Writer’s Workshop

Exciting News!
I am going to be hosting a weekly Writer’s Workshop over at the Go Dog Go Café on Saturdays, beginning March 7th. Please join me there for a fun, challenging opportunity to stretch your writing skills in the Café’s warm, friendly environment. I love the group at GDG! I’m thrilled to be joining them, especially in a format that explores the power of language in storytelling.

The Writer’s Workshop will stick with a single prompt response each month, limited to 150-300 words, and involve several editing challenges to the same response designed to sharpen prose. The schedule is as follows:

Week 1: The Fastball
This week, I will introduce some element of good prose and/or share encouraging words from favorite authors. Then, I will pitch the Fastball prompt. Participants can link their responses in the comments section, and I will share them the following week.

Week 2: Batting Practice
This week, I will continue the discussion and share the responses from Week 1’s Fastball.
The challenge to participants this week will be to cut at least 10% of words from their response in week 1, tighten their prose. The 10% cut comes from Stephen King’s On Writing, one of several writing books that you will hear me refer to on occasion. The cut might seem arbitrary, but it forces concision and encourages the use of powerful language.

Week 3: Curveball Challenge
And just when you think you mastered it…
This week, I will throw a curveball, a specific challenge designed to improve prose, some element to be added to the response from the Batting Practice in Week 2. We will use this challenge to explore some of the grammatical tools that can be used to create tension and drama on the sentence level in our writing.
I will also show how I handled the 10% cut from Week 2 (including my word counts) and provide links to the Week 2 responses of participants.

Week 4: Players at the Plate
I will sum up the month’s activities, show how I handled Week 3’s Curveball Challenge, and link to all the other participants’ rewrites. Writing is hard work. You can expect a lot of encouragement and praise from me along the way.

I hope you will pull up a chair in the Go Dog Go Café and join me for the Writer’s Workshop. Visit the Go Dog Go Café to learn more.

Tanya

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A Warm Haiku

his strong, ursine hug
gives her dangerous thoughts, dreams
pulse quickens, cheeks blush

img_6341

~

©2020 Tanya Cliff

~

My response to Stephen’s weekly Level UP Challenge at GoDogGo. Please visit the following creative souls for the promts:

Tuesday Writing Prompt Challenge–February 18, 2020

Eugi's Weekly Prompt – Blush – February 17, 2020

https://lifeafter50forwomen.com/category/what-do-you-see/

Haiku: Angry North Winds

The complete challenge is available here:

Wednesday’s Level UP Challenge, 2/19/20 and Tuesday’ Writing Prompt Challenge Round UP

 

 

 

 

Did I Say?

Did I say that I want you?

Alice enters the room and stares at Jimmy, waiting. How can he not remember? He yelled her name three times a few minutes ago. Her knees need replacing, and the hallway—stacked with bins of her half-finished crafts and quilts—requires negotiating. He had sounded afraid, almost panicked. She responded as fast as she could hobble, but, now, he looks up at her, baffled.

Alice’s children had warned her about getting involved with a man that late in life. Her daughter had complained, “He just wants someone to take care of him.” Her son had been less tactful, “He is broke. He needs your money.” What money? Her mortgage had been paid off a few months before her husband died (eleven years ago, but it feels like yesterday), and she is the sole the beneficiary of the modest life insurance policy he left behind. It covers the property tax and puts food on the table, not much more than that. She had heeded their warnings for two years, but Jimmy’s persistent pursuit had proven charming. Or maybe she had just grown weary of driving herself around town and pulling the garbage to the curb once a week.

Jimmy takes the garbage out now, at least if she reminds him; and he is a good driver, provided she pays attention and tells him where to go. When the kids ask her about Jimmy’s driving, she ignores them. (She doesn’t tell them about the woman he nearly hit in the parking lot of the grocery store last month or how she had to grab the steering wheel last week when turned the wrong way down Highway 35.) She hides the car keys from him, so he can only drive when she is with him.

Did I say that I need you?

He had told her that he was going to rake the leaves out back and then watch the golf tournament on tv. His shoes sit on the mat by the back door, clean, empty. He looks at Alice, vacant, the television remote upside down in his hands. The tv is off, the leaves, not raked. Jimmy turns away and stares at the blank tv screen.

Alice wants to yell at him, no, to scream, but Alice loves Jimmy too much to raise her voice. She walks over to him without saying a word and presses the power button on the remote control. He grins as “Wheel of Fortune” lights up the screen. As he fist pumps a correctly guessed letter, he shreds her dreams in a dignified air of victory.

