Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

Touching Base

August 23, 2012 Leave a comment

It’s been several days since my last appearance here. I’ve had a friend and colleague visiting for the past several days. Meena Rose graced us with her loveliness and brilliance.

Today has been one of cleansing websites, blogs, and general upkeep on the net. It’s amazing how much crud accumulates on a daily basis and then has to be swept out of the corners during housekeeping. During the process of this upkeep, we’ve been moving our personal blogs over to Two Voices, One Song.

This is an attempt to reduce our continued workload.  Each of us have other projects we’d really like to get back to. Having everything in one place will make that easier for us.

My blog Claudsy’s Calliope is being moved and reorganized as I write this. Claudsy’s Blog will be the next in line for the transfer.

Tomorrow I will post a new URL for this blog so that all of  its followers can decide whether they want to remain loyal and move with it or to cut ties and run. I’m hoping that everyone stays with Claudsy’s Blog and Calliope. I have plenty more to say and things I’d like to work on within the blogs.

There you have it, folks. I’ve so enjoyed having everyone coming here, and I admit a sense of guilt this past month or so for having been absent so much. I should be able to write more frequently on the blogs once all is together. That’s my current plan.

Remember–it will be one-stop-shopping at Two Voices, One Song at

Hope to see you there soon. A bientot,



New Project For Fall

July 31, 2012 2 comments


I need opinions from readers. I’m contemplating putting together a new chapbook of Poetry Pages like this one, where the photo provides the inspiration for the poem.

I’d like to know if you, the reader 1.) think this is a viable project, 2.) have suggestions for changes to poem placement, or 3) think that a different poem should be used for this photo.

See, not so hard. Just leave a comment to let me know what you think and why. I take all suggestions seriously. And thank you in advance, for taking the time to at least look at this.

Until later,



E.C.’s and Finite Walls

June 5, 2012 2 comments
Microsoft Excel spreadsheet

Microsoft Excel spreadsheet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I recently learned that a controversy brewed about the real use of the editorial calendar. I’m new to this tool of the writing business, but I never realized that such a tool could have so many sides. Who knew that which deadline date one uses was controversial?

Here you have spreadsheet with columns and rows of items. Columns, for me, relate to the days of the week. The rows house the activities required for those days. Some people use the opposite approach. Call me traditional with calendars. Days belong across the top of the sheet.

Those activities plugged into the spreadsheet range from book chapters that must go to a critique partner/group to poem revisions necessary before submitting a packet to a magazine. Everything goes on the calendar; at least in my work world. I also need to allot for time spent on said activity. I know. I’m a bit anal due to having so many projects on the board.

The one thing that I don’t understand about this calendar debate is why it exists. Yes, some writers use a submission deadline date supplied by the magazine, publisher, agent, etc. Others like me, like lots of cushion to account for unforeseen circumstances, and plug a project into a day prior to the actual deadline date.

Isn’t it a matter of needs?

Everyone has a specific way of thinking about work and deadlines. I see deadlines as finite walls. There are no doors in those walls. If I can’t make a deadline, it’s my fault. I knew it was there. I knew what I needed to do. If I don’t make it, it’s because I didn’t prepare adequately to get the job done. It’s really that simple.

In order to make the deadline, I place a date a few days prior to that of the finite wall. In the back of my mind, I know that cushion is built in. In the day-to-day work, though, that realization tends to disappear. My calendar tells me that I need to have something done on a specific day. And that’s what I do.

Others may not need that cushion. They work better under pressure to make deadline. That’s how their creativity erupts; but a sense of immediate need.

I work on a monthly calendar and a weekly one. One gives a longer overview, especially because of coursework I need to keep in mind. The short week calendar gives me detail on upcoming work and deadlines. They operate in tandem to give me all I need to keep my activity level constant.

I haven’t been doing a calendar prior to May. I don’t enjoy the time spent creating them. For me, it’s tedious, but the hour or two I spend on those spreadsheets saves me tons in frustration, panic, and unnecessary backtracking. It’s time so well spent that I doubt I would ever go without one again.

Tell me about your experience with editorial calendars. Has your E.C. friend saved you from disgrace, time lost, lack of production? Drop it in a comment. Sharing is always good. If you have different take on this subject, let us see that, too.

