Dark Poetry

A darker version of myself lives these…

The Nightmare of Revenge

Black roads, white rain,
and leaves of gray

blurs outward into the night.

A hint of orange on the rose

suspended above the frame.

Her numb hand stretches forth to me

my old ring, now hers, glints dark.

The suitor lay dead on the floor.

Shutting the door, I walk on.

Snapshot

The dark, dreary, dorm room seemed empty after the fight,

An angry lonely lover stalked out into the night,

A picture of the perfect couple lay out, torn in two,

While trembling hands wiped the tears long after he bid her adieu.

Coma Patient

I tell someone the truth

But they don’t seem to care.
I tell someone the truth

But they pretend to not care.
My voice shakes out

But they can’t be unaware.



They treat me like a victim

When I’m not trying to be.

They treat me like some victim

When I don’t want to be.

I have to speak the truth

Because they can’t clearly see.

I’m awake. I’m alive.

I can see things just like you.

I am awake, I am alive!

I can feel things just like you.

They walk around ignoring me,

It’s like they’re bidding me adieu.

I lie here day by day

Shouting endlessly.

I stay here day by day

Yelling constantly.

My mind screams the truth

But no one can hear me.

Holy Hannah, I had one!

So I was reading a lovely book last weekend called Bird by Bird by Ann Lamott, we were on our final camping trip of the season – Hence why I didn’t post last Friday, sorry! – and I had brought the book along for a tryout. (It had been one of my assigned readings in college that I really didn’t *ahem* have time to read.) Turns out, I should have read it back in junior year because it was amazing! Such a wonderful book about writing, it was a how-to without being a “how-to,” written in a clean friendly style with tons of writing humor in it. I highly suggest it.

Anyway, while reading the book, I discovered a chapter on characters. It covered the usual points of interest: how you should always know about your characters, find everything out about them even the smallest of details, but it also went into detail about how you should let them go their own way, let them grow, how sometimes they might surprise you. Well since then I never had a surprising moment with my characters, usually I knew exactly what they were supposed to be doing and saying, how they acted and reacted, what they wore to bed at night and why. Everything was pretty much set in stone.

Yet (not to sound too overly dramatic… but here I go anyway), everything changed for me that afternoon. I actually had a revelation concerning novel’s my character! She’s not trying to “just survive,” no one is trying to “just survive,” she’s actively trying to survive so she can be a part of a group, a family of sorts, a love-interest to someone else. She’s trying to survive so she can belong! It was monumental for me because up until that point I was just making her survive the events. Not in order to belong anywhere, for real, just to survive the hell she was in. It was such an obvious motivator that I haven’t the faintest idea why I didn’t see it before!

Then, as if that wasn’t mind-boggling enough, I had another one! This morning, at around 12:30 at night, it was pitch black in my room, I was laying on my bed attempting to go to sleep and I blinked. (I literally remember blinking and *poof*) There it was, the reason why my main character is so troubled, the theme/message/whatever you want to call it that I want portray to others in my novel, heck, the revelation I want my girl to go through within the novel and the means to make her see it. It was amazing. I spent the next forty minutes scribbling madly on post-it notes, praying that the mechanical pencil wouldn’t run out of lead, and cursing wondering why the heck I didn’t have actual sheets of paper beside my bed like usual. It was pretty intense.

The crazy thing is… I went from reading a book about surprises and wishing I had some with my characters, wondering what it would feel like and kind-of doubting it ever happens to anyone, to having two in one week and being really really excited about it. Honestly, I don’t know if they will pan out but I’m so glad that I experienced those moments of clarity.

So I highly recommend this book, it is now my good luck charm for writing. I don’t know if it’ll work for you, but it’s certainly a good read.

Warmest regards,
Kellie

Writers Conference, Day Three

Today was the last day of the Writers Conference and to say that I’m sad it’s over would be an understatement but I’m content in my knowledge and my experiences. Today was both an enlightening day and a humbling one.

