Celebrating Poets – I SEE THE STARS IN YOU (a tribute to poets of Google Plus)

A very Happy Easter to you all! May the Risen Lord bring many blessings, peace and joy in your life.

Are enjoying your egg hunt? Hey! I’m a good egg too… and poetic as well… I hope someone is looking for me 😜

Easter eggs decorated as people
Happy Easter Day!

This day is blessed and very special, so I decided to dedicate today to all the poets who were my friends, and inspiration when I first came online with a blog called A Gypsy At Heart. It was not a poetry blog but more of inspirational and motivational write-ups with a couple of poems thrown in at times. Slowly, I began to build up a following on Google plus, and came into contact with some wonderful poets… it was perhaps destiny that I eventually began to write poetry as the chosen way of spilling my soul. That blog is still online to read though I do not add to it anymore.

I have come a long way from that day in the last week of April 2014 when I became Manic Sylph to send my first words out into the online world, and I am grateful and indebted to all those wonderful people who taught me so much, who stood by me in good times and bad, and many became lifelong friends.

Alas, with the end of Google Plus on 2nd April, as one of my favourite people on G+ put it, an era came to an end. Many of those poets have gone on to various other social networks, but the beautiful circle has been broken and there are many who have chosen to bow out without a trace. I dedicate today’s post on Celebrating Poets to all those awesome dream weavers and rhyme makers who make the world a better place just by being in it.

For today… a poem that I wrote for my best friend on G+ that I now dedicate to all the poets of Google Plus. I hope you enjoy this old one. This is not my best effort but has a lot of beautiful memories attached to it. I send all my best wishes to them, wherever they are…

Poem by Mona Soorma aka Manic Sylph written on backround of night sky
I See The Stars In You

 

#NationalPoetryMonth

#Google Plus

 

Image of Easter Eggs by Iva Balk from Pixabay 

 

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For The LOVE Of POETRY

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“It has been said that art is a tryst;
for in the joy of it, maker and beholder meet.”
― Kojiro Tomita

Poetry is a very personal thing. It becomes a thing of beauty only in the eyes of the beholder. No two eyes see the same thing in the same way, and that is true for art as well. What I like might not touch your heart at all and I might be totally indifferent to what makes your heart sing.

So, what is good poetry?

Now, here is the catch. Most people, when asked to name their favourite artist, poet, writer, will always spout the names that sound like the latest edition of “who is who”. Are we scared to show our own choices to the world? Do we even have our own choices? Why do we assume that the writings that have been labelled as “classics” are the only ones we should quote? Does a poet become admirable a hundred years after he passed away? Does not publishing your poem in paperback by a big publishing house make it unworthy?

While reviewing a poetry book by Mark Kloss, I read this on his website that got me thinking.

Why when a book is made up of our favourite poems are the majority made up from ages past? Why when asked to remember your favourite poem do you mostly think of an earlier classic? 
Mark Kloss

Since then, I have been wanting to put these question to the world to answer. I want to ask you what, in your opinion, makes a poem worthy of your love and attention. I want to know if there’s a criterion that a poem must pass to be able to touch your heart.

Love classics, by all means. They are great works of art that have been a source of joy for millions over the years. But give all art its due, be it poetry, painting, stories, photography, or any other form of creative expression. judge a poem by how it makes you feel, not by the name inscribed at the bottom.

For me, the greatest impact on my life and poetry has been by some of the poets I have read online. I love Maya Angelou and William Wordsworth and Pablo Neruda, but I love Ink Stitution, Joe Barca, Fiery, Erin Hanson and Darren Wilson more. My favourite stories come from Robin Cook and Scott Wood. I accept that I would prefer to read Owain Glyn’s book more than Lord Byron’s because that is more my cup of tea. This list is not exhaustive, neither is this a shout-out post. I am not naming my friends. In fact, most of the ones I have named don’t read my blog and will never know about it, and that’s how I want it. Consider it more like-
“Did you listen to the latest song by LP? It is fabulous!”
“No, but I will today. Thanks for letting me know.”

So tell me who your favourite poets and writers are. Name the well known, or the unknown, or mix up the two, but be honest about it. Or talk about your favourite poem. Let us honour the words that have touched our hearts, no holds barred!

