Thursday, December 11, 2008

The best thing I've found on the internet:

The essence of my blog:

The essence of my writing:

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

A leap of Faith.

So it's official that I'm an English Major. But where to now? I have to believe, and pour my soul into something that terrifies me. Why would I not be terrified if this is not what I want? I guess it's a bit cyclical.
I know this is what I want- and that terrifies me because I know I might not get it, and by accepting that I want I accept that it would be a great loss to not have it.
Oh, for expination: I want to be a creative writing major BUT it's incredibly competitive to make that leap between English and C.W. and I might not get accepted.
I don't know why that freezes me though.
I guess I must just pour my soul, as mentioned before, and watch it bleed when cut apart by a council.
I think it's mostly I don't feel ready to hear no, but it's too late to ignore it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

So I'm a jerk

And forgot to do this until it is technically too late. But I figure that any effort is a good effort, and maybe I will touch someone with my words. Hopefully they won't sue.
Poverty is a horrible evil that many people ignore. It is ignored when we see the impoverished, it is ignored when we hear about their problems. Often it is surmounted that they should in fact "go get a job". With what? At where? Have you looked at the economy lately? Have you ever considered how difficult it is to get hired when you have no home address for checks, no phone, no shower even to make yourself appear a bit more proffesional?
No, probably not. But being homeless, or even impoverished with a home, is a serious problem that cannot be considered a personal problem. It affects families, the children being hurt and their opportunities severely lessened.
I don't have any sources, or any quotes. I've never been poor enough to cry about or worry, and I've only heard offhand stories. But I want you to know, as any must, that this is something worth hearing, and hopefully, helping.
Poverty isn't personal, it's a community problem, a national problem, an international problem. So listen.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Chivalry is Dead.

This has nothing to do with poetry, so I'll end it with an unrelated poem. Wait on the eges of your individual seats, readership.
I rode the bus this morning. Yes, I ride it often, because public transportation is cheap and it helps the environment. Today's experience was increasingly uncomfortable, though, because it was a crammed bus, which meant standing room only. Not even breathing room.
So I was kept on my toes, quite literally, trying to reach for the holding bar abour a foot from the ceiling, which I could barely reach. In front and behind of me where two much taller men who were able to access much lower bars, and all around me were taller men sitting. They didn't even have the decency to tuck their feet, so any time I'd rest my heel for a second, I'd accidently step on someone's foot. Not one even murmured an offer of comfort, even though I was obviously straining.
I'm so dissapointed in today's male youth.
here's your stinking poem. greedy goats.

If the due date nears
I did not subscribe-
Fingers clasp in the next room
keeping time.
Nothing is as graceful
as anything at all.
So we'll wait as the hands twitch
clinging to the kitchen wall.
As slow as this pace cannot drive
Searching for answers
in the language of our mind
Is this losing time?

If we focus on breathing,
(that we can still do)
If we focus on decieving,
(lies are only different truth)
If we jump into these waters
and cascade our sin
If we let the time become us
then what have I begun?

In petty heart races
my stopwatch reads rewind
a million watchless faces
say they 'identify'.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Poetic Justice.

Okay, Poetic justice has very little, if anything, to do with actual poetry. I did some research (wikipedia) and came up with it's actual derivitives. Wikipedia states: Poetic justice is a literary device in which virtue is ultimately rewarded or vice punished, often in modern literature by an ironic twist of fate intimately related to the character's own conduct.
I personally see that our culture has transformed this meaning, due to our waning literature references, to fit actual life. Poetic justice is when you recieve a punishment fitting the crime, especially a punishment having no relation to the crime but usually compesating for it's greviousness.

