Tag Archives: muse

Traveling This Summer? Keep a Journal!

In the summer of 2012 I traveled to China. It was a great experience, and I was super busy all the time. I never found time to write or keep a journal, but my roommate for the trip did. I’m fairly sad that I didn’t set aside the time to do the same thing.

What really impressed me about her journal was that it had writing prompts for her to respond to for each day she was gone. Her friends and family had gotten together and had come up with the writing prompts for her. They then wrote the prompts within a notebook and told her to not look ahead and to just fill in the page for the day’s writing prompt.

I did have fun taking photos, at least. My group was super annoyed that I took so long, but hell, they turned out awesome.
I did have fun taking photos, at least. My group was super annoyed that I took so long, but hell, they turned out awesome.

Besides being a totally awesome gift idea for friends or family that are traveling abroad, this is also a great tool for a writer. I have my memories (and a crap ton of pictures on my Facebook) of the trip, but I don’t have my emotional responses or thoughts documented from my time over there.

Finding a Muse

I think it was the muse’s glassy stare and tendency to carry around heads that made them so inspiring, in the old days.
(Image Source: Ancient.EU.Com)

In ancient Greece, a muse was a goddess who inspired great works of poetry, literature, music, and science. These muses were considered vessels of knowledge that would impart that knowledge to inspire creation. The mythology around a muse continued to be used by artists, such as Shakespeare, who had a whole series of sonnets dedicated to the muses, calling for inspiration, to modern day film makers like Kevin Smith, who had Salma Hayek playing a muse in the film Dogma who lost her ability to inspire because she left heaven to write for herself.

The concept of the muse continues to be part of modern society because writers, artists, and heck, I’m sure even scientist, still like to be inspired when it comes to their work. While I, as well as other writers in this blog, have always been an advocate of writing on a set schedule, doing research to enhance and encourage writing, and not waiting for inspiration as an excuse to write, I do think that having someone who acts as a muse in your life is a great thing that will help improve your writing and drive your desire to write. Finding a muse doesn’t mean that a scheduled, structured form of writing has to stop existing; instead, having a muse helps fuel your writing sessions with new ideas you can’t wait to get down on the page.

Dreams as Inspiration

I don’t really keep a dream diary, but I know of a lot of people that do. Dreams can be weird sometimes. For example, last night I had a dream that I was fighting against an alien invasion at a base that was a super Home Depot and humanity lost, then I had to write an essay on why I loved my new alien overlord. But sometimes dreams aren’t so weird, or parts of weird dreams can be used as inspiration for writing. Below are some best-selling books inspired by dreams.

Robert Louis Stevenson woke from a strange dream of a doctor with split personalities and completed The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde ten days after he awoke.

Drunk Poetry

The question of the day is: how does alcohol and poetry mix? Below are my humble opinions on the subject.

Tequila; lime optional.

Oh tequila, my old friend. I don’t think I could write a poem after drinking you. I just become so damn happy and talkative. I might think the words that are coming out of my mouth are the most poetic thing to ever touch the ears of the people around me, but alas, one drink of tequila is never enough. Whether it comes in shot form, margarita form, sunrise form, or other mixed drink forms, one sip is always followed by another and then another. I really like tequila. So, after a few drinks, my words are not poetic as much as they are incoherent. Don’t drink and drive, by the way. I just thought I should throw that out there since I’m talking about drinking and coherency levels. It’s bad kids. Real bad.

I Would Totally Take my Panties off For The Right Poem, Part 1

You read the title right. Today I’m exploring the use of poetry as seductive tool. So anyone who has had a British Lit class or has taken a Poetry course of some sort will be familiar with The Flea by John Donne.

Mark but this flea, and mark in this,
How little that which thou deniest me is;
It sucked me first, and now sucks thee,
And in this flea our two bloods mingled be;
Thou know’st that this cannot be said
A sin, nor shame, nor loss of maidenhead,
Yet this enjoys before it woo,
And pampered swells with one blood made of two,
And this, alas, is more than we would do.

Oh stay, three lives in one flea spare,
Where we almost, nay more than married are.
This flea is you and I, and this
Our mariage bed, and marriage temple is;
Though parents grudge, and you, w’are met,
And cloistered in these living walls of jet.
Though use make you apt to kill me,
Let not to that, self-murder added be,
And sacrilege, three sins in killing three.

