Category Archives: #Reflections / Мисли

New Year Resolutions, Edition 2018

Hi there,
my friends and loyal subscribers, my favourite people in the world, my readers! That time of the year has come again, and it’s even perhaps already late for New Year Resolutions. Noooo, it’s not! It’s not. Cut the long story short, here are mine:

    new-year-resolutions-2013

    New Year Resolutions for 2018!

    1. Make the “Devastation of the Soul” poetry chapbook. I know exactly which poems will be at the core, so it shouldn’t be that difficult. I plan to be ready with this project by the end of February.
    2. Translate 13 horror stories from English to Bulgarian and make them into a book. Well, I can’t print the book obviously, or distribute it. What I intend is to have a full-length body of content just in case anyone would be interested to print. Why 13? Ah, I’m predictable. The perfect timing will be to translate one story per month and choose one month for a double score. Yet, I don’t believe in such evenness. Moreover, I’m making the chapbook during January and February, remember? So, let’s focus on getting the first six stories by the end of May, or early June, at the latest. No serious work during summer, dudes! My experience is adamant in this respect. Every single time I made plans for June-July-August, I failed. No need to get bitter on that. Just move the deadline 😉 This project should be accomplished around the end of November. It will coincide with the end of NaNoWriMo.
    3. And that brings me to my next resolution:

    4. November will be a month for poem-a-day writing, as will be April. I don’t plan to follow any particular prompts, but I’ll lay the foundations for two more chapbooks. I haven’t decided on the topics yet. This year, I will not revisit NaNoWriMo. Maybe next year 😉
    5. OK, moving on:

    6. I need help with this one. Some 5 years ago, I was thinking of writing very short poetic pieces to go with each of the Tarot Cards. Maybe just the Major Arcana, for the whole pack would become boring. If you want to see what those cards are, check this Wikipedia page. These past 6 months, however, a new idea dawned on me: write a short piece to go with the various cards used in the Dixit Board Game (To learn more about the game check their official page). I need your help, because I don’t believe it’s reasonable to think I can do both this coming year. So, which one? The deadline is my birthday, that is end of December. I plan to focus on this in the second part of the year. Let’s hope the general mood will be favourable.
    7. Now, to the less creative resolutions:

    8. I will do yoga once a week.
    9. I will continue my diet journal and scheme.
    10. I will see 5 new theatrical pieces and 3 new operas.
    11. I will blog once a week, at least.

    I think this is enough. Maybe it’s a good idea to add something about cooking skills or baking intentions, but you know the road to hell is paved with good intentions, so I won’t be tempted.

    Perhaps I should pin this post somewhere to get reminded of it and check my progress regularly. It’s so good to be back in this blog *hug*.

    Before you go, I’d like to remind you that I need your help with the 4th item in my list. Which one should it be: Tarot or Dixit?

Slowly Coming Back

Hello friends and Merry Christmas!

I have been away from this blog for such a long time, that I felt shy coming back. I thought I didn’t own the place anymore. I was worried I won’t be able to clean all the weeds from this garden. But, the place is still mine, albeit somewhat untidy and dispopulated, so I made a few changes, picked up a new theme, and started writing poetry again.

Part of my reason for staying away lies in the theme I’d chosen – magazine look. I wanted to be attractive, and that always means more visual, more pictures. No one wants to read walls of text. Everyone goes for the picture. Well, that made it too hard for me. I had to find an appropriate pic, credit it, format it to fit the post, the page, etc. I’m not a picture person. I’m a word person. That’s it.

So, I came back to text and simplicity. Even when I put pics, no one reads my texts. People stare at the pic, that’s all.

Then, there was the hardware problem. My faithful and beautiful laptop obviously became too unfit for the technical demands of all the running apps. I had to wait for 5 or more minutes for a single page to load. And, all of you know how demoralising that is when you have just half an hour to spend for finding your prompt, writing your poem, posting it on your blog and sharing the link to the prompt site. Huh? What a bunchful of 5 minutes that would be!

So, finally, I can boast a newer machine, where pages load faster 😉

Now we will see what I will write and how often, right?

Merry Christmas, dear friends, and may the season bring you joy and fulfilment!

