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En Bloc: Magazine Review

Hello! Welcome back, my lovelies! It’s Magazine Monday… a day early LOL

I really enjoy literary magazines—although the price can be off putting, getting the right one can feel like you’ve found a magical unicorn. When I go to Barnes & Noble, I generally only buy my magazines there. I mostly read on my Nook. Once upon a time, the selection at any given B&N would be relatively the same. Not so this last time. I don’t know if they are selling out, or if the different stores carry different magazines. Also, sometimes the publish date seems like it was a long time ago, but with the ramifications of Covid across so many industries, I’m willing to hold my piece on this.  However, this is an interesting conundrum: I have one near my work and one closer to my home.  If they carry differing magazines, I need to figure out when the ones I like come in at each one. If they are the same and just selling out quick, well. That makes life So. Much. Easier.

I am not going to subscribe. I don’t like reading magazines on my Nook, and the US Post Office has dropped the ball. When Covid hit, I subscribed to 2 magazines. One of them I didn’t get 3 issues of. And  it’s bi-monthly! So half the issues! Yes, they sent them out to me, but really? Once things started opening up… I want to go and browse.

Today I want to talk to you about one of those browsing finds. This is from the Momcation trip to B&N. I found a little imported Literary Zine called En Bloc. It is imported from the UK, and so is one of the ones in the US that has a little bit of a hefty price tag.

The cover is eye catching and fun, a mustachioed popsicle sticking out its tongue. I am happy to say that the insides are also eye catching. The Letter from the Editor(Samuel Leach) has a large chunk of it that has a line drawn through it, and then he begins. Again. Kind of like the last bit of life has been for us.  This magazine has photography, an interview with Bill Plympton, poetry and of course the fiction that I loved. Both the for the enjoyment of reading the story, and for the techniques.

Because I write too. It’s always awesome to find writer’s excelling at telling stories in a different way. “Baby Brownie” by Ian Cowmeadow tells the story both in the past and future. It is handled really well, with the reader (me) never getting lost, and still engrossed in the story and not just geeking out over the writing. “Elanor’s Party” by Dave Gerow is one of the few stories I’ve read in Second Person perspective that really does grab you into the story and not let go.

The issue I found at B&N was the first issue. The second issue looks like it is out, based on their website (link below). I can’t wait to find it in the store.

The stories caught my eye, kept me interested. As I am a fickle, picky reader this is a great feeling! While I did read every story (I skipped most in other magazines—which will remain nameless), however there were 2 that stayed with me.

Overall verdict, not only will I buy again, it is the sort of magazine I want to share with my friends so we can talk about the stories.

En Bloc

https://enbloc.co.uk/shop/

Poem A Day

Is not going well
I’m sorry to say

The pen dried up
The paper burned
in an imaginary fire
My chisel for the tablet
Cracked in half

Or maybe

My imagination failed
I didn’t get the memo
The kid ate my poem
(The dog turned up it’s nose)

Or maybe

New habits take time
A little grace extended
To self is rare indeed
And it’s time to

Begin again

January 2021

So January was a good one for the writing. Maybe — Maybe not.

I have a story being held for consideration (fingers crossed and good vibes). Which in terms of goals means that I am actually submitting my work.

My writing sister from another mother (hi Rie!) Challenged me to a poem a day for the year. I am missing few days, but I have been doing it. Which is funny because I don’t identify as a poet but….

But when I was pigtails young, I did. I wrote a little chapbook for the school book project. At some point I stopped– lack of confidence, one too many insults? No clue. But I did, and now I am flexing those creaking poetry muscles and it feels good.

And then the cards! I did another batch on cards for the retirement home, which is still on lockdown. 70 this time. I was only able to do it because my bff Linda came over and we cracked them off. AT the beginning of the pandemic lots of people did lots of things for those that were shut in. We need to remember them. So I did– we did.

Happy New Year-ish

So i have made lots of goals for 2021. Not resolutions, just a nod to things I want to do differently. I started most of them in December, at the very end. I just couldn’t wait.

One thing I’m trying to do is submit my work, my writing more. I enjoy writing, and I have several stories that need homes. I wrote 4 or 5 last year and while not a huge amount– it is still an accomplishment I am proud of. I’ve sent 2 stories out, hopefully to find a home.

I’ve started journalling creatively for 10 minutes before going to bed. It helps with story generation, and also working things out. A fire kitten may be making an appearance in a story soon.

