Wednesday, June 28, 2017

…On Poetry and Fiction – “The Dictionary, Thesaurus and Google are Your New Best Friends”

                Whether writing Poetry or writing Fiction, have you ever entered the phase of your writing where you were just stumped, puzzled, confused, baffled, disheartened and unable to move on? Did you ever feel that your writing was just not up to par? Were you ever at a point where you looked at what you had written and it just seemed worthless, simplistic and insignificant? Of course you had.  You actually sat there and stared at your computer screen, feeling terribly embarrassed that someone may one day read this garbage you just wrote. You had great ideas in your head, but some of those words you had chosen to express those ideas in your poetry or fiction, just did not convey the message you desired; just did not create the images you desired; just did not arouse the emotions you desired. We’ve all been there, done that, and felt like failures.

So now what do you do? You get up and take a break and dwell in self-pity. You look into a mirror in your home, and begin to wonder who you really are. Are you a writer? You certainly don’t feel like one. Yet writing is your passion, your greatest love; and yes, this IS who you really are.  You look back into the mirror and notice yourself blushing from thoughts of humiliation, thoughts of self-consciousness, thoughts of self-doubt; questioning your own worth and your own creativity. The person staring back at you is not someone you like or admire right now. That image of YOU lacks self-esteem, exudes sadness, and has lost the glow in its eyes. That image of you seems weak; it seems broken. -  No! No! No! Can’t have that now! Those are simply images of how you see yourself at this particular moment in time, as you struggle to create…Those images are not who you are! Those images are not real! – So, what now? – You must look away with determination and a renewed strength. You must get back up again and become whole. You must do what is near and dear to your heart. You must write beautiful poetry and create marvelous fiction. Yet still, you feel a part of your soul has been ripped out of you and you are unsure as to how to start over again.  You are frozen in time with no direction ahead of you. You are lost and alone without a friend in the world. You struggle to move forward, but you are drowning in quicksand. You are stuck in your own mind.

Well - have no fear, dear writer. I know those feelings all too well. I’ve seen those images in my own mirror many times. However, I’ve also discovered that there were three very special and loyal friends at my disposal, who would be more than happy to help if I called upon them. So may I introduce you to them? One is the “omnipotent” Dictionary, that will provide you with any word you need, listed in alphabetical order, ready to save you with a quick jump into your poetry and/or fiction. This friend will provide the meanings to any word you choose, and show you the correct form and pronunciation of every word you select. Now is that a great friend, or what?  

Well, there is more to come. Your second special and loyal friend is the “unfailing” Thesaurus, that will provide you with a wide selection of magical words, allowing you to choose the ones that best suit your needs, emotions and creative mind at the time of your writing. Thesaurus will pick up where you leave off, so that only the most perfect words will become your most perfect poetry and your most perfect fiction. Isn’t that a magnificent friend to also have on your side? Feel better? - Okay then…Well, we now have your third special and loyal friend here that will take you on journeys which have no bounds. Journeys where you can research any information you need to know about, any information you need to learn about, or any information you need to verify in order to write your poetry and tell your stories with clarity and realism.  That third precious friend is “informative” Google.  I know you’ve spent lots of quality time with this friend. I have, and it’s been well worth it.

So now, I’d say you are on your way to writing the most harmonious poetry and the most unique fiction at every attempt. You will continue to create beauty from this day forward; beauty that you will share with the world with great pride, not painful embarrassment. Treasure these three friendships, for they will never let you down. Keep them by your side at all times. Be sure they are only a “reference” book away or, better still, a click away on your computer. Feel free to download the “omnipotent” Dictionary  and “unfailing” Thesaurus apps to your phone. “Informative” Google is already there. Remember, they will never leave your side if you never leave their side. Carry them with you. They want a “literary” relationship with you that will continue to flourish. They will forever guide you, assist you and enhance you as you write, write, and write some more.  

Be brave now. Go take a look in that mirror again. I guarantee the person staring back at you has been made whole again.  That person is confident, strong, creative, happy, smiling and one you will forever admire and respect, once again. That person is YOU -  a successful writer, who now has the most valuable and treasured support from three very special friends.   

A few parting words…REMEMBER THIS:

If your poetry is meant to take your readers to emotional depths, you must be sure your words are perfectly chosen in order to match the theme of your poem and the passion in your soul.


