Monday, July 20, 2015

Site Notice

I have stopped posting to this site with respect to my use of the Poet Tarot Cards. I continue to use them on a routine basis to prompt more in-depth exploration into my creative pursuits. I may at times report on them to some degree on my regular blog site or my official web page, but they will not follow the routine that I had established for over a year.

These Tarot Cards are a unique creation in themselves. If interested in them, you can obtain them from Two Sylvias Press.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Vol 2 NO 4 - Find Your Tribe

I suppose it would be hard think of  writing poetry without the existence of some community. Unless we are reclusive writers who show no one our work and shove it away inside a drawer.

The Three of Muses came out of the deck to me today and I have noticed that she is not a recluse. In fact, she seems to be a very social creature. 

Unless we are hiding our work, then there must be people who at some point will witness it. I believe the muse interested in our well being as poets than the broader audiences to our work. 

The muse is about all things creative. Encouragement, inspiration, commitment, things like these that support us in our work. The muse is telling me that poets need to find their tribe. Find people, peers that share the same fears, same desires, same obstacles to their art. But above all these persons should be about encouragement.

When you are in a rut, you need someone who was maybe there last month but pushed through. You need someone who can reinforce a positive work ethic. Someone who has a vision that is broad enough to encompass others, a tribe of poets.

This tribe or circle of other poet/artists could be of support in many ways. For example:

  • form critique groups
  • cooperative writing days or smaller periods of time
  • an online network or forum
  • conduct classes or workshops to share the craft
  • support others by showing up for readings
  • even contact with artists in other disciplines - painting, music, photographer...
  • share victories both small and large (poem published in a journal or publication of a whole collection) 
I'm also feeling that  people in your tribe must be positive influences. Such support is a counter balance to the inclination we all have to get down when the going is tough. Publication dry spell, writers block, they happen to everyone. The tribe can become our antidote to restore our artistic work to health. 

Think about who you interact with. Think about what you can give to that community. The group has to be about encouragement and support. Taking care of each other because that is what tribe do. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Vol 2 No 3 - Ace of Quills - Get A Grip on Your Creativity

Once again, the Quill suit has come up for a second time in a row.  I'm hearing the word new. Maybe new project or new commitment. 

Presently I have some ongoing projects that I don't devote enough focused time to keep the excitement going. I tend to drift between projects. I'm not sure that is such a bad thing as long as I have a scripted road map to get where I want to be going. I need more focus, less procrastination. Yes, probably less Facebook and twitter.

I'm pretty sure the planner is my friend. There are periods of my life that I have lived by the planner. I think I rebelled at some point and was less committed to detail planning.

My regular job is somewhat crisis driven and I use a planner in conjunction with it, but I also get frustrated that I situations do not allow me to always work within the structure of a well planned day.

My writing, on the other hand, could work perhaps better scripted. It could (if I insist) help
eliminate many of the time grabs that often make my writing sessions much more lackadaisical. (a word that makes me feel like a lazy writer)

I'm thinking that perhaps less spontaneous use of social media would mean less interfering with any creative sparks or momentum that I otherwise would be able to build on.  I'm thinking that Ace of Quills is one smart girl.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Vol. 2 No. 2 - Six of Quills - Sharing the Good Times

I'm late posting this, but on Sunday I drew a new card from the Poet Tarot deck. The card was the Six of Quills. You might note the card on the left has a lady standing in what appears to be a trophy cup.

I think what this lady is saying to us is that in our creativity we all need to seek victories in all sizes. It could be publication in an online venue or it might be scoring an acceptance for your work in one of your very favorite print journals. It could be a contest or the publication of a full collection of poetry. When we have these victories no matter the size, we can encourage others by sharing what has been achieved. Not in a gloating manner but in such a way that others in the community can celebrate with you and benefit from the encouragement of success.

I honestly have never been jealous over another writer's success. I'm all too into celebrating their achievement. It also reminds me that those milestones are real and can happen to others. How frustrating would it be if every poet was busy writing and submitting and no one you knew ever had work published. You would soon feel the whole process was feudal.  You efforts would seem worthless and you might well convince yourself to quit.

I don't think the Six of Quills wants us to gloat, but I do believe she wants us to share the good news. I have known people in other walks of life that are pretty self-centered but thankfully at least among the poets I know, this seems to be a rarity.  The day I get bent out of shape over someone's good news related to their poetry is the day I need to walk away from writing it.

