A Check-in With Writers

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Hello to all the writers out there! I hope everyone is doing well and that you and your loved ones are safe and healthy.

This post is simply a quick check-in to see how you are doing with your writing.  Are you currently working on a first draft? Are you in the process of revision? Do you have a book coming out?

Wherever you are in the creative process, please reply, and let us know how you are doing.

Also, please remember that you can do this! You are a writer!

Since I asked the question of others, I will also answer. I am about 2/3 of the way through a current first draft, and I am making about 3-5 agent submissions per week of my finished book.

Again, I ask: how is your writing progressing?

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How Is Everyone Doing?

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The last couple of years have been turbulent, to be a bit understated, and I hope everyone is finding their way through all the difficulties we face.

I simply wanted to wish everyone well.

Please try to be kind and to find joy at least once a day.

I want to ask everyone: how are you doing?

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Quotations On Opposing Evil

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“He who does not oppose evil……commands it to be done.”

                                                                         Leonardo Da Vinci

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“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

                                                                      Edmund Burke

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“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”

                                                                 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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“The oppression of people anywhere is an injustice to all of humanity, and it must be opposed. We need to speak out and have our voices be heard. This is not a time for silence.”

                                                                    Charles F. French

To All The Writers–Continue to Write!

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Writers, keep writing!

Please remember that writing is not inspired from some external source, and it does not come in one burst of activity.

While talent matters, what is far more important is the ability to be disciplined and to work every day, to put pen to paper, or sit in front of the keyboard and to create even when things are not going well.

Hard work, discipline, and commitment are the most important qualities that are needed for creating a written work.

Try to write every day, even if your goal is only a couple of hundred words.

Keep writing!

You can do this!

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An Interview With The Poet Robert Fillman

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It is my honor and pleasure to interview the extraordinary poet and my friend, Robert Fillman. Robb is not only an excellent poet, but he is also a deeply talented teacher, a devoted family man, and an honorable human being.

Robb has his debut full-length collection of poetry, House Bird, available now on Amazon for preorder.  Like his other fine work, I am sure this will be an excellent book, and I am very excited to get my copies!

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CF (Charles French): Robb, welcome to my blog, and congratulations on your new collection! How does it feel to have your first full-length book of poetry published?

RF (Robert Fillman): Thank you for the kind words– and for inviting me to speak about my work, Chuck. I’m extremely excited to bring the poems of House Bird into the world. I set a goal for myself
some years back: to publish my first full-length collection of poetry by the time I was forty,
and I’ve managed to reach that goal with a few months to spare, so I couldn’t be happier
about its release!

Cf: Do you have a particular approach to writing poetry?  For example, do you focus first on an image and go from there? Or is your approach varied?

RF: I do have a basic approach. I tend to write each poem-draft in a single sitting. When I’m trying to write a poem, I can start with almost anything– an image, a word, a musical phrase that has been repeating in my mind, some fact or piece of trivia I’ve come across, a stray comment I may have overheard. I just need something to get the poem started. After that, I write my poems one word at a time, building phrases, and then lines, and then stanzas (if the poem calls for those), letting the narrative or the idea or the emotion (or the you-name-it) carry me forward. I never know where the poem is going, or where it will eventually end. It is as much a surprise to me as it is to the reader, and that’s the real joy of writing a poem. Every poem I’ve written has emerged in that fashion.

CF: How often do you write?

RF: These days I try to write poetry a few times a week. When I was younger, I maintained an almost-daily writing regimen, which, in hindsight, was probably self-defeating and unhealthy. I found myself growing restless and frustrated when I wasn’t meeting my self-imposed deadlines and writing goals, and looking back, even though I was publishing quite a lot, I wasn’t as happy. Over the years, I’ve learned that poetry needs space to breathe. I need to give myself the mental and emotional freedom to let the ideas simmer and bubble to the surface more naturally. During the semester especially, when I am teaching four or five courses, it is sometimes difficult even to find the time to write. So in committing myself to a few hours per week, where I am deliberately setting aside time for the craft, and not over-committing myself–I find that I come back to the work fresher and more energized.

CF: Can you talk about how you decided on the title for your book? Does it have special significance?

RF: That’s a great question. House Bird derives its name from a poem in the collection. It’s an ekphrastic poem based on the painting “Bird in the House” by the American realist painter Andrew Wyeth. When I wrote that poem I was trying to put into words all the subtlety and calm and sadness and muted tones that spring from Wyeth’s palette. I was trying to pull from thin air the unsayable narratives latent in that visual medium. I’m not sure if I accomplished the goal successfully, but I had fun trying, and I was proud of the end result. “House Bird,” I think, is emblematic of the type of poetry I try to write: understated, quiet, shrouded in what’s-not-said, things always left a little up in the air. I think a bird-in-the-house also works as a metaphor for my poems, which are often about exploring the beautiful ordinariness of domestic life. The same way that a bird may inadvertently venture into a domicile and, simultaneously, feel at-home and out-of-place in its surroundings, this is the unsettling tension that the speakers navigate in so many of my poems.

