Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Paintings & Poetry Event at The Lakes Gallery!

Paintings and Poetry

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Oil Paintings by Anne Raskopf

Poetry by Cristina M. R. Norcross, Liz Rhodebeck, Mary Jo Balistreri, Charles P. Ries and other guest poets who will present an evening of poetry.

Free Event!

Due to limited seating, there will be 2 performances. 

Please call to reserve seating (262) 966-1804.

Door prizes with each performance!

Donations will be accepted for the American Heart Association and the Merton Town Hall Library

Matinee: 2:30 - 4 PM
/ Main Performance: 4:30 - 7 PM

The Lakes Gallery of Fine Art
N76 W31428 County Rd. V. V. 
North Lake

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Secrets of Dawn

The Breeze at Dawn Has Something to Tell You

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.

Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.

Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill,

where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.

Don’t go back to sleep.

~Rumi - Sufi, Mystic Poet (1207-73)

I heard this poem spoken to me in thought and images, but I only recognized it when doing a search for poems by my favorite mystic poet, Rumi, this evening. I woke up with my 2-year-old son at 6am, and the view from the bedroom window caused me to stop breathing – stop thinking, until I could take in the full beauty of the sunrise. A salmon pink, with hues of peach at the center, painted the sky in a wide ribbon. My mind wanted so much to label this, to intellectualize the experience. My spirit would not let this happen. I simply gazed at the emerging light at the horizon and allowed all other thoughts to evaporate into the quiet calmness of the room. Outside that window was the sound of stillness – the grace with which we are born and the dignity with which we cross over. It is the pure beauty of nature’s humble grandeur. No other sight can make us feel as complete as the majesty of this earth and the heavenly glimpses we are gifted with at dawn.

I hope that you create with this same sense of awe today, when you raise your pen to write or bring your strong fingers to the keyboard. I hope your heart sings with the spirit of truth with each word on the page, so that your readers may experience the joy of first light and the brightness of being we are all capable of shining.

Cristina M. R. Norcross
Copyright 2008

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Gallery Display of Poetry & Art - The Griffin Gallery (Oconomowoc, Wisconsin)

Poetry & Art - On Display at The Griffin Gallery

In collaboration with two very talented, fine art painters, Holly Kallie and Anne Wall, ten of my recent ekphrastic poems are on display at The Griffin Gallery in Oconomwoc, WI. These poems appear alongside beautiful oils and pastels in the form of fine art giclées. Each fine art, poetry giclée inspires and engages the reader to live more fully in the present moment, by incorporating rich colors, evocative images and poetic narratives.


HOLLY KALLIE is a self-taught artist who has been drawing and painting all of her life. She has always been fascinated by the human figure, mainly women and children. Having spent much time as a child on area lakes, Holly developed a close affinity to water, and as a result, most of her subjects are placed in this type of setting. Her intention is to show the emotional connection between feminine energy and the flowing, reflective surface and depths of the water surrounding them. She has shown and sold her work in exhibits and galleries for many years, is a founding member of Griffin Gallery Fine Art in Oconomowoc, WI where her work is on permanent display and has many fine art giclée reproductions of her paintings. Her work is held in private collections throughout the United States. To view her beautiful collection of oil paintings, "Captured Reflections", Please visit her website:

ANNE WALL resides in Wisconsin, where she trains as an athlete, maintains an art studio and runs a sports marketing business. Through fine art, Ms. Wall expresses her passion for outdoor sports and love of nature by capturing light and movement on form in a variety of mediums. Art and sport bring about intense concentration and a sense of calm in harmony with one’s surroundings. Through this experiential state of enlightenment and self-discovery, the conscious mind transcends the physical state, so one can live in the moment. By creating enduring works of art, which capture the spirit of outdoor sports, adventure, and the beauty of nature, Anne inspires others. Educated at Northwestern University, Wall received her Master of Science Degree in Integrated Marketing Communications. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Fine Art from the University of Wisconsin. She is known internationally for her work as brand protection advisor to well known sports organizations and multinational businesses that sponsor sporting events. Anne’s articles about intellectual property protection have been published in academic journals and business manuals distributed domestically and abroad. Traveling overseas and meeting with delegates from nations around the world, Anne’s work puts her in touch with many different cultures.

To read samples from the collections I have written, inspired by each artist, please visit the "Firkin Works" page on my website:

To view and/or purchase these rare poetry/art giclées in person, please visit:


133 E Wisconsin Ave
Oconomowoc, WI 53066
(262) 567-1826

Art and poetry - a beautiful collaboration of images and words.

