Building A Chapbook

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The 2016 November Poem A Day Challenge ended a little more than then a month ago, but for me the challenge continues. Rather than writing a new poem every single day, it’s now about building a chapbook to submit in the competition that follows the PAD challenge.

The goal is to submit a polished chapbook of 20 poems. During the challenge I wrote about 40 poems, which means I have whittle down my collection by half. Yikes!

I was able to eliminate 15 right off the bat. I didn’t feel they were strong enough and no amount of editing was going to save them. Sometimes a poem is just bad and there’s nothing to do but let it go!

That left me with 25 haikus to revise, edit, and organize. Haikus are often viewed as a simplistic form that doesn’t require a lot of revision, but nothing could be further from the truth! With only three lines and minimal syllable count, every word has to be perfectly chosen and placed.

The revision process really gets to the core of the strengths and weaknesses of the remaining poems. Some really start to stand out, while others begin to fade away. Five more poems were scrapped for simply being too boring or having no clear connection to others in the group.

Once I had my 20 poems, it was time to decide what order the poems will appear in the chapbook. This is more than a little overwhelming, especially since the prompts for the challenge were pretty random.

However, I feel like I have a little bit of a crutch in this department. Haiku are often organized by season, so I decided to follow that tradition. Some of my poems were obvious representations of a season, while others were more abstract. For example, a poem that mentions flowers would fall into spring or summer (depending on the flower), while a senryu that emphasizes a moment of melancholy can be filed under winter.

This strategy worked out pretty well! I ended up with fairly even groupings of poems and it just became a matter of ordering 4 to 6 poems in each group to create flow within and between each season.

The deadline for submission approaches and I’m excited to send in my entry! Good luck to every poet who participates in the competition!

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c.b.w. 2017

 

To Do List: 2017

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I hesitate to make so-called resolutions, but I do love a good to-do list. Instead of making the oh so predictable list of goals for the year, I’m going to dig through the list of things in my head I keep meaning to do. These are things that keep piling up thanks to life getting in the way or they are simply forgotten in the cluttered mess that is my head.

Item #1: Declutter

Give the state of my head, this one makes sense! However, the clutter in my head is only part of the problem. The house is cluttered, My classroom is cluttered. The past is cluttered.

The last one is probably why everything else in my life is full of just too much. After four years of many personal losses, it’s been hard to let things go. The fact that I have awareness and understanding of this fact is why I’m now able to move forward. I no longer need to hold onto so many things to feel anchored. I can let go.

The following areas are where I’m focusing my energy:

Shelves

  • Bookshelves throughout the house. This is actually where I started. On January 1, I cleared out close to 150 books.
  • DVD shelf – we have almost 1,000 DVDs. There’s no way we need that many. Clearly, we love TV and Movies, but I know there are quite a few duds on the shelf!
  • CD Shelf – Same deal as the DVD shelf. There is some weird stuff on this shelf and it’s time to sift out the duds.

Closets: There’s too much of just about everything: blankets, sheets, clothes, shoes, etc.

  • master closet
  • linen closet
  • hobby closet

Hobby/Guest Room

  • Multiple shelves jammed with stuff (not even sure what)
  • Barbie Collection – I have close to a hundred dolls, but I want the collection to be more streamlined to reflect my love of vintage and vintage-look dolls. So far, I’ve pulled 21 dolls to give away or sell. 

Writing Area

  • One of the biggest culprits of clutter are old journals, multiple novel drafts, and writing reference books. A lot of this comes from figuring out who I am as a writer. I’ve figured it out and now it’s time to sort through the paper trail and discard what no longer matters, (i.e. rough drafts, journals full of scribbles).

Classroom

  • Supply closet – OMG. So much stuff has landed here over 17 years.
  • Storage area in department office – started this last year, but more work needs to be done

Item #2: Publish Something

Over the last couple of years, I’ve written over a thousand haiku. I think it’s about time to put together a chapbook or two! I’m probably going to self-publish using a digital platform. There are so many options out there, many of which are free, so I don’t have much of an excuse not to do this!

The same goes for my novel. I’m going to get back into the game of sending out query packages, but I’m also going to dig deeper into research regarding self-publishing outlets. It’s time to get this done!

Item #3: Read 35 Books

As I have for the last five years, I’ve once again joined the Goodreads Reading Challenge.

Item #4: Survive National Board Certification

The road to National Board Certification has been brutal. It is not fun navigating a newly rolled out process because there are so many unknowns. Previously certified teachers can’t really help, nor can the coaches. I have one more component to finish and hopefully it will be enough to not only survive, but achieve National Board Certification.

Item #5: Take Better Care of Myself

I need to eat better, sleep better, and leave more stress at the door. I let the day job invade much too large of a space in my life and it’s time to push it back to where it belongs: at work.

Item #6: Go Somewhere

I miss traveling. It’s time for another adventure. 🙂

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What’s on your To Do List for 2017?

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c.b.w. 2017