Sunday, February 21, 2021

How Buy a Poetry Book as Easy as POETRY!

 If you’re a poet, you read poetry, right?  Of course, no matter where you get your poetry books there are quite a number of them.  

First of all, you should probably know the difference between a Chapbook and a Poetry Book and even a Poem Novel, a Poetry Booklet and a Broadside  A Chapbook is a shorter book of poetry, often produced by the Poet themselves and contains probably around 20 poems or more.  A Booklet of Poems would probably contain around 8 or so poems and be a smaller version of a Chapbook.  A Broadside is a one sheet of one poem and can be artistically presented or simply just have the poem only on it.  A Poetry Book is going to be your longer book of poems of at least 70 or so pages or more.  A Poem Novel is a fiction like tale told via the way of verse.

Does length of the book truly matter?  It depends on what kind of poems you wish to read and how much time you have to spend reading it and also who the author is.  You also won’t find too many Chapbooks for sale in a bookstore.  You will find a number of any of the above for sale online.

Here’s a simple way to pick out your book or chapbook, etc:  P (personal interest), O (originality), E (eagerness to read), T (time you have to read), R (reading preferences such as style, form, author, etc.) and Y (You, why do you want to read it).  Price too might matter!

Have fun selecting your next book of poems.  Happy reading!

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Sculptures on Super Bowl Sunday

 I like modern art.  I like sculptures.  I don’t make that kind of art, I sculpt & paint with words!  I live in an area where we have several outdoor sculptures all around plus an outdoor sculpture center.  

To me experiencing other kinds of art is necessary to help foster your own.  Art is a way of life, in my opinion.

The setting for the sculptures I saw on Friday is an old school out in a North Carolina valley near where the real life story of Tom Dooley and Laura Foster took place.  It used to be a private boys school then a private school, a science center and now an Arts Center.  

It was inspiring to me to walk around the setting, to enjoy the great outdoors and to see how each sculpture was enhanced by their surroundings.  I’ve always believed that place does shape how you live, how you see the world and also if you make art it affects that, too.

Here are a few of the sculptures I saw.  They are located at the WNC Sculpture Center in Patterson, NC.  Some are permanent, some are from an exhibit.  I’ve just included a few of them here.  They are all spectacular because like I said Art = Life.  









Saturday, February 6, 2021

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Book Signing of “The Blue Eyed Side” new poem novel

 Book Signing of my newest book “The Blue Eyed Side” on Feb 20th from 11am-2pm at Tybrisa Books. The book is a poem novel murder mystery set in Hatteras and Plumtree, NC.  The book is published by Cyberwit.  



Sunday, January 24, 2021

The Magical Realism of Writing and Art

Do you ever come across that moment, you know the one where the flow just overcomes you and you can’t write or type fast enough to get your thoughts and ideas down?  Does that come to you only when you’re writing, or do you find it in another art form and then it inspires your writing?

Ah, inspiration!  Seems we’re fresh out of that these days, or can be if we aren’t watching or looking hard enough.

I’m the visual type so I’m always looking around for something interesting to see.  With smart phones, what do I do but snap a picture or two or three or occasionally a burst.  Usually, though, I take only one shot.  I try to get the focus, the view right the first time.  I’m a no filter needed one photo will do it no editing needed type of picture taker.  

I created a local poetry book and FB page and often times if I take a picture of something local then I might write a poem about it, too.  (See @poetryinla on FB or Insta.). Those picture taking moments are magic to me - a magical realism where real life and art blend together in a fantastic hopeful joyous and yes inspiring way.

Moments of magic infiltrate moments of every day each and every day.  You have to pay attention, though, to the act, to the magician behind whatever it is you’re seeing so you don’t miss it - that sunset, that view, pouring rain, a neon open sign in an otherwise shutdown shopping center, that quote, that book, - whatever crosses your path.  

The magic is real so don’t blink.  Take it, and make it your own.  


Sunday, January 3, 2021

Organic Inspiration

I am not one of those people who follow a routine.   Yes, I have them, but I don’t do the same things the same way every single day.  I eat breakfast, but never the same thing and usually not at the same time.  I write almost every day, but some days I focus only on one aspect of my work and sometimes I focus on several.  

I am not afraid to try new things, but if it includes socializing (even online) I am not jumping up and down with glee ready to take take part in said activity.  I truly do not mind and prefer to be by myself most of the time.  (Since nearly everyone in my family including the dog is extroverted they don’t mind this one bit, lol).  

