Poetry and personal blog – Spilling my guts to strangers

Archive for the ‘The Writing Life’ 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

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…)

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

Words for the Wise

Word after a word

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

The Blog Post Cliff

Today, America waits to see if it will fall over the fiscal cliff. I hope that just this once, politics can be set aside so that we the people who are all affected by the crushing effects of a depressed economy can finally catch a break. With my recent layoff, I was late to the party–unless, of course, you count the fact that the rest of my immediate family have been variously unemployed and underemployed throughout the entire recession. It’s been going on for nearly five years now.

I usually don’t engage in political talk here. But my preoccupation with keeping my head above water has almost made me go over the Blog Post Cliff, which is to neglect mentioning that this month marks this blog’s third year anniversary!

This was a strange and interesting year for me personally with regard to external life changes. But I also feel it was a breakthrough year internally with my poetry. I am more at peace with the words now than ever before.

I’ve shared a lot of poetry this year, included the ones in my mini collection Like. Love. Hate. available for download at Amazon and Smashwords.

Most of all, I have formed and strengthened many of my relationships with real life people, as well as with fellow bloggers and blog readers. These relationships are what get me through the day, every day.

inspiringblogaward-300px1Speaking of fellow bloggers, I just want to mention the latest wonderful writers who have honored me recently with awards. First, there’s Stuart Nager, whose latest blog is called The Opening of Doors. The tag line for the blog is “Writing To Heal, Cope, and be Restored,” which he does in a creative and honest way. Stu graciously gave me the Inspiring Blog Award.

Liebster-blog-award1-300x225-1Muriel Jacques, another stellar blogger, writes insightfully about living in London as a French expatriate. Her blog is called 40blogSpot – A French Yummy Mummy In London and she gave me the Liebster Award.

So there you have it. I’ve done my part. Here’s hoping that our political leaders do theirs.

Happy New Year, everyone! ❤

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

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

Blog Lovin’ and the Big Reveal

Two really cool, really talented blogger friends of mine have recently bestowed on me some blog awards. I received the One Lovely Blog Award from Stu of Tale Spinning and bornstoryteller. Stu has an incredible amount of creative energy and has the output to prove it. Yet he still makes time to lend his support to fellow artists in a variety of ways.

I received the Versatile Blogger Award from Rolando of Rolando’s Website. He also is a champion of the creative community to which he belongs. He generously shares his keen observations of the writing business with us as he makes his way along the path of self-publishing, most recently with his charming collection of short stories, The Sun Zebra.

I’m supposed to reveal something about myself and pass the award on to other bloggers. But as you will see from revelation #1: (more…)

A. D. Joyce Has Gone Hollywood

The title of this post refers to my reading of my poem “The” that I recorded, which was subsequently made into the awesome video you see below. The video was created by the creative powers that be at Blognostics–or BN as we insiders like to call it! BN is a cool community for poets, fiction writers, and visual artists, so check them out.

In other news, look for more readings from me and maybe even  a Vlog in the future. For the most part, though, I’m going to keep my nose to the grindstone for the next few weeks trying to finish a poetry project I’ve been working on forever.

In April, I intend to participate in the NaPoWriMo challenge again and post a poem a day. I hope to get through it and learn as much about myself this year as I did last year.


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

Mother’s Day

About as far back as I can remember, my mom  read to me, and the first thing I remember her reading was a book of children’s poetry. Included were the commonplace nursery rhymes many of us know but others featured the lives of assorted other kings and commoners alike, some who lived in exotic locations such as China (as did Dahling Dahlinka Dinah). The illustrations were large and colorful, and the rhythm and rhymes were fun to listen to. Most of all, I remember the enthusiasm and sheer joy in my mom’s voice and facial expressions as she shared these gems with me.

Over time, my mom promoted me to the big leagues and when I was about eight years old she subjected me to (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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