If your fiction is meant to take your readers on fabulous journeys, you must be sure your information is accurate, factual, honest and true, so your fiction is believable and your characters real.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Fourth of July - "Ode to the United States Military"



My Dad, Mr. Peter T. Stabile, WWII Veteran (Deceased), Trained Medic in the United States Army. Pictured here with his Parents (and my Grandparents), Ralph and Lena. Thank you for your service Dad - and to all military (past, present / living, deceased) - You are all brave, special individuals.

Below is a poem I recently wrote, for submission to Spillwords Press, for their July 4th presentations.

Don't forget - Thank any military person you know or see, and thank our beloved Veterans as well, for their service.

HAPPY 4th OF JULY EVERYONE! Enjoy your barbecues, and don't forget the troops! Invite them to your backyard table, even if only in spirit. Never forget. Always remember...

Ode to the United States Military

Happy 4th of July America!
Happy Independence too!
We would not have our freedoms
If it weren’t up to you

God Bless the Red, White and Blue
And the military who stand by you
They fight with valor to protect your land
They respect your flag, and hold your hand

There are those, of whom, from faraway places
Aim to destroy our home and God-Blessed spaces
Yet our men and women in various uniform
Rise tall and proud to confront their faces

The US Military has no fear
They are on a mission far and near
Whether overseas or in the States
Their loyalty lives, no matter their fates

So unselfish are their spirits, hearts and minds
Brothers are they - all colors, all kinds
They leave parents, babies and wives behind
Many tears are shed as they serve mankind
How do we thank these superb troops?
          With smiles and handshakes?
          Allegiances, salutes?

I know one way we can show we care
I know one way we can show we’re there
Just hang “Old Glory” in front of your home
          Let her fly, let her soar, let her dance, let her roam
          Her stars and stripes will travel far
Our Military will see it, they’ll know who we are

So enjoy your barbecues, and embrace your freedom
Just remember those who have paid the price
Happy 4th and God Bless you, wear a smile, please be nice…
          And do thank a Veteran – not once, but twice!   

http://spillwords.com/author/phyllispcolucci/

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

…On Poetry and Fiction – “Truths or Lies”


…On Poetry and Fiction – “Truths or Lies”

         Did you ever struggle with having to tell someone the truth about something, or end up having to actually lie about it? Exaggerating the facts a bit? Or, perhaps, intentionally omitting some details for personal reasons? If so, did you lie to prevent hurting someone? Did you lie to avoid jeopardizing a relationship? Did you do it for selfish reasons?  Did you do it for vanity? Did you do it for love? Did your ego get in the way? Did you do it to cause trouble? Did you do it because you wanted to hurt someone? Did you do it because you wanted to protect someone? Did you do it just to save face? Whatever the reason, it can be a stressful, destructive, time-consuming, thought-provoking, endless, guilt-ridden, personal conflict to endure. Truths or lies, they are a mix of emotions that will torment you before, during and after the encounter. In the end, it will become one heck of a story to recall as you relive, over and over again, the anxiety and pain that comes along with it.   

Telling the truth, on the other hand, can prove to be the most admirable thing to do; yet it can also be the most embarrassing thing to do. It can open up your personal life to strangers, friends and family; reveal secrets you wanted to keep to yourself; show people the most intimate parts of who you really are; and just make you feel so vulnerable. It can hurt you, or someone else. Yes, the truth has consequences too - But, as indicated above, telling a lie can hurt you or someone you care about so much more, even though your intentions may be to protect someone dear to you, or to protect yourself. It can show a side of you that is not very pretty. In the end, if the truth does come out, and it usually does, people will look at you with “new eyes”. They may no longer see you as the wonderful person you once were, or the honest and trusting friend you once were. It may not even be your fault. Sometimes we lie for the good. However, you may lose friends and/or family members over a lie. Lies create havoc and misunderstandings in all of our relationships.  Lies can cause irreparable damage. Unfortunately, that’s life - and choosing to tell someone the truth or tell someone a lie is an individual choice that comes with a whole set of personal reasons (valid or invalid) and personal consequences. Who are we to judge. No one is exempt from this.  So, do we tell the truth or tell a lie? It’s your life, you decide.