Yesterday was one of those days involving not one but two activities that included other people.  The day before yesterday I ran an errand that involved seeing other people.  This doesn’t mean I’m never around people or talk to anyone - I usually talk to several people each and every week and I luckily have many friends.  

Each time I was rewarded with inspiration with these activities.  I wrote a poem about something I discovered at one of them.  I took pictures I’m going to use for a new book cover at another.  I made an artist connection with another.  I have to go through life like in the book “The Celestine Prophecy” (remember that one?) and be open to the idea of organic discovery which leads to inspiration and creativity.

These days that’s harder than ever to achieve because of the pandemic.  That leads to more online events and so because of that I’ve attended way more poetry readings, workshops and open mics than I ever have in the area where I live.  There are only a few opportunities for these type of live events and activities around here anyway.  

I like getting in that head space of flow from hearing other poets and authors read their works or simply talk about their process.  It’s like being in a room full of knowledge and kinship except you are in your own space sitting at or with your electronic device watching and/or listening in.  

It’s like bringing chaos to its knees.  It’s like shuffling ideas and thoughts into a kaleidoscopic mix of ideas.  

It’s simply creative organic magical realism flow.  




Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Some guy’s trip to Vegas aka Conversational Poetry

 Sitting in a waiting room, blogging, writing poems, reading poems, etc and this guy (on his laptop) gets a phone call and well talks so loud you can’t help but overhear everything he has said.   He went to Vegas!

The trip was all paid for.  He won $1500 gambling.  He gambled while his wife shopped.  He was there for a wedding.  He gambled with some friends.  He was happy to win because the trip was all paid for and he didn’t have to pay anything for it.  He said he felt like he won 50K instead of 1500 dollars he was so excited!

Besides reading and blogging, I can watch my App and watched a TV show ... I barely had the volume up and read the captions so I wouldn’t disturb the other people in the waiting room.  (Yes, I have ear plugs but I rarely use them because I forget to charge them, lol).  

As I sit here and listen to every detail of his ridiculous trip (Vegas for a wedding during a Pandemic?) I can’t believe I worried about me making too much noise.  But of course observing and listening is how some poets, like me, come up with poems.  

Often if I’m working on a story and get stuck, I may overhear or have a story told to me that helps me to fill in the gaps and/or to help me figure out how to make a bridge of sorts in the plot line to move the story along.

The guy is still talking as  I type completely unaware anyone else is listening to him.  See, there’s another poem/story idea ... how easy is it to “steal” any kind of sensitive information without even trying?  He’s mentioned posts, sources, and names!

Happy listening!


Sunday, December 20, 2020

The Creative Process

The creative process.  What’s yours?  

It seems anything different is in this year.  Does that work for creativity?  

I know I need to do different things, visit places, read, etc to spark my creativity.  I haven’t traveled much this year, but I have done many new things like run / walk a 5 k for charity, blaze paths in the woods, hike around a rather muddy lake, take a picture for my new poem novel (“The Blue Eyed Side” published by Cyberwit in Nov 2020 with my cover photo of the Blue Ridge Parkway), learn to cook eggs (I’m a vegetarian, I eat cheese but not eggs), bounce on a trampoline, celebrate Christmas before Thanksgiving, put up an artificial Christmas tree, and so on.  

There’s a way to keep new things happening in your life.  I had a couple of book signings this year - first ones ever wearing a mask.  I also did a live online poetry reading and sold more books from that than from anything else like it I’ve ever done.

Usually at Christmas, I don’t work on anything for any reason.  This year, though, Christmas is different.  I will see how creative I can and want to be.

Here’s hoping your Christmas is all you want it to be and that it’s a safe one.  ~Merry Christmas, LB

Sunday, December 13, 2020

From behind The Blue Curtain ...

I'm not sure where to begin with this post.  Back in July, I was on the Covid Hall of our local hospital, and I came back out.  I wasn't being treated.  I was there for my Mom.  I had taken her to the doctor for a wound center referral only to be sent straight to the ER.  They let me go back with her into the ER.  Unheard of in the Covid age.  And there I sat behind the blue curtain for hours until she was finally admitted.

I haven't talked about it much, not the details except to my immediate family, a family friend who is a Nurse Practitioner, my closest friends and my Assistant at work.  I haven't wanted to talk about it - it was all such a shock.  

We were on the Covid Hall for 5 days!  I never let myself realize that pretending it was normal for the hospital windows to be covered up in thick plastic, for there to be a giant vent tube attached to another part of the window now boarded up all hooked up to a ventilator.  You couldn't see out.  At night it was never dark with streetlights from the streets below shining eerily into the plastic.

