POEM: “Patriotism”

Patriotism

 

The call to act with love

against the hate that spills into our streets

Not follow the same drummer’s beat, beat, beat

while others are simply beaten



Fighting hate with hate increases

the blaze across our states

Fighting hate with love abates outbreaks

soothes the aching wounds of history

Kindness is not complacency

 

Shake this world gently

Shake this world with love

Shake this world with peaceful protest

Shake this world with words

Words have power 

 

Speak out.

 

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Happy Fourth of July weekend! 

I know this poem seems especially written for the current circumstances, but I actually wrote it June of 2018 as a response to a tweet I read on twitter about the usefulness of nonviolent protests. I was also inspired by this quote from Ghandi: “Where there is love there is life. In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” 

Another special thing I’d like to do this weekend is offer my poetry collection, Soul Picked Clean, on sale at a discounted price to celebrate both the Fourth of July (Saturday) and my birthday (Friday)! 

If you’d like a copy of my poetry collection, Soul Picked Clean, for only $10, please credit my paypal at this link, and don’t forget to include your address so I know where to mail the book! 

Stay safe, stay well, and read often!


**image courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net via Creative Commons Licensing.

POEM: “The Great Pause”

dog on concrete road
Photo by Daniel Frank on Pexels.com

 

The Great Pause

 

our world holds its breath

as Mother Nature exhales

 

sighs of relief recede

clouds of carbon dioxide

from towering cityscapes

over brilliant barren avenues

satellite images clear like

a slate wiped suddenly clean

wildlife boldly ventures out

exploring storefront windows

from sunlit asphalt lanes

goats nibble untamed hedges

wolves play in lush backyards

occupy empty park benches

pink flamingos stroll across

pristine snow-white beaches

stags sport oak and maple racks

high and wide as their forest homes

mounting marble cathedral steps

beneath brilliant sun stained glass

as grey-skinned dolphins swim

unmolested in blue-green waters

 

while for once we are the ones

trapped behind translucent glass

looking out at the world

from inside

 

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Since we are midway through National Poetry Month, I thought I’d take a moment to review. As you know, all in-person poetry events have been cancelled or postponed due to the current pandemic, but the poetry community has come together in other ways. I was honored to have my poem, “Poet,” featured on April 5th for Cuyahoga County Public Library’s Read + Write: 30 Days of Poetry!

April 23rd is Shakespeare’s birthday, so be sure to honor the Bard by reading a book, watching a play (online), or sharing poetry! I’ve linked a few free resources, in case you don’t know where to start, and many libraries offer free online materials as well through their own websites, as well as apps like Hoopla and Overdrive. Local theatres are struggling now (for obvious reasons), so you could make a donation to your local playhouse or attend a local online event (like Ohio Shakespeare Festival). You could also do some silly celebrations, such as Talk-Like-Shakespeare Day!

Also, since this blog is mostly poetry, you may not be aware that I’ve written quite a bit of prose over the years, mostly flash fiction. Lately I have been featuring a weekly free flash fiction post and podcast on my Patreon. This is my way of providing some free reading material for people currently stuck at home, as well as generating excitement for my upcoming book, An Optimist’s Journal of the End of Days and Other Stories!

I hope you enjoyed my poem! Remember, if you are quarantined at home, you are helping to save lives. If you need to venture out to work to keep everyone else going during these difficult times, thank you. Your efforts are appreciated, and my heart goes out to you all.

Take solace in the good things, and try to get through the bad. Stay safe, stay well, and read often!

 

POEM: “Social Distancing”

hand touching glass
Photo by Josh Hild on Pexels.com

 

Social Distancing

 

Socially distant, virtually inseparable

the links between us:

 

the ways we touch others,

not warm fingers interlaced

but swept across cool keyboards,

 

music shared across balconies,

tasting notes like a crisp wind

crossing borders and boundaries,

not the comforting embrace

 

but the smiling face miles away,

countries or continents or 

six full feet apart

 

so long as we’re not six feet under

we can bridge any distance.

smoothly typed texts, raised

voices spanning gaps, our words

 

heard by ears, read by wide eyes,

felt by drumming heartbeats:

emotion’s rising tide.

 

in this new world of isolation,

We all pull together.

 

#

 

April is National Poetry Month, and although many poetry and writing events have been cancelled due to the current world crisis, we have also come together in other ways through technology. Many open mics, book launches, and other meetups have switched to virtual venues, and people are searching for new ways to come together, support each other, and consume art. 