Either way, I met my own poetic justice today. It's move in week in town, and I made the horrible mistake to drive. I know, why would I do such things? Unfortunately, time continues moving forward despite the fact traffic refuses to. There were two instances where I was reciting prayers for my safety of my own accord. I can be a bit of a foolish driver. But then, later that day, I got honked at for not moving fast enough in the turn lane. This SUV was really rushing to get absolutely no where.
Now, as a woman of choice words, I do not regret my to-the-point assertation of this person's character. I shouted, "What do you want, Assfuck?" startling the person I was speaking to on the phone.
And I believe it was entirely appropriate. Looking back, I laugh that perhaps that honk was a universal compensation saying 'you needed a warning, but we don't want to give it when you'll be overwhelmed. here's your free pass, everyone gets one.'
Everyone gets one.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Collective Writing

I've recently joined a local (well, an hour away) writer's group. I'd frequented the group a number of times previously as a friend of a few of the members, but I've moved to the status of submitting member fairly recently.
My feelings on such a group? Mixed. Considering that the bulk of the group will read this, perhaps I will speak overly optimistically.
But in the hopes of complete honesty, I do really enjoy it, and if I hadn't I'd probably have made an excuse not to join, considering the distance. I think it's a fairly good group of different viewpoints and different life stages. Okay, so it isn't extremely diverse, considering it is four members and the greatest minority represented is white female. But we've all developed very different viewpoints and interests, so when we edit each others work we often find very different conceptual problems. It's almost a shock when two members pick on the same point, and come to the same conclusion as to how to fix it.
So now it's time for my helpful hints, some for the writer hoping to be a good member of the group, and some for a hopeful group.

To be a good group member:
  1. Edit your work before you submit it. If people don't have to waste their time editing things you could have caught, then they are more likely to catch the things you can't see.
  2. Edit others with an equal eye. Don't be afraid to criticize, constructively. Don't be afraid to tell someone when they wow'd you. Just because you didn't find errors doesn't mean that there is nothing to be said about the piece.
  3. Actually use the comments and edits, but keep your intentions in mind. If you have a fairy that has green hair, and they wanted brown, consider what the green hair means to you. If it successfully makes a difference, then keep it. If it sticks out for no reason, then go ahead and change it.
  4. Adding on to the last point, no one is an expert, even published writers. This means that everyone's opinion and experience should be considered equal, and your judgement should only be about the story and how their comments affect the story, not who they are coming from or how valid that person's opinion is.

For groups:

  1. Pick a consistent time to meet, so all the members can clear that time in advance. That doesn't apply as much to smaller groups or younger groups, but with adults or large groups it would be very difficult to get things on the fly.
  2. There is no right way to hold a meeting, find a way that works for your group. If you have a very big group, maybe appoint someone president to direct it, or utilize the talking stick. (no talking or you get the stick) Just kidding folks, I don't advocate violence in this situation- it doesn't mix well with the collaborative atmosphere.
  3. Finally, have fun, whatever that may mean to your group. In my group, we often eat during the meeting, because that offers two advantages: it cuts in half the time spent eating and meeting, and it also serves as a level of enjoyment based merely on enjoyment of good food.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Nobodies Listening

I'd love to offer an informative post on an intricate level of poetry. Instead, I'm going to talk about something more interesting. Maybe then people will have something to say.

Today, at a local restaurant, I visited the restroom. After getting over the initial gross factor, I hope that you, the reader, will find as much interest as I did in what I found.

All over the walls was a mural, a painted log cabin (the interior), and all over the mural were etchings of passerbys, better known as "scratch graffiti". The desire to leave one's mark is a deep psychological drive hidden in each of us, but it leaks out in different ways. Some create, like me. Some procreate, like my parents. EEEEW. Some leave indelible marks in time with their actions, and finally, some just scratch an insignificant quote or quip upon a bathroom wall.

I can see the poetry behind this action, the way these words will stretch in years beyond this actual fact (like C hearts A). The most interesting graffiti, to me, is the "I" quotes. "I" was here. "I" love A, B, C, or any name imaginable. There is a level of anonynimity to this, the lack of a name, the use of the universal "I". But it's also personal, the I indicates a level of self importance and immortality.

So, next time you are in a public bathroom, keep your creation urges to yourself, because you probably won't be immortalized. You'll probably just be ridiculed in another person's blog post.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Cheating, Productively

I already tried this once before.
But I guess I'll give it another shot, just because I'm such a nice blogger.
Alright, So I'll skip the tirade on how cheating is soooooo not cool, totally unnacceptable, how if you are with someone and love them you should NEVER pursue someone else.
Well, after that tirade, let me tell you the ONLY productive cheating: On you Art.
It's a long story, even longer when you prefix it, but many times in my life I have felt very bad about writing something other than poetry, about focusing my attention in what felt like the wrong direction. But it broke through last night, as I was finishing the last of thirty pages (for the evening.)

