Sidekicks: Great Poem about #Heroes

Check out this great poem about sidekicks and heroes. Straightforward, spare language, wit, and a beautiful poetic (but not over-written, sentimental) payoff! I love it… what do you think?

by Ron Koertge

They were never handsome and often came
with a hormone imbalance manifested by corpulence,
a yodel of a voice or ears big as kidneys.

But each was brave. More than once a sidekick
has thrown himself in front of our hero in order
to receive the bullet or blow meant for that
perfect face and body.

Thankfully, heroes never die in movies and leave
the sidekick alone. He would not stand for it.
Gabby or Pat, Pancho or Andy remind us of a part
of ourselves,

the dependent part that can never grow up,
the part that is painfully eager to please,
always wants a hug and never gets enough.

Who could sit in a darkened theatre, listen
to the organ music and watch the best
of ourselves lowered into the ground while
the rest stood up there, tears pouring off
that enormous nose.

“Sidekicks” by Ron Koertge, from Life on the Edge of the Continent. © University of Arkansas Press, 1982.

Inspired: Write a poem that starts with a line you really like from this poem. Write your own poem — but choose a line that really inspires you.

For example: I would choose: “that enormous nose:”

That enormous nose:
To love the ugly is sin.
our culture, broken.

Now, you try it! Post your experiments.

Defeat Procrastination!

Good advice from

black-woman-computer-robeWe all know there is plenty to distract us from our writing goals. Demands of work and family and interruptions from a busy, noisy world make it challenging to clear the decks, mentally and physically, for the focus and calm we need to sink into the writer’s mind.

Heather Jackson of Write On Sisters talks about daydreaming – beneficial to creativity but a slippery foe that can steal our focus — in these four excellent tips:

  1. Ignore the outside world prior to and during writing time. This means not checking Facebook or Twitter or the news, because if I read something upsetting, I’ll waste hours brooding over it instead of writing.
  2. Set my computer screen to turn off after 2 minutes. This is a visual cue that I’ve zoned out. Whenever my screen goes black it reminds me to get back to writing.
  3. Read a book. If after doing steps 1 and 2 I’m still daydreaming, I’ll read a book. Reading forces my brain to focus on one fantasy world (as opposed to the half dozen that might be lighting up my gray matter) and therefore calms it down. Plus, reading a book usually inspires me to get back to writing my own.
  4. Record daydreams. After all that, if I’m still daydreaming, I write down my scatterbrained reveries and mold them into a story. Yep, a conscious effort to make mental procrastination useful!

How about you guys? Do you suffer from mental procrastination? How do you focus your brain?

I really love #2 – it’s straight up nervous system management. We need to train our brains, dear writers. We’ve done a splendid job so far… keep going!!

Write-In with NaNoWriMo tonight

National Novel Writing Month

Wednesday November 5, 12 & 19
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Accokeek Branch Library in Accokeek, MD
15773 Livingston Rd, Accokeek, MD 20607

Come early if you like!

Alas, we didn’t get the big meeting room, but bring food & drink, there are 2 tables and chairs for 10 in the “cafe” area outside the room, and lots of quiet nooks for diligent word sprinters throughout the library if you are already coffeed up, and don’t need too much boisterous cheerleading.

I’ll see you in the Cafe at 7:00 to celebrate your writing, to 50,000 and beyond!

November Meeting & Novelist’s Progress Report!

NOVEMBER meeting next week!

Monday, November 10
1:15 pm until 3:15 pm

Accokeek Branch Library
15773 Livingston Rd, Accokeek, MD 20607
(301) 292-2880

Monologues due!

If you haven’t finished it already, write your monologue — a 2-3 paragraph, first person exercise, where you write in your character’s voice about an experience or story they’ve lived. We’ll share these aloud, if you like, in the group. I can’t wait to hear them!

Remember: just play! And explore how your character would talk, share, explain… you get the idea. Click here for examples.

Lots of Writing Action in the ‘hood Recently!!

With the advent of National Novel Writing Month, desks have been cleared, sleeves have been rolled, quills have been sharpened, and at the stroke of Midnight on All Hallow’s Eve the challenge began: can I write 50,000 words in 30 days, with the help of a few friends around the block and around the world?

I am so proud to report that besides myself THREE of your  AWWG sisters are taking part in NaNoWriMo this year! I’ll let them brag about it themselves at next week’s meeting. **is mysterious**  I can tell you that as of early Monday morning, your Accokeek WriMos have written over 11,000 words in just two days.

I’ve met amazing writers who are living in the golden woods all around us, and a new Librarian at our Accokeek branch who writes. Words, ideas and imaginations are growing and flowing!
So, get yourself to November’s meeting next week

4 Reasons NaNoWriMo Rocks

National Novel Writing Month may seem daunting (and it is!), but it’s also a great opportunity for us writers. I’m here to encourage you one more time to jump on the bandwagon with this guest post from the blog the Write Practice:

by the Magic Violinist:

4 Reasons NaNoWriMo Is Great for Writers

But if you prepare for it and work hard at making it a priority, NaNoWriMo can be extremely rewarding. Here are four reasons why.

