All posts by Wendy Van Camp

Author * Poet * Illustrator

Haiku Finds Wabi Sabi by Marjorie Miles

A Haiku paints a word picture. It is simple in form – three lines, the first containing five syllables, the second, seven, and the third, five, for a total of 17 syllables. But there is nothing simple about a Haiku’s power to capture the heart of your life experiences.

I was in the last phase of cancer treatment when I heard the Voice for the first time. While awaiting the arrival of the radiologist, I closed my eyes. That’s when I heard, the command.

“You need to write a poem!”

Without missing a beat, the same Voice insisted, “And it needs to be a Haiku!

On a small scrap of paper, I wrote the following:

Radiation! Zap!
Search and find the mutant cells
Going…going…gone!

As I re-read what I had written, my hands involuntarily clapped when I reached the word, “gone”. Then, a quiet calm permeated my being, along with a certainty that I would survive.

That night my husband, Ben, suggested I challenge myself to write five a day. And so began my haiku writing practice…

2011
I was grateful to begin a new story. Having pushed past surgery, chemo, and radiation, a new hair color, and a new “normal”, I was ready to start a new story.

After years of neglect and silence—thanks to my haiku writing routine—my poetry Muse, and I had been happily reunited.

About a year later, I heard the Voice again! It said, “Start a Writer’s Group to support individuals whose words and stories need to be heard”.I didn’t have a clue how to accomplish this. However, during a sleep dream, I received a guided meditation to invoke the Muse and guidance to use the images, symbols, and feelings that surfaced as writing prompts.

So, began “Writing with Your Dream Muse” classes, and we are still writing today…

2015
Life was good. I finished writing my book, “Healing Haikus”—A Poetic Prescription for Surviving Cancer”, and was the contributing author to five other books.

I was beginning my fifth-year cancer-free. Once you have heard the words, “You are cancer-free”, you think the “scare” is over. However, some stories have a sequel.

Mine does and it begins, “You have a recurrence”.

I continued my daily poem-making…

I had just completed my latest CT scan, and I was looking forward to the weekend.

The telephone rang.

The voice of my oncologist cried with urgency into the telephone, “Get Marjorie to the Emergency Room! It’s in her brain!

Fear gripped me. The next chapter in my continuing story would be a game-changer!

And it was…

The last entry in my haiku journal before my brain surgery was July 17, 2015

Cancer in my brain
You slipped by the barrier
Back into my life

The following day, I underwent brain surgery to remove one large and three smaller cancerous tumors. While recovering, my intestines perforated, and I required an emergency colostomy.

Life’s crescendos come
Quietly as a sunset
Dipped in marmalade

Despite the odds against my survival, I did!

I am a miracle!

I needed—more than ever—to write again.

At the same time, I was learning to wear a colostomy pouch, I needed to adjust to my new “compromised” brain.

My precious communication skills forever changed! How cruel to return my Muse to me… Damaged!

However, the most painful and serious deficit I encountered was difficulty in writing. Writing and haiku connected me to my Muse and to all my important relationships. Sending even a text or a simple email can be excruciating. Words come out scrambled. My ability to express myself on paper is severely hampered. Writing for long periods can leave me cranky, tired, and disoriented.

Yet, I NEED to write a daily haiku.

Invisible ink
Where I look to retrieve words
That are still hiding

I was struggling with my conflicted feelings about what cancer had taken from my life, and gratitude for being alive. I decided to write everything I was feeling…raw and uncensored.

Tears flow today for
What was and what might have been
Grief robs gratitude

I wrote furiously until I finally exhausted all the anger and frustration I had been holding inside.

Then, something magical happened.

For the first time, I saw my cross-outs, squiggles, write overs, BIG LETTERS, and small letters as ART!

Letters and words swerve
On road maps of consciousness
From an artist’s hand

Through several thwarted attempts to write a “perfect” haiku, I was astonished that my frustration and my pain could be transformed…into art.

Writing haiku has given me a different lens in which to view the world—one that is much rosier.