Obviously the Six of Quills values our writing communities as she sees it important for us to both example and encouragement. This takes me back to last week and the Seven of Mentors. Since drawing that card I have been contemplating attempting to put together a work-shopping group to share work on a routine basis. I'm mulling over persons to approaching about this. It is an ongoing result of the last card I drew.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Vol. 2 No. 1 - Seven of Mentors - Growing without killing your unique voice.

So following a three week spring break from my weekly selection of Poet Tarot Cards - I'm back with the start of a second year of examination and thoughts resulting from the random drawing of  a card from the Poet Tarot deck each week.

The first card is a suit card from the Mentors. It's a Seven of Mentors and I think the keys remind me that there are many doors one can go through in the path to improving their writing. Perhaps the spider is telling me to beware of some of the door or that some of the doors may lead to challenging paths.  I feel like the skeletal figure in a dress is perhaps my guide.

Have you ever written in a vacuum? I mean not just written in solitude, I think most of us do that often.  But written work and shown it to no one?  Not even rewrites?  I think that would be writing in a vacuum. You just write and it's there and nothing happens. And maybe that's what you want.

But for your writing voice to enter the world, in print or at readings, you want your writing skills and your creativity to come together at an apex.

I'm in the process of exploring a new writing group (small in size) to workshop work.  So maybe this card is providing me some valuable thoughts about how this might work and benefit or not one's work.  Three things coming to me and they are:

  1. Knowing when to accept and reject feedback
  2. Avoid over-compensating your own voice for that of another successful writer
  3. Be genuine 
In coaching, work-shopping, or sharing material for peer feedback in any way, staying open to the thoughts and experiences of others can surely benefit my work. Balance I think is critical. Knowing when make changes and when not to. Knowing what you can do to improve without sacrificing the uniqueness of your own writing. 

The Seven of Mentors seems to be reminding me that there are things we can do to better our self and our own work. They should be used to enhance our art - not dilute our unique voice.  

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Week 57 - 58 - and 59 A Spring Break See you April 26th

I decided after 56 consecutive weeks of using my Poet Tarot Cards as a companion to my creative work to take a break. For one think, I was coming up on the AWP Conference in Minneapolis and I had a lot on my mind. I wanted to focus on the event itself.  Arriving back in town on Sunday the 12th felt I needed a week to decompress. AWP provided me with a lot to think about and I brought home an enormous amount of new reading as well.

So, after just over a year dedicated Traot generated perspective on art/creativity - I have taken a bit of a spring break. After 56 consecutive weeks, I don't think that is too much to ask.  But I will be back next Sunday to draw another card and seek inner guidance. So check back on Sunday the 26th when I will hit the deck again in examining greater insight to the creative process in connection to my poetry and writing in general.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Week 56: Seven of Letterpresses, - Creativity Has It's Own Clock

This week I drew from the Poet Tarot deck a suite card from the Letterpress series. The Letterpresses focus upon completion.  I don't know about you but this is a scary topic for me.

I suppose the discomfort or fear that comes with any conversation related to finishing any type of art project, including writing is that somehow getting said project completed is not always on our own schedule.

One of my favorite issues of Poets and Writers that comes out each year is the one with the debut writers. I think usually there is a dozen writers that have made their mark during the current year with a first major manuscript published. What I like about the issue is that  it will have a short bio and then some information about the length of time it took to complete the work, but that is not all, how many times was it sent out before it was selected. There are exceptions but so many of these  are in fact years in the making. I suppose if there is any comfort in these bios, it is that these people were generally not an overnight success.

Am I glad that it often takes so long? Of course not. But the truth also provides some comfort because if everyone was publishing overnight then of course I would be concerned that I was an aberration and that would be particularly discouraging.

The Seven of Letterpresses is clearly wanting to keep me focused on the norm. That is that from  first conception until a piece of artwork or a poem or a collection of poems is completed takes time and we are best to not get too impatient. Any successes seem to be tied to a methodical work. Allowing the process to move itself forward, but knowing at the same time it will not advance at any certain pace, but at varied stages, The writer's clock ticks at a pace that only it can set. The only control that is left to us it that if we stop the project stops was well.