Sunday, December 16, 2007

Land & Sea Fordham University Bookstore Event

Land & Sea Event at Fordham/Lincoln Center - Saturday December 15, 2007

Event Diary Notes:

I had the great pleasure of being in Manhattan this past week-end for a book signing event for Land & Sea. The event was hosted by the very welcoming Barnes & Noble Bookstore on the Fordham University campus at Lincoln Center. It was a lovely event from 11-2 that included a poetry reading session, followed by an informal Q&A and book signing with myself as well as the artist, Irene Ruddock.

This was my last book event before the holidays, and it couldn't have been a more delightful day. I had family and friends from both NY and NJ who were able to come, so my poetry turned into a great excuse to give hugs and kisses to dear ones I had not seen for months, or in some cases - years!

Thank you to all who honored me with their presence and support. Land & Sea was a privilege to write and it is an even greater privilege, as well as a humbling experience, to see how many people continue to enjoy the images and words on the pages of this magical project.

You never know where you will journey to in this world, but in your imagination, you can sail to distant lands and always be assured of a safe landing on shore with loved ones in sight, who are on the same, beautiful adventure.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Thank You to The Harvard Coop!

Harvard Coop Poetry Reading and Book Signing Event / December 9, 2007

Book Event Diary Notes:

The Harvard Coop provided a festive setting for the poetry reading/book signing event for Land & Sea on December 9, 2007. The staff did a wonderful job with the display for Land & Sea, complete with a beautiful, big poster in the window and sample copies of the book. As I walked through the front doors, I was greeted by the sound of Christmas carolers on the 2nd floor. It was a magical atmosphere for all shoppers, students, folks sipping coffee in the café, and of course, me!

With podium, book lamp and microphone at the ready, I had everything I needed for a successful reading. As per usual, the first ten minutes required patience on my part as listeners began to arrive. By the time I got to my 5th poem, every seat was filled and a few people were standing. My fellow poetry/art lovers enjoyed viewing each painting, as I read the accompanying ekphrastic poems. I had some interesting questions from readers, causing me to reflect on the inspiration for Land & Sea and to do a bit of additional research on my new favorite genre of ekphrastic poetry (which I predict will be considered a groundbreaking artform in years to come!).

Ekphrasis (n.) comes from the Greek ek (= out) and phrasis (=speak). Ekphrasis literally means to "speak out", which I think is a fantastic description of this artform. As a writer, not only are you describing what you see visually and interpreting the meaning or narrative of a piece of art, but you are speaking out with your writing - giving the painting, photograph or sculpture a voice.

Enough of my poetry reading notes ...

I would like to extend a Big, Blog Thank You to the Harvard Coop and to my friend Michele Albion who brought along another reader to the event! Michele is a wonderful, historical writer who has a book coming out soon! Watch this space for publicity blogging. I am always eager to support my fellow writers.

Happy reading and writing out there. I may have a poetry reading and signing event for Land & Sea, or for one of my future books, in a town near you! Come on out and join the literary party!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Dream Editor

We've all heard of sleep walking and sleep talking, but have you ever heard of "sleep writing"? Whenever I finish writing a poem or a story, the first thing I do before editing my work is to sleep on it. That's right, the first arduous task after completing a masterpiece is to catch some zzzz's. The reason for this is that you might be tempted to submit that jewel of literature right then and there with an impulsive click of the submit button on a literary magazine's website, because you truly believe that this is the very best thing you've ever written. If this were Mrs. McClusky's 8th Grade Language Arts class, you would get an A+ for sure. In the hard, early morning light of day you will realize that this isn't the best piece of writing in your portfolio, but it has potential if tweaked and prodded a bit. Also, your level headed daytime self will notice the need for deleting all of those extra exclamation points and words translated into French for effect. Everything starts and ends as a great idea. It's all good; don't worry. Just sleep on it first, and your subconscious mind will make it better for you.

That's right, inside every writer there is a dreamland editor just waiting to get out and into your computer files. As luck would have it, your mind has all of those chapters and stanzas filed away in brain cells, so that when you sleep, you are actually working very hard at your writing. It almost justifies having a cat nap during the day, doesn't it? Or perhaps just a daydream for inspiration. I should have a poster made for my office door that reads: "Caution: Writer at Work - Do Not Startle if in a Trance or Awaken if in a Sleeping Position on the Couch".

As silly as this theory might sound, I find it to hold true in most writer's block situations. I am currently working on a new poem for my latest writing project. Just 2 more poems, and I will have half of a completed manuscript, so the pressure is on my dreamtime self to be in top form. I wrote this poem a week ago, but I am not satisfied enough to call it done. I am just not happy with the last two lines. The message is right, but the lines don't fit the mood or style of the rest of the poem. I have slept on this poem for a number of nights and it is still not coming together. My experiment tonight, after doing more editing, will be to read through the entire poem one more time before my head hits the pillow. I will program myself to dream about a resolution for the poem. With the muses and my subconscious on my side, the answer to my poetic puzzle will present itself by the morning (if I can get to my computer before my 4-year-old demands Cheerios). Wish me luck. Also, if anyone happens to cross creative wires with me and receives the answer to my poem's ending (it's about a marshland in New England - that's all I'm revealing), then feel free to e-mail me your words of editorial wisdom.

Funny stories aside, I do believe in allowing ideas for writing projects to percolate and then allowing the creative subconscious to work out what the waking mind often makes too complicated. Our dreams can be amazing teachers. Go ahead and pat yourself on the back, because it's all you! You are both the talented writer and the skillful editor wrapped up into one, literary powerhouse package.

Write to dream - then dream about writing, so that the words come to life on the page for all to be inspired!