Tag Archives: Poems

My Week as an Author: the Many Ups and Downs

18 Jun

If you follow my Facebook page, then you’ve seen the events that I am about to talk about, and you saw them happen to me in real-time. (What can I say? Facebook is my go-to place to speak to you all live.) But if you don’t follow my Facebook page:

1. You missed out on all of the crazy events that happened this week.

2. You should be following my Facebook page. (I post entertaining stories, things that make you laugh, and the occasional interview. I even give away prizes, like guest blog post opportunities. I promise.)

So today I am sharing all of the crazy events that happened to me this week and how they affected me. Some were fantastic and others took my little ego down a notch. Why am I sharing this? Because readers are often sending me questions about what it is like to be an author. In fact, ever since I posted The Pros and Cons of Being An Author, one of the main questions I get asked is what my life is like and how I’ve dealt with ups and downs. And this week is a perfect example of how hectic, crazy, lovely, and insanely exciting it can be to be an author. (Did I mention soul-crushing and absolutely uplifting as well?)

Hopefully, these ups and downs that I went through will give insight to those who are curious about my author life and authors in general, but remember: no matter what, you must stay positive and believe in yourself. You’re following your dream after all.

The events are listed in the order that they happened:

I received a rejection for my poetry collection:

That’s right. I get rejected, too. Just because you’ve been published before, even in the same genre, does not mean you’ll be accepted everywhere you go. In fact, I’ve been rejected dozens of times, especially before I got November Snow published in 2007. A few months ago one of my favorite literary magazines – The Normal School – opened up their submissions for their fifth annual poetry competition. My collection didn’t make it. If I had to be completely honest, this is the second time I’ve been rejected by them. (The first time was a nonfiction piece.) But I am definitely going to keep trying! Even though every rejection hurts a little, you have to find the strength to fight back. One of my goals is to beat my fear of publishing nonfiction, so I’m working on getting at least one essay published within the next two years. Having a goal helps me accept rejection as the next step toward acceptance. That might seem backwards, but – to me – having a goal reminds me that I haven’t given up and how I won’t give up. It keeps me focused, and it prevents me from dwelling. When one door closes, it helps you move onto trying to open the next door in the hallway of life. In fact, on this exact same day, a door opened to me:

I received an acceptance letter for my short story:

On the same day I received a rejection, I received an acceptance. A few hours passed between the two, but I was glad I remained positive because I was able to be fully excited about this moment instead of allowing the rejection to taint my positive moment. The short story is slated for release in August of this year, but that’s all I can say for now.

I hit 20,000 words in Death Before Daylight

I mention this for many reasons, but here’s the main reason. It wasn’t a letter I received. It was a result of my hard work. If I allow myself to get distracted by the rejection, I might not have met this goal. It might have set me back a few days. Is that really worth it? I don’t think so. Staying focused on achieving the next step of my future publication is vital to enjoying my writing career. I’m not saying that a writer can’t take a day or two off to feel sad, but writers have to get back up again. For me, I don’t enjoy taking days off. It makes me feel like I’m letting disappointment control me, and I don’t want disappointment to control me. I want my dream to guide me. So I dove right back into Death Before Daylight the second I had some time off of work, and I met a goal I’ve been dying to meet. Plus, I thought fans of The Timely Death Trilogy would enjoy some news. If you’re on my Facebook, you also saw this little teaser:

booknews

I received my final edits for Take Me Tomorrow:

If you haven’t realized this, we are SUPER behind in meeting the publication deadline, so I’ve been biting my nails off. I practically don’t have any right now, but receiving the edits releaved all of that stress – which means that I had a moment feeling a little ridiculous for being so nervous about the edits in the first place. They were going to come no matter what. Worse case scenario, the publication date gets pushed back a little bit, and that’s not a tragedy at all. It’s still coming out after all. I wanted to share this because it shows how a negative focus can disrupt the overall positive experience of getting a novel published. Don’t be like me. Enjoy these moments fully because – when it’s all over and done with – you’re going to have your novel in your hands, and you’re going to want to look back and forward with a smile on your face. You’re working hard! Enjoy that work.

Amtrak Residency program sent me a rejection notice

I’m sure you’re probably starting to realize how often I apply to different events as a writer. Sure, I’m focused on my novels, but I’m also focused on gaining more from different experiences. I applied for this a few months ago. Basically, Amtrak allowed writers to apply to travel on their trains for free as they blogged about their travels. I love traveling. I love writing. It was perfect for me. But – alas – I am not perfect for Amtrak, and that’s okay. Applying isn’t about being a perfect writer for everyone. Being a writer isn’t about being perfect at all. It’s about loving all the adventures that open up to you. I can always apply next year, apply to other programs, and travel on my own. A rejection doesn’t stop me. Only I stop myself. It’s safe to say that I’m not stopping anytime soon. Or ever. (Probably never. Scratch that. I’m never going to give up. Ever.)

