Friday, May 1, 2015

Writing │ Things Always Turn Out Differently

The way I start a story is rarely how I finish it. And writing is pretty much always this way. Which is a good thing. No, it's a fantastic thing. The first draft of anything should never, ever see the light of day. Or anyone's eyes. But yours of course, the first time around. Then said eyes need to watch yourself retyping a great deal of it. And this is for any writer. Pro or amateur.

As Hemingway once said, and I'm going to paraphrase, "All first drafts are crap."

Clearly, he didn't say "crap." That wasn't the word he used. That wasn't Hemingway. But, I digress. Here's the thing. He's right. First drafts are garbage. Always. They must be rewritten.

Now, sometimes when articles and things getting printed, what you think will be printed won't always be the case. I know this first hand. I've written many things that have been edited sharply. Things I wrote, that turned out nothing like what I submitted. That's the free right of any editor. I get it.

But, there was an article I just had printed via Mamalode (great magazine) that did this to me. Again. And in this case, it's title of the piece. The title has no relevance to what they printed because they omitted the last few paragraphs. Paragraphs that really I thought, in my humble view, should've stayed in there.

Oh well. What's done is done. The title is like the most ridiculous title now that there is no mention of it in the article. But, that's not my problem. Not my issue to debate either. Apparently, they thought it was fine enough to leave that part -- only the gist of the entire thing --out of the story. (You can read my original post here ◄)

Anyway, here it is. Click here to read, my rewritten blog post from a few years ago, called Jazz Music at Night. ◄ I still like how it turned out ... even if it's distorted, non-sequitur (well, kind of) and missing stuff.

Sounds a great deal like me. 



Friday, April 17, 2015

Mamalode Magazine │ Poetry

A friend of mine recently told me about a parenting magazine called Mamalode.  
And after checking them out, I've come to the conclusion that Mamalode is a darn cool magazine. They have both an online and print magazine, dealing with mom life, parenting and everything that falls in between those two categories.Which is great for me. Because that's my life! The photography in the print version is incredible.

 Apparently, Mamalode is quite well known. The blogger and creator of BlogHer, Lisa Stone, calls Mamalode "The best parenting magazine out there." That's saying something coming from a parent and writer, herself.

My friend suggested I start submitting to them, as I needed fresh markets to submit material. I felt like I was in a writing rut. So, I submitted a poem. They took it and it was online last week. It's rather appropriate they printed this first, considering April is poetry month.


And they just recently took another article of mine, which happened to be a blog post I wrote here a couple of years ago. I rewrote it and they liked it, too. Weird.

Maybe there is a future for me in writing after all ... maybe.
And maybe not. 










Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Working Title │ The Chicken or the Egg

I often wonder when I'm reading, or listening to music, whether or not the work was written before or after the title. It's a common thing for writers not to name their works until after the book or article or poem is finished. Because coming up with a title before everything is done, is kind of like putting the cart before the horse. And many times, once a work is finished, days or months can pass before the editor, writer, publisher or everyone, can agree on a title.

Sometimes, a title is easy. Rolls off the tongue the second the last word is finished and it totally make the book complete. But, I find that this usually isn't the case. How do you narrow down 100,000 words to just one or two? Do you go by the subject matter, or a personality of a character, or an emotional theme to the book?

What story can the image of these flowers create?
I don't love titles. Those are tough. But, I do love writing on prompts. What's that? When a picture or sentence or single word can evoke an entire story. I think that's remarkable. It shows what a marvel the imagination is and how capable we are of creating something out of practically nothing and making it a work of art. Like, a really good work of art.

For example, as I'm writing this, I'm listening to Wynton Marsalis. Amazing jazz player. The title of the song is called Skylark. Did the title come after writing the song? Or did the title come first, and his inspiration take over after that? A lot of jazz music is word-less. So coming up with what the musician thinks the music is telling him, or what he is telling the music, is to me a reflection of the musician himself. I don't particularly think of a skylark when this song is playing. But ... now that Marsalis mentions it --now that that is the working title --it does have a natural, melodic, bird-like syncopation to it. Skylark is a dang good title!

So ... was the title a prompt for him? Had he seen a skylark and decided to write music?

It's the same with painting or drawing. Can a single word evoke a masterpiece?  I think it can. I think a single word, picture --or even a person-- can create an entire world. Because that's the beauty of our imagination.

I'm reading a lot of Emily Dickinson right now. I love her. She is simple (yet so complex- try figuring out what she is trying to say --you can't-- and you've mastered her) and her stanzas are short and sweet. Just my type. But talk about forgetting to title your work! Most of her poems are titled based on the first line of each poem. It was far harder for her to come up with titles than the poems themselves.

Here's an example of a work from me-- a short sweet, love poem. Very Dickinson-esque. Not great. Just an example:

You startle me at random,
I see you and have to pause.
Although it wasn’t really you, (I know)
But a memory rising fast.

I force myself to return (to task,)
We were something, long ago,
Only try telling that to my memory,
Who won’t let me let you go.

Okay. My first inclination is to title it Startle. Because, that is how it starts and it's what evokes the rest of the two verses. But, after more thought, I could call it Memories. Because that really is what the poem is all about. But is it? The poem, to me, is about the heart; the heart breaking, hurting, wanting the past but not being able to have it. I'd prefer to call it, When a Heart Breaks, precisely because none of those words make an appearance in the poem at all.

So, a title is just a title. And yet, a title can make the work that much better if the work of art is titled correctly.

My two cents ...


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Reading │ Writing

Well hey! Just wanted to say a quick hello. I'm still here.

No excuses for not blogging.

However, I'm going to give you excuses anyway.

Just went here for Winter Break with my boys.

Their first trip to Hawaii.

Spent a lot of time looking up at this while lounging on the beach or at the pool.

 Spent an equal amount of time trying to get them to let me take pics of them.


Took a ridiculous amount of fun selfies with my oldest. (Very cherish-able.)
Came home to celebrate this boy's birthday (again).


Proceeded to eat all of this by myself.

Took this girl for many runs, even though I was the one that needed to run.


Now, I'm doing (still) a lot of this.


But wishing I was doing this.


I'm getting back into the writing groove guys. I promise.
Hope to share some of it in the near future.

Aloha...