Poetry and personal blog – Spilling my guts to strangers

Archive for the ‘The Arts’ Category

Writing Another Chapter

If you’re reading this, you may be interested to know that I started a new blog, A.D. Joyce–poetry and the butterfly psyche. I already have two posts up. Take a look and maybe even subscribe! Also, I have a new Twitter account, @ad__joyce, so follow me there, too.

From now on, I’ll blog infrequently at Sweepy Jean Explores the World, if at all, and I will soon dismantle the @sweepyjean twitter account.

So what’s the deal? Well, this blog started off as a way  to stretch my limits and get rid of inhibitions as a writer.

I very quickly found a way to write authentically. People loved the “Sweepy Jean” moniker but eventually I was able to be more open about who I am as a real person living on Earth. Sometimes, though, I found that I was writing myself into other boxes, fighting against the idea of branding, rejecting the notion that the “MFA” type of writing was the benchmark  for good poetry, and struggling with traditional concepts of how a poet is supposed to build an audience. I’ve figured out some things but not everything, and I don’t really want to get to the point where I know it all. I truly embrace my stance as a perpetual student of poetry and life.

One of the things I’ve done to try to work out the answers to these questions is  a “game” I called 1 + 1 Wednesday, a weekly post I started here and eventually created a separate blog for. I invited readers to leave two words in the comment section and I did the same. The words could be related to any random thing. I saw it as a way to look at language and meaning differently and to shake up our thought patterns.

Then I ran the Third Sunday Blog Carnival. Again, the idea was to promote free self expression among writers, expand our readership, and share the collective knowledge.

“Sweepy Jean” was always the go-to blog for personal expression. But although I’m still an explorer, it’s been a while since I was Sweepy. She has long become a third person pronoun; now it’s time to completely step out of that shadow to let Adriene shine. (As most of  you know, A.D. Joyce is the name I use to sign my poetry. “A.D.” is a nickname for Adriene and Joyce is my middle name.)

Whereas in this blog I did a lot of explaining myself and public self analysis, my new blog will not contain much of that at all. The archives will remain here if you want to read personal details about me. Over at A.D. Joyce–poetry and the butterfly psyche, I’ll be transparent and self expressive in a way that will remain undefined, at least by me. But as always I hope you will find something there for you.

© Sweepy Jean and Sweepy Jean Explores the (Webby) World, 2014

Feeling My Way Around Mexico

IMG_0306 - CopyThis is not an extensive travelogue and it doesn’t cover all I saw during my trip, but rather these are some really subjective impressions of traveling in and around Mexico City, Guanajuato, and Puebla recently with my 24-year-old daughter. She is such a private person, and so far the only way she has allowed me to show her image on this blog is through this caricature a wonderful artist did for us. She’s beautiful and as the portrait suggests, she looks young for her age. She’s a sweetheart but don’t let appearances fool you: She’s also a tough cookie.

Before getting to Mexico, I had a feeling that it would be a life-altering trip for me and I wasn’t wrong. In addition to wanting to see my daughter, I was well overdue to shake up my routine, get away from worries, clear my head, and just relax. Being around my daughter’s energy was a huge factor in helping bring me back in balance.

The Guantajuato mountainside

The Guantajuato mountainside

At first, I was a bit nervous about the trip because my Spanish is not very good. However, it’s true that when you lose one sense, such as sight or hearing, your other senses get stronger. In this case,  (more…)

taking five

a prime
polygon shaped
like nothing else a halt-
ing rhythm sound mind creation

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

My Next Big Thing

Not only is it 12/12/12–the last time this century that the day, month, and year will be the same number–but it’s My Next Big Thing Wednesday. My Next Big Thing is a blog meme that’s been going around for a few months that coincides with the #WW (Writer Wednesday) hashtag on Twitter.

I was tagged by a terrific writer and book reviewer, Vanessa Wu. Please read about her upcoming book on her blog intense sensations. How this works is that I’ll answer 10 questions about my next or current book and tag 4 or 5 writers to do the same next week.

So here goes:

Like. Love. Hate.1) What is the working title of your current/next book?
My current book is called Like. Love. Hate. It’s a collection of four poems written under my pen name A. D. Joyce.