Enjoy the beauty of ekphrastic poetry and visual art.

To view a sample fine art/poetry giclée, click HERE to see "All is in Balance" on Holly Kallie's site.

Keep Reading!
Cristina M. R. Norcross

Land & Sea: Poetry Inspired by Art, paintings by Irene Ruddock (2007) available on, and

The Red Drum (2008) available at and

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

November Release of: THE RED DRUM! - my new poetry book!

Dear Readers:

I am thrilled to share the news that my new poetry book THE RED DRUM will be released in November 2008 and will be available to purchase on-line. I will have a separate webpage through the publisher. Readers will be allowed to browse through the first few poems and will be able to see the front and back cover, featuring a beautiful, stained glass window from a bell tower at a church in Western Canada.

Here is a preview of the book's description:

THE RED DRUM is a collection of poetry celebrating the joyfulness of living in the presence of authentic moments, creating a dream-like, poetic form that captures the leaves of thought that fall from the sky. AUTHOR'S BIOGRAPHY: Cristina M.R. Norcross resides in Wisconsin with her husband and their two sons. She has had over 50 works published in literary magazines in the U.K., the U.S., Canada and Algeria. The author’s latest book is Land & Sea: Poetry Inspired by Art (2006). To learn more about the writing of Cristina M. R. Norcross, please visit her website:

Stop by again in 2 weeks for more ordering details, press release information, as well as future dates for poetry readings!

Happy Reading!
Cristina M. R. Norcross

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Honoring Wholeness

“Whatever ceases to honor the wholeness of your spirit ~ release it to the wind.”

~Cristina M. R. Norcross

Try saying these words either aloud or quietly within. Now choose a clean, white page in your journal and write this mantra at the very top, before you begin your writing session for the day. The world will open up inside of you, as you realize that anything is possible on the page.

You are whole. Breathe this mantra into your lungs and exhale the exquisite thoughts that come sweeping into your mind like a tornado. Let them have life. Set your spirit free and see where the wind takes you. If your words find a home in a poem or a story, then the world will be that much more glorious for your gift of sharing.

Write something wonderfully open, honest, engaging, fearless … and then share it with other readers and writers.

Now go ~ write!

Cristina M. R. Norcross

(Just in case you need a cheering section for motivational purposes today, before you take that leap onto the page, these words should be a literary rocket booster. Happy Writing.)

Friday, June 27, 2008

NEW POETRY: "Thank You, for this Day"

Thank you, for this Day

Instead of thinking,
I made it through another day –
I should be saying,
thank you, for this day.

The soul appreciates its progress
when each moment is savored.
The struggle comes
when we believe in the transitory –
when we honor the self’s sense of comfort.

True growth,
stems from an understanding
of our connections with others.
Golden threads appear
when hearts reach out,
forming a loving grid
of our human existence.

Today I saw a circle of pure gold
floating just above my eyes.
Everywhere I turned,
this loving globe attentively followed,
until I examined my thoughts,
and walked towards my higher consciousness.

I gently bowed my head in agreement,
eager to hear the whispers
of my gracious guide.
All she said was,
lead the way …

Cristina M. R. Norcross
Copyright 2008

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Visit The Ninth Moon ~ Must-Have Gifts for Writers!

"I only plug what I love!"

I would like to take the opportunity to support a business owned and run by the writer Laron Glover. The Ninth Moon is a fabulous site that provides wonderful books on the writing process, gifts for literary inspiration, and all sorts of writerly goodies for yourself, a friend, or anyone you know who has a passion for the written word!

The birthday presents my husband ordered for me were beautifully wrapped and presented. Each item in the Writer Mamma Kit was perfectly chosen and lovingly prepared. I truly appreciated all of the professional care with which everything was labelled, right down to the gold seals and ribbon! When I ordered myself a copy of Julia Cameron's book, The Artist's Way, and the exquisite Artist's quote pendant, everything arrived with the same creative flair. The pendant will be a lovely reminder to create from the heart ~ from the source of energy that inspires all good work.

Have a browse and see for yourself!: The Ninth Moon

They have something for every writer and every gift is heart-inspired!

On a final note. I will share with you the quote on my new pendant, which I plan on wearing at my next series of book signing events for my upcoming book with photographer Pat Bashford, Living Nature's Moments.

"Artistic success is not measured by what you get - but what you give: whispers of truth, captured on paper, dispatched from the heart."

