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On Writing … 


We artists are a funny group of people. The need to create is strong in us. The need to express whether it’s in art, writing, or music, it comes from within and what motivates this need is unique to each artist. 

Each creation has a part of our heart and soul in it. Then we send it out into the world to make friends. We’re like proud mamas showing photos of their children to anyone who will look. Waiting to hear the oohs and ahhs of the viewer to be reassured that our child is the most outstanding, special, beautiful, child the observer has ever seen. 

Then we hole up, forget the world for a time, and return to creating again. And, depending on the feedback we received, we either enter the creative process with zeal, or with trepidation. If the reactions were positive, we’re eager to begin again. If not, we try to figure out why, and improve on what was wrong. 

I started out as an artist. Drawing and painting. All the while an avid reader. As life passed, I learned to create in other areas such as homemade crafts, flower arranging, and finally turned to photography. The digital age had arrived, and I was learning new skills.

The funny thing about creating, sometimes, one area isn’t enough. I discovered that I also wanted to write. Writing I discovered, is another kettle of fish entirely. Photography was an easy transition from drawing and painting. Jumping from one medium to an entirely different one was rough.

With a photo, I could snap the shot, edit it, and show you almost immediately what I wanted you to see. With writing, this became a new challenge. How was I going to show you what was in my mind with just words?

Deciding what to write, how to write it was the first step. Should I write the next great American novel? No, too big an undertaking to start. I didn’t think I could write a short story either. I discovered micro poetry on Twitter and fell in love with it. The compact way it could say so much with, so few words intrigued me.

My micro poems were HORRIBLE! In fact, if they had a contest for such a thing, I’d have won hands down. I had shared them with a few friends and we laughed at how awful they were. I must admit though, deep down inside, I was heartbroken. These words and images were in my head and wanted to come out. 

Then a friend developed a blog where one could submit free verse poetry. I said I would help get it off the ground if she didn’t mind my horrible writing. This time, without the constraint of micro poetry, but being allowed the freedom to be as long as I liked, I wrote. Those first poems stand as some pretty bad writing. I leave them though, because that began the process of learning to write well and in my own style. 

The first thing I learned, was that writing what I know about is easiest, rings true and tends to be the best. So that is where I looked to for my poems. Being an observer of people, I also could tap into those observations and write about those. In my opinion, my best poems were and are, those that I’ve written about my childhood memories and observations of people I’ve met or know.

It’s not just enough to sit down and write. Even in poetry, whether it’s a micro poem or free verse, or more formally structured poem like a quatrain or sonnet. It must have structure, flow, rhythm. You must decide which words have power, which are weak. What image do you want the reader to have? How much description is too much? I had to grapple with these things. 

I had to learn to edit my work. I had to sit and re-read what I had written. Not once, twice, but over and over until I was sure it’s right. For me, use of tense was (and still is) always a problem. And the typos that auto correct doesn’t catch because you’ve spelled a word not just the right one. I’m not good at tedious tasks like this, but it was a necessary one.  

I learned there was a plus side, in editing if the sentence structure isn’t right, or doesn’t have a ‘flow’ to it, you can change it. But I had to be careful in changing it, I might partially leave the other sentence or repeat a phrase. 

Another thing, and I think is the most important thing, I learned and am still learning, is to sift through my writing. Whether it is poetry or prose, often less is more. Just like in anything you undertake, remember the fundamentals. I had a wonderful billiard instructor, Len, who would say to me, “Remember KISS, Keep It Simple Silly. When you’re struggling with your game, go back to your fundamentals. Your problem is there.” He was right, if my game was off, it was because I was poking not stroking, or my bridge hand wasn’t right, my stance was off, etc. 

This analogy came to mind when another mentor, regarding writing, told me the other day, that proficient writing is because basic is better than a tired old cliché or being trite. My billiards mentor would have said “You don’t need a lot of side English if you’re fundamentals are sound.” Which is the same thing. The best billiards players make it look easy, because their fundamentals are sound. Yes, they use side English when necessary, but, only if necessary.

I needed to take out unnecessary words, filler words. To refine the sentences down to their finest grain. Less is more … until it isn’t, I was told. For a person who loves to talk, this was and still is hard. 

Personal feelings are more difficult. I find showing my private, vulnerable side too raw yet. As to fiction, I’ve dipped my toe into it and am now actively working in that realm. It will be a while before I’ll be sharing it, but I am excited about this new avenue.

Why am I sharing this with you? Because I think, that writers, are the most unsung artists in our society. Not the best sellers, but the ones that are putting themselves out there who are far better than I am and receive little recognition. The next time you read one here at DTLAL or on Twitter, or somewhere else, please let them know how much you enjoyed their work. 

Your comment will be so appreciated, and you’ll never know just how much it goes to the heart of the writer. Who knows, you may inspire the next best seller or Great American Novel!

PHOTOS BY WILD THING
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Happy May!

 

Tis May and soon we celebrate the blessed Sabbat of Litha, also known as the Summer Solstice or Midsummer, which falls on Thursday, June 21, at 5:07 am this year and marks the onset of summer, at the time of the longest day. It is the point at which the life-giving Sun is at its most powerful. It is the exact opposite of the Winter Solstice.

 

It is the pause between the early crops of leaves, such as lettuce and nettles, and the harvest of fruits, root vegetables and grain. It’s a time to celebrate life and the abundance and beauty of earth. 

 

The days from now on will grow shorter just a bit each day. On this day, just like at Samhain, the veil is thinner. Thus, allowing for the ancestors to pass through. Also, the fae folk are abroad. Litha is known as the Festival of Aine or Queen of the Faeries. This time of the year is a time of great magickal power, requests for love, healing and prosperity are considered favorable. 

 

Eating Sunwheel cake, (yellow cake with yellow frosting) at Sunrise is how to start the day! I flavor mine with Lemon extract to give it zest! Celebrate by feasting, singing, dancing. Ringing our cauldron with flowers, gathering and drying herbs and as always, a bonfire burning for purification and energy. Giving away fire, sleeping away from home and neglecting animals are taboo during this time. This is also the time to cut for a wand as the trees are holding the greatest amount of light on this day. 

 

Symbols: Fire, Sun, Mistletoe, Oak trees, Bonfires, Summertime Flowers, Seashells, Faeries, 

 

Colors: White, Red, Maize Yellow, Golden Yellow, Green, Blue, Tan,

 

Herbs: Chamomile, Cinquefoil, Copal, Daisy, Fern, Carnation, Rose, Elder, Frankincense, Galangal, Heliotrope, Hemp, Honeysuckle, Ivy, Larkspur, Laurel, Lavender, Lemon, Lily, Mistletoe, Mugwort, Oak, Pine, Saffron, St. John’s Wort, Sandalwood, Thyme, Verbena, Vervain, Wisteria, Yarrow, Ylang-Ylang, (Herbs gathered on this day are extremely powerful)

 

Incense: Frankincense, Rose, Lavender, Lemongrass, Sandalwood, Verbena, Wisteria, Ylang-Ylang 

 

Stones: Emerald, Jade, Tiger’s Eye, Lapis Lazuli, Diamond (All Green Gems)

 

Foods: Fresh Fruits, Vegetables, Ham, Strawberries, 

 

Blessed Litha!

Wildly Yours,

Wild Thing

Goddess of the Cosmos, Queen of the Faeries, Mistress of the Dragons, Lady of the Mist

 

You can find my work at: 

 

https://www.photosbywildthing.com/

http://wild-thing.pixels.com/

https://www.facebook.com/photosbywildthing/

https://wildthing404.wordpress.com/

And follow me on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/wildthing4040/

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