Excerpt: Of Snow & Fireflies

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To celebrate the release of Of Snow & Fireflies, here is a small excerpt of two haiku that are part of the collection.

 

after school
a smiley face sticker
stuck to the floor

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caught between
if and maybe
monsoon rain

 

The complete collection is available for free on Wattpad. Click the cover below for direct access:

Of Snow & Fireflies

Hope to see you there! Please leave a vote or a comment if you like what you read – it means so much to a writer to received feedback!

 

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c.b.w. 2018

Oh, The Poetry!

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I’ve been focusing on one item in particular on my 2017 To-Do List – Item #2: Publish Something. While I’ve got a few feelers out there (entries in three contests), I’m looking seriously into self-publishing on the digital platform.

While decluttering some shelves (another item on my to-do list), I found and stacked all of my haiku journals on my writing desk. My intention is to comb through all of them and select fifty poems to include in a digital chapbook.

The idea is to create a chapbook that includes some of my favorite haikus from the last few years.  At this point I have well over a thousand haiku – some have been published on my blogs, while others have not. I’m hoping to create a nice mix between reader favorites (that “Like” button comes in pretty handy!) and my personal favorites.

The selection process has already yielded some interesting insights. It’s amazing how a poem seems good when its first written, but in hindsight you wonder how on earth it even ended up in your journal. If anything, the bad ones make the gems stick out that much more.

It’s also interesting to see how I’ve experimented over the last few years. I started out with strict adherence to the 5-7-5 syllable/line structure, which then shifted to the looser format of less than 14 syllables (12 is usually my target) in three lines. Later experiments with monokus (one line haikus) and senryu are excellent trackers of my anthology reading and research. Admittedly, I’m still figuring out the monoku.

Perhaps the most enlightening thing to see was how my individual voice began to emerge through all the experimentation. While it’s still a work in progress, there is something remarkable about seeing a haiku that only I could write. It took a long time to get this point!

In many ways this project is a culmination of almost three years of constant practice in writing haikus. They are my passion, so creating collection just seems the next natural step.

Stay tuned!

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c.b.w. 2017

 

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

 

2015 Goals: October & November Status Report

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Somehow October got away from me, so it’s going to hang out with November for this round of goal assessment. It’s been two months of ups and downs, but for the most part my muse is on a roll.

1. Work towards getting The Muse published.

It’s been a rough couple of months on this front! I sent out four query packages (just shy of my goal of five) in October. Out of those four, I received one written rejection and three assumed rejections. The assumed rejections are due to the fact that I got the silent treatment. Oooo, that’s painful! All part of process, I suppose!

During November, I put all my focus on the Poem A Day Challenge on Poetic Asides (see #3 below), so I didn’t send out any additional query packages.

I intend on starting a new round of queries after the holiday craziness calms down a bit. 🙂

2. Start writing Lineage.

One the shelf for the time being thanks to poetry pursuits.

3. Submit poetry.

Once again, I participated in the Poetic Asides community via Writer’s Digest for Wednesday prompts and the 2015 November Poem A Day Challenge.

For the challenge I wrote between three and four haikus per day. The end goal of the challenge is to construct a chapbook of poems from the challenge and submit the manuscript. The winning chapbook is published!

I’m in the process of experimenting with a possible concept for my chapbook. There was a reason why I wrote a minimum of three haiku for each prompt. Now it’s time to see if my idea is going to work. Stay tuned!

Results for the 2015 April Poem A Day Challenge (via Poetic Asides onWriter’s Digest) were finally updated again. I am excited to announce that I’ve scored another Top 10 finish!! You’ll see me listed just below the halfway point. YAY!

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National Haiku Writing Month’s daily prompts via NaHaiWriMo’s Facebook Page offered up some interesting prompts. I completed both October and November prompts.

4. Don’t give up or get distracted.

After the epic failure of October’s query packages, it was tough to stay focused. However, the PAD Challenge helped keep me grounded and motivated me to stay in the game. I’m still going strong and I’m not about to give up!

5. Be flexible.

See #3.

My experiment for my PAD Chapbook entry is definitely challenging me to look at haiku from a different perspective. The concept didn’t occur to me until a week into the challenge, so I’m going to have to go back and reconfigure a few things. I have no idea if my idea is going to work, but I’m excited to give it a try. Details will be forthcoming!

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And let’s not forget the word of the year:

Persistence

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How are you doing with your 2015 goals?

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c.b.w. 2015

Building a Chapbook

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After participating in the Writer’s Digest November Poem A Day Chapbook Challenge, I found myself with thirty poems and a deadline. The second phase of the challenge involves narrowing thirty poems down to twenty and arranging them into a chapbook. For a newbie such as myself, this is utterly terrifying as I don’t know the first thing about formatting a poetry manuscript.

Aside from the technical logistics of formatting the actual print manuscript, I have a bigger fear that stems from one central question: In what order should the poems be arranged? During the challenge, I chose not to lock myself into a particular theme or type of poetry. I simply followed my muse when responding to each prompt. Thanks to my willy nilly approach, I ended up with everything from multiple stanza poems to haikus.

While not ideal, I decided the wide range of poetry I wrote was more of positive than a negative. Seeing as they are all rooted in my voice, they already had one common thread binding them together. Somewhere in the madness of irregular pieces, my story was waiting to be found.

I printed all of my poems and cut them out. Squares of all sizes lay scattered across my dining room table, each one a small piece of a bigger tale.

I started by making three rows of randomly placed poems so I could see how they “reacted” with one another. From there, I just started moving poems until a timeline of sorts began to appear. Without even knowing it, I had written 20 poems describing a journey I had taken two years prior.

My last trip to London changed my life in so many ways. Everything inside of me shifted and nothing has been the same since. It was a trip that taught me I had more strength than I ever could have imagined. As it turns out, that strength has been an incredible ally as life has tossed a number of challenges my way since my return. Sometimes I wonder where I would be today had I not discovered that piece of myself.

Fragments of emotions and thoughts still wander through my mind, all of which reach back to my days of wandering London streets and soaking in a new environment. All that time alone in a country so far away changed my default settings and forced me to see my world in different way. While I recommend this experience to anyone, it is not for the faint of heart. It’s easy to lose yourself and your footing when attempting to change your perspective.

In honor of an experience that uproots any sense of foundation, my chapbook carries the title, “Finding Gravity.”

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FYI, the deadline for the chapbook challenge is January 7, 2014. Good luck to everyone who submits!

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c.b.w. 2013