I wasn't cheating at all.
You see, when I write different forms, be it poetry, songwriting, essays, or in this case, a novel, I use remarkably different brain centers. In the past, when I was excited about one, and I used it, I tended to ignore the other centers, the other forms. But now I know that I can, while writing a novel, take time out to jot down a few poems.
The types of writing can, and do, overlap. It isn't cheating because writing itself is one entity, and any type of writing develops a more well rounded relationship with the craft, as well as with the writer.
So, My Advice?
If you ever feel excited to write, do so. It doesn't matter if it's a limerick or an epic. Write to your heart's fickle content and when you get tired, write a different form. No harm can come out of writing a single word, I swear by it.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Inspiring and Perspiring.

What pushes me to write? Me, mostly. Sometimes I'll hear the beginning phrase and build off of that. As a writer it's important to have more than divine inspiration or just really good luck, and two elements are quintessential to the writing process.
1. BEING SPONTANEOUS. Always carry writing tools with you. Always be willing to experience new things, meet new people. In any moment inspiration can hit, and I can't even count how many times I scribbled on my hand or a scrap of paper to later build it into a piece I was very proud of. But what's very important with this process is having a really good system to save these papers and to recopy the whole poem onto the computer, as well as having an internet database. An especially helpful database is a google email account, because of the almost unlimited space. The second part of spontaneity is pretty obvious with it's positive side- there are a million subjects to write poems about and if you never meet someone or experience something, you may never be introduced to outward inspiration.
2. KEEPING A SCHEDULE. I know, this contradicts the last point- but not really! Studies show (and no, I won't cite which) that writing every day is the most effective way to push your level of writing forward, as well as to encourage you to write when you don't exactly feel like it. I'm not super good at keeping a writing schedule, but I whole heartedly endorse it.
Well, that's all the advice for today.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

In the eyes of others

A lot of my process is incredibly personal. I write on my own inspiration and until I am extraordinarily happy with my work, I don't share it with another person. But the process of sharing, the process of opening up this little piece of yourself to another human being and preparing for some form of rejection is a terrible, terrifying and absolutely necessary part of writing.
The most helpful thing I can do for my work is expose it, to breath the life of fresh air into the piece and let others help me do so. But just choosing a poem, just placing my faith into myself and putting it out there can be so trying that I want to give up. Unfortunately for the side of me that desires to give up, I tend to take work shopping courses, where the effort of exposing ones art is a pivotal part of the grade and the class. My first college experience of sharing my work was not pleasant, and actually induced a writing dry spell for a month or two where it would hurt to go back to my work.
But why would one be so sensitive? Well, my art is part of myself- it is deeply connected to my experiences, my emotions and my sanity. I feel like I am so great at this thing, this passion of mine, that even being slightly knocked off the pedestal is a sharp fall from my own opinion. But I need that fall sometimes. I need someone to say 'Cecy, I don't understand this metaphor" or "Cecy, why is this word capitalized?" Because even when I am writing the poems on to paper, even when I speak them out loud, without an audience or a critic, the whole thing is in my head.
So, as a necessary evil, there are some rules that have made later critical experiences much more helpful and rewarding and not so damaging.
  1. They are critiquing your piece, not your Work. As a writer, I'm connected to almost every piece I write, but when I walk into a workshop or any editing area, I need to accept that it may not be as great as I assume, and if it isn't that doesn't mean I can't ever write anything great.
  2. Choose a piece that is good, finished and flawed. Everything has flaws, no matter how many edits you perform, no matter how much love is infused with the piece. Instead, embrace the first two concepts when choosing- does the poem satisfy you? or Does it linger? It should not only evoke an emotional response, it should then make some effort to heal it or answer it.
  3. Don't be so serious. Even if some girl you really respect tears into your piece (or just a part) take it with a grain of salt. If, at the moment, you are really hurt, don't read her critique first. If you need to, find some positive feedback to focus on and expand upon and visit the critical parts later. There may be some truth the critiques of others, and there may not, but until you can be objective, you can't do your best by your work.
  4. Finally, Catalogue the experience. Editing, exposing oneself, being critiqued, they are all painful. We all want to feel like we are good and don't need work and being told otherwise is an emotionally jarring experience. But use it, instead of losing yourself to it. Write about it, about how you felt hounded by their critical nature, or change the experience- offer a comical outlook on certain painful comments. The point is, to keep writing through the discomfort and to keep work shopping. Your outlook will mature and the experience will be much less painful every time.

