Bird House

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It’s early days yet, but I feel like I’ve recovered some of my writing mojo. I’ve been laser-focused on a project I’ve had in the works for quite some time now: a chapbook called Bird House. The first I’ve ever completed. Well, nearly completed. I plan to enter it into Button Poetry’s autumn chapbook contest but it’s not quite ready. One or two more poems should do it and then it’ll meet the requirements. I’ve already got an idea in mind I think will fit in nicely, so it shouldn’t take too long before it’s ready for final edits.

I’m very excited about Bird House. I’ve never felt more confident about a writing project. As it stands, I feel the selection of poetry flows nicely from one poem to another. The themes are far-flung but cogent enough to be unifying, so it feels like a story is being told. And, most importantly, the quality of writing is high. I’m not used to saying such things about my writing (curse my poor mental health), but I’m consistently impressed with each reread of Bird House.

Wish me luck! If the chapbook contest doesn’t go in my favor, though, I’ll be seeking alternate publishing methods for it.

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Into the Deep: A Short Story

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Marcos was excited and honored to be the first among his peers to explore this particular stretch of water. There were others who were better prepared, better qualified for the job, and yet his boss had bequeathed it to him.

“You’ve done well, Mr. Clark,” Mr. Jones said. “The work you’ve done for the company is exemplary.” His boss gave him a quick pat on the shoulder. “I know this assignment may seem daunting, but I trust you. It’s time to go out there and prove yourself. I know you’ll make me proud.”

Drawing some courage from the memory, Marcos, with help from one of the boatmen, slipped into his dry suit. Marcos, although by no means an inexperienced diver, was not used to the stiff and heavy material, and he felt awkward as he moved to the edge of the boat. He was used to lighter material and diving into warmer waters, where he snapped photos of brightly colored coral reefs, exotic fish, and plant life.

This assignment was much different. He was in northern Minnesota, not off the coast of Australia, and the body of water was the cold Lake Superior instead of the warm, tropical waters he was most familiar with.

Marcos took one look at the dark water and suppressed a shudder. There was something foreboding about the lake. A few years back he’d had the pleasure of enjoying a dive at the Great Barrier Reef. The water had been so clear and blue, you could see everything for what seemed like miles. At Lake Superior, the only thing Marcos could see as he sat on the edge of the boat was a black sheet of dark, murky water broken up only by the waves. Even though he didn’t believe the strange stories that had been circling about the lake for a year now, he could certainly understand how some could believe strange creatures lived in its depths.

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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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10 Writing and Editing Tips from an Amateur Editor

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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.

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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.

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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.

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It’s Important to Embrace Your Old Writing

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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.

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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!

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