Month in review: March 2018

March has been an exciting month for my writing. Back in January, I decided to start waking up at 5am to write from 5:30-6:30, six days a week. Yes, Saturday too. This is of course after the cats are fed and coffee is made, but before I get ready for work. No, it hasn’t always worked out great. Sometimes, I get up late and I only get a half hour in. Sometimes, I am so groggy or overwhelmed with a head full of life and longing that I simply journal to clear the cobwebs.

But slowly, surely, I am filling a notebook with character sketches, scenes, and narrative that fill in the gaps in my book manuscript. In addition to the fiction writing and journaling, I also write poems and post to my blog every Saturday. This month’s selection includes the posts: ‘High Water’, ‘Paris With You’, and ‘Across Water’.

March has been a month of writing events. I currently participate in a poetry writing group at a local library that meets for six sessions, then concludes with a final reading of our work on April 25. More to come on that. I also attended the Rosemont Writers Festival on March 24, an annual all-day event of writing workshops, speakers, and book fair located in- you guessed it- Rosemont, MN.

But most exciting of all, was the Poets & Pints reading at Sisyphus Brewing on March 21 where I was one of four featured poets. In all the years of writers group events, open mics, and public speaking this was the first time ever that I was a featured poet. Nineteen people showed up specifically to hear me read and I was told, “You killed!”. I am very humbled by their response and grateful for the encouragement. Since that night, I have reflected on why it has taken me so long to become willing to share my work publicly with strangers. I only started seriously blogging a little over a year ago and reading at open mics in the last eight months, one of which led to the Poets & Pints reading (open mic: Poetry Happy Hour @ Troubadour Wine Bar). Continue reading “Month in review: March 2018”

Morning Light

I see it appear
Every morning
Early sunlight

Some have suggested
Cycle before dawn
But I write not ride

I don’t trust drivers
In the dark
I don’t trust listeners
With my words

I ride in the light
I hide in the light, too

If you read this
You have no one to blame
but yourself

I exist, I am
I wake early
To put pen to page

It helps to light
The way home

It helps to keep
Moving forward

It helps

 

-Copyright C.M. Mounts, September 2017

P.S. 2017

Dear Friends,

In 2013, I lost most of my belongings to fire that incinerated my loft apartment. Included in that was the electronic versions of most of my writing. Remarkably, all of my hand-written drafts and two 3-ring binders with printed versions of different novels survived. They have some water and smoke damage but are still legible. Fire is funny that way, random in its violence.

That year profoundly changed my life and in 2014, I made the choice to start this blog: cmmounts.com. Although I continued to write, I only got seven blog posts written that year. I just couldn’t keep it up. I had put pressure on myself to only share my new and best writing. I wasn’t writing fast enough or with enough regularity. Cycling long distance is funny that way, consuming all your time.

By 2017, I finally got tired of not sharing my writing in any kind of real way. I started to participate in open mics around the Twin Cities. I finished and published my friend Todd Park’s memoir, my first effort as a book editor. I made the choice to post any of my original work that I thought was decent, whether written recently or not. And I tried out writing a travel log for the first time- which I guess for a nomad like me is better late than never.

I view my blog as a self-published catalog of my different styles of writing, a tool to hold myself accountable to my goals, and a way for my fans (what!) to enjoy my work. And what fans I have! For many blogs, my statistics are modest but in 2017, I posted 42 times and attracted 730 visitors who made 1,178 views. I gained 56 new followers and not all of them were my mom! Actually, I do not know most of you and that blows my mind! Thank you so much for reading my poems, stories, and other ramblings… I am humbled.

In 2018, I will continue to post my work to my blog. I will continue to read at open mics and look for new opportunities to share my work. And maybe most importantly, I am working on a draft for a fiction novel for the first time in ten years. I hope you will continue on this writing journey with me. The best is yet to come!

Happy New Year!

Christine

 

-Copyright C.M. Mounts, January 2018

What is yours?

What is yours?

It is an hour before. With pen and paper, you sit as you always do wherever you are. A bartender stares at you when you order a beer and asks, “How cute are you?” You think, ‘No, you can’t have my number’ but say, “Thank you.” Writing and editing in a bar keeps men away. It’s easier to figure out what you’re after. It’s not them.

What is yours?

You look at your pens as if they belong to someone else, borrowed, unwanted so you picked them up. You look at your journal as being second hand, disregarded by its owner, so you picked it up. Where does this come from?

You bought each. You chose each. They are your tools of self-expression, of deliverance from a muddy mind and heart. This is your pen box. This is your ‘unlimited’ access to paper and ink. This is where the fire glows.

What is yours?

Your glasses. Your handwriting. The box of half used tissue. It is your tears that they wipe away, no one else. You are driving a meat wagon too that others seem to think they have some dominion over. They have no power over you, none that you don’t give them.

You have chosen the life of a worker. You pursue other activities once all your energy is spent. You can barely participate in anything else. You have no companion. You were not a good one.

What is yours?

This pain. This sorrow. Longing for a lifetime, for approval from someone wholly incapable of accepting themselves. Why are you surprised that they cannot accept you as you are? Why do you concern yourself with the behavior, the absence?

You carry so many heavy things. The wall of silence pressed down upon you for so long that it stole your words, your tongue, your expression. What are your rights of passage? Who celebrated with you? Who ensured that you knew that you mattered?

Now when people look at you and say, “Get over it,” they do not understand that the eruptions into the light are new. You have not dwelt upon this. You have been silent, silent, so silent. Your words are backed up, a packed colon of blackened pain. Your hopes feel unreachable.

What is yours?

 

-Copyright C.M. Mounts, November 2016

To Edit a Book

I am an accidental editor.

My friend Todd Park was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) in February 2013. An avid writer, he wrote entries in his blog from his diagnosis until 24-hours before his death, caused by treatment related side effects, on December 16, 2013. The blog survives as a harrowing and honest chronicle of his journey through his cancer treatment.

Early in 2014, something began to gnaw at me- What will happen to Todd’s blog? It needs to be a book but who will edit it? Who indeed. I contacted Todd’s brother John and asked permission to convert his blog into a memoir. John agreed. Continue reading “To Edit a Book”

Sands of Time

You do not have that kind of time
You do not have time to put it off
The writing, the painting, the music
Day to day has its demands
Takes its pound of flesh

No, your family doesn’t respect your art
Enough to leave you to it
But if you are compelled
If you write because you must write
You do not have that kind of time

The kind of time that keeps you stuck
In the moment twenty years ago
When your ‘big reveal’ blew up in your face
All the joy you hoped to get out of it
Turned into deep grinding shame

Coated your heart with enough anger
To shield the wound in it
But the hole that is there
Still sucks the sands of your life away
And you do not have that kind of time

Write it out
Ink it
Line it
Fill it with
Crumpled paper drafts

-Copyright C.M. Mounts, May 2016