 

So in the spirit of this unity, I’d love to share some online venues to help get through these trying times. My favorite poetry magazine, Rattle, has a podcast and a virtual open mic called Rattlecast that meets/posts weekly. The FaceBook group for Latitudes Poetry Night has switched from monthly (in person) meetups to weekly Wednesday night (online) Open Mics as a way to support others during quarantine. Different libraries have switched to online meetups for book clubs such as Barberton Library’s monthly Hooks and Books

 

There are also free downloadable ebooks from ManyBooks.Net, Project Gutenberg, and (for audiobooks) Librivox. And, last but not least, many libraries have online resources as well for checkouts–as well as other events. My favorite of these is the annual Read + Write: 30 Days of Poetry via Cuyahoga County Public Library; just sign up on the site for April emails with poems from Ohio poets as well as writing prompts.

 

This year, on April 5th, one of my poems from Soul Picked Clean will be the featured poem for Read + Write. I’m so honored to be part of this event and beyond thrilled!

 

So, I hope you enjoyed my poem! If you can, I urge you to take advantage of some of these online resources. If you are quarantined at home, you are helping to save lives. If you need to venture out to work to keep everyone else going during these difficult times, thank you. Your efforts are appreciated, and my heart goes out to you all. 

 

Take solace in the good things, and try to get through the bad. Stay safe, stay well, and read often!

2020-03-30: Virtual Poetry Reading for Soul Picked Clean by Cat Russell!

Today is the one year anniversary of the Book Launch for my first published book, my poetry collection, Soul Picked Clean.

Since an in-person event is obviously not possible now, I wanted to celebrate online! I read a few of my poems, explain the thoughts behind them, and talk about how to keep in touch online. Enjoy!

If you would like to attend my FaceBook LIVE Book Birthday Party tonight, please visit: https://tinyurl.com/rhmzktp

 

PODCAST LINK: https://authorcatrussell.podbean.com/mf/play/53ujkf/2020_03_30PoetryReading-SPC-CatRussell.mp3


*image courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net via Creative Commons License.

CURRENT EVENTS: New Year’s and the New (and Past) Decade!

reaching-new-year-2020

In honor of the decade’s end, as well as the new year, I’m posting my reflections on the past ten years as well as my resolutions for the next year. I’m obviously thankful for a loving family that I’m proud of, so this post is going to concentrate on professional accomplishments and goals.

2010-2019 REFLECTIONS:

I started submitting short fiction ten years ago, and my first publication credit appeared in Flash Me online magazine July of 2010, followed by my first print credit, the anthology The Best of Friday Flash: Volume One, and later The Best of Friday Flash: Volume Two. Over the years, I improved as a writer by participating weekly in Friday Flash and other online challenges like 52/250 A Year of Flash.

I’ve also blogged consistently and completed several rough draft novels via Nanowrimo. One of the novels, Pinholes, I edited over the course of a year into a serial, then revised into a single document and began subbing to different publishers. About four years ago, I began concentrating on poetry more than short fiction and sold a few poems to online publications. In 2017, I was honored to be invited as a guest author and speaker at the Massillon Library’s Local Author Fair; I was surprised, because I didn’t actually have a book, but they asked me as a blogger. That was my first scheduled public reading.

A couple years ago, I was finally able to attend writing events on a regular basis, so I’ve gone to writing cons and workshops ever since. Every month I go to Latitudes Poetry Night and The Write Stuff Writers’ Group. At Latitudes, I started participating in their open mic, because I planned to self-publish and hoped it would help me get over my stage fright.

A friend convinced me to try submitting to a press before I self-published. As a result, in March 2019, my first book, Soul Picked Clean, was published by Crisis Chronicles Press! At my book launch on March 30th, I gave my first scheduled reading as a published author. I spent the rest of the year promoting my book, scheduling reading events, and working on my next two books as well as my blog. I also began my Patreon page, renewed my podcast, My Writing Niche, and starting volunteering more of my time to help the writing community in general.

I’ve been lucky enough to live in northeast Ohio, a place blessed with two of the best library systems in the country–Cuyahoga County Library and Cleveland Library. And last, but certainly not least, I’ve been fortunate enough to know many lovely and creative people who inspire me both professionally and personally. This decade, and especially this past year, have been incredible. I’ll never forget it.

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Next, I’ll share my New Year’s Resolutions with you; the point of this is twofold. One reason is to set them down so I’ll see them as something solid to work toward, and the second is to publicly declare them so I’ll pressure myself to complete them. If I make a big deal about them online, I’ll be too embarrassed to not do them (or at least work heavily towards them)!

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS:

  1. Submit my short story collection to a publisher.
  2. Submit another poetry collection to a publisher.
  3. Publish my short story collection.
  4. Publish my poetry collection.
  5. Market and promote my work.
  6. Volunteer more.
  7. Do things that frighten me.

