Poem-a-Day Writer’s Digest Challenge #14. Theme: Honest and/or Dishonest

I have found I gravitate towards long, narrative poems (or, if I don’t have a “story” idea, I write something short and silly).  The following is what one might refer to as a “shaggy God” poem.  This is basically the story of Genesis, told a different way (with shades of Mormonism and Scientology).  This was a fun “what-if” type of exercise.

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The Honest Tree

I am who I am,
barefoot in the garden,
in the midst of the lambs.
Fruits sweet,
birds tweet,
the grass soft beneath my feet.

My husband is not with me,
for he gathers,
but toils not.

From another world we came—
a world we cannot remember.
Like the Ark of Noah that has been prophesied,
we floated through the atmosphere in a vessel,
through the starry galaxy and to this green planet.

In the center of this orchard,
there is a tree—
with fruit as white as can be.
It glows like the firmament,
like the Creator of All Things—
the only God we know,
the only God we are to know.

An asp approaches me,
slithering on the ground without a sound.
He is a beguiling creature,
and I trust his quiet nature.
He is a charmer,
“Take a bite,” he says,
“for it is sweetest above all,
and you will no more be benighted.”

I am drawn to the fruit–
to the light–
and I think, just a little one,
but it is bitter.
There is a rumble in the sky,
and I know I’ve earned the wrath of the Cloud Knitter.
“I told you not to eat of this tree,
for now you are as I once was,
and will suffer pain,
as the Earth will suffer all calamity.”

I weep,
for now the veil has been ripped off–
I am not a beautiful virgin on her wedding night,
but am a crooked old woman with hooves and claws—
a creature of many flaws.
And yet,
I have a consciousness,
an awareness I had not before,
and I am more than I was before.
The scales have fallen from my eyes,
and I see with such clarity,
true goodness and beauty.

I must get Adam to eat,
lest we be separated forever,
and this new world end with us.
I look up to the God of Kolob,
and now the Planet Earth,
praying for a respite from death–
for another birth.

“Do my will,” the Tree Weaver says,
“for what I hath joined together,
neither man nor beast may tear asunder.”

I go to do His bidding,
and find Adam tending to the flock,
and tell him, “Take, eat,
for it will seal us together forever.”

He heeds my word,
and at first bite,
he knows Death will touch our lips,
kissing us good-bye.
But this was how it was to be all along–
for we will no longer live as children,
ignorant of sin,
but will be given the chance to know wrong
and the choice to do right,
so we can be with God again.

I look up to the heavens and smile,
and God baptizes us in the rain.
“For the remission of sins,” God says,
“which hath brought about the greater good.
I baptize thee in My Name,
for I Am Who I Am.”

An Interesting Rejection Letter

Dear Contributor,

We received over 150 submissions to Volume 3: Alien and I’m sorry to say that yours was not successful. Believe me, I know how you feel—I submitted my own work under an assumed name and even I didn’t get into this volume. And I run the thing! Two other associate editors also submitted but didn’t make the cut.

This doesn’t mean we’re bad writers, It just means this issue wasn’t the right place for our work. I hope you’ll submit again ( I know I will—I’ll crack this bastard yet!)

-T.J. Robinson
Editor-in-chief

~

So, my story was, “The Accidental Witch:  A Shaggy God Story”, set in the Land of Oz (one of three short stories/poems I’ve set there).  “Accidental” is what I’d call a novelty story that just hasn’t found the right home yet.  I wrote the story specifically for this assignment, so I have The Suburban Review to thank for inspiring me to come up with something original (even if it was set in someone else’s imaginary setting), and something different than I usually write.

 

A publisher’s market, not a writer’s market

Writers Market

So I ordered the 2013 edition of “The Writer’s Market” on amazon.com, at a third of the price of this year’s.  I’d wanted to get the e-edition (since I’m always on my computer when I’m editing), but I’d heard it was hard to navigate, so I settled for the print edition.

I go through phases with my writing–for awhile, I was tailoring all my work for submission to Harlequin romance (working on my Great American novel all the while, whatever that means), then I got into personal essays/creative nonfiction, and now I’m on a poetry kick, mainly because it works my brain in a different way, and I can dash it off and submit it pretty fast.