One of my dear friends, my sister from another mother, challenged me to a poem a day writing challenge for the year. I don’t consider myself a poet, but it doesnt say anything about GOOD poetry LOL.

I bought an undated planner and am using it to tey and work out a story I am working on. The story has a lot going on and will probably be longer than most of my writing. I tend to do short and sweet, this needs room to breathe.

So that’s what I’m getting into for 2021. How about you? Any wild crazy plans? Or slow and steady wins the race?

Holiday Conversation Starter

So I’m working on a special treat for my Christmas cards, wanting to “up my game.” It involves Christmas traditions that I love, memories of the holiday and of course my secret talents. Others have wonderful themes that make my eyes turn green with their creativity (I’m looking at you, Drea!).

So i started asking people two questions. 1. What is your favorite Holiday tradition, both from when you were a kid and now. And 2. What was your favorite present as a child at Christmas? These questions work across generations, too.

And it brings you closer to your family. Because in this time of Corona, there might not be a lot under the tree. We can always give of ourselves, tho. The gift of listening. Maybe a secret talent. Maybe just being a voice on the phone.

During World War II, Dad returned home at Christmas time. He brought his mom and sister a roll of… tinfoil like tape. It was used to jam radar devices while flying. My Auntie Mary told me the story, about how he brought it home and they used it to decprate the tree. They were poor– a poor we can’t imagine now. But that tape…. that tinfoil tape made her holiday.

Do yourself a favor and ask questions. Make up your own, or use mine. But ask. Find out about life in the family before you were born. It is the best gift you can give yourself. I have very few stories of my mom’s childhood, because she died when I was 24. Before I knew I needed those stories.

The holidays will be different. But that doesn’t mean they have to be horrible. Wrap yourself in your family’s stories, write them down and savor them. Who knows, Next year, you can turn those answers into a game of trivial pursuit!

Widow’s Walk

(I wrote this in response to a class assignment. It is inspired by a picture by Rob Gonsalves and the journey of a dear friend. )

Widows walk. They walk along the balcony, pacing out the nights. One step after another, chained to a mast that never comes into view. No skips, no hops for the balcony is dangerous. Weeping into the ocean doesn’t count if you are alone.

Widows walk alone, friends and family woefully out of step. They bear the isolation alone, watching the clouds skittle across the night sky, longing, wistfully, for a glimpse of the one who left them behind. They walk, they pace, they shiver and moan. Even among the crows, they are alone.

Widows walk alone into… . They carve out a path made of stone yet soft as sand. Night becomes day becomes night and still they walk their lonely halls of grief. Typhoons, monsoons, tsunamis break over them. The trick, the widows say, is to let them break. Let them rain down on you, absorb the fury and power of nature into yourself because otherwise it will burn you alive. The clouds on the horizon are puffy and white… or are they a sail in the wind… or will they change as they start to come in. Widows walk alone into…

The unknown. Once you are half of a hole (it’s wrong but it fits and oh how that hurts!) how do you become whole while only half of you is there? Once, you were whole all on your own. You didn’t choose to walk this walk, you didn’t ask for this you didn’t want this–never this– game of life that tossed the rules out on you– why did the rook take the queen– you didn’t know you didn’t want you didn’t mean in when you said you only wanted a minute alone youdidntyoudidntyoudidntyoudidnt

But still. Here we are.

Somber as a post.

Knowing.

Widows
Walk
Alone

Copyright 2020 Wynelda Deaver

#becausewecan: 82 Cards

A lot of things are going on in the world right now, and what we need is inspiration. The docotrs and scientists need inspiration to find a way to navigate us out of this mess. And we need inspiration to help us remain human and connected in a world of social distancing.

Some things happened the weekend of March 20th that inspired me. Some people inspired me. The first was Jennifer Pastiloff. If you dont follow her on Facebook or Instagram, you should. In the face of losing her livlihood, she decided to hang on by asking “How may I serve?” She did one of her classes online for a donation… to help feed others. To buy diapers, food. To help. She could have set it up and done her confrences that way– Zoomed her way into a paycheck. I still think she should consider it. But at this time, when we needed help, we needed to remember that you can always find 5 beautiful things right here and now… she gave me that reminder. That hope.

The other person that inspired me was Jon Bon Jovi. He did a video of the start of the song and asked that the people watching help write the rest. I don’t remember the name of the song, but i do remember thinking that he has already made an anthem for these crazy days. Because We Can. And also Army of One.

