Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Living Life

Here's the poem I wrote for a contest in March. The key word was "life." To Live Life You Must… Always notice rainbows Listen for laughter Inhale sweet scents Dance with no music Enjoy morning coffee, wine Take walks, explore nature Touch, kiss, hug Celebrate when it’s not a holiday Be spiritual but not preachy Appreciate good friends, family Have lazy days Be productive, too Soak up learning Be yourself Pass it on. (No hubby, it doesn't rhyme, and yes, it's still a poem.) What are some of your favorite ways to live life?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Inspiration. When and where do you get yours? Whether you write novels, poems, short stories, memoirs, children's books or any other genre, where do you get most of your ideas? Many of my stories and characters are completely fiction--created in my head, and for some reason, I most often find inspiration in the shower. Don't ask me why but I have for years. When I worked in corporate America, an idea would come to me in the shower, and I'd have to quickly get out, dry off, and scribble down ideas for my next television script, branding campaign or billboard--all on slightly damp paper. Many nights, I get ideas as I start to doze off. This habit drives my husband batty. He awakens when I get out of bed, and he says he can hear my pen scratching away. I'll get back in bed and he'll ask, "What did you write now? Why don't you just wait until tomorrow." Um. I can't. It'll be gone by tomorrow. Of course, many of us get ideas from the Internet, newspapers, and television--and from our childhood memories. That's why they say, "Write what you know." A fun way to come up with new ideas for a story is to overhear tidbits of conversations in coffee shops, restaurants, at the hair salon or car wash. This type of people watching (and listening) also works well for character sketches. How about you? When and where do you get your inspiration?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Hooked On Haikus

As you know, I love writing short--as witnessed by my constant six-word memoir craze. Now, I've learned to write haikus and love them. Below are the first three haikus I've ever written (inspired by David Harrison's monthly poetry contest). The word he chose for March is either live or life (I can never remember which) so I incorporated both. Here goes: Live Life By Beth Carter Life’s difficulties… Far outweighed by life’s beauty. Live life. We have one. * * * * * Life’s Too Short By Beth Carter Live life to extreme. Shun obnoxious, rude people. Life. It’s way too short. * * * * * Embrace Life By Beth Carter Life throws surprises. Embrace. Laugh. Learn. Pay forward. Live. Give it your all. Which one do you like best? Care to write your own here? I'd love to read it. P.S. Haiku rule per Webster's Dictionary: A Japanese verse form, unrhymed with three lines using 5 syllables, 7 syllables and 5 syllables, respectively. Easy peasy.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Managing Time

As I look at my very cluttered desk, I am mad at myself. I have post-it notes everywhere, several files, handwritten notes for my novel, six-word memoir letters, conference info, reservations to Hot Springs, drafts of poems, and hard copies of apparently great emails that are waiting to be filed. Add to the crowded space a lamp, reference books, coffee mug, pictures, a phone, tissue, candles, and lotion. (And I just noticed I have a dart board on my desk. Huh?) I blame my messy desk on social networking. As we all know (since it's drilled into our heads by people in the know), writers must have a platform. That means, we need our own blog and/or a web site, must have a presence on Facebook and/or Twitter, must have email, must follow agents' blogs to glean important submission information, and even more if we don't need sleep. I don't know about you but I'm having great difficulty managing my time these days. Every morning I look forward to checking my email and the latest FB posts. If I have time, I check Twitter. My writing takes a back seat--as does exercise--which might explain why my real seat is getting bigger. How do you manage your time? Does social networking get in the way? Are you more disciplined than me? Do you actually work and/or write first before checking those alluring social networks? Please share your tips. I could use some advice and I imagine I'm not alone. P.S. What's on your desk?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Winning Poem: A Country Drive

Wow! I recently learned I placed first with my poem, A Country Drive, shown below. Thank you to everyone who voted. I'm very flattered and honored. As I've mentioned before, local children's author and poet David Harrison has a monthly poetry challenge. He chooses the word and poets take it from there. The word for February was "road." Below is my poem (tweaked slightly because I couldn't resist). Enjoy the drive! A Country Drive By Beth Carter I jumped into my old Chevy truck Grinnin’ 'cause long drives bring me luck. Drove around a very sharp bend, noticed a pothole I must mend. Spotted a large frog in the road Swerving, barely missed the toad. A soft breeze blew through my hair as I whistled without a care. Popped open a cold diet Coke I was happy—a lucky bloke. Driving along with my left knee Windows down, nearly stung by a bee. Sipping my soda, scanned the dial My favorite singer made me smile. Turned up the sound, hummed along Then loudly broke into a song. Spotted a mooing Jersey cow Standing beside a lazy sow. The cow stood in a shallow pond. Man, I could drive like this ‘til dawn. A fast-movin’ Jeep passed me Sadly, missing the scenery. Driver’s on the phone, in a hurry. Where’s the fire? Why the flurry? A small speckled deer in sight As two birds quickly took flight. Looking up, I stroked my chin Dark, ominous clouds rollin' in. Decided I must change my plans. Turned around, headed to Jan’s. Gonna pick up my best girl Go dancin,’ give her a twirl. A country drive is hard to beat By the way, friends call me Pete.

The Essence of Time

I've been participating in a monthly poetry challenge by local poet and children's author, David Harrison. He selects the word each month and poets from many states participate. His chosen word for January was "time" and my poem below placed second. Enjoy. THE ESSENCE OF TIME By Beth Carter Time is of the essence for doing things I adore. Time stretches into eternity for those tasks I abhor. Oh, Father Time, I’m pleading please give me a little more. But only if I’m enjoying myself, not if I’m performing ghastly chores.