A radio show contacted me for an interview in July

Literally – two hours passed from receiving my Amtrak rejection to receiving the most delightful call of my week. A popular author radio show contacted me, and they want to interview me. Can you say, “EEEEEEEE!”? I know. I actually had to hold back from screaming out in delight over the phone. We’re already working out the details, and they’re recording the show in July, but that’s all I can say for now. (More news to come soon!) But this is another instance of how important it is to remain positive. After all, you can’t be crying to your cat about your rejection when a radio host calls you with an offer. That would be awkward.

from Pinterest

from Pinterest

In the end:

As you can see – negative things can happen, but positive ones can follow them within minutes, and it’s important to stay positive so you can receive that positive energy. (Did that sound hippy enough for you? If not, picture me throwing up a peace sign. I also have a flower in my hair. It is pink.)

It may have been a strangely bizarre and eventful week. I practically got whiplash. But it was an important week, and it was a great week, and I am going to continue to have great weeks as long as I focus on the positive directions that open up to me.

To all authors and aspiring authors, enjoy this ride. It’s sure to be a wild one full of adventures you might never see coming.

~SAT

May’s Ketchup

31 May

May’s Ketchup is here! But it will be VERY different from my usual Ketchup. Since guest bloggers represented two weeks this month, I won’t have a place for guest bloggers. Instead, I will organize it according to popularity and subject, linking to both the post and the guest bloggers’ websites. I also didn’t upload any new episodes to Coffee and Cats, so there isn’t a slot for YouTube videos. (I’m sure it will make more sense as you scroll down.) But – as usual – I will include the monumental moments, the top three posts, the post I wish got more views, the number one searched term, my top referrer other than search engines, the websites that supported ShannonAThompson.com, and all of the other blog posts organized by topic. I hope these Ketchup posts continue to help other bloggers or interested readers in understanding the behind-the-scenes here at ShannonAThompson.com. If you have something you would like me to add to these posts, please let me know.

I want to share the photos below for two reasons. My brother got married this month, and this photo was taken in the rose garden during the wedding rehearsal. I now have a sister! (Yah!) And the second reason is because these flowers are so beautiful that I wanted to share them in the sense that I want them to be for you. I want you to enjoy them, even if it is just over the computer, because beauty like this should be shared with everyone.

With all my love,

SAT

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Big Moments:

Three of my poems released on Whispers in the Dark radio. Although I’m a novelist, I’m also a poet, and poetry is an intrinsic part of my soul. These are the four horror poems, and his readings are amazing: In-sum-knee-ah (Insomnia) – This Waiting Place – Her Button Collection, Now Mine – Glitter Rain.

ShannonAThompson.com hit 16,000 followers, and actor and martial artist, Tony Jaa, quoted Seconds Before Sunrise. Tony Jaa is known for his work in Ong-bak 1, 2, and 3 as well as Fast & Furious 7. tonyjaa

I interviewed David Congalton – You’ll see the post below, but I wanted to mention it up here, because I was truly honored to be able to speak with the writer of the movie, Authors Anonymous – a movie I definitely suggest for any writer.

Colt Coan – a Kansas City photographer – also created the amazing portraits you will now see on my social media pages. Here’s his website. We’re planning on working together on more projects in the future, too, so look out for that.

I also joined Tumblr and Pinterest. If you share anything from my Pinterest, I will share the photo on my Facebook pages and credit your websites. I plan on sharing insights about my novels in the future with my Pinterest, so I’m really excited about joining this social media site.

Top Three Blog Posts:

1. My Next Novel, Take Me Tomorrow, is Almost Here!: If being grateful could burst through a computer screen, my emotions would. I am blown away by how much you all supported my next novel. I cannot wait to share more. (Seriously. I have to restrain myself to prevent spoiling too much.) That being said, the restraints will soon be removed, so expect more information and excerpts to start coming your way in June. If you want to be on the review list, email me at shannonathompson@aol.com. If you want to know more about my YA, dystopian novel about a clairvoyant drug click here to visit Goodreads.

2. From Wattpad to Publication: I will confess. I was so nervous about this post that I almost didn’t share it. I shared some of my greatest struggles I’ve ever had in publishing and writing in this post. Although it is long, it is meaningful, and I hope it encourages those writers who’ve given up – because I did. I completely surrendered.

3. Getting Unstuck as an Author by Hanne Arts: This guest blogger shared fantastic insights on how to find yourself again.

