Unless otherwise attributed, all content, text or image, on this site is © TaunaLen 2005-2011.
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Monday, September 27, 2010

Turn the Page and Keep Writing

There were boxes of books. More books than anything else that you loaded into the back of your roommate’s car, before the two of you pulled away from the curb, and I stood by the window, watching you leave home. Is it strange that you looked younger through that pane of glass than you have in years? I told your dad that it seemed like you were still that tiny baby I brought home from the hospital more than twenty-one years ago, so helpless in the great big world.

I had that moment of “wait, I’m not finished,” but you know how to do laundry, and you can cook spaghetti. There are still plenty of things for you to learn out there in the wilderness without me. The compass I gave you as you hugged me goodbye is to help you find your way down the road. There’s so much to explore, to discover about others, and yourself. I figure you will show up on our doorstep at fairly regular intervals -- to raid the fridge, and watch your shows on the DVR, maybe to introduce me to someone special someday. It’s a great place to come back to and regroup when you need it.

You know your way home.

I want to remind you that I believe in you, that I’m proud of the man you’ve become. You have a tender heart, and you’re generous. If someone around you needs something, and you’ve got money in your wallet, you pull it out and hand it to them, without a second thought. I see you growing, still, becoming the kind of man who will make a loving husband and a strong, gentle father. You come from strength, from love and honor, son. The men in your life have shaped you in ways I never could, and for that I am grateful. You have and will do them, and me, proud.

There was a time when I worried about you learning to talk -- of course, sandwiched between two talkative sisters, it took you a while to decide you didn’t want them talking for you anymore. I worked diligently with you on letters and words, reading you Dr. Seuss books over and over hoping someday things would click. I recall the day I found you sitting in the floor of your bedroom, books scattered around you. You weren’t singing. That’s funny because for the first few years of your life, you thought all books were songbooks. When I asked you what you were doing, you smiled up at me and said, “I’m reading, Mama.” like it was the most natural thing in the world. I sat on the floor with you, and sure enough, you read to me... slowly sounding out the small words, and pointing at each one in turn. You’ve always been the child who did things when he got good and ready.

And you’re ready, son.

A framed set of pictures, taken of all of you kids, hangs on the wall in the den. Around the edge is written, “Home is where your story begins...” I’m sure you know how much I love that you, Sarah and Jericho are writers. You all developed a love of language, that took on a life of its own. I’ve seen that light of inspiration dance in your eyes, as you told me about how your fantasy characters were telling you how to write their stories. As for your story, you took the pen from my hands years ago, and started writing it. I can’t wait to see how the next chapter unfolds.

Go. Write your story, and I’ll be here, forever reading.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Centenary Celebration!

Today is day 100!

I had no idea, when I began London Word Festival's One Hundred Days challenge, how much I would enjoy writing a 140 character mini poem on Twitter every day. (In fact, when you take into account the #100days and #twitpoem hash tags, and the day number designation, I was left with between 114 and 117 characters. That's not much.)

I feel great about accomplishing this small task, and looking back over the work as a whole, I'm pretty proud of some of the results, which you can see by clicking the link to "TaunaLen's Poetry" above. So, because I feel so great about having completed this challenge, I've decided two things.

First, I'm going to continue.

Though the One Hundred Days challenge is over, I plan to continue writing at least one mini poem or haiku each day for the next 265 days. This will leave me with a year's worth by December 10, 2010. I may be sick of them by then, or I may just have developed the habit of writing one, daily, tiny poem that I will carry with me for years to come. Who knows?

I'll also be participating next month in Robert Lee Brewer's Poetic Asides National Poetry Month Poem-A-Day Challenge, writing one poem each day for the month of April, from prompts provided by Robert himself--one of my favorite poets. These will be separate from the mini poems, and unlike them, will be unpublished on Twitter, or Facebook, or my website. These full length poems will hopefully provide the fodder from which will come future submissions to poetry journals. Submitting work to poetry journals is also part of my 2010 goals. I hope to be published sometime this year.

Winter and spring seem to be good seasons for poetry and me.

I've also made a second decision.

