I’m so excited! I entered a poem in the Published Poetry category and my memoir in the Unpublished Memoir category of the Oregon Christian Writers Cascade Writing Contest this year. The deadline to enter was March 31 and I’ve been on pins and needles ever since I hit the submit button and emailed my manuscripts.
The finalists—three in each category—were announced last Wednesday. I made the finals for both of my submissions! I’m happy the poem made the finals, but I’m super stoked about the memoir.
Writing this memoir is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. It still needs some editing and polish, and probably will until the day it’s finally published, but it feels good to have professional editors and writers say my prose, the descriptive language I’ve put so much heart and soul into, is good. And not just good, but good enough to be in the top three.
My focus on the memoir is the main reason I haven’t posted as much here on my blog over the past year and a half. Although if you’ve kept up with my blog you probably already surmised as much based on the poems I’ve written about the struggle of writing one’s own story knowing (or hoping?) that people will actually read it.
The Oregon Christian Writers Conference and the Awards Ceremony are in August, which means I might not be posting much in the next two or three months either, because I’ll be busy polishing that manuscript. I won’t be completely absent, but I’d appreciate it if you’d cut me some slack if a miss a whole week here and there.
Anyway, I just want to thank all those who have encouraged me along my writing journey. I especially want to thank Sarah Thebarge, whose memoir writing coaching class at the OCW Conference last year was fabulous. If you haven’t read her memoir, The Invisible Girls, you really should. But I also want to thank members of my church, my Bible Study Fellowship sisters-in-Christ, my sister Suz and my cousin Noryce who told me to keep writing, and my husband who left me alone to write on many occasions. And, of course, my dear Jesus who made it all possible by His love and grace.
This morning at the Oregon Christian Writers conference, Sarah Thebarge (author of The Invisible Girls) challenged her memoir writing class to tell our stories as a poem. As a greater challenge she suggested a Haiku. Here’s what I wrote.
Nothing heals, despair sets in
Dream shows path of grace
I’m so excited! One of my poems is one of three finalists in the Published Poetry category of the Cascade Writing Contest put on by Oregon Christian Writers. I entered three poems as individual entries. I look forward to receiving the feedback on all three, but am also looking forward to the Oregon Christian Writers Conference in August when I will find out if I win.
The poem that is a finalist was published on this blog and is titled The Philosophy of Choice. The other two that I entered were more overtly “Christian” but this is the one that made it through to the final round. This supports what I’ve been learning lately about my writing—when I write honestly from the heart about hard subjects, people respond.
And a special thanks to Brian Miller, whose prompt led to the writing of this poem.
Filed under Faith, Life, Poetry
If you’ve been reading my blog for very long, you might have noticed that I recently changed the title of the blog from the merely descriptive “Linda Kruschke’s Blog” to the (hopefully) more interesting “Another Fearless Year.” The reason behind this change is that I am currently working on a book tentatively titled “Be Strong and Courageous: My Year of Living Fearlessly with God,” which I previously mentioned in this post and this post. I submitted the book proposal that I mentioned in those two posts to the editor who requested it. . . . and I got the nicest rejection letter, which I’m just tickled about. Here is what he said:
It was such a pleasure meeting with you at the Faith and Culture Writers Conference. What a wonderful experience they put together! Thanks for sending along your proposal. While I liked it a lot, others on the team felt that it wouldn’t be something we could be successful with, as we have not had great success with personal stories and memoirs, and because your platform would need to be a little bigger for us to consider the proposal. I hope you will keep writing and keep building your platform, as I think you have some real talent! Keep me in the loop.
So, back to my purpose for changing the blog title, I thought that a title that described not what my blog was but rather what it was about would help me “build my platform.” My goal moving forward with this blog is to be truly fearless, to write what’s important to me even if it’s a little scary. Although 2014 is what I called “my year of living fearlessly,” I don’t want that year to be the beginning and the end of fearlessness. This year is going to be another fearless year, and so is next year, and the year after that . . . well, you get the idea. I refuse to go back to being afraid and acting on that fear.
So for starters, I’m not letting this editor’s rejection of my proposal stop me from believing it’s a project worth pursuing. In fact, I’ve already turned it into a mini-proposal and submitted it to 3 agents who will be at the Oregon Christian Writers Conference next week.
And then I’m going to keep writing—whether it’s poetry or prose, the memoir book or just some essays—some will be good and some won’t, but it will be words on a page (or screen) that will hopefully encourage others to be fearless with God.
Filed under Faith, Jesus, Life
Last weekend I went to the Oregon Christian Writers fall one-day conference. It was a great conference filled with inspiring moments and lessons to learn. There were take-aways that will be incorporated into the poetry book I’m working on, but there was also a new poem I wrote.
One of the break-out sessions I went to was “How Not to Write a Christian Poem.” We talked about what makes a poem a “Christian poem.” My thought was that it must have an underlying Christian theme or worldview. Another comment was that it should glorify God—I liked that, too. We read a few poems and talked about whether we thought they were Christian. For some poems there was agreement, for others there wasn’t.
Of course, beauty and goodness are in the eye of the beholder, and I might like a poem you don’t, and vice versa. In the final analysis, though, we learned that a good Christian poem should:
- not be overly laden with “Christianese”
- not be trite or include over-used language
- not be dull and boring
- not be overly sentimental (I’m not sure how the presenter defined this)
- be based on truth and the author’s experience
As part of the session, we each wrote a poem in the space of about 5 minutes. I thought I’d share mine just as I wrote it there. It needs some work to be a finished poem, but I liked the direction it went under the time pressure I was facing.
sickness and pain, busy-ness and loss
seemingly at random in my path
deterrents to my dream
The American dream of success and great gain
What is my dream?
A nightmare it seems has
overtaken me instead
Chaos in my world, in my mind
I thought I knew what was best
but Your detours have led me
to the real dream