Yellow Brick Road: A Tanka

Photo by Akshay Nanavati on Unsplash

my feet carry me
down moss-covered and broken
paths of yellow brick,
my feet uncomfortable
in shoes of red glass sequins

at this journey’s end,
I hope to meet a Wizard
with the power to
set my feet on the path home;
I’m lost in this grasping fog

Today’s Tanka Thursday prompt was “travel,” and I’ve been on a Wicked/Wizard of Oz kick the last couple of weeks. This was bound to happen sooner or later.

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Gussied Up: A Poem

White Dresses by Cassandra Armstrong

ere the dawn rises
and pins the sun
like a boutonnière
to pale silk
his cloak a lining of silver
draped in folds trailing lightly
over a glittering floor

to greet the dawn,
the trees put on white dresses
matrons stately in their sunday best
and the little ones
though overweighed by their finery
stand proud nonetheless

the trees are held in dawn’s thrall
branches like dark hair tossed by the wind
sequins of ice crystals
throw prisms of color
tiny rainbows that kiss my skin

i watch this meeting,
this dance between sky and earth
ere the dawn rises

This is a poem about how beautiful the world is after a big snowstorm. This is the stuff that makes living in a place where the air hurts my face worth it. Sister-poem to Of Many Voices.

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Of Many Voices: A Poem

Photo by author.

at times it speaks
with the voice of a young child
gentle and quiet and
soft like rose petals
and just as beautiful

sometimes it shouts
its voice loud and furious
and hard like the wall
it tries to knock me into

it can sound sad too
its voice brittle with the breaths of ghosts
and I hear it and think
of times when I felt that way,
when I felt like I
was a ghost

tonight it is not gentle
and there are ghosts outside my window
reaching through the window casing
to touch me with their cold fingers

try as they might,
they cannot reach me
and as I watch this invisible specter
dance through the winter night
I think instead of the morning
and how beautiful the world will look
in its white dress

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10 Writing and Editing Tips from an Amateur Editor

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

In the midst of the pandemic, I made a lot of impulsive decisions regarding money. More specifically, about how to make money. I wasn’t working and couldn’t go back, but I wanted to contribute to the household expenses in some way, so, lightbulb moment, I thought, why not try to market myself as a freelance editor? I’m a good writer and an even better editor, and it’d be a great way to use my skills while working in an industry that (probably) wouldn’t make me want to step off a bridge.

Not unexpectedly, it failed. Horribly

I didn’t account for the fact that, while I have 20+ years of writing experience, I have zero years of formal editing experience and no degree to back me up. I’m not surprised no one wanted to hire me. I wouldn’t have wanted to hire me. It stings a little, though, because I know I’d be good at it.

Maybe it’s something I can pursue later in my life. For now, I guess I’ll just have to continue giving editing advice for free.

Continue reading “10 Writing and Editing Tips from an Amateur Editor”

Grey: A Haiku

Photo by Ryan Yeaman on Unsplash

when the sky goes grey
it’s nature gearing up to
unleash its fury

I’m working through a 365 Days of Haiku writing challenge on Medium. Today is the 21st day and I’m still going strong! I haven’t missed a day yet.

Check out the rest of my haiku. I’m quite proud of what I’ve written so far.

If you’re not a Medium subscriber and would like to gain unlimited access to Medium’s content, please consider using my referral link. It’s only $5 a month, and a small portion of your fee will go towards supporting my writing.

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5 Often Overlooked Writing Errors

Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash

Before I begin, I just want to say this post is not meant to demean anyone. People make mistakes and that’s okay. Even the best writers throughout history weren’t perfect. My intention for this post is to be more of a teaching tool than anything else.

What right have you to be lecturing us?” you might ask. The truth is, I don’t. As much as I’d love to be a professional editor, I’m not. Not yet. I did, however, ace all my grammar classes, and my writing is typically free of errors. If one does manage to squeeze through, I always go back to edit it.

I’m a perfectionist like that.

So, without further ado, in no particular order, here are five of my biggest pet peeves. They are all accompanied by a short grammar lesson, which you are free to ignore, mock, or use at your discretion.

Continue reading “5 Often Overlooked Writing Errors”

It’s Important to Embrace Your Old Writing

Photo by Kat Stokes on Unsplash

The first thing I can remember writing was a short story. I was nine years old and in the fourth grade. I’d been a voracious reader for years already, so maybe it was natural I’d fall in love with writing too.

One day, my teacher gave us a creative writing assignment. It’s the first of its kind I was ever given. It was around Easter time, so that was our theme. It was only meant to be, at most, a page long.

I turned in five.

I don’t remember many details about the story, but I know it featured a magical Easter Bunny that was hopping around, granting people’s wishes, and creating all kinds of chaos. My teacher said it was really creative. She kept it for a while and after that, I’m not sure what happened to it.

I wish I’d asked for a copy. My first piece of genuine writing! It’d be so fun to re-read it and share it with my children.

Not much later, I wrote my first poem. I’d always had a rocky relationship with my parents, and once I hit double digits and got my period at 11 years old, things only got worse. I needed an outlet. Naturally, I turned to writing.

I titled the poem My Life is Not a Drag. I don’t remember anything about it but that. I wrote it to try to cheer myself up, listing things in my life I was thankful for, or that made me happy.

I do remember that I wrote a lot about my cats. And books, of course. I’m nothing if not a creature of habit.

I look back on my first forays into writing with nostalgia, but if I still had either of those pieces, chances are, they’d be objectively awful. What does a young child know about grammar, or how to write a good story or poem? Next to nothing. What I did know, though, was imagination and wonder.

And the all-consuming need to write down my thoughts.

Continue reading “It’s Important to Embrace Your Old Writing”

Vortices: A Haiku

The wind is being stupid loud today, so I wrote a haiku about it.

there’s a man outside
screaming at the sky, dancing
vortices of wind

Is it normal to feel like you’re cheating on one blogging platform with another? I’ve been doing a lot of writing on Medium. I really like the community, and I’ve made it into their partner program, so now I’m monetized!

Yes, this absolutely is a plug to get you guys to check out my Medium profile. I’m not ashamed of myself at all.

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