This is the first time my name was #1 :D Thank you!

This is the first time my name was #1 :D Thank you!

The Post I Wish Received More Views: 

Marking Mother’s Day with Bookmarks: Mother’s Day is a beautiful day for many people, but for the motherless it can be a severe struggle. I shared how I cope as a motherless daughter, but I also shared how bookmarks have shaped me as a person overtime.

Other Blog Posts, Organized by Topic: 

My Novels

Writing Tips

Reading

My top referrer other than search engines was my Facebook page.

My top referrer other than search engines was my Facebook page.

News

Fun

At the end of the month, I also like to share my helpers. If you would like to review any of my novels, poetry, or short stories I am available at shannonathompson@aol.com. I am also open to interviews and features! I love emails. Don’t hesitate. I am almost always online, too, so I don’t need a lot of notice. Again, shannonathompson@aol.com. (Do I sound like I’m begging yet? I hope I sound like I am begging. It adds a bit of entertaining drama, I think. Unless you’re not into that. Then, I hope I sound like I’m just being nice :D)

My Guest Bloggers: Pau Castillo, Hanne Arts, Ron EstradaRyan AttardJonas Lee, and Misha Burnett

Reviews: Books for ThoughtConfessions of a Book Geek

Interviews:Books for Thought, The Literary Syndicate, Confessions of a Book Geek, Whispers in the Dark

Features: Friday Fiction, The Hot Books Boutique, Reviews and Recommendations

Photographers: Colt Coan took photos of me that are now updated on all of my websites.

I used this photo because it reminded me of Jessica and Eric in The Timely Death Trilogy.

I used this photo because it reminded me of Jessica and Eric in The Timely Death Trilogy.

~SAT

Editing Tips

15 Apr

My publications picture has been updated:

All of my publications. :D

All of my publications. :D

Thank you for your support. I am looking forward to adding to the collection as time continues forward. I also want to take a moment to thank Taking on a World of Words for uploading the picture below to Instagram. They received Minutes Before Sunset in the mail, and she shared the moment with me. These pictures mean a lot to me, so please check out her website.

instambs

As of right now, I am working on editing my next manuscript. (It’s not Death Before Daylight, but that is coming.) I am looking forward to revealing more details about my next manuscript in the future. However, that day is not today. It is tomorrow. (If that sentence seemed strange, there’s a reason for that. You just read my first hint, and that hint reveals a lot if you’ve been with me for a while…or are willing to search through some posts.)

Aside from that, working on this manuscript has reminded me of some editing techniques I have never shared before. Today, I’m sharing my methods that I consider to be unique. However, I will not be talking about the stereotypical ways to edit: read out loud, read backward, and read it again. Okay. We get it. Read it many times and read it in different ways. Having a beta reader and hiring an editor is obvious. I want to discuss editing beyond this because we neglect the unique methods writers use to rewrite and edit. We always talk about how writers all write differently, but we never talk about how writers edit differently. I will also be sharing comments from my Facebook author page.

So we are starting with a completed manuscript. It is written, and “The End” appears at the bottom. But it’s not the end. It’s the beginning of a new process. Depending on the writer and the story, this can be a place where someone completely rewrites a story or where someone just starts an editing job. I am going to write about editing as if we aren’t doing a complete rewrite. The first piece isn’t unique necessarily, but I need to explain it for the other pieces.

1. Create “Final” Notes

I call it “final” because it means you can’t change it after this. Writers have to make a decision, and they have to stick with it. Personally, I make dozens of “final” pages which I actually keep separate from one another so I don’t mix them up. These pages include a final background page for the characters history, a description page that includes physical, emotional, and habitual uses, and finalized maps, so I can make sure that all of my facts are lined up. On my description pages, I even include things like common speech patterns (like if they call a certain character by a nickname only when they are annoyed.) These pages are pages, not one page or one paragraph. I normally have these before I start writing, but – let’s be honest – things change while we write, so it’s often important to go back and make a clear decision on how old that side character was when she met the protagonist (and I check it every time it is brought up in the story, even if I’m pretty sure I’m right.) In my most recent manuscript, I actually kept numerous description pages, because their descriptions changed halfway through the story, but it’s completely up to you how detailed you want to be. I’m sort of a perfectionist, but I will share a story below that explains why I am that way and how these pages saved me.

