Can you identify the mystery poet?

Here’s another poem from “Sad Songs from Hush River” available at offered in recognition of National Poetry Month. I wrote “On the Morn of Your Eulogy” as an exercise using another poem as a prompt.  My poem follows the structure of the original, including that of the title which is something like “On the Eve of Your Departure.”  Alas, I cannot relocate the inspiration and I am unable to credit the writer. Can you help? Do you know who the author and the poem might have been?  Suggestions appreciated.

Tell me you weren’t cracking up,

You had but the one suckling child

and you still held an artist’s brush with confidence

even hope.


I promised you by your tired eyes that you were a well-tempered palette.

You promised me by your tired eyes that you were a well-tempered palette.

And all the planets promised both of us by your tired eyes that you still

perceived the colors of truth completely


Who could not go on living?


My pen will be glad to have been a record,

The brush to have been your lover,

I to have been blessed to touch the hem of your dress

in the quiet of evening.


The scout has lost his compass,

The sailor his anchor,

And I — I feel my mind eroding–ragged holes exposing a stormy sky,

That my time too is ticking down

That your daughter is more than a daughter, and the sun is more than a sun.


What is the word for tomorrow?

Blogs by Fictional Characters ?

I like this idea posted in “The Writers Community” on Google+ by Teri Chetwood: 

I really recommend everyone try their hand at fictional blogging. That’s where you write blog posts as your characters. It’s not just fun, it’s good practice, you can build a following, and you can end up with enough posts to make a book you can self-publish. (Since it’s already been published, most publishers won’t touch it, but you can publish it yourself.) That’s what I’m doing with my upcoming collection of blog posts and short stories, The Fabulous Cornwall Sisters.


A Novel in Ten Days: Bragging Rights & Lessons Learned from NaNoWriMo 2013


In October Access Copyright invited its members to “Showcase Your Creative Space,” and it has been posting the submissions on Twitter.

“The world is a lot more fun when you approach it with an exuberant imperfection.” – Chris Baty

Earlier this year, it must have been July, I was visiting my daughter. I can’t remember whether I was the one who was first attracted to a book on her bookshelf because of its title on the spine, or whether she drew my attention to it. However it came my way, the title of Chris Baty’s book, No Plot, No Problem: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days,  spoke to me in ways some of my daughter’s other recommendations haven’t. (She recently presented me with The Sentimentalists by Johanna Skibsrud, a 2010 Giller Prize winner that stumped me. Why did it win a Giller? I was put off immediately by the inaccuracies in the drawing of the soldier’s uniform on the cover, and later when one of the characters addresses a sergeant as sir. Turning the last page I was still wondering if the novel had a plot. You’re probably wondering how, being as put off as I was, I made it to the last page. Stupid, I quess. You may remember that only 800 copies of The Sentimentalists were published by Gasperau Press in Nova Scotia, and the week that the Gillers were announced, the book was unavailable in the bookstores. Sales of the ebook soared, and the The Sentimentalists became a Kobo best-seller. Seems to me there was more of a story about the book, than in the book. By the way, if you disagree with my assessment of Skibsrud’s novel, I’d be happy to read your polite replies. There is a comment box below.) Sorry. I’m getting off track, but a detour such as this serves to increase my word count, an essential goal of NaNoWriMo—National Novel Writing Month, the topic of this posting.

Chris Baty’s book attracted me for two reasons. First No Plot, No Problem, speaks to my way of writing. A character or two will nudge me towards the writing of a few notes. When I can no longer overcome their insistence, I begin to write their stories. I have no idea where the narrative will lead and trust that the characters will tell me where to go. I was attracted to the title of Baty’s book because when I write, I don’t have a plot, and I dearly want to be assured that that is “No Problem.”

The second reason for reading No Plot, No Problem was the idea of completing something. Those of you who have been reading my posts know of my “unfinished novel” and how its characters have influenced me. As a matter of fact my first posting was titled “The Dreaded ‘D’ word: Or How the Internet is Not to Blame for my Unfinished Novel.” And dear, oh, dear, look at the date. August 2012. Regrettably I’ve moved that novel forward by only a few chapters, and the characters are “sleeping” in the same drawer where three other wannabe novels languish. Continue reading

The Mirror: a writing exercise

Cardigan Dawn

Cardigan Dawn – copyright 2011 – Paul Vreeland

Early in her novel While I Was Gone, Sue Miller has her protagonist Jo Becker roam through her empty house. That short journey is described, and then,

I stood for a long time in front of the mirror. Flesh, indeed. From time to time Daniel felt moved to say to me, “God, you’re a beautiful woman,” but this was kindness, or love. I examined myself objectively, clinically now. I saw a nice-looking middle-aged person, someone you wouldn’t look at twice if you passed her on the street. And I’d never been beautiful, in fact. I’d been attractive, tall and blond and strong-looking. I’d had a notable kind of energy, and people—men—were drawn to it.

Now, though, when my face was in repose, I looked tired. The downcurving lines at the corners of my mouth made me seem judgmental and stern, even a little pissed off. Sometimes my receptionist, Beattie, a woman I’d known and loved for twenty years, would ask me—out of the blue, from my perspective—“What’s wrong?” and I’d realize my face had fallen into those lines again. “Nothing,” I’d say. And then consciously try to open my face, to make it pleasant. To make it, I suppose, younger. ~ Sue Miller, While I Was Gone

Exercise: Put yourself or another person, real or fictional–perhaps one of your characters–in front of a mirror. Write for 15 to 20 minutes describing what you, he, or she sees.