SeeqPod - Playable Search

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Letting Change Happen

The issue at hand is a matter of removing one's own limb or something equally painful. You see, I have no problem editing. I edit papers, edit stories, I even edit other's poetry and find no issues with doing any of those things.
But when it comes to my own work? My own poems?
It's like they are my children, they are abstract emotion that I feel I can not hone to any degree.
I can accept criticism on the poems but it is extraordinarily difficult for me to find fault within them.
As a wise woman put "You are not as great as you think you are, but you are not as terrible as you fear."
So sometimes I just blindfold and hand the poem to someone else's mercy, but people are scared to be critical, scared to hurt one another. Poetry is personal, but to be really good, yo need to make it very public.
The best method I've found?
Last night I was tearing my hair out, trying to vainly edit what others refused. I had a very sweet friend (who I happen to be dating) help me calm down, and then we talked my poems out. He made me feel so much more calm and collected, as well as let me air and hear the problems I couldn't merely read.
After the initial help, I was able to utilize other strategies to refine my work- to make it a better version of itself. But without that push and that voice, I couldn't have even understood what the poems needed.
So I thank Andrew greatly for his help, as well as offer this advice to writers-
Don't just read your poetry out loud. Find an audience- it could be a close friend, it could be a group of people, and share not only the poem, but your thoughts feelings and intentions, so they can help you (and you can help yourself) clarify them.
Finally, don't be scared of editing. I used to believe I didn't need to edit, because I did love my poems, and I thought editing would remove something.
However, editing can only enhance the original work and give you a better chance to be published because others will understand your work, rather than just give it kudos for sounding nice.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Doing the Shoulds before they become Should Haves.

Long title, I know.
Lately I've done a lot of reflection on my decision to pursue a creative writing degree. It's probably one of the most impractical fields, and I could always write without the degree.
It's probably, to a degree, based on the very fact that I love to write so classes based on that craft are so much more interesting.
I guess the thing is, I'm only planning on getting one degree ever. Life might throw something else into the mix, but for now, this is my only intended degree. So the point is, I guess, that I have a dream and I've decided to follow it.
Yes, that creates a hollow in my stomach. Yes, I know it's crazy. But the problem with too much safety is people often become encumbered by their 'protection'. Their safe choices become their life and it's no longer a matter of passion, more a matter of making it through the day.
I want to be more than breathing- I'm aiming to be really and truly alive.
Right now, that means taking a big risk, and betting on myself. If it bites me on the ass, it does, but no should will become a should have, at least for my art.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The first time-

It is tedious and mundane, and we will forget all introductions within minutes. It takes months of sitting across the room to finally recall the name, repetition and science make no dent. However, introductions are necessary.
I am Cecilia I. I write poetry.It seems simple, a little starry eyed girl writing love poems and giggling to her peers. But poetry is more than an art, it is an obsession, it is a lifestyle. Poetry is my passion and I will not be dissuaded from writing despite months of writer's block or lack of material. I will write a villanelle about a shoe if I need, but that is the very point.
Writing is a need, not a want. Writing is everyday, tidbits here and there, a collage of words that spill on to the page and promptly take their place.
So why read this blog? There are millions of blogs out there and I'd bet a thousand of them cover poetry.
Well- I've been writing poetry since third grade, I've been published twice, and I'm obsessed with the craft, from the lines of others to the exact process that I go through myself. And I intend to document it all, every moment of sweet obsession.
So why read? Because how often are you in someone else's obsession? Perhaps you will be swept by my passion and go out and write your own. Perhaps you will guffaw at my over sweeping statements of self-importance.
But it still proves to be interesting, so why not stay tuned?