Cruel and sudden, hast thou since
Purpled thy nail, in blood of innocence?
Wherein could this flea guilty be,
Except in that drop which it sucked from thee?
Yet thou triumph’st, and say’st that thou
Find’st not thy self, nor me the weaker now;
’Tis true; then learn how false, fears be:
Just so much honor, when thou yield’st to me,
Will waste, as this flea’s death took life from thee.

The Curious Relationship Between Writers and Cats

Writers have been said to be solitary beings, which may provide insight into why so many writers seem to choose cats as their companions, rather than man’s best friend. Cats aren’t pack animals, meaning they don’t feel the need to do what anyone else wants them to do. And they have large, peculiar personalities, which can also be said of writers.

When I began researching this curious relationship between writers and cats, I stumbled upon a poem written by William Carlos Williams:

As the Cat

As the cat
climbed over
the top of

the jamcloset
first the right
forefoot

carefully
then the hind
stepped down

into the pit of
the empty
flowerpot

Dan Hogan Author Profile

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Dan Hogan and wife, Sophie Mae

Published Poet Profile: Dan Hogan
Interview by: Amanda Riggle

Dan Hogan is a part-time English teacher at Cal State Fullerton, Irvine Valley College, and Norco College. In addition to being an amazing teacher, Dan has recently had his work published in Cal State Fullerton’s literary journal DASH – due out in May of 2013. His original haiku was about a double-parking incident and will be available for everyone to read once DASH releases their current issue. For more info on DASH, visit their website WWW.DashLiteraryJournal.Com. We had the pleasure to interview Dan via-email and below is what he had to say. He’s a smart man, talented man, so you should totally read this and be inspired.

The Poetics Project: Dan, what inspired you to write this piece? Did someone double park next to you and block you in?

Dan: I live at an apartment complex with two really narrow spots right next to the dumpster. I work so late that often those are the two spaces that are open. Most of the time, people with their gargantuan sport utility vehicles can’t fit in the spots, and it’s kind of an art to squeeze in there. But sometimes people just give up and park across both spots. Or worse, they park with one tire into the other spot making it impossible to park there. Such a pain. The nearest spot from there is about two hundred yards away, and at 1 am after grading all night at a coffee shop, it’s a real pain. So I wrote it one night because I always feel like writing notes and leaving them on the windshield, but this time I didn’t.

April: National Poetry Month

Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? April isn’t just a month for appreciating poetry; it’s also about writing poetry.

I know, you have work.

School. Totally understandable.

A life? Yeah, we all have that too.

But this is April; this month was made for poetry, so put your excuses aside and write. Write anything. It doesn’t have to be perfect – it just has to come from you.

April Poetry Workshop

Hello new blog users. I know you’re all new, not just because I’m awesome and have magical powers, but because this is a new blog so you all must be new. See what I did there? Logic, it’s fun.

Since everyone is new, I’m going to break down how these monthly assignments work. I give you an assignment; you do the assignment. It’s pretty simple.

Joking aside, there will be multiple levels to each assignment. Most assignments will have a base, intermediate and advanced level posted. To participate, you merely have to work on the base level. If you are looking to challenge yourself, I post the intermediate and advanced levels for you to work with.

At the end of the month, I will pick 3-5 of the best poems submitted and post them with the rationale behind why I picked those particular poems. The level of assignment does not come into play in the picking; meaning an advanced poem will not be picked over a base poem if I feel the base poem was executed better.

Once your poem is completed, click Submit Piece Here on the blog’s menu bar to be taken to a submission form. Please include a little something about yourself in the additional information section of the form.

March Poetry Workshop

March Poetry Workshop Assignment

Base assignment: write a poem, any form, about the future.

Intermediate assignment: in addition to the base assignment, three key words must be incorporated into the piece: mob, sand, and book (these are the first three words that came up in a random noun generator, if anyone was curious where I got these from).

Advanced assignment: in addition to the base and intermediate assignment, restricted to the form of rhyme royal poem. A rhyme royal poem is a 7 line poem in iambic pentameter with the rhyme scheme of a-b-a-b-b-c-c. An example:

Opening to Thomas Wyatt’s rhyme royal poem:
They flee from me that sometime did me seek
With naked foot, stalking in my chamber.
I have seen them gentle, tame, and meek,
That now are wild and do not remember
That sometime they put themself in danger
To take bread at my hand; and now they range,
Busily seeking with a continual change.