Why I Write – Writing 101

My review is the third paragraph. I am so thrilled and wowed, and kind of jazzed my name is in a magazine

My review is the third paragraph. I am so thrilled and wowed, and kind of jazzed my name is in a magazine

This past summer, I wrote a review for the Persephone books Classic, The Home-Maker by Dorothy Canfield-Fisher.  It took me entirely too long to read the book()because of just me, not the book) and write a review.  But I sent in my review, back in August and I just received my Persephone biannual. In the section  Our Bloggers Write, my review, or at least a part of it, was included with other reader’s words. This is why I write. Not for accolades, though those are always nice, but I want a voice. I want my voice to be heard. I have connected with other authors from reviews I have written, which is great. I love being able to talk to other published writers. Sometimes I feel like they are in this other realm of writing that I might never reach, but then I have to remember that they are just people as well.

Last night reading the same biannual as above, the list of events for Persephone Books was listed and one caught my attention so much so that I had to write about it in my journal. This is what I said: ” I was reading the back of the Persephone Biannual where the events were listed, and  there is this event on November 28th where they will be “selling our books beside the fire at the Christmas Fair.” And boom! I was transported to the smell of snow, the sounds of children singing Carol of the Bells, and the Harry Potter/Columbia[California]/British Christmas feel. Like it was time to start decoration and reading books with a Christmas theme in them. Suddenly You comes to mind first…”  The book mentioned is by Lisa Kleypas, a favorite romance writer of mine. Please do not judge that I like cheesy romance books. Oh the horror that I don’t read just literature.  But it’s getting on the Holiday season and I want to read about it, and write about it. I have a piece of flash fiction I did a couple years ago that has a Christmas theme, and I’ve wanted to expound on it for years. There is something so delightful about having a Christmas vibe to a piece of fiction. You can read two of my holiday pieces below.

A Christmas Dance    (I was channeling Emilie Loring when I wrote this) and Eve and Noel – Flash Fiction

This is why I write, above that is. I write because I will read something and I see a scene. I see a picture and there is a story behind it. I watch a bird take flight and I’m remembering my childhood and mentally writing a children’s story to something as simple and small as an acorn  in a bird’s beak.  I am forever having ideas pound, pound, pound in my head. For years I daydreamed, not knowing what to do with all the thoughts crashing around in my head. I didn’t have an outlet because I hated writing in school. I didn’t understand how to get a story out. I remember one instance where I was supposed to write a story about a monkey and instead I wrote a mini paper. It was a frustrating time. Writing was always frustrating until I Mrs. B found a new method of teaching me to write.  It was a ‘boom’ moment where suddenly it made sense. But even then, in my teenage years, while I would write hoping to write like Emilie Loring, I didn’t write constantly. I semi dabbled in it, spending more time reading.  It wasn’t until I hit 18 that I really started to write. Nothing really good, though Rena, my heroine still has her book, but it has changed drastically from the beginning.

I never knew what to do with all those thoughts floating around in my head. What does a child who hates to write, do with all those thoughts in her head.  If I could go back I would teach the inner me that it’s okay to write whatever you want in a journal and it does not have to be a day to day account of what you did. I would talk about what Susan Wooldridge said in her book about a journal.  Gah, if I had  Poemcrazy back when I started really writing, maybe life would have made a whole lot more sense.

I read constantly. Books, books, and more books are my world. I cannot get enough books. And I read good books and consume the words and the styles and the stories. I envy  writers who write something that I know I will never be able to write. I eat books that have a story that hits me in my chest and I walk around in a mental daze for days reliving the magic that has whirled me off into another world. I rarely think of books as another world or door I open and enter, but the minute I open the pages of a book I love, I have the image in my head. I can imagine the scene just so, and certain books I have read over and over, my initial image is still there. I read Emilie Loring’s and the image is always the same. So I read to meet those characters again.    I write to see if I can be as good as these writers. Writers I respect and admire. I want to be as good as them. I want some of the qualities of how they write. I read some books and think to myself “gah, I wish I could write that way.” Of course, I really don’t want to write just like them. I want my own voice. Which I do have. And because I read so much, I feel I have several voices, several writer’s voices in my head telling me how to write. The one I hate the most is Stephen King’s voice as he is forever telling me to cut the adverbs. Damn Stephen King.

