sharing a poetic LIFELINE with the world

Archive for August, 2012

Sometimes We Stumble

It’s been almost a year since I wrote the following in response to a discussion question on Why do I Write? It spiraled further than I was expecting, and it’s something I keep circling back to.

As long as I can remember I’ve wanted to write. From my very first stories in first grade, and the encouraging words of my teacher, and my love of books. Even as my other interests varied, the desire to be an author when I grew up remained constant. Books were my escape (which being an introvert with eight siblings was much needed), and I wanted to create my own worlds, share that wonder with readers. Now writing has become an escape for me, much as reading has been.

Fantasy has always inspired me. Creating fantastical worlds, or bringing the fantastic into our own. In writing I try to capture that magic. And when it works, when I can read something I wrote and get carried away, and think “I actually wrote that!”, is a form of magic in itself. A huge sense of accomplishment. There really isn’t anything in life that affects me the same way.

In high school I finally started being serious about writing. Wrote and submitted poetry, even got a few published. Wrote short stories. Started plotting out my novel. But it wasn’t for another couple years that I really started writing that novel. Each new page, each chapter, excited me. I was finally going after my dream. And I had the wonderful support of one of my sisters who was also writing *her* first book. So we read and praised each others work, challenged each other to deadlines, and actually managed to finish the same month.

Having already experienced the challenges of getting published through my efforts with poetry and short stories, I knew enough to edit my book before sending it out. And while I edited, I researched publishing. Learned I wanted to target an agent before tackling the big publishers. So after a year of editing (with the feedback of a couple beta readers, and many drafts), I used QueryTracker to help me find agents for my genre and charged forward gungho. One year later, fifty queries behind me with only a sparse handful of requests and no serious feedback or bites… I figured something must be seriously wrong with my first novel and didn’t know how to fix it. So I benched it.

I had already started a couple of novels at this point, so the new goal was to finish a second book. That was two [now three] years ago. I’ve been struggling ever since. I love my stories, I’ve heard my writing has improved massively since my first book, and I can spend hours plotting, doing character work, research. But when it comes to the actual writing I tend to freeze up. I’ve tried many techniques, but the writing still comes in inconsistent spurts. So I write less often… and get even more out of the habit. But those story ideas are still pestering. And when I read what I *do* have, I know it needs work but that excitement and love is still there.

Maybe I am afraid. All that frustration trying to publish my first book, all those hours, a total of nine revisions, multiple query rewrites and all those rejections… Why would I want to put so much work into another project only to see it fail too? I read these wonderful books that I can’t put down, and feel I can’t compete, that no matter how much I write I’ll always fall short.

Back to the present: The only light in the tunnel was a few days after posting this, we heard word that Lifelines was to be published. That gave me focus for a while. But now I’m emotionally back to this same space. Any advice for a struggling writer?

Make Visible: The Muse Online Writers Conference

The Muse Online Writers Conference


The next MuseCon will be held October 8-14,2012.


Although registration for this fabulous and free online writers conference isn’t open yet, it soon will be.

The Poetic Muselings will be hosting a poetry workshop at the 2012 Muse Online Writers Conference!!!

Hope to see you there!


Just read this Mission Statement! (from the website, home address is:




Our Online Writers Conference is aimed to offer you, the writer, whatever resource we can to give you the opportunity to enhance and improve

your craft, to offer the opportunity to make contacts to reach that next level all writers seek – publication!


Our vision for organizing this online and very FREE writers conference as an annual event is to bring the writing world a bit closer for you. I

understand many writers out there do not have the monetary resources to attend face-to-face conferences, or perhaps they are situated far, and

even some writers may be incapacitated making it difficult for them to travel.


Within the world of the Internet, everything is possible and with this in mind we offer you this chance to come out, chat with our Presenters, ask them

questions and even attend a few of our FREE workshops to be held throughout the week.


And remember…this is a smoke-free environment.


If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at:


lea at themuseonlinewritersconference dot com





Writing (Photo credit: jjpacres)




“Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen.”~Robert Bresson, French Film Director


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Check out the first chapter of my new novel plus Sand in the Desert free on August 27-28


On Monday, August 20th,  the first chapter of my new novel, “Relocated,” was on D. Renee Bagby’s YA First Chapters blog.

Read it here:


Sand in the Desert, the book of poetry that I wrote to go with “Relocated,” is free on Kindle on August  27th and 28th. Or borrow it free any time on KDP Select

And do check out “Relocated,” available on Amazon and on the publisher’s website,

Here’s a link to “Relocated” on the publisher’s webste:


More on Limericks

Cover of "The Limerick"

Cover of The Limeric

I love rhyme. I love limericks, and I’ve written quite a few. Here, since I now have the perfect excuse,
are a few new ones.

