Tag Archives: Story

A Minute of My Story

Do you want to hear my story
Parts are gory
I think you don’t
Listen you won’t

I feel compelled to write it all
Each trip and fall
Won’t you please read
Hear my heart bleed

I write to bring others healing
Share this feeling
Anguish explained
Hope is regained

_______________________________

Frank is tending the bar at dVerse Poets Pub today for Meeting the Bar. The form lesson for the day is the Minute Poem. It’s sixty syllables with added line length and rhyme scheme rules. The only rule I didn’t consciously follow is that each line is supposed to be in iambic meter. But then, I tend to break the meter rules with some regularity. Head over and check out some other Minute Poems.

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Extremes

Thirty words seem easy
compared to thirty thousand or more
needed for a memoir

With only thirty
you can just delete
all the ones you really don’t want to share

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Filed under Life, Poetry

My Memoir Monster

If my memoir is a monster
Taking on a life of its own
Does that make me Dr. Frankenstein
Madly nurturing what I’ve grown

Or am I more like Dr. Jekyll
Consumed by my Mr. Hyde
A raging egomaniac
Fueled by wanton pride

Maybe it’s Leviathan
The great monster of the sea
Tamed at last by God alone
Just like the sin in me

I wish it were a jigsaw puzzle
Of Bigfoot or old Nessie
With pieces that fit neatly together
Instead of being so messy

In the end it’s just my story
Dying to be told
One page at a time, not in rhyme
Hopefully before I am old

______________

Decided to share this for Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub today.

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Endless Roller Coaster

It occurred to me the other day
that I’m on a roller coaster ride
The Cyclone on Coney Island perhaps
or Goliath at Six Flags

I chug up the hill on encouragements
Your story needs to be told
You are such a good writer
I love your perspective
You are so brave

I reach the top, elated and determined
Ready to conquer all my doubts and fears
Ready to write my memoir
and tell my story to the world

Then comes the drop, racing downhill
at breakneck speed to the bottom
to unconquered doubt and fears
No one cares about your story
You’re no Mary Karr or Maya Angelou
You can’t let people know everything about you
What will your family think?
You must be crazy, just give up now

Then just this morning I realized
if I was on a roller coaster ride
it would be over by now
because they only last about two minutes

Guess I’ll get back in line for another ride

_____________________

Sharing for Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub today.

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My Story – a Haiku

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.

Innocence stolen
Nothing heals, despair sets in
Dream shows path of grace

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Cry, Pray, Write

So you want to know how to write a memoir. Well here’s what I know.

Step one: Ask yourself if you’re nuts.  If yes, proceed to step two.

Step two: Attend a writing conference for inspiration.

Step three: Go home and cry because you don’t want to reveal the level of detail one conference speaker said you would have to.

Step four: Pray and ask God for direction.

Step five: Write and self-publish an autobiographical poetry book that vaguely addresses the story you want to write.

Step six: Tell yourself the poetry book is a sufficient memoir because, after all, we don’t know what Paul’s thorn was either.

Step seven: Have several people ask when you’re going to write your story.

Step eight: Write an outline of your story in your Color Notes app on your phone, then write two book proposals, one for your memoir and one for a devotional.

Step nine: Attend another writers conference and pitch your book ideas to editors and agents.

Step ten: Get sidetracked for three months working on a “marketable” idea from the agent, ignoring advice from a spiritual writing mentor.

Step eleven: Get further sidetracked writing and self-publishing a holiday poetry book.

Step twelve: Lie awake at night running scenes in your head of what you need to write, but not get up to actually write them down because you don’t want to disturb the sleeping dog.

Step thirteen: Tell your friends and family you’ve decided to write your memoir. (This step may be optional, but is helpful if you’re the kind of person who once they’ve said they are doing something has to do it.)

Step fourteen: Decide you need to learn more about the craft of memoir writing.

Step fifteen: Read memoir by spiritual mentor from writing conference.

Step sixteen: Read another memoir, and a book about how to write memoir, and another memoir, and another book about how to write memoir, then start reading a third memoir but decide it’s not believable and make a mental note not to write your memoir that way.

Step seventeen: Take advice from book on memoir writing and simply start writing one paragraph, one scene at a time.

Step eighteen: Get into text discussion with a friend who suggests yet another book on memoir writing you should read. Order said book on your Kindle, realize what you’ve ordered is actually a different book by that author, then order the paperback of the first book from Amazon.

Step nineteen: Write poems about writing memoir.

Step twenty: Stop worrying that your first draft is terrible (because as Anne Lamott says, they all are),  and resolve to write, edit, rewrite, and persevere.

I’m afraid that’s as far as I’ve gotten so you’ll have to come back next year for the remaining steps.

_______________________________

The NaPoWriMo prompt for today is to write a “How To” poem. Since I am in the process of writing (or trying to write) my memoir, I thought I’d share a little step-by-step how-to on how to do it.

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Poetry and Fearlessness

Last weekend I went to the Faith and Culture Writers Conference in Newberg, Oregon. I was really looking forward to it for weeks before the event. And for the most part it was not disappointing.

I was inspired by several of the speakers — Tony Kriz made me laugh, Deidra Riggs taught me that patience in following God’s lead will reveal the unexpected, and Paul Louis Metzger showed me inspiration from King David I’d never seen — but the most inspiring of all was Phil Long, a spoken word poet that opened my mind to the real possibilities of poetry. We heard Phil share his poetry both Friday night and Saturday afternoon, plus I went to his break-out session in which he shared videos of several other awesome spoken word poets. As I listened, I poem started forming in my mind, but the weekend was too busy to get more than a title written down. Later he sat down with us at lunch and I got to talk to him about his poetry and preferred self-publishing platforms.

The theme for me for the weekend was “no fear.” It sounds so easy. Just don’t fear. Nowhere was that message clearer than the break-out session by Elizabeth Chapin. In the space of fifty minutes, in a session titled Creative Nonfiction: The Art of Telling the Truth, she shared her story in great detail. I learned from her that the little details are important — like how she spoke slowly and deliberately, that every seat in the room was full, and my dear friend Ginger sat to my right. A young guy in the back asked about using story arc in memoirs, and I wondered how he could already have experienced anything to write a memoir about. Elizabeth told me that telling my story is important. I left that session with more bits of my poem swirling around in my head.

The conference ended with reminders that I belong, that I am a writer, and that writing about our experiences in the context of faith and culture is essential.

So you might think that as soon as I got home I would have committed that poem to paper (or computer screen) and post it. I did start to write it. I sat in my favorite writing chair in my room and turned on the floor lamp. I pulled out the purple Relay for Life journal that I’d taken with me to the conference and turned to the page with my poem title — Memories Haunting the Light. I wrote the first two stanzas, coming to the stanza that was to describe the first “memory” that haunts me. I was going to be fearless and put it all down on paper. But I didn’t. Instead, I closed the journal and went to work on dinner.

As the days have passed and the journal has remained closed, I’ve pondered Paul’s thorn, and how we don’t know what his thorn was and that makes his experience more universal so that anyone with any thorn can relate to Jesus saying His grace is sufficient. Then I wonder if that thought and its corresponding decision to write only vaguely of my experiences, rather than in vivid detail, is merely a means of denying my fear.

And again I wonder what it is I’m afraid of and how I can continue to fear when my Savior has clearly commanded me not to, and provided me of examples of people who have not feared and been blessed as a result.

I do know that I no longer fear compiling the poetry I have written into a book and self-publishing. I did gain valuable information about self-publishing that I will put to good use this year and was encouraged. And now I’m looking forward to Faith and Culture Writers Conference 2015!

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