A few months before I had gotten hooked on the TV series "Once Upon a Time."  We watched season 4 probably in late June and when the villain the Snow Queen came on the screen we looked at each other and said "Mrs. Claus!"  When you have kids, you see "The Santa Clause" movies a lot!  (Luckily, they are very good movies.  We just watched the first one again last week!)  

I then decided I would do a Google search on actress Elizabeth Mitchell to see what else she'd done.  (I had heard of "Lost" and "V" but I've never watched them)  From that search, though, I discovered her sweet online fan club and that she loves to read books so I started following her on Insta.  She had a post about Neil Gaiman's "The Ocean at the End of the Lane" which looked interesting so I checked it out.  That was one of the books I happen to have with me in the hospital room as I carry several books in my briefcase every day and a book wherever I go in case I get time to read.  

I read "The Ocean at the End of the Lane" late at night under the muted street lit glow gleaming from the thick plastic.  It was cold in the room.  I slept on the couch that turned into a single bed with a slight adjustment of the large plastic cushion.  

The book kept me mesmerized until I finished it laying there on that hospital couch.  And eerily, I had no toothbrush with me so I used the new one a Nurse left for my Mom (she was unable to brush her teeth at that point as I was feeding her and so she didn't need it).  After I rinsed it off, I wrapped it up a brown paper towel since I had nothing else to use to keep it from getting messed up.  And then I read the toothbrush scene in "The Ocean at the End of the Lane."  (It's an awesome book - I reviewed it in my other blog on books, https://booksfrommydad.blogspot.com/2020/07/feed-by-mt-anderson-and-ocean-at-end-of.html)

I felt like I was living that book.  I had never read any other books by Gaiman, but had seen a couple of movies based on his books.  I've since read his "What is Art?" which is a great book to read if you are in the arts.

With this massive life change amidst a pandemic, it is books that keep me going, plus friends including one who sat with me (from a distance) in the hospital chapel while my Mom went through a procedure, and oh yes at the time also what I called "the magic bracelet," the hospital bracelet.  It was the only way I could get in and out of the hospital.  

I have another friend who is a nurse who told me later on, how brave I was for staying all that time in the hospital with my Mom.  I don't ever feel brave, but I know I am tough.  I've been presented with a life change of now being a caregiver to my Mom.  It was unexpected, but I know how lucky we both are to have made it back out of the Covid Hall.  

I believe in books, love books, have stacks of them in my home office to read, check out way too many from the library, and created a Book List (some I found from friend's posts, Elizabeth Mitchell's posts and others from book reviews because yes I read those too looking for yet more books to read).  I've also written many myself  - my favorites are "The Mailbox of the Kindred Spirit," "Intent," "The Poet Next Door," "Poetry in LA" and "A Sunless Sea."  My first audiobook of "The Mailbox of the Kindred Spirit" just came out so I was listening to the audio tracks to approve them in the hospital and grateful to be playing them for my Mom who by that time had been moved off the Covid Hall into a regular room.  

I could probably write a book about all of this, but I don't think so because it's way too personal and not my story entirely to tell.  Instead, I wish for you to stay safe and healthy and leave you with this poem I wrote in the hospital room,

 

                                    The Blue Curtain by LB Sedlacek

                                   

The ER is different

than I remember

the waiting room divided

by sheets of plastic

and the myriad of

questions

do you have a fever

have you been tested

have you been around

anyone who tested positive

do you have chills

loss of taste

these questions asked at

the door, at the check in

counter by the nurse

who wheels my Mom back

behind the blue curtain

and asked again by the

phlebotomist and finally

by the admissions clerk

these questions ringing in my

ears like bullets to the head

we sit and wait behind the

blue curtain

and I am not Oz

we are not in Kansas

there’s no red heeled clicks

to save us here

the shoes, their shoes are

all different colors

(red, purple, white)

but the uniforms all

blue, dark or sky

I sit in the room

behind the blue curtain

on a blue chair

while my Mom lays

on blue sheets

enduring needle pricks

and blood draws

over and over

I count the number of

blue gloves on the wall

the screens flicker numbers

I don’t understand

and it is quiet except for

the hum of machines

and the ambulance calls

to the center of the room

I have a patient

has a fever

has tested positive

can I bring her in

they tell him NO

NO the Covid hall is full

I sit double masked

sunglasses on to protect

my eyes from “it”

and read poetry

every book I have

(I didn’t bring enough books)

and I write a few

lines

enduring the myriad of

 

people appearing and disappearing

from behind the blue curtain.