Later, all. A bientot,


Rampant Insanity vs. Purpose

May 24, 2012 6 comments
English: The seconds pendulum, a pendulum with...

English: The seconds pendulum, a pendulum with a period of two seconds so each swing takes one second (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Most readers here know that I write on occasion in reaction to things in the news. I troll news feeds looking for subject matter for all sorts of things, including poetry. This morning I took my inspiration from my Facebook home page.

A couple of my writer friends had posted links to two stories that left my reactions in a chaotic state of pendulum swing.

The first story reported about a group of 64 high school seniors who were suspended for riding bicycles to school on the same day. You did read that correctly. This Michigan student group merely rode to school on bikes, escorted by police, sanctioned and lauded by the mayor, and then punished for the act.

Can someone point out to me the sanity peeking out of this story? The one official who should have applauded the students’ behavior was the one having conniptions at the other end of it. The principal’s reason for her hysterical reaction? They could have gotten hurt, hit by a car or worse! This with a police escort and the mayor’s approval?

Now you can see the reason for my immediate response. Insanity holds the reins of the school.

Okay, so that’s a bit strong, I admit. The principal’s reaction, however, was far more out of connection with reality than mine. I have my own suspicions as to the real trigger for her reaction.

The point is that just the day before it was reported on Yahoo that a four-year-old girl was kept from inclusion in her class photo because she had her hair up in a bow. Her very neat and tidy hair kept her out of a photo.

Am I the only one who thinks perhaps those presently in charge of schools need a check-up? It seems to me that the irrational responses by school leadership in the past few years are spreading rapidly. But hey, retired teachers can have opinions, too.

When I got to the second story, I could do little but smile. It was about a photographer, Bob Carey, who for the last nine years has traveled around the country taking self-portraits wearing little other than a Pink Tutu. You may have seen the Today Show segment on this man and his inspiration, his wife, Linda.

Bob’s Pink Tutu Project is his response to Linda’s constant battle with cancer, which began nine years ago with breast cancer. He talked with Matt Lauer about getting his courage and inspiration to do the tutu photos by watching Linda journey through her disease. The two now work diligently to make the Project mean something for everyone, everywhere.

Linda talked about knowing that her battle will never go away, that ultimately she will lose. For anyone who’s gone through the battle, either in their own body or watched a loved one take up arms against the disease, this story could bring a smile that means more than a silly pink tutu.

I’ve been there more times than I care to think about with loved ones. As I watched the replay of this broadcast, I wondered how many other spouses do silly, smile-inducing acts to bring relief for a little while to their loved-one. Laughter is medicine. It does help during the battle. And Bob has made his stand for Linda and all the others who sit in chemo chairs each day or have radiation to burn out the invader.

When I look at these two stories, side by side, I wonder at the diversity of response to activities around us. An over-the-top reaction to something wholesome and normal for kids, and an over-the-top response for the good of others who can’t do it for themselves; which would you choose for yourself?

Drop in a comment. Tell me how you see these two events and their impact. I’d be interested to see what you have to say.

Until then, a bientot,


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Liebster Award–Surprising Turn from Rejection

May 13, 2012 27 comments

Coming home from any trip, short or long, requires a person to reacquaint herself with location, premises, and obligations therein. Ask anyone who travels semi-regularly.

When I returned today from Central Washington, fatigue schlepped my belongings upstairs, unlocked the door and returned to the car for another load. Sister did the same. Once ensconced inside, again occupying our apartment, the next order of business was computer, email, and whatever had darkened our cyber thresholds during our absence.

Embedded within the hundred plus emails of my main inbox were two from editors. I didn’t need to read them. I knew they contained rejections. They’d arrived too quickly from new venues I’d submitted to the previous week.


Rejection (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was right. They sat there, staring at me, daring me to protest. I couldn’t. Rejections are a fact of life for every writer. The first time I saw Jane Yolen post about receiving a rejection for a story, I almost cheered; not because she’d received bad news, but because she’d received bad news was willing to flaunt that rejection on Facebook for all the world to see.

I gathered strength from that act of personal/professional bravery on Jane’s part. She was the first well-known working writer whom I’d seen admit to receiving that palest of pink slips from an editor. Hope sprang to my heart. Perhaps I wasn’t a terrible writer after all.

