‘Whatever anyone talked about, and there was a lot of talking, you couldn’t tell anyone that what he was saying was wrong. You couldn’t tell anyone that. You had to say, “Yes, that’s right.” To say “no” was not allowed — death. And those folks wouldn’t stop saying, “Freedom.” How strange.‘
— K.A. Korovin, a famous Russian artist; a diary entry on the post-revolutionary Russia
Might be a neat idea for the writing month of November — starting a diary. Or, if you feel like socializing, check out ten online writing communities recommended by Writer’s Digest.
Whichever writing activity you choose — spring into action, and enjoy!
Image: K.A. Korovin, “Spring” 1917, public domain
- Think of deleting your Blogger blog?
Think again. According to Adam of Too Clever By Half, there’re at least four reasons why you shouldn’t do it. Luckily, if you’re tired of your Blogger blog, don’t want to see it, etc., you have a much better option than hitting the “delete” button.
- It’s November — are you writing?
Whether you’re on Blogger, WordPress..whether you blog or not, if you’re a writer, chances are you’ve set some daring writing goals for November. That’s great.
However…if you feel that NaNoWriMo isn’t your thing — you aren’t alone. It’s okay to be a slow writer. Some of them are doing quite well. Heed what Anne R. Allen has to say.
Do what feels right, and write.
Image: Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Landscape (Paysage), c. 1900–1905. Oil on canvas, Overall: 8 x 12 1/4 in. (20.3 x 31.1 cm). BF236. Public Domain.
“You cannot with a single stroke wipe out all of the sins people in general are committing within the Christian religion, especially within the clerical order, over whom you should be even more watchful. But you certainly can and are obligated to do it, and if you don’t, you would have it on your conscience. …
Do you know what will happen to you if you don’t set things right by doing what you can? God wants you to reform his bride completely; he doesn’t want her to be leprous any longer. If your holiness does not do all you can about this — because God has appointed you and given you such dignity for no other purposes — God will do it himself by using all sorts of troubles.”
— Saint Catherine of Siena writing to Pope Urban VI in 1380.
Those who should be in the forefront of fighting for the Church and her values — heed the warning.
- And here’s Saint Catherine’s message for everyone:
“Start being brave about everything. Drive out darkness and spread light. Don’ look at your weaknesses. Realize instead that in Christ crucified you can do everything.”
Never despair. Never give up your faith. Never let your soul slumber.
Image: painting by Fra Angelico, 15th century, public domain
- Are you a poet? Read the following statements:
“A day in the life can consist of all-day writing, touring, or, perhaps unprecedented for a poet, time in the office with her team to oversee operations and manage projects.
Building their own mini brands, poets can harness e-commerce to supplement their income.”
- Did this make you flinch? Chances are you aren’t a wealthy poet.
Most likely, not a Rupi Kaur’s fan. You probably don’t think that Instagram saved poetry. You might very well doubt that poetry needed saving in the first place.
“But poetry, like any other art, must adapt to the world changing around it.” Must it? Hmm… I wonder.
- Don’t despair. You are not alone.
“…the man who has often been called the greatest poet of the 20th century struggled to make ends meet. He accepted money from relatives to buy underwear and pajamas, and anxiety over his finances drove him to breakdowns.”
His name is T.S. Eliot.
Just keep writing poetry.
Image: Frans Hals. Portrait of a Man Holding a Watch, 1643. Oil on canvas, Overall: 32 1/2 x 26 1/4 in. (82.6 x 66.7 cm). BF262. Public Domain.
“A good poem is a delight to read because it sparks the imagination and elicits a response from the reader–a chuckle, a groan, a sigh, an epiphany. The conciseness of poetry, especially when combined with an engaging rhyme and meter, can make just about any topic memorable.”
Listen to Heidi Roemer–author of many poetry picture books and more than 400 poems published in various children’s magazines–talk about poetry, the importance of reading it, writing it, and teaching it to young children.
Get inspired, and start creating your own “Child’s Garden of Verses.”
And don’t forget to mix a bit of mystery in. Steer clear of the–often encouraged–“quantifiable process of demystification.” It’s okay to leave poems unsolved.
Image: Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Promenade (La Promenade), c. 1906. Oil on canvas, Overall: 64 3/4 x 50 15/16 in. (164.5 x 129.4 cm). BF571. Public Domain.
- Do you write formal poetry?
You might want to start putting together your submission to Measure Review.
Guided by the editorial vision of Ashley Anna McHugh, Measure Review, an online magazine of formal poetry, will advance the legacy of Measure.
So, if you happen to write a sonnet or two, don’t be in a hurry to publish them on your blog — save them until January, 2019. It’ll be here before you know it.
Love? Life? The universe? You might be doing it all wrong. Check your skin color.
If it’s white, you should–according to Ms. Angela Pelster-Wiebe–write about white supremacy. Why? Because “those who benefit from racism (that’s you) should be on the front lines fighting it.”
Ms. Pelster-Wiebe is apparently a successful author, “a white woman writing about the toxic inheritance of white supremacy.” Hmm..who’s benefiting from racism now?
You might want to follow in Ms. Pelster-Wiebe’s footsteps and start apologizing in writing for being born white — it’s not unlikely that you’ll achieve publication and success.
The alternative is to have respect for yourself and others, and very likely remain unpublished and unknown. (There’s always self-publishing, though.)