Saturday, December 12, 2020

Living the Poetical Life aka What is Poetical Success

Hi, I’m LB Sedlacek.  I’ve been publishing “The Poetry Market Ezine” for the past 20 years!  I just decided to end it after 20 years because I need to have more time for other things that have come into my life.  “The Poetry Market Ezine” was a monthly online email subscription newsletter just for poets with poetry markets, contests, and news.  Usually, I would review a poetry book or chapbook too.  I always signed off here and there with “Here’s wishing you poetical success.”  

But what does it mean to be poetical?  What does success in poetry really look like?

I have a friend who used to talk about someone she knew who was an artist and who believed in living your life through art to express art.  Okay, what does that mean?  I believe it indicated supporting other artists and also attending arts events of all kinds - theatre, art shows, poetry readings, concerts, etc.

Wouldn’t you as an artist prefer to be surrounding yourself with other art related activities along with your own?  Yep, there she goes talking about inspiration ... again.

But I digress (and this isn’t a post about inspiration).  I believe in experiences.  I studied acting while living in Washington, DC - I went to a theatre school in Georgetown of all places.  Later on I went to graduate school in theatre and communications.  When studying acting, you learn several techniques.  One is method where the actor believes in really experiencing what the character goes through to play the part.

Experiences to me are key to my life as a poet.  I am inspired daily (not just by gazing off into the sunsets which I often do ... one of the benefits of living in the mountains is that you can see distance for miles hence very pretty skies, stars) by life itself from things I observe to conversations I have to things I read and even by some of my dreams (I have had some vivid dreams!).   I also have other interests, responsibilities and jobs so I am doing many other things besides thinking about poetry all day.  It brings me into contact with other  possibilities that I wouldn’t have without them.

Traveling and Swimming, besides reading, are two of my favorite things to do (can’t do much of either right now with the pandemic, but before that I did them both all the time) and from there I wrote many place poems.  Same with my love of taking pictures and then writing about them (see @poetryinla on Facebook or Instagram) which is pretty much my own version of ekphrastic poetry.

I like to listen to music, too.  I like to draw.  I enjoy the theatre.  It’s all a good blend, it really is.

Your success as a Poet is what you make it.  You have to grow, not be afraid, fly, have writing rituals, envision succeeding, say yes to opportunities, get out an experience art and life, and take off on your second, third or fifth act.  

I may not be publishing my poetry ezine any more, but I will continuing to provide Poem Critiques and I will keep writing.  I’m simply ready to take off in a new direction.  I’m simply ready to find success in a different way.














Sunday, November 29, 2020

The Write Read Space

Do you write in one space?  Do you read in another?

I have an office space where I do most of my writing work.  I also have a couple of places where I like to write and post to my blogs.  I could be anywhere, though, when I get an idea.  My Hey Siri Take a Memo memos sometimes turn out to be quite humorous.  Usually I can figure out what I meant.  When I sit down in my writing space, I will translate those memos into notes.

I use a different space for my reading nook.  I have my favorite chair.  A nice lamp.  A pillow.  That’s all I really need for reading.

I do tend to read anywhere I have time, but when I have more than an hour (usually on the weekends) I will take a stack of books to this spot and spend some time with each one of them.  Currently, I’m reading a new age book, a chick lit book, a couple of self-help non-fiction books, and an entertaining book.  Plus, I’m reading some poetry books, too.  

I love to look at pictures of people who have created their perfect writing area or reading area.  My reading area is far neater than my writing area.  I have many things around my writing space.  I keep all my supplies nearby that I might need for mailing a sold book, highlighting a market listing where I want to submit, etc.  I have a box of swag, marketing materials, certain pens I like to use, notepads, etc.  I don’t think I could ever be content with a “clean desk” writing space and just have a notepad and pencils or a laptop on top.  

It’s the same with my writing nook.  Besides, what I listed above that’s in it, I also have many books in it, too.  

I am working on pairing stuff down and have done that quite a bit, so I wouldn’t say I have too much stuff.  I will admit, I do have too many books in my piles to read even with my being more selective about what I keep on hand.  

My writing space and my reading nook will never make it on anyone’s social media pin up boards, lol.  And that’s okay.  Both are unique to me.

I think the most important thing is to make the space your own.  Make sure it is your space with what you need to be productive or to enjoy your time and then the rest will fall into place!



How Buy a Poetry Book as Easy as POETRY!

 If you’re a poet, you read poetry, right?  Of course, no matter where you get your poetry books there are quite a number of them.   First o...