1. You practice discipline

If you’re going to complete a fifty-thousand word novel in a month, you don’t have time for writer’s block and boredom. You have to sit down, take a deep breath, and write something, even if it’s total crap.

The point of NaNoWriMo isn’t to be the next Shakespeare or Harper Lee. The point is to write. You have to get those words on the page. Then come December 1st, it’s up to you to polish what you’ve written.

2. You practice speed 

50,000 divided by thirty comes to about 1,666, which is how many words you need to write daily to complete your goal. Difficult? Absolutely. But impossible? No. You’d be surprised how much you can accomplish in an hour when you really focus and let those fingers fly.

And thirty days of practice isn’t going to vanish when the clock chimes twelve on December first. I find that each year I participate in NaNoWriMo, I get a little bit faster, and you will, too.

3. You make new friends 

Some of my best blogging friends have come from NaNoWriMo, and we keep in touch to this day. It’s hard to go into something like this alone, especially if it’s your first year. So when you sign up, if you sign up, poke around the forums for people who are attempting this for the first time. Strike up a conversation, ask the experts for advice. They’re more than happy to help a newbie out.

4. You end up with a story 

Whether you reach your goal or not, you’ll have at least tried, and you’ll end up with something new to work on, or at the very least an experience you’ll always have. There’s no downside to signing up, because even “failing” has its perks.

This is my sixth year participating, and every time I get a little better, make new friends, have a new story. Are they the greatest stories? Maybe not. But do they have the potential to be? Of course. Every story can shine with some hard work and much-needed editing.

So what are you waiting for? Are you up to the challenge?

Sign Up for NaNoWriMo today!

What is good writing? Let’s ask John Cheever…

John Cheever said: “For me a page of good prose is where one hears the rain. A page of good prose is when one hears the noise of battle …. A page of good prose seems to me the most serious dialogue that well-informed and intelligent men and women carry on today in their endeavor to make sure that the fires of this planet burn peaceably.”

And: “Fiction is art and art is the triumph over chaos … to celebrate a world that lies spread out around us like a bewildering and stupendous dream.”

So… good writing is good description then? So much more…. Good observing, good attention to awakening language, good being and living expressed in the word itself.

Inspires me to write… how about you?

Poetry about Traveling — playing with high and low language for power

Check out this poem by Charlie Smith, about a journey through Rome. Notice the way he tells a down-to-earth story with smart (and smart-ass) language, earning a punchline that’s both ironic and humanizing….


in rome I got down among the weeds and tiny perfumed
flowers like eyeballs dabbed in blood and the big ruins
said do it my way pal while starlings
kept offering show biz solutions and well the vatican
pursued its interests the palm trees like singular affidavits
the wind succinct and the mountains painted blue
just before dawn accelerated at the last point
of departure before the big illuminated structures
dug up from the basement got going and I ate crostatas
for breakfast and on the terrace chatted
with the clay-faced old man next door and said I was
after a woman who’d left me years ago and he said lord aren’t we all.

Affirm your independence with W.S. Merwin — simplicity, complexity, perfection!

I hope you enjoy this poem as much as I did. Today, I feel like one of the happy few — and maybe that’s one of the benefits of being a writer, moving beyond labels, finding a voice “outside the box!”

To the Happy Few
by W. S. Merwin

Do you know who you are

O you forever listed
under some other heading
when you are listed at all

you whose addresses
when you have them
are never sold except
for another reason
something else that is
supposed to identify you

who carry no card
stating that you are—
what would it say you were
to someone turning it over
looking perhaps for
a date or for
anything to go by

you with no secret handshake
no proof of membership
no way to prove such a thing
even to yourselves

you without a word
of explanation
and only yourselves
as evidence

“To the Happy Few” by W.S. Merwin, from Collected Poems: 1996-2011. © Library of America, 2013.

October Meeting Next Week!!

Get your pumpkin lattes and orange pens ready, it’s the AWWG October meeting. The Library is open on Columbus Day, so head on in for our usual good time.

It’s also my time to get on my NaNoWriMo soapbox and challenge all of you to write 50,000 words in November.  Yes, National Novel Writing Month is upon us! In just 24 days it will be time to write like your hair is on fire, to break through all those hesitations that keep telling you the LIES that you ‘can’t do it.’  LIES I tell you ! All lies. I am living proof.

I cannot (today) RUN a marathon, my friends, but I can WRITE one.

So, if you are even the tiniest bit tempted, even just curious for a ‘friend’ of yours, take a peek at these NaNoWriMo get-started resources:

Of course, you can ignore my shenanigans and just go about your normal writing business, but you’ve been warned, I’m a NaNo Evangelist. emojiKiss