However, when it comes to writing poetry and/or fiction, we have to make that same individual choice. Do we tell the truth to our readers through our writing, and risk opening ourselves up to the world as if we were naked.  Ugh! - Or do we lie somewhat and hold back so we don’t expose all of who we are to our readers. Ugh again! The question is, do we show our readers honesty by writing truths, or do we cheat our readers by holding back and putting half-truths and lies out there? In my opinion, the best writing is raw, natural, honest, bare, accurate, down-to-earth, open, “uninhibited emotional writing” from the heart; not writing that we need to bargain about in our own minds because of our timidity, as we struggle to get our poems/fiction out there through half-truths, exaggerations and lies. You see, a little bit of ourselves and our lives must go into our poetry and fiction in order to make it real and allow it to thrive and live in the minds and hearts of our faithful readers. They deserve that. They deserve truths, not lies; and as writers, it is our responsibility to give that to our readers.  That is the only way to maintain a strong relationship with them and spare them any literary havoc, confusion, disappointment and/or misunderstandings. We need our readers to trust us and to always want to come back for more. So, again…do we tell the truth, or do we lie when we write?

          When writing poetry and or fiction, tell your readers what makes you happy, sad, embarrassed, jealous, hurtful, mad, dangerous, loving, romantic. Tell them what you do, how you act, and what you feel, think and say that drives you to emotional heights of splendor, or takes you to the depths of hell. Let them see through your eyes, feel through your heart, think through your mind. Let them taste that wine from your lips that soothes you when you’re weak and troubled – and also makes you terribly drunk. Let them feel that warm shower that caresses your naked, tired body - then invite them in to join you. Take them on your romantic escapades and let them engage in the fear, danger and evil that lurks in your world; let them experience love, hate, tears, hope, prayer, God, family, loss, gain  – and best of all, let them learn who you are through honest writing. Take your readers by the hand and lead them on your journey. A journey they have much anticipated before reading your poetry and/or fiction, but have now joyfully embraced during and after the greatest “read” they have ever known. They will forever remember the experience. They will yearn for more.

          Thanks to you, the “honest”writer, the world of reading will become a much more livable place; a magical place, somewhere in time and space, that will pluck your readers out of their world and settle them into yours. They will sing and dance through your music, and live and love through your heart. They will exist in a new universe, a new dimension, and a new realm of endless possibilities. “The good, the bad and the ugly” will take on new meaning as your writing exposes bare truths that will leave them in awe. You will have kidnapped the world, and your captivated readers will love you for it!  They will remember your name. They will know who you are! They will invite you into their homes! You will always have a place on their favorite bookshelf, living amongst other great writers, eager to tell stories through “uninhibited emotional” writing.  

Monday, April 24, 2017

…On Poetry and Fiction – “Mind Photographs: Write What You See”

        http://spillwords.com/author/phyllispcolucci/

        Our mind is the most intricate, specially designed attribute of our human existence. It is at work twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week; even as we sleep. It is thinking, searching, scanning sorting, saving, dreaming and remembering.  Our mind always keeps us in tune, aware and alive. It keeps us in touch with ourselves and the world. It keeps us knowledgeable, decisive, reactive, proactive, approachable, emotional and strong. Most of all it enhances our view through its unique lens, and brings all that we see into focus. It is magically “photographic”, and allows us to develop the greatest pictures and photos through that unique lens, empowering our mind’s eye. So the most natural thing to do from this moment on would be to turn our “Mind Photographs” into Poetry and Fiction by simply writing what we see.

  When you walk through the park, take a “mind” photo of the tall green trees and dancing leaves, that play a game of “hide and seek” with the sun; When you stare up at the moon, take a “mind” photo of the stars in the sky that seem to be twinkling to only your heart, in morse code; When you are relaxing in your garden, take a “mind” photo of the many flowers swaying in the wind, while colorful butterflies bless them in graceful flight; take a “mind” photo of the chirping birds that stop by for a quick dip in your stone bird bath; take “mind” photos of the changing seasons as Old Man Winter makes way for an early Spring and vivacious Summer pushes through, awaiting the earthy colors of Autumn to appear; take “mind” photos of roaring seas, burning sands, blue skies and lovely beaches; take “mind” photos of children playing and grown-ups laughing…people walking…people talking…couples holding hands; take “mind” photos in the dog park, at the zoo, on a pier; take “mind” photos of the skyline, the horizon, the sunset…keep taking those “mind” photos.

