propped up in chairs

Another enters, unwelcomed

She starts talking

About what I don’t know, I don’t care

Chastised by looks she leaves

My contemporary has a book

I think she’s in my English class

It’s our English book at least

Silent she pours over it ,while I sit observing

She reading poetry, I writing it

Creator and reader

It takes both

Maybe one day she’ll sit in an abandoned courtyard

Much like today

Maybe she’ll sit and read my work

Unknowing it’s about hers truly

The thought bemuse me

Now packing up her stuff

She leaves me alone

Do I mourn her absence?

I know not

More come in, I scorn their presence

Dang look at the time

Math class begins in two minutes








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