To all my favourite poets online

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
Pablo Neruda

 

You Make Me Spill My Ink

She asked me if she could use my title for a poem, and what a poem she wrote! It is so beautiful to be able to inspire such works of art. Thank you, Fiery, for adding your amazing craftsmanship to my words.

Silently Smouldering Words

Say too much? I prob’ly do

Or not enough? I do that too.

Too many Love Yous?

That’s my way.

Still though, I stifle what I say. 

Floodgates open, out they pour

My words t’wards you

They’ve stained the floor

You think you know? 

My Love…you don’t

Reveal My All right now? I won’t…

My verses seek to stroke your mind

These Head Screams cry ’til you they find. 

My lips like bitten fruit they bleed

But fail to vocalise my need

With scarlet drops of secrets kept

I write the rhymes my past pain wept  

And so to pen and paper dreams

I scribble Love and Want.  It seems

This stream of endless poetry

A semblance of your Perfect Me

And Sorry I will never say

This part of me I hide away

For fear of blinding you with light

As Truth and Fear my Heart/Soul fight.

Yet tenderness…

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THE TOP SPOT an’ I’m Lovin’ it!

I’m on the top of the world la la lalala lalalala…

Remember this beautiful oldie by Carpenters? I love that song, but that’s not the only reason why I am singing it. My book “Breathless” came up for pre-order a few days ago, ready to be launched on 21st January.

“Breathless” was supposed to be my first book, but something kept coming up, and it ended up being my fifth. Perhaps it was prudently waiting for the right time, while I was foolishly trying to hurry it up because it seems it had its own ideas about being the first. YES! Soon after it showed up on Amazon, it went straight to the #1 New Release spot and it is still sitting pretty on its throne, wearing a tangerine sash…I am delirious with joy and a million other feelings!!

Screenshot of the book Breathless showing #1New Release tag on Amazon

I am grateful to God for giving me this very beautiful New Year’s gift, and my heartfelt thanks to all my supporters, readers and followers who made this happen.

Love you all!

You can preorder “Breathless” now on Amazon and Google Play at a fabulous discounted price. Paperback version will be launched on 21st January along with the delivery of the pre-order eBook.

The Perks Of Being A WRITER

Writing is a tough job!

Well, not the writing part. That, as I often say, is easy. It is the rest of it, especially when you are an indie writer, that really ties you up in knots. Being a wife and a mom is already a full-time job. So is trying to be the editor, designer, and marketing guy for your book, all rolled into one. Another one is being your own social media manager, somehow trying to make sure posts are up regularly on all your media pages, the comments are being answered, and those who support you are being supported in return. Add to it keeping your website up to date, making sure the blog is running, and on and on…
I know a writer would understand the dilemmas of what to do and what to give up.

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At times I wonder where the poet in me has gone. It is a matter of finding the small bits of unclaimed time in the day and hope that the muse is ready to roll at short notice! As my writer friend Scott said to me, it would be nice if we could have a few clones to help our main personality. I am all for it. Incidentally, Scott is a genius at what he does, which is a lot many things when he can, and writing a wonderful Sci-fi novel is one of them. He would know about clones now, wouldn’t he!

Sometimes, I miss the days when I had more friends than followers and just one social media page on which I wrote my poetry. But that said, I am certainly not ready to go back there. I believe in never looking back, even at the good times, because what is coming is always a blessing. I am not where I need to be, but I am getting there. And as I said, being a writer has its perks. It is the love of the readers that make every bit of the struggle worthwhile. All the beautiful things that people say…those people whose hearts I managed to touch, somehow…they keep me going.

A while ago, I got a note from a beautiful soul, showing me the purchase notification of my eBook. Now, why is that so special? That person, who had already read a free copy of the book, had waited months to be able to buy a one-dollar book, just to support my writing. That brought tears to my eyes. It is never about the money, but about how they give you a place in their hearts and lives. That is precious beyond compare!

I would love to link back to that awesome person but it would not be fair to encroach on someone’s privacy, so my reader friend stays in my heart and prayers.

DON’T BE A GOOD WRITER- Be The Best There Is

So you love words.