And recently I have to keep remembering Anne Lamott telling me to shut those voices (mostly characters) up. Tell them to be quiet so I can write. So many voices in my head. No, I am not crazy. Maybe some schizophrenic people just need to write to quiet the voices….. Writing this I worry that someone might think I’m crazy, but other writers know.

People that do not write don’t get all of this. I don’t expect them to. I watch my father when I go off on a tangent or daydream and sometimes he just stares at me like I’m out in left field. I might be. I might actually be on the cliffs of England wondering what the sea spray is like.  You might never know, because five minutes ago I could have been in the Sierra Nevadas with Tyler and Phaedra as they are driving up the Sonora Pass…. (they are both characters as well……) Or I might have just killed off my character with Chocolate Pudding.

This is why I write.


Emilie Loring – Day No. 18

I have mentioned extensively about one of my favorite, if not total favorite, authors; Emilie Loring. I’m sure half of you don’t have a clue who she is, but I wanted to take a bit of time to talk about this wonderful author. So bear with me.

I was first introduced to Emilie Loring when I was 16 and moving my way up in the library books from young adult to adult. My mother was hunting through the large library and came back with two of her books and I was hooked. My first Emilie Loring book I fell in love with, and to this day is till my favorite, is Here Comes the Sun. That is the cover from the one I remember, which is kind of funny because the girl is a blonde. It took me forever to re-imagine her as a blonde.

The books are wholesome, which is pretty much the formulaic way of Emile Loring. Her books are so clean I would let a 14 year old read them with no issue at all.  They are romance books, but they have mystery and portray family life, love of country, love of the military, and the true honest love of two people.  They are romance the way romance should be written, which is why I still return to them over and over. Sure, the more modern romances are fun, but they are filled with a fair amount of sex… Which again, can be fun, but sometimes you just want the story. And these books, while somewhat predictable, are just a lovely story.

So, the books are inspiring, but the woman herself is inspiring. Emile Loring didn’t start writing until she was 50, in 1914, and continued till her death in 1951. So she wasn’t rushing to write and publish at a young age. I think that’s great. Here I am, trying to  publish, having some writers say, “Oh you gotta publish now,”  while others, like Susan Wooldridge, have told me, “slow down and just focus on your blog. Publishing will come later.”  Emilie Loring’s life fits with the latter.  Which is helpful.

Sometimes I really feel like I need to just get something published, but there are writers out there that haven’t published till their later years. If it takes me till I’m fifty to publish, well I guess it takes me till. I’m fifty.  (oh please no!!!)

Also, Emilie Loring is inspirational to me because of the style she describes things. She describes landscapes and flowers and clothing in a manner that is unique. With lots of fragments that make up a paragraph in an amazing style. And the woman loved her flowers, and gorgeous flowers too. She’s always talking about flower borders.

The men are dashing, the girls are sweet, the villains vill quite well.  All making for a very good story.  I highly suggest Emilie Loring books to young women growing up.  They are sweet and inspirational without having to be a Christian book.  And yeah, I might go on and on about Emilie Loring, but it’s because she is the inspiration for why I started writing. I would not have written my first very bad start to a romance when I was 16 had it not been for her.

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Glimpse At The Girly Journal – Day No. 11

My 3rd Journal inner cover IMG_7777

I rarely share a personal thing about myself, and by personal… because whoa some of my poetry would make a shrink just have a giddy time….. I mean snapshots of my inner me. I don’t talk about my life much in the day to day sense, or the inner thoughts all the time. So, today, here is a snapshot of the inside cover of my last journal. The current journal has not been ‘decorated’ with clippings. I’m taking my time to make sure I really know what I want inside. The margins have been fair game, but then they always are. People that don’t write in the margins just don’t know how much fun it really can be. And honestly, my journals are rather neat compared to what they could be. But the front inside always gets filled with things that inspire me.

