Rules Are Made to Be Broken

I have a thirteen year old. I like to award him his privacy, and I rarely discuss my children on this blog. He missed an assignment in his Honors English class on haikus. I told my husband, and he said in honor of this day, we should only speak in haikus.

I sent him a haiku (three lines), and he replied back in haiku, of course:

The proper format
Haiku five seven five
Sorry about head

I have a headache today. But I must keep working through it.

Isn’t his haiku 5/6/5? The (1) proper (2) format (2) = 5. Haiku (2) five (1) seven (2) five (1) = 6. Sorry (2) about (2) head (1) = 5. I digress…

I find it funny Hubby is schooling me on correct haiku format. He gets irritated when I correct his grammar. How many times have I had to tell him which of these little words to use: you’re, your, their, there, and they’re?  I had to look up haikus, because, God forbid he be right.And he was right. Except that in the 17th Century, many poets broke away from the 5/7/5 form and just made a haiku a three lined poem. That’s because rules are made to be broken. But my husband likes it old school apparently. Not me. My motto has always been rules were made to be broken, or at least bent. I’m sure this made me a difficult teenager.

In honor of Hubby, I’ve written a couple of haikus that follow the 5/7/5 rule and a few that don’t. Enjoy. And hopefully Son Number One will complete his work, and I won’t have to give him a consequence.

Rustling wind moves leaves. (5)
On this clear first day of Spring, (7)
cold air tells the lie. (5)

Baby feet have grown (5)
too fast. Forgotten toys put (7)
away for electronics. (7)

Sweet sorrow of love (5)
that cannot be. Replaced by (7)
longing for the past. (5)

Sweat pours down my face. (5)
Running off the blueberry donut. (8)
The price of sugar. (5)

Apparently I’m not great at these. Maybe some of you masters of haiku can put a few in the comments. I plan to write a flash fiction piece for Chuck Wendig’s blog at some point this week. I’ve been working on a novel (different from my almost completed piece), but mostly I’ve been spending time with family lately.

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The Coffee Tastes Good

Yesterday, I marked one of my goals off the list for the year: Attend a Writer’s Conference.

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Photo Credit Goes to Sheri Williams

So far my goal list for the year looks like this:

  • Publish a Book done on January 31st
  • Attend a Writer’s Conference done on February 28th
  • Query an Agent done on January 18th (I think that’s the right date)
  • Publish a Second Book by May In the process with “The Devil Within.” 

2015 has been a great year for my writing, because I made it so. I dreamed it, but more importantly I started living the dream.  Right now, I’m struggling to look at edits on my book and swallow my pride. I’m struggling to make necessary changes so my book can become the best book it can be. Stay tuned, because in the next few days I’m going to show you the photo of where the idea for my book came from!

At the Mid-Winter Writers Conference yesterday, I traveled down the road with a friend, writing companion, and my project manager: Sheri Williams.Sheri is just like she is on the big ole world wide web: funny, easy to talk to, and inspiring. She’s one of the most giving people I’ve ever met, without that little word expectation stuck to her.

I think my favorite workshop was done by Ashley Kitchens, “Say It So They See It.” She used poems by Carl Sandburg and e e cummings (reminded me of my days in Mr. Franek’s class) as examples. She started out showing us a sentence, “The Coffee Tastes Good,” and as she went through the poems we changed it.  Interestingly enough, “painted ladies” are apparently better known as prostitutes than whores (and only Sheri will get that!). By the end the phrase, “Coffee Tastes Good,” had changed dramatically showing us how the coffee tasted instead of telling us. My coffee phrase: Poured in the cup, it calls me to my day. That’s how I feel about coffee, it keeps me going at 4:30 AM. Oh and all that delicious, rich, titillating stuff too.

I also enjoyed Ellen Maze’s workshop, “Plot and Characterization: Bringing Fiction to Life.” She had the best sense of humor. She had a list characterization questions that should be answered on your character, at least your main character, before you start writing. I already do this, to a certain extent, but not as deeply as she does. I’ll use her outline in my next book and see if it helps my characters seem more three-dimensional.

Overall, I thought it was a great conference. I met some amazingly talented people. And we know, thanks to Kathryn Lang that it’s all about relationships. Because really it is. To be a writer, you need to have people supporting you, social media contacts, and people who are willing to spread the word for you. You need people to bounce ideas off of, to say, “Does this fall flat? I was trying to convey this, did you understand the picture I was trying to paint, the feeling, the emotion that came with it?”

You need someone to say the phrase, “The Coffee Tastes Good,” doesn’t convey meaning. What are you trying to say? Conferences are great for that, giving you a whole new way to think about your writing, and giving you a community who can help you in your journey, one who specifically knows what you’re going through.