Enjoy and Happy Writing!
Critina M. R. Norcross

Thursday, June 12, 2008

New Poetry: "Your Clear Will"

Your Clear Will

Let go of what you cling to.
Release it to the wind,
a mighty throw –
grief swallowed by the night sky.
You will be whole once again –
in the morning,
when the grass is new,
when the hills are bare,
except for the sun
and your clear will.

Skin prickles with light touches,
portending what is to come.
A new life –
a new place for your hands to work,
a kinder resting place for your limbs at night.
This land will change –
transformations of a higher calling.
It is the calling of the wind,
the chimes,
that send out Celtic melodies
from the porch by starlight.

Place your heart in my sight.
I will see you shining brighter
than ever before,
when you surrender
to your best life –
the life you chose to begin,
when your bare feet
first touched this rich soil.

Begin again …

Cristina M. R. Norcross
Copyright 2008

Friday, May 09, 2008

RIVER WALK: Poetry Inspired by Music

(Inspired by the music of Craig Werth, “Slow River”)

Finding my depth
in this new, slow river.
It carries me along
in its daily patterns and rhythms.
I hear the hum of town activity,
as the flow of rippling pathways
takes me past an old willow tree,
brushing the water’s surface
with broad strokes.
An oriole sits,
impossibly perched,
on the tip of a reed.
In perfect balance
he flashes me a glimpse of red and yellow,
like a flag guiding me in for a landing.

I am still a newcomer,
a stranger floating down
a lazy river.
The earth vibrates
just under my feet
on this solitary river walk,
where I will later bring my family.
Carved stones mark a place of memory
for town heroes.
Each monument is a breath of reverence
on a white bridge over water.

Follow the river to find
the soul of this day.
The sound of rushing water
has a hypnotic pull
for one who is stepping into a new life.
Stroll along the water’s edge
to hear the ebb and flow
of the future that meets you where you stand.

Cristina M. R. Norcross
Copyright 2008

For more information about Craig Werth and to hear samples of his music please visit: - better yet, go see him on tour with David Francey!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

A Magical Evening of Music with David Francey and Craig Werth at the Wil Mar Center / Madison,WI

Storytelling brings the audience back to the beginning of love and renews memory, so that the girl in that song getting married is you. The father going off on a trip who misses his 5-year-old son is you. The 80-year-old mother who hears a bird singing and knows that this is the spirit of her dear departed husband is your mother.

I had the great pleasure last night of hearing David Francey and Craig Werth perform at the Wil Mar Center in Madison, WI. Sponsored by the Madison Folk Music Society, the intimate setting of the concert provided the perfect backdrop to an evening of beautifully written and superbly performed songs. The very talented Craig Werth opened the show with a few samples from his new instrumental album, SIDEVIEW. “Slow River” was a particularly engaging piece that brought me into the dream world rhythm and flow of water. I first met Craig while attending the Poets and Songwriters Retreat on Star Island off of Rye, NH last September. Star Island is a magical place to create and meet other like-minded souls. At the group share sessions we had late at night in one of the cottages on the island, I was mesmerized by Craig’s soulful melodies and the warm, dulcet tones of his voice. His vocal/guitar album LOOSE GEMS is a collection that I highly recommend to any avid folk listener and the title song itself "Loose Gems" is one of my favorites! I play this song when I'm missing the ocean and all of the precious friends I met while living in New Hampshire.

David Francey's songwriting is richly layered and affecting. It was truly a blessing to have the opportunity to hear David’s beautiful Scottish accent permeate every note. His stories of living in both Scotland and Canada were steeped in the loves and losses of life itself. I picked up a copy of his latest CD, RITE OF PASSAGE, from which he played songs at the concert. We played the CD on the way home as a way of revisiting our moving, musical evening. As a writer, what I enjoyed most was hearing David tell the story behind the songs before performing each of them. While listening to one of David’s songs,"Their Wedding Day," which he wrote for friends, my husband and I held hands and gazed at each other in remembrance of our own September wedding day. David’s song brought me back in time to my own celebration. Another song that touched my husband’s heart quite deeply was "Ballad of Bowser MacRae", as he reflected on hearing our own son ask the question, “when are you coming home, Dad” (from one of his business trips). From a writer’s perspective, I wholeheartedly identified with a song David wrote about sitting in his friend’s backyard in Portland, Oregon called "Under the Portland Weather". He shared with the audience that this spot is where he always has success writing songs. I find this to be true when writing poetry on Martha’s Vineyard, sitting at one of the beaches near the ferry landing in Vineyard Haven. Hearing David speak of places that foster creativity caused me to reflect on the spark of the muses in art, and how messages are often whispered to us to share with others. The whole evening was a musical journey of spirit that I felt quite honored to attend.

