Archive for the ‘stories’ 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!

 

Advertisements

The Legendary 2011   Leave a comment

Coffee and Sunshine

Image by Frank Gruber via Flickr

The Legendary had a special Flash issue in March, and included two pieces of my flash fiction. I love being in the Legendary, because every issue is well put together, the stories and poems are always excellent, quality work. Katie and Jim have a good eye, a good ear. Thanks guys!

Male/Female is a flash about the maybes, the could have beens, that occur in our lives every day. A moment between coworkers allows a woman, trapped in an unhappy marriage, to imagine what life would be like with the IT guy. Personally, I’ve known some perfectly wonderful IT guys, and gals for that matter, but none I’d necessarily like to date. At least, not yet.

Hermit is a flash from the mind of someone terrified of the world. Written as stream of consciousness, they go to Dunkin Donuts for coffee, and survive the trip to tell the tale. Again, not necessarily a situation I’ve found myself in. I’ve been at parties where I’ve wanted to shrink into the wallpaper, but never while purchasing fast food.

It’s a fun challenge, writing from a perspective that isn’t exactly yours. Taking experiences, twisting them, expanding them in a way you’d never take them in your normal everyday life.  For example, in the novel I’m writing now, the protagonist is in the middle of a divorce from her husband, who happens to be a zombie. Divorce I’m all too familiar with, but I don’t know many zombies.

Today, try to write from a different point of view. Write from a different race, or gender, from your own. Take something you’ve experienced, and imagine how someone else might handle that same experience.

 

To read these stories, click here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time Out For NaNoWriMo   Leave a comment

sculpture: a dead man's hand

Day two of timing with the timer, and it worked again. Passed the thousand word mark on the zombie story, still not sure where it’s going to stop, but it’s still a pleasure to write. Putting poetry and Cain on the back burner for now seems to have been the best idea.

Writing is therapy, more than anything. I write because it makes me feel good, like I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m hoping that come December 1st, I can keep this momentum going. Writing 45 minutes a day, you never get burnt out. It never becomes a drag.

Of course, what do I know, this is only day two of timed writing?

Good things that came from today’s writing, besides the thousand plus words:

The two main characters now have names, Jane and Max

Max has a job

Zombies prefer to be called the bodily impaired

Whatever you’re writing, or putting off writing today, think about the occupations of your characters. Have you given them one yet? Perhaps it’s something about their jobs, their coworkers, how they got there, that will give you the angle to open your stories up further, get you excited about writing again.

Inwood Indiana   Leave a comment

William Blake's The Body of Abel Found by Adam...

Image via Wikipedia

You can read “Cain: A Life” and “Mother” here

You can buy a copy of Issue 2, Hawthorn Road here

I have been working on my first novel. Well, not a novel, really. Don’t think I have the attention span for a novel yet. Let’s call it a novella. It’s about Cain, son of Adam and Eve, cursed to walk the earth without rest for all of time. It’s also about the people he meets along the way in modern times, mostly in the midwest section of the United States, and how they react to meeting a man who keeps moving, has no moral code good or bad, possibly no soul, and no goals. Slowly witnessing his emptiness allows them to realize, and to fill, the emptiness in their own lives. It’s happy for them, sad for Cain, who must keep moving and has no idea about the good he has done.

I started writing Cain around the end of last year, but I’d had the idea in my head for quite some time. Unfortunately, I can only work on it from time to time, here and there, before life, or other ideas for other stories and poems, overtake it for awhile. I came to a standstill around the time that I was sending out a batch of work, and decided to send what I had so far out, in the hopes that seeing it in print might encourage Cain to emerge.

So, now that it’s out, I’m patiently waiting. If you get a chance to read it, and like it, please don’t be shy about letting me know. Likewise if you hate it. I want to know what you like as well as what you hate, both will help me out a lot in getting the other 90+ pages written.

Mother is a good scary poem, perfect for this time of year. Especially if you suffer from arachnophobia.

