Dawn Pisturino's Blog

My Writing Journey

“Melissa and the Angels” on Spillwords

I’m pleased and proud to announce that my poem, “Melissa and the Angels,” has been published today on Spillwords. I want to thank Dagmara K. and her wonderful staff for publishing it. I chose to use an unusual rhyming pattern and some words that are difficult to rhyme. It was these difficult words that shaped the story.

Melissa and the Angels

by Dawn Pisturino

Melissa, in a tattered dress,
Came slowly down the lane,
A wicker basket on her arm,
Fresh eggs and butter from the farm,
Her tresses in a tangled mess,
Barefoot, and limping with the pain. . .

Please visit Spillwords here http://www.spillwords.com/melissa-and-the-angels/ to read the rest of the poem. If you like it, please like it on both Spillwords (the little heart at the top of the post) and my blog. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your visits and your support.

A big THANK YOU! from the bottom of my heart.

Dawn Pisturino

August 22, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

41 Comments »

Reprise: Vintage Macabre

Ransom Riggs pieced together a whole novel around his collection of weird photographs. (And I do mean pieced together because, by the end of his book, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, the story had become disjointed and frayed around the edges. The photographs were always the main selling point for the book, however, so that hardly mattered. I still gave it 4 stars on Goodreads.com.) But what a brilliant idea, writing a novel around weird photographs!

So I scoured the Web looking for a few macabre samples—photos that would make your skin crawl and send the heebie-jeebies up and down your spine.

Did I succeed?

Are you feeling just a little bit uncomfortable?

What kind of book could you write around these morbid photographs?

A blood-sucking dummy? A ventriloquist that kills?

A writer and his muse? A Bram Stoker-winning team!

.This photo really gives me the creeps!

Halloween—or a twisted version of the high school prom?

What does your imagination tell you to write?

Dawn Pisturino

May 9, 2012; June 22, 2022

Copyright 2012-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

22 Comments »

“Psychology,” a Poem, Published on Spillwords

(Photo by Glen Hodson)

I’m thrilled to announce that my poem, “Psychology,” has been published today on Spillwords. I want to thank Dagmara K. and all of her lovely staff for this opportunity to share my poetry. I feel truly honored.

PSYCHOLOGY

written by: Dawn Pisturino

A psychologist by trade,
She brought order from chaos,
Splicing together the broken threads
Of fragile minds:
Listening for the right tone,
The right inflection, the right notes
To harmonize the deepest
Fears and desires of her clients.
But, in her own disordered brain . . .

Please head on over to Spillwords here to read the rest of my poem and all of the other featured selections for today.

Thank you sincerely from the bottom of my heart!

Dawn Pisturino

June 18, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

And, don’t forget to check out the Wounds I Healed: The Poetry of Strong Women anthology, now available on Amazon and Kindle. #1 in Amazon New Releases of Poetry Anthologies. Thanks!

31 Comments »

Reprise: Fabulous First Lines

The first line of your novel or story can make it or break it. Are your words intriguing? Compelling? Do they make the reader hungry for more? Consider these first lines written by well-known authors. How do they make you feel? What images come into your head? Do you want to read more?

1. “Sometimes Sonny felt like he was the only human creature in the town.” Larry McMurtry, The Last Picture Show

2. “It was about eleven o’clock in the morning, mid October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills.” Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep

3. “When he woke in the woods in the dark and the cold of the night he’d reach out to touch the child sleeping beside him.” Cormac McCarthy, The Road

4. “The alchemist picked up a book that someone in the caravan had brought.” Paul Coelho, The Alchemist

5. “Renowned curator Jacques Sauniere staggered through the vaulted archway of the museum’s Grand Gallery.” Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code

6. “When a traveller in north central Massachusetts takes the wrong fork at the junction of the Aylesbury pike just beyond Dean’s Corners he comes upon a lonely and curious country.” H.P. Lovecraft, The Dunwich Horror

7. “On these cloudy days, Robert Neville was never sure when sunset came, and sometimes they were in the streets before he could get back.” Richard Matheson, I Am Legend

8. “The cat had a party to attend, and went to the baboon to get herself groomed.” David Sedaris, squirrel seeks chipmunk

9. “‘To be born again,’ sang Gibreel Farishta tumbling from the heavens, ‘first you have to die.'” Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses

10. “The witnesses standing at the edge of the field were staring in horrified silence, too stunned to speak.” Sidney Sheldon, The Doomsday Conspiracy

