Sunday, February 2, 2020

Poem: Pronunciation

As a child, I was perhaps a little more self righteous and indignant than I am now. The more people I meet, the more mistakes I make, the more I come to understand how we’re all just people. I’m not saying we should just forget every mistake, but if we take the time to try to understand, it can make relationships easier.

Take names for instance.

I have a unique one: Azelyn. No, not the lion as I’ve said countless times before and will say countless times again. Many people have trouble pronouncing or spelling it. It’s Az-lin for those wondering, and the spelling is actually an alternate spelling to its Hebrew origins, Aslin (meaning: spared by the Lord). See, it’s not like the Turkish Aslan (meaning: lion), which I’ve always pronounce Ass-lan. Yet I’ve been called many names from Aslind to Evelyn to Az. Don’t you dare with that last one. I am not a preposition.

At my latest job, I’m working with new kids and adults on a weekly basis. I meet people from across the world and there are. So. Many. Different. Names. The struggle is real. But I try to say them all. I try really hard. Maybe I don’t always get it right, and when that happens, I’ll ask for the right pronunciation. And I’ll ask again. Maybe again. Because I know how hearing somebody say your name right, even if it’s the third attempt, can make you feel welcome.


Pronunciation

I don’t know this word.
My tongue trips over
                                    the pronunciation
one more time,
but what’s really frustrating
are the words I
                                    know
but can’t say right.

Why is it so hard?

As a child I found
my nose wrinkle at the scent
                        of my name
said wrong
                        again
                                    and again
and again.

Didn’t they hear me?

Today I handle new names
like an octopus wrangler
            tentative
                        touching the syllables
and shrinking back a bit
            but always ready
to try again.

How do you spell that?

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Let’s chat! What did you think of the poem? Any of my readers have a unique or difficult-to-spell-or-say name?

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Taking a Step Back from Blogging

Instead of adding a bunch of stuff to my blog this year, I’m actually going to be taking a step back. I’d like to focus less on my blog and a little more on my stories. That’s not to say that I won’t be posting at all. It will just be a little less regular. At least until I get back into the swing of writing my novel or decide I’m ready to pick up regular posts again.

That being said, I still have some exciting things in the works!


Novel Update: Origami Swan


I’ve had some setbacks with querying, but that is to be expected. I’m may put a hold on it for a while to do some more rewrites before I have at it again. I may not. We shall see!

But one way or another, this puppy is getting published. Rest assured, my dear readers. My next novel is coming. It may not be soon, but it’s coming!

Word Storm Monthly: Poetry


I like poems, so I’d like to continue sharing some with you. Seeing as my audio poems weren’t particularly popular, I won’t be keeping up with them. (*taps glass* Is anybody out there?) You can still listen to the previous ones on my Poetry page.


Wanted: Character Names



I’m seriously struggling with one character’s last name in my latest sci-fi novel. I thought I’d be fine with what I gave him seeing as I hardly ever use last names, but as it turns out, he likes to call everybody by their last name, so everybody uses his. Figures. If you know any good Italian last names for a sci-fi character who is former military, I’m open to suggestions.

Coming Soon: Web Comics!


Guys, be warned, I am not an artist. I can appreciate a good piece, but I’m more skilled with creating pictures via words.

But I’ve had a comic idea in the making for some years now, and since I have an awesome art laptop, I figured it would be fun to give my idea a go! I’m not sure how long it will last, or where I’ll be putting it up, but I’ll keep you updated.

In the meantime, enjoy a sneak peak!




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Let’s chat! What are some of your goals for the New Year? Have any large projects planned? How about reading goals?

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Emotion and Writing

I’m not here to talk about mood or how to set the tone for a story, both of which are important aspects but not what I’m going to focus on today. Rather, I want to talk about emotion and how it influences writing and vice versa. Often times, we as readers talk a lot about how a book affected us on an emotional level, but I haven’t seen much of that for the writer’s side. It could be an interesting psychological study. Of course, there are so many aspects, but I’m just going to focus on three main points that I have found in my writing.


Releasing Emotion


Of all the emotions that go into writing, whether it’s humor and whimsy or heartache and frustration, this is probably the most fun. (If fun is the right word? Is putting sorrow or pain into writing fun?) Most meaningful. Yeah, let’s go with that.

When I’m releasing my emotions and weaving them into my words it’s typically during the first draft. I may use this technique during subsequent drafts as well, particularly when it comes to rewriting, but for the most part, it occurs during the first. I focus on a particular mood I want the scene to convey, I pick a song that goes along with that mood, and then I get down to writing.

It’s very therapeutic actually. I often feel better once I’m done.

Evoking Emotion


On the flip side, emotions don’t always come from me and flow into my story. Sometimes, they come from my story and affect me, and not usually in a good way. This usually occurs when I’m working on the first or second drafts, and it usually hits near the turning point or the climax when things are really starting to get dark. It happens when my characters are abused or killed off.

Which is part of the reason I’m writing this blog post instead of working on my novel. I reached the turning point in my novel and found myself depressed for most of the day. I didn’t want to do anything. So my sister dragged me off to volunteer at the animal shelter just like I did with her the previous day, and I had some doggo therapy. All the kisses! And a fluffy somebody chewed on my arm.

Sure, there are other factors that go into depression, but when my writing happens to be one of them, I have to take a step back.

