Friday, November 27, 2020

Why I wrote Full Cicada Moon in poetry

I'm often asked why, when I could have written Full Cicada Moon in any number of forms, I decided to tell the story in free-verse poetry. 

The answer is pretty simple: it's the way the story came to me. 

And, once I began writing the story in free verse, I realized that what Mimi had to say flowed easily.

Originally, I intended to finish the first draft in free verse and then rewrite subsequent verses in more traditional narrative prose. But when I got about a quarter way through the first draft, I realized that this form was the best way for Mimi to tell her story. Because: 
  1. Poetry let me write from a deep place in Mimi's character. 
  2. Poetry let me express Mimi's emotions not only by which words I used but by how I arranged them on the page. 
  3. I could omit tedious stage directions (for example, "She walked to the other side of the room," etc.) and write only the essential information that conveyed the story. 
  4. Poetry gives more space for the reader to fill in their story between the lines and in the unwritten words. 
  5. Poetry is fun to write.
Happy writing!

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Speaking (Again) of Diaries

In previous posts I’ve written about diaries—the benefits of keeping one and how to write in one each day. Though these posts were written a long time ago, again I’m writing about diaries. Clearly, I’m obsessed.

Let’s review the benefits of keeping a daily diary:

  1. Diaries are a keepsake for your descendants and other family members. 
  2. Diaries serve as a historical record.
  3. Diaries capture what happened when it happened, while details are still fresh in memory and not blurred by the passing of time.
  4. Diaries will help your children and future generations feel connected to you.
  5. Diaries serve as a witness to the lives of your children and grandchildren when they’re too young to be able to remember the events or put them in context.

My great-grandmother kept a diary every day of most of her life, and she lived to the age of 83. She had no idea that I’d consult her diaries again and again to confirm or disprove family lore, learn about my parents’ courtship, discover that she and her family contracted the H1N1 influenza pandemic of 1918, and so much more. When my second daughter was five months old, I decided to follow Gramma’s example and began keeping a daily diary. That was 24 years ago, and writing one page in my diary at the end of each day is now an unbreakable habit.

In future posts, I’m going to talk more about diaries, how they’ve been useful, how I’ve used them. And I’ll share some entries from our pages.

If you’ve been thinking of keeping a daily diary—say, starting on Jan 1, 2021—now would be a great time to choose one to write in. 

Happy writing!