Enjoy!

 

Carcinogenic Poetry   Leave a comment

http://carcinogenicpoetry.blogspot.com/

Carcinogenic Poetry, the online journal of Vigorgray Press, published two of my poems today, “Mighty Tempting” and “Hopeville”. Mighty Tempting is a poem written in the voice of a character I sometimes use, known as Baby Girl. Her life is completely different from mine, her poems have a unique voice that is missing in my other work. Even when I read Baby Girl poems and stories aloud, I am told that not only does my voice change, my posture and facial expressions change as well.

Where does Baby Girl come from? I’m not sure, but I think I draw a lot on my Southern grandmother and her family for the vernacular Baby uses. She’s got an edge my Grandma didn’t have when I knew her, but I like to think, knowing bits and pieces of my family history, that she did have her strength as a young single mother in the back country of the panhandle.

Where Mighty Tempting is steeped in the South, Hopeville is a snapshot of New England. Written based on notes on a summer day at the pond, it captures the day better than a photo ever could.

Today draw on your region of the country. Write out a snapshot of it, what makes it special to you. Listen to the music of the language surrounding you. What makes this language different from anywhere else? Write a story or poem in that language.

Niteblade   Leave a comment

http://www.niteblade.com/september-2010/2010/09/dreaming-in-msg/

Niteblade is an online and print journal of sci-fi, horror, and fantasy writing. They recently published my horrific poem Dreaming in MSG, based on a gastronomic nightmare. I often keep a dream journal, jotting down what I remember from the night before, and attempt to work it into my writing. This was a particularly gruesome dream, in which a dish of food transforms itself into a drowned mother rat and her unborn babies. I’m not a dream expert, but I have a feeling the dream was caused more from doubts on my own abilities as a mother, and not really about food at all, but the image was burned into my head for the whole rest of the day, until I took my notes from the morning and fashioned them into this poem.

I don’t think of myself as a genre writer, but it does seem like the things I write that do fit a particular niche, such as this poem, are easier to find a home for. The print version of Niteblade is well worth buying a copy, or subscription, with fantastic hand drawn illustrations. I highly recommend doing your part to support small presses, and ordering a copy today.

Think about your own dreams. Does one in particular stand out in your memory? Do you have a recurring dream that won’t seem to leave you alone? Take some time out of your day today to write it down.

Tales of the Zombie War   Leave a comment

Fallen angels in Hell

Image via Wikipedia

http://www.talesofworldwarz.com/stories/2010/08/10/little-surfle-grrrrrl-by-helen-r-peterson/
Today’s poem is called Little Surfle Grrrrl, a poem about zombies. A poem about surfing over a wave of zombies as they march forward in their quest for brains. No, really.
I didn’t start out to write a zombie poem, though I’d written a few before. I’ve been working on a project using unusual words, inspired initially by David Foster Wallace‘s dictionary. For more information on that list you can click  here:http://www.slate.com/id/2250784/. The word surfle, however, came from Weeb Heinrich of http://writingraw.com , who posts daily words of the day on his Facebook page. The word surfle means to wash, as the face, with a cosmetic supposed to have been prepared from sulphur or mercury, called surphuling water. When I think of cosmetics, I think of women, mostly teenaged women who typically experiment with weird concoctions to put on their face to remove acne. I myself slathered my face with mayonnaise, eggs, lemon juice and toothpaste between the ages of 13 and 18. When I think sulphur, I think of Hell, so I imagined a teenager in Hell, how she would try to have fun in that environment. Then a certain Beach Boys song came on the radio, and the rest, as they say, is history. The zombie slant was added in revision, as I tried, and failed, to explain how someone in Hell would be able to find a surfboard. A teenage zombie became much more believable. No, really.
I hope you click the link and enjoy everything zombie poetry has to offer. Afterwards, write down some of your favorite words from the Wallace list, look up their definitions, and weave your own poems and stories around them. Feel free to share them here. See you tomorrow!