Those who know me know that Bon Jovi wrote the soundtrack to my life. At one point I toyed with writing a monologe set to their music. Is it any wonder that when I was looking for inspiration and comfort and the “Hell yes we can do this!” I turned to them, to the band that I grew up beside?

So.

How many have seen the meme about writing cards to seniors in rehab care facilities? On Monday night i got a wild hair and called the one Dad had been in here locally.  They have 82 people there. Writing cards is my super power. I dont just sign my name, I write. 

And then God laughed. I wrote Tuesday. I came home from work Wednesday and crashed (essential employee). I wrote Thursday. Ended up on the phoen a lot Friday, still wrote thouh. I wrote on my breaks. I wrote on my lunch. I wrote on Saturday and on Sunday morning. And at some point, your brain goes to sleep and magic happens and you’re just creating.

I delivered 82 cards on Sunday. All the cards opened with “To My Special Friend” and ended with the note that they are special and they are loved. I signed only with my first name. No phone number, no return address. Because while it would be great to know if the right card got to the right person… I am fighting my need for positive reinforcement.

I did it because I am an #Armyofone, and #becausewecan.

And also because Jen Pastiloff asked “How May I Serve?”

Nano 2019

So I attempted Nano 2019, with provisions.

There are always provisions lol.

It won’t be a novel, because I don’t write long anymore. It will be a collection of short stories. I can do this!

And then I cheated.

But that was ok, because I made up those words and deleted the rewritten story! I was doing this!

And then I got sick.

Call into work for 3 days, my poor kid making me dinner sick. (He’s 13, don’t feel too bad for him lol). It’s still lingering a few weeks later, and it’s kicking my hiney. Nano became no no for me.

So was it was a loss. Or was It? I wrote words…. lots of words that can be cleaned up and sent out. I learned that I work best in the early morning on Saturrday or Sunday, sitting out in mine and rays cave (more on that in a later post). I put my Christmas tree up Halloween night, and having the lights on with Christmas music playing on Pandora and the words just fly.

And I also learned it is entirely possible to finish one story and start another right away. No tears (well maybe a couple, it was a sad story).

Now I just need to get back into writing.

Ta, my lovelies!

You can write your own way….

I know. It sounds crazy pants, doesn’t it?

But you can write your own way.

You might not get published. You might self publish and not sell enough to make money. I know those are the dreams, the goals, the reason many park but in chair. But it’s ok to write what you want, what you enjoy. You don’t know where those secret little scribbles that you only share with your very best friends (If them) will take you.

Sometimes those secret scribbles take you in a direction you never knew existed.

Sometimes it’s where you hone your voice, cut your teeth on the truth your soul wants to release into the world. This is art. Our art. Shouldn’t we be writing what brings us joy and makes us giggle or touches our own heart first?

And sometimes…..

You find out that those secret scribbles that you never knew where to send have a place in the world.

So. Go forth and write your own way.

Who knows where it will lead?

Writing Cheerleaders vs. Coach

I have many cheerleaders when it comes to my writing and I adore them. They give me the lift of a bit more confidence when I need it. They have cheered me on when I doubted that I could write a sentence, let alone a coherent story. They have been invaluable in my getting to the point where I’m currently at.

And yet even as I’ve been writing stories that I am so proud of, I haven’t been submitting them. Don’t have time to edit, or find markets, weekend was busy, blah blah blah. There’s a ton of excuses and I’ve used many of them. I don’t know why…

So I called someone who I know doesn’t really put up with bullshit. During the conversation, I told her off the bat I don’t need someone to tell me I’m great, I have that confidence. I need someone who can kick my ass. We talked about what I needed to get done, how I needed to change the conversations with myself, and lots of things. Including making a dream board.

I had a lot of goals for that first weekend. I made not a one of them. So I messaged her, told her that and what my new plan was.

Crickets.

Not a word.

I’m sure she thought I was just going to stay stuck in my ways. I considered it.

But I didn’t.

Instead, I hit each and every one of my goals for the week. Made the dream board, checking in with her, got an “awesome!” Out of her and kept moving forward. My stories are submitted, I’m up to date in class and am working on my next submission.

The cheerleaders are invaluable. I wouldn’t be writing without them.

But I wouldn’t have submitted them if I hadn’t had the courage to ask someone to step into the role of coach. She’s not a writer, probably would never to think to read what I write if it wasn’t by me. But she’s tough enough to hold me accountable and not accept any excuses.

Thank you

Wyndie