Poetry and personal blog – Spilling my guts to strangers

Posts tagged ‘writing’

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…)

the carnival

shadows crawl underground
therefore the end of the carnival

dreams decay at first light
therefore the end of the carnival

De fumée et des miroirs des miroirs et de fumée
therefore the end of the carnival

the sound of laughter absorbed by time
therefore the end of the carnival

walking the grounds empty of more
therefore the end of the carnival

discretion tethered to the rising sun
therefore the end of the carnival

the mask revealed under the mask
therefore the end of the carnival

strawberry wisps melted on the tongue
therefore the end of the carnival

trapped and lost without the crowd
therefore the end of the carnival

searching faces for Dolores
therefore the end of the carnival

gratitude abandons a broken heart
therefore the end of the carnival

the carnival exists therefore the end
therefore the end of the carnival

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

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

Life Reorganization

There’s nothing like being laid off from your job–as I was a few weeks ago–to throw you off schedule!

Yes, I’m no longer formally employed, no longer the editor of a medical magazine. Without putting too fine a point on it, it was all about the bottom line, which really is the story of everything. We all have to determine which of our ventures are most profitable and which of our losses to cut.

So I’m a problem solver. In part, that’s what they used to pay me to do. So I consulted with family and friends who have been where I am now, and of course, I Googled my situation. (What would we do without Google?) I got lots of different responses. But the one I liked best was the on that went along with my instinct, and that was not to jump into a hasty decision regarding what to do next.

Probably the reactive thing to do would be to try to find a job doing something similar to what I was doing. But for me, I see an opportunity to try something different.

So for me that would be to become a full-time freelance writer/editor and and go hard at being an indie author, at least until my limited funds indicate that it’s time to stop trying to live a pipe dream and get a real job! Any leads or advice on freelancing are welcome.

I haven’t blogged much lately while I’ve been rethinking, reorganizing, and reinventing my life. I didn’t think I was one of those people who defined herself by her employment but since being laid off I have had a slight crisis of identity. In addition, I go in and out of being excited about my prospects and being scared to death that I’m going to fall flat on my face. Luckily, I rallied round enough to realize that I had to write at least one post for September!

Such is life. I’m glad I have one to talk about.

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

Poetry, Science Fiction, and Assorted Ramblings

Ray Bradbury

The recent death of Ray Bradbury had me thinking about the role of science fiction in our culture and for me personally.

Yesterday I tweeted a link to a USA Today article titled Ray Bradbury Brought Literary Respect to Science Fiction. Something about that headline seems to imply that respect for the genre wasn’t there before Bradbury: Do George Orwell and H.G. Wells ring a bell with anybody, just to name two well-respected authors of science fiction (or speculative fiction, if you will)?

Dystopian novels such as Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four are considered science fiction, right? Often these novels are set in the future and while they may or may not feature advanced technology, they imagine what our behavior will be based on our current social constructs.

Earlier this year, I wrote a post about my six all-time favorite novels. Four of them are science fiction novels. It occurred to me that there is a similarity between science fiction and poetry that draws me to it. As I see it, the science fiction novel is  one giant metaphor or allusion to something else–a creation of an imaginary world to comment incisively on the current, real world.

Science fiction can also be used to comment on history. I’m finally taking time to read Stephen King’s 11/22/63, which involves decidedly low-tech time travel (i.e., walking through an invisible portal located at the local diner) in order to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Great story. King is in fine form with this one.


Natasha Trethewey

Not for nothing, we have a new US Poet Laureate in Natasha Trethewey. She’s a Pulitzer Prize winner and the current Poet Laureate of Mississippi. Hear her read her lovely poem “Monument” at Poets.org.

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

Confessional Poet

Many first-time visitors make mention of the subtitle of this blog with regard to spilling my guts to strangers. And spill I do. I’ve talked about how I’m trying to overcome indoctrination in the code of silence, how race has played a part in my life, and my issues with abandonment. Probably what plagues me most right now are my issues surrounding my marriage, with my latest gut spill taking place right before I began the poem-a-day challenge last month.

When I think about the kind of poet I want to be, I immediately think of (more…)

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