11. “I had this story from one who had no business to tell it to me, or to any other.” Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan of the Apes

12. “Amerigo Bonasera sat in New York Criminal Court Number 3 and waited for justice; vengeance on the men who had so cruelly hurt his daughter, who had tried to dishonor her.” Mario Puzo, The Godfather 

13. “I see . . .” said the vampire thoughtfully, and slowly he walked across the room towards the window.” Anne Rice, Interview with the Vampire

14. “Almost everyone thought the man and the boy were father and son.” Stephen King, ‘Salem’s Lot

15. “Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were.” Margaret Mitchell, Gone With the Wind

And the list goes on, ad infinitum. But you get the idea.

Dawn Pisturino

April 24, 2012; June 15, 2022

Copyright 2012-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

27 Comments »

Reprise: A Writer 24/7

(Turn of the 20th century writer’s corner – Bonelli House Museum, Kingman, Arizona. Photo by Dawn Pisturino.)

Adopting the writer’s mantle places us instantly in the spotlight. Everything we say, write, and do is being evaluated and judged by people we don’t even know.

With this in mind, it’s important to display our best writing at every opportunity.

I recently read a blog post by an English writer that was poorly formatted, riddled with errors, and unprofessional-looking. The purpose of the blog was to dispense writing advice to budding young authors. But what can a young author learn from run-on sentences and words that blend into one another with no punctuation or spaces? Needless to say, I no longer follow that blog.

Many self-proclaimed authors haunt Facebook and other social media sites. They promote their books with quickly-composed, ungrammatical sales pitches that reflect poorly on their abilities as writers. My thought is this: if they can’t write a simple post on Facebook, how can they write the next Great American novel? The answer is obvious.

E-mail tends to be a casual form of communication, but some people take it for granted that it’s okay to write in texting jargon and incomplete sentences. Clear, concise communication should be even more important when writing e-mails. I check my grammar and spelling every time I send out an e-mail because I want my readers to see me as a real writer.

My elderly aunt fills her hand-written letters with poetic descriptions of the seasons and countryside where she lives. She’s not a writer, but she knows how to write. She knows how to turn a phrase and color a description so that it sticks in my head. She makes me imagine that once upon a time she wrote poetry in some dark garret. That reminds me–I need to ask her!

Writing is a 24/7 job. And everything we compose should reflect our abilities as a writer. Our readers expect it. Our profession demands it.

Published in the July-August 2012 issue of Working Writer.

Dawn Pisturino

June 13, 2022

Copyright 2012-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

26 Comments »

What I’m Doing Right Now

Photo by David Pennington on Unsplash

Hello!

So, what am I doing right now?

I submitted two short stories to Masticadores India, and I’m waiting to hear back on publication dates.

I submitted another poem to Masticadores USA, and I’m waiting to hear back.

I submitted a poem to the Arizona Authors Association Literary Contest. I will find out later in the year the results of that submission.

I submitted a poem to Spillwords Press, the first time I have done so. I had technical trouble trying to submit it, but after several attempts, it finally sent.

I submitted a poem to David ben Alexander’s The Skeptical Kaddish Poetry Partners.

I’m waiting for the Wounds I Healed: The Poetry of Strong Women anthology to be released.

I have several short stories to finish and novels that I’m working on. There aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything!

~

A few months ago, I finished reading 1,000 pages of the complete works of Edgar Allan Poe. It took me forever to read because a lot of it was rather boring. I got the bright idea to read the complete works of H.P. Lovecraft. Two thousand pages later, I can honestly say I have read all of his works. I finished last night, and boy, was I happy! I love his ability to create a dark mood, but a lot of it was redundant. Truthfully, in both the case of Poe and Lovecraft, only a few well-written stories and poems really stand out.

I bought a bunch of mysteries at Barnes & Noble when I was in California, so I am moving on to those. My brain needs a break from the dark and heavy stuff.

~

On Paramount+, my husband and I are watching The Offer and Joe Pickett. He watches all the Star Trek/Star Wars stuff. I’m waiting for the next season of Evil to start. I like my British and Scandinavian detective shows on Acorn, BritBox, and PBS Masterpiece. Recently, I have found some French detective shows that incorporate paranormal overtones and which have turned out to be pretty absorbing.

~

I’m updating and improving my author resume website at http://www.dawnpisturino.org (please check it out!) and all of my social media sites.