Now, all this time later, I’ve begun racking in my own pile of pale pink slips. I’ve an area of wall beside my desk which will soon be decorated with them as a constant reminder that if I stop receiving them, it’s because I’m not sending out any work for judgment. The reminder to keep writing will be lurking, available for loud recriminations should I forget.

After I’d dealt with mail, uploaded work to go out for guest blog this coming week and another small bit of brainstorming I’d done yesterday, As soon as I got up from a short nap, I returned to my secondary email inbox and found another rejection. The personal note was nice. Still, it will go on my Wall of Encouragement.

All of this rejection could have turned maudlin, but I was saved by Randy Bell. Randy is a super-duper poet with an engaging personality and talent. I found his comment on Claudsy’s Blog about dropping in to collect my Award. I was confused. Award?

I did as instructed and slipped over to his second abode, “Coudfactor5.” He’d posted a lovely piece about poetry and encouragement and how Jlynn Sheridan had honored him with a Liebster Award for creating and operating a killer blog. This award of appreciation goes around the blog-o-sphere on a regular basis, and personally, I’m so happy that someone felt I deserved one.

Thank you so much, Randy, for this show of your recognition of my work.

The rejections received over the weekend and the anticipated future rejections melted into a puddle of inconsequential trivia. This one small mark of appreciation was worth so much more than all the rest. Suddenly, I was vindicated. The sunshine returned to my day.

There are obligations tacked onto this Liebster Award. They are:

  1. link back to who nominated you (see my “Thank you” below)
  2. nominate five blogs with fewer than 200 follows (see my “blog noms” below!)
  3. let nominees know by leaving a comment on their sites; and
  4. add the award image to your site

I thought long and hard about nominations. I’ve been surfing for weeks, looking into others’ writing, blogging, and aspirations. This was a concrete way to keep the appreciation moving along. I’ve read so many marvelous sites, learned so much about writers, known and unknown, that whittling down to five nominees was ridiculously difficult. I did choose my short list, finally, with regret that I couldn’t send out one to everybody.

I chose those who’ve worked hard and long to bring a blog into fruition and who have given the reader thoughtful content and peeks at talents yet to emerge. I’ve awarded the Liebster Award to:

Cindy Brown for all of the humor rolling down the aisle of her blog “Everyday Underwear”

Lori Tian Sailiata (aka Lara Britt) for her honest and exploring blog “Writing Space”

Jeannine Bergers Everett for her “tell it like it is” parenting blog  that’s funny, real, and masquerades as the reason she writes great poetry.

Linda G. Hatton for her blog which doubles as a collector of loyal customers for her poetry challenges, discussions, and encouragement.

Kirra Antrobus and her quietly provoking blog “Thoughtful”  where the reader is required to pause, ponder, and prepare for answers unexpected.

Thank you again, Randy, for finding me worthy of both your attention and you nomination for this Liebster Award.

Discouraged and Disjointed

May 9, 2012 15 comments

maths (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

While I was on Facebook this morning, I read a short conversation that took place yesterday between two of my closer friends; one from years past and close to my heart, the other newly formed and also close enough to hear my heartbeat.

What struck me as interesting was the subject of their discussion. They talked about poetry. Not just any poetry, but about well-known Sufi poets, both those of many decades or more past, as well as those of more contemporary times.

That subject isn’t one you can find lying around the average library when seeking good reading material. It struck me as relevant, too, that my older friend hasn’t been reading from these poets for very long. He’d discovered them after taking a recommendation from a newer acquaintance. An early morning discussion of Sufi philosophy isn’t usual FB fare, but it happens sometimes between educated people.

I realize that this doesn’t seem significant to the average reader. What makes it significant is that it came on the heels of a report I read this past week on the Illiteracy Reality that was released recently. The numbers on that report would make anyone stand up and protest or sit down in total discouragement.

According to the latest and greatest research, the current number of American adults, classified as functionally illiterate increases by 2.25 million each year.

Stop and think about that for just one second. It equates to having an equivalent population to the city of St. Louis joining the ranks of those who’re reading below a 5th grade level. The number of people who are able to do routine math is even more dismal.

