Archive for the ‘church’ Tag

Poor Mojo’s Almanac, Again   Leave a comment

Madam Satan

Image via Wikipedia

http://www.poormojo.org/cgi-bin/gennie.pl?Fiction+480+bi

Recently, Poor Mojo’s published a poem of mine, which I blogged about the other day, but in April they published some flash fiction of mine, titled “The Birth of Madam Satan“. It was another piece inspired by  photos I found on Black and WTF, one of nuns smoking cigarettes, another of a woman in a mask holding a sign that read “I Am Madam Satan”. I put them side by side as writing prompts for a flash challenge at Scrawl, and this is what I came up with. A tale of a good boy gone horribly wrong when his illusions on what it means to be good shatter. Just a tad different from what Cecil B. De Mille had in mind in his movie, but it still makes for a good story. I’m glad Poor Moho’s thought so too.

Seriously, if you haven’t checked out Black and WTF yet, I highly recommend it, if not for writing prompts, then for just plain fun!

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Dirtcakes   Leave a comment

http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/dirtcakes-journal-vol-1-issue-1/11473677

Dirtcakes is a fantastic new print journal that publishes work along the ideals put forth by the UN. The first issue dealt with hunger, and included my poem A Gallimaufry of Days.

This was, I think, the first, and in my opinion best, of the 3.00 poems. Gallimaufry was actually one of the words on David Foster Wallace’s list, a word that means a jumble, an unorganized collection. What the word inspired in me immediately was food, a potluck dinner with a mix of dishes that don’t necessarily go together. With my main image intact, I began to brainstorm why a potluck is arranged to begin with, who would be there? Potluck is synonymous with church, for both happy occasions and sad, funerals, baby and wedding showers. All topics that have become cliche in poetry, love death and birth. What could I do that would be new?

At the time, I was hoping to go to Haiti on a short term mission trip to help build a library. I was attending missions conference at both my mother’s church and my own. I put myself in the place of the many weary missionaries I’d seen come and go growing up, sharing a meal at our house, pulling out the sleeper sofa. I knew that this was a group of people often misunderstood, by both the faithful and the secular world alike. And with that I had a setting, a theme, and a great word for the title. After that, filling in the blanks came easy.

I hope that you have the opportunity to buy a copy of this beautiful journal, and read my poem for yourself. As I’ve said before and will say again, print needs all the help it can get in the modern world. Afterwards, pick apart the threads of your own chilldhood and write about the interesting people there hiding in the shadows of memory. Bring them to light for us all to enjoy.

Shine Journal   Leave a comment

http://www.theshinejournal.com/petersonhelenr.htm

The past week has been a long one for me, going back to work, sending two of three kids off to school. One thing that has suffered is the blog here, and I apologize if you’ve missed me the past couple of days. I promise to catch up.

Yesterday was the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 Attacks, and in honor of that day,  I’ve posted my one and only 9/11 poem, published last year in The Shine Journal.  Unlike many other writers, it took me four years to write on the subject. On September 11, 2001, I listened to the first reports on NPR as I took my son to preschool, thinking that it had just been a small plane, mildly concerned. I should add that we didn’t have a tv at that time, no internet, no cell phone. It wasn’t until I got to work and saw my coworkers circling a monitor in the back, shell shocked, anxious. It wasn’t until my son’s preschool, state run, called and said I needed to pick him up, that the governor was closing all state buildings. It wasn’t until I went home and stared up at a sky free of jet trails that it hit me what we were dealing with. At that point the threads that connected the events to me were either too thin or rock solid to write about. It was only when my son, now seven years old, was baptized on the fourth anniversary of the attacks that I could find a way in to the emotions I felt that day in a way that I hoped made sense to the rest of the world, and approached the topic in a new and interesting way.

This year I sent another child to preschool for the first time. I am more connected to the world than I ever thought possible, for better or for worse. I look at the world, at the mess we’ve made of things, the hope of a more united country and world fizzling as we split hairs over what we call a community center. It makes me want to write another poem, only I can’t find a way in…yet…

Maybe you can. Give it a try, what has changed for you in the past nine years? How do world events connect you to the world around you? Find an in, write it out, and feel free to post it here.