Flavours of Italy

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Tivoli Gardens, Rome

When I got side-tracked by poetry, I wondered what the heck I was doing. I went with it and it surprised me. Not so much in the first book, but certainly in the second because the choice of topic wove itself into the novel series. It felt right and then it slowly dawned on me that maybe it did make sense. The Unexpected Series was inspired by my heritage and by the time I spent travelling. I love Italy and all the wonderful places on offer. Now I was writing about it.

My first poetry book Emotions in Eruption was mostly free style but in Emotions in Evolution I allowed my passion for the haiku to flourish. It hasn’t been easy to work with. Haiku requires discipline and I lack this. It has a condensation of words. My mind struggles with that concept. Yet I know the haiku and the places my characters will visit in Unexpected Obsession Book 1, and the books to follow, fit together, at least in my head if nowhere else. The history of Italy is held lovingly in the architecture and countryside, and in the customs and traditions. Words would never be enough to describe the beauty so perhaps less is really more. It is the essence that matters, the feeling evoked that counts.I hope you like my attempts, done with love in my heart.

I have chosen a few haiku I wrote with Italy in mind and taken the scary liberty of recording them. Too many years teaching have taken a toll on my voice but it fun to try. For visuals I included my pintrest link to The Unexpected Series. My board also holds a collection of images from other countries but I thought you might enjoy the variety. If you have never been to Italy, go. If you are going, take me with you.

Roman Hills cry and whisper timeless tears
 of history

 

dark Gothic remains
Renaissance and Byzantine flavours

 

travellers return to the golden isle
Sicilian sun

Until la prossima

Barb

GetBook.at/EmotionsinEruption
   mybook.to/EmotionsinEvolution
GetBook.at/unexpected1

 

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Calling all poets

Chris original finish 1

The last two months have been a little more exciting for me than normal. I have revised my poetry book Emotions in Eruption with a new cover and a little tightening up in the format because with self-publishing authors have that possibility.

Chris original finish green 1 AmazonI have also been working hard to produce a poetry sibling. This is an edit breath and fervent hope away. The plan is for the new book, Emotions in Evolution, to be a birthday present to myself. No pressure except for that little bit that says this all has to happen before the end of October.

Meanwhile I am constantly being asked why this interest in poetry. Where did this obsession come from? Trust me, it is an obsession. What about, I am also asked, the second novel Unexpected Passion in The Unexpected Series? Surely playing with poetry is a distraction from the novel series? Does poetry sell? Is it a good idea to be split between two genres, three if I include the blogging? Lots of questions and they are all valid.

Poetry tends to scare a lot of people.  As a teacher I often hear moans and groans as soon as the “P” word rears its pretty head, and well before the chosen piece of work is presented to students. Without any idea of poet or topic many choose to recoil and adopt a negative attitude, and it saddens me because this beautiful form is the ideal storyteller.

I’m not here to win you over but I am going to tell you why I write poetry. A recent article featuring Liam Cross clarified the fascination I feel, the draw or pull to the medium, and the satisfaction each time one piece is completed. His philosophy is simple. He believes, and it makes perfect sense, that the “more genres and styles we write in, the more we try out and learn about, the more developed we become as writers. And sticking with this theory, I believe there’s a very distinct benefit to be had from writing poetry, in terms of your capacity to construct a beautiful and gripping novel-length piece of writing.

Poetry is so expressive, and the rules so easily broken. How can we not love it? Being creative is so much simpler and the choice of subjects endless. My first book is pretty much free style, although I try to adhere to rhyme and rhythm in some and certainly, I try to add poetic devices where I can. Why not? Similes, metaphors, alliteration and even repetition are beautiful things to work with. And then, there is irony, humour and the vivid images inspired by the five senses. Yes, of course these things are a major part of writing. However, in poetry the size is limited and so we breathe easier when choosing those pesky and incredible words we are about to manipulate into voicing what we want the world to know.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAIn Emotions in Evolution I gathered my courage and tried to be innovative. I mixed my styles and experimented with haiku and the cinquain. Both offer an immensely satisfying opportunity to say a lot with a little, and between researching and playing with structure, both forms also offered a lot of fun. In the future I intend to experiment further because I am addicted to story telling in this way.

