Tag Archive | writing

A Continuation of Women and Poetry

A few weeks ago, I was pleased to introduce Danette Cross, a fellow author in the recently released Voices from the Block. I am continuing my series on women writers who are also poets as a nod to Women’s History Month (March) and National Poetry Month (April). This time out I am super excited to feature Kisura Usiku.

Kisura Pic

Kisura writes poetry and fiction and freelances in her spare time. When she’s not writing, she’s making the world a better place through her role as Special Educator in her local school district. In Voices from the Block she has the most diverse offering–a poem, a fiction start (the first few scenes of a novel in progress) and a creative non fiction essay.

I asked Kisura a few questions so we could get to know her better and below are her responses. I hope you enjoy reading her comments and learning more about this dynamic young writer.

  1. What prompted you to pursue writing as a creative outlet?

I’m not sure if I’ve ever pursued it…writing sort of strolled up to my house one day, knocked, and when I opened the door, writing moved in. I guess that means we just clicked. Writing showed up and the connection felt like the most organic thing that’s happened to me.

  1. How do you get in the writing mood?

Reading, listening to great music or watching other creatives work…I also get into the mood to write via emotional pulls: if someone pisses me off or if I am overwhelmed with love, lust, bitterness, rage or snark…I write it out.

  1. How do you know when a poem, short story, novel, etc. is “finished?”

It’s different for different forms for me…with a short story, I enjoy writing endings that leave you wanting more…you know, that’s the end of that conflict, but there’s something lingering or something that makes a reader wish the story went on. A poem, I know it’s done when I’ve conveyed the message in a way that vibrates…like the message echoes in the head of the reader. It’s difficult to pull that off, at least it is to me, so sometimes I will leave a poem unfinished for awhile because I’ve lost the mood or I’ve gone through the emotion that has caused me to pen the poem in the first place. I usually come back to it when the emotion resurfaces.

  1. What or who has been your greatest writing influence?

Um..well there are quite a few and the list is still growing, but some of my favorite writers are Alice Walker, Zora Neale Hurston, Lucille Clifton, Gwendolyn Brooks, Toni Morrison, J.K. Rowling, Amy Tan, John Steinbeck, Gillian Flynn, Colleen Hoover, Paula Hawkins, Caroline Kepnes, Robert Dugoni, Robert Bryndza, and quite recently: Yaa Gyasi and Angie Thomas.

  1. Do you have a preferred writing form? Poetry, short story, scripts, essays, etc.?

No preference…just write what moves me.

  1. What are your future writing plans?

I plan to finish and self publish a labor of love: a book of poems about, for, and to my husband…as my first self published book. I have no intention of marketing or doing anything that falls within the traditional realms of publishing/self publishing with this book and will only publish one copy…it’s personal, just for him, but an accomplishment for me because it will be my first published book. It’s the most romantic gesture I can offer…and he deserves that and then some. From there I’m working on a mystery and a literary fiction novel…

  1. What do you say to people who tell you, “I want to write a book?”

Ha, me too, let’s stop talking and do it.

  1. What was your first thought when you held your first published work in your hands?

I still can’t believe it…I held it in my hands and just looked at it and thought, WOW! I’m in here (regarding Voices from the Block)? I half expected to open it and discover that I was the victim of some cruel joke and my writing was cut out of the anthology at the witching hour.

  1. What was the most challenging thing about the publishing process for you? What was the most rewarding?

What isn’t? But if I had to pick I’d say the most challenging thing to me is finding a great cover designer and editor. The most rewarding is avoiding clichés while writing.

  1. How/What do you feel about the future of publishing?

That’s a question that goes against me living in the now…LOL. How do I feel? I feel that I am the future in publishing…not in a self centered way, but in a visualize and manifest my dreams, law of attraction type of way…so I see published works in my future. As for the industry of publishing: it’s controversial…the big five have clout but there is a growing eclipse with self publishing and indie authors. It’s no longer looked down upon…and that’s a great thing for ALL writers in my opinion. You get total control over your art from start to finish…

To check out Kisura’s writings, click here! And I’ll be back in a few weeks with more women as poets.

Inspiration Continued

On Thursday, July 16, writers around the world were inspired by NaNoInspiredDay. On that day, writers encouraged each other by posting words, quotes and actions meant to inspire:  to inspire words, to inspire the completion of works, to inspire turning on the computer or picking up the pen, to inspire the prioritization of writing, etc. I found the inspired postings on Twitter and Facebook did just what they were intended to do–inspire. I was inspired to honor a truth concerning a short story I had been struggling with. I was inspired to write more words. I personally did not post anything on Thursday, but I am today. A friend sent me the link below and I am sharing it with you in an effort to keep the inspiration going. Click on the link and after you’ve read the 25 quotes, let me know the ones that move you. The ones that moved me? #2, #3, #9, #13, #16 and #25. Be inspired! Happy writing!

http://www.buzzfeed.com/juliapugachevsky/quotes-that-will-make-you-want-to-take-more-risks-with-your?utm_term=4k9bccy&sub=3100213_2642780#.ss6zqWWVqV

Hear Becky Roar!

Unfortunately Women’s History Month (March) has ended but I’ve found a way (aha!) to keep the spotlight on women history makers while also acknowledging National Poetry Month (April).