Here’s another factoid for you. When I worked corporate, albeit many years ago for one of the Fortune 500, I was asked to simplify my internal memos. Why? Because, my informant replied, the language structure accepted by upper echelon never exceeds 8th grade reading level. Everyone else, used 5th grade level to communicate.

I was stunned, to say the least. I suppose it comes from jargon needs. Jargon? Oh yeah. Every industry as its own jargon/language. Even fast food joints. This verbal shorthand makes communicating between employees faster, easier, and less likely to confuse the employees.

My question is this: if top level executives at some of the largest corporations in the world need to have internal memos at such a low level of reading competency, can we expect our school children to perform any better?

For long years now, a controversy has been slowly gaining momentum regarding the dumbing down of our school children and our overall population. Here are some numbers that were in this recent report. Once you’ve read them, think about the impact of those numbers on the future. Then go back to the top of this post and think about that conversation between my two friends.

The report cited these numbers:

  • 42 million Americans can’t read at all
  • 50 million read below the 5th grade level
  • 20% of graduating HS seniors are classified as illiterate
  • Only 42% of Americans can order two items on a menu, add them up, and calculate the tip
  • Only 1 in 5 can calculate mortgage interest
  • 1 in 5 can’t calculate weekly salary when given an hourly pay rate
  • Only 13% are “proficient” in math: 1 in 10 women, 1 in 25 Hispanics, 1 in 15 African Americans made the grade
  • 20 million Americans pay someone else to fill out a 1040EZ tax form w/10 blanks to fill in
  • US is ranked 25th in the world of industrialized nations in Math, while US students believe their scores are the highest in the world.
  • One half of all 17 yr. olds don’t have the math skills to work in an auto plant

If these numbers are a mere 50% accurate, we’re worse off than anticipated, dreamt, or feared. I suppose that’s why I had such a strong reaction to reading the FB discussion yesterday. Below, you’ll find the links to find the raw numbers that produced the report I found. Try them on for yourself.

If you come to different conclusions, please bring them here and air them out. I’d like to think that this isn’t true.



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Guest Blogging with Food

May 8, 2012 3 comments
Chris Smith The Diabetic Chef® Autographing hi...

Chris Smith The Diabetic Chef® Autographing his first cookbook: Cooking with The Diabetic Chef® (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is a quick heads-up for whomever drops in today. I have a guest blog up this morning on Pat McDermott’s all things cooking website.

I disclose my experience with writing a cookbook for the first time. It hasn’t been the hardest project I’ve taken up, but it has been the tastiest. When you develop new recipes that hold restrictions like cakes with no sugar or low sodium meat entrees, cooking becomes a double challenge.

That’s what my cookbook partners and I are dealing with. At the end of the process, and before the last “T” is crossed or “I” dotted, we’re having a Taste-Testing party with our appetizers and desserts, invitation only. That’s a lot of work for senior women with a passion for food, but it’s work that satisfies in more than one way.

If you get the chance today, stop by Pat’s kitchen to see what’s cooking. If nothing else, you’ll find sumptuous recipes with full photos. Food lovers beware. You may be there a while once you walk in the door.

Enjoy yourselves and your little detour today.

A bientot,


Interview with Poet Walt Wojtanik

May 7, 2012 76 comments

I have a treat for you all. I’m visiting today with someone whom I’ve come to know over the past few years, though not as well as I’d like. Poet or playwright, Walt Wojtanik is someone to emulate, especially in this world of verse and meter.

Walt has made a place for himself in the world of poetry and in the hearts of those who’ve come to know him, even a little. On his poetry site “Poetic Bloomings,” that he co-administers with Marie Elena Good, he describes himself as a hibiscus.

I can see that about him; a large, brilliant carmine blossom, waving from its post at the end of branch, daring others to do as much, always teetering on the verge of romance or insight. And while the blossom might be short-lived, the impact of its existence is not. Walt’s poetry always touches the reader, whether with romance, humor, or philosophy.

This hard-working poet writes so prolifically that his cache of work boggles the mind. During the Poetic Asides PAD challenges, he contributes three or more new poems per day, all while administering multiple websites and taking care of the rest of his life. For the 2010 PAD challenge, he was selected as the Poet Laureate; a well-deserved title.

Hello, Walt. I want to thank you for doing this interview. I have some small idea of how busy you are with your own work, and I appreciate you taking time out to spend with us.

