Monday, August 6, 2018

It's Easy to Write A Poem

I wrote this yesterday evening at a coffee shop. I'm sure I'll do some (more) editing at some point, but I thought I'd share it - just a bit of fun. :)

Friday, July 13, 2018

Flashback Friday

It's been a while since I've posted because

1. I was busy preparing for the debut of my first full-length play.

2. I was out of town on vacation.

3. I'm getting ready to move!

4. Etc.

But now all of that is done* and to get me started again, I thought we could have some fun. Here's a #fbf** poem I thought you might enjoy. I wrote it in high school during Algebra 2/Trig class. We were having independent work time, and I had miraculously already finished. Since math wasn't my favorite subject, I decided to do something totally different with the time left in the period. This is one of the first poems I ever wrote:^

In the World of Mathematics

Here strange symbols do abound,
Like pi and sigma - mental Titanics,
And countless others as profound
In the world of mathematics.

Numbers jump up from the page;
Fractions display frightful antics;
Exponentials play mind games
In the world of mathematics.

X, Y, Z, and A, B, C;
Those variable fanatics
Even created trigonometry
In the world of mathematics!

Who out there really wants to know
The equations of the Atlantic?
Surely just those filled with woe,
In the world of mathematics.^*

*Except for #3...

**Flashback Friday. Hashtags - they're a thing. Apparently... ;)

^There was one in elementary school that I remember, maybe two or three in middle school, one in ninth grade, and a handful in 10th, including this one.

^*No offense to math nerds (of which my oldest brother was one) is intended. I just needed a rhyme. :D

Friday, May 11, 2018

Writing on the Go: Tools of the Trade

Sometimes, you just need to get out of the house.

So you go to the park, or a local coffee shop, or your corner Starbucks, or a hotel, or a train, or wherever. So you pack for the journey: money for provisions, your spiral poetry notebook because you're behind in your Great Devotional Poetry Project, your devotional, a book for the next play you're researching, your phone, etc. And of course, your portable typing device.

In my case, it's a lightly used Surface gifted to me by my Aunt Mary a while back. This little tablet/computer is a gem. I keep it in desktop mode because really, what do I want a tablet for? It's super small and light, but it does all the things my desktop does except play DVDs and have a big screen, and it does them all just as well - when I was in school, I had Adobe InDesign,* Photoshop and Illustrator all downloaded** and simultaneously running on this tiny little workhorse and they worked great!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The Confessing Church Chronicles: Interesting Facts

Monday night was the first rehearsal for my play, The Confessing Church. It was really fun to get everyone together and do a read-through of the script. I got home at around 10pm (I think...?), feeling very physically tired, mentally energized, and starving.

The following are some interesting facts about the play, in no particular order (numbered for visual clarity):

1. I'm very happy to say that this play has so far appealed to people of all kinds of different worldviews. Yay!

2. A couple months after I finished the draft, the Charlottesville rally was held, featuring, among others, the chant "Blood and Soil." I think normally I would have thought, 'Blood and soil?' What does that even mean? As it happens, I had used that very phrase twice in my play because it was a popular Nazi slogan - I knew exactly what it meant.

Friday, May 4, 2018

The Confessing Church - In Production

Graphic Design by Brian Overholt

I wrote The Confessing Church for an independent study my final term of graduate school. Over the following summer, I made arrangements to have the play workshopped again. I thought it wise to do so, now that I finally had a completed draft, and my local community theater group, Mask & Mirror, graciously agreed to help me with my revisions.

I let the rest of June and most of July pass without even looking at the play; I figured a little distance might be a good idea before jumping into revisions. When the community theater workshops started, I was ready to dig in again.

The cast of my Mask & Mirror workshop did a wonderful job giving me feedback on the play and their characters. I knew Anja's character arc needed some work, for example,* and there were a few scenes I knew needed major rewriting or throwing out, but I wasn't sure how to tackle those things. Hearing the play read aloud again week after week as I made my revisions, and seeing what the actors were getting from the words on the page were a huge help. We also had my friend Kimberly playing piano so the actors could actually sing the hymn excerpts this time, which was a big plus. Many thanks to Mask & Mirror and everyone involved in the workshop, and to the Tualatin Heritage Center for letting us use their space to meet in.

At the end of a 7-week workshop with the theater company, we had a staged reading - the play's second. It was awesome - we had more people show up than expected, so we actually had to put out extra chairs! Several of those in attendance were staff members from my church.** They went to work the next day and apparently talked about it at staff meeting; when they broke for lunch, my pastor asked for a copy of the play manuscript to read. As soon as he'd read it, he proposed that we produce it there at the church, which brings me full circle back to this: Next week rehearsals for my first ever full-length play begin. Is this real life??

Rehearsals start Monday^ with a table reading and I'm obviously very excited. I'm also realizing I'm a little behind getting my promotional materials ready, so I'm scrambling a bit in that area, which means Brian, whose many hats include being our graphic designer at church, is also scrambling on my behalf. (Yay for a supportive church staff!)

That is the story of how this whole thing came to be. :)

*It was more of a squiggle than an arc in the first draft.

**I work in the church office, so...

^Are you a church or theater company interested in producing The Confessing Church? Visit WordCrafts Theatrical Press to request performance rights.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Why I Wrote The Confessing Church

Next week rehearsals for my first ever full-length play, The Confessing Church, begin.* Is this real life??