National Poetry Month

I am blessed to have met several women poets who are amazing wordsmiths and lovely survivors. Two in particular are Becky Baggett and Serena Wills. I asked these two poets the same question I asked Lovenia Leapart and Carol Balawyder, two women writers that I featured in March. That question: what woman/woman writer influenced you and/or your literary career? Both Becky and Serena agreed to answer the question in article form and share their articles with me. I, in turn, am happy to share them with you. First up is Becky.

Becky blogs at Sweet Alchemy Poetry Farm and there you can enjoy some of her poetry as well as her article on Adeline Hornbek, pioneer and woman history maker. Click here for a treat…https://sweetalchemypoetryfarm.wordpress.com/

Poetry

Five Quotes on Reading

Recently, I read five quotes on writing by Elmore Leonard (Western and mystery writer, screenwriter, novelist, and more). They are listed below:

1. “… The writer has to have patience, the perseverance to just sit there alone and grind it out. And if it’s not worth doing that, then he doesn’t want to write. …”

2. “A writer has to read. Read all the time. Decide who you like then study that author’s style. Take the author’s book or story and break it down to see how he put it together.”

3. “The main thing I set out to do is tell the point of view of the antagonist as much as the good guy. And that’s the big difference between the way I write and the way most mysteries are written.”

4. “It is the most satisfying thing I can think of, to write a scene and have it come out the way I want. Or be surprised and have it come out even better than I thought.”

5. “Write the book the way it should be written, then give it to somebody to put in the commas and shit.”

I think these are some of the most “spot on” descriptions/explanations of the writing process. But writing and reading go together, right? Two sides of the same coin, right? So when considering one, it’s nearly impossible not to think of the other. Right? Right. So as I considered these quotes I couldn’t stop myself from tossing reading quotes around in my head. And of course, as a writer, once it’s in the head, paper is next. So I found myself typing a short list of reading quotes. I’m not sure where I read or heard the quotes below but they well represent the readers’ side of the writing process. Give it a quick scan and tell me if you agree.

1. “Giving one’s time and attention to reading is as vital as giving one’s time and attention to thinking.”

2. “Reading a variety of genres is the equivalent of having a variety of spices in one’s pantry.”

3. “Reading is to mental growth as prayer/meditation is to spiritual growth.”

4. “A good book is near even when family and friends are not.”

5. “Reading forms bonds of friendship by unraveling the many artificial threads meant to separate.”

Aaahhhh! Reading and writing, writing and reading…gotta love ’em!

My Bucket List

Recently, a friend posted her author bucket list–a list of things she wants to accomplish as an author/writer before she dies. Her post at FaithSimone.com inspired me to think about what I want to “check off” as an author/writer before I “check out.” I’ve always kept a list of goals as a career guide and because of that it took me a while to understand the difference between goals and a bucket list. But once I separated the two in my mind, I had a ball creating my wish or dream list.

Below is my list. What about you? Do you have a personal, career or professional bucket list? If so, feel like sharing?

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1. To have publishing credit in multiple categories/genres: children’s, screenwriting, romance, horror, etc.

2. To attend at least one of the premier literary awards ceremonies: Nobel Prize, National Book Award, Academy Awards, etc.

3. To buy a writing retreat; a private oasis where I can visit, think, dream and write.

4. To have lunch with Toni Morrison and Stephen King, individually.

5. To establish a scholarship for young African American creative writers.

6. To establish a stipend-based award for adult African American creative writers.

7. To read at least one book by the “important” novelists. (Thanks to Carol Baladywer for expanding this list.)

8. To attend an international writers retreat and/or conference.

9. To attend a major literary event in NYC, the mecca of the US publishing industry, such as the Harlem Book Fair.

Romance in March

Many of you know that I started my writing career as a romance writer in 1990. My first romance book was published in 1996 and I was blessed to have four additional romance stories published before I got the nudge (from a Higher Being) to move into the horror genre. Even though I’ve been MIA in the romance genre since 2002, I still love everything about it–the camaraderie of the authors, the loyal readers, the generous opportunities, the blended storylines, the supportive affiliates, etc., which is why I have on occasion attended RSJ (Romance Slam Jam) since “semi-retiring” from romance.

RSJ is an annual conference of African-American romance readers, writers and affiliates. It is a traveling conference that is hosted by a book club and a romance author in the city (or state or region) in which it is being held. Next year in 2015, RSJ lands in Dallas, Texas. I am excited about this because it is close to my home base which means…I am already making plans to be “in the place.” And you’re welcome to join me and about 200 additional participants. Just click here (www.romanceslamjam.org) to learn more about this fabulous organization, conference and opportunity.

See you March 2015!

 

Worth Sharing

I love listening to NPR. They have some of the most interesting shows and interviews. During one particular broadcast of All Things Considered, the reporter filed a story on The American Scholars’ pick of the Ten Best Sentences. These are sentences in fiction and nonfiction books that made the editors at The American Scholar pause and marvel at the beauty of words. I think their picks are remarkable and worth sharing. So if you’d like to read some beautiful words and sentences, if you’re ready for your heart to race and for the world to be righted, click here.

Until next time…to the best of life, to the best of living.