If You've Never Failed, You Haven't Lived

Have you ever failed at anything?  If not, you haven't lived. Great, WIMP video.

Dismissed from drama school with a note that read, "Wasting her time.  She's too shy to put her best foot forward."- Lucille Ball

Burlesque Poetry-Let Us Entertain You

 Burlesque Poetry-Let Us Entertain You

I always write naked. How else can you write really? 

Writing is the process of sanding off the veneer to get to the true self, the bare wood of creativity that stems from somewhere within. Yet, that place within is strangely from somewhere other than ourselves.

It is like being kidnapped by aliens and taken to another planet.  You know you are not one of them and you remember another place, yet you are so far away.  When I write, I’m still me, but I’ve traveled to a place that is no longer familiar where my mind starts a thought but little Buddhas take over.  My mind may want to go one way, but the Buddhas, Gremlins, Fairies, God, whatever that Other is, takes over. The ending is almost always a surprise.

Isn’t the process of writing about taking off our masks, our clothes, our skin, our egos, and even our minds? Maybe that is why so many people begin writing because of some tragic event, often a death, in their lives.  The tragic event blows off all of the parts of ourselves that are not really us.  The ego, the public persona, the ladder climber, the socialite all fall away and what is left is sheer emotion, soul, self and the little Buddhas. 

Sometimes writing gives us permission to explore parts of ourselves we are otherwise afraid to let others see.  We can wear masks while writing, but the best writing tends to let all masks fall away and the Buddhas rise.  The best poetry arises from a voice that is not my own, yet I own it.

Writing poetry is like living in a nudist colony, except good poets tend to tease a little, leaving a little to the imagination. Maybe we should say poetry is more like a burlesque show, the poet, like a stripper flicking a feather boa of a metaphor at you and capturing your attention for just a moment in this swirling twirling world that races by. Like the stripper, the poet exposes herself slowly just trying to entertain you.  We all write naked, even when we have our clothes on and the best strippers tend to be women, don’t you agree?

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Poem Starter Idea

Here is a prompt from me for a poem idea:

"She walked in wearing diamonds
  She walked out wearing only...

Try your hand at it and submit a poem below in the comments.

Here is my attempt:

Selling Stones

She walked in wearing diamonds.
She walked out wearing only a smile,
selling her jewels to buy his life
if only for a little while.
Dollars for diamonds, dollars for pearls,
all she had to give for all he had to live.
At the funeral, she wore black, no jewels.
He wore her love, studded with stones
drenched in dreams of yesterday.
Her buried treasure,
a stone's throw,
yet so far away.

American Short Fiction Prize

American Short Fiction Prize

  News Bits

The American Short(er) Fiction Prize, for stories of 1,000 words or less, runs February 15 through May 15 (note new deadline), 2011. Regular submissions are open now.
We've simplified our submissions process a little. We ask that you do three things:
  1. Read the guidelines. We have separate guidelines for our Short Story Contest and regular submissions. (We consider anything not a contest entry--be it a novella, a story, a piece of flash fiction--as a regular submission.) Both sets of guidelines are below.
  2. Pay the submission fee. Our payment page is here. Payment is handled via PayPal. (Looking to purchase a subscription or a copy of the current issue? Please do that through our publisher's store here.)
  3. Submit your story via our online Submission Manager. Once PayPal handles your transaction, you'll be directed to the Submission Manager.

Poetry Writing Prompt from Poet Asides

From Robert Brewer's blog Poet Asides at Writer's Digest

For today's prompt, write an ode. I'm thinking of odes in the more contemporary sense of being a praise poem, though if people want to get all old school with it, then that's fine too. If I had more energy, I'd try to write a fitting ode to everyone of you participating in the challenge. This has been a terrific month (even with the strep throat). However, I had to settle for writing an ode about something else that just happened.

Here's my attempt:

"Ode to a royal wedding"

Because there are wars,
because there are natural disasters,
because there are words said in anger,
because there are always people hurting,
because the world is so precious and unforgiving,
I am glad to see the spectacle of William and Kate.

Favorite Poet of the Week-Maitreyabandhu

Maitreyabandhu is one of the most exciting up and coming poets today. When I read his luscious description of Umbria, I just want to crawl into his poem and live there.

 Here is an excerpt from his poem, "Umbrian Summer" found in Poetry Review, Autumn 2010.

there were beech leaves
            on the swimming pool-

            chrome yellow
on a zone of blue,
             like something Japanese.

            The sun
had seemed to shine
             through lemonade-