Susan Wooldridge's journal display at Magna Carta on 2nd st. In Chico for Artoberfest

Susan Wooldridge’s journal display at Magna Carta on 2nd st. In Chico for Artoberfest

Susan Wooldridge is currently displaying her journals in Chico for Artoberfest, and I am so jealous of how free and open her journals are. She pastes petals and leaves, pictures, notes…. They are very, very her. I’m still stuck in the follow the lines and write semi neatly… Some day I’ll be a more artistic person. Maybe.

But as you can see by what I paste into my cover, I have a style. Girly is definitely something I would say I am. I love, love, love the girl standing in green with the Oscar Wilde quote. “You can never be overdressed or overeducated.”  12106772_1072375282781852_1360914271801965849_n It makes me think of what James M. Sama has posted on his Facebook page the other day.  I’ve had a couple people say that I intimidate guys because I’m smart and confident. (not sure about the confident part) but I think to myself, uh, why wouldn’t a guy want a smart girl? I mean, I think intelligent guys are sexy.

Anyways, this is a jumbled neurotic post, but it’s how I roll. And I think it’s girly enough to fit with Day 10. So…


My Gal Poets – Day No. 5

Emily Dickinson Poems Book Cover

Emily Dickinson Poems Book Cover (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Emily Dickinson is my girl. My poet. My inspiration. She says all those wonderful things I’m thinking of in only a few lines. She is probably the first poet I fell in love with. I’m not evne sure when she first came on the scene with me, but her words have stuck over the years. “Wild nights, wild nights…..”

Years ago, my then boyfriend gave me a selection of her poems, in this delicate white and rose colored book. Satin ribbon, and his writing inside of my name. To this day, it is one of my cherished possessions. While he and I parted ways, I loved the gift and when I’m in a romantic, sad, or poetic mood, her’s is the first book I pull out. I recently found a paperback of her entire collection of works. Whoa! I did not know she had written that much. I don’t have the time to read her often, but when I do, I want to start reading it to anyone who will listen. Sadly, very people do. ( I actually feel this way about a lot of poetry, and my family just doesn’t quite get my fascination.)


Edna St. Vincent Millay’s The End of Summer

I love male poets. Sir Walter Scott (dreamy), Billy Collins (stunning), Shelley (ethereal), John Keats (moving), Tennyson (powerful)…. I could go on as there are many others.  However, there is something about what women poets write that always gets to me. (excluding Billy Collins who’s poetry hits me like a cannon blast and I have yet to recover from some of his) Edna St. Vincent Millay is a new old poet who is rather amazing when you start reading her work. I’m seriously jealous of her sonnets partly because I cannot write a decent sonnet.   And her poem “The End of Summer” is so perfect for this time of year.

Emily Bronte is another beautiful poet. And she’s another Emily. I love my Emilys. (Emily Dickinson, Emilie Loring, Emily Bronte) Unlike the other Bronte sisters, Emily wrote a fair amount of poetry that is unique only to her. Elegant and classic, I pull out her little blue book of poetry I have when I want to feel intellectual. I rarely do, reading her. Half the time I’m not sure what exactly she is talking about, but she is lovely.

Christina Rossetti

Christina Rossetti (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Christina Rossetti is another classic poet.  I have one of her little ditties on my wall from an old Country Living magazine where they were talking about blue and white. “White sheep, white sheep, On a blue hill, When the wind stops, You all stand still.”  So cute in it’s own way. It would be one I would teach a child to say.  Then she has her marvelous poem “In the Bleak Midwinter” which has been turned into an ethereal song by Sarah McLachlan. I absolutely adore that song. It’s message is so perfect for Christmas and about our Lord.  If you haven’t heard it, you must. Just click below.