This may seem like a long list–most people have one or two resolutions, but they are mostly variations of the same thing. Namely, I want to continue to get my work out there, put myself out there, and not let fear keep me from opportunities. Maybe admitting to that fear isn’t a good idea, maybe articulating it gives it power, but I don’t think so. I know I’m not the only person who gets scared of new things and new experiences, but if the past year–no, the past decade has taught me anything, it’s that facing my fears has been an overwhelmingly positive experience. I want to continue to grow, both as a person and a writer.

If you’ve read this far, I know this is much different than my usual poetry posts. I don’t know if sharing this helps you at all, but I hope it does. I know it helps me to read about other people’s experiences. If you would like to share your resolutions or have any polite feedback, I’d love to hear it! Thank you for visiting my blog, and I wish you the very best for the next year–and decade!

Happy New Year!

 

 
*image courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net via Creative Commons License

POEM: “Bread and Circuses”

circus-elephant-vintage-poster-1545060317odq336294350488775428.jpg

Bread and Circuses

Today Washingtonian elephants Trumpet

away to the tweet tweet of distraction

for days on end while blue jackasses bray

away abuse, abused and abusing

the general multitude.

 

Meanwhile, the Ringmaster serves as clown supreme

serving double purpose: distracts us all

from our bread-full bellies as he erodes

our way of life, keeps us laughing

so we don’t notice

the price we paid to get here.

 

the price we still pay.

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Thank you for visiting my blog. If you would like to read more of my work, I’ll be posting fiction, non fiction, product reviews, and other goodies at my new Patreon in addition to this blog’s content. Until next time, have a lovely week!

 

*image courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net via Creative Commons Universal License.

 

Announcement: My New Patreon Page!

20190608_170649

Patreon is a subscription site where creators provide content for a monthly subscription fee. It’s a modern low-key version of the patronage system that allowed Shakespeare and Michelangelo to do their work. Basically, it’s an opportunity to support someone whose work you enjoy, without needing to commit an exorbitant amount of money. Now, for the cost of a cup of tea (or less), you can support a creator, as well as enjoy additional members-only content available through her Patreon page.

I will continue my normal posts to this blog, once every other Friday, but now I will provide additional posts and monthly audio or visual content for Patreon subscribers. The details are on my Patreon page, as well as my introductory video. Please, check it out! Even if you don’t subscribe, I’m proud of the work I’ve put into the page and excited about my new projects!

Please, come back next week for another new poem. Thank you for visiting my blog, and have a lovely week!

POEM: “Trump’s Greenland”

iceberg-1507734720utH

Trump’s Greenland

 

Trump’s Greenland

wouldn’t be dwarfed

by a golden Trump tower’s

glittering phallus

not compensating for anything at all.

 

Trump’s Greenland

would be a dream

capitalist utopia

except that everyone

would know he’s the best, they all would love him, all!

 

if only Greenland was Denmark’s to sell,

he could trade Puerto Rico for it.

 

 

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Since this is more specifically political than I normally post, here is my common sense disclaimer: This is a joke, based on the President’s own tweets and words. One of his tweets that I based this joke on was a joke tweet he made about Greenland. The others were apparently completely serious. I’ve also included links, because I realize it’s hard to believe.

This post is in addition to my scheduled Friday post this week, because I frankly couldn’t resist. I hope you enjoyed the poem and come back tomorrow for my normally scheduled post: same Cat Time, same Cat Channel.

*image courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net via Creative Commons Universal License.

**additional source links

https://www.google.com/amp/s/theconversation.com/amp/greenland-isnt-denmarks-to-sell-some-essential-reading-for-trump-on-colonialism-122193

https://www.newsweek.com/trump-once-joked-trading-puerto-rico-greenland-1455689

https://www.ft.com/content/da9e8170-c3fe-11e9-a8e9-296ca66511c9

https://theweek.com/speedreads/860462/trump-reportedly-joked-about-trading-puerto-rico-greenland

POEM: “A Few of my Favorite Things” *AND* an Announcement!

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A Few of My Favorite Things

 

the smell of oncoming rain

as my hair is carried

by the wind rushing through

the car’s open window

at 45 mph

 

the ceramic and cloth

sculpture of a sandwich

no one will consume with anything

other than their eyes

 

the trade paperback of

Sylvia Plath poems

beckoning from a library’s

mid-level shelf

 

my husband’s smile

touching his eyes

caught off-guard

sipping from a frosted glass

 

the scent of jasmine

and fresh dark earth

as my sneakers squeak

on the way to a store

 

brimming with books,

pens and pencils and

bookmarks with optical illusions and

papers lined with flowing letters

 

the last of the

Mother’s Day chocolate

melting on my tongue

for breakfast

 

Announcement:

Tonight, if you haven’t already viewed my prominently displayed promo video, I will compete in Writing Knights sWord Fight against fantastic poet Adam Spells tonight!