Yours truly, 
MK

Renewals

I haven’t written for a long while. I also harenewals-poemve issues when it comes to privacy protection. Most probably, it’s all in my head, but I feel unwell when plenty of people see what I do.

I stopped writing for another reason, of course. Privacy issues can be easily resolved when you use pen and paper. I simply stopped writing because I’m not immortal any longer. I lost my edge and the meaning of things I had in store to tell readers. My opinions don’t matter to myself even, let alone anybody else.

Personally, I was diagnosed with something I’d rather not talk about. My struggle moved to that line.

Having said all this, I don’t feel better and I don’t feel safer. Here are two small and rather badly written poems that made me feel I am about to enter poetry once more. After writing them, though, I hardly wrote one more. This is not the output I was used to. Therefore, I don’t consider it a come back to writing. I’m really sorry for that. Writing was one of my ways out. My resources are depleting.

#01
The yellow stones of the facade across
Belie me of their ancientness,
Remind me of the cozy books
and kindly teachers.

Behind them – office sternness,
extroverts ruling,
competition
and cold.

#02
Three years after Brutal Minds
I get the courage to wake up,
start the journey back to myself,
and hope.

© soulmary, 2017

Floods in urban landscape

Floods

Some more summertime poetry I wrote on notes and retrieved much later. There were many floods last summer, lives were lost and people remained homeless and poorer than before.

Floods in urban landscape

Image by Amartia

###
The Floods Around These Parts
Plumbing towards correction
Crawling before the heart
of silence and dead impunity
Plumbing without awareness
Beyond the forest license
and thumping hearts.

©2014, MK

Riding the Wave

Not-Bobbers’ Anniversary

Since high school I’ve wanted to write. It took me a long time to actually do it. I passed through several complex stages of touching writing, without doing it.

MNINB-Challenge

I majored English at university, and started a PhD right after that, hoping that theoretical literature will be a good enough contribution to literature in general. Teaching literature was another such good contribution. Somewhere on the way, it turned out theoretical stuff didn’t bring any joy at all. At a certain point, I felt more and more inept, without really being so. I couldn’t handle Homi K. Bhabha and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, nor the writings of Tsvetan Todorov or Julia Kristeva (check them out, you’d be amazed). To make the long story short, I found out I was not able to meet my mentor’s academic expectations. Besides, a novel or even a short poem have much more value to it than any theoretical piece on literature. If a single soul reads it and remembers it for life, or has their life changed by it, that would be much more helpful. I tried my hand in a couple of short stories, but didn’t like them at all. All that time I used to write poetry. It’s much easier than prose, as most poets would agree. Yet, I’ve never considered poetry to be real writing.

In a new attempt to get involved in literature turned to translation of fiction. That went on for several years, and then I signed up for a Twitter account, because I wanted to help my deteriorating official translation business. Twitter didn’t help my business, but brought me to the Poetic Asides community with the regular Wednesday prompt and the Tuesday poetry chats (remember those #poettues?). The blog format of Poetic Asides where all participants commented in a single thread was very suitable for a novice like me, as I would read through the whole conversation and just a couple of months later it was November, so I took part in the two major projects of my new life. I did November PAD and NaNoWriMo very successfully. Then, I discovered I could write. Apparently, I needed a longer form to find that out. Sadly, long forms need much time, which I never have. I became more or less a regular at Poetic Asides, even if only for checking on the conversation and a poem or two.

Last April, when Robert announced his planned Platform-Building Challenge, I was ready for that. In fact, it came as a miracle, just when I had realized how much I needed that. So many times during the two past years I had heard/read about Platform and how important it is, that I was starting to feel my failures are partially due to the lack of one. I did my best to follow the challenge and some of the steps were easy, some were more demanding. Overall happy with the outcome, I got involved in the #MNINB April-platform community and just rode the wave as it came. Since then, I have been included in the Wordsmith Studio project, have had my Bio and pic there, wrote some guest posts for the blog and I have been participating in discussions and challenges. I must admit that sometimes I’m too slow, but still, I am there. Over this past year I have been working towards a new Master’s degree, and that consumed most of my spare time, as I also work and have a very young child. Those “side activities” have been getting in the way of writing and following as much as I have wanted. Some members of the WSS (as we call it now) have been more active and have taken initiative to make a website and set it up so we, as a community, may use it. Members there have been very encouraging and supportive in everything and finally, I am among like-minded people who don’t actually care that I can’t cook well or am easily intimidated by perky shop assistants. Smiles… They have set up a group on Goodreads, hold regular chats on Twitter, too. The only places I can participate, though, are the FB/G+ and the WSS site itself. And that is more than enough, honestly speaking.