Walt: Thanks for the invitation to chat, Claudette. I’m flattered that you would deem my work as worthy.

Claudsy: It’s my pleasure. When I first met you, you were doing the Micro Poetry page on Facebook. I admit to being intimidated by you and all of the “Old-timers” that contributed regularly. Would you tell us about your work habits when it comes to poetry?

Walt: Although I have been writing song lyrics for 43 years, my poetry has only seen resurgence for the past four years.  Attempting the 2009 Poetic Asides April Poem-A-Day Challenge, I began a journey that has brought me to this point in my writing career. It was surely serendipity in every sense of the word.

In being prodded to take on the challenge by a good friend, it had put me in contact with some incredible and very talented people. You mentioned Marie (Marie Elena Good). Three days into April I was ready to give up that foolishness and resign myself to the fact that I was a dreamer thinking I could write anything worth people’s attention. She placed a comment that was supportive and nurturing and kick started my muse into high gear. I built confidence and quite the following from that point.

Writing a poem a day was indeed a challenge, but writing 7 to 10 poems a day bordered on the certifiable. Half way through the first challenge I established my blog THROUGH THE EYES OF A POET’S HEART (link below) to keep my poems organized.

Claudsy: You and Marie Elena (whom I adore) have collaborated on two websites. Both are marvelous for the reader and aspiring poets alike. How did the two of you choose to create Across the Lake, Eerily? Both title and site are terrific.

Walt: I am from Buffalo, New York which sits at the eastern most tip of Lake Erie. Marie Elena is in the Toledo/Maumee, Ohio area which pinpoints the western most tip of the same lake. I had noticed a lot of Marie’s poems had a familiarity to them, as if I had experienced that of which she wrote.

We had determined that this connective body of water was the key. Our backgrounds and upbringings were eerily parallel, and in exploring that fact have become what we fondly call ourselves the “best friends we’ve NEVER met”. So here we are situated “Across Lake Erie” living these “eerily” same lives and the title of the blog came from that.

I presented the idea for it to my “Partner” across the lake. Initially, Marie played the Wayne Campbell (Mike Myer’s WAYNE’S WORLD) card with her “I’m not worthy” attitude. I needed to convince her that she was. And in that, I created a monster! (Love you, Marie!)

Claudsy: I can second that sentiment. She’s one of the loveliest people I know. Now you have Poetic Bloomings, which has carved out an international place in the sun. Poets from many venues congregate there, contribute, and have their own poetry pages, thanks to your beneficence. How much work goes into administering such a website? I ask this for all those other poets out there who might dream of having such a spot of their own.

Walt: Well, for as much as ACROSS THE LAKE, EERILY provided my and Marie’s poetry a place to grow after the Poem-A-Day challenge, we wanted to extend that further to allow our poetic friends and comrades to add their worded brilliance in a similar way that Robert Lee Brewer, the administrator of the Poetic Asides blog, had done.

Plus, it kept all those derelict poets off of the streets between challenges. The POETIC BLOOMINGS name came from a poem I had written for one of the PAD daily prompts where I referred to my poems as the “blooming of my soul”. When Marie suggested we try to assemble the blog, I had already anticipated such an undertaking. Within five minutes, POETIC BLOOMINGS was online. The design and weekly prompts are my responsibility, as is the IN-FORM POET (exposing our poets to a new poetic form) which appears on alternate Wednesdays.

The other half of those days, Marie conducts our WEB-WEDNESDAY INTERIEW in which she chooses one of our contributing poets and shines a light on their work and personal poetry blogs much like we’re doing here. We are looking to add some new features as we begin our second year of propagating poetry with our friends.

Claudsy: Still, you have a family and a life outside of your online activities. Most of us have outside lives. Is there much interference between the two for you, or do you allow that outside life to act as impetus and fodder for your poetry?

Walt: Short answer? Yes! It is a struggle fitting my writing (especially the poetry) into my life. And with the oppressive number of pieces I’ve written, you can imagine the burden that places on my home situation. My daughters (Melissa, 25 and Andrea, 19 going on 39) are my best critics and biggest fans.