Also, I’ve been making some practical (as well as cosmetic) changes to this site. While my Author Cat Russell site acts as my online resume, this site is my primary blog. I’m expanding my blogroll with additional links to markets where my work can be found, and I’ve added an additional page at the top (beneath the blog title) for Upcoming Appearances. So now my posts will simply be poems, flash stories, or non fiction.

Last month at the INKubator Writers Con, one of the workshops talked about Patreon being a possible source of revenue for content creators, so I’ve been researching how to create a successful Patreon account. I would still keep up my normal output for my blog (every two weeks), instagram, twitter, and FaceBook, but I would need to add incentives for supporters to pay a monthly fee for additional content or perks.

I am looking at incentives for different monthly tiers ($1, $5, $10) such as exclusive video or audio content, additional members only events and posts. I am open to suggestions; what type of monthly incentive/content would want to become a monthly Patreon supporter?

Currently, I’m working on a prose novel (or novelette, depending on length) of Greek mythology from Hera’s point of view, as well as writing poems and short stories. Soon I should have enough poems for another book. I’d also like to publish a collection of my short stories.

In my personal life, aside from poetry events and author fairs, I’ve been reading a lot. I’m currently reading Rikki Santer’s In Pearl Broth: Poems New and Selected, Wonder Woman volume 6: Children of the Gods, Austin Kleon’s Steal Like an Artist, and Watchmen and Philosophy;** that last one I’ve been dipping into every so often, as the material requires more time to digest. I recently finished reading Desiree in Paris: Priestess of Magdalene, Shazam! volume 1, Laura Grace Weldon’s Blackbird (poetry anthology), and Before Watchmen: Comedian/Rorschach.

Thank you for visiting my blog! I hope you enjoyed the post, and remember–polite feedback is always appreciated! Have a lovely week, and please come back. 🙂

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*promo video created with the help of my son, Christopher Russell, using CyberLink’s PowerDirector.

**This post was written early, so I have since finished a couple of those books and moved on to Wonder Woman volume 7: Amazons Attacked and an ARC of S.T. Hoover’s Hail to the King.

 

POEM: “Ode for a Dog” *AND* Upcoming Events

Ode for a Dog

You became a cosmonaut,

the Moscow stray taken away

from those frozen city streets–

your unlooked-for honor: to make history,

           to reach the heavens.

.

I wondered if they gave you a view,

one last look at the world you left behind,

or was that denied you    along with escape,

buried in darkness   before you ran out of breath

            among those distant lonely stars?

.

A window might have stopped your heart:

Earth’s cobalt blue oceans, pale frosted poles,

rust-colored deserts receding    framed in fire as you hurtled

hurled into that azure vault, afraid and alone.

            You survived that long.

.

Where is your constellation? My heart breaks

for you, dear sweet dog, your three short years

had not prepared you for such betrayal.

A statue honors you as hero, Laika.

             You made history,

.

yet I can’t help these thoughts

creeping unwanted into my dreams:

you would have rather shivered on Earth,

lived on scraps, unnoticed and unknown,

           than burned through the heavens alone.

.

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*Since this month marks the 50th Anniversary of a man walking on the moon, I wanted to share a poem I wrote in honor of another astronaut. I wrote the poem after reading of Laika’s flight, and yes, she did have a view. The video is available, if you don’t mind crying.

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Upcoming Events

Saturday, July 27th

Literary Cleveland’s INKubator Writers’ Conference:

This all day conference is FREE and takes place at the Cleveland Main Library. It’s an incredible opportunity to take workshops, support local writers, and take part in Cleveland’s vibrant literary community!

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Saturday, August 3rd @ 1pm

Author Talk and Poetry Reading at Snowball Bookshop in Barberton. I will be giving a short talk about my journey to becoming a published writer, followed by a poetry reading from my book, Soul Picked Clean.

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Friday, August 9th @ 7pm – 9pm

Writing Knights sWord Fight: This time I will be competing against motivational speaker and all-time awesome poet Adam Spells!

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Saturday, August 10th @ 10am – 1pm

Local Author’s Fair at Dorrie’s Booktique in Canton. I will be there with copies of my book, along with several other local authors from the North Canton The Write Stuff writing group.

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Saturday, August 10th @730pm

Poetry Reading at Visible Voice bookstore! I’m thrilled to be reading alongside the fantastic Sara Minges and Juliet Cook. It’s going to be a great poetry event!

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Wednesday, August 21st @7pm – 9pm

Latitudes Poetry Night at Compass Coffee in Akron. There is a featured reader, followed by an Open Mic.

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Thank you for visiting my blog. I’ll post again in two weeks, but, in the meantime, I hope you have a lovely time enjoying books and poetry!

*Image courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net via Creative Commons Universal License.