My writer’s group, Tuesday Mayhem Society, was featured on a local TV show about writing. Here we are, in all of our twisted glory, being grilled mercilessly by Tony Tremblay. Just kidding – Tony was great.
Discussions about my poem, The Darkness Within, which was apparently discussed in a college literature class.
I went through a roller coaster of emotions when Caleigh read and interpreted this poem. At first, I thought it was dark and by the tone of her reading, it made me choke up a bit. Cancer is something that truly is poison to life and everyone someway has been affected by someone with cancer. A poem like this really makes me appreciate all that I am blessed with in life and makes me rethink about everything I take for granted. I love how Caleigh referred to us taking time for granted because it is so true. A cancer patient’s life depends on every minute and to us who are not sick, we sometimes forget how valuable time is. This poem still makes me emotional because I think back to my uncle who has passed from cancer and I start to think of everyone else I know who has it. I really did enjoy how Caleigh interpreted it into positive views. Each day a cancer patient lives is another day they fought for survival. It is something that is so unfortunate and something that I fear greatly, but after Caleigh’s presentation, I feel more comfortable with the topic. I thought it was really clever how Caleigh split up different sections of the poem and how it seemed to be a build up of positive aspects. I think Caleigh handled such a sensitive topic with such grace and optimism. It was a great life lesson and something that many people should consider living by now. Focusing on what is most important in life and spending time with those who matter most are what should be valued to all whether you are sick or not.
“Expressions About Cancer Through Poetry” was a poem read aloud today by Caleigh today.
To be honest, it wasn’t until she explained her interpretation of the poem until I saw the things she did. My initial reaction to the poem was that it was very dark and sad and depressing. Even the title refers to darkness. But Caleigh dug a lot deeper into it and turned a lot of the lines I saw as negative into more positive ones. I thought it was awesome how she split the poem up into 6 different parts. Those being cancer itself, gratefulness, the value of live, the value of time, braveness, and wisdom. It makes everything negative turn a little more positive. Lines 6-10 refer to being appreciative and grateful for what you do have. It talks about how cancer is something that steals all the little things in life that we don’t realize we take for granted. Caleigh talked about the value of life. The choice is yours whether or not you fight or you run. The value of time in this poem speaks of the fact that every day the cancer patient is here on earth is another day that they win a battle. It is another day that they get to live and breath and experience all the little things others take for granted in life, which they cherish so deeply. The next stanza is talking about braveness and being strong. Like said in the prior stanza, life is really what you make it and you choose whether to run or hide, but it is always important to be strong and brave along the way. The overall message being sent is that it is more than just the darkness of cancer. We need to learn from the lesson and wisdom from those experiencing it and be grateful for the little things in life.
The poem, “The Darkness Within” by Morgan Sylvia’s really caught my attention because of the different stages in the stanzas that Caleigh pointed out. I have always felt strongly about the idea of having experiences and learning from them. Since it is from a cancer patient’s point of view it is hard for a person to relate completely with what Sylvia is saying, one can only imagine. Many people fight a battle against cancer everyday and I think this poem goes through a lot of the though process that cancer patients go through. For example, like Caleigh pointed out, the fight against cancer leads to being grateful of important things in a persons life. Also, learning the value of life and time and how ultimately it leads to a gain in wisdom.
This poem starts off dark and depressing with words like, poison, death, and darkness and makes an apparent transition to more positive and making good of a bad situation, using words like wisdom, gift, and enlightenment.The overall message that I think Morgan Sylvia is trying to get across to the reader that even if you encounter terrible, life threatening situations it is always best to fight it and ultimately learn from the experiences you have. I also think the poem is very powerful and heartfelt, and although not all of the readers suffer from cancer it is easy to relate the poem to several different situations.
I was ruminating for a while after Caleigh’s presentation. Cancer definitely is a definitely strike for all of us, it brings pain and sadness to us. People who don’t has cancer would never know how serious it can be. Since we don’t have any treatment that can completely heal cancer. Therefore, for some late period patients, every second could be the last second that they can spend with their family. The endless pressure is real for them.
But human is a strange species, we always make the same mistake, that is ” lost only know how to cherish.” People wouldn’t quit smoking until they get lung cancer, realize they should eat health after they get Bowel cancer, and etc. Cancer is like a warming. Warm people to take good care themselves, warm us to live health every day and warm us to treasure anyone that we like. The poem use cancer as an example, but it can be any illness. Meanwhile Cancer could be a teacher. It teach us how to fight for a life, what is the value of one’s life, how to valuable our life is and time is not returnable.
The last part Caleigh defined as wisdom, that’s true. Because “what doesn’t kill you make you stronger.”
I found this as well.
Angry writer is angry.
I’ve pretty much held back from ranting, as I didn’t want to fuel the fire. When the NEHW post that started this whole thing began, I typed out several nasty replies, but deleted them, because I hate drama and just thought that what was at the time a few snarky comments wasn’t worth it. When I woke up the next day, the whole thing had gone nuclear, and the threads had been deleted. It wasn’t hard to figure out what happened next, since it’s now all over the writing world.