Adding Emotion


This part usually comes in the second draft and onward. You know the part where the critique partner looks at the story and says, “I just don’t see any emotion here.” That’s when I have to take a step back and reevaluate my work. This usually goes a little something like this:

What do you mean there’s no emotion?

I poured my heart into this!

ARGH! *claws eyes out but not really*

Then, after sufficiently complaining, I do a little research, brushing up on blog posts or pursuing some writing books. Then I get to rewriting. I often try to focus more on showing versus telling emotions, so they require me to dig a little deeper into the story, but it’s always a worthwhile exercise.

Let’s chat! Fellow writers, what are some of the ways you put emotion into your writing? When does your story influence you the most? Readers, when you do get the most emotion from reading?

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Sunday, January 12, 2020

Poem: Homesick

People don’t often talk about reverse culture shock. But it’s been on my mind for the past several months. Since moving back to the United States from Europe, I’m still learning how to readjust. If I’m completely honest, my first impression of coming back was mostly negative for various reasons.

First off, many of the buildings in the US are just plain ugly, especially compared to the Bavarian-style structures I’m used to seeing everyday. Sorry, not sorry, America.

Then there’s the over friendliness. If I’m going out grocery shopping, people want to talk to me for some reason. I just want my apples, so please, please leave me alone. One stranger even tried to offer me a job when I just wanted to go through the checkout line, and I actually enjoy my current job, thank you very much. (Leave me alone!) I miss the blunt, honest fashion in Germany where people mind their own business.

I am learning to adjust though. I like my house, and I’m super excited that I can do whatever I want to the garden come spring! It’s a huge garden. And did I mention my job is awesome? The other day, I had a kid fold me a little paper crane, and it was the sweetest thing.


Enjoy my poems from 2019? Be sure to vote for your favorites here or comment below! Categories include your favorite, best imagery, and most heartfelt.

Update (14 Jan. 2020): Vote for my poem "When I was Little" on Little Infinite.


Homesick

Is it possible to get homesick
for a place I’ve never been?
To hear the hollow echo in the pit of my heart
as the revelation settles in,
covering my arteries like a coating of dust
speck by speck
—this realization that I’ve never truly belonged.

I miss the way the forests reclaimed the city,
and even though there was still smog,
I could bike to work through the woods.
I don’t like how now I look out the window
in this sticky refrigerated restaurant
and see a boxy convenient store, a cemetery, a street.
Is this what they call a view?

I laid in the grass beneath the blanket of sunshine
to escape the throngs of people
yet a lady still found me,
and asked me how I was.
Why are the people so nice here?
What do they want from me?

Ask me where I’m from one more time,
and I just might tell you—
I don’t know.

I don’t know anymore.

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Let’s chat! What did you think of the poem? Have you ever experienced culture shock or reverse culture shock? What was your favorite poem of mine from 2019?

Sunday, January 5, 2020

2020 Reading Resolutions

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2020!

I don’t know about you, but these have become one of my favorite posts to write, and I actually use them as reference points throughout the year. Last year I actually met my goal of book types, so I’m excited to be starting even more reading!

1 Book 700+ pages


I’m a huge overachiever.

On my To-Be-Read list:
  • Words of Radiance (Stormlight, book 2) by Brandon Sanderson—at 1,087 pages, I’m mainly putting this one off because The Way of Kings (Stormlight, book 1) was just so depressing, and I don’t want to see Kaladin or Dalinar hurt any more than they were!
  • The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas—at 1,276 pages this book made it to my TBR for reasons unknown. It’s been there at least since 2012.


I’m not going to read them both this year. Probably…

3 Classics


They’re classics for a reason, and I need a little extra motivation to check some out.

On my list:
  • From the Earth to the Moon and Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne
  • Great Expectations and A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  • The Sea Wolf by Jack London


5 Books from Places I’ve Been


I’ve been to so many places, so this should be interesting! The only problem is that it also makes me an intense critic. I didn’t like several books because I had been to certain places and they didn’t make me recall the setting. At all. So sad. I like it when settings are like a well-developed character!

On my list:
  • Nottingham by Nathan Makaryk
  • This Is Paradise: Stories by Kristiana Kahakauwila (Hawai’i)
  • The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke (Venice)
  • The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas (Paris)


5 Graphic Novels


I’m going to get a little specific with this category and count either a standalone or one from a series rather than the entire series. In other words, instead of reading five in a series and calling it done, I’ll have to pick up a new book to reach my goal. I don’t want my limit myself to only one series.

On my list:
  • Divinity by Matt Kindt
  • Erased by Kei Sanbe
  • A Silent Voice by Yoshitoki Oima
  • Wolf Children: Ame & Yuki by Mamoru Hosoda


Why yes, I enjoy Manga, thank you very much. And art. All the ART!

5 Novels in Verse


I like poetry, but I lean more toward novels in verse when it comes to poetry types. Something about the free verse and the narrative is just so entrancing!

On my list:
  • The Language of Fire: Joan of Arc Reimagined by Stephanie Hemphill
  • Toffee by Sarah Crossan
  • Unbound by Ann E. Burg


1 Book Published Before 1800


For some reason, I like to fight against this goal. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s the excitement of new releases or the subconscious idea that older books are much harder to read, which can be the case. But all the same, each time I pick up an older book, I find myself enjoying it more than I expected. So far anyway.

On my list:
  • Something old. I’ve never followed the ones I list here.


Total books: 20


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Let’s chat! What’s on your TBR for 2020? Do you have any particular goals? What books are you most looking forward to reading?