  Now you may ask, wouldn’t it be easier to just snap some photos with a camera phone, then look at them later and put those images into poetry and fiction? Yes, that may be the case; however, if you keep clicking photos with your camera phone, you take the enjoyment and precision out of simply recording those real-time images through the lens of your mind’s eye. You’ll soon realize that your concentration and focus are no longer there, since you are totally preoccupied and totally distracted by technology in trying to capture images with your camera phone - most times missing the emotions and moments as they happen.  Trust your mind, trust your memory, and sit back and relax. Let the world happen. At the end of the day, your mind will have collected a superb array of the most spectacular photos of love, life, nature and whatever else you’ve encountered in your day.

  Now sit at your computer and type out words, phrases and sentences, describing that superb array of the most spectacular “mind” photos ever. Words of love, life, people, nature...Add some emotion and breathe life into those words, phrases and sentences - and just write what you have seen through the powerful lens of your mind’s eye. Bring all of those images together and create poetry that will sing like a melody and play out like a song; create fiction that will read like a stage play and perform like a movie. Your writing will become a photographer's dream.    

Friday, March 24, 2017

…on Poetry and Fiction – “Create and Write from the ‘Spice Rack of Life’ ”

            http://spillwords.com/author/phyllispcolucci/

            May I ask you something personal? You may think to yourself, what the heck does this have to do with Poetry and Fiction? Well, you might be surprised…So back to my personal question, if you don’t mind…- What would your pasta sauce taste like without some pungent garlic, a pinch of salt, a hint of basil, a dash of oregano, a sprinkle of parsley, a splash of wine, a touch of sugar, and a capful of olive oil? Pretty tasteless, right? So without insulting anyone (I hope), that would be quite a boring pasta sauce. Now I know your pasta sauce would never be tasteless or boring. If you’re like me, you have a great “old-world recipe” at your fingertips, or hidden in some special place, just waiting for you to use it. You’ll follow it step by step, adding every herb and spice that tickles the taste buds. Well, it’s the same thing with writing poetry and fiction. You need to spice it up. So, obviously, you can’t spice up your writing with various herbs, spices and savory ingredients; but you can spice it up by using a variety of additives, elements and components from what I like to call, the “Spice Rack of Life”.   

            Let’s see now. What can we find on our “Spice Rack of Life”? We can find a little heart, a touch of drama, a dash of comedy and some sweet compassion. There is a mind full of spite, yet a jolt of true happiness; a pocket full of smiles, a whole lot of fun, a hint of insanity, and a handful of jealousy. I can even see a huge load of evil right next to a soul full of kindness. There is love and hate, sorrow and tears, empathy and friendship, and oh so much more.  All you need to do now is use these wonderful “spices” in your writing. Whether it’s a poem or a work of fiction, just mix and match anything and everything you can find on your “Spice Rack of Life”, and then create. You can create unique poems, themes, stories, settings, plots, characters. Whether or not your poetry and/or fiction ends up tasteless and boring like a pasta sauce with no aromatic herbs and special ingredients in it, is a choice you will have to make. However, keep in mind that a boring poem, a boring theme, a boring setting, a boring plot and a boring character, will only create a boring read. Is that what you want for your readers? Readers who have selected your poems and your fiction, with the great hope and anticipation of travelling on great journeys through your writing? I don’t think so. So, like a chef who must cook up a feast for a King, you must cook up great poetry and fiction for your noble readers.

With poetry and fiction, you need to capture every moment. Breathe life into it and let it soar.  With that special touch, that special magic, that added “spice”, you will surely captivate your readers by holding their interest and leaving them wanting more of your poetry and more of your fiction; with an insatiable appetite that will grow with every word.  Let your characters shine with personality, let your setting and background jump off the written page into your reader’s living room, let the plot entertain and mesmerize as it leads to a climax. Then let the conclusion of your poem or fiction leave the readers in awe, treating them to an experience that questions their own reality; making them feel as if they had momentarily left their world and journeyed through the world of your poetry and/or your fiction, landing back in their seats only after reading the last word or turning the last page.  Remember, this magic is created through your choice of “spice”. Choose “special”, choose “emotion”, choose “color”, choose “raw”, choose “real”, choose “love”, choose “life”; just choose. 

