Poem In Your Pocket Day

IMG_0740Today is Poem In Your Pocket Day. The idea is simple: pick a poem you like and put it in your pocket. Then, throughout the day, as you run into friends and family, share it. The Academy of American Poets has some more ideas about how you can celebrate on their website.

The poem I chose today is by a 13th century Persian poet named Rumi (Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī). Here it is:

Spring Giddiness

By Rumi

Today, like every other day, we wake up empty
and frightened. Don’t open the door to the study
and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.
I would love to kiss you.
The price of kissing is your life.
Now my loving is running toward my life shouting,
What a bargain, let’s buy it.

Daylight, full of small dancing particles
and the one great turning, our souls
are dancing with you, without feet, they dance.
Can you see them when I whisper in your ear?
All day and night, music,
a quiet, bright
reedsong. If it
fades, we fade.

How about you? Are you celebrating Poem in Your Pocket Day? What’s your favorite poem?

Five For Friday: Contests and Links

1. The Rising Star Contest for writers of women’s fiction.  It offers the chance for  feedback from three published authors, plus the opportunity to break out of the slush pile and land on the desk of five final round judges, all acquiring agents of women’s fiction.

2 The Leapfrog Fiction Contest is open for entries until May 1. The prize is publication by Leapfrog Press. There is a middle grade / YA category as well as a category for adult fiction.

3. The Nowhere Spring Travel Writing Contest is looking for travel stories. The prize is $1,000 and publication in the upcoming issue of Nowhere.

4. Jane Freidman brings you a guide to query letters that get manuscript requests.

5. A writing game from The Los Angeles Times.

Have a great weekend everyone!

 

On Spring

IMG_0741March went out like a lion with one last blast of snow, but now it’s April, and I’m seeing the signs. Just this morning, a flock of about 20 Canada Geese settled in my yard. They startled when the mail truck arrived and took off in the direction of the pond. The maple trees in my back yard have sprouted red blooms, and last night, when I stepped out on the porch, I’m pretty sure I heard Wood Frogs. I’ve moved my runs from the treadmill to outside, and it seems like everything path I turn down I see something new. It’s started me thinking about the way we notice things, and how this relates to writing, and how truly astonishing the world really is.

In Walden Pond, Thoreau writes:

“One attraction in coming to the woods to live was that I should have leisure and opportunity to see the Spring come in. The ice in the pond at length begins to be honeycombed, and I can set my heel in it as I walk. Fogs and rains and warmer suns are gradually melting the snow; the days have grown sensibly longer; and I see how I shall get through the winter without adding to my woodpile, for large fires are no longer necessary. I am on the alert for the first signs of spring, to hear the chance note of some arriving bird, or the striped squirrel’s chirp, for his stores must be now nearly exhausted, or see the woodchuck venture out of his winter quarters.”

He goes on to measure the water, and the dimensions of the pond, and to talk at length about the booming sound the ice makes each night as it breaks up. Everything is studied. Everything is noticed. Everything is pointed out. I’ll never go off to live in the woods by myself, and really, I wouldn’t want to, but this spring, as I write, I hope to capture some of that wonder. And I hope that for you, too.

 

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day and Some Writing Links

Photo by Delphabar

My daughter and I are wearing green rubber band bracelets to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day. We made two armfuls of these things last week, and they are surprisingly fun and addictive.

photo-16We are also planning to make green shamrock shaped Rice Krispie Treats. Recipe here. This will probably be the extent of our celebration. How are you celebrating? I’d love to hear about it in the comments. Now, for some fun links:

Vuse brings you eight Irish Authors to try.

Spoonful explains how to make a leprechaun trap here.

The Washington Post has some great St. Patrick’s Day recipes.

Guardian Books brings you a podcast of Irish Writers.

The Huffington Post brings you the 5 best places to celebrate the holiday.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! May the luck of the Irish be with you in all of your writing endeavors.

What’s Up Wednesday

wuw-winter-flake

What’s Up Wednesday is the brain child of Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. Join the fun on your own blog and then go to Jaime’s or Erin’s to add your link – it’s a great way to share what’s going on in your life and get to know other bloggers!

What I’m Reading:

My daughter and I are reading Savvy by Ingrid Law together, and I’m really enjoying it. It’s a middle grade novel about a girl who receives a supernatural power on her thirteenth birthday. It’s fun and original, and there is a nice rolling rhythm to the prose that makes it perfect for reading out loud.

What I’m Writing: I just finished checking through Bright Coin Moon again from beginning to end, and I turned it into my editor last Friday. This week, my projects so far have been more writing related than actual writing, but hopefully that will change as I get more done.

What Inspires Me Right Now: Spring. I know its around the corner. The polar vortex and Winter Storm Titan and the freezing cold have been fun and all, but I’m really looking forward to some warm weather.

