365 Days of Haiku

I’ve embarked on another haiku challenge! This time, I’m going for 365 Days of Haiku. One haiku every day for a YEAR. It’s a bit daunting, but I’m 16 days into it so far and having a LOT of fun.

Today’s haiku is a love letter to the ocean.

Photo by Anna Pechuro from Pexels

hand me my wings, please
I need to soar over blue
and feel the ocean

breeze in my feathers
spinning a maelstrom of salt
tingling on my lips

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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”

Street: A Tanka

Photo by Tomas Anunziata on Pexels.com

castles in the street
foundations of fall splendor
my children climb up,
reaching for sky, laughter bright
as the blazing orange leaves

Today’s Tanky Thursday prompt was “street.”

Around here, it’s not uncommon for people to rake their leaves into piles in the gutters. The city later comes by and sucks them up. Before they do, though, you have to get in one or two good jumps.

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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.

If you like my writing, please consider subscribing with my referral link. It’s only $5 a month, you get to read as many things as you want, and I’ll get a portion of your membership fees!

Honestly, I’m not above begging.

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Pipe Dreams

Any other writers out there with dream projects building up in their minds but no confidence to actually write them, or are you normal?

I have one such project. It’s been eating me up inside for a while. I daydream about it all the time.

Everyone who knows me knows I am obsessed with Tudor history and literature. They also know I love ghost stories. It’s been my desire the last few months to write a ghost story wherein Henry VIII is being haunted by his ex-wives. I even have the opening scene mapped out: Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn are dancing in yellow, rejoicing that Katherine of Aragon has finally died, when Henry VIII feels like a cold hand has reached inside his chest and squeezed his heart. I even wrote a poem about it!

Ring around the banquet hall
in yellow silk a’twirl,
raise your hands, give up the call:
hurrah, the Queen is dead!

Yellow Silk by Cassandra Armstrong

When it comes to actually writing it, though? I freeze like a deer caught in headlights. I’m not at all confident in my ability to do it justice. Or in my ability to finish it if I do begin it.

Once, just once, I’d like my brain to operate as a normal brain, so I can Get Shit Done.

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October Art and Writing Challenge Wrap-Up

Though I didn’t share many of the haiku I wrote in October to WordPress, I still want to talk about the challenge, why I chose to do it, and what I got from it–the good and the bad.

I was stumbling around on Twitter and came across this post by Holly. On a whim, I decided to give it a try. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to 1) force myself to write and 2) practice my digital art skills. And it was a prompt list all about autumn and Halloween, two of my favorite things.

Why did I choose to write all haiku? Because I find haiku to be rather easy to write, and I’m good at them. I also didn’t want to spend a lot of time writing long poems as it was my intention to finish a 31-day challenge in only 15 days. Because I’m extra af sometimes.

For the most part, I really enjoyed the challenge. And I like most of the poems I wrote for it, with notable favorites being Death and Witches. There were a few I felt were not my best work, especially towards the end of the challenge, but I’m proud nonetheless. I did finish the challenge, after all. It’s not very often I get to say that.

Endeavoring to write 31 poems in 15 days did what it was supposed to: it forced me to write. Multiple times per day, in fact. Which is somehow both a positive and negative thing. I definitely started feeling some burnout towards the end of the challenge. The last few poems felt like pulling teeth. I started to hate what I was writing and didn’t want to do it anymore. But I was determined to finish the challenge, so I made it easier on myself the only way I could: I stopped drawing illustrations for each poem and used stock photos to complement each piece. That helped a lot, and I was able to finish on a high note.

For the last poem, I chose to break away from the haiku format. It is, of course, titled Halloween. Enjoy!

Read the rest of the poems here or on my Instagram.

Beware:
when the nights grow chillier
and a red moon turns clouds into rivers of blood —
Hallowe’en is here.

Look:
the pumpkins put on smiles,
jagged teeth gnashing fire into pulp —
Hallowe’en is here.

Watch:
the witches take their vengeance to the sky
phoenixes risen from the ashes of their abusers —
Hallowe’en is here.

Listen:
to the breaths of ghosts on the wind,
the long-lost souls doomed to roam earth —
Hallowe’en is here.

Duck!
The bats in the belfry have awoken,
a black cloud that blots out the moon —
Hallowe’en is here.

Scream:
the doorbell is a too-normal sound
among all these phenomena.
Hallowe’en is here.

Smile:
at the painted faces of the children
dressed as ghouls and ghosts and gross things.
Hallowe’en is here.

Sink:
into warm blankets, autumn treats at hand,
and wait for the next round of haunts.
Hallowe’en is here.

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Macbeth Doth Come: A Poem

I press my hand to
black fur soft as
a newborn’s blanket.
I can feel his heart beating
beneath my fingertips,
and though he looks lifeless,
his chest rises and falls
as he inhales,
exhales.

Though there is pain in his eyes,
and though he is confused
and frightened,
I also see love and trust
shining in those green depths,
and I’m stricken by the breadth
of love
I feel for this four-legged angel.

Through the tears, I smile
and remember the first day I saw him,
so small and scared and lost.
And I have to laugh
because I never stood a chance;
I didn’t choose him,
he chose me.
I was his before I could ask
“Can we keep him?”

I was 17 years old when I came home from a walk with my friend and my mom told me she had found an orphaned, feral kitten in the garden. He was the cutest little thing, and so hungry and scared. We caught him and brought him inside — and that was it. He became mine. My angel. My Macbeth. ♥

Years ago now, Macbeth came down with a terrible urinary tract infection. He had crystals in his urine and was close to death. The vet was able to save him, though, and to this day, I can’t thank her enough for it. I wrote this poem in honor of that.

Today Macbeth is 14 years old and still my baby. He’s the best cat I’ve ever had and I love him to pieces.

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