Just another site

The Little Engine That Could

This is my mantra from now on: “I think I can; I think I can”-just like my favorite book from my childhood.

I am sure others have faced times when they got off track (pun intended).  I DID get a response from one of the three people I contacted about using his loved one’s name and intend to send the piece I wrote about her for his family’s review.  (I referred to this inquiry in a prior blog post.)  But my blog has been neglected.  I am glad to have received a reminder about pursuing my blog from Margo Dill, Women on Writing’s Blog instructor.  And I got some fuel from a good friend to not get distracted from my own goals but to value the space I have created for my writing and focus more on it!

In addition, I have learned more about e-books and won a coaching session from “How To Blog Your Book” author, Nina Amir.  

How have you managed to stay focused with your writing AND create a writer’s platform?  

Luanne Oleas

The winner of my blog poetry contest informs me she composes poetry when she succumbs to writer’s block and that she gleaned that idea from a book by John Steinbeck.

You could have fooled me that Luanne Oleas ever has writer’s block.  I am absorbed in her recently released e-book, entitled “A Primrose in November,” which is available on Amazon for an extremely low price.  I am foregoing sleep in order to see what happens next in the story.  It is that good!

Not only does Luanne write excellent novels and worthy poetry, but also she is a newspaper columnist, technical writer, and reporter.  According to her web page at, her work has appeared in publications like Reader’s Digest and Parenting Magazine, as well as The San Jose Mercury News and on the Internet.

I look forward to reading Oleas’s other four novels. She is a great discovery for me and for those of you with a more technical mind, has written software manuals too.  Luanne Oleas is well-versed in writing. (pun intended)


The winner of the poetry contest is Luanne Oleas. Here is her entry:

     Dreams of Your Return
Rainy days, a subtle haze
and dreams that never end
They follow down the hall at night
To haunt me and descend
An old rag top, top 10 tunes
Bring you back again
Wait for me, I wait for you
Me, my dog, and pen
But once you open up the door
And say you’ll be my friend
Back I go, down the corridor
To dream it all again.
This would make a great song, I think.  Does anyone else write poetry that could be song lyrics?  I do, and have been looking to collaborate with a musician to write melodies for mine.
My memoir will also include a poem honoring my dad.  Thus ends poetry month.
Look for my next post where I will give you more info about Luanne Oleas-fine author, as well as winning poet.

bonus for contest winner

I just now decided I will also include info the winning poet wants me to include about him/her self. (see my prior entry today.)

In addition, I will give away a real book having to do with poetry.

Contest ends Sunday!  Thanks for entering!

Poetry Contest & Rich’s Blog

Richard Burns’ blog is at (see my blog entry dated April 27.)

My poetry contest runs until this Sunday.  Submit a poem honoring someone or something to, and I will post the winner on my blog on April 30th-the last day of National Poetry Month.

The topic is similar to the theme of my book: honoring those who touched my life before their lives here ended.

Thanks for participating!

By Richard Burns Contest Winner & Guest Blogger

I once fancied I’d become a writer of country music songs. What’s so hard about that? I was too old and not hip enough to do rock ‘n roll or pop song lyrics. That’s what I thought. In fact, around 1993 I completed my first “country music” cassette album. My wife said I spent way too much time revising them.


When I listen to that album today, I realize the songs weren’t really much good. I cringe a lot at some of the lines. But I never quite figured out why they weren’t viable. What needs to be in a song to make a song a hit?


Well, since the songs didn’t sell, I decided to go into poetry. After all, everyone knows poetry doesn’t sell anyway!


And yet, writing poetry can be exceedingly satisfying.


Perhaps it’s an admirable goal to create a body of work in your own voice and collect it in a binder. Then see how some of the better ones hold up with time. Do it for you, mostly. But, hey, show it off if it seems good enough to let out of the house.


So, today, I look at my poetry––anyone else’s poetry, too––and wonder if it meets the “rules of poetry.” I mean, what the heck is a poem, anyway?


So I read the rules for Haiku and the rules for a sonnet and fifty different poem forms. Am I a failure if my “poems” meet none of these rules? Are alliteration, internal rhymes, metaphors and similes still important, like when they were when I was in high school?


Many of today’s poems neither rhyme nor are they even intended to even make sense. The writer doesn’t seem to care if he sends a particular message, and yet the poem may stand (in the public ear) as “wonderful poetry.”


So I did some reading up on the definition of a poem and now recognize there isn’t one. Historically there were the epic poems, the narrative poems, and the lyric poems. Now, the modern poets seem to prefer non-rhyming poems. Even prose-poems, whatever those are. The modern poets laugh raucously at us rhymers, looking at us like we’re a lower form of life.


Going out on a limb here, I’d say good contemporary poem tend to have these features: relatively brief; sound well when read aloud; the subject matter and style of the narration are congruent; trigger some emotion in the reader (unrelated to murdering the author); usually attempt to make a point.


I’ve run across many poets who want all their readers to come up with their own meaning, all of which, the poem author allows, may be equally valid. Perhaps this is in keeping with the notion that all people are created equal? But it makes no sense to me. I feel writing something having no intended meaning is rather useless, but then, I’ve been wrong before.


It seems that nowadays, I may write down whatever a darn well please, and, like it or not, I may rightly call it a poem. My mind has been set at ease.


Book Title and Possible Genre Change

It seems life happens whether or not you are working on your dream.  I had to deal with a family emergency, and that is why the long interval between posts.  I did attempt to connect with the relatives of three of my deceased friends to receive permission to include their stories in my book. If I don’t get positive responses, I will have to change the friends’ names, at the very least.  This is a common dilemma-whether or not to reveal actual names and occurrences in a memoir. I may have to change my memoir into fiction then. 

I was inspired to brainstorm a title for my series of captured moments with my late friends and family when I held the contest to name this blog.  I got so many lists of imaginative ideas that I chose to do the same exercise myself. The title for the book is currently : “Homage.”

My next blog entry will be by my first guest blogger: Richard Burns.  He is a poet and has also written a novel.  His piece addresses poetry, in honor of April being National Poetry Month.