2. Shoebox Method

I shared this on my author Facebook page, and that’s where I got the idea to write this blog post. I am not a writer who edits on my laptop. I can’t. I need the physical pages in front of me because I think it makes it easier to see everything. Because of this, I have a stack of papers that I must lug around. Most would suggest a three-hole-punch notebook or a folder. I slam my hand on my desk and scream, “Enough.” (For those who watched my poetry reading on YouTube, you might find that statement humorous.) This is what I use:

edittt

I use a sliding shoebox. I never have to punch holes, number pages, or worry about dropping my folder and causing a paper explosion of a disaster. The shoebox also fits other notes, like a dictionary or my “final” notes I was just talking about. Believe it or not, this is also a fantastic excuse to start a conversation in public with potential readers. Someone is bound to ask you why you have a shoebox with you. Take that minute to share your elevator speech and grab a business card out of your back pocket. You just meet a reader.

3. Love Your Office Supplies: Colored pens, sticky notes, etc.

Now that you have the manuscript in front of you (and hopefully a cup of coffee), you are staring at the black and white words with nervous excitement. I used to just grab a pen and go at it, but that turned out to be a mistake when I went back to see what I changed, moved, or corrected. I never use a black pen to edit. The black pen eventually becomes something my eyes skip over. I use red for grammatical errors I come across, but everything else gets its’ own color, too. For instance, I might assign a blue pen to mistakes in the characters – like if I got their history wrong or even if I want to check it later on – but I used purple when I want to move an entire paragraph or scene somewhere else. When I’m moving something, I use sticky notes to mark the place so I don’t forget. We, as writers, never know when we’ll have to take a break, so it’s best to have all the relevant notes in place for when we return. We can’t tell ourselves we will remember because we won’t always remember. Think of all those great ideas we had when we were away from our computers that we later cursed ourselves for because we didn’t write it down. You don’t want this to happen while you’re editing, so write away and write a lot. When I am moving a scene, I even put a check box next to it, so I can check it once I move it.

4. Act Your Scenes Out

Now, if you read my Facebook author page, author, Ryan Attard, said, “Read out loud. Act it out. If it FEELS right, then you’re set. Then, it’s just rereading to correct content.” I love that he said this because I participate in this in many ways. If you want to read more about it, I wrote Writing Tips: Method Acting a while back. I scream my dialogue at myself in the car. I jump around my room and pretend to be different characters. I use place-holders to see if the scenes work, meaning if the characters are facing in the correct directions. (This is where my maps come in handy.) I wouldn’t want my character to storm away to the kitchen by turning to the left when the kitchen should be to his right. Little things like this can matter. For instance, I had a reader realize that the kitchen in the Welborn house is on the second floor during the second novel, Seconds Before Sunrise. She actually went back to the first book, Minutes Before Sunset, to check it and found out that she had read over the information but it was there. If I had changed it, she would’ve caught it, and that would’ve looked like the world wasn’t real.

5. Here are some other answers from authors on my Facebook Author Page:

Join me on FB, and your website might be shared next!

Join me on FB, and your website might be shared next!

I asked, “Do you have any unique ways of editing? What makes it unique? How do you approach editing? This can be a content edit or a grammatical edit.” And here are some responses:

Anthony Stevens: After one or two content edits, where I try to assure a logical flow to the tale, I give it at least two days (sometimes a week) to simmer. When I’m ready, I take my time and slowly read it outloud to myself. Anytime I find myself stuttering or it just doesn’t sound right, I drop back a few paragraphs and try to sort out the problem. It has to sound right out loud before I’ll continue.

Nadia Skye NolanI have an editing checklist. It reminds me to eliminate passive voice and taglines as well as “Lazy descriptors.” I go through my writing and just cut away all the fluff, then I turn it over to my friends and family.

Alexis Danielle Allinson: I do the first couple of edits to weed out errors in my story line, add detail and such. Then I hand it to an editor who doesn’t balk about giving me his 2 cents worth so that the story can be better. We sometimes have lengthy discussions about things I have not written yet because he points out that even though each novel I write is its own story they are all interconnected and if I don’t have it plotted just right I will create a paradox that fan will never forgive me for.

Do you have any methods that stand out? Any advice? Be sure to share below. You might even win a chance to become a guest blogger.

~SAT

My Poem is Published

11 Apr

In case you didn’t see the update during my last blog post, my first podcast interview was posted. Click on The Lurking Voice to listen to it. The author, Ryan Attard, described it as, “Now, I’m not gonna spoil anything, but Shannon is one of those pure artistic souls with a dark side (Darth Shannon) and we talked about everything. And I mean everything.” I like Darth Shannon. I had a fantastic time, so I would love for you to have a laugh with us as you listen to it.

