I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray (Psalm 17:6 NLT).
My response to the Poets on the Page poetry prompt: Blessings, Curses, or Limericks?
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I stepped away from my usual free verse and tried my hand at some limericks. Named for a city in Ireland, this form has a particular rhythm and rhyme sequence that I find very challenging. I tried to incorporate something Irish in each rhyme:
A leprechaun ninety years old
Thought his nephew exceedingly bold.
He hitchhiked to Wicklow
And slid down a rainbow
And found there a great pot o’ gold.
A lawyer defending in style
A spy who had stolen a file
Asked the judge for recess
For his client to dress,
But he fled to the Emerald Isle.
A happy man started to prance
While his friends looked at him all askance.
He said, “Do what you feel.
Me, I’m stepping a reel.”
And he calmly continued to dance.
A sharpshooter packing a pistol
Walked into a tavern in Bristol.
He said, “What’ve ye got
That won’t cost me a shot?”
And they poured him some Waterford crystal.
Getting back to St. Patrick, he was not, as you might think, born in Ireland, but in Britain. When he was sixteen years old, he was kidnapped by pirates and taken to Ireland to be sold as a slave.
For six years Patrick worked for his master, and while he worked he contemplated his life so far. Ashamed of his sins, he prayed and meditated, asking God’s forgiveness. One day he received a vision that his time enslaved in Ireland was over and his ship had come in. He escaped from his master and walked 200 miles to a port (some say it was Wicklow) where he gained voyage back to England.
Years later, he returned to Ireland, where he introduced Christianity.
Legend has it that Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland. But the Irish climate is not conducive to the reptiles. More likely, he subdued the Serpent (Satan).
Stained glass window depicting St. Patrick was photographed by Nheybob.
Inspiration for creative folks:
Just about every day I read an article about a writer who’s written 988 books in the last three months under seventeen pen names while maintaining an active presence on every social media platform.
It’s enough to send me to bed with Netflix and a whole lot of dark chocolate.
But after a good binge, you and I still have to face the fact: it’s a crazy world we authors inhabit. And staying sane and productive without burning out is a skill we must cultivate, right up there with establishing a compelling voice and a thriving platform.
I’ve spent a big part of my career studying how writers can work with more ease and consistency, mostly because writing has always been a struggle for me (8 books with a million copies in print aren’t proof writing is easy for me, only that I’m stubborn). I hope the following suggestions for sane productivity will help you like they have me and the writers I coach.
Read the rest of the article here.
In response to Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge prompt: Sunset to Sunrise.
A nearby community here in Arizona decorates the cacti in the road medians at Christmastime:
Near my home there’s a streetlight shrouded by willowy tree branches:
Don’t you just love to lose yourself in a true story, whether it features romance, mystery, or humor?
People like to read about three kinds of personal experiences:
If you are reading this article, you undoubtedly have had experiences you want to share. How do you write them so they resonate with your readers?
It all starts with a story.
The anecdote you want to share has a beginning, a middle, and an end; one or more characters; a particular setting; a theme; perhaps some action that resulted in a change; possibly some dialogue. You will need to develop all of these as you would in a novel, though economically if you’re writing a short piece. And, your story must have a point.
To have a point, the story must do at least one of these three things:
In order to be effective, the personal narrative must be well-crafted.
Observe the conventions of good spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Use precise words that are descriptive, active, and visceral. Engage the senses and the emotions. Vary sentence structure. Reflect on how your experience impacted you. What did you learn from it? What takeaway can you offer?
Most of my own personal experience pieces have been published on my critique group’s website, Doing Life Together. Here are some of my favorites:
Have you written personal experience pieces? Feel free to share a link in the comments below.
A genuine writer accepts failure, understands how essential it is to the process, and simply continues to write, each time hoping the next story will be better than the one that came before it…be fearless in the face of possible failure. ~ Kevin Wilson, in “The Necessity of Failure: An Examination of the Writing Life,” Poets & Writers, March/April 2017