John Vorhaus had to be my favorite speaker. His session was on The Comic Toolbox and, let me tell you, there are so many “tools” in comedy I had no clue about… it was incredible. His main premise was actually a mathematical equation (and those of you who know me know math isn’t my strongest point so that shows how much I like this guy), “Comedy = Truth + Pain,” which essentially breaks down into this: in order for a character to be funny we have to figure out what the main character wants or sees as true and then add some sort of painful/annoying/aggravating  element into it. An example he touched upon went something like this…

So we have a guy who brought in his car to the mechanic (the guy with the flat is the “hero” of the story) and we have the mechanic who is hired to fix it. What is the guy’s truth? He wants to drive the car. What is his pain? He has a flat tire. So since we know both the truth and the pain we can potentially create a funny situation out of it. Say the guy goes in for a flat tire, asks it to be fixed, the mechanic says “sure” and the guy leaves. A few hours later the guy comes back and asks the mechanic about the car but the mechanic just looks as him and says “well, we fixed the tire but we dinged the door.”

See how it’s kind-of funny? And it was just a mathematical equation that led to the humor! Crazy, right? I was completely impressed. Of course, he talked about others things too, the various ‘tools of the comedy trade” so to speak but that equation was the best part.

Matt Pizzo also had a session today but his session was just so dang overwhelming that it was hard to comprehend everything. In his session he spoke about the past, present, and future of publishing (which was all very interesting) but, in doing so, he talked about all the steps that go into actually publishing a book. I started listening to the speal at 10:30 and at around 10:32 I was ready to gather up my stuff and leave! It was so daunting. There’s agents and literary lawyers and publishing contracts and editors and layout artists and modeling and no advances and little royalties and lack of trust and buying of space. That’s on top of actually writing the dang novel. Then I found out that the publishing firms can change the novel around, rearrange the plot-line, and some of them even give out outlines to follow! I’m no novice when it comes to the publishing world, I’ve done research into the field so I know what goes on in certain areas but I only looked at the editing section of that world and not at everything else. It was mind-blowing to say the least.

The last thing we did at the conference was have a panel discussion, so a question and answer session with all of the speakers. The Q&A session was also the time when every writer in the room felt the weight of the publishing world pushing down on us like a giant wool blanket on an already sweltering night. It was a time when the speakers deviated from the normal pleasant conversation and dived right into the horrors of the publishing world – disloyalty, convulsions, e-publishing, lack of royalties, 1-in-100 chance of making it, big publishing houses treating small-town authors and even famous authors like crap. According to them, we (the up and coming authors) have to work 20-30 percent harder than previous authors. It’s a depressing world out there for the publishing world and the authors.

However, all is not lost in a sea of despair. Today I was also offered a freelance editing gig to edit a writer’s novel. The writer’s name is Nikki, she just finished her novel and was looking for an editor. I mentioned that I would love to be an editor so I became her editor. It’s a wonderful opportunity to help a fellow writer strengthen her story and to hone my skills as an “official” editor. I’m so psyched!

Hence ends the Writers Conference posting for the weekend. I had a lovely time, I met some wonderful people, and I am so glad I went.

Warmest regards,
Kellie

Writer Conference, Day Two

The Meet and Greet was a huge success, or so I heard, I decided not to go because I didn’t know it was an event you had to pay for (I was outraged and confused).

However, the official Day Two of my foray into the Writers Conference was quite fun. The speakers were inspiring. Patricia Fry, John Vorhaus Verna Dreisback, and Matthew Pizzo were the session speakers I had the pleasure to listen to. From them I learned about the publishing world, the query Letter, the elevator pitch, and the truthful liars.

John and Verna were my two favorites today.

