Thursday, December 09, 2010


Finding Time to Write:
Feeling Overscheduled?
Give yourself permission to say, “No”

Our calendars are filled to the brim with bells, reminders, things underlined or highlighted in orange – a neon banner of endless obligations. Some of these appointments and tasks are necessities. Others are tasks that we have either foisted upon ourselves, or that we have unwittingly agreed to do, simply because we feel obligated or guilty. But what about the times we feel drawn to do something that would benefit others? Yes, this is definitely a good thing, but not when our own calendar is so filled that we haven’t left enough time for our own lives, our family or our spirit. Put your “dedicated writing time” into that category called spirit. If you are a creative type, then your writing time is vital to your spiritual well being. Don’t allow everything else to come first. You will ultimately regret it.

My family is primary, then my daily responsibilities, projects, poetry readings, hosting literary events and volunteer work. My writing is stuck in there, when I can fit it in time-wise. I try to schedule writing time late at night or for those 2 precious hours per day, when both of my children are in school at the same, overlapping time. I am a happier mother and wife, when I have the right balance between “everyone else” time and “me” time. Writing makes me whole. It helps me to have vision. My heart relies on writing time to function. Having uninterrupted time to create, based on how I am currently processing life experiences and the world is vital for me to feel centered. I can breathe easier when I get things down on paper. Poetry might not solve everything, but it gets the images and thoughts out of my head and productively down on paper in a hopefully coherent, sometimes beautiful way.

Being able to say “No” releases the Girl Scout in you (I quit after Brownies. I’m not really a “joiner”). It’s freeing to put yourself first for once. We writers should do it more often. How am I ever going to write another book and get it out there into the world, if I don’t sit down and write? Sorry, that was meant to be rhetorical. It's empowering! Now, say it to yourself. How am I ever going to finish X,Y,Z … writing project, if I don’t just put bum to chair, fingers to keyboard and write?

Just DO IT!

Think of this blog entry as your personal writing cheerleader. Read it when you need to give yourself permission to create from the heart without stopping!

Cheerfully yours,
Your fellow wordsmith

Thursday, December 02, 2010

"Calling Forth the Dream" by Cristina M. R. Norcross - A Tribute Poem for The Dreamers Center for Creative Arts in Delafield, WI

My poem, "Calling Forth the Dream," appears on The Dreamers Center for Creative Arts website, as a tribute to their goal of:

... inspiring hearts and minds through the experience of the visual, performing and literary arts.

The Dreamers Center for Creative Arts is located in Delafield, WI.

Read the poem "Calling Forth the Dream" HERE at The Dreamers Center official website.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Eckhart Tolle writes:

It seems that you are torn sometimes between the outward movement into form, and the inward return movement to the Source where it all started. The Source that was never really lost, it is always there because it is timeless, and it is within you. You feel drawn back to that, and that is the pull toward spirituality, peace, Stillness.

Every day life seems to be all about form. We buy groceries, feeling the weight of them, as we lift brown bags into large SUV’s. We make concrete lists of what we need to do that day ~ go to a dental appt., pick up the dry cleaning or go to the post office to mail off a package. Things surround us ~ our closets full of clothes, our bursting racks of DVD’s and the piles of shoes in the mudroom.

When do we escape form then, melting into the universal moment of presence and flow? It is our creation time, our Zen moments, that allow us to transcend the material world, even if it is just for the length of a 3-minute song on the radio. We are flowing into the Great Mystery of Being in these moments. We lose track of time ~ we float on high, reaching a state of awareness that provides both clarity and an endorphin-producing spiritual high, because we are shedding form for spirit.

I am not a runner, but I can see the beatific smiles on the faces of runners in my neighborhood. There is a good deal of sweat and exertion going on as well, but you can see that they are somewhere else entirely while on that run. This is why reflective gear and bright orange jackets are a very good idea! If your head is in the clouds, then drivers need to be able to see the part of you that should to stay safely on the side of the road.

My running Zen is writing, making jewelry, reading, riding my bike, walking by the lake and listening to music. Often all of these blissful activities inspire and inform one another. I’ll be taking a walk or stringing a new necklace, gazing at the way the trees are swaying in the breeze or how the red and blue stones make a pleasing pattern, when the first line of a poem will appear in my head. I won’t get the whole poem, but that first line, fully formed, will come to me like a gentle deer. I run to the page, capture that first thought and keep going ~ passionately in flow. Time will pass, and I will still be in that dream-like state of creation, not caring whether my form is cold, hungry or late for an appointment. Form ceases to matter ~ for those two hours of creation.

