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Nancy Drew’s Powers of Observation: Friday’s rainbow meditation

Original image: “Lily Pads, Morton Arboretum, Chicagoland, 2007″ by Tamara Kaye Sellman.

The simplest way to handle a meditation is to sit comfortably in a quiet, dimly lit space, light a candle, and stare at the flame while you read the meditation, multiple times if necessary. Very soft background music can help block out the sounds outside your space. You can approach a meditation in multiple ways. One popular way is to think about the meditation itself and “listen” from inside for responses to what it’s suggesting to you. “Listening” can include actually hearing words, but it can also mean feelings, intuitions, passing images and other idea “inputs” that are normal for you. Another effective way is to spend the first part of your meditation staring at the candle flame and breathing, thinking of nothing at first (do not read the meditation yet). Allow your mind to spend its stray energy and breathe all the random thoughts as far outside yourself as you can. The goal is to be blank; then read the meditation and “listen.” Sometimes, the material in the racing random thoughts you just dispelled can inform how you “hear” the wisdom in the meditation. Always remember, as creative people, we already carry solutions to our creative challenges inside ourselves. It’s how we find our access to them that unlocks our creativity and liberates us to make, be and do.

———-

Today’s meditation comes from Nancy Drew’s Guide to Life: Chapter 7, Powers of Observation

“Abandoned houses are not completely neglected if the electricity still flows.”–from The Mystery of the Ivory Charm.

If you think your own personal energy has slumped or even drained right out of you, try to remember this smart little tidbit from Nancy Drew. After all, your house (your body) may be out of shape (neglected) , but not out of commission, not until you leave this world for the next, taking your soul (your electricity) with it. This meditation is about hope, potential, and keeping at ease with yourself in all sorts of inner and outer turmoil. You may have your ups and downs, but don’t forget… even during your lowest low, your own pilot light still burns for you.

National Poetry Month: What Pacific Northwest poets are doing to celebrate

NPM poster designed by Marian Bantjes.

What are you doing for National Poetry Month?

I’m judging a local limerick contest and reading my Poetry Corners poem, “Fabricland,” at the Flowering Around shop and cafe (Bainbridge Island) on Saturday April 24 at 7pm.  

Here are what some other regional poets are doing…  

Continue reading

Richard Hugo House: Finding Your Readers in the 21st Century

I hope you’ll mark your calendars for this event. I’ll be participating on panels and in workshops on Saturday, May 22, 2010.  It promises to be one of the best literary conferences in the Pacific Northwest in 2010!

From the Richard Hugo House website:

Finding Your Readers in the 21st Century

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”
                                              —A Tale of Two Cities

Charles Dickens was describing the era of the French Revolution, but he might as well have been discussing the state of modern-day publishing.  Bookstores are going out of business; publishing houses are laying off staff, and everyone keeps predicting the imminent death of The Book.

Meanwhile, writers soldier on, putting one word after the other, revising and revising again and wondering how, and if, anyone will ever read their work.

Well, it’s time to stop wondering and take matters into your own hands.

On the weekend of May 21-23, Richard Hugo House will be hosting its first writers’ conference. The topic will be: Finding Your Readers in the 21st Century.

Our focus will be on exploring the changing literary landscape and the options available to writers for getting their work out in the world and into the hands of readers. While we will certainly look at traditional publishing models, what we’re really interested in is showcasing new possibilities that writers in our community may not be aware of, from the traditional to the off-the-wall. We’ll look at ways writers can promote themselves and their work directly to their readers, and offer hands on practical workshops on basic tools of the writing business from creating a pre-pub platform to building your own website.

Registration for Finding Your Readers in the 21st Century will open on April 5 for Hugo House members and April 12 for the general public.

Featured speakers:
Alan Rinzler
Barbara Sjoholm
Matthew Stadler
Jeff Vandermeer

Presenters:
Alice Acheson
Ryan Boudinot
Wendy Call
Karen Finneyfrock
Stacey Levine
Priscilla Long
Elizabeth Wales

…and many others!

We’ll be updating information about the conference as it comes in, so check back often for the latest 411.

*Program details, presenters and schedules are subject to change.

The Richard Hugo House
1634 11th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98122
206-322-7030 

Open Hours:
Monday-Friday: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturday: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.

April Monthly Dispatch: How prose writers can honor National Poetry Month

… Pick up a pencil, not a laptop

I think of myself as an accidental poet. I have written and published poems over the last 10 years, but I’ve never studied it to the extent that my serious, hard-core poet friends have. Sure, I took a (great!) poetry workshop and it helped me a lot, but if I were hard-pressed to know why my poems worked, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. I just know that learning to write poetry has made me a better fiction writer.

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Pearl Diving: Friday’s rainbow meditation

Original image: “Lily Pads, Morton Arboretum, Chicagoland, 2007″ by Tamara Kaye Sellman.