And lastly, Susan Wooldridge. Someone whom I’ve written about, met, and read extensively. Being that she only has three books, it’s fairly easy to do. But she has a poetry that is unique; modern in feeling. I feel like a friend is telling me things.  Her chapbook “Bathing with Ants” is so lovely and reminds me of getting a call from a friend who wanted to let you know what they thought. I female version of Billy Collins.  I can’t explain it, but you should check out her poetry and books on writing poetry.

Ah yes, woman poets and their words. Magical, and personal. I feel like a part of me is escaping when I read something of theirs. Like they are telling me what I already know, but didn’t know how to say it. And as I read more poetry, I want to collect more women poets.  I feel like they are speaking my life.

So, dearies, do you have any women poets you love?  Tell me. I’m always collecting new poets.


Meeting Susan G. Wooldridge

I lead a very quiet life, so having the chance to meet an author I absolutely love, has been a huge highlight of my year.  I have rambled on a fair amount about Susan Wooldridge, author of Poemcrazy and Foolsgold often enough that I worry I’m going to wear you readers out.  However, when one falls in love with a book or set of books, or in this case, the author, one tends to go on about it quite a lot.

Just recently my local library hosted a free workshop with Susan Wooldridge and I was fortunate enough to be able to attend.  It was all and more than I could have ever imagined, leaving me with some stunning poetry, if I do say so myself, and a host of inspiration. I was able to meet other authors that gather every Saturday, at my library none the less, and it was a wonderful experience.

Susan is even more fun in person than I would have ever thought. I mean, I love her books and her style of writing is wonderful, but she’s actually like that in person! I could gush…. Okay, I kind of am gushing. I may continue through this with much more.

The 'Wild Women of Etna"

The ‘Wild Women of Etna”

We started off our session ‘stealing words’ from the stacks of poetry books Susan brought with her. (on a side note, I want to have half of those books. I didn’t have time to write down all the amazing titles!) Flipping through the books we grabbed words we liked or called to us from these books, writing them down on a sheet of paper.  I grabbed so many words I wanted to keep going and going! I had a huge list.  Here is a sample.

headlights, eternity’s, the expression, No problem, every moaning lover, chain-smoking, neon light-script, leafless trees, cactus, disembodied, dainty, waterful full of leaves, detective, compact berries, gasoline, ocean, Bloodroot, Swamp Dewberry, Victorian, Paint November…..

Then we started throwing words up onto the whiteboard until we had this AMAZING wordpool.

Susan standing with our word pool.

Susan standing with our word pool.

One of our more hilarious moments was talking about the ‘detective (my word) who charged 3.95 a second’. We kept repeating the phrase over and over trying to fling it into our writing.

Susan then had us all loosen up with dancing in the library parking lot. Our library delivery guy saw us all acting like ninnies, and declined to join in. (I don’t blame him. I mean, the Wild Women were at it…. ) We spun around and said our vowels in a song of movement.

We pulled out Susan’s word tickets; words cut from various sources and taped to ‘Admit One’ tickets. If you have read Poemcrazy, you will know what these are. Sadly, I did not get a picture of them.  I need to make my own, but have not gotten around to it yet.


Our poetry starters, now on my ceiling for further inspiration.

Then we started writing using starter phrases of I remember, I come from, I am not, I am, and so forth.  We used our word pools we had stolen and the words thrown up on the white board. We scribbled away, me with my red fountain pen, writing furiously.

Then came the heart wrenching moment when Susan asked if she could read our poems aloud.  I have to say, while I handed out mine first because I was done, I was quivering inside. Do you know how personal a poem is? If you are a poet, then yes, but for those that do not write it , it can be a nerve wracking experience to have someone read a very rough draft of what you just wrote.

As Erin Andrews said recently on an episode of Dancing with the Stars, ‘this show is sponsored by Kleenix’….

We cried and we laughed, oohed, aahed and were blown away by the stories we told in just moments.  One writer, Robbie, made me want to cry with how beautiful her poetry was. She described this place that I wanted to step into that reminded me of the Melendy Family in Elizabeth Enright‘s  “The Four Story Mistake.”  And Vicki’s poem was so beautiful…. I will include hers within this post as she was gracious enough to allow me to post her poetry to share.