Next, PRLog sent out a new press release for Seconds Before Sunrise, so check it out by clicking here. It’s titled “Award-Winning Paranormal Fiction Author Publishes Second Book In The Timely Death Trilogy.” I found it all pretty exciting to see, because I have never had a press release until Seconds Before Sunrise came out, and I got two :D

And I also want to take a moment to thank Sandra Danby for nominating ShannonAThompson.com for the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award. Check out her award-winning blog of fiction, short stories, and everything on writing and reading.

It began after I wrote this blog post: Photography and Writing.

I had begun to miss photography again, so I joined Instagram to simply admire photographs from my cell phone. That’s when I began to follow Sofie Sund Photography. After admiring her stellar self-portraits, lined with hauntingly true quotes, she announced to her 193,000 followers that she had founded a magazine with four other artists. She also mentioned that submissions were open to photographers, drawers, and poets.

Naturally, I submitted. (Because, like my father always says, “You can’t win if you don’t play.” – he generally refers this when speaking about the lottery. I, on the other hand, like to apply this to publishing by changing it to, “You can’t get published if you don’t submit.” So, yes, I submitted. 

Over time, I continued to follow them. I “liked” their Facebook page, and enjoyed their news when they announced that they had won two awards – best logo and best booth – for their sales’ team. I subscribed to their website, and I continued to watch from afar, eager to see who they would include in the first edition of their magazine.

The actual photograph I was taking that morning.

The actual photograph I was taking that morning.

It was March 3 when I heard from them. At four in the morning, I can admit that I hadn’t gone to bed yet. I was awake, taking pictures of the sunrise, and I received an email. LALUNA staff was congratulating me on my acceptance. One of my poems will be in their first issue. I couldn’t believe it because I truly admire the work of these young artists. While they are based out of Norway, I find the distance a beautiful and telling tale – we can be connected oceans apart. In fact, AEC Stellar Publishing has an author in Malta. Let’s just take a moment and really let that sink in. We live in a world where we can be published across the world.

It’s amazing.

I also believe that LALUNA Magazine stands for everything I believe in: a magazine dedicated to inspiring the youth.

My dream is to inspire young people to follow their dreams, so I could not be happier to be a part of this encouraging project.

Thank you to LALUNA Staff. 

In case you’re curious about my poem that is now published, it is titled “Regretful Memories.” It’s a standalone poem that has sat in my desk drawer for some time but has now found its time to be released. I wrote it during college, and I might do a reading on my YouTube channel so you can hear it, but you can buy the ebook of the magazine here or even check out a preview here. I’ve also added a new page to my website for it, which you can visit by clicking here, and it has been added to my page that lists my publications. I’ve now been published six times, adding up to 1,211 pages, and every time it happens, my writing heart is filled with more encouragement, excitement, and endless love. 

As always, I thank you for your timeless support and your daily words of kindness that continue to guide me down this passionate life path. To you – my reader – I am most grateful. 

~SAT

Poem

Poem

 

Contest Winners and Poetry From My KU Reading

10 May

Thank you to everyone who participated in the contest involving the final decision over the back cover of my young-adult paranormal romance, Minutes Before Sunset! As I’m writing this, we had 68 responses, and I’m really happy, because I love it when my readers can influence the final product. The voting went as follows (we considered the third part a vote on both, because very few seemed to see it, since it wasn’t visibly available):

Longer Description: 11

Shorter Description: 14

(Third received 3 votes)

After speaking with my publisher, since the split was so divided, we decided to go with the medium description with the author reviews, that way we get the best of both worlds :D Here’s the official photo:

The official Minutes Before Sunset cover, back and all, decided from your words!

The official Minutes Before Sunset cover, back and all, decided from your words!

The winners from the raffle are: (Email shannonathompson@aol.com within the week to receive your prize)

Paperback:

L. Marie (El Space)

eBook: 

kayuk (Where Do I Go From Here?)

whiteravensoars (Random Acts of Writing)

Nadeen Chrystal Davis (Nadeen’s Reading Corner)

Charles Yallowitz (Legends of Windemere)

Katsy Faustino (A Daily Dose of Katsy)

Congrats to the winners! But thanks go out to every person that contributed. If you still want a copy, Minutes Before Sunset is already available as an eBook through Amazon and Smashwords (includes Nook, Kindle, and more) along with KoboIt will be specifically available on Barnes & Noble when the paperback is released.

I also wanted to thank follower, Tuan Ho (The Noif Matrix), for posting an interview about my novel, Minutes Before Sunset. I really recommend checking it out, because Tuan Ho influenced the serious with the humorous, and it’s a great read! (It may or may not involved Shania Twain and The Perks of Being a Wallflower.) Click here to read it

And, as an extra, and special thanks, I wanted to post the two poems I read on Wednesday at the University of Kansas. Thank you to the Kansas followers who came out to listen to some talented poets I was blessed to get to know over the semester. (I had 10, so if you want more, I can post them. These are the two I specifically read.)