I’d like to say my wife is fully on board with it, but I won’t lie to you, she thinks my time could be better spent. But my need to express wins out in the long run, grudgingly. My belief is that inspiration is everywhere you look for it, so a lot of my outside life is reflected in my poems. My first poetry collection – a chapbook entitled, WOOD, explores the relationship between me and my father who was a Master Carpenter (we lived on Wood Street) and battled alcoholism and liver cancer.

Claudsy: That volume of yours packs a punch, on several levels. Could you tell us more about how much of your young life goes into either your poetry or your plays?

Walt: You’d be surprised. If you took all my songs, and poems, short stories and stage plays and bound them together, they would tell my life’s story. As a thirteen year old geek, I was writing love songs for girls I hadn’t met yet. My debilitating shyness as I was growing up became the subject of many early pieces and I found them to be cathartic and liberating.

I had taken a Creative Writing class in High School, and the first poem assignment I had written was panned by the instructor and the class. What followed were scathing parodies that brought my cynical eye and sarcasm to the fore. A lot of what show up today came from that one class.

My children’s books were based on Andrea’s relationship with her first grade teacher.  Up, my first play, TAKING UP SPACE was semi-autobiographical. So, I’d say 90% of my youth goes into my work. Can you imagine what I will be able to do once I grow up?

Claudsy: And speaking of those plays, what were they about and do you still write for the stage?

Walt: TAKING UP SPACE is a comedy about a young man who lives his life by the dictates of his precious Space/Science Fiction movies, until a “close encounter” foists realities into his life to open his eyes.

CHANGING WITH THE SEASONS is based on John Keats’ poem, THE HUMAN SEASONS, where he equates different stages of a person’s life with a different season of the year. My SEASONS take the lives of a group of friends from the playgrounds of their youth to their elder years.

SKETCHES IN STILL LIFE is a series of vignettes staged as paintings in an art gallery. All three have earned awards from the Writer’s Digest Writing Competitions and have been staged locally in Buffalo. I actually have drafted another play, am fashioning a musical out of my compositions and have a screen play that is drawing my passion at the moment.  The trick is finding about six more hours in my day.

Claudsy: They all sound fascinating. I wish I could have seen them. I love plays. Even though you started late, you’ve written much about your life through verse. You seem to relish the intimacy of poetry, sometimes with urgency and others with reflection. What moods/emotional states grip you when you’re writing urgently; and when you reflect?

Walt: I can’t speak for other poets. As for me, poetry comes from a place so internal that I don’t write them, they explode out of me, dying to find the light of day. My habit had always been to write for the therapeutic aspect of it and hide them away. POETIC ASIDES rescued me from that for good. Poetry is emotion. It is heart. It lives and breathes and chokes on the marrow of life. It regurgitates and resuscitates. It expresses and soothes. It massages hearts and caresses souls.

Poetry is life. Do you want to know you’re alive? Write a poem with reckless abandon and let someone read it. You feel naked; vulnerable – vindicated and validated. I can write in a pensive mood, reflective mood, out of anger or from a deep and consuming love. It’s funny, I inherited one of my father’s “genies in a bottle”, but I never remember writing inebriate. Maybe I was just that wasted.

Claudsy: Tell us about “I Am Santa Clause.” This is a new and different venture for you.

Walt: Another tidbit from a POETIC ASIDES prompt where I saw myself as this Santa Claus figure flying the Christmas Eve sky to deliver a “frozen wisp of a sigh”, a kiss, to my beloved. The final line has become my tag line and the inspiration for the “I AM SANTA CLAUS” book.

It is intended to be collaboration with a friend from High School who has agreed to illustrate some of the poems to enhance the book. It tells of the “everyman is Santa Claus” part of life. When I say I AM SANTA CLAUS, I’m saying we are ALL Santa Claus.

Claudsy: I can’t wait to see this one come out. What other new plans do you have on your goals list for the rest of this year? Are you going to launch another website for poets or perhaps put out a marvelous poetry collection?

Walt: Marie and I are putting the finishing touches on getting ACROSS THE LAKE, EERILY into print. The Santa Claus project, of course. And I plan on sitting down for at least five minutes this year and do nothing but veg-out. I see that one falling flat on its face. I have enough websites to keep me busy for now. Maybe I’ll start painting again. Who knows? Being alive in the morning would be nice, too!