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What Else I’ve Been Up To: Snow. Plenty of it. Another big storm came through here, and the kids have been off from school for days. Below is a picture of my yard right now, so you can see how it compares to my yard in the what inspires me photo. We’re still sledding and drinking hot chocolate and having fun around here, just not  as much.

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Keep warm and have a great week!

GWU Free Writing Workshop

For those of you in the area, this is a great opportunity. Here’s the info:

The George Washington University
Jenny McKean Moore Free Community Workshop

Spring 2014 – Creative Nonfiction Workshop

Wednesdays, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
January 22 – April 23, 2014

Led by Molly McCloskey

Come and take part in a semester-long creative nonfiction workshop! To apply, you do not need academic qualifications or publications. The class will include some readings of published writings (primarily memoir and the personal essay), but will mainly be a roundtable critique of work submitted by class members. There are no fees to participate in the class, but you will be responsible for making enough copies of your stories for all fifteen participants. Students at Consortium schools (including GWU) are not eligible.

To apply, please submit a brief letter of interest and a sample of your writing, 12 pt type, double spaced, and no more than 7 pages in length. Make sure you include your name, address, home and work telephone numbers, and email address for notification. Application materials will not be returned, but will be recycled once the selection process is completed. Applications must be received at the following address by close of business on Tuesday, 7 January 2014.

JMM Fiction Workshop
Department of English
The George Washington University
801 22nd Street, NW (Suite 760)
Washington, DC 20052

All applicants will be notified by email of the outcome of their submissions no later than Saturday, 18 January 2014.

Molly McCloskey is the Jenny McKean Moore Writer in Washington for 2013-2014. She is the author of two collections of short stories, a novel, and – most recently – a memoir, Circles Around the Sun. She normally resides in Dublin, Ireland.

Announcement

It’s official! Here is the announcement from Publishers Marketplace:

December 20, 2013
Children’s:
Young Adult
Kirsten Lopresti’s BRIGHT COIN MOON, set against the colorful backdrop of immoral psychics and dishonest scam artists, telling a story of longing, loyalty, and the emotional burden of sacrifice that bounces between mother and daughter, to Nicole Frail at Sky Pony Press, for publication in Fall 2014, by Regina Brooks at Serendipity Literary Agency (World).
And here is the cake my husband and daughters surprised me with:

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Happy Holidays everyone!

Friday Five

Photo by Paperback Writer

Photo by Thomas Abbs

1. Its time for the YA Discovery Contest again. If you aren’t familiar with it, its the contest my agent Regina Brooks holds each year during National Novel Writing Month.

2. I just finished reading The Book Thief. If you haven’t read it, its a great book. I’m looking forward to seeing the movie.

3. I’ve gone back to my yoga class after a month off for no real reason. To celebrate, I bring you this link about yoga and how it can boost creativity from Mind Body Green Magazine.

4. The Edgar Allen Poe house in Baltimore reopened last month after being shut for nearly a year due to budget constraints and vandalism. You can read about it here.

5.An interesting video interview with Ian McEwan about making romantic love work in fiction.

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you enjoy your weekend.

Some Spooktacular Links

It’s almost Halloween, and I have compiled a list of my favorite spooky, funny and clever Halloween themed literary links. Hope you enjoy them!

1.  BookPage brings you the year’s creepiest books.

2. Some cute book character costumes in case you haven’t picked yours yet.

3. An essay from Poe that details his thought process when creating the poem The Raven.

4.Neil Gaiman explains All Hallows Read.

5. Some Literature inspired Jack-O-Lanterns.

6. Coolmompicks shares some cute Halloween lunchbox ideas.

7. The Huffington Post discusses 10 Novels That Will Scare The Hell Out Of You.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Writing Motivators

With NanoWriMo coming up next month, it seems like everyone is talking about motivation. In case you need a little nudge (or a big one), I’ve put together a list of apps to help out. Some of these apps, like the Fictional Character Name Generator, will save you some time. Others, like Write or Die, are designed to really kick your butt into gear.

1. MAC Freedom: An author/speaker at a conference I once attended swore by this program. It turns your e-mail, Twitter, and the entire Internet off for increments of time in order to free you to write.

2. Write or Die: This one’s one of the harshest motivators I’ve seen. It  changes screen color and sounds off an alarm when you stop typing for a period of time. If you need more motivation than that, you can set it to Kamikaze mode and let it delete your work word by word if you stop.

3. Fictional Character Name Generator: Helps you come up with a quick name for your characters. Great in a bind. You can always change it later.

4. The Story Starter:  If you like writing to prompts, or if you just want a random idea to get you started.

5. Novel in 30:  This one is for the iPad. It tracks your project, offers encouragement, and lets you share your progress with your friends on Facebook when you reach a milestone

What about you? Have you used any of these? Know of any that I missed?