Terror-rium

We had an aquarium

A river, a lake, a sea.

On our desk—the ocean.

Our exotic fish, fished

from the very river, lake, or

sea which we have now.

On our desk—we provide forage,

food, plants, water, and fish.

The aquarium had us.

We had an insectarium

An arachnid, an insect, a butter

-fly. On our counter—the air.

Our countertop full of flourishing

flowers, fluttering wings of broken

butterflies, falling from feed, because

they drink—and we pluck their

wings, tape them to tapestries to

stare. Say, how pretty they are.

The insectarium had us

We had a terrarium.

A desert, a savannah, a floor of sand.

Our room is lit by a woodland, a

jungle, a place we’ve never been.

African violets decorate our reptiles,

all scales and shells and condensation.

It rains today—the lid which collected

our precipitation. Our pebbled floor,

formed over our marbled kitchen.

The terrarium had us

We had an arium,

and we destroyed it

to keep them on our desks,

nuzzled between family portraits and pens,

to remind ourselves of what

We used to have and

what we’ll never have

again, but at least they are

pretty, and no one needs

National Geographic to stare

anymore. We have our countertops.

In a world where traumas are written all over our bodies

He has a bipolar jaw line and a suicidal knee cap,

collapsing and shaking

and reverberating his thoughts through his PTSD lip.

It quivers, and she looks away with an autistic eyelid.

See her a deaf cheek?

Their blind foreheads fluctuate, and their arthritic fingers vibrate.

Reynard’s Disease. Or Disorder IV. Perhaps,

one we’ve never heard before consumes the heart that’s about to break.

I hope you enjoyed the contest and the poems as much as I did! I am so excited for the future, and I cannot wait for the paperback to be in my hands (and yours!) Time is moving forward so fast, and it’s astoundingly lovely.

As usual, thank you for your encouragement and support. In case you haven’t already seen, the acknowledgements page ends with this comment: “Thanks to the all the passionate writers, readers, and dreamers who follow me at ShannonAThompson.com and inspire me every day to keep writing.” 

That’s for you guys :D Have a great weekend

~SAT

P.S. If you’re looking for something to do, and you enjoy superhero flicks, I definitely recommend the new Iron Man movie! I saw it Tuesday, and it doesn’t disappoint!

Reading Event: Ann Hamilton at the Spencer Museum of Art

19 Apr

Website Update: The Magill Review interviewed me this week, and now the interview is posted! Check it out here, and learn more information on the behind-the-scenes of Minutes Before Sunset. (There will also be the link on my next post.)

12 days until the Minutes Before Sunset release!

Last night, my Poetry Writng II class (instructed by professor and poet, Megan Kaminski) was invited to read poems.

My wonderfully supportive father escorted me to the event under one condition: I behave for a nice photo.

My wonderfully supportive father escorted me to the event under one condition: I behave for a nice photo.

We read as a response to Ann Hamilton’s exhibit “an errant line” at the Spencer Museum of Art. It was an enlightening experience that established artists and their responses to others’ art. The moments encased the ability to communicate through art, and I really enjoyed taking part in such a unique event. If you live in Kansas, I really encourage you to take an afternoon and visit the exhibit, along with such a beautifully broad collection held within the museum walls.

Below is an excerpt from the Spencer Museum of Art website:

” Using digital technologies to explore the fundamental nature of cloth and the ways museums organize and maintain material legacies, Hamilton and Schira will consider the role of the hand and human practices that reveal and conceal. Working with current KU visual art students and Spencer Museum staff, the artists are also investigating their former relationship as student and teacher (Hamilton came to KU in 1976 to study fiber arts with Schira). Transforming multiple galleries with their immersive installations, both artists will employ images of and actual objects from the SMA’s permanent collection to create a multisensory tapestry that will feature changing interactive elements.”

The exhibit featured percepio dolls from early Italy, used to teach children during church about Nativity. The dolls are very elaborate and quite magnificient to see. Hamilton used them, scanned them onto cheese cloth, and positioned them along the walls to signify the movement through time and history. But, what I found to be one of the loveliest aspects to Hamilton’s art was her ability to adjust to the museum and use artifacts unique to the location. Instead of moving the infamous Bechstein piano, she covered it with a pink fabric and allowed pianists to play as a part of her collection.

Below are the two poems I read: the dots are not a part of the poems. It was the only way I could get the spacing to hold.

    I hear the Bechstein

a blushed blur of universal vibrancy, constructed

……….of covered caution, a colored dream—a

……….dance.

a pressed curl of waxen connections, torn

……….over a rumbled boast, teetered to time—a

……….transition.