John was absolutely hilarious, he spoke volumes about combating writers block, facing the fear, and even electronic publishing. His idea about writers block was especially fascinating. He said that if you ever do get writers block it’s merely fear and judgement manifesting itself in your “right brain” and all you really need to do is gather information… gathering information activates your “left brain” and allows you to work on something you can control and not pass judgement on yourself. Doing this action ultimately allows you to solve the problems you were having in the first place because when you gather more information your “right brain” is able to solve the issues.

Anyway, it was an amazing talk and I’ll delve more into it tomorrow because right now I am quite tired.

Warm regards,
Kellie

Writers conference, day one

Today officially marked the first day of the AK Writers Guild Writers Conference – though technically it was called the “pre-conference opening event.”

We, the conference-goers, got to tour the AT Printing and Publishing factory! It all started with a lovely reception in the upper portion of the factory, there was food, drinks, and pleasant company. We introduced ourselves and began the tour, breaking into two groups and wandering around the factory.

I have to say it was a pretty interesting tour, I saw how books were cut, bound, and designed. The stamping process was particularly interesting. They used to have this huge camera-like device take the pictures and then have to develop them in a dark room, five or six people would have to work the device. Now times have swept that old style under the rug, the same thing is done by a single computer and a single person! The knowledge made me pause for a moment, it’s amazing the leaps and bounds humans make, when given enough time.

The rest of the tour was interesting as well, binding and cutting, folding and packing, it was quite an eye-opener. I had a good time and met some pretty nice people (though I must admit I was slightly awkward for a little bit, I was clearly the youngest person there). It was fun to speak to people with so much experience though.

Tomorrow is the Meet and Greet… And I’m actually going to it. Shocking I know! I’m usually such a wallflower but not this time. Plus I know someone there, one of the conference speakers in fact. I can use that connection as a speaking point when talking to others and, when we’re not mingling, we can hang out together! It should be an interesting experience.

I’ll be blogging about the Conference each night for the weekend so be sure to check back if you’re interested.
Warm regards,
Kellie

The Rollercoaster that is Writing

I’ve always known that writing is an art, it takes dedication, long hours, and tons of concentration to make the words flow on the page. I’ve done articles in the newspaper and magazines, short stories and even dabbled in some poetry with modest success (that is, gotten published or honorably mentioned).

Novel writing though, that’s something I’ve found to be even harder than anything else I’ve come across. It’s also crazy intense, tons of effort, and much more draining than I ever thought it would be.

I have stayed up all night typing madly on my keyboard only to cup/paste most of what I’ve written to use for notes but not in the actual body of work. I’ve erases whole paragraphs just because I couldn’t get the subtle interactions correct. I’ve not been able to create a summery because I don’t have the whole plot-line thought up and have been so aggravated that I took a day to figure at least a tagline out. I’ve even woken up in the middle of the night with the answer swimming in my mind, thrashing to get out, because the last thought I had before falling asleep was “which brother was the pilot again?”

It’s also probably the most fun I’ve had with my writing in the past year.

That said, however, I recently found out taking a break from novel writing is a good thing. This past week my family and I went to the local state fair, located in Palmer. For four whole days I didn’t write a single paragraph in either my chapter five (my most recent one) or any of my little forays that will become a larger chapter. I did muse about a new character and I had to think up a tagline but for the most part there was no actual ‘typing madly away’ involved. I call that a successful break.

It was good to get away for a bit, to do something different and change gears for a while. I ended up writing some poetry… and for some good measure here’s two senryus I jotted down. (For those of you who don’t know, a senryu is a Japanese form of poetry and is similar to a haiku – short, sweet and to the point – but it’s different because the senryu does not have the 5-7-5 count, is usually talking directly about human nature and is humorous.)


I do not push my cat

away, as she sleeps

on my pillow.


Looking for my glasses

oh! Silly me,

they rest gently on my head.


Next weekend is the writers conference hosted by the Writers Guild (here’s a link if you want to see what I’m going to)! Expect more posts than usual!

I’m going to add some new things to my (Non-fiction) and (Poetry) pages so be sure to click the links provided and check it out!



Warmest regards,

Kellie