~

I’m working on losing the weight I gained in California (too much restaurant food – Armenian, American, Italian, and Japanese), taking walks, exercising, and doing other healthy self-care stuff. I like to sit on the front porch every evening with the dog and read and watch the wildlife. It’s very relaxing.

~

And, I’ve been listening to one of my favorite classic rock bands: The Doors. Listening to them puts me in an altered state of consciousness.

(“The End” by The Doors – Warning: contains references to violence)

“All the children are insane.” Sound familiar? The violence happening now is a culmination of several decades of post-World War II social dysfunction.

It was Jim Morrison who famously said: “I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’m going to get my kicks before the whole sh*thouse goes up in flames” – referring to nuclear war, which still remains the ultimate existential threat to humanity.

May the Muses tickle your brain today. May you write, compose, photograph, dance, sing, and paint like there’s no tomorrow!

Dawn Pisturino

June 2, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

23 Comments »

The Magical World of Lord Dunsany

The King of Elfland’s Daughter is one of Lord Dunsany’s most popular books. Written in 1924, the book is a clear forerunner of Tolkien’s The Hobbit and Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia. I recommend it to anyone who loves fantasy fiction.

Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett (try saying that real fast three times) was an Irish aristocrat who inherited the title of 18th Baron Dunsany in 1899. He lived in Dunsany Castle in County Meath, Northern Ireland and married the daughter of the 7th Earl of Jersey, Lady Beatrice Child-Villiers. The couple had one son who went on to inherit the title and the castle.

A close friend of William Butler Yeats and Rudyard Kipling, Dunsany became a prolific writer, producing a large opus of poetry, plays, short stories, and novels based on Irish folklore and mythology. He was part of the late 19th century “Celtic Revival” started by Yeats. Other influential contemporaries included Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland) and Kenneth Grahame (Wind in the Willows).

In America, he was dubbed “America’s Favorite Peer” because his plays were in great demand in New York City. At one point, he allegedly had five plays running simultaneously on Broadway.

Dunsany was a soldier who fought in the Boer War, World War I, and the 1916 Irish uprising. During World War II, he served in the Home Guard.

Although J.R.R. Tolkien is regarded as the father of fantasy fiction, Dunsany’s style and imagination had a profound effect on all the prominent fantasy writers of his day, including Tolkien, Lewis, and H.P. Lovecraft. His influence has extended to modern fantasy writers such as British author Neil Gaiman.

Dunsany’s stories have been described by other writers as magical, ethereal, dream-like, and surreal. Writing in long-hand with a feathered quill pen, his intuitive imagination wandered beyond the boundaries of intellect to produce stories in magical and poetic prose which capture the heart and imagination of discerning readers.

As the world evolved technologically around him, one of Lord Dunsany’s favorite themes was the threat of science to the Other World. He ventured into sci fi with The Last Revolution, which explored what would happen if machines turned against their human inventors (foreshadowing The Terminator).

Lord Dunsany died of appendicitis on October 25, 1957.

A Poem to Lord Dunsany

By Irish Poet Francis Ledwidge

TO LORD DUNSANY

(ON HIS RETURN FROM EAST AFRICA)


For you I knit these lines, and on their ends
Hang little tossing bells to ring you home.
The music is all cracked, and Poesy tends
To richer blooms than mine; but you who roam
Thro’ coloured gardens of the highest muse,
And leave the door ajar sometimes that we
May steal small breathing things of reds and blues
And things of white sucked empty by the bee,
Will listen to this bunch of bells from me.

My cowslips ring you welcome to the land
Your muse brings honour to in many a tongue,
Not only that I long to clasp your hand,
But that you’re missed by poets who have sung
And viewed with doubt the music of their verse
All the long winter, for you love to bring
The true note in and say the wise thing terse,
And show what birds go lame upon a wing,
And where the weeds among the flowers do spring.

(Dunsany Castle, County Meath, Northern Ireland. Photo by Tim Wilson. http://www.dunsany.com)

Dawn Pisturino

March 16, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

10 Comments »

Here Comes the Sun

(Photo from Unsplash)

As the sun grows brighter and the days grow longer, I plan to spend more time outdoors. So, I will only be blogging Monday through Friday. I’m taking weekends off!

I will still be responding to comments and visiting people’s blogs. The extra time also allows me to work on my own writing projects, which I have been neglecting. Time to get back to work!

Here’s The Beatles singing “Here Comes the Sun” from my favorite album, Abbey Road. Enjoy!