……….Folded space, a future chase.

……….The movers and risers pull the views out of

place before anyone can                          see.

………………………………momentarily

Precipio

Beneath the cherubs of Basilica di

Santa Maria Maggiore, St. Frances of

Assisi inculcates the embroidered

    Il tuo sorriso è l’alba che ho perso questa mattina

word of God, threaded into centuries

of artwork extinction, rehabilitated

into the minds of a museum, where

we cannot touch, only to distinguish,

what is ours, what is there’s, why

we must perderò  understand the

implications of sunrises bringing

another day of God to teach.

Our loss of Nativity is

freestanding figures

brought on by time.

The third poem, when printed with a different text, actually looks like a face. It’s supposed to represent the dolls, but I cannot seem to get the internet to work with me, so I apologize. But I hope you enjoyed them if you didn’t have the ability to come to the event and/or visit the museum in the future.

My class

My class

~SAT

Relax & Read: The Unmemntioable by Erin Moure

8 Apr

23 days until the Minutes Before Sunset release!

April is National Poetry Month, so I thought I’d discuss a poetry collection today. So I read The Unmemntioable by Erin Moure for my Poetry Writing II class, and it is safe to say that I am in love. 9781770890046_p0_v1_s260x420

Moure’s poetry collection defies time along with persona. It’s the repercussions of identity within a family’s timeless love. As Barnes & Noble explains, “Moure’s poems, love is bound to a duty: to comprehend what it was that the immigrants would not speak of. Now they are dead; their children and grandchildren know but an anecdotal pastiche of Ukrainian history. On Saskatoon Mountain in Alberta where they settled.”

The history, along with the reflection from present day, is brought to life in the only life left to the known, knowing that the life is ultimately unknown. (Complicated, eh? But wonderful.) I have to admit that I also feel a connection within the mother-daughter relationship of the unknown. The speaker of the poems, Moure, is spreading her mother’s ashes in the Ukraine and is forced to wonder what exactly happened to her mother in order to understand who her mother really was, since her mother never spoke about it. (Considering how awful the Polish-Ukraine conflict was, this isn’t a surprise, but the contradiction this history caused is a thoughtful journey to take.)

Here are my favorite quotes:

“There are persons who can speak no more, whose very names have vanished. Yet a name excised from the verge where it once lived still casts its sound on all who sleep there and enters their throats.” (45)

[Take me in your arms] a way of seeing then.” (15)

“Today I refuse to be pinned down to an identity. Right away, I want to betray it.” (19)

“That there is a before-speaking, that we did not always speak” (41)

“this was passed to writing and the content of a writing burned can no longer be handed back to memory, for writing abolishes memory and as what was written can no longer be passed down, it has no Author in the old sense: no ability to act as proxy to, to verify on behalf of.” (13)

“For if thought that exceeds what has yet been thought were not possible, the infinite would not be possible, and self/ itself or subjectivity its intermediary transcendence/ incendiarry.” (39)

Check it out here: The Unmemntioable by Erin Moure

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

~SAT

April 10: My Thoughts On: Young-Adult Fiction  

Relax & Read: Megan Kaminski

9 Mar

March 10th, 8:45 p.m. Update: Megan Kaminski’s most recent publication, Desiring Map, can be found by clicking here.  tn9781938055010

1 p.m. Update: My Facebook Author Page now has a cover photo. Check it out here

When I decided to attend the University of Kansas, I was really excited to meet inspiring professors and students. I knew I wanted to get my bachelor’s in English, but I was unaware I could have an emphasis on creative writing. Of course, when I learned this, I practically jumped through the ceiling with excitement (seriously—I think I hit my head), and I signed up.

Immediately, I threw myself into a fiction course, because, as many of you know, I write YA sci-fi/fantasy. But—much to my dismay at the time—the University of Kansas requires students to take two different kinds of writing. I was REALLY concerned about this, because I didn’t want to join a writing course I didn’t know anything about. I was afraid it’d affect my GPA, and, considering how much students pay at universities, this was a huge concern. But I had no choice, so I looked at what they had to offer: nonfiction, screenwriting, poetry, and playwriting.

imagesSo what did I take?

I enrolled in Poetry Writing I with Professor Megan Kaminski, and my writing life has never been the same.

She has taught me everything I know about poetry, and she has inspired me to chase knowledge beyond what classroom time allows us to explore. Through this website, I even advocate studying poetry, because the genre has taught me how to truly embrace the lyrical beauty of language in and out of fiction. For me, fiction is where I disappear into fantastical worlds I create, but poetry causes me to embrace the reality of what’s fantastical around me.