When I learned about the Japanese art and philosophy called, Wabi Sabi, a way of life that focuses on finding beauty the within the imperfections and impermanence of life, I decided that I was a Wabi Sabi Practitioner,

Words tumbled wounded
Bleeding blessings from poems
Created to Heal

My next chapter, Wabi Sabi Haiku Word Art, has already started…


Dr. Marjorie Miles is a best-selling Amazon author and Wabi-Sabi Haiku Word Artist. She fulfills her passion for creative expression as a writer, dream worker, poet, and speaker. Her miracle-filled life includes living beyond lung cancer, brain cancer, and a life-saving colostomy.

She facilitates monthly “Writing with Your Muse” groups, offering inspiration and guidance to aspiring authors. Her uplifting memoir, Healing Haikus: A Poetic Prescription for Surviving Cancer, demonstrates the powerful effect of creative expression on healing.

Incurable romantics, she and her husband exchange original poems they create each morning. His are rhyming poems, and hers are haikus.

No Wasted Ink Writers Links

Welcome to No Wasted Ink Writers Links. Below are ten articles about the craft of writing or topics of interest to science fiction or fantasy readers for your enjoyment. So pour yourself a nice cuppa tea and sit back. There is interesting reading ahead.

In Search of the MacGuffin

The Secret Language of Vikings

How to Use Failure in Your Story

Avatars of the Divine: Gods Living Among the Ancients

9 Time Management Tips For Writers

Regarding Readership—My New Take

Don’t Give Your Readers a Reason to Reject your Novel

Audiobook Publishing and Distribution: Getting Started Guide for Authors

The Dilemma of the Prolific Writer

Making It Different – Pushing Genre Boundaries in Fantasy

Bullet Journal Guidelines for Writing Goals

Every year, I create a new annual bullet Journal to help me plan out my writing schedule. There I set out my yearly goals and I keep a running todo list of tasks for each day. In the past, I would set up a simple monthly tracking section at the start of each calendar month and then write in my daily todo list each day, setting up the spacing and size on an on-going basis. I also set up outlined spaces at regular intervals in my bullet journal to practice zentangle sketching. I followed this format for five years. I created organic looking, illustrated bullet journals that I found pleasing to look at.

While this system worked for many years, last year I discovered that I was not keeping up with all the illustrated spaces and the constant changing of daily headings, spacing, and other artsy things was slowing me down. I found that other than the monthly heading, I did not fill in any tasks at all during December.

Something had to change. I am writing more than ever these days, articles for my blog and Medium, poetry, short stories, and more than one novel per year. I also have a robust social media system in place. My old artsy bullet journal simply was not keeping up with my day to day planning.

PLANNING GOALS

I wanted to set up yearly goals, but I also wanted to set quarterly goals for myself so that I could track my progress through the three novels I wanted to complete and set aside time for two writing challenges that I participate in annually.

I wanted a way to track not only my daily word count, but when I used dictation vs a keyboard, how often I spent in revision/outlining and how many days I spent in writing poetry.

I wanted a system where my daily task days were already set up so I spent less time in creating the spaces in my journal and more time in writing content. I also wanted to remove the art from my journal. Instead, I would set up a separate art journal for my various art projects.

My chosen notebook had to be fountain pen friendly since I wanted to continue to use my favorite Platinum Procyon fountain pen as my main writer. My ink of choice is Noodler’s Black. My new journal needed to play well with these. My choice this year is the Seven Seas Dot Grid with 68 gms Tomoe River Paper. It has a sturdy black cover and lays flat when open.

SYSTEM

As part of my new streamlined concept, I did not place an index in my bullet journal. I find that since I tend to keep things organized by month, it is easy for me to thumb back in my journals and discover the information I need. However, I did number my journal before starting so I had those as a reference. So I started with a simple title page that has my name and the year and a Future Log where I could write in future events such as conferences, speaking events or science fiction conventions.

I have a page to write in my yearly writing goals for the year. Here I list how many books I want to write, and general writing goals I wish to meet. I keep the goals loose and try to not pile on too many. I wish to keep my yearly goals to be obtainable.

