Poetry and personal blog – Spilling my guts to strangers

Archive for the ‘My Philosophy’ Category

Here I go again …

471235_69107547Life gives us many opportunities for “do-overs.” For instance, I think parenthood is an opportunity to redo our childhoods. While some of us repeat mistakes made by our parents, some of us seize the opportunity to do things differently. That’s the concept on a big scale but there are opportunities for do-overs on a smaller scale nearly every day.

I’ve been going through some sort of a spiritual journey that started taking shape in a significant way (more…)

Post-Racialism in a World of Niggers and Crackers

I continue to be intrigued by this idea of post racialism and am still trying to figure out exactly what that looks like. Some people are afraid, and rightly so, that post-racialism means that we all will start to look and talk the same and that our identities will dissolve into a common, post-racial culture. Indeed, there are some who would rather not acknowledge people’s differences because it makes them feel uncomfortable.

For instance, (more…)

Prying Loose My Thoughts

Reality and Perception

I see me as reinventing myself, in a manner of speaking. But what does that mean? Is it changing my hairstyle, revamping my wardrobe, rearranging the furniture, taking a different career path, altering my lifestyle, shifting priorities? As I do these things, am I really becoming somebody different or am I aligning myself closer to who I really am? I think of the lyrics of a Beatles song, “Get back, get back, get back to where you once belonged.”

Isn’t It Comedic Tragic Ironic

The better I become at writing,  the harder it is to do.

You Really Like Me


Kalyani Magazine has accepted two of my poems for publication. I took them down from the blog but some of you may vaguely remember them: “7 Haiku: Geese” and “they said.” I’m really excited because this type of recognition of my poetry has eluded me for years. Although it’s good to believe in yourself, it’s nice to have a little external validation once in a while. And if any self help gurus are offended by that statement, you have just proved my point!

The Poetry Business

976300_52203064I have a regular freelance writing gig with a magazine that features profiles of entrepreneurs. Having interviewed quite a few of them for my articles, I’ve come to admire the ability of those in business to talk positively about themselves and to promote their brand. They brag about revenues, awards, and milestones with no pretense of humility. And whoever doesn’t like it can kiss their asses all the way to the bank.

I think about myself and other poets who are trying to sell books. Very few poets make money writing poetry. Part of that is because the buying public doesn’t place much value on poetry, not realizing that the world would be barren without it. Are actors, pro sports players, and novelists really more essential than poets? If poets are ever going to be paid what they are worth, the demand has to come from the public. But there are not enough public relations spinners out there telling the masses that they need poetry.

And don’t hold your breath waiting for poets to make the case, either, because money is rarely a motivating factor for us. We poets are compelled to write poetry whether we get paid for it or not. It only makes good business sense not to pay us for it. It doesn’t get any more pathetic than that. We are our own self-deprecating enemy.

Madness in the Method

When I sit down to write poetry, the thoughts seem to occupy a physical space in my brain (the location changes from poem to poem). I have to tunnel through to extract the thoughts. I always worry that I’m going to lose my way, or if I’m able to get to that space, I won’t be able to pry the thoughts loose. Even if I accomplish those two things, I fear that I won’t be able to find my way back out again.

© Sweepy Jean and Sweepy Jean Explores the (Webby) World, 2013

Am I a Black Poet?

As I reflect on Martin Luther King, Jr’s’ birthday today, I think about the notion of a postracial America, which I believe is the same thing Dr. King talked about in his “I have a dream” speech–a world where race doesn’t matter as much as individualism does. Unfortunately, racism is still alive and well. But despite that fact, the world is still evolving.

What I mean is, black people used to be thought of as a group, not as individuals, lumped together due to the circumstance of slavery. Once slavery was abolished and we were able to move about freely, we still maintained a close-knit group identity even amongst ourselves, generally speaking, as we were still bound by hardships.

Over time, through the struggles of Dr. King and countless others, known and unknown, we became more diverse through education, travel, and the like. We began to pursue our individual dreams. Eventually, the once unthinkable happened with the election of a black president, voted in now for an astonishing second term.

3c7786aa5cf6d12e4584b65d0e2bdc77When I was a kid, to my mind, black poets (more…)

Life Without Limits: Is That Possible?

In my last post I said that I no longer want to limit the possibilities in my life or box myself in through labels, such as wife. mother, or what have you.

However, one of the comments to that post brought up some interesting points, though it may have been slightly tongue in cheek. Here’s the comment, in part:

“But can we avoid being boxed in? What about the label ‘poet’? Is that a box? Is what we call ‘freedom’ merely the exercising of our right to choose our own boxes? Are those that refuse to be boxed in unknowingly occupying a box labelled ‘those that refused to be boxed in’? Is there life without boxes?”

Well, I’d have to say that (more…)

NaPoWriMo 2012: Who’s Doing It?

