Archive for the ‘food’ Tag

Fall Open Mic Night at the MSU Writing Center   Leave a comment

Microphones

The Mics are OPEN!!!!!

 

Last night I attended my first open mic reading with my husband since we moved to Michigan in September. It took place at the MSU Writing Center in Bessey Hall, on the Michigan State University campus.

 

We had been invited to attend by members of our writers’ workshop at the East Lansing Library. The group is also sponsored by the MSU Writing Center, and meets every other Thursday. We were happy to see that, as with the writers’ workshop, we weren’t the oldest people in the room at the Open Mic. The performers included several poets, some musicians, and a story teller or two. There was free pizza and drinks for everyone, and each person that got up to read received a t shirt. There was also a raffle drawing throughout the night. I won a 25 dollar gift card to Schuler Books in Okemos, which was a pleasant surprise.

 

The students were very open and welcoming to two old timers like us. There was a poet who went by the name Logic, about our age, who seemed to be a regular in local writing circles, who had a rapid fire delivery and had everyone laughing and shaking their heads at the way he would spin truth into poetry.

 

Overall, it was a good night out, and the perfect way to start November, fresh and inspired and ready to take on that novel I’ve been attempting to write for a year and a half. It’s been sitting dormant for about six months, so it’s time to get writing again!

 

How are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? Any great open mics or writers’ workshops in your area? I’d love to hear about them!

 

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NaNoWRiMo, Day 2   Leave a comment

A Chinese buffet restaurant in the U.S.

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The word today was halcyon, a place or state of calm. I free wrote ideas for a poem during lunch at a local Chinese buffet, which was at that hour quite calm and peaceful for me. Those notes evolved into a poem about zodiacs and grandparents.

I did not get to Cain. Due to a sugar crash from pilfered Halloween candy, I just wasn’t able. I plan on getting to it again tomorrow. One problem is, is that the part I’m working on involves a character I’m just not invested in. He’s quite a cliche, a stereotype, so I’m thinking of cutting the whole section, but I’m not sure. Ergo, no action whatsoever taken.

In the works as well this month, continued work on a short story I began a few months ago about a woman divorcing her zombie husband. It’s good, and deserves some face time. So, maybe I’ll get to that tomorrow if I’m still on the fence about Cain’s latest disciple.

Halcyon, it’s a good word. At the very least, use it in a sentence sometime tonight or tomorrow. Find yourself a halcyon of your own to work in. Escape the misanthropes.

The Shine Journal   Leave a comment

Baby eating baby food (blended green beans)

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

The Shine Journal published a story of mine last month called “Baby Love“. The story is based upon experiences I’ve had with all three of my children, but was written when all I had was my oldest, who is now 12. As a baby, wherever we went people would be offering him gum, candy, stopping us in the middle of the supermarket to goo-goo at him. What was funny was usually the offered treat was completely inappropriate for an infant without a single tooth.

Because this was my reality for so long, grocery shopping trips that would take me five minutes alone taking 30 minutes or more, I had to write about it. I did. however, give it a little twist, thinking about how the adult behind the baby might benefit from all the attention given their little one, and how someone NOT used to having a baby would handle it when an infant is thrust upon them for whatever reason.

What is your reality today? What occurs in your day to day life that is mundane to you, but could be interesting to someone who lives a different kind of life. Switch places with them, use your imagination and write it out.

The Legendary   Leave a comment

Sunnyside Trailer park in West Miami, Florida

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http://www.downdirtyword.com/authors/helenpeterson.html#tp

You can follow this link to every little thing I’ve ever published in the Legendary, but for today I’d just like to talk about the two poems published this year, and leave the fiction and nonfiction for another day.

A writer has to draw on everything they know, they have to listen to the language around them, both at home and away.  Both of  these poems, “What it Means to be a Whore’s Daughter”, and “Popcorn Ball Blues” reflect my own listening skills, especially as a child spending her summers in either the Southern US or out West with relatives, grandmas, uncles, that I didn’t get to see the rest of the year, and that talked in words and inflections in ways quite different from the Connecticut Yankees back home.

Not that home didn’t play a part in it as well.  My own feelings of betrayal and heartache birthed the Whore’s Daughter, using the pen and the keyboard to vent as a woman scorned causes, I hope, a lot less bloodshed than taking a sword into the trailer park. Popcorn Ball Blues on the other hand is just plain fun, one of the first flash poems I ever wrote after joining Scrawl back in 2007. They’re polar opposites, these two poems, but they work well together. It’s as if Popcorn was the hot Friday night, and Whore’s Daughter is the morning after, full of regrets.

Enjoy these, and the other work by myself and others in the Legendary. It really is a good read, every issue.

Danse Macabre   Leave a comment

The Dance of Death (1493) by Michael Wolgemut,...

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http://dansemacabre.art.officelive.com/PoesieAuxBarricades.aspx

Danse Macabre has to be one of the most beautiful online literary sites up and running today. Every issue is so well put together, with the art and the words. So, I was pleased as punch they published a poem of mine earlier this year called “The Feminine Mystique“.

The poem was based upon something my good friend and fellow poet Katie Moore, editor of the Legendary posted on Facebook once, how she almost “drank” a brown recluse that had slipped into her coffee cup. The image was so vivid to me, a self-proclaimed arachnaphobe, that I had to write about it.  I thought about what I thought of as Katie’s strengths, as well as those of some of my other favorite ladies who write, and wove a simple tale about the recycling of a spider corpse. A bit creepy, a bit empowering. It’s all good.

Tonight, take someone’s status update and weave a tale through it. Share it here, or share it on your friends’ wall. Create unlikely dialogue through the time-sucking device of social networking. Make Facebook work for you for once.

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.

Battered Suitcase   Leave a comment

Алина никогда не моет посуду, если ей сказать:...

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http://www.vagabondagepress.com/00901/V3I2PT7.html

Battered Suitcase is an online journal run by Vagabondage Press that has a special place in my heart, as it was one of the first places that published me  when I was starting out. They’ve done me the honor of accepting another poem, this one entitled “When Even the Neighbor’s Cat Feels Sorry for Me”, a good one for today, when I am down in the dumps.

This was a napowrimo poem. What is napowrimo? National Poetry Writing Month, the month of April, when I, and a number of other poets in the US, challenge ourselves and one another to write a poem a day, for the whole month. It’s a momentum I wish I could maintain all year. During April of 2009, I had just moved into a new place, had chosen to end my reproductive years, and was looking at a relationship in decline.  On this particular day, I hadn’t found my poem yet, was washing dishes, listening to the Beatles, when “Fool on the Hill” came on. Music is a huge influence on my writing, as are tasks that have a rhythm to them, such as scrubbing dishes. Close your eyes and think of it, the sounds and movements. Scrub scrub, rinse, stack, scrub scrub rinse stack. Sccrit, scrrit, woosh, clanck, scrrit sccrit, woosh, clanck.

The beauty of ordinary things, washing dishes, humming a tune, is good therapy to cure the blues. You either write a poem or take a nap afterwards, but either way, you’re feeling good. It all swirls away down the drain with the tortilla crumbs.  Take some time today to become aware of the rhythms of your own domesticity, and put it down on paper.