Anxiety with a Side of Meditation

My skull
is a bowl
full of
scrabbling , fighting, biting bugs.

I catch one end and shake it hard,
but only a worm slips out
while spiders
and scorpions
hiss and cling.

Cling

To my brain.

I take a ragged breath.
Another breath.
“‘Breathe,’ she said, ‘Just breathe,'” she said . . .
she said . . .
My hand clamps against the trembling skull
as if to silence
the endless,
writhing
wail.

My skull booms with another
bite.

More than Half

I am a half-moon,
a Medusa.

I am half-beauty, half-terror.
half-shining, half-dark,

half-quiet,
half-screams.

But like the moon,
I hold
both halves.

I see the sunshine
beside the snakes
and find my wholeness
through patience

with halves.

Outlining Methods Part 3: The Promise of Plot Points

In part one and two of this series, we’ve explored methods of finding and capturing inspiration as you build an outline or refocus your draft. This final step is simply putting that inspiration together into concrete events that you can anticipate and work towards. Whether you are a plotter or a pantser, this step is a fantastic way to maintain your drive and vision as you begin drafting. Continue reading “Outlining Methods Part 3: The Promise of Plot Points”

Her mother was just a sketch of fading white. “Please,” Soal said, putting her free hand out. “Come.”

“But I failed,” her mother whispered.

Soal shook her head, tears filling her eyes. “I cannot know,” she choked out. “I do not know what you are. But I do know that you are the one who first showed me that I was . . . unwhole.” She reached her hand out further. ”You are the one who taught me my name.” Her hand slid through her mother’s ghostly hand. “You are still someone to me.”

Continue reading “Pausing Soal: Waiting for New Growth”

Outlining Methods Part 2: Finding Both Your “Big” and “Little” Story

In my last post, I showed how outlining is an important tool for plotters and pantsers alike, and explored my first outlining method: Capturing Inspiration. Immersive images and music can help you remember what made you love this book idea, even when you’re in the trenches of drafting. Now, let’s move on to the next two components. While Pinterest and playlists bring the “feel” of a book, these next two components bring to life what makes a book truly worth writing. Continue reading “Outlining Methods Part 2: Finding Both Your “Big” and “Little” Story”

Outlining Methods Part 1: The Myth of Plotter Vs. Pantser, and What That Means for Your Next Book

It took me some time to claim my love of outlining. I had a close friend whose greatest epiphany was that she was a pantser (a writer who finds her greatest creativity when she skips the outline and goes straight to writing). Hearing her whoop with each outline she tossed overboard convinced me that outlining was a creativity-draining force of evil. Imagine my surprise when, years later, I had my friend’s same epiphany–except backwards. I realized I found my greatest creativity by starting with an outline. I was a plotter.

Continue reading “Outlining Methods Part 1: The Myth of Plotter Vs. Pantser, and What That Means for Your Next Book”

Did you listen to them? Arro asked wildly. Did you . . . eat?

Soal hid her face on the pallet. Tears spilled onto the cloth, and she clutched herself, as if that would keep the memories from spilling out, too. A million memories rose at her throat like a word that wished to be spoken. A million memories of blue-lit voices, tender, flickering hands, and a vision of the home they–and she–had been severed from.

And in that instant, something cold came over her. She could not let Arro see these memories. She would not.

Continue reading “Revising Soal: Facing the Furnace”

Fairy Tale Mulch

They weren’t written,
they grew.

Grimm
simply
matched the grimace
that had
colonized
his land.

Grimm
simply
put his hand
to the pulse
of the maid,
the mother,
the crone,

Grimm
simply
strode
through the
mud
of trodden-over grief,
splintered wills,
and hollowed out hearts

and found,
beneath,
something as gnarled
and fierce
and bony
and strong

as the twisted
roots
of the Oak
that Survives.

Sisters

She gave it to me,
a single
drop
of lavender.

She shared the scent
with me,
wrist to wrist,
older
to younger,
old pain
to new
mingling
for healing.

Still so young,
but now far away,
I curl up,
alone,
in a cage of foreignness
and friendlessness.

But still I hold
one
drop
on my skin.

Lavender.

The dark of her eyes
rests
in mine.

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