Claudsy: I can sympathize with that morning daze reference. Ha! I can also tell you that my book list order form is getting longer as we speak. I know your time is short, but if you would tell us, what practical advice would you give new writers, poets or otherwise?

Walt: You were born with all the tools you need to succeed. It’s your job to figure out how to use them. Re-invent yourself. You are who you aspire to be. Enough clichés?

All (of) that IS important to an extent, but let your eyes dictate what your heart sees. Be observant and inspiration will find you. And keep writing. From draft, through revision, to the final product, keep writing. The entire process matters. Robert Lee Brewer had quoted a friend who had said poetry was all about the process, and I have come to believe that completely.

Claudsy: And the process can be such a satisfying thing in its own right. I’m so happy that you could spend some time with us today, Walt. Thank you again for gracing my small space here. Please drop by any time you feel the need to sprinkle a poem on my word-filled garden.

Walt: Hmmm, poems and gardens? I do like the sound of that…

As Walt exits on poetic journeys of the day, I want to say how proud I am that he shared so much with us today. If you haven’t become acquainted with this man’s verse, do yourself a favor and indulge.

Please go surfing soon among the poetic islands created by Walt Wojtanik. Allow the sun to set as you comb the beaches presented there, as you pick up m multi-colored shells to take home and place in your treasure boxes. Take your mini-vacation at the following resorts and enjoy the treatments you find there.

WOOD, a poetry collection released in 2011.

One of the administrators of Flashy Fiction (


My heart envisions what my eyes refuse to see.


Questions of the Day: Personal Transparency

May 2, 2012 Leave a comment


Aztec mask of Xiuhtecuhtli, c. 1500, of Mixtec...

Aztec mask of Xiuhtecuhtli, c. 1500, of Mixtec-Aztec provenance (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m using this poem of mine to lead into my subject of the day.


Window to the Soul

My presence acts as a window

To the human known as me.

Through that window you

Can see masks I wear eternally.


This mask reflects where I’ve been,

Still more show what I do with time.

Another suggests secrets held within;

Each mask a new persona.


Feathers, sequins, jewels, glitter

Before the beholder’s eyes,

Dropping hints about who I am,

Yet leaving me secured, invisible.

Each of us has gone through cycles within our lives. The practice is normal and human. We start as children learning all the lessons that will take us to an age where driving and dances are the norm. Some of us also take a path, somewhere along the way, that forces us to grow up all the sooner.

Once we have the ticket to responsibility called “a license,” we move on to planning the next decade of our lives; college or a job, singlehood or marriage, childless or not. They all make it into the mix of aspirations and goal lists.

Rules guard these bastions of normal living in our world. Each culture has its own signposts and traffic tickets. Once in a while, cultures crossover into each other, and create mutual signposts and tickets. It’s up to the average human to learn all of these and navigate the highways of modern living.

For all of the meandering we do in our lives, how much of ourselves do we really put out there for others to see or know?

“Plenty,” you say. But, do we really? The internet has made a public forum of many of our lives’ aspects. We blog, comment, dole out pieces of ourselves on Facebook on a daily basis and think nothing of it. It seems expected of web users to be “Transparent.”

The question remains. How much of our true selves do we reveal to the public?

Are we not merely shedding our masks, one at a time; those masks that protect us from revealing too much of the one who resides within the core of self?

I am a writer. I write about many things for many types of readers. My public image reveals those aspects of my writer’s mask. I’m female. Enough said on that score. I’m opinionated because I was taught to be so. Education will do that when it isn’t stifled by arbitrary bureaucratic controls.

Yet, within all I’ve revealed about who I am, few really know me, and I prefer it that way. Our deeds reveal more about us than anything we can say about ourselves.

My poem says a bit more in its way. It intimates that masks are all we see of each other. We all do it, and we do it because the world isn’t always the safest place to live.

One of Jack Nicholson’s best remembered lines from “A Few Good Men” was “The truth! You can’t handle the truth.”

His statement is far more honest than most. We aren’t prepared to be ourselves in front of others, any more than we’re prepared to discover our own deeper selves. We lie to ourselves all the time through rationalization, justification, and turning a blind eye. Doing so greases the wheels of our daily existence. The person who doesn’t do this is a rare model indeed.