            A writer, similar to a cook, must mix and match, taste as they go along, add a little of this and a little of that, and continue to stir their pot until that final dish has been prepared to perfection. Your final dish will be that perfect poem or that perfect fiction. You’ll know it too, because the spice in your writing will touch all of your senses. That’s when you are ready to serve your work to the world.

            Below are five examples of sentences, two sentences to each example, for your review and consideration.  The first sentence is created without choosing from the “Spice Rack of Life”, while the second sentence is just a re-creation of the first, choosing from the “Spice Rack of Life”. You decide which sentence in each example is the better of the two. You decide which sentence holds your interest best, and invites you into a story that makes you want to continue reading and exploring the journey:   

            Example #1:
1. She took a walk along the beach on a hot day, hoping to find love.
                OR –
2. She walked barefoot across burning sands and crackling seashells, soothed only by intervals of cool ocean breezes, gentle salt-spray, and the smile of a man sitting by the shore.

***************************************************************************
Example #2:
1. Last night they danced at the party to loud, vibrating, and unending music.
    OR –
2.  They stepped out onto that dance floor, energized by the beat of the haunting music, hypnotized by a night of mystery, and driven to the point of no return.

***************************************************************************
Example #3:
1. It was such a dark, rainy and frightening night outside.
    OR –
2. The sky was dark and eerie, the trees swayed violently, and a raging rain poured from the ruthless clouds, as a stranger approached me at my doorstep. 

*************************************************************************** 
Example #4:
1. The bride looked beautiful in her wedding gown, anxious to meet the groom.
    OR –
2. The bride pranced down the aisle like a princess draped in ivory, ignited by blazing sequins and shimmering pearls, while she eyed her beloved at the altar.
               
***************************************************************************
            Example #5:
1. I was waiting at the train station for hours with no train in sight, hoping to get home before dark.
                OR –
2. The station was desolate and the wooden tracks frightening, as I stood alone in the darkness praying for a sign of life; awaiting the headlights of an approaching train that would never come.
               
*************************************************************************** 

            So what do you think? It’s kind of fun to pick and choose your words and add some “spice” to it all, in order to bring your poetry and fiction to life, isn’t it? I hope you can take something valuable from this article and use it in your own writing. Practice with a few of your own sentences. Be brave! Have fun! Go ahead! Try it.  Choose great words, write great sentences, write great poems, create great fiction and add great “spice”. Remember to select from your “Spice Rack of Life” whenever you begin to write.  Always keep in mind that if you don’t like tasteless and boring, your readers will not like tasteless and boring either. So good luck, and cook up a feast! Share it with the world! 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

...on Poetry and Fiction - "Line of Communication"

http://spillwords.com/author/phyllispcolucci/

Poetry - Poetry is simply "words" served upon life's platter by every poet; feast or famine, every poem means something to someone.

Fiction - Fiction imitates life. It is full of special characters, created and developed by the writer, who live in a world controlled by the writer. Fiction takes readers on journeys, perhaps never travelled before.


Let's look at poetry. Can anyone write poetry? If you have loved, lost, laughed, cried, smiled, frowned, saw, heard, tasted, smelled, touched, then you most certainly can put those feelings and emotions into words. Poetry is a "line of communication" between the mind and heart and the "written page". If you can figure out how to open up that line of communication, you will have accomplished what many others had hoped to do, yet feared to try. 

If you can unlock the thoughts in your mind and the emotions in your heart, and just let those feelings possess you, your line of communication will magically open, as it transports all that you are to the "written page". A page that will welcome you with open arms, hold your secrets until you are ready to reveal them, caress everything you write with loving hands, comfort you like an old friend, love you like family, listen to your every word, no matter how boring you may seem at first; and then just allow you to talk, to write, to change your mind, to rearrange your thoughts, to feel, to be - until you are ready to open yourself up, reveal who you are, and share your most precious poems with the world. 

Now let's take a look at fiction. Fiction is a world of make-believe brought to life. The author creates the characters in his/her image, and places them in a world of his/her creation. It is the most magical accomplishment in the universe. These characters become your friends, your family, your lovers, your enemies - whomever you wish them to be. Each one is unique to your own liking, and each one will exist in the world you created; living, loving and feeling everything you desire in order to take your story to the heights of perfection. 

