#Micropoetry Monday: Reconstruction

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He wouldn’t have loved her whole,
but when he became half a man,
he loved her wholly.

She was 30 when she began her ministry—
of life after miscarriage & divorce with
18 undocumented years “about her mother’s business”—
finding herself resurrected
through her student disciples.

She bicycled and upcycled,
turning garbage into something green.
Her collar had gone from blue,
to white,
to green,
but it was when she fell back to blue,
she wanted much,
but wasted not.

The house was smaller than she remembered,
shabbier over time,
& she sought to bring it back from the grave
with her feelings that were as true as
her false memories.

An accident had taken her beauty,
& she learned to use her brain
to get it back.

20 Things My Mother Taught Me: A Mother’s Day Message

Mom

  1. You don’t have to be a stay-at-home mom to be a good mom.  Dads are capable of raising children, too, just as women are capable of serving in wars.
  2. Do not repeat your parents’ mistakes.  My mom didn’t believe in whipping because she was whipped as a child, and it was always a dehumanizing experience. Contrary to conservative belief, my brother and I didn’t fear our parents and turned out to be good citizens and innately kind human beings.
  3. Just because you love your children differently, doesn’t mean you don’t love them equally.
  4. The military is a worthy career choice.
  5. Tell your daughter she’s pretty.  (Her parents never did and so she grew up believing she was ugly.)
  6. Cancer schmancer.  You get it a second time, you fight it a second time.  Fighting till the end doesn’t make one’s death any less “dignified.”
  7. Perfectionism can be a hindrance to starting and finishing things.
  8. If you want your kid to be a Christian, take them to church.  My mom has often said she regretted not being stronger about this with my brother.  Church attendance doesn’t make you a Christian, but it can help solidify the foundation poured at home.
  9. Kelly is not a girl’s name.  American girls stole it.  (My brother’s name is Kelly Morgan.)
  10. Even if your parents weren’t perfect, it is your duty to take care of them for raising you to maturity.
  11. It’s okay to get really pissed off and throw things.  Just don’t throw them at people.
  12. Let your child pursue that which moves them.  For my brother, it’s music; for me, it’s writing.  Encourage them.
  13. Empathy is one of the greatest of all virtues.
  14. If you have one good friend in a lifetime, you’re lucky.
  15. Marry who you want, regardless of what your parents think.
  16. Eat your meat well-done.  Her dad grew up on a farm and knew the deal.  If you look like a hick for ordering it that way, so be it.
  17. Don’t be afraid to accept help, even if that help is from the government (as long as you are trying to better yourself in the process, in which you will be paying it all back via taxes).
  18. Dad’s food might give you ringworm.
  19. I was a baby before I was born.
  20. Let your children know they can always come home if they need to.  Love really is an open door.

And this Sunday’s Instagram post, which seemed befitting the holiday:

Revive the art of conversation peg

She had them put down their devices
to get a CLUE over some CHESS pie.
Mom had the MONOPOLY on sociability
that night she took a RISK by shaking things up.
When they all made plans for another night,
she saw it hadn’t been a TRIVIAL PURSUIT.

#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book

mormoni

David loved me in a way no silly girlfriend ever could. My David lived to bless me with his love, to be my kind, wise, & wonderful friend.

I began to think of my mother as an interloper; I could not explain why, for nothing he gave her, had he first taken from me.

Mother hated grocery shopping, so it was I who went with him. Mother hated cooking, so it was I who worked beside him.

Mother hated modeling for his paintings, but I didn’t mind. Mother may have been his lover, but it was I who was his friend.

Seeing how happy David was with Mother, I felt like a little girl again; they were in their own little world, I, the moon that shone on it.

I was losing him to Mother, & yet, I knew him marrying her would cement his place in our family. He would live in this house, share her bed.

The rare times I fell ill, it was David I called for, & it was during those times that he would read to me like Mother never had.

Elder Roberts chose David for my mother to marry in the temple, & my heart bubbled over with love for him, for he loved whom I loved.

I looked at Elder Roberts & saw his hope that I would join my mother in the waters of baptism. I knew then, it was only a matter of time.

Memories were treasures that sometimes bubbled up out of the ocean, covered with grime, eroded by time, so they were often unreliable.

Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #392: Forever

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Canvases in a Locked Room

When segregation of the old from the young
became The Thing To Be Done,
the old died younger,
and the young could not see
past their own experiences.

Generations of civilizations
were limited their myopic, peripheral visions,
and wisdom was lost forever.

http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/wednesday-poetry-prompts-392

Doubling up: Maximizing your writing, and more

blog

So I am getting ready to start summer school–another semester of work-study, a class I don’t care about, and Intermediate Algebra, which is very scary indeed.  I made a D in it about 15 years ago, and I allowed my fear of failure–that I wasn’t smart enough to finish college–keep me from finishing.

Like Buddy Sorrell on “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” who could make a joke out of any word (including “milk bath”), I can write a poem on the spot about any word, but algebra has always been the bane of my educational existence.

Except this time, I am so close, with only a handful of credits left before I can work as a copy writer somewhere in the medical field.

This time, I will have access to free, on-campus and virtual tutors.

This time, I will have a few hours a day at work to focus on this class I will never use again, but will help me get to wherever I am going–that place called Career Contentment. I don’t know where that is yet, for I am still following the map, but I have a pretty good idea of what I will be doing when I get there.

 

My time is more limited than ever now, so I’ve decided to cut most of my weekend posting (I’d just had enough of dealing with self-inflicted “homework” first thing in the morning).  The one exception is a single #SundayInspiration Instagram post (see bottom) with what I hope will be considered “thinking outside the candy box” (https://www.instagram.com/sarahleastories/?hl=en).

