apples to zippers

 2012 Writer Mama Every-Day-In-May Book Giveaway, Day 31:

Today’s question (the last for this year!), and my response:

Karen writes books about kick-ass women. What do you write about? You can answer broadly, narrowly, poetically, with a list (which you know I will love), coquettishly, even vaguely…however you like!

At the end of your life, what will folks say you were writing about or exploring in the body of work you leave behind?

I write about life. I never know exactly what I will write about until I write it. Since the start of this year, I’ve written about foxes, dreams, mom, college reunions, miscarriage, dad, trolls, tea, lanterns, fairies, kindergarten, hospice, writing group, bedtime stories, cancer, garden parties, moving, New Year’s resolutions, shooting stars, roses, robins, biopsies, rain, dandelions, snow, the moon, butterflies, starlings, frost, geese, cemeteries, precious stones, footsteps, dawn, twilight, clouds, spring, apples, rowboats, bridge pilings, cats, poodles, swings, matryoshka dolls, stars, road trips, elevators, knitting needles, crickets, earthworms, spiders, umbrellas, ginkgoes, old growth forests, banana slugs, contrails, grandma, cormorants, blueberries, ladybugs, wisteria, sunlight, tidepools, tea kettles, nachos, ants, pebbles, buttercups, zippers, puddles, palm fronds, x-rays, eucalyptus, suitcases, sandals, salted fish, and gnats. And that’s just for starters.



 2012 Writer Mama Every-Day-In-May Book Giveaway, Day 30:

Today’s question, and my response:

The structure of The Writer’s Workout echoes the seasons: the movement of time over the year, the full cycle of creativity, and/or the seasons of a writer’s career. Come up with a creative structure for a book right now. It could be the movement of a day. The same time every year for many years. It could be anything! Lay it on us. If you don’t have an idea already, come up with one right now.

These days, I write mostly haiku, haibun, rengay and personal essays. I guess for haiku and rengay, I would go with the seasons, because that is a fairly traditional way to structure chapbooks in these gentres. For haibun and rengay, I write on a variety of topics, including parenting, nature, loss, aging, pets, and cancer. I’ve noticed most of my readers tend to focus in on particular topics, so for my longer works, I would tend towards a more topic driven collection, rather than a strictly chronological one.

borrowed words

The  NaHaiWriMo prompt for today is to make a haiku out of “borrowed” or “found” words. I turned to songs. All the words were taken verbatim from the respective songs credited, but sometimes I justaposed two different lines.

quiet silent seconds
the half light
the moon left

from “Come Down in Time”, by Elton John & Bernie Taupin

moons and Junes…
the dizzy dancing
way you feel

from “Both Sides Now” by Joni Mitchell

new horizon…
the floating motion
of a distant pair of wings

from “Elusive Butterfly” by Bob Lind

whispering pines
of the tide

from “Whispering Pines” by Richard Manuel & Robbie Robertson (The Band)

you lose you win
the sound of sunshine
coming down

from “The Sound of Sunshine” by Michael Franti & Spearhead

Kid Lit

 2012 Writer Mama Every-Day-In-May Book Giveaway, Day 29:

Today’s question, and my response:

Lisa Schroeder writes books for middle grade kids and also for young adults. If you were going to write a children’s book what age would you write for and why? What would the book be about? Any themes or settings you know you would include?

When my kids were into picture books, that’s what I wanted to write. When they moved on to middle readers and young adult novels, that genre of writing appealed to me. Now that they’re grown, I’m back to wanting to write for other adults, which is what I currently do. Perhaps someday, though, I’ll write a kid’s book. Who knows?

Facing my Fears

 2012 Writer Mama Every-Day-In-May Book Giveaway, Day 28:

Today’s question, and my response:

In a recent interview about her new book with Emily Griffin, Allison Winn Scotch says that she is “deathly afraid of plane crashes.”

What are you deathly afraid of and could you write about it?

Have you ever tried? Why or why not?

After thinking it over and writing this comment, what do you think? Do you dare write about it?

For 3-1/2 years, I was in a writing group for cancer survivors. There wasn’t much we didn’t tackle. On one particularly memorable occasion, we were asked to make a list of things we were afraid of. That was the easy part. Death, physical pain, and loss of a loved one were right there at the top of my list. Then we had to pick our greatest fear and write about it. That was intense. I silently promised myself I would never come back to writing group, but the next week, there I was, ready to write again.

I write about all sorts of things these days. Some pieces are light and fun. Some are a bit worrying and uncomfortable. And some take me places I’d rather not explore. But it is the latter kind of writing that is perhaps the most necessary—if I learned anything from my cancer saga, and I think I did, it is that ignoring issues and problems don’t make them go away; in fact, quite the contrary is true. It’s only by working through fears that you can move past them. And writing about them is the best way I know to do this.



The prompt for NaHaiWriMo today is dragonfly. The first haiku is new, the others are recent haiku I’ve also written about dragonflies.

this moment

low clouds
dragonflies hover
above the pond
(Sketchbook thread, Mar/Apr 2012)

dragonfly wings
hovering my cursor
over the Like button
(Prune Juice #7, Winter 2012)

first impressions
a dragonfly hovers
before landing
(Dragonfly Dreams, August 2011)

A Good Place

 2012 Writer Mama Every-Day-In-May Book Giveaway, Day 27:

Today’s question, and my response:

Mariam asks a good question. Who could ask for anything more? What something more would you like to ask for and how would that something more support your writing goals?

I suppose there’s always something more to ask for, but I think I’m in a pretty good place right now in my writing life.  I have the time, space, and motivation to write. My haiku and related forms are being published regularly in journals I highly respect. I’ve been doing well in poetry competitions, and have won some very personally meaningful awards. I am continually challenging myself to try new poetry forms, and submit to new journals. I have hit all my targets (thus far) for getting my personal essays published in a variety of venues. And best of all, I have discovered a wonderfully supportive online community of poets and writers, who enrich my life. So do I need to ask for anything more right now? No, I don’t think so!


Expert Advice

 2012 Writer Mama Every-Day-In-May Book Giveaway, Day 26:

Be sure to leave a comment on Christina Katz’s blog today for a chance to win an autographed copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul: New Moms, containing my story “Expert Advice”.

Expert Advice

By Cara Holman

Shortly after my wedding, and long before my first child was even a twinkle in my eye, well-meaning friends and relatives began doling out parenting advice: “You don’t want to wait too long before getting started on your family. You never know how long it will take,” I heard from the relatives. From my younger friends, “Don’t be in a rush to have kids” was the constant refrain. No wonder I was confused!


Buy (or win!) the book, to read more. It is available at Amazon, or email me at cara[dot]holman[at]gmail[dot]com to purchase an autographed copy at a discounted rate.

Today’s question, and my response:

Easy to Love but Hard to Raise sounds like it could have been written about raising a writing career…do you ever feel this way? Is your writing career easy to love or hard to raise or both or neither? Does writing or not writing about your family make it more or less challenging?

The easiest (and most fun!) part of the writing life is the writing itself. Tracking submissions is surprisingly time consuming, and can get tedious at times. Trying to understand why one piece is accepted, and not another, can be frustrating. And finding the right balance between time spent writing and everything else can be a challenge. Yet still… the rewards far outnumber the inconveniences, and that’s why I keep writing, and keep submitting!