Poets for Peace poet, Robert Okaji; listen here…

Robert read for our Poets for Peace gathering in San Antonio, February, 2017.  We were mesmerized.  Have a listen here…then order his forthcoming chapbook, From Every Moment A Second, Finishing Line Press, Oct. 2017 (link provided in his post, so click through).  Congratulations, Robert!

“Bottom, Falling” was published in Into the Void in October, 2016, and appears in my forthcoming chapbook, From Every Moment a Second, available for prepublication order at Finishing Line Press.

via Recording of Bottom, Falling — O at the Edges

free-writing for journals

Free creative writing lessons for teachers of young writers…

 

Image:  “Leaning Nymph and a Barn” used with permission of the artist, Andreas Overland via Creative Commons.  Some rights reserved. Definition:  Free-writing means anything goes.  Let…

Source: free-writing for journals

if poems

Free writing prompts for teachers of young writers…

If Poems   Read the following poem by Nikki Giovanni: if you plant grain you get fields of flour if you plant seeds you get grass… i planted once and a robin red breast flew in my window but…

Source: if poems

catch & release…reviewers alert!

Create Space George High Resolution Front Cover_6020780 2 2 16Buy your copy here!

Change is good!

I’ve just released the second edition of my novel, Making Room for George (Moon Shadow Sanctuary Press, 2016).  TADA!

This love story, based on real events, was first released in 2013 by Balboa Press & has 22 five star reviews on Amazon which you can read here.  That edition will soon be out of print.

The second edition is improved because (this is a secret), I have removed many song lyrics used in the first edition (without permission; mistake of ignorance) and gained permission for the use of the few lyrics still in print in this edition.  It was this Book Baby Blog post by Chris Robley that helped me understand how to use song lyrics in my novel legally.

In short, song lyrics (written after 1923) are NOT in public domain and do not fall under the fair usage policy.  YIKES!

So, I got to work doing research I should have done before releasing the first edition of the book, but honestly, I thought lyrics, as long as I didn’t claim them as mine, could just be quoted.  Wrong.

I’ve changed the font.  The cover has been redesigned.  But otherwise, the book is the same.  So why did I change from Balboa Press to Create Space?

Money image bill cut up Tax Credits on flickr

image:  used with permission of the artist Tax Credits via Creative Commons some rights reserved. 

Money.

Indie authors have to pay.  For everything.  Themselves.  And we have to do it all:  write, market, read, network, & run a business.  I’m TERRIBLE at running my writing career like a business.  I’m getting better at networking.  Mostly, I tend to hole up and slink back to my studio where I’m friendly with all the paper & pens and color, and this slinking usually takes place after too much effort at “marketing,” or too much time at the PC.

I need my swing and the palpable sweetness of natural things.

bench swing on formidable woman 4 13 16 ccimage:  used with permission of the artist, Chaim Zvi via creative commons

I’ll let you do your own research if you are considering becoming an indie author.  For me, knowing what I know now, Create Space makes more sense.  I can choose the price of my book.  I’ll make more of the money I have spent on the book back (as long as readers buy directly from my e-store).  There will be no additional pressure disguised as “marketing help” to spend any more money for anything.  I can conduct a book giveaway at an affordable price.

Which brings me to my point!  I’M DOING A BOOK GIVEAWAY!  As soon as the Kindle version is ready which should be in about ten days, I’ll be gifting an e-version of the book to the first thirty people who follow this blog and opt-in to my email list starting now!  Whoohoo!  There is no obligation, but I’d sure love a fair and honest review.  I’ll send that info along with your copy.

For your chance to win, scroll down to the bottom of my About Me page, click “follow” on the right sidebar and add your name to my email list on the contact form (be sure to click “I want to subscribe to your email list.” Go here now!

 

please share…& thanks with Big Love!

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Poetry Month: 30 poems in 30 days

DMotherBelov back-001

What to do first?

Once, a writer friend, visiting my studio, viewing a bronze sculpture of mine (still sitting on my hearth today) said, “It must be hard for you to decide what to do first when you get up in the morning!”  She said this because I paint, I’ve done some sculpture, I write (poetry, a novel, a blog…sometimes) and I do body & soul work with private clients.  She was thinking all that doing and going in so many directions might be causing me some conflict.  She’s right.  But I don’t seem to be able to stop.

I’ve been working in this circular way as an artist for twenty-five years, each media delightfully informing the other.

However, last month (March, 2016), I agreed to write 30 poems in 30 days for Tupelo Press’s 30/30 Project.  This very creative way of raising funds for the small press was a wonderful challenge that, as you can imagine, kept me quite focused!

It was a thrilled to see my DAILY work “published” on the Tupelo 30/30 blog pages alongside the other six accomplished poets who also wrote during March.  The poems are still “up” through the end of April,  National Poetry Month  & you can read them here.