Since last April I have been bold enough to submit some poetry and got a couple of acceptances. I wrote a short story for the Snake Oil Cure magazine and they published it and then I had a short story of mine published without even submitting it. Linda Hatton was so kind to like it and send me a message about that.
The wonderful thing about the WSS community is that we are multi-functional. We have people for everything. There are photographers, designers, people who know about “site hits” and traffic, among other things. What we all have in common is that we all WRITE.

After I completed the challenge I found out that I don’t fail for lack of a platform. I fail for lack of persistence, SEO-team, advertisement, marketing strategy and so on. Of course, talent is also need for success. I found out I had a pretty much precise idea what a platform is, I simply don’t have the resource to build it properly. Since I’ve been going on my own snail speed, I am happy to part of that something larger that supports me and moves me to progress. Team-work really matters and that is the most valuable achievement of last year’s challenge. I don’t know if anyone expected that, and I guess Robert is glad to see our progress as a stand-alone group. I hope that is to continue and shape into something beautiful and beneficial to all.
Happy anniversary, Not-Bobbers!

This is another of a series of anniversary posts this month, and here is a list of links to each one of the previous ones, all of them personal, curious, special and worth reading. Numbers before the names designate the date in April the authors chose. Names are clickable links. Will open in new tab 🙂

1) Kiril Kundurazieff
3) Veronica Roth
4) J.lynn Sheridan
5) Elizabeth (Beth) Saunders
6) Sopphey Vance
7) Melanie Marttila
8) Heather Button
10) Gerry Wilson
12) Emily E. McGee
13) Anne Kimball
14) Khara House
15) Barbara Morrison
18) Mona AlvaradoFrazier
19) Jeannine Everett
20) Linda G Hatton
24) Claudine Jaboro
25) Carol Early Cooney
Out of the list: Kasie Whitener

The Theme behind November PAD

#frivolousfriday/blogpost_

Image credit: Rebecca Barray

For today’s post I decided to tackle the November Poem-A-Day Chapbook challenge and focus on its prompts. Some time into the challenge in 2010, Robert asked whether or not we have found any particular theme behind it. Then I managed to identify a theme for myself and formed my chapbook around it. Of course, I didn’t follow that theme throughout all my poems. Not only does it need a lot of pre-planning, which I am completely incapable of, but that also means very severe sticking to the theme, another incapability of mine.

In 2010, the theme I saw unfolding behind Robert’s prompts was the cycle of a love affair – starting with opening the new page, all the way to lessons learned.

In 2011 I participated in the challenge again. I do that alongside NaNoWriMo as a way of pumping my creative enthusiasm. My busy daily routine then, however, didn’t allow me the time to sit down and consider whether or not there was a theme behind the prompts. Moreover, I skipped several and that only added up to my frustration.

However, here I am, participating in NovPAD again. A fellow-poet, Maxie Steer, put that theme question across, so I started thinking. This time Robert doesn’t offer the prompts himself, so we can’t suppose he has a hidden theme for the chapbook. This time he picks prompts from participants’ suggestions. The challenge started with my own Matches prompt (which was a great honour). Here is the list, so far:

  • Matches
  • Full Moon
  • Scary
  • Just Beneath…
  • Texting
  • Right /Left
  • Circle
  • Talk Back to a Dead Poet
  • When He’s Gone
  • Foreign Word/Phrase
  • Veteran Poem
  • Non-existing Device (that should exist)
  • Letter/Recipe
  • Stuck
  • Tradeoff
  • Last line becomes First: Thrilled
  • Wheel
  • Glossa-form
  • Gathering/Letting go
  • Song Title: On a Lonely Island
  • Paradise
  • Deep

I started by a love poem, then I wrote a life-asserting poem, some vague scary stuff, a self-irony poem, a love lost poem in the unsuccessful form of a text message, a pun poem and then the Circle prompt came by and I wrote a poem of my Daddy. After that, and after talking to Maxie, I started thinking that perhaps this chapbook may focus on my daddy and my relation with him. I have many poems written about him, but several more won’t hurt. After that the When He’s Gone prompt hit it again. In between, however, I still wrote either love or nature-inspired poems. What can I say? Sometimes I just want to write that, depending on the prompt!