CF: How can readers find your book?

RF: The book has been published by Terrapin Books, and it is available for purchase from their website. Readers can also find House Bird on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble online. Locally, it is being sold by Firefly Bookstore, in Kutztown, PA, which is probably my favorite book shop in the area. They have a wonderful, friendly staff, and they are really committed to supporting regional writers. I’m honored to have my work on display in their local authors section. If anyone is in the Kutztown area on the evening of Monday, March 7th at 6 p.m., they should stop by for my book launch. I’ll be reading from House Bird and signing copies.

House Bird is available at the following locations/sites:

terrapinbooks.com

amazon.com

barnesandnoble.com

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CF: You are also the author of a chapbook, November Weather Spell, which I will add is excellent, and I recommend it to anyone reading this interview. Can you speak a bit about this chapbook?

RF: Thanks for the kind words about the chapbook, Chuck. In many ways, my debut collection, House Bird, is an extension of the themes I began exploring in November Weather Spell—what it means to be a son, a husband, a father; how memory is fluid; the way in which the events of our past are always present, their meanings changing along with us as we age. The seeds of House Bird began with November Weather Spell. There are even a few poems in the 2019 chapbook which have made their way into the full-length book, almost as a way of showing how old wounds brought into a new light can alter how we see them, allowing them the space to reverberate in new ways.

Robb has given us one poem to read from his new book!

Blessing

Leaving the old place for the last

time. Got the trash out, a couple

boxes in the car, the final

walk-through over. It’s amazing

to see the place empty. I hope

the new owners will find as much

happiness as we did. As I’m

about to lock away the years,

abandon the memories of

dancing in the dark and my wife’s

full pregnant belly warm against

my ear while I listen for our

daughter’s first thoughts, I wonder if

the energy we leave behind

from living well is a blessing.

Just in case I rub hands across

plaster, squeeze every brass doorknob,

make my way outside, where I raise

my arms beneath the full moon, cast

a spell at the point of the roof

aiming to protect every brick,

every shingle of crumbling slate.

(This poem first appeared in Third Wednesday (Volume XIV, No. 3, Summer 2021). 

Once again, thank you to Robert Fillman for this interview! Please be sure to find a copy of his book. I am sure you will enjoy it.

A Few Quotations On Character

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“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”

                                                                     Maya Angelou

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“All men make mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong, and repairs the evil. The only crime is pride.”

                                                                          Sophocles

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“Knowledge will give you power, but character respect.”

                                                                          Bruce Lee

To All The Writers–Have Faith In Yourselves!

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To all the writers out there, who keep working on their books, stories, poems, or any other work, you can do it.

Have faith in yourself.

Keep imagining.

Keep thinking.

Keep drafting.

Keep writing.

You can do it!

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Writers–Believe in Yourself!

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To all the writers who might see this blog, please remember to believe in yourself, in your writing, and what you are doing.

Never listen to naysayers, including that voice in your head. Stay positive, and enjoy the journey.

Above all, keep writing!

 

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Time For A July Self-Promotion Party!

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Hello to all the writers out there and reading this blog!

It is time for a shameless self-promotion party, so please do not be shy about your work.

Be proud of your writing!

Let the world know about your book(s)!

Shout to the world about your writing!

Tell us about your book(s), and leave an image and a link if you can.

In order for as many people to see your work as possible, please Tweet and reblog this post!

Here is my self-promotion: my latest book can help writers who have issues with finishing first drafts of their books. If that is you, I offer direct, practical advice on how to Get The Draft Done! by Charles F. French.

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Get The Draft Done! is available here: Amazon.com

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Gallows Hill can be found here in ebook.

Gallows Hill in paperback can be found here.

An interview about Gallows Hill can be found here.

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Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

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Available on Amazon

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Available on Amazon

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Available on Amazon

Quotations on First Drafts

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Here are a few quotations about creating first drafts to inspire all of us to keep writing:

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“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” 

                                                               Mark Twain

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“You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page.

   You can’t edit a blank page.”

                                                                 Jodi Picoult

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“Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.”

                                                                      William Faulkner.

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“You can do it. You can write that first draft, so that you can go on to the act of revision. But the first draft must be completed before you can achieve your finished book, and you can do it. ”

(Get The Draft Done: Helping Writers Finish Their First Draft” Charles F. French)

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