I am not a quiet person. I can say too much at times and the discipline poetry affords me has given me pause to think, and then apply that thought to things before me, and in this way see them more clearly. Haiku and cinquain take all this a step further in my second book, and deal with colour, with nature and with travel to tie in my contemporary romance. I feature Sicily and Sydney, an important part of the setting in Unexpected Obsession, and I also feature many of the places my characters will travel to and enjoy.

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Will this earn me a living? Probably not. Success is measured as much in satisfaction as it can be in monetary terms. I am very happy joining the hundreds and thousands of writers out there that story-tell following their own rules, and choosing their very own topics, and not fearing to tell the story that needs to be told in as few words as they decide. However if you are game and want to try my work then follow the link below to Emotions in Eruption and don’t be afraid to comment on my covers.

 

Until next time

Barb

GetBook.at/EmotionsinEruption
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Routines and the Haiku

Japanese cropIt has been quite a while since I have posted. I love blogging but it does get hard at times to maintain unless you have a routine.  I read somewhere if you can stick to something for three weeks then you can count on it becoming permanent in your life. We have a resistance at times to things that are good for us, or at least I have especially when it concerns the gym.  I’d be happy to reach three weeks (am waiting for that to happen).

In 2009 studies showed that on average it takes sixty six days for a habit to become ingrained.  This actually makes more sense than the three weeks. Habits don’t happen overnight.  They take commitment and they demand consistency.  Everything we do is a habit of sorts and it is the effort we make that gives us the results we seek.

It occurred to me that the opposite is also true.  If we don’t commit and work on growing that habit then it would disappear and I don’t think it would take sixty six days or even three weeks for that to happen.  Let’s face it; it’s so much easier to let something go than work at keeping it.  It is why relationships fail along with gym memberships. It is hard to find the stamina sometimes to keep going.

These last few months I have struggled with the idea of writing, a common problem for authors. Working so hard on rewrites is disheartening if necessary, especially when funds for this are limited. I have had to learn to do so much myself.  In some ways I have considered this to be a good thing. It means there are ways to do even the impossible but it is the hard road to take and has a huge effect on other aspects of life.  Time for other things ceases to exist. I didn’t mind this part so much but in combination with an immune system that reacts to stress, some unexpected problems and relocating, insidious threads have managed to undermine an already delicate self-esteem.

This is the problem with humans.  We are frail and falter easily. I have spent a lifetime wanting to write and a mere three months to convince myself it is all too hard and I probably lack the necessary talent in any case. I do know better than to think this way.  However the same brain that says don’t be ridiculous also says you’re tired, you’re not doing it right, and tells you to let it go and find something else that is within your realm of capabilities.

Good habits, unless ingrained derail at faster than a speeding bullet superman speed. Believing you can takes a long time to accept, believing you can’t because you’re not good enough, barely a second. I wonder how many of you can relate to this.  Have you let life steer you away from your dreams?  It is here that habits, the good ones, can kick in if we let them and make the difference.  For me it wasn’t about writing every day or going on social media, although these things matter.  It was about reminding myself of what I can do rather than what I can’t do.

Somewhere in this dark period my eldest daughter decided to drag me to Japan.  She didn’t have to pull too hard as Japan is one of the loves of my life, and we have extended family in Tokyo (increased by one adorable baby girl in March) but it was out of the norm and just what I needed.

You see, I absorb other cultures really well. I learned this as a migrant child, learned to thrive on differences.  I am inspired by them and so I let the beauty of the Japanese people and their country work their magic. I put my novels aside and instead concentrated on the disciplined art of Haiku. This wonderful medium expresses much with very little and the challenge to master this was exciting.  I like other cultures and I like words and so I wrote. I don’t know if I have succeeded in disciplining my use of words the way I should but I don’t care.  Sometimes it is enough to try.  If only the love I feel comes through then it’s enough.  It means I am on track again.

photo 1

White black mountain calls

Resolutions in the mist

Ice on lava fire

 

No idle hands speak

Occupation is fierce

Beauty in movement

 

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Cherry pink blossom

Blood dissolving on white petals

A joyous harmony

 

Honour flutters soft

Harsh creations sing a song

Peaceful warrior heart

photo 3

Busy lives encased

Skylines hold concrete glory

Earth ripples power

 

A smile and warmth abides

Climbing embers reach limits

Cleansing fire rebuilds

 

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Differences fade

West and east under the rain

Misty skins dazzle

 

Fast lane hunger

Time for history to amble

True essence prevails

 

Until next time

Barb