2) Where did you get the idea for that book?
After I wrote the title poem, I thought, why not put together a mini collection of poems that explored the themes of like, love, and hate? I wanted to turn these emotions into something concrete. Also, I thought it would be a good way to start showcasing the poetry that I hadn’t shared on my blog before. I think there are lots of facets to my writing that even long-time readers of my work haven’t seen. Like. Love. Hate. is just the beginning of that revelation.

3) What’s the genre of the book?

4) If you could pick actors to play the lead characters in your story, who would you pick?
I once saw a movie in which the audience never saw the main character’s face. Instead, the camera angle was as if we were seeing everything through the character’s eyes. In my poetry, the characters vary from poem to poem. While I’m writing, I may have real or imagined people in mind. But for the finished product, my goal is for the reader to either put faces on the characters based on their own perception or else to feel as if the reader himself/herself is the main character.

5) How would you describe your book in one sentence (10 words or less)?
Poems about life, a dress, a god, and a smell.

6) (a) How will your book be published, submitted through the traditional route to a traditional publisher or will you be handling it yourself through Indie Publishing methods? (b) If you’re an Indie Author, will you be publishing through your own Indie Publishing company or in a collective with other Indie Authors?
I have published Like. Love. Hate. myself and it is available as an ebook download through Amazon and Smashwords. I don’t usually label myself as one thing or another, but by definition I think I would have to consider myself to be an indie author. The Indie Author community is very supportive. In turn, I support it and participate in mutual efforts to promote other indie authors. I support non-indie authors, too!

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of this book?
The time it takes for me to write a first draft of a poem varies. Usually, I try to write a first draft either in one sitting or over a period of days so that I tap into the initial emotional state I was in when I began writing it. “The Beginning and the End” is a poem in Like. Love. Hate. that I wrote more than a year ago in one sitting. The first drafts of the other poems in the volume took several days. “Like Love Hate” and “Victoria’s Dress” were both written this year. “the buddha of questions” also was written well over a year ago.

30 Poems, 30 Days: Inside a Poet's Mind8) What other books within your genre are similar to yours?
I can’t say that I’ve seen a volume of poetry quite like mine. But then again, I try to add a unique touch to everything I produce. With Like. Love.Hate., each poem is separate but they also play against each other. Also, I created the cover myself. In my previous ebook, 30 Poems, 30 Days: Inside a Poet’s Mind, I included my own commentary for each poem. 30 Poems, 30 Days also is available at Amazon and Smashwords.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I’ve experienced some life-altering changes lately. They inspired me to take chances with my poetry. My goal is to continue to self-publish my work. So for the next Next Big Thing, look for other mini poetry collections from me in the future.

10) What about your book will pique the reader’s interest?
This is a small volume of poetry you can read in one sitting yet still enjoy on repeat readings. There are lots of sights, sounds, and smells to draw the reader in. The feelings and situations described are relatable. From childhood to adulthood, it’s an emotional journey.

Other fab authors who might like to tell the world about about their next big thing
This is always the hardest part for me, particularly because I know a whole lot of authors. So here’s just a few I’m tagging. Please visit their sites.

Martha Orlando
Kriti Mukherjee
Rolando Garcia
Barbara Alfaro
James Lynch
Charles Sadler

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

LaBelle: Then Phoenix ..



Once upon a time when music albums were carved into vinyl, I had one called Phoenix, which was released in 1975 by the singing group LaBelle.

Composed of singers Patti LaBelle, Nona Hendryx, and Sarah Dash, Labelle is probably best known the song “Lady Marmalade” released in ’74. Forebears to Madonna and GaGa, LaBelle sang out loud about life, sex, and equality. They fully appreciated their power as women, yet their unabashed confidence and their refusal to present themselves as a traditional “girl” group ironically caused some to speculate that they were men in drag. (Similar rumors circulated about the late great Donna Summer, who also cast herself as a grown woman and sexual being).

At 15, as I am now, I was drawn to uninhibited outpourings, and this album more than fits the bill. In particular, the song “Phoenix: The Amazing Flight of a Lone Star” speaks to me so strongly, with its beautiful lyrics. Despite the abandon of it all, the singing and soaring harmonies are completely in control.