Roughly a year and a half ago, I had the crazy idea that I might like to write a proper play. I'd written some short ones for a few dramatic writing classes and I loved it, but would I be able to write a longer work? After all, I write short poems and have trouble getting through longer prose works. What if I was only good at writing short things?

I enjoyed playwriting enough to give it a shot, so I petitioned my program director to allow me to take some extra electives in the form of a playwriting independent study with my dramatic writing professor, and he agreed.**

So in the fall of 2016, I embarked on my playwriting adventure.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The Great Devotional Poetry Project

You know that thing called New Year’s Resolutions? I normally don’t make them, and I don’t see that changing any time soon. However, back in December I had an idea for something like a resolution. I’d written a few poems based closely on scripture over the years,* and I always really enjoy those poems when I’m done with them. I have scripture references or quotes in most of my poems, so I’m not talking about that, exactly. I’m talking about something rooted a bit more deeply in the text over the course of the whole poem, as in my Isaiah 65 poem

Monday, April 23, 2018

Write to Publish

On Saturday, I went to Portland State University's 'Write to Publish' conference. It was the 10th anniversary of the inaugural event and, having graduated from the publishing Master's program last June, I was invited not only to be a vendor, but also to sit on a panel of freelancers.

I've never gotten any business tabling at this particular conference - it's relatively small, and few of the attendees are writers looking for freelancers - but I like to support the program and stay involved in this small way. And by going, I get to meet or reunite with other vendors, which is always fun.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Writer's Tools - The Poetry Notebook

Ah, the pleasure of writing longhand. Even the Tok'ra Anise kept a journal because her host Freya enjoyed the "tactile sensation of handwriting.* I used to write everything by hand, then type it up later. I remember in high school I wrote a middle grade fiction book, all in notebooks, double-spaced so I had space to add or change things if I needed to. Obviously, that used up a lot of paper and a lot of time. Later on, I went digital and did all my writing directly onto the computer (unless I wasn't near a computer). Except for poetry. For whatever reason, I still hand-write all my poems.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

New Poem: In Peace

The beginning of this poem is taken from Psalm 4:8 - "In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety." (ESV) I started with the first bit and built from there, obviously branching off pretty quickly. I wasn't sure what I was going to write about before I started, but I think it turned out alright.

In Peace

In peace I will lie down and sleep,
But peace feels far away,
And I don’t know how I have walked
So long on feet of clay.

They’re crumbling beneath me now,
Refusing to convey
My soul of lead another inch
Along my chosen way.

I curse them but I bless them too;
I know who they obey.
I close my eyes and find that I’ve
Forgotten how to pray.

I ran from all you have for me –
I led myself astray –
Pursuing any vanity
That might keep me away.

So now you’ve stopped me in my tracks
To hear what you would say.
Restore my trust and I will turn
To meet you on the waves.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Confessions of a Nagging Secretary

Howdy, Campers!

Don't forget to submit your bulletin updates before you leave today! You can still get the EarlyBird rate if you submit your updates before 9:00 tomorrow morning; anything after that costs the full rate.


Rachel Lulich

Activities Director
Bulletin Dictator
Receptionist Extraordinaire

And that's how it all started. An simple attempt to make the weekly reminders I sent to the church staff feel a little less ... naggy ... and a little more fun. But it didn't stop there. Oh, no.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Writing Hymns

Most of my poems are what's called lyric poetry.* Lyric poems are typically short, written in the first person, and deal with specific emotions, concepts, or moments. This is in contrast to, for example, a narrative poem which, as you may guess from the name, tells a story. So, The Gray Havens' song lyrics are typically narrative poems, whereas Ginny Owens' are usually lyric poems.

My own poems are most often born out of a concept I've been thinking about, or a significant time in my spiritual walk.** Sometimes, an idea comes married to a piece of music. I've written a few poems to melodies created by Ginny or Sara Groves or Amy Grant, and every now and then, I get to write words that fit the melody of a beloved hymn. Those are always gifts. Faithfulness, which I've shared on this blog before, was one such poem. Another I wrote shortly after a bit of a personal/professional crisis, which I also blogged about without posting the poem. I am including it now.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Spoken Word

A while back, I was introduced to spoken word poetry. I'd heard of it before, but I'd never actually heard the poetry.

The basic idea (from my perspective as a written word poet, if you will), is poetry that is meant to be presented verbally; it's meant to be heard, not in addition to being read, but instead of being read. So if you'd like to buy a spoken word poet's work, you'll get a CD (or audio files) instead of a book.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Art and the Gospel

The arts ministry at my church seems to move in lurches; prolonged periods of little to no activity or apparent interest in the ministry are punctuated by Grand Events, as I like to call them, that I never could’ve dreamed up on my own. Thus, after two or three false starts (planned events that almost nobody – or actually nobody - attended), we hosted Ginny Owens for a concert like it was no big deal. This was back in September of 2016.

Shortly after the concert, I sat down with Brian, my Staff Overlord, and John (another staff member who has been enthusiastic about the art ministry) to discuss how we might expand the ministry. I knew of a man in the church named Olando, who is a professional graphic designer and artist from China. I’d seen some of his paintings, and really enjoyed them, so we decided to approach him to see if he might be interested in creating a series of paintings based around the pastor’s sermon series at the time – the book of Hebrews. He graciously agreed.