I do too, as every writer should. Writing, at least all good writing, is and should be, a labour of love. That is the difference between making the reader read and enjoy, and making the reader laugh and cry with you. That’s what I have always wanted to do with my poetry…make the reader feel. But, am I succeeding in this? That’s for the readers to say.


There are as many ways of writing, as there are writers. This is an art. There’s nothing right or wrong here, only what works for you and what doesn’t. We all have our own writing rituals. What are yours? Do you like to write in the day, or are you a night owl? Do you write all at once, without thinking deliberately, letting the muse take over, or do you meticulously plot each sentence?


As for me, I am a very erratic writer. I know… Writing Rule #1  Write Every Day. 


Now you must be wondering why am I talking at cross purposes. Actually, I am not. I fully agree with the merit of this, and a lot many other writing rules that you would find in other books and articles, both online and offline. As a writer, you must know all the rules. And not just know, you must also try out each one. Of course, you will find some of them making a huge difference to your writing, and some not. Still, know them all, and then dare to break them.


If you need some help with the rules, here is an excellent post about What Makes A Great Writer from Leonard Tillerman

I’m sure someone is going to come at me with a broom and beat me up about all the nonsense that I am talking. But that’s the whole point! What I want to say is, dare to be different, not just for the sake of being different, but for the sake of being true to your soul. Write, to give voice to your truth, not just to create a story. Don’t create characters, become them. Don’t aim to make the readers sympathise with your characters and their story. Force them, even against their will at times, to live their lives. And that can be done, only if the writing comes from deep within you. 

Let me tell you this- there is no greater pleasure for me than when someone writes back to say they could feel my poem as if it was about them, that my words were just what they needed at that moment. That is when I feel like I am on the right path. If my words can become the voice of another heart, I count it as a success story.  

What works best for me is to flow with the feelings, when they come. I rarely enter any competitions. I almost never write on prompts. The reason: I have made a pact with myself to write only when I cannot “not write. I agree with Robert Frost here, when he says “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader…” You’ve got to give it your all. You’ve got to bleed to make the reader cry. And that reminds me of another of my favourite quotes, but you will have to read it on my Home Page


I am also a morning writer. I love the dawns and the peace and quiet it brings. I love the stillness that is not quite still, that is teeming with the hope of a new birth, that of the day in the making. In fact, my entire book “You Make Me Spill My Ink” has been written in the moments of pre-dawn. Now, you might be a night person, so stay up when the world falls asleep, and let your muse work its magic. Or, you might be stimulated by the sounds of nature, or perhaps, even the bustling city sounds…well, to each his own. Do what you must, to get the creative juices flowing. 


That was all about the easy part. Easy!! Yes, easyNow the difficult part… 


You’ve got your awesome content written, but that is going to get lost in the sea of words. To rise above the competition, you need to polish your writing. Edit, edit, and edit again. Be ruthless. Don’t be tempted to write every little thing. Leave something for the imagination of the reader. The reader is an intelligent creative person in his or her own right. He is not a fool. Suggest, and he will not just follow, but be there ahead of you. Make sure your grammar is perfect, and your poem or story or novel, or whatever else you are writing, is free of typos. Don’t make them mentally put red circles all over your story. 


Need some help with editing? Check out this Pro Writing Aid here. This has a free version as well that you can find at the end of the page.


Here is a list of tools and resources that could be very useful for writers. 


You might also find this blog called Daily Writing Tips very useful.  


What are your favourite writing tools? Talk about them so we can share it with the writing world. You may use the comments box below or email me at manicsylph@gmail.com 


Lastly, but certainly not in any way unimportant is to read. Be a voracious reader. Read not only the known writers but the little-known ones, the indie writers, the blogs, the newspapers, books of your chosen genre, and of the others. That’s where you learn what to be and what not to be. It’s a beautiful world out there for the writers, go on, become the best, and then go beyond. The sky is not the limit!

GETTING PUBLISHED: An Indie Author’s Journey From Obscurity To The Edge Of The Madding Crowd

It was time!

These three words can turn around a life in a million different ways. This is how I can best describe my fast-track journey from being a poet to being a published poet.

It would be wrong to say I had never thought about getting my work published. Who wouldn’t? I had often dreamed of my books on bedside tables, the custodians of the last words that someone would read before ending their day… yet, in a way, it happened, all without thinking. I was looking at a poetry book on Amazon, and I thought, why not me! And the decision to self-publish was made. Just like that.