For more information on both David Franey and Craig Werth and to hear samples of their music please visit:

David Francey –

Craig Werth –

I only recommend artists who hold a candle in my heart. Check out these amazing songwriters and enter their worlds of enchantment.

~Cristina M. R. Norcross

Thursday, May 01, 2008

"Once You Were Dreaming of a Future That is Now Your Present"

Sometimes I feel like I am desperately trying to learn how to live. Is working hard the path to fulfillment? Is achievement going to fill the void of the soul? Should I be more self-sacrificing and gain happiness only from taking care of others? Do I need to slow down more and pay attention to each act of living in a loving way, regardless of the end result? Aha! This is the sentence to pay attention to - right now.

Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now / A New Earth / Stillness Speaks) writes about living in the now, fully appreciating each experience as it is lived. Living in the past has never been one of my problems, but I do struggle with living with an eager eye towards the future and how much happier I will be “when” I can have more time to write, “when” my husband and I can have more time together again, “when” life will feel more balanced as a mother whose actions and thoughts are constantly interrupted by small (adorable) children.

My mother and I had a discussion recently about this concept of always wishing for the life you see just down the road. This is the golden kernel that stayed with me from that conversation. “Once you were dreaming of a future that is now your present.” I just did not know that those dreams would happen, and that I would wish for other things - for a different future to take shape.

I think this insight can be valuable to the soul of a writer too when the ever-too-present restlessness, that we all feel as artists, starts to gnaw away at one’s peace of mind. There is waste in discontentment. It takes far too much energy to analyze why life could be better three years down the road: if only that magazine would publish your story that you have been submitting everywhere, or how you will only feel complete when you write a full length novel, or that there is never enough personal time in a day to finish all of your beloved writing projects. Engage in your present with fervor. Be thankful for what you are able to write, knowing that it is a gift to bring inspiring ideas together on the page. If others enjoy what you send out into the world of writing, then this is a blessing too, but it is not the goal. It is a pleasant side effect. Making connections in spirit with others through writing may never bring recognition, but it will make a difference in the life of the reader who engages more fully with their own world, because you have shown them one of life’s golden keys.

Keep sharing – keep writing. Don’t look back on your past with angst or regret. Don’t look ahead to your future life with longing. Bring to the page what you are meant to create – right now.

This is the most fruitful moment and tomorrow’s moment will be just as ripe.

Keep writing!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Writing is Essential to Life!

When did it happen? Somewhere along the way, the desire to write turned into the necessity to write. My body actually has a physical reaction to not writing for a day or more. I feel edgy or anxious, as if I have missed an important appointment. If I haven’t made time for myself to connect with my world of writing - I have. I have missed an appointment with myself, and unless I put some words on a page fast, I know that I will be miserable. My husband can attest to this strange force that takes hold. The winds outside seem to blow harder, the air in the house is heavy, canned goods jump off the shelves (no, not really) – all because I NEED to write! My husband will say, “Just go. Take yourself out with your laptop. We’ll see you in 2 or 3 hours, and you’ll be a new person.” It’s true. I am much easier to live with, when I have had my writing fix.

Literature brings meaning to the writer and the reader. For the writer, it brings both meaning and an extraordinary purpose in life. Being able to describe your world in detail and create something that represents that experience of life with all of the joys, sorrows and every day occurrences is a great gift. Writers, painters, photographers, musicians, dancers, actors and all those in the various creative arts fields, all have the precious opportunity to observe and comment on the human experience in a way that the viewer or reader can identify with, find meaning in and draw comfort from, as we all travel on this path together. Artists have the gift of expressing how it feels to be alive on a deep and primal level. Without this space to create and express, most of us would just have too much creative energy bubbling up to the surface with no outlet. Thank goodness for the blank canvas, the blank screen or paper, the stage, and the raw materials of art.

Writing is essential to life. What a gift to know that this is your path.

Write on!

Circling the Poem

I always write around a poem before zeroing in on the right words. It’s kind of like the ritual of a cat who walks in circles over and over on a comfy couch, or your favorite soft sweater, before eventually lying down in a mound of purring fur. If a runner or dancer needs to warm up their muscles before setting the body to work, and if a singer must first vocalize before performing the long runs and high notes of an aria, then a writer must also limber up the mind before writing that much awaited, ever elusive, literary masterpiece.