Visit These Sites and Cheer Them On! NaPoWriMo 2012 Participants (Sweepy’s Cypher)

Sweepy Jean Explores the (Webby) World
Lyric Fire
142 Books
Sulekha Rawat: Memoirs
To create…
memoirs of a homemaker
For Jen’s Sake
One Time Pad
Thoughts Of Beauty In The Stillness Of Dawn…
Chris Galvin
Poetry, Prose, Art and other Creative Things

Stephen Kellogg’s Blog
Turning Paige

I started the NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month) challenge April 3 last year on a whim, but I’ve learned my lesson. I’m on top of things this time. Is anybody with me?

The NaPoWriMo challenge is to write a poem a day for the month of April. If you are going to participate, too, you may want to add your blog link to the participating sites at the NaPoWriMo website. During the month, visit that site often as Maureen Thorson–the poet who created this event 10 years ago–provides daily prompts. You don’t have to use them but some days they may come in handy.

When I began NaPoWriMo last year, I wasn’t sure whether I would be able to finish out the month with a poem a day. It surprised me that I could and did. One of the things I learned firsthand is that it’s not always about being “inspired” or even having a great deal of time: It’s simply a matter of doing it. If I want to write a poem a day and I only have an hour to spare, then I’ll have to write it in an hour. More often than not, though, I can find more time if I need to by using my time more wisely.

One problem with posting NaPoWriMo poems on a blog, presumably for everyone to see, is the fear that you’re not putting out your best work but simply writing something just to fulfill the requirement. Granted, that may be the case sometimes. One way to minimize the garbage poems is to keep them short, which makes it easier to write and revise something that’s at least presentable. It really comes down to whether you mind your audience seeing you in various states of undress.

Everyone has expectations about what they want to get out of the NaPoWriMo experience. For me, the point is not about each poem being perfect at this stage. In fact, few of the poems posted on this site are what I consider to be final versions. I continue to work on them offline. But there is something in me that needs to share what I’m thinking or feeling, so I don’t always want to wait until they’re

During last year’s NaPoWriMo, I exercised the discipline I thought I didn’t have, flexed muscles, explored new modes of expression, got things off my chest. Simply put, in the vernacular, I did me. Also, I met some great people who I may not have come across otherwise by following the NaPoWriMo links. I really felt like I was a part of something.

I’m starting my own list of poet’s blogs who are going to participate in NaPoWriMo 2012. Let’s visit each other when we can (and comment on the poems) for inspiration and encouragement. I’ll update the list throughout April. If you start the month and don’t finish it, I won’t be mad at you. The thought counts!

Contact me by email, on Facebook, on Twitter, or here in the comment section with a link to your blog. Good luck and have fun!

© Sweepy Jean and Sweepy Jean Explores the (Webby) World, 2012.

Writing Lessons

There are certain lessons I learned as a young writer that have stayed with me all these years and loom as large now as they did way back when.

In order of appearance:

1. RECEive. I remember spelling that word wrong on a paper I wrote for class in grammar school.  When the teacher gave it back to me after she graded it, she bent down over me as I was sitting at my desk until we were face to face and said, really loudly, “R-E-C-E. R-E-C-E.  R-E-C-E.  R-E-C-E.” To this day, every time I write the word “receive,” I say to myself,  (more…)

The Third Sunday Blog Carnival: From the Editor

If you follow me on any of several social network platforms, it is quite possible that you have heard about my new venture–a monthly event called the Third Sunday Blog Carnival, hosted at its own site. The first edition will be posted on January 15, 2012.

In short, a blog carnival functions very much like an online magazine, with links to blog posts from various contributors. The theme of the Third Sunday Blog Carnival is poetry, fiction, and essays about writing.

Why would I start such a project? Would it surprise you to hear that I love discovering and curating? To be able to combine that activity with my passion for all things literary is just plain fun for me.

Beyond my personal geekiness, I believe that interest in the printed word is alive and that readers are looking for more than what is commercially available in the mainstream markets. I truly hope that as the news spreads, readers will come to the Third Sunday Blog Carnival to sample the abundance of great writing available on the internet. By the same token, I hope that this will grow into a community where writers are supportive of each other.

I know I speak for a great many writers when I say that all we want is a chance for our work to be read. How many great blog posts out there have had a limited number of reads? Perhaps with some concentrated effort, more of our work will see the light of day.

When I conducted my research on blog carnivals, I noticed a void in the area of writing that I hope the Third Sunday Blog Carnival can fill. In addition, there was a general lack of focus. For instance, I saw blog carnivals about spirituality with links from SEO experts, auto mechanics, and anyone else who happened to apply, I suppose.

From that, I was determined to see to it that any blog carnival I ran would adhere strictly to guidelines established from the outset. With the Third Sunday Blog Carnival, I think I have come up with guidelines that greatly increase the chance for quality submissions–and I’m not afraid to enforce them (I think this where my real-life experience as an editor on my day job comes into play). Readers will be confident about what to expect when they come to the Third Sunday Blog Carnival.

It has been just a week since I issued the call for submissions and so far the reaction has been favorable. Submissions are coming in steadily and indeed, they are good. There’s no shortage of talent in the blogiverse.

© Sweepy Jean and Sweepy Jean Explores the (Webby) World, 2011.

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