All of this brings us to one last question. What is transparency? If it means revealing warts, halos, and all the rest of ourselves to each other, we will have created the very chaos we’ve worked so tenaciously to avoid. Imagine someone knowing what you really think of you parents, your sibs, yourself. Imagine others knowing every secret you’ve ever harbored, every lie you’ve ever told, every doubt plaguing your days. That is transparency.

Now, imagine yourself seeing everyone’s lives in the same way every time you open your eyes. Ask yourself: do you really want that kind of world?

When you have an answer, drop it in a comment here and inform the world. Until then,

A bientot,


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Whether You Get Paid or Not

March 23, 2012 7 comments


There are tons of books on the market that instruct us on how to make more money, spend less of it, and where to stash what we haven’t spent. Like many, spending and saving has more than one meaning for me. We all must decide how much, where and when money comes into the picture and what we mean by money.

Monetary worth is often measured by $ saved in bank accounts. There are other measures as well, and other types of banks. A person can save herself from a variety of situations, circumstances, and disasters. She can save her energies for special occasions, and so on. Euphemisms abound regarding saving.

In today’s catch-as-catch-can world of finance, saving money in banks is getting harder to do. The meaning of “saving money” has shifted to refer as much to buying for less as is does “squirrelling away cash.” For those who’re trying to make it in the publishing business, demands on the wallet is as constant as those for any other self-employed entrepreneur. Most of us have a “day” job to make it through.

Ingenious writers and other artists work smarter to make gains. Payment for a job doesn’t have to go in the bank. For many beginners, and those who have a few sales under their belts, barter has become a mainstay of payment.

An artist, in one example, has her eye on a specific gallery to display her work. Such displays cost the artist money. The gallery has no Facebook account. She offers to trade her knowledge of the web for display space in the gallery. Each side gets rewarded for the deal.

At the same time, she can offer to advertise the gallery on her own website, FB account, and other outlets, for framing her work in the gallery. The gallery owner spends nothing for the advertising and minimal cost for the framing he performs already. The artist gets everything she wants: exposure in a smaller, but good gallery and free framing.

The same type of arrangement can be used by a writer. The writer goes to a small company that has something she wants. She offers to do some work for them in exchange for whatever product the company provides. They strike a bargain and do a short contract for the job; she will write two professional short (form) business letters for the company; they give her the product—let’s say wheel alignment on her car.

Use the cashless jobs to build your resume. If you know of an organization that has decided to create a newsletter for its members and friends, offer to assist or to do it for them. The project gives you practice in something you might not have done before. It could also land you a job writing the newsletter on a regular basis. At that point you could talk compensation. If you don’t get paid, you still have another skill credit and client on your resume.

What if your child’s school needs help creating a small play for the fourth graders? Are you able to stretch your abilities to help with that project? Have you ever tried to write a children’s play? You might be very good at it, and there are opportunities for sales of such plays on the market. Practice on the school’s project, grab a resume credit and see what the future holds later.

How about developing the types of puzzles, mazes, and games that fascinate and confound the players? Can you create crossword puzzles? Some of the most creative school tests are in that form.

What about Sudoku puzzles, word searches, and the like? Many people augment their income, putting together brain teasers. Practice on your family and friends, offer to supply a local newspaper—that doesn’t normally have puzzles—or a local newsletter, or play with the idea on your blog or website. At least on the net, you’d get noticed.

Whichever direction the writer takes for credits without cash, the result is experience. If the writer uses the excuse that she’s “never done that before,” she’s losing out. She’s fooling herself with a false excuse. No one’s ever done it, until they do.

Stretching one skill set comes with experience. Practicing on things that you aren’t being paid for is a surefire way to get paid for later jobs that take those skills. Nurses don’t get paid for graduating from school. They have to get a job first for the money to come in. Writing is no different, really.

The savvy writer makes her own opportunities, creates her own expertise which builds her niche in the market, and gets paid for the jobs she does after she’s established a bit of a track record. Smash deals in the writing business happen for a rare few. The rest of the runners have to appear on the track circuit often enough to know something about the meets.

The savvy writer also knows that whether you get paid or not, the performance you render reveals more about you and your skills than advertising. The professional attitude you bring to the job counts. The writer’s enthusiasm that tackles the opportunity gets remembered. Client lists are built with these writer’s traits.