Includes book reviews and bits from writer's journal. For the professional stuff, see website link below left.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Blessings of the Season, Dear Readers

I'm grateful for all who take the time to read this and my other blogs — particularly those who have waded through Shifting Fog and The Widowhood Chronicles this year, and have left kind, caring comments, which made a big difference. I think especially of the Six Word Saturday crew, and also one or two others. (You know who you are.) And also, of course, all the people who have looked at my poetry blogs. You, too, have helped with encouraging comments from time to time; some of you very often. It's all much appreciated!

I hope you have an excellent holiday season, and a splendid new year!

Just for the record, I never thought the world was going to come to an end in dreadful annihilation — but I do hope for a new beginning into a more golden age, as soon as possible and maybe a bit sooner!


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

What is the Measure of Success?


A friend asked on facebook recently, in a poetry group: 

'Dear Writers: what, for you, is success?'

I answered:

1. Touching people's hearts. 
2. Applause (as performance poet). 
3. The respect of my peers. 
4. People remembering particular poems for years. 
5. Respecting myself / my work. 
6. Publication by reputable publishers/editors. 
7. Money. 
... In that order. All of which I have experienced. But it's poetry, so not all that much money. Just as well it's bottom of the list.

To the writers amongst my readers, I'm curious now. What is it for you?

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

The Next Big Thing

A few years ago I came across Banana the Poet, author of some of my favourite wickedly funny poetry. Her Fifty Shades of Blue, a verse spoof of a certain novel, topped poetry sales on Kindle recently. She followed it with the illustrated version, also in paperback, Fifty Shades in Clay. She is aka Michele Brenton, who writes very good serious poetry too. If you haven't discovered her yet, give yourself a treat.

She says her next big thing is a novel for young adults.

And, as part of a literary web chain, she has interviewed me about mine:

Michele: What is the working title of your book or project?

Rosemary: Life After Death.

M: What sparked it off?

R: I found myself widowed — which I knew was inevitable given my husband's state of health, but I hadn't expected it quite so soon. Writing is one of the ways I'm trying to deal with it.

M: How would you describe this project?

R: It's a chapbook of poetry about loss and grief, but also about finding that life — my own, and life in general — does go on ... and the ways in which it does. At present the manuscript is being workshopped by my trusty writers' groups, WordsFlow which meets at a local Neighbourhood Centre, and Poetry Design Studio on facebook.

M: How long did it take you to find your own style and voice?

R: Maybe I always had my own distinctive voice. I didn't know I had one until other people told me it was recognisable, but now when I read back, even as far as to poetry I was writing as a child, I think it was always there. Style is another matter, and has altered over the years. It is now quite plain, I think, as a result of engaging with haiku for the past six years. I wanted to learn how to write in that powerful, economical, understated, evocative way. I love haiku, and the attempt to master the form will surely be lifelong — but I embarked on the exercise primarily to bring those qualities to my other poetry, and I think I'm getting there.

M: In what ways do you think 'writer you' differs from or has similarities to the everyday you?

R: I'm a little more polite in my everyday persona. My writing is no-holds-barred. Not that it's always rude or outrageous by any means, but if that's called for it will be unequivocal. Everyday me is not in the least bothered by blunt language, but does take some account of what others consider appropriate. Writer me also has fewer qualms about hurting people's feelings. Writer me will say anything! Everyday me then decides when, how, why or whether to publish the more outspoken or controversial pieces.

M: Who or What makes you pick up that pen or start typing at the keyboard?

R:  1. Maybe it's God, or my Higher Self. It's a calling, a vocation, the thing I can't not do. Come the Apocalypse, part of my mind will be composing some lines about it as I disintegrate.

2.  If for some reason I don't write often, I get mighty cranky, and that in itself can be enough to take me back to it. If I don't have any immediate inspiration, I use a prompt or try a form.

3. Going for a walk out in nature is a sure source of inspiration — even when it's a path I've taken many times before.

M: Imagine someone waved a magic wand and you were only able to write one book in your lifetime and you knew it would be perfect and say exactly what you intended and be understood and appreciated by everyone; what would you write about?

R: This reply would astound everyone who knows me, but it would be prose rather than verse, although it might possibly include some poems. It would be about other-dimensional realities and universal energy, written in such a way that everyone would finally get it and see the light. (Which presupposes that my own understanding of these matters is perfect, lol.)


To continue the chain, I've put the same questions to two other writers:

Poet and activist Odilia Galvan Rodriguez is also a translator and editor, a creative writing teacher, and the author of three books of poetry. I first met her on MySpace in its heyday, and fell in love with the beauty and passion of her work. 

Poet / novelist / columnist / memoirist Helen Patrice is one of my closest friends. I would adore her writing even were that not so. And I'm not the only one. Her extraordinary verse novel, A Woman of Marswhich deserves to be much better known than it is, carries an admiring blurb by the late, great Ray Bradbury.

On December 11, at their respective blogs, Odilia and Helen will tell you about their next big things.