This year, I also created a page with quarterly goals. I broke down the projects in the yearly goal page and assigned them to a quarter of the year to work on. This gave me a general idea of when to set launch dates for novels, start and stop dates for projects, etc.

Another year spread in my bullet journal is a yearly tracker for word count by day, if I’m writing via dictation or if I’m writing via keyboard, days that I’m either outlining or researching and finally a place to track if I wrote poetry or not.  I wanted to keep better track of when I was actually creating new poems.

Next, I move into the month sections. This area will be for the rest of the notebook. Between the yearly section and the monthly one, I leave several extra pages in case I decide I want to add something new mid-year.

I start each month with a simple title page that I place the name of the month. I used to turn this into an art project, but this year I settled for writing the month with large brush letters and placing a circle around it.

I have a couple of trackers that I start each month. The first one is my writing log. I write the numbers of the month in a vertical column in the center of the page. For each day of the month, I write down what writing projects I worked on that day to the left and events on the right. It gives me an at-a-glance look at my production of the month. I don’t keep word counts here. That goes into the yearly tracker at the front of the bullet journal.

My last tracker is more for fun. I write down what television series I’m watching, movies I saw, or books I’m reading. I also keep a list of writing-related items I’ve purchased. It is a handy place to write down my monthly goals to remind myself where I am. I find these goals by referring to the quarterly goals I wrote at the front of the bullet journal and assign tasks from there to the month.

Once the monthly trackers are in, I set up spaces for my daily todo lists. I create seven-day spreads on two facing sheets of paper. This gives me plenty of space for lists, notes or whatever I need to write down to be accountable for my day. I make an effort to not get artistic with it. The key this year is to spend more time on writing projects and less time on getting fancy with my planner. I am finding that setting up this space at the start of the month instead of doing it as I go has saved me much time.

Planning via a bullet journal is a powerful tool for any writer or poet. Being able to stay focused on your writing goals, track your progress on a quarterly and monthly basis, are all key elements in getting your work done. By keeping all your information in a single book throughout the year, you can easily see where you are and where you are going.

The Curate’s Brother by Wendy Van Camp #Regency #Austen

The Curate’s Brother: A Jane Austen Variation of Persuasion
by Wendy Van Camp

Available on Amazon

A Regency Historical based on the characters and settings from Jane Austen’s novel Persuasion. It can serve as a stand-alone or a prequel to Austen’s book.

It is the summer of 1806 in Somerset, England.

EDWARD WENTWORTH, a young curate, is surprised by the arrival of his brother, Commander Frederick Wentworth, the “hero of San Domingo”, who is on shore leave from his battles in the Napoleonic wars and has come to spend time with the only family he has in England.

All the good Commander wants to do is flirt and dance with the ladies until he is called back to sea, but when his flirting extends to SALLY MARSHALL, an outgoing beauty that Edward always disdained as “a child”, the curate becomes aware that his opinion of Sally is sorely outdated. Meanwhile, Frederick becomes drawn to shy wallflower ANNE ELLIOT. She is the daughter of a baronet and above his station, but Frederick pays no heed to his brother’s warnings that class may prevent their union.

At the end of summer, a letter and package arrive that will change everything for the two brothers. Which will prevail? The bold action of the commander or the quiet manners of the curate?

No Wasted Ink Writers Links

Happy Monday! Welcome back to writer’s link day here on No Wasted Ink. This set are mainly writing tip articles, but there is a nice poetry prompt list that I wanted to share with you as well. I hope you find the articles as interesting as I did. Enjoy.

Pace Your Prose — Three Thoughts on Timing

Futuristic First Aid: High-tech Wound Care

Lovecraft’s Notes On Writing Weird Fiction

Thoughts on How to Be Critical of Stories in a Way That Makes a Difference

Emotional Truths, Insights, And Emotions Are Key To A Great Novel

Key Ways to Adding Depth to Any Setting: Resources & Tips

The Four Essentials of an Effective Character Arc

Taking it Scene by Scene: The “Middle Level” of Writing

Becoming a Multigenre Writing Master

100 Poetry Prompts