I must state it honestly that I am a bit behind on the prompts and I have been thinking about what to write, or, more precisely, how to write it. I have just vague ideas and feel I am too slow. Luckily, this post is not about NaNoWriMo, because I have had a complete crash over there 🙂

 

What is your incline with the PAD prompts this year?

Two For Tuesday: F2K and NovPAD

#twofortuesday

Image Credit: Wikipedia

Today I am very lucky to have the chance of a twosome Tuesday, because I have at least two topics to write about. It is November, so everybody guessed it already: NaNoWriMo and NovPAD would be my two things. Quite right, yet, not quite.

The first thing I plan to discuss is my participation in the F2K free writing course, held at the WWU. That course was suggested to the Wordsmith Studio community by Rebecca Barray, who had already taken part in it and highly recommended it. As it was free and demanded nothing in return, I decided to give it a try. Of course, such a decision is never a simple thing with me. I rarely step down from the course of action I have decided upon, so making a decision is very similar to concluding a binding contract for me. A contract between me and who know whom, binding to me mainly.

The F2K course takes part several times a year and lasts for 7 weeks. In this particular session, the schedule started on Sept. 19th. Each Wednesday a Lesson is posted comprising theory on a particular aspect of the art of writing, together with a writing exercise to be accomplished as part of the Lesson. Each attendant then reads and studies the Lesson very carefully and writes a text in answer to the exercise. Attendants are divided into different Classrooms, have a mentor and an intern to guide them and answer their question and some extracurricular activities offered as part of the programme.

At first I had to find my way round the site and spent some time to make friends. There is a Wall, similar to the one on Facebook, there are Groups, Friends, Direct Messages and the option to “expose” yourself by posting pictures and videos. You can chat to friends of yours who are online and see others’ activities on the Wall. You may “like” and/or comment. Everybody involved gets notifications about all related activities. That happens in the Play section.
In the Work section, the attendants take part in the Forums. There is a Caf?, where I went only once due to lack of time, a Support Forum to address all issues technical, and a Creative Lounge, where additional prompts are posted, in case writers have spare time and strength to practice more after they have posted their Lessons. I visited the place a couple of times, all before the end of Week 3, but never really got down to writing to the prompts.

Initially, I was worried I won’t be able to follow. Then, I learned that once a Lesson is posted by the Headmaster on Wednesday, we have all the week till next Tuesday to write our own Lesson. Only that. There were some additional activities, such as optional Warm-up exercises based on a book we could buy and the Global Chats, which were scheduled way beyond my time zone, so I never bothered.

The hub of activity is feedback. The entire course is held on it. The classroom mentor only gives feedback in Weeks 1 and 2, and that not to all participants. After that, if you want your mentor’s feedback, you have to pay a small fee. It is really a small amount, so were I in the States, I’d most probably have paid it and enjoyed the benefit of our mentor. As it was, I mainly practiced after consciously reading and learning some theory on the art of writing. As a first time, that was enough.

At first, we all needed to write an introductory post and then give feedback to each and every one of our classmates. That is the rule. During that first session I managed to count 25 participants in our classroom. I was overwhelmed with the perspective to have to give feedback to so many people, after actually having read what they’ve written. That seemed time-consuming. Besides, after receiving some feedback for Prompt 1, I started feeling that the course was useless. Most people would just say: “Oh, great. Good job. You’ve done a perfect job with this one.” I received a couple of neutral ones, like: “It could flow better, but overall it’s OK.” What I craved for was feedback from our mentor for the first prompt and for Lesson 1. When I saw her giving feedback to each participant in the turn of their posting, I was sure that would be the case for those first weeks. Sadly, she never chose to comment on my texts. So, when Lesson 2 came and promised to be very time-consuming, I was halfway out of the course. I was so disappointed and angry that I couldn’t help sharing my resignation. My wall-posts got immediate answers, most certainly kindled by the general policy of this place to try and appease all rebels, variance of opinions, etc. After all, that is a friendly and supportive community, and not a fighting ground.