A small break, goodies from the Friends of the Library, then back to work this time  with switched out word tickets and postcards we selected that called to us.  I chose three, that I don’t have a picture of. A Georgia O’Keefe red poppy, an impressionist painting of rain on a cobblestone street in some French city, and a stone sphere on a green lawn in an abstract painting.  Word tickets and postcards transformed us into a sobbing mess.  I was writing, so quietly, filled with this burning ache in my chest.   I ended crying as Susan read my poem.  It was like I had been slammed by pure emotion.  It was amazing, but wow.

She read all of our poetry and it was stunning.  One phrase from one of the poems I loved was “I’m having a silent affair with my land’.  Isn’t that amazing?

"What's that word?"  with Donna May

“What’s that word?” with Donna May

Reading about the "Snow Angel"

Reading about the “Snow Angel”








We ended the three hour workshop with requests for Susan to come back and moments of awe. I met some amazing ladies and have been invited to meet for the Saturday writing circle!

Susan handed us our Poetry license and we are all official. She even graciously signed our books. (I now have two books signed by an author. I don’t think I could be more jazzed)

I’m seriously inspired and I have started collecting a sample of obscure poetry books to steal words. I mean, I already have done that, but nothing like what I did  at this workshop.

Susan signing her book Poemcrazy

Susan signing her book Poemcrazy

I will post a separate post of my poetry and Vicki’s poetry.  If I can ever get any of the other ladies to share, I will try and post them in another post.

This was one of the best days ever. I know, I sound gushing…. If you ever get the opportunity to go to a workshop with Susan, I highly recommend it. It was incredible.


Susan and me.  I wanted to go with her.... She said I can visit any time. I will have to take her up on it.

Susan and me. I wanted to go with her…. She said I can visit any time. I will have to take her up on it.



Related Posts

A Concrete Herringbone – Poetry

herring                bone                   in                   the sky          a storm’s               coming

a storm               of long               ing                   for a              change              that won’t

come soon          enough             to suit                 me as           impatience            colors my

thoughts           and dreams         feel like               fantasy          and hope is            further away

than I                  thought             it could               be, but              I don’t want             to give up

so do I let the storm cover me over or do I break free and let the rain come down?

they say that salt water fixes everything; tears, sweat and the ocean…but rain is sweet


Okay, this isn’t specifically ‘animal’ other than herringbone, which is what the clouds looked like as I stepped outside tonight. I’m not good with concrete poetry since I have never played around with it much, butStephen Fry in his “The Ode Less Traveled”, talks about it in some very unique forms. It is also mentioned in Poemcrazy by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge. I love it and sometimes it is stunning. I have seen several pieces of this poetry come out of today’s challenge. I am suitably impressed. (I’ve linked a few at the bottom of the post) And you can see what the sky looked like below in the picture I took, which gave instant inspiration to this challengeherringbone

I love enjambment as it is so amazing to have that heart wrenching break. I really feel a twist in my gut  when I am jolted from a smooth, flowing line that stops! And I have to continue on the next line. It thrusts   me forward and I feel affected by poetry that uses this. I think Billy Collins is good at using it, and e.e. cummings was known for using it as well. (side note, I don’t like much e.e. cummings but a few)



Below are some of my favorites

  • Fly   (prodgic.wordpress.com)
  • No longer human     (janebasilblog.wordpress.com)

  • A Kiss     (cnalfonso.wordpress.com)


My Landing Spot

Hiding in the non-fiction. My favorite spot in all the library.

Hiding in the non-fiction. My favorite spot in all the library.

I’m sitting in the very last row of the non-fiction section of my library, which isn’t saying much since the non-fiction section is only two full shelves. Okay, it’s three, but the over-sized books are over somewhere else.  I’m reading my new copy of Foolsgold by Susan G. Wooldridge, which is silly because over in the 130’s of the non-fiction is the library copy.  I could have just picked up that copy since I have borrowed it numerous times, but I am so in love with my own copy, I had to bring it.