Feedback on my first hundred mini poems was interesting. I didn't expect to hear much from my friends or family. People tend to smile and nod, and allow me the idiosyncrasy of being a poet, without much response. I don't mind. However, over the last 100 days, I've had lots of great comments from many of you. So, I plan to take the best of the last 100 days and put them into a chapbook, a poetry collection, to mark this achievement. It will be something small. Something self-published, available one copy at a time to those who want one.

So I'm sure I'll print at least two copies... one for my mother, one for myself. On the off chance that anyone else would like a copy, I'll post the information here as soon as the book is ready.

Thanks to everyone for the encouragement, the questions, ("Did you remember to write your poem today? It's almost midnight!" and "When does that Hundred days of poetry thing stop?") and the tolerance for my tiny verses popping up on in the Twitter stream and on the Facebook page.

You're a great bunch of friends and family!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Beautiful Day to Fly

February 23, 2010


My baby girl, I’ve put off writing this letter for as long as I can. I can’t believe you’re really leaving the nest. I want you to know how proud I am of you, how happy I am that you’re braving the world, and forging your own path. Jericho, you’ve always been the one to go it your own way. I envy you that boldness, and creativity. Your confidence inspires me, and I’m glad you’ve got it in spades.

I have been thinking a lot this week about the first day I met you. I can still close my eyes and hear the doctor saying “It’s a girl.” I cried, tears of joy, like the tears I’m crying now. I wonder if I have the right words to say to you… to tell you how much you are loved, how amazing and beautiful you are, inside and out. I wonder if I did enough, if I taught you everything I could, if I wasted time. I would give anything for one afternoon to see your three-year-old smile---to hear you sing the Barney song, in your sweet little voice—to watch you twirling in the back yard, splashing in the bathroom sink, making a mess in the kitchen. I can’t count how many times I wanted to cry over missing eyeglasses and shoes, and how I miss those days.

I wouldn’t go back forever, you know--only for a couple of hours. I wouldn’t trade a moment of the past twenty years… you’ve made being a mother the most amazing thing. And I’m learning as I go--that today you’ve not learned everything there is to learn. You are not ready to face the world on your own. You will keep making mistakes, keep learning, keep living without my guiding hand. And at the same time… you are ready, and so am I – ready to see you take on this new challenge, and succeed.

You know, I’ll stand in your empty room tonight… or tomorrow night… or whenever you get around to moving ALL of your stuff into the apartment… and cry, for the change that comes today. Today you are no longer living under my roof… today you have your own roof to decorate, to pay for, to live under, to make messes in. It’s a very good day for you. Don’t forget to remember how this feels, and enjoy the little things.

Fill your first place with memories, with friends, with family. Take photos, write poems, sketch and paint pictures. Cook delicious meals and listen to amazing music, fill your life with good things, and don’t hurry too much. This is your time. Make the most of it. It will disappear all too fast, just like the past twenty years have for me. Women sometimes forget to slow down and live. I hope you’ll remember, today. Now spread your wings and fly, my baby girl… with my blessing, with all my hopes and faith that you are strong and smart and beautiful and ready to take on the world. It's a beautiful sky.

You know the way home,

Love, Mommie

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Putting Myself Out There

I've been planning for several weeks now, how I would resolve to push myself where my poetry and fiction are concerned in Twenty-Ten. I hate to admit that I've never really submitted my best work, for fear that I'd learn it's not nearly as good as those nice twitter followers and the friends in my writer's group say it is.

Do all writers feel like they're the only ones in any given group of writers who are kidding themselves?

I spent the morning combing through Duotrope's list browsing online journals, reading some amazing poetry, and some poetry I didn't really like much. It's hard work, this submission process. Not because it requires reading and getting acquainted with the type of work certain journals seem to like, but because it forces me to examine my own work closely, to compare, to weigh and measure. All this without getting discouraged and throwing in the towel.

If you follow or read, and you feel so inclined, please share your thoughts.

How do you face the submission process, and how would you encourage others to do so? I could use some encouragement today before I dive back in and force myself to stretch and grow and risk.

I appreciate any response.

Keep writing, keep reading, keep reaching.

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