Pick up the pen…

This coming Friday, April 15, 2016 from 7-9PM, I will be very happily reading in Austin at Malvern Books, with other awesome Tupelo 30/30 alumni from previous months and/or years:  Robert Okaji, Christine Beck, Pamela Paek, Katy Chrisler, D.G. Geis, & Ronnie K. Stephens.

Yesterday, I re-blogged a post by Rober Okaji:  How to Write a Poem.  The reason I like the poem he posted so much is because it beautifully describes how poetry happens for me as well.  I do just what he says to do:  live and let the words come.    But during March, I picked up my pen.  Every day.

512px-Stipula_fountain_pen

image: used with permission via Creative Commons by Antonio Litteri0

 

The pen is the difference between simply living a life and living a writer’s life, the pen, the art of listening, and a strange penchant for recording everything!

One of the most interesting things that occurred to me during this writing exercise is that as Naomi Shihab Nye says, poems are everywhereBut you have to be listening.

I didn’t want to “cheat” myself out of the chance to learn this (again!), so I decided that I would wait, each day, for the prompt life would provide.  Life did not disappoint.

 

windshield wiper in the rain cc Kezee

image:  used with permission via Creative Commons photographer, Kezee

Have you ever prayed for rain?

Close to the end of day #24, I still had not written anything, but on my way home from the grocery store, I stopped at the intersection, turning left to go home.  Here is the poem that stop prompted:

 

stopping

 

at the intersection

i nod

 

allow

the cement truck

to cross

 

—huge tumbler

rolling

 

i think      about

ingredients:

 

shells

shale

 

limestone

 

too much

or

too little

 

causes

 

—disintegration

 

~

 

the day       you

announced:

 

i’ve joined the army

 

how i thought

this        might

 

harden      you

 

how it did:

 

pills for rage

pills for sleep

pills for pain

 

~

 

too much

 

for years

 

you wouldn’t

look up

 

your back

to every wall

 

~

 

have you    ever

 

prayed

 

for rain

for a job

 

for a soul

 

      ~

 

today      you call

 

full

overflow

 

of the old      you

the one     i knew

 

mama

 

i want

 to tell you

 

i have     

so many

ideas

 

      ~

 

i think      about

intersections:

 

of faith

of mistakes

 

how i

came to

call you

 

my son

 

by making one

 

~

 

i think      about

 

the time      you

& i         prayed

 

for our lives

 

—perpendicular

roads

 

in front of

the cement plant

 

that day

the tornado

 

turned up

trucks

 

only yards

from us

 

~

 

how we shook

how the deluge

 

(almost) overtook

 

how we bow

 

to a god

neither of us

 

understand

 

d. ellis phelps is the author of Making Room for George, A Love Story (Moon Shadow Sanctuary Press, forthcoming 2016.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is poetry?

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I love this quote from the book Emily (about Emily Dickinson) by Michael Bedard.  In this tender children’s book, Emily befriends a neighbor child who asks her father, “What is poetry?”  This is his poignant reply:

” ‘Listen to Mother play.  She practices and practices a piece, and sometimes a magic happens and it seems the music starts to breathe.  It sends a shiver through you.  You can’t explain it, really; it’s a mystery.  Well, when words do that, we call it poetry.'”

On another occasion, a peer-educator was working with a young writer (elementary age).  She noticed that he’d stopped “working” and was sitting, staring blankly into space.  When she inquired as to what he might be thinking or whether he needed help he said, “No.  I’ve got the words.  I’m just trying to get the music in them.”

Another artist, metal-sculptress, friend of mine was once asked how long it takes to create her pieces of art.  She thought for a minute then replied, “Depends on whether you want me to count the staring.”

I so get this need for creative space, this kind of allowing something new, something that has never before existed in the yet to be manifested form to be born.  It requires a deep listening and long, fertile pauses.

In our culture of fast food, instant messaging, multimedia, and multitasking this kind of “being still to listen” is a skill that must be taught and nurtured.  And please do not make the mistake that children will learn this in school.  School is the anti-thesis to stillness.  Period.

So for today’s prompt, I offer this suggestion:  take your child by the hand; set down the phone; shut down the computers (yes, the Mobigo too); turn off the radio and the television; go outside (away from the noise); stop.  Touch the bark of the elm; smell the river; stick your toes in the mud; name the clouds; mimic the bird calls; lie down on the grass and try to feel the earth spin.

Bring blank (I repeat BLANK not lined) paper and a pencil and some chalk pastel pencils or colored pencils with you.  Record what you notice:  draw an image or use lines and colors only (NO, we are not using the cell phone to record a photograph; we are drawing).  Now write (adults can act as scribe for younger writers), either on the image or on another sheet.  Use sensory words and strong action words to show us what you’ve seen, felt, heard, and smelled.

Now comment on this post with your work! I’d love to see it.

from:  Young Writer’s Idea Box, © D. Ellis Phelps (work in progress), 2013.

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