I just finished editing my collection of children’s nursery rhymes, which include fractured fairy tales (blended with Biblical allegories), fractured nursery rhymes, and my original “Just-So” stories (in the spirit of Rudyard Kipling), to name a few.  I’ve even included a “Shaggy God” story (“Allison’s Mirror:  A Twisted Retelling”) that combines the story of “Alice in Wonderland” with a Sci-Fi (or Scientology) point-of-view explaining how Adam and Eve hooked up.

I have taken a hiatus from entering fee-based contests for awhile.  Though I never lived them, I miss the days when publishers paid to print your work, rather than writers having to pay publishers just to read it.  Some of them are a racket, but others, I believe, just don’t make anything off subscriptions (I know plenty of people who write poetry, but read it?).  That’s why magazines like “Ladies Home Journal” and “Real Simple” can offer free contests with a big prize attached.  “The Writer’s Digest” offers several contests, but you have to pay (and pay big) to win.  However, there is hope in getting published with them and not having to pay (but neither do you get paid):   http://www.writersdigest.com/submission-guidelines.  You can also submit to “The Huffington Post” here:  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScrz0kcSTcl6MrGJF-13l2MMSZJ3BBZtt6_znfxb4FwMLQiSQ/viewform, where you will get exposure, but again, no cash.  If you don’t mind writing for free for awhile (what is most blogging, after all?), then these will simply serve as publication credits to add to your “clip file”.

Though I realize it’s important to invest in ourselves (sometimes that means moneywise), and that when we buy a lottery ticket, it’s a gamble, I am still leery of shelling out too much money at one time for an entry/reading fee.  I’m going to exhaust all other options first, which is why I bought “The Writer’s Market”.

One exception I made was paying ten dollars to enter the Saturday Evening Post’s “Great American Short Story Contest”.  See:  https://sarahleastories.com/2015/12/06/more-good-news/.  Receiving an honorable mention (to me) in a magazine like that was like winning first place in a magazine no one has ever heard of.  The only disappointment was that my story was not in print, but rather in an online anthology.  (Print is just far more prestigious.)

That said, the absolute best, up-to-date source I’ve found for finding submission opportunities that don’t charge is http://writingcareer.com/.

Moreover, it can pay to be a college student, as there is a plethora of scholarships which require a written essay.  Scholarships are great because the pool of possible winners is much smaller (at least half of them require you to be a full-time student), so you have a better chance of winning.  Beware, however, as some are based on how many “votes” you get, but if you’re a social media butterfly, those might be the ones for you:

http://www.varsitytutors.com/college-scholarship
https://www.coursehero.com/scholarships/1000012/tier-3k-aug/
http://www.fastweb.com/
https://www.scholarships.com/
https://www.chegg.com/
https://www.cappex.com/
https://www.unigo.com/
http://myscholly.com/#scholly
(this costs $2.99, but it’s worth it)
https://scholarshipowl.com/my-account
(just get the list, but don’t pay; rather google the name of the scholarship)

So there are still a multitude of ways to make money at writing without breaking the bank.  Hope this helps!

Sarah Lea, a fellow undernourished blogger

An Author in Search of a Market

antique-typewriter-keys

If I had to describe my book, Because of Mindy Wiley, I’d classify it as a Southern Gothic horror with a little magical realism thrown in, or, more specifically, “where V.C. Andrews meets Mormonism” (see:  https://sarahleastories.com/because-of-mindy-wiley/).  I am reworking several chapters from it to submit to “The Midnight Diner,” which describes themselves as a “hardboiled genre anthology with a Christian slant.”  The journal seems to combine two of my favorite things:  noir and religion.  Many of my stories (in my opinion) have always been too religious for the mainstream market and not religious enough for the Christian/LDS market.

Though I still write what I want, I am writing for specific markets/tailoring my existing work (without compromising my craft) for certain publications, as well.  The best site I have found for writing jobs is writingcareer.com.