On Saying “No” & November Writing

  • Rings a bell?

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

  • Do you keep a diary?

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

 

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All Saints’ Day

  • A message for the Pope:

“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.

Amen.

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

Poetry: Write It & Get Paid, Read It & Get Enchanted, Analyze It (Or Not)

"A Montrouge"–Rosa La Rouge

  • 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.

The “Catcher Cult”, or the Ambiguity of a Familiar Quote

Children Playing Ball (Enfants jouant à la balle)

“Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody’s around – nobody big, I mean – except me. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff – I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it’s crazy, but that’s the only thing I’d really like to be.”
― J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

These great lines pull you in, and you cannot help thinking: Holden really knows something, maybe even the meaning of it all, and yes, wouldn’t it be nice to be like him, to be the catcher in the rye?

Perhaps, we already are like Holden, even if we don’t fully realize it.

“Brad Gooch, the author of Flannery: A Life of Flannery O’Connor, argues that O’Connor’s issue with Holden Caulfield is “the naiveté of his savior complex.” … Holden is at the center of his own world, and everything revolves around him. … Under the edgy surface of his coolness, Holden is a selfish boy who can’t see himself as he really is.”

So, what is the iconic quote from “The Catcher” about?

  • A selfless desire to serve others?
  • Man’s selfish refusal to acknowledge his own brokenness?
  • The dangers of human beings positioning themselves as saviors?

All of the above?

What does Salinger say to you?

Share in the comments. And if you’ve enjoyed the post, do press “like” and “share” buttons — thank you.

 

Image: Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Children Playing Ball (Enfants jouant à la balle), c. 1900. Lithograph in color on laid paper, Overall: 28 7/8 x 24 in. (73.3 x 60.9 cm)Image: 23 5/8 x 20 1/16 in. (60 x 51 cm). BF493. Public Domain.

 

On the Birth of a Song, Originality, & Authority

Houses and Figure

  • “…the song — it’s not important that anybody knows the genesis of it, because if the language comes from that passionate resource, it will be able to embrace all passionate activity.”  Leonard Cohen, CBC Radio Interview (August 26, 1995).

If you do want to know the genesis of “Dance Me To The End Of Love”  here it is.

  • “Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.” 

 — C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

  • Does your website have DA (domain authority)? Find out using this free tool. Don’t get discouraged if your DA is low, or even absent — the new year has just begun! Among the factors that increase DA (and chances of Google finding you) is your site’s age. Keep at it.

Image credit: Vincent van Gogh. Houses and Figure, 1890. Oil on canvas, Overall: 20 1/2 x 15 15/16 in. (52 x 40.5 cm). BF136. Public Domain.

On Poem Sequences , Poetic Xenia, & “Laughter & Smile”

 

Girl with Pink Bonnet (Jeune fille au chapeau rose)

Attention, poets! Have you written, and published, poems that form a sequence when brought together? You might be eligible for the $20,000 Four Quartets Prize. No entry fee. Deadline: December 22, 2017. Submit.

“…poetry is and has been, from its beginnings, not about being cool or mysterious or sad or “deep,” but about the health of the human spirit, which cannot be healthy without xenia (hospitality), cannot be healthy when it denies the inner life, or the outer life, cannot be healthy when it denies the past, or the present, or the future, when it denies life, or death, the visible, or the invisible. The healthy soul, like the gracious host, must welcome every stranger.” — Read Ryan Wilson’s “How To Think Like a Poet”

A free monthly photo contest from childphotocompetition.com. This month’s theme is “Laughter & Smile” — submit your black and white, and color photos, and win!

 

Image: Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Girl with Pink Bonnet (Jeune fille au chapeau rose), 1894. Oil on canvas, Overall: 16 5/16 x 13 in. (41.5 x 33 cm). BF118. Public Domain.

 

On $58K for Travel & Poetry, Messy Fun, & What to Translate

Attention, American-born poets. Would you like to travel for a year, write poetry, and receive $58K? Check out the details on Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship.

“Messy Fun.” Child Photo Competition’s Free Monthly Photo Contest is OPEN FOR SUBMISSIONS, but HURRY: deadline Sept. 30th. Send your pics of “kids playing with mud, food, and everything that makes a mess.”

“…I think there’s value in translating all kinds of things –really popular literature, things that have something to say that might be what I call a brave failure, a book that is trying to do so many things, but it might not quite get there. What it’s doing is important, even if it’s not a literary masterpiece to stand aside all others.” — Dr. Karen Emmerich

 

 

On Q&A, Writing Dilemma, & Things as They Are

Elise Holland, editor of 2 Elizabeths, a short fiction and poetry publication, shares five of the most frequent questions she’s asked. See the questions, and answers.

To write or not to write by hand? Are you a laptop person, or a “fountain pen and leather-wrap journal” person? See/join a discussion.

“And when the flood waters come, and all pretenses are washed away, we’re left with how things are supposed to work, how they naturally are. And it’s a beautiful sight.”