Monday, March 31, 2008

More Poetry

Here's another link to check out - it's a student run online creative writing journal at Central Michigan University. The writers here are very talented and a poem of mine even made the fall '07 issue.

Poet to reveal rural side of life - News

Here is the first time (I think) I've made the newspaper since birth. Still catching up on my several months long hiatus. Enjoy the day!

Poet to reveal rural side of life - News

Poet to reveal rural side of life
By: Ellen Rogers
Issue date: 11/28/07 Section: News

Grand Ledge senior Axie Barclay will give students a glimpse into the darker side of rural life Thursday when she presents the "XY Rated: Fiction and Poetry Collection."

The reading is a culmination of honor students' senior capstone projects in creative writing. It will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday in Charles V. Park Library's Baber Room.

Barclay will read her own works of poetry and fiction, which she spent more than a semester working on.

"It was a challenge, but it was really fun working on it," she said. "I really enjoyed the camaraderie with my professor. It was a neat experience."

Allegra Blake, assistant English language and literature professor, worked with Barclay on the project.

Blake said Barclay was inquisitive and always wanted to read more, even after being given a huge reading list for the project.

"She just gobbled up information," Blake said. "I could see she was taking certain things away from the authors that she was reading."

Blake said Barclay has the poise of someone who sounds much older than she is. Barclay's writing is gritty and shows people behaving badly and things everyone struggles with, especially students who have grown up on farms and worked with animals, she said.

"She's like a Midwestern Flannery O'Connor," she said. "Her writing is dark, but also very funny. It shows a lot of reflection."

Barclay writes about the realistic side of rural life and the experiences of college-aged people. Barclay was home-schooled and calls herself a "farm kid."

"It might be interesting even if you're not interested in poetry or fiction," Barclay said.

Blake said the reading is worth attending. "It's nice to see someone with so much talent," she said. "Axie is a really good writer, and she continually surprised me."

The event is free.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Thoughts on Writing

Disclaimer: I may not be a published writer yet, but I have picked up a few things with my overpriced college education. And keep in mind, the advice is worth what you pay for it. I'm assuming that reading this blog is free.

If you are really serious about writing, then start doing an apprenticeship project in order to feel out your own abilities and get a handle on what you like and what you want to write.

Start by getting a notebook, whatever feels good to you, and aim to write in it four or five days a week. I've been a storyteller and learning my craft for twenty years, so don't expect miracles: these things take time. We practice writing like doctors practice medicine. Attention to those admired in the profession is a must.

No. 1 - Write most days of the week.
No. 2 - Read widely and avidly. Anything and everything. Learn from the masters and from people who write now successfully. Examine what they do, what works and what doesn't, and discern what each author, no matter how tedious has to offer you.
No.3 - Read books and writing and research what other authors say on their craft. Writing is a solitary process, but now more than ever there are resources that help writers learn their craft and profession from other writers, sometimes very different from themselves.
No. 4 - To write professionally, treat it like a job and work real job hours, not necessarily 9-5, but put in the time you would for a real job. But if you write for pleasure, put in the time you would for anything you enjoy.

So keep your book idea in the back of your head, but write a lot of stuff and read more. No one goes out and wins the Superbowl without going to a practice session in high school first.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Winter blues and senioritis

Well, I sure don’t keep up with a blog very well, do I? Oh well.

Things have been really busy during my last two semesters of college, especially with the writing project I did in fall semester, which culminated in a public reading. So I’ve been doing enough writing in the last nine months that one extra project isn’t something I’ve really needed to keep track of, plus running out of hay for the livestock and keeping up with what I call my geriatrics patients. They consist of my grandmother (age 85), a blind half Appaloosa half Belgian mare (age 25), a deaf part-Rottweiler dog (age 18), and various other animals of varying ages and intelligence levels. Actually, other than being more forgetful than most (like Max the 18-year-old dog who gets up, hobbles to the door, then can’t remember why he got up in the first place), the geriatrics patients are probably the easiest to get along with.

So other than the usual winter blues, some serious spring fever, and a case of seniroitis, things are good at the Barclay farm, just happy blustery days, Pooh, as my mother used to say.