Mockingbird

For Nelle: for childhood tales, the book, the movie and countless rereads

Harper Lee

 

Sang a song

so pure

that people couldn’t

believe it came from you.

Carved the lyrics of your childhood

into the American psyche;

made the world view small towns,

everyday people and themselves differently.

Nelle Harper Lee, you

weren’t a shrinking Southern belle.

No sir, you were made of sterner stuff.

Although you

Remained out of the spotlight like Boo

still managed to change lives.

Although we could never walk in your shoes

You made it possible to see the world through your eyes.

 

Establishing a Writing Routine

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  In spite of all of my intentions, I am already behind in this year’s writing goals. Sadly, one of the things that I’d planned was to have a set writing routine. As of now, I do not have a writing routine meaning that I do not have a set time, place or structure to my writing. Today I want to talk about my own difficulty in setting a routine along with what I plan to do to set one for this year.
   In undergrad and even when I began my MFA program there have been numerous articles with advice about establishing and maintaining a writing routine. Some people say to write uninterrupted for two hours. Others suggest writing for thirty minutes at a time to equal two hours. I tend to write when I get a bit of dialogue, narrative or inspiration. That’s not really working for me anymore and in my quest to become more productive this year I am finally trying to establish a routine that I can follow every day regardless of myschedule, my location and my lack of inspiration/productivity. 
Although it’s nearly March, I still haven’t figured out how to do it but I might be close. I’ve been revisiting some Writers Digest articles about writing routines in the hopes of finding what works for me and I feel more confident now that I will be able to settle on something that will work for me. For now, my plan beginning on March 1st, is to write for an hour in the morning and an hour at night. I think that the relatively short time will help me remain committed and able to write uninterrupted. Hopefully, the hour at night will help me purge all of my ideas and allow me to rest when I turn off the lights.
Lately I’ve been working a lot on my tablet as opposed to my laptop because of portability. However, I want to start writing at my desk at least 2-3 days a week which will mean sitting at my laptop and working. There are a few resources geared to help writers focus while writing but I hope that I won’t have to use them. I do plan to use the timer on my phone to track my writing time.
Do any of you have a set writing routine? If so, do you find it useful? How did you set it? I need all the help and support I can get.

Catching Up

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Can you believe that we’re more than halfway through February? Time is definitely flying! Things have been hectic so far this year and I haven’t even begun to implement any of my plans for 2016 although I do have a couple of conferences and festivals on the horizon. I have been reading a lot and gaining inspiration from a bunch of book-related Instagram accounts along with one of my new favorite sites Books and Cupcakes http://books-cupcakes.tumblr.com/ . I can’t recommend that site enough. If you take a look at it, make sure to check out the shop. I have found several items there that need to come live with me.

I have also “discovered” four new (at least to me) authors whose work I love. Over the last month or so I have devoured Matthew Fitzgibbons’ The Short Drop, Laura Spinella Ghost Gifts, The Bette Davis Club by Jane Lotter, Sleep Tight and Stranger Child by Rachel Abbott and You Make Me Better, One More Touch and One More Night by AshleyNicole. I’ve read other books but those are the books by authors who I’ve really become enamored with in the last few weeks. I’ve also become a bit addicted to Lynn Cahoon’s Tourist Trap series but I’ve also been tackling a craft book of sorts by reading Rachel Aaron’s 2,000 to 10,000 How to write faster, write better, and write more of what you love.

All of that reading is supposed to put me in the mood for writing and it has (a little). The problem is carving out the time to do it in between assignments, editing, lectures and grading papers. So far I am plotting out an alternative version of a story in my head because these characters will not leave me alone. As soon as that translates itself into some actual script I will share it with you.  I’m trying to read Aaron’s book in order to be more productive as a writer and to create successfully outside of NaNoWriMo. I’m also hoping that this will help me focus on the content that I am creating especially while writing fiction and academic work.

In the meantime, I will be hoping to get some writing done next week. I’m still tinkering with one of my academic papers but I’m also working on a poem that was inspired by a comment in one of my classes. My students have been inspirational so far this semester. I’m hoping to share some new resources this weekend; possibly tomorrow. I’m really excited about the new things that I’ve discovered.

 

Frederick Douglass – Robert Hayden

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When it is finally ours, this freedom, this liberty, this beautiful
and terrible thing, needful to man as air,  
usable as earth; when it belongs at last to all,  
when it is truly instinct, brain matter, diastole, systole,  
reflex action; when it is finally won; when it is more  
than the gaudy mumbo jumbo of politicians:  
this man, this Douglass, this former slave, this Negro  
beaten to his knees, exiled, visioning a world  
where none is lonely, none hunted, alien,  
this man, superb in love and logic, this man  
shall be remembered. Oh, not with statues’ rhetoric,  
not with legends and poems and wreaths of bronze alone,
but with the lives grown out of his life, the lives  
fleshing his dream of the beautiful, needful thing.