To go back a step further, I always read good writing before attempting to write something worthy of reading. Either a novel by an author I admire or a book about the writing process serves to prepare my mind for the work ahead. Elizabeth Berg wrote an inspiring book about writing called: Escaping Into the Open: The Art of Writing True. I highly recommend all of her books and this book on writing is a must read for writers. At the end of each chapter, Berg even includes practical writing exercises, which can really jump-start your writing session.

Once I am ready to put the books down, I like to write what I call “starter” pieces before diving into my current project. Whether it be starter prose or starter poetry, the initial flexing of one’s writer’s muscles is essential to getting to the gem phrases or the sparkling thoughts that people will be touched by and inspired by when reading your work. I might find one sentence that stands out. I will then use that sentence as a starting point, or even use it as the title of the next poem I write, and a new, evolved poem will take shape. Sometimes a phrase will take me in a new direction – the direction I am meant to take - and I will write a completely different poem than I first set out to create. When everything comes together and the magic of that final poem or paragraph appears, the one you were meant to write, you will feel the energy of the words come through and you will know that this is why you write. This moment of knowing that you have found a way to bring life to words in a way that reveals a greater truth or an inspiring story that will touch the lives of others – this is the moment when you are “in flow”. Keep going. Stay with the flow for as long as you can, until you naturally need to take a break or in my case until the babysitting session is over, and you must return to fetching sippy cups of water and bowls of goldfish for eager, smiling toddler faces.

This writing life that sweeps you up in a frenzy of ideas and words is a magical, compelling activity. It is a way of life. It is “The Pull of the Moon” - To use the title of one of Elizabeth Berg’s novels. This topic requires its own blog entry, so read on, as I allow my Running on at the Ink blog to run …

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

A Writer's Geography

We recently moved our family from the seacoast of New England to the lake country of the Midwest. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how place can inform, inspire and provide a foundation for one’s writing. At least I still have bodies of water around me – although I will miss the salty taste of the wind on my lips from being near the ocean.

I am a writer in transition. I am still surrounded by boxes, I still refer to NH as “back home” and I haven’t even registered with a dentist yet. We are settling in though, making this house a home, and letting our feet land on the ground of this new town. Did I mention that they have chosen this year to dig up the streets of the entire downtown area, so that you have to take a 5-mile detour to get to the good grocery store? I am still adjusting.

Author Natalie Goldberg wrote about how sad she was to leave Taos, which was a very fertile place for her writing. She was given sage advice from her meditation teacher who told her not to grow too attached to a geographical place, that her writing would flourish anywhere. It is akin to having a personal crisis if you cannot find your lucky pen before sitting down to a writing session. I was sad to leave New England too. My writing flourished there, and I had just found a wonderful community of writers who all met regularly at open mic nights to share their love of poetry. By the way, I also have several "lucky" pens. I know that the pen does not hold the magic though. It is the writer who holds all of the cards – all of those bent, scribbled index cards with ideas and character descriptions. The love for a story grows within the heart and the essence of that story finds you - wherever you are. You can be in a car driving to a family reunion. You can be in the shower thinking only about how much conditioner to use. The opening lines of a story will be whispered in your ear, like an overheard conversation. You can even be in the unfamiliar finished basement of your new house, with a half finished office set up and every book you own stacked onto ten bookcases against every wall. You are waiting – waiting for the writing to return – and it will. It does. That favorite coffee house with the atmosphere that makes your words sing? You will find another cozy java spot. That inlet by the beach where the waves crash 20 feet high against the rocks after a storm and which is your lucky spot to write? You will find a quiet patch of grass by the lake that will open up a wellspring of words.

A writer’s geography is in the mind. You are always “on location”. A treasured place can be reassuring – it can spark a flow of words that introduces you to new worlds. Never forget that there is a universe of creativity in your writer’s soul. Take it with you.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Comfort for the Writer's Soul

Who wouldn't want some comfort along the way on the soul's journey? When that warmth and encouragement comes from the thoughts and experiences of other writers, there is no resisting for the avid scribbler. In this short blog entry, I wanted to recommend my latest late night read and the anthology that I often dip into before a writing session. A Cup of Comfort for Writers is a wonderful collection of personal essays written by established writers who entertain us and inform us about: the inner workings of the rough draft stage, the compulsion and addiction that submitting work to magazines and publishers becomes, favorite teachers who recognize the talent of an early student writer, the characters who beat a path to your door until you write down their story, and the always enthralling - sometimes frustrating - process that writing can be.

If you are looking for inspiration, a welcome break from a paragraph, or the kind words of a fellow writer who understands your world like no other, then this is a book you should pick up!

A Cup of Comfort for Writers: Inspirational Stories That Celebrate the Literary Life
by Colleen Sell