The setting can be one familiar to you, or some far away place you travelled to in the past. The plot will fall into place as you develop your characters and storyline, sometimes never knowing where the story is going until you are actually there. Once the story reaches its climax, and there is no turning back, you will have no choice but to move forward as well. As the creator, it is now your choice as to where to bring the lives of the characters in your work of fiction. So you move them all to a conclusion that will excite your readers. Will your characters lose a life's battle, or succeed wonderfully? Will they die off from illness or murder, or will they live on in good health and happiness? Will they find romance, or experience lost love? Will they win in the end and walk off into the sunset, or leave the reader hanging on until you write the second series in this work of fiction? Your call, dear author. Make it wisely.

Now, as in poetry, here is the same question. Can anyone write fiction? Again, my feeling on this - if you can live life, find love in all forms, maintain friendships, relationships, and have great conversations with people, you can create good fiction. Fiction closely imitates life. If you've experienced lands near and far, created memories in your mind and heart, shared those memories with those closest to you - then, once again, that line of communication will magically open and transport you to the "written page". You will most definitely be welcomed there with open arms. What you write and how you go about it, is totally up to you. But can you do it? Absolutely.

In my writing, I find putting more dialogue in the storyline and less narrative, brings the characters and the story to life. It moves the plot along seamlessly, placing the reader in the middle of the action, allowing them to experience your fiction as if they were reading a play or watching a movie. So, as you see, it's all up to you. Every author has a unique writing style, but every author is capable of travelling that line of communication from their mind and heart, to the "written page". I believe most people can accomplish this as well, on different levels.

One word of advice on writing poetry and/or fiction, as I see it, is to view the world through emotion and spirit. Always be in tune to your surroundings and the people you come in contact with on a daily basis. That is where you will find your triggers to creativity. I believe that is the focus for many writers, and that is the lesson non-writers would be blessed to learn and embrace. Don't just walk through life. Feel it, mingle with it, hold hands with it, dance with it - and then write about the journey.          


Sunday, January 29, 2017

...Free ebooks in pdf format (Limited-Time Offer) (JUST RATE and REVIEW)

EFFECTIVE FEB 16TH, 2017, LIMITED-TIME OFFER HAS EXPIRED
Good Morning...just wanted to let you readers out there (and non-readers, who might enjoy free ebooks), know that my four ebooks are available for a limited-time offer, in pdf format. All you need to do is ask, by contacting me at my e-mail address, below:

AstiSpring@aol.com

Hope you take the opportunity to check them out. If you'd like, (after reading an ebook), it would be very much appreciated if you took a few short moments to rate and review it on Amazon. Just search for the ebook on Amazon under Phyllis P. Colucci, (or simply click on my Author Page on Amazon, also noted below) and go from there. Very simple to do. There is absolutely NO obligation on your part to do so, however. It's just a great thing for an indie author to have on their side, for further promotion and to help get their books out there. So regardless of whether or not you leave a rating and/or review, I do hope you enjoy the ebook(s) during this "limited-time offer". Happy reading!

Below is my Author Page on Amazon. Feel free to browse and read through the "Descriptions" and "Look Inside", to see if any one of the ebooks might interest you. If so, you know what to do. Contact me at my e-mail address above, and I will gladly send you the pdf copy for free. Select as many as you care to read. The books are also available through "Kindle Unlimited" for you avid readers who use that.

https://www.amazon.com/Phyllis-P.-Colucci/e/B00VMU8B44

Below are extra photos of the book covers, as well -
ALSO NOTE THE SPECIFIC GENRES:

"Secrets and Lies" (Fiction/Novella/Romance) - (A short read)
"The Hand She Dealt to Me" (Fiction/Novel/Mystery/Suspense)
"Treasure Chest of Words" (A Collection of Original Poems) (Poetry)
"Voices" (Fiction/Novel/Mystery/Suspense)





MY WORDS TO ALL OF YOU: Always remember that authors and poets serve their words onto life's platters for readers to ingest. Whether feast or famine, there is always something special there for everyone. Enjoy!
                   
BEST WISHES- Phyllis P. Colucci