Eventually, I will have to return to buying rolls of toilet paper and taking the garbage out, but my spirit will be lighter, closer to the heavenly realm than ever before. I will be complete, full, still ~ for now.

Staying in the flow means accepting the now and embracing where that first line leads you.


Saturday, November 06, 2010

Why Do We Write?

This is a question I ask myself almost daily, because I genuinely want to know why I am compelled to write, even if I don't know what I am going to write about that day. The magical poetry sprites whisper in my ear that they have a message for the world, and that I am their trusted scribe. No - not really. It does feel at times as though something larger than myself is at work though. I think all artists and creative minds work this way. There is so much energy swirling around in the universe. We are meant to reach out and grab it - to share it. I once watched a "TED Talks" podcast where the presenter spoke of a poet whose technique was to pull in a new poem from the ethers, as if pulling in a kite from the sky. If she didn't run home right away and capture the poem, it would be lost to her - dancing across the sky until finding another poet to write down the words.

C.S. Lewis wrote, "We read to know we are not alone." I believe that we write to know we are not alone as well. Connecting with the consciousness of others gives us the comfort of knowing that we are all having an earthly experience together. We are all feeling pain, loss and suffering - alongside love, joy and fulfillment. If someone else writes about the joys and challenges of parenthood - the same, exhausting months of sleep deprivation as well as the heart warming moments of first giggles and first steps, then we know that there is hope for tomorrow and the day after that.

Nothing is more frightening than an empty page and not knowing how to fill it. If we clear the mind of what we think is the sublime poem or the ultimate narrative, then we might just stumble upon the engaging story that everyone can relate to, so that none of us will ever feel alone.

Why do we write?
I write because there isn't a single day that goes by when I don't feel my hands reach out for the keyboard with passion. I write because I would be quite miserable if I did not throw the contents of my brain into a Word document at least once per day. I write because everyone else in my household would be miserable too, if I did not write. It calms me the way classical music soothes the baby that will not go to sleep. Writing allows the restless part of me to find peace. Once in a while, when I write a really good poem, someone tells me that it made a difference in their day to read it, and this makes me feel like I've given something back to this sweet, sweet world.


Friday, September 03, 2010

"A Prayer for the Waters" Fine Art/Poetry Giclee by Artist Holly Kallie & Author Cristina M. R. Norcross to Benefit the National Wildlife Federation


With this fine art/poetry giclée, “A Prayer for the Waters,” artist Holly Kallie ( and poet, Cristina M. R. Norcross ( hope to raise awareness for the needs of the environment. Through the beauty of visual art and poetry, we propose to inspire others to answer the call to action, by purchasing these giclées. After covering basic production costs, all profits will go directly to The National Wildlife Federation.

What can we do as individuals, if we feel helpless to help? We can donate what we can afford, we can raise awareness in others, encouraging them to donate as well, and in the process we can aid research efforts. Recovering the natural environment’s delicate balance for birds, fish and other wildlife is a healing process. As artists, we hope to inspire, encourage, and raise the white banner of peace in the name of charity.

For more information about “A Prayer for the Waters” giclées and how to place an order, please contact artist Holly Kallie ( or visit her website.

Visit and join "A Prayer for the Waters" group page on facebook today, to start helping the cause!

A Prayer for the Waters
(Inspired by the painting by Holly Kallie)

We are being called.
From the depths of indigo pain,
springs the glowing chakra of re-birth.

We have muddied the waters
with our disrespect –
our muddled minds.

With golden feather reverence,
create a new philosophy
by healing the now.

Leading the way of undisturbed skies,
eagles watch and wait.
Elders live in quiet hope.

Our arms hold the reflection –
a surface of untouched light.
Roots in waters reach.
We truly see ourselves and weep.

With this prayer for the waters,
raise your voice and be heard.
Lift up life with life –
spirit is healing.

Cristina M. R. Norcross
Copyright 2010

Saturday, June 26, 2010

EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT! Poetry Reading and Art Exhibition at the Oconomowoc Arts Center on Saturday, October 16, 2010

One Vision: A Fusion of Art and Poetry in Lake Country
(Sponsored by the Pewaukee Area Arts Council)
Co-editors and Co-hosts: Cristina Norcross and Liz Rhodebeck

Poetry Reading and Art Exhibition at the Oconomowoc Arts Center

Saturday, October 16, 2010 / 7pm Poetry Reading and Art Show



(Special Note: One Vision logo designed by visual artist Anne Raskopf. Anne was one of the ten artists on last year's project.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS! Calling All Artists and Poets in Lake Country, WI

Call for Submissions
(February 15 – April 15, 2010)

One Vision: A Fusion of Art and Poetry in Lake Country

We are seeking to help promote the creative works of visual artists and writers in the Lake Country community by creating a project of collaborative, ekphrastic art (Ekphrasis: poetry inspired by art - the conversation between two mediums of art). We will organize visual artists and poets into 15 compatible pairs. Each creative pair will have 2-3 months to work together to create 1 visual artwork and 1 poem. The artist and poet can come up with a theme together, the artist may offer up an original work for the poet to write about, or the poet may have a poem they wish to offer for inspiration to the artist.