Cover of "Foolsgold: Making Something fro...

Cover via Amazon

Chapter 32 of Foolsgold, titled ‘foolsgold and ethel’s landing’, talks about finding a spot you find peaceful and removed.  Just a corner or nook (I love the word nook) that you can pause and be in your own realm.  Fill it with a cushion or chair and settle in.  Pause.  Maybe do nothing at all.

For me, this last row in the library is that spot.  I can usually sprawl out here and not be bothered, though just as I wrote that, Bev, a friend, has ‘intruded’ into this space to look for a book in the 900’s for the library.  Or maybe herself.

Poetry to the right

Poetry to the right

I like this spot because it doesn’t get much traffic.  To the right of me are all the poetry books and to the left are literature and travel.  Shakespeare and books on New York.  Plato and The Places in Between by Rory Stewart.  Hold on, I have to see what that book is about.  Ooh, sounds interesting; about a man walking across Afghanistan in 2002.  Maybe a winter reading book.  The title fits with the Foolsgold chapter, for in there, Ethel’s Landing is the stairs landing Susan’s mother has her spot.  And landings are neither up nor down, but between.

I love my spot and I would love to add a cushion, a couple of candles and a pot of tea.  Just

Plato, Shakespeare, and The Places in Between. See the arrow?

Plato, Shakespeare, and The Places in Between. See the arrow?

set up and stay.  I like hearing all the sounds from the library around me.  People tapping on the computers out at the front, the murmur of conversations.  It’s homey.  I should look into bringing a cushion to sit on so I’m not on the floor, but at the same time, I kind of like it the way it is.

I don’t get to sit in my spot all that often.  Usually I’m in a hurry or I’m browsing the library so I don’t just go settle down and unwind.  Life is so incredibly busy that I don’t feel like I have the right to sit and separate myself from what’s going on around me.  The thing is, I only need about ten to fifteen minutes in the back of that row and I’ll have a whole session of relaxing tingles that unwind me, a few random thoughts, maybe glancing through a magazine.  It doesn’t take much to really do nothing but be there.  Who knows, maybe I would be more writing productive if I were to pause there once a week when I stop in at the library.

Signing off


I Come From

I come from the highlands

where the wind whistles and

blows through the sweet grass

I come from forests ancient and dark

where emerald moss pads the stoic

boulders and hidden streams gurgle and bubble

I come from the crashing ocean

salt spray and stinging mists

where soft sand and waves tickle your toes

I come from the mountains

where resinous pines and firs

are my incense and perfume

I come from the meadows at night

where you look up to see

millions of lights twinkling down

The stars are my friends

The trees whisper their kinship

The streams  tinkle my name

The ocean calls me home

My home is my family

safe and warm

where I can be me

But I come from. . .

I was reading Poemcrazy by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge and one section was on where I come from. Not actually come from, since that was the Bay Area, but where I felt I belonged.  I think that is a broad answer, where I’m from, since I feel like I’m from a lot of places. Or I just happen to like a lot of places.  I wonder if they are one and the same.

I hope you all enjoy. I spit this one out today while eating lunch and scribbling with my fountain pen in my journal.

Writing on


Was It Heaven Or Hell

I imagined you here today

Arriving on your black steed

Shining chrome and a high wax gloss

And here I am all dirty and unglamourous

But you didn’t care as you called to me

And my world fell away in a  moment

As everything faded to just you

You and your smile

 It was heaven and hell

For one minute you were here

The next back far away

Your real life much more real than the dream was

But I can still see you

Still  I feel your arms around me

Your mouth on my ear

Whispering how you have missed me

Even though we have never been

A brief taste of heaven

The bitter remains

I’ve been reading Poemcrazy  and Foolsgold by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge and somehow her inspirations have helped me open up a bit more in the poetry department.  This was written for someone who means a great deal more to me than I probably ever say.  Hopefully he understands.

Signing off