(Official Beatles video from Universal Music Group)

Spring is coming!

And, Happy President’s Day!

Dawn Pisturino

February 21, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

20 Comments »

Imaginary Gardens

“Poetry is the art of creating imaginary gardens with real toads.” – Marianne Moore

Black Earth

(BY MARIANNE MOORE)

Openly, yes,
         With the naturalness
         Of the hippopotamus or the alligator
When it climbs out on the bank to experience the

Sun, I do these
Things which I do, which please
         No one but myself.  Now I breathe and now I am sub-
         Merged; the blemishes stand up and shout when the object

In view was a
Renaissance; shall I say
         The contrary?  The sediment of the river which
         Encrusts my joints, makes me very gray but I am used

To it, it may
Remain there; do away
         With it and I am myself done away with, for the
         Patina of circumstance can but enrich what was

There to begin
With.  This elephant skin
         Which I inhabit, fibered over like the shell of
         The coco-nut, this piece of black glass through which no light

Can filter—cut
Into checkers by rut
         Upon rut of unpreventable experience—
         It is a manual for the peanut-tongued and the

Hairy toed.  Black
But beautiful, my back
         Is full of the history of power.  Of power?  What
         Is powerful and what is not?  My soul shall never

Be cut into
By a wooden spear; through-
         Out childhood to the present time, the unity of
         Life and death has been expressed by the circumference

Described by my
Trunk; nevertheless, I
         Perceive feats of strength to be inexplicable after
         All; and I am on my guard; external poise, it

Has its centre
Well nurtured—we know
         Where—in pride, but spiritual poise, it has its centre where ?
         My ears are sensitized to more than the sound of

The wind.  I see
And I hear, unlike the
         Wandlike body of which one hears so much, which was made
         To see and not to see; to hear and not to hear,

That tree trunk without   
Roots, accustomed to shout
         Its own thoughts to itself like a shell, maintained intact   
         By who knows what strange pressure of the  atmosphere; that   

Spiritual   
Brother to the coral
         Plant, absorbed into which, the equable sapphire light
         Becomes a nebulous green.  The I of each is to

The I of each,
A kind of fretful speech
         Which sets a limit on itself; the elephant is?
         Black earth preceded by a tendril?  It is to that

Phenomenon
The above formation,   
         Translucent like the atmosphere—a cortex merely—
         That on which darts cannot strike decisively the first

Time, a substance
Needful as an instance
         Of the indestructibility of matter; it   
         Has looked at the electricity and at the earth-

Quake and is still
Here; the name means thick.  Will
         Depth be depth, thick skin be thick, to one who can see no
         Beautiful element of unreason under it?

~ Marianne Moore ~

14 Comments »

Poems About Books

There is no Frigate like a Book

There is no Frigate like a Book

To take us Lands away

Nor any Coursers like a Page

Of prancing Poetry –

This Traverse may the poorest take

Without oppress of Toll –

How frugal is the Chariot

That bears the Human Soul –

~ Emily Dickinson ~

The Land of Story-Books

These are the hills, these are the woods,
These are my starry solitudes;
And there the river by whose brink
The roaring lions come to drink.

I see the others far away
As if in firelit camp they lay,
And I, like to an Indian scout,
Around their party prowled about.

So, when my nurse comes in for me,
Home I return across the sea,
And go to bed with backward looks
At my dear land of Story-books.

~ Robert Louis Stevenson ~

When You are Old

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,

Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled

And paced upon the mountains overhead

And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

~ W.B. Yeats ~

Good Books

Good books are friendly things to own.
If you are busy they will wait.
They will not call you on the phone
Or wake you if the hour is late.
They stand together row by row,
Upon the low shelf or the high.
But if you’re lonesome this you know:
You have a friend or two nearby.

The fellowship of books is real.
They’re never noisy when you’re still.
They won’t disturb you at your meal.
They’ll comfort you when you are ill.
The lonesome hours they’ll always share.
When slighted they will not complain.
And though for them you’ve ceased to care
Your constant friends they’ll still remain.

Good books your faults will never see
Or tell about them round the town.
If you would have their company
You merely have to take them down.
They’ll help you pass the time away,
They’ll counsel give if that you need.
He has true friends for night and day
Who has a few good books to read.

~ Edgar Albert Guest ~

Here’s to good reading!!

Dawn Pisturino

January 7, 2022

8 Comments »

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