There is a two-part scope to the project, One Vision: A Fusion of Art and Poetry in Lake Country, which is sponsored by PAAC (The Pewaukee Area Arts Council). Last year’s first project show (2009) at The Raven Gallery in Pewaukee was a wonderful success. This year there will be a combined art show and poetry reading at the Oconomowoc Arts Center on October 16, 2010, featuring the completed ekphrastic works of each artistic team. For each year, we will produce sets of fine art/poetry note cards to be sold as a fundraiser for PAAC. There is also a proposed anthology of Lake Country artists and poets after the 3rd project year (publication date to be determined), offering the opportunity for wide exposure for all contributors.

Liz Rhodebeck and Cristina Norcross will be co-editors of the book project and judges for the poetry submissions. Dint Sweitzer will be this year’s guest art advisor for art submissions.

Call for Submissions: February 15 – April 15, 2010

Editorial Reading Period: all candidates will be notified by June 1, 2010 about final selections for the project.

For a complete list of submission guidelines, where to send sample works and to download an official application form, please go to the PAAC (Pewaukee Area Arts Council) website:

For examples of ekphrastic poetry, some helpful websites are: and

Those who either live or work in Lake Country are welcome to submit. Lake Country is defined by communities which feed into the following high school districts:

Arrowhead HS
Kettle Moraine HS
Pewaukee HS
Oconomowoc HS

(NOTE: This year we have expanded eligibility to include a limited number of applicants from outside the Lake Country area. However, other applicants must be residents of or work in Waukesha County.)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Taking Poetry to the Next Level ~ Multi-Media: Listen to and Watch My Latest Poems

Watch a multi-media film featuring my poem, "Why I Love You," from the book Unsung Love Songs. This film was created by artist, Jennifer S. Peña, and provides the viewer with a voice recording of my poem, a musical background and images that float across the screen.

Check it out by clicking HERE.

Why I Love You … in 35 Words

Breath, beyond which my hands extend,
is where you live.

Only you are safe,
when my moods mingle with cloudbursts.

Your acoustic guitar fills the house with music,
leaving no corner without joy’s pure sound.

Cristina M. R. Norcross
(from the book Unsung Love Songs, Feb. 2010)
Copyright 2009

Listen to my poem "Waiting to Swim" right now! Click HERE

Waiting to Swim

The hotel room is empty,
save for our mess of clothes.
You are already deep in conference.
I can no longer keep the cleaning ladies at bay,
so I gather up solo essentials
and take my place by the concrete pool.

The days are hot and open in The Bahamas –
spread out like white flames on wheat.
I imagine your pen scratching paper,
while I read –
adjusting my shades
and this unforgiving bathing suit.

There is no escaping the floor to ceiling fish tank.
Marine life follows me through the lobby –
my pacing in time with aquatic circles.
Night settles with quiet steps.
The door opens,
and our solitary days join
into a jagged puzzle
of business and vacation.

Cristina M. R. Norcross
Copyright 2009
Unsung Love Songs (Forthcoming, Feb. 2010)

Watch words bounce and glide as meaning finds its focus in the short visual clip featuring my poem "The Red Drum" from the book of the same title. Film created by John Norcross.

Click HERE

The Red Drum
(Inspired by the writing of Stanley Kunitz)

Your heart – a red drum.
Taut leather bound
to the infinite shape of a circle,
seeks the music of other beating hearts.

Sound changes,
when a strong wind blows,
when the leather is rain-soaked,
when the sun makes the circle
jump into the light.

“I made this,”
says the drum.
Dreams take shape in the air,
with each, bellowing note.
“Now change it by living,”
says the drum’s stick.
Sing a new song.
“Truth –
Of thee I sing.”

Many more layers of change
bring syncopated rhythms,
ballads of longing,
and newly discovered voices.

Your heart is a red drum –
now crimson with passion,
tomorrow the sun makes it pink –
a tender, summer rose.
Sing your transformation to the world.
Beat the drum.
Beat the drum.
Beat the drum.

Cristina M. R. Norcross
Copyright 2008
The Red Drum (Nov. 2008)