The simplest way to handle a meditation is to sit comfortably in a quiet, dimly lit space, light a candle, and stare at the flame while you read the meditation, multiple times if necessary. Very soft background music can help block out the sounds outside your space. You can approach a meditation in multiple ways. One popular way is to think about the meditation itself and “listen” from inside for responses to what it’s suggesting to you. “Listening” can include actually hearing words, but it can also mean feelings, intuitions, passing images and other idea “inputs” that are normal for you. Another effective way is to spend the first part of your meditation staring at the candle flame and breathing, thinking of nothing at first (do not read the meditation yet). Allow your mind to spend its stray energy and breathe all the random thoughts as far outside yourself as you can. The goal is to be blank; then read the meditation and “listen.” Sometimes, the material in the racing random thoughts you just dispelled can inform how you “hear” the wisdom in the meditation. Always remember, as creative people, we already carry solutions to our creative challenges inside ourselves. It’s how we find our access to them that unlocks our creativity and liberates us to make, be and do.

———-

Today’s meditation comes from One Spirit: Pearl Diving

Pearls of wisdom are not only found by reading scriptures or books by holy men, or talking with teachers–we can also find the answer to many of our questions about life by looking within. So dive deep within your self, fearleslly, and find the truth that frees you from delusion and anxiety and allows you to live more freely–and more at peace.

Upcoming live classes: Blogging 101 and Blogging 102 for Writers

 Check out my upcoming live blogging workshops for the spring session at BIMPRD. Sign-ups begin this Thursday, March 25! Don’t delay–these classes can fill quickly. Join the ranks of local writers who are giving the blog form the ol’ college try…

Blogging 101 for Writers” [223310-01] meets live on Sat April 17 from 10am-3pm at the Strawberry Hill Meeting Room via the Bainbridge Island Metro Parks & Recreation District. The class is $40. Call 206.842.2306 to get registered or log in at www.biparks.org, click on to Online Registration and enter the WebTrac portal.

This is a beginner’s class in that we will each build a free, brand new blog from scratch in Blogger. If you already have a blog, but need some guidance with its architecture, development and maintenance, this is also a good basics course. I have chosen Blogger because it is a very simple interface and is a great training ground for the beginning blogger. You can start out with a free blog and upgrade as you go. Though we will focus on the Blogger platform, I am also familiar with WordPress, TypePad and LiveJournal.

Besides helping you all set up a basic blog (which I recommend all bloggers use as their experimental “sandbox” until they become proficient), we will also discuss content development, building traffic, blog maintenance, and potential problems that all bloggers can face. I’ll sneak in a little history about blogging as well, for perspective.

Blogging 102 for Writers” [223311-01] meets live on Sun May 16 and Sun May 23 (two sessions total) from 1-330pm at the Strawberry Hill Art Room via the Bainbridge Island Metro Parks & Recreation District. The class is $40. Call 206.842.2306 to get registered or log in at www.biparks.org, click on to Online Registration and enter the WebTrac portal.

This is an extension of the beginner’s class that helps those writers who have already established a blog online but need to do something more actively with it. We’ll talk about best practices, nontechnical improvements for blog design, maintenance and upkeep, SEO (search engine optimization), content and frequency reviews and finding your “niche.”

Please know that I am not a web developer or a graphic designer. I’m a nontechnical person and a writer; I learned how to blog like any other ordinary person, by experimenting and doing the work outside a classroom. Therefore, I’m quite patient with students who are nervous about their technical skills; I was one of you, once, and I know what a humbling experience that can be. My workshop was created to simplify what can be a tricky and nonintuitive process for others who are not technical, so please take comfort in knowing that you’ll be explore blogging safely and without judgment in my workshop.

Pounding Against the Heart: Friday’s rainbow meditation

Original image: "Lily Pads, Morton Arboretum, Chicagoland, 2007" by Tamara Kaye Sellman.

I hope to post a new meditation here every Friday to help you guide your thoughts, energy and impulses as a writer through the coming weekend. Some will be directly from me, others will come from coaches and thinkers I respect.

The simplest way to handle a meditation is to sit comfortably in a quiet, dimly lit space, light a candle, and stare at the flame while you read the meditation, multiple times if necessary. Very soft background music can help block out the sounds outside your space.
 
 You can approach a meditation in multiple ways.
 
 One popular way is to think about the meditation itself and “listen” from inside for responses to what it’s suggesting to you. “Listening” can include actually hearing words, but it can also mean feelings, intuitions, passing images and other idea “inputs” that are normal for you.
 
 Another effective way is to spend the first part of your meditation staring at the candle flame and breathing, thinking of nothing at first (do not read the meditation yet). Allow your mind to spend its stray energy and breathe all the random thoughts as far outside yourself as you can. The goal is to be blank; then read the meditation and “listen.” Sometimes, the material in the racing random thoughts you just dispelled can inform how you “hear” the wisdom in the meditation.
 
Always remember, as creative people, we already carry solutions to our creative challenges inside ourselves. It’s how we find our access to them that unlocks our creativity and liberates us to make, be and do.  

Today’s meditation comes from Beth Mende Conny:

 Pounding Against the Heart

There comes a point in an idea’s life when it begins to pound against the walls of the heart.

It seeks release, physical expression, be it by pen or keyboard.

Words give it shape and substance, yes, but cannot explain where it comes from or why, like a salmon crashing into rapids and rocks, it must get where it’s going.

No matter what, no matter how.

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