I give Kaminski all the credit for revealing this beautiful world to me.

Megan Kaminski has six chapbooks out, and through Dusie Press, you can even read directly from her chapbook, collection. This year, her most recent piece, This Place (Dusie Press, 2013), was published, and it’s available through her publisher and directly from her. She’s even on Goodreads and Directory of Poets & Writers.

Megan Kaminski's chapbook, collection.

Megan Kaminski’s chapbook, collection.

Not only has she accomplished so much, but she has given opportunity to other writers. Through the University of Kansas, Kaminski sponsors The Siren, a national online literary journal for students to share their work. She also leads the Creative Writing Exchange Program and the Undergraduate Reading Series that I got to participate in.

I have the utmost joy being taught by such a talented and inspiring woman. She’s an example of all I hope to be: accomplished while striving to create opportunities for other writers and their futures. 

I really encourage all of you to check her out and learn from her story. Any of the links above will send you to more information.

~SAT

Click here and go straight to her website.

Click here and go straight to her website.

My Undergraduate Reading

11 Feb

9:00 a.m. update: I’m in the University Daily Kansan! Read this article about my experiences here.

I REALLY wanted to record a video of me reading what I read at the Undergraduate Reading Series (that way, you could experience what the audience did) but, just as I said on the 9th, my camera isn’t working.

An actual picture from the event.

An actual picture from the event.

So what do I do?

I’m uploading PDF files of what I’ve read :] If you click any of the links below, it will open, and you can read that particular piece.

At the event I read nonfiction, poetry, and fiction. I did this, because I love experimenting in genres outside my norm (so anything that isn’t sci-fi/fantasy YA fiction.) I think trying new genres is really important for learning, and, because of this, I’ve studied nonfiction, poetry, fiction, and screenwriting at the University of Kansas (and in my free time, of course.)

But, without further my rambling (because I could), I’ll introduce my nonfiction piece:

From my memoir “To become a (woe)man” I explain how being motherless since 11 years old has effected my life up until now. I’m really excited to be sharing this piece, because it’s currently competing in a publication competition, not to mention some of the most important moments of my life. This particular scene is the day after my mother died.

Read my excerpt from “To become a (woe)man” here: NonFictionExcerpt

My poetry was read next. I’d rather not explain what they are about, however, because poetry is a genre that thrives within interpretation. My three pieces are below:

You

Hom-ouses

Injuries

After poetry, I read from a fiction piece of mine. In reality, this fiction piece is from a fantasy novel, but, from the excerpt, you will not be able to tell. I did this on purpose. Readings don’t always give you enough time to explain the setting or the characters, so you have to adjust to your audience. I decided to read a small romantic scene–one where my protagonists are looking at the stars. Read it here: FictionExcerpt

I hope you enjoyed reading my pieces as much as I enjoyed sharing them!

Have a great Monday!

~SAT

Relax & Read: Sailing Alone Around the Room

27 Jan

After Friday’s post about my poetry and nonfiction writing classes, I received a few questions regarding reading other genres. For instance, Ed Raby Sr. (blogger about one man’s quest to apply Biblical Theology to life), asked “Poetry was something I never seemed to get into. Do you have recomendation for a person who does not like poetry? Other than Dr. Seuss?”

I think this is a great question, because it represents every person who has asked me similar questions about expanding their reading palate into other genres. Personally, I’ve studied screenwriting, poetry, fiction, and (now) nonfiction. Each time I begin a new genre, I learn essential elements to writing I never considered before.9780375755194

In this case, poetry has taught me to say less but mean more. Writing poems enhances writers’ abilities of creating symbolism and delicate yet powerful prose. So, if you’re thinking about trying poetry, I wanted to recommend one of my favorite poets: Billy Collins.

Personally, horoscopes for the dead is my favorite collection of his, but I think Sailing Alone Around the Room is more eclectic while retaining a simplistic charm.

You can read some of his poems for free here:

But here are my favorite quotes from Sailing Alone Around the Room:

“I can hear the library humming in the night, / a choir of authors murmuring insides their books” (Books)

“But all they want to do / is tie the poem to a chair with rope / and torture a confession out of it” (Introduction to Poetry)

“No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted / out of a love poem that you used to know by heart” (Forgetfulness)

“it moved into the future / like the sharp tip of a pen moving across an empty page.” (The Wires of the Night)

I hope you take the time to read some of his words (he writes A LOT about being a writer) and enjoy his words as much as I have. If not, I hope you take the opportunity to read some free poems (because they are all over the internet) and fall in love with their structure enough to embrace their elements into your writing style.

~SAT

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