Then came the difficult part, the steep, uphill learning curve, as I set about reading whatever I could find online about self-publishing. It was going to be a DIY creation, from the beginning till the end, not just to save on costs, but because it was a labour of love, and I didn’t want any kind of interference in my vision, however well-meaning it was. It was my baby, and it would remain mine, faults and all.

There was not only a lot to learn, but also a lot of decisions to be made, things I had never realised would take so much time and effort, things like what platforms to choose for publishing my book, whether to publish under my pen name or my real name, (which, I must say, was the most agonising decision of all!), what formats, DRM or no DRM…and on and on it went, sounding like a lot of gibberish to me, until I finally had it all sorted out.

Selecting the material was the easier part. That was known turf, a place where I was in my element, creating words from feelings. And the book was written, named, edited and re-edited until it finally became a reality. And I finally became a proud author with my debut book, “Unrequited”.

However, the story does not end there, in fact, it was just the beginning of a new and ongoing role that I needed to assume, and tackle (in my opinion) the toughest task, the marketing of the newly published book. As an Indie Author, I became a graphic designer, a photographer, an editor and proof-reader, a marketing executive, a social media manager… in the end, I was looking for the poet in me. At times, I am still looking…

My advice to aspiring indie authors- don’t expect things to be easy. They are not. You will make many mistakes. You will stumble and fall, but you have to be ready to pick yourself up and go on. You have to be ready to put in endless hours of work and the reward might not seem enough. Unless you are very lucky and talented and a biz-whiz, there are going to be no queuing fans asking for autographs, no reviewers raving about your book, no million copies being sold, no thousands either, not even hundreds, but that in no way means you are going to fail. The trick is to have realistic goals. You must realise that things are not going to change overnight. It takes time to build an empire, and a fan following takes even longer. Make sure your content is great. It is almost impossible to bring back a reader who went away because of a mediocre story, multiple typos or grammatical mistakes. There is no reason why doing it yourself should mean unprofessional work.

It is sad that indie authors, who work much harder are still not considered good enough by many because they chose to self-publish instead of going with the established publishing houses. The truth is that a large number of them are way better than those who publish traditionally, but they struggle to be discovered. Choosing to be your own boss is a valid decision, not necessarily a compulsion because you were rejected. Most indie authors have never even tried to submit to publishing houses. They have an option of doing things in their own way, and they take that route willingly. They are not a lesser breed. Be ready to keep going even if you don’t meet your initial goals. Perseverance always pays.

My own experience has been wonderful, perhaps because I had no financial expectations. I was not expecting many people to buy, and the ones who did buy seemed like angels from heaven. I give away a lot of my books for free. The work is endless, I barely get time to read or watch a movie, or even to write, at times, but the genuine appreciation from the readers who get back to me after reading the book is worth every bit of the effort and more. Often, their glowing words bring me to tears. Of course, there are those who don’t like my work much, but they were always there, whether I was publishing or not. One can’t expect to be liked by everyone, and that’s okay. If there are no critics, we are never going to improve. Comfort zones are not places of progress.

To all aspiring authors, just one mantra- you don’t fail until you stop trying, so keep going. Evolve, grow, progress, and remember, genuine appreciation lasts much longer than the profit from a book-sale. Aim to excel, and sales will follow.

And before I go, let me share a few links with you about the process of self-publishing with that I found useful.

The Best Place To Self-Publish Your Book

Organising the book- front matter basics

An Interesting and Useful Article On Self-Publishing

ISBN, And All you need To Know About It

The Preface and Foreword Mystery Solved

And Something You All Need To Know- Self-Published Ebook Awards That You Can Compete For

If you have any questions or comments, or you just want to chat, I would be pleased to talk to you. Do write in with your views and suggestions here in the comments, or email me at manicsylph@gmail.com

Have a look at my shop tab, even if you don’t want to buy. Window shopping is always free and fun.

Please support me by buying one of my books, or many if you so wish, write me a review, share my work, give me a shout-out, follow me on your favourite social media, and give your feedback. I so look forward to getting to know you.

Until next time…

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