Here’s one:

There once was a young lad from Kyoto
one evening while viewing a photo
saw a face so grotesque
it resembled a desk
and was sure he had seen Quasimodo.

and another:

One evening while cooking some rice,
a lass went to look for some ice.
When she failed to return,
the rice started to burn.
The poor lass had to cook her rice twice.

A note on meter in limerick:

The feet (metrical feet, not the things at the ends of your legs) for a limerick is typically an anapest
dum, dum, DUM or an amphibrach
dum DUM dum
with the first, third, and fifth lines consisting of three feet of three syllables each, and the third and fourth consisting of two metrical feet.

Edward Lear popularized the limerick,  but in contrast to modern limericks, they contain neither humor nor  a punch line, and the first and last lines were often the same.

Although Mr. Lear wrote some limericks
I’m thinking they really are gimmericks,
First and last lines the same
make them seem pretty lame.
and of humor there’s nary a glimmerick.

And here’s one about Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick:

Expressing intention to pass
on a third term, the governor of Mass
saw his influence ebb.
It’s all over the web.
Is he planning to seek greener grass?

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Limericks — How It All Started For Me

Power of the Pen – Limericks

St. Paddy’s Day weekend 2009, I read my poems publicly for the first time at an open mic event. Terrified at exposing my babies to the harsh elements of public view. Even more terrified at the form I chose — limericks.

The Poetic Muselings were experimenting with different forms, and this was a huge stretch, but what better way to go all the way out on the limb?  Here’s what gave me strength to lead us on our journey. If political satire (especially in an election year) upset you, perhaps you want to skip this musing.

Power of the Pen

We need a new four-letter word
To deny this is simply absurd.
To say what we mean
and not be obscene —

The best way for the herds to be heard


Hooray for good old “uck”
One letter changes a duck
into something we find —
outrageous? sublime?

the epitome of our yucked-up old luck?


Politicians are so damn perverse
Campaigning should all be in verse
let rapier wits
expose all the twits

Then watch them go lurch in reverse


The elected have grandiose schemes
to fix economic machines
Trust us, they say
we work magic today

Naked Emperors with unraveled seams


Don’t worry, my darling, my honey
They’re only just stealing our money
They really don’t care
that they trade in despair —

Now tell me how that can’t be funny.


A Series of Limericks: tips included

Limericks are not my strength. Try as I might, I cannot spin them off the top of my head. It took me all day to get two decent ones. If you’re not familiar with the form, I found a good guide on by Grace Fleming: How to Write a Limerick. Here are a few tricks I use to get through them:

  1. Do the first two lines (the setup) and the last line (the punchline) first. All these have the same rhyme, and gives you the frame to work with. Then fill in lines three and four (transition) which only have to rhyme with each other.
  2. Use a rhyming dictionary! I use The Scholastic Rhyming Dictionary. Helps for getting out of tight corners when you use a word with not very many rhymes.
  3. Along the last lines, sometimes you have this idea you want, but can’t find workable rhymes. Like in my second limerick below, I wanted to do “Sang for her supper” but could NOT get a decent follow up. Solution: find a synonym. A thesaurus is a handy tool for poets.
  4. If you still struggle coming up with something, give yourself a theme. Write about a friend, or a book character, or spin off a fairy tale. Have fun with it!

Without further ado, here are my two Limericks.

Little Red Riding Hood

Little Red Riding Hood (Photo credit: lllllT)

There once was a red-hooded girl
Who through the dark woods did twirl
‘Til a sound made her scream
And fall in a stream
Turned out it was only a squirrel

There once was a girl from Cancun
Who couldn’t carry a tune
Her song for a meal
Made a werewolf reel
And now she howls at the moon

Make Visible: Focus on Form: Really Bad Limericks

I wrote these today.  I’m not one to write limericks.  I’m not real comfortable with the form.  The last one is for a special friend of mine.

Here goes nothing!

Presenting Really Bad Limericks:




There was a girl from Savannah

Who had the most terrible manners

She never said please

And often would tease

Even those who tripped on peeled bananas.




There was a man from Seattle

Who got in the rottenest battles

If he sat next to you at a bar

Best to take yourself very far

From his brass knuckles, used often on cattle.


Ocean Shores


There was a woman from Ocean Shores

Who only saw open doors

She was so positive

That God was the causative

With only good things in store.




There was a lady from Orlando

Who was all about the Can-Do

Collages, poems and short stories

Productive, even with her health worries

Wish I had her ducks in a row.


“Savannah,” “Seattle,” “Ocean Shores,” and “Orlando” © Anne Westlund


“Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen.”~Robert Bresson, French Film Director

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