Packed away in crates in the back of my closet, I have tons of albums I haven’t played in many years but I would never think to part with them. Yesterday as I was populating a new MP3 player (I wore the last one out), “Phoenix”  popped into my head. I was surprised and delighted to find it on You Tube and elsewhere as a free MP3 download. (I should figure out how to turn my albums into MP3s.)

I’m so happy “Phoenix” has risen again.

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

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.

What is the True Nature of Inspiration?

Is “inspiration” necessary for someone to be creative?

Here, when I say inspiration, I’m talking about the mythical, romantic notion of what inspiration is. In this mythical world, inspiration usually is random, coincidental, and unexpected. It seemingly comes from nowhere. When people decide to look for inspiration, their gaze is indiscriminate, taking in everything and nothing in particular, with no frame of reference, hoping something will jump out at them.

The problem with living in this world (more…)

A Writer’s Writerly Habits

Today, I’d like to re-post a piece I wrote in March of 2010 that talks about some of my writing habits.

But first, I wanted to point you toward two bloggers who were kind enough to read my ebook. Check out their reviews at:

intense sensations
Bound & Determined to Find a Good Read

The following re-post is a good companion piece to a guest post I wrote for poet Mark Stratton’s blog, Aggaspletch. For his ongoing series, I describe my writing space–that is, where I do my writing. Here, I describe what I write with and on.

Do you have any rituals that you perform when you sit down to write, whether it’s your masterpiece book or a blog post?

Odds and Ends

Longhand is the only way I can write poetry.  Longhand feels more organic to me than typing does, I feel more connected to the words. I hate pencils, but if there is nothing else around I’ll use one. Otherwise, any decent ball point will do if it slides across the paper smoothly. A roller ball is fun because it is wet, sloppy, and smudgy.

Whether with pen or pencil, I cross out all mistakes, never erase, and when I’m thinking, I draw a box around the crossed out words and fill them in really dark. Sometimes if I have to think for a long time, I tear the page from coloring in too much.

I have tons of notebooks to write in. However, my preferred practice is to grab some paper that is going to be thrown out anyway–like a bill stub, an opened envelope, or a computer printout–and write on the empty side. I usually keep pretty good track but over time I’ve lost a couple of poems, one of them I mourn as my best. I think about it a lot but I don’t know if I can write that one again.

When I do write in a notebook,  I never (more…)

Free Ebook: “30 Poems, 30 Days”

Days Cover 2(10/13/2012 –  This ebook is no longer available as a free download. But for $0.99 at Amazon.com or  Smashwords, it is still a great bargain! The commentary [but not the poetry] has undergone revisions and the wonderful illustrations by CJ Tittle have been removed.)

I had no idea when I took part in National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) this past April that it was going to be fun, educational, cathartic, inspirational, and tremendously fulfilling. But it was–so much so that I decided to compile the poems posted on the blog that month into an ebook called “30 Poems, 30 Days: Inside a Poet’s Mind,” with illustrations by blogging friend and amazing artist CJ Tittle.

In addition to the poems, I added never-before-seen commentary explaining my thoughts on each of them, such as what led me to write them and my interpretations. I think it provides some insight into the creative process and how it relates to just being human.

That’s a great value for free, so please, download and enjoy. Share the ebook with family, friends, and anyone you think would be interested. Click here for the pdf or here for the mobi file for Kindle and other ebook readers. [Added 10-9-2011: “30 Poems 30 Days” is now available as a free download in various formats at Smashwords.]

Now that I know how to make a Kindle ebook, could an ebook with original poems be far behind?

Stay tuned!

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

The Sign

(Fellow poet and blogger Jenni De La Torre** not only gifts us with her poetry, but also talks about where it comes from. Read, enjoy, and show her some comment love!)

I gave my word to guest post for Sweepy Jean’s blog and when I commit to something, it has to be mind, body and soul. But when I agreed to write a poem, I almost immediately had an anxiety attack. You may be wondering why… Well, I will explain.

You see, even though I have been writing poetry for well over 20 years now (good grief, that made me feel old), I still tend to freak out when it comes time to write one. I suppose it’s because I believe that a poem is something that is felt–not something that can be mass produced in a matter of minutes.

Then I started thinking about (more…)

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