I have to say my piece, since some of the comments coming from Angry Writer were directed at me. At least, the initial comments. Now the thing has spread to include pretty much all women horror writers, goth writers, bald writers, and tattooed writers, whoever doesn’t fit the proper image, I guess. I’m one of the handful of writers in the Maine writing groups that Angry Writer initially bashed. I was part of the library reading that was mentioned in another snarky post. I was one of seven writers at another reading that he also made rude comments about. And yeah, the bad perm comment? That was pretty clearly directed at me. Yep, I’m a curly girl, and I battle frizz. The comment about horror writers that dabble in witchcraft? I have no idea who that one was meant for, but I’m quite obviously pagan so there’s a good chance that one was also pointed at me. Whether it was or wasn’t, I take issue with that as well. And don’t even get me started on the hag comments.
So now we have publishing credits, library readings, another reading, sex, appearance, religion, hairstyle, tattoos, and subculture in the mix of things being thrown out against us.
Many of the comments directed at us were very rude, extremely insulting, and in some cases flat out lies. The above-mentioned comments were nothing short of cruel. But the ones that really pissed me off were the insinuations that we were/are some sort of wannabe, talentless hacks.
Writer in question has one book out. So do I. Actually, most of those he was bashing have been published. Actually, there are some really great writers involved, including a Stoker nominee. Some have more creds than others, but whatever.
According to Angry Writer, we aren’t “real writers”. We haven’t “paid our dues”. We’re untalented clueless idiots who support other untalented clueless idiots.
Sure, I’m further down the ladder than I’d like, but I write for a living, asshole. I spent five years on an obituary desk. I was first published at age seven. (Ok, unicorn story, but still.) No, I don’t have a huge, long glowing list of creds, but I’ve got a few decent ones under my belt and no, I didn’t self pub. I’ve sold more than was actually released, and I’ve walked away from bad contracts. Whatever. I’m getting my work out there. I found out the other day that one of my poems was discussed in a college class (see last post). I don’t need someone else’s judgment on whether or not I’m a “real writer” or if I’ve paid enough dues.
This isn’t about me. This is about someone just grasping at straws and hurling insults to take shots at others. Trying to bring people down.
Um, shouldn’t we be doing the opposite? Supporting one another? Sure, there’s plenty of beginning/self-pubbed/bad writers in the world, and yeah, there are some issues there. Everyone has their opinions on the situation. Nothing new there.
To clarify, there are two Maine writers groups involved. One is the Tuesday Mayhem Society, which is a handful of serious writers who, between us, have multiple credits and decades of experience. Only one member is unpublished, and she’s damn good. I’m extremely proud of TMS, and am honored to be part of it. I heart my writers group.
The second group is The Horror Writers of Maine. This is a less formal group that was open to all Maine writers, of all levels. It’s not big, or super active, or anything formal. There’s a website, and a Facebook group. The man who runs the group has been extremely kind and supportive of TMS and of Maine writers in general. HWM is just a network of people in Maine who want to meet other writers, so we could meet and get to know one another. This was what set off Angry Writer, and led to all of the rude comments about self-pubbers and wannabes and whatnot. How horrible. We were all somehow wrong for wanting to meet other local writers. How dare we try to connect with people with similar interests? How dare we try to find the handful of other horror writers in Maine and support one another? How dare we (gasp) connect on Facebook?
Who the hell made you king?
One thing that has gotten lost is that this is actually the second round of drama with Angry Writer that us Mainers have dealt with. In Round One, Horror Writers of Maine was bashed, and that whole thing got pretty ugly too. Angry Writer did not approve of the group. Didn’t think it was professional enough. Or exclusive enough. He posted that no one had any creds, that we had all either self-pubbed or not pubbed at all. The problem with that is, it just wasn’t true. In my case, there is a bit of benefit-of-the-doubt here, because at the time the website with member bios was incomplete. I was listed under my real name, but write under a pen name. So maybe he did a search by my real name, which would of course turn up absolutely nothing. Whatever. He knew me, though, at least a little. The guy is from my hometown. We’d had a few decent chats before all the ugliness started. Maybe he didn’t remember me, didn’t know me that well. Don’t know. Don’t care. But there were several other writers lumped into this insult, incorrectly.
I’m angry, but I’m more disappointed. The amount of hostility has grown ridiculous.
I really don’t give a crap what Angry Writer or anyone else thinks of me. So why am I writing about this? Because I’m a writer, and that’s what we do. That’s how we deal with things.
Do I care about his approval? Nope. Don’t think I needed it for anything. But it does go straight to the point of one thing writers deal with all the time. The human condition. The human mind. The fact that the world is full of assholes, and people who love to judge and bash and hate on others. People who love to point fingers. People who love to hate.
You’re no better than anyone else, dude. Get over yourself.
I don’t feel sorry for the guy, who is now getting completely shredded. If you put hate out into the world, you get hate back. Had things played out differently, he would have had a great support system here. Instead he decided to announce our “unworthiness” to the world, and only ended up announcing his own vitrol.
One thing you hear about the writing world is that you need a thick skin. Holy fuck, whoever said that was not kidding.
I found out this morning that my poem The Darkness Within has been making an impact. Apparently it was read and discussed as part of a college course. Here’s one of the posts about it.
I have a story in this charity antho. It was kind of a cool project. When it was being put together, there was a list of abandoned places posted. We all chose a location, and wrote our stories based on that. I picked Willard Asylum. It was a no-brainer. I find abandoned asylums completely creeptastic.