I’d forgotten I even had an account until a recent Facebook friend followed me, and I thought, well, I do have one of those phones now, and I can take a shot of virtually the same thing (which will help establish my “theme”).  I’d tried Pinterest, but it’s more for consumers than creators, and I like the cleaner, sleeker look of Instagram.  Pinterest also seems like it’s more for crafters than writers or photographers.  Furthermore, Instagram seems much more personal, more real.  It has a freshness Pinterest does not.

 

Streamlining your writing process is a form of minimalism, and it can help you focus on the more important aspects of writing (like improving your craft and getting paid).  It’s good to have a social media presence (any publisher expects this if you’re unknown), but the thing that will get you noticed is submitting, submitting, and submitting [quality] work.

 

Instead, I will be posting two writing “workshops” (basically, writing tips) the first and third Mondays of the month, and two book reviews the second and fourth Mondays (as I will be dropping the Micropoetry Monday segments at the end of the year).  The latter will help me read more (as I’ve been reading poetry this semester, mostly), and the workshops are bits I post on my Facebook author page, so they’re already “baked in.”

This is one way of maximizing your writing.  To come up with brand new content for every social network isn’t worth it, because chances are, your friends, fans, and followers won’t catch your post on every network anyway, so it won’t seem like you’re repeating yourself.

One Instagram post a week is much more doable than six a week on Twitter–that’s too much time taken away from submitting.  LinkedIn is limited, because it’s what I call “businessy-boring.”  I rarely write a post specifically for the network but if something I write works on there as well as my blog, I’ll post the whole piece on there (as people hate being redirected to another site).

LinkedIn is basically Facebook-lite, complete with memes.  All too often, I see “connections” sharing someone else’s quotation.  Have an original thought in your head, for goodness sakes!  It doesn’t do anything for your brand, only the person’s you are quoting.  Though I haven’t been guilty of posting such things, I have been guilty of sharing them.

 

For me, it’s all about creating content.  The only new blog post I have to create is on Wednesdays–the Writer’s Digest poetry prompt.  Fridays are taken care of, because the posts are based on my novel, rewritten in verse form (which I’ve decided to make a separate, promotional chapbook out of called Mormons on the Beach).

I plan on spending the writing part of my weekends writing new work, editing existing work, and submitting to publications.  I haven’t been doing enough of that lately, but then when I come home from work and school, my daughter’s just gotten off the bus and I only have about about three hours with her till it’s time for her to go to bed.  I need that time with her as much as she needs my attention.  If I didn’t have her, I’d be spending too much time clacking at my keyboard, my eyes glazed by the glow.

 

Social media has its place, but it should be used wisely and sparingly.  Though Twitter is the equivalent of a bathroom wall, it isn’t a complete waste of time, as one of my friends hooked up with a local philanthropist through it who self-published her book; I got a guest blogging gig.

As for WordPress, don’t waste time reblogging (people never return the favor), unless you’re reblogging your own guest post.  Don’t waste valuable real estate on your blog with someone else’s work.  Again, this is elevating their brand, not yours.

What’s more, it’s one thing to use stock photos on your blog (I balked for the longest time, but I’m just a fair photographer with a lousy camera), but photography is Instagram’s focus (pun intended).  Strive for authenticity.

 

The moral of this post:  Write, edit, and submit–that’s the real work.  That social media stuff is a hobby.  A blog is the best of both worlds–a hybrid, of sorts.  Someday, I hope it will make me money (either directly or indirectly), but in the meantime, I’m having lots of fun doing it.

Below:  My first Instagram post

Improvise Dove #1

Her life was one of improvisation—
of the kind of spontaneity
that, unlike planned events,
made the event itself,
not the planning,
more fun.

#Micropoetry Monday: Perfect Sense

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She beaded in Braille.
Her body language needed no translator,
her facial expressions expressive,
her tone not deaf.

Negative space: the absence of color,
the breaks in paragraphs that ease the eyes,
the hue that brightens only to show more that is not.
It is white.

The children entered the magical garden,
with its sacred spaces
& secret places.
It was where they went to nurture,
in nature,
the senses that glowing screens could not
provide.

He tasted the nourishment of her melons,
she smelled the spice that was his essence,
he touched the deepest part of her lily,
she heard the words drawn from her depths,
& blindly, they found the sacred sensual.

She took inspiration from their expiration,
internalizing their words,
externalizing the actions those words provoked.

#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book

mormoni

My maternal grandparents had married late in life, which was how Mother had ended up the only child of Catholic parents.

It was rare when Mother spoke of my grandparents, but when she did, it was only in general terms—like the omniscient narrator of a story.

Mother pulled back the velvet curtains from our picture window, welcoming the moon-dark that would be chased out by the missionary light.

“You’ll have to forgive me, but it seems strange to be calling someone so young & out of habit a sister,” Mother said to Sister Grahame.

Why did Sister Wiley & Sister Grahame make me feel as if I was committing a sin whenever Elder Roberts even looked at me?

I thought of Elder Roberts & a warm, wonderful feeling enveloped me like a towel fresh out of the dryer. My love for him was clean & good.

“They’re tutti-frutti over Jell-O in Utah. Jell-O has a wholesome image—like my companion here,” Sister Grahame said.

There was a cherubic sweetness about Elder Johnson, just as there was a pious tartness about Elder Roberts thickly veiled with male beauty.

Our family had developed a special bond with the elders—a bond that seemed to transcend a shared religion.

The sister missionaries drove a car, while the elders rode their bicycles. It all seemed so chivalrous somehow.