~

©2020 Tanya Cliff

~

This is my response to Stephen’s Level Up Challenge that combines several prompts. Thanks to all these talented humans for the prompts:

https://godoggocafe.com/2020/02/11/level-up-writing-challenge-2-11-moves-to-the-cafe/

https://godoggocafe.com/2020/02/11/tuesday-writing-prompt-challenge-tuesday-february-11-2020/

https://lifeafter50forwomen.com/2020/02/10/what-do-you-see-16-february-10-2020/

https://amanpan.com/2020/02/10/eugis-weekly-challenge-love-february-10-2020/

Cherita #17

the cat prowls the midnight garden

discovers scarlet rosebuds, sweet basil,
the flowers of chives, tempting catnip

as she explores
the moonlit Eden, grateful,
her senses come alive

kitten

~

©2020 Tanya Cliff

~

Written in response to Stephen’s Level Up Writing Challenge, using prompts from the following awesome humans:

Beth – https://godoggocafe.com/2020/02/04/tuesday-writing-prompt-challenge-february-4-2020/

Eugi – https://amanpan.com/2020/02/03/eugis-weekly-prompt-alive-february-3-2020/

Sadje – https://lifeafter50forwomen.com/2020/02/03/what-do-you-see-15-february-3rd-2020/

Stephen – https://fullbeardlit.org/2020/02/06/level-up-writing-challenge-week-of-2-3/

Beyond the Wall

scars untouched
like stars unseen
in the neglected wastelands
exist
where no cultured eye sees
pain persists
beyond the wall

see no evil
hear no evil
speak no evil
touch no unclean thing
hide
behind the wall
of
ignorance
bigotry
greed
and
pride

there thrive
fattened
off the fattened meats
hoarded

while the wall is boarded

hunger exists
pure
real
aching
a chorus in the wilderness
of empty-belly pleas
that reverberate off a civilized wall
unheard

scars untouched
radiate pain
through the midnight wasteland
the loveliest stars
by industrial giants’
smog-clouded,
wall-protected
eyes
unseen

~

Words and Photography ©2019 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Posted in poetry,  free verse, & human rights.

100% Human

The body of the earth does not belong to me; my body belongs to it. The debate about Elizabeth Warren and her “native heritage” is a painful one, and it reminds me that the ethnic composition of a person’s DNA means little. What we do with our lives matters. I am 100% human. So what? If I spend my days lusting in the halls of materialism gone mad, than my “humanity” will amount to little but a drop in the cesspool of avarice that covers this earth I love like a mosquito-infested swamp and my 100% will choke off the fertile ground and pollute the clean waters that nurture all living things.

I thought about having my DNA tested. While I know that a large percentage of my ancestors came from Europe, most of them following the French-Indian fur trade down the Mississippi River from Canada, large gaps and lots of questions remain about my heritage. So what? Finding out that I had a percentage of Native American DNA or that I had an African Great Great Greatsomeone who was brought to this land in chains would not make me a res kid or child raised in the Chicago projects. It would not give me the right to claim a place at a table built on cultural identity and suffering where I have never eaten. I already care about my Native and African brothers and sisters with all 100% of my humanity. I want to see respect and reparation generously given to those on whose land and on whose backs this country has thrived, and I will continue to work toward that. We have a long, long way to go.

I want to see the land respected and repaired. I grew up wandering the woods around my home, a child of the wind who whispered his secrets in my ears, the trees who taught me to tap deeply into the ground and patiently stand tall, and the great rivers who taught me respect and awe. I didn’t grow up with material wealth, but I had the richest of playgrounds and a lavish education. Nature never asked about my DNA. She captured my attention and inspired my imagination without questioning what percentage of me was hers. I am 100% human. The body of the earth was not born of me; I was born of it.

https://tanyacliff.com/2016/08/15/meskonsing-cutting-the-skin-of-the-drum/

~

Words and Photography ©2018 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Entry posted in short stories.

Bookmark the permalink.

It Cracked

it cracked
like an old bell
statutes of liberty
when, from Command’s seat, pronounced
judgments on where a brother takes a knee
while islands flood in the darkness
and neighbors shift rubble
the king’s worn crown
it cracked

~

Words and Photography ©2017 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Entry posted in poetry & Rictameter Verse. Bookmark the permalink.

Cherita #7

fool rolls over in bed

sleeps through the stench
of soiled sheets

hits the snooze
on life’s wake-up call
and decays

~

Words and Photography ©2017 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Posted in poetry cherita.  Bookmark the permalink.