“…authors of all types could simply write what they would like to write because they have not contributed to white supremacy and are in no way responsible for the previous bad actions of white people to which they did not contribute.”
Now go write a love poem.
Image: Charles Demuth. In Vaudeville: Two Acrobat-Jugglers, 1916. Watercolor and graphite on wove paper, Overall: 11 3/16 x 8 in. (28.4 x 20.3 cm). BF602. Public Domain.
- You cannot make money writing poetry, can you?
Erica Verrillo has compiled a list of “twenty noteworthy publications that pay in the professional range for poetry. Most of these also accept fiction and creative nonfiction, and many are more than happy to nominate accepted poems for prizes.”
- What’s the point of reading a poem?
‘The point of reading a poem is not to try to “solve” it. Still, that quantifiable process of demystification is precisely what teachers are encouraged to teach students, often in lieu of curating a powerful experience through literature.’ (Andrew Simmons, The Atlantic, 2014)
Here’s more on how to read poetry: “curious wonder” vs. “critical judgement.”
Image: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. “A Montrouge”–Rosa La Rouge, 1886–1887. Oil on canvas, Overall: 28 3/8 x 19 1/8 in. (72.1 x 48.6 cm). BF263. Public Domain.
- Two books that include police brutality and racism as themes have drawn attention to a suburban Charleston, South Carolina high school.
The Hate U Give (HarperCollins, 2017) by Angie Thomas and All American Boys (Simon & Schuster, 2015) by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely are two out of four books that comprise a summer reading list for Wando High School students.
The Fraternal Order of Police has a problem with the list, and the police organization president, John Blackmon has called for The Hate U Give and All American Boys to be dropped.
In the guild’s open letter to the police group, executive director Mary Rasenberger writes, “This interference–which is clearly based on the content of the books in question–must stop.
It is a blatant violation of students’ first amendment rights and an improper attempt at censorship by law-enforcement officials.”
Find out why The Fraternal Order of Police is in fact free “to support or oppose just about anything they desire.”
Or why a “First Amendment infringement argument could be made by or on behalf of the students” in this case.
“Just one more thing” (© Columbo):
Why aren’t there any classics on the reading list?
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Image: Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Leaving the Conservatory (La Sortie du conservatoire), 1876–1877. Oil on canvas, Overall: 73 13/16 x 46 1/4 in. (187.5 x 117.5 cm). BF862. Public Domain.
The romantic in you might object to this very earthly term. However, unless you don’t care about establishing a connection with readers, or becoming a writer that writes for a living — you should understand what an author brand means.
Think about two-three well known writers. Choose your favorite ones. What is the first thing that comes to your mind? What do you feel when you think about these writers and their books?
“The sum total of these impressions can be thought of as the author brand each writer has cultivated.”
Author branding expert Dave Chesson advocates for “sharing your authentic personality and motivation with your readers.” Sure, your readers’ knowledge of you as a living breathing person may help establish trust.
Beware of revealing too much, though, especially when it comes to social media. Author Jeff Somers warns,
“Do not, under any circumstances, believe for a moment that your social media should actually represent you as a person. You should have a persona and a brand that you control and can shape it at will.”
What would you rather share: your personality, or your persona? Are you tired of all this “author-brand-and-social-media-domination” stuff? Would you prefer to just write?
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Image: Ernest Lawson. Swimming Hole, c. 1910. Oil on canvas, Overall: 39 7/8 x 50 in. (101.3 x 127 cm). BF496. Public Domain.
- ‘”Cardinal Timothy Dolan has defended the controversial 2018 Met Gala (“Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination”) as “a celebration of what we call the evangelization of culture.”
“I did not find the spirit of the evening to be offensive or blasphemous at all,” said the cardinal.
- ‘“Flesh-flashing” outfits adorned with Christian symbols’ — evangelization of culture?
“To take those symbols, hard won by the generations of artists and thinkers who built up Christendom on the foundations of the pagan world and reduce them to accesories to surgically-augmented body parts” — that’s not blasphemous? Not offensive?
- The very word “imagination” in today’s predominantly secular world suggests a creation of the mind, an idealized poetic creation that has nothing to do with faith.
The Catholic imagination only really exists where it expresses, affirms, conforms to sacramental reality and dogmatic truth.
- Maybe someday the celebrities that disgraced themselves at the Gala will come to understand the difference between Catholic imagination and its counterfeit.
What’s far more important is that people who should know the difference — permit, and promote the secularization of the Church.
Those who should be in the forefront of fighting for the Church and her values — choose instead to appease Hollywood elite.
- ‘They err who say “the world is turning pagan again.” Would that it were! The truth is that we are falling into a much worse state.’
C.S. Lewis wrote this in March, 1953. And in September of the same year elaborated:
‘For no one returns from Christianity but into a worse state: the difference between a pagan and apostate is the difference between and unmarried woman and an adulteress. For faith perfects nature but faith lost corrupts nature. Therefore many men of our time have lost not only the supernatural light but also the natural light which pagans possessed.’ (from The Latin Letters of C.S. Lewis: C.S. Lewis and Don Giovanni Calabria)
Sixty five years later we are still in dire need of light.
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Image: Gerard David. Crucifixion with the Virgin, Saint John, and the Magdalene, c. 1485. Oil on panel, Overall: 25 7/8 x 16 5/8 in. (65.7 x 42.2 cm). BF123. Public Domain.