All of a sudden, time passed and my classmates who would post their Lessons became fewer and fewer. It was becoming easier to give feedback. Another all of a sudden, it turned out that the rule of “proper giving feedback” in our classroom was not giving feedback to each and every one Lesson assignment posted there. Somewhere along the way, our mentor said we need to give feedback “to at least three Lesson assignments”, which I easily accomplished. There was a participant who would receive many comments, and I was always looking for less-commented posts, so I would spend my time on not popular posts, and sometimes couldn’t fined the time to get to his posts. And, to be honest, he wrote very interesting texts.

Another routine is that one Lesson per classroom is selected for the F2K Ezine. I never made it there. I really hoped to appear in the Ezine and made sincere efforts in Lesson 1, which I loved most of all, because it was all about me.
The only thing I wrote from scratch was my first Optional Prompt and Lesson 1 and 2 assignments. For all the rest, I happened to have ready texts. I must admit that, the first short fiction I wrote was after the April Platform-building Challenge, when I decided to develop an Editorial Calendar. When I did that, I had some idea what topic I would write to on particular days, so for some time I would write flash fiction, instead of blog posts. The very first one I wrote, Twisted Minds for the #TwistedTuesday stream, was the one I chose for Lesson 3 when we had to re-write a paragraph from a different POV. Then I would use another, and then another of my pieces which I edited and polished in order to fit the assignment. Some classmates chose to follow a certain theme or to use the same characters throughout, usually the character who did the initial introduction. I chose to follow a different path and use different stories, in order to show what I am able of and receive feedback to the various aspects of my writing. Week by week, the feedback became more useful and to the point. That was mainly a result from the Headmaster’s instructions, as he included specific questions to consider for each task.

Overall, I found the exercise useful. I didn’t write anything new, but I managed to take a new angle viewing my fiction. For example, I found it was not so dull and uninteresting, as I thought it was. I actually intended to edit and work on some of it further and see what happens.

The main problem with this particular course was the partial uselessness of feedback. I say partial, because from time to time a classmate would post really helpful opinion of my texts. Yet, the tendency is different. Normally, your classmates would only tell you what they liked in your piece, but very rarely what they don’t. I did no different, of course. Being aware of my own poor quality as a writer, I never dared to express the real issues I would see. Several times I read awfully written stories, and yet kept a neutral to positive tone. That problem is best overcome when you pay for Mentor’s Support, so you are sure to receive line-by-line feedback from at least one person. A couple of times I ran into misunderstandings because of feedback and it was really awkward.

I am still unsure what to think of the course and the perspective of taking it again. Most probably, I’ll try it again. Maybe next time I’ll join a session at another time of the year. The final week of F2K free writing course starting in September coincided with the first week of November, so it got somewhat assimilated in the new challenges. The possibility of joining the WWU is also very attractive, as it holds creative writing courses which have amazing annotations.

#twofortuesday
Now, briefly of NovPAD
This is my third time. That is the first event I joined in my early months on Twitter, which led me to become part of a supportive and friendly poetry community. Gradually, I made friends, we started visiting our blogs, participating in other prompt-challenges and got involved in a group to share and comment each others’ celebrations and lamentations. The NovPAD holds a special charm for me, as it coincides with my other great challenge, that really helped me start writing and fully realize my not-all-conscious desire to develop as a writer. I have been building myself as an author for two steady years now and looking back, I can see the long way I have come and a larger portion of the whole picture. My greatest acknowledgment came as my prompt was selected by Robert Lee Brewer to kick off the NovPAD challenge. I was overwhelmed by all the positive reactions and the “thank yous” I received for an excellent prompt. Considering that it came just a day after my first short story, “Diamonds Below the Agulhas Negras”, was published in the Snake-Oil Cure, I had almost a week of praise and hails on FB, Twitter and on my blog. In that way, NovPAD is still a very special event for me and I am really attached to it. I’m not sure how it will end, but I have liked the month of November very well so far.