DREAMING IN COLOR
By Georgia Lee
I dreamed that all was yellow
inside their windows
a pale meringue light
beamed into summer kitchens
morning, forever, morning
Girls in sweet sun-frocks
twirl lemon-laced skirts
for buttoned-up, tucked in boys
The sweet-acid taste of first loves
swirls above, yet undreamed
Awake now, all is fading
windows bolted, empty tables
and with each loss, another color dims
into the graying of time
THE TURNING TIDE
I don't sail there it's not my sea
But fallen blood flows back to me
Not the fools crimson carnival ride
But dark Alabama, deep and wide
From the home never lost I float unbound
Forbidden, struck-blind in no common ground
I seek his prize, of full-formed thought
Uncontrived, unrehearsed, though battle fought
I don't sail here it was never my sea
Yet I breathe in the ghost of bright memory
Tossed in the game - I slept through it then
Yet the Tide rolled on
And back again
Georgia Lee is an award-winning writer, editor, journalist, literary impresario. Vice President, programming, Atlanta Writers Club. Co-Director, Atlanta Writers Conference. Former Director, Ivy Hall, the SCAD Atlanta Writing Center. Former Southeast Bureau Chief, “Women’s Wear Daily,” and “W” magazine.
Finalist: “Glimmer Train” New Writers Contest, 2012. Winner: Atrium award for Excellence in Business Journalism – University of Georgia Henry Grady School of Journalism. Winner: DIVA Award for Fashion Journalism – The Atlanta Apparel Mart. Blogger at http://www.georgialeesays.com and http://www.georgialeesaysnamaste.com.
Contributor to national/international publications, blogs and anthologies. Yoga, meditation and fitness instructor, helping women restore, renew and reinvent themselves during life transitions.
Seeker of truth, beauty, art and transcendence. Awed by Shakespeare, Poe, Karen Russell, Richard Ford, so many others.
Today's Tinderbox Society guest post comes again from the wise and witty, Georgia Lee, who first posted this on her own blog, Georgia Lee Says, after an eventful weekend. She's sharing some very dry (and dead on!) insight about the ins and out of pursing publication as a writer!
At The Atlanta Writers Conference, strife, confusion and downright frustration were recurring themes that apply not only to writers, but also to human beings, even the seemingly normal ones.
“When do I get off this merry-go-round?” said one attendee at the weekend event, at the Airport Westin Hotel “I devote years and blood sweat and tears just writing the book. Then years finding, hiring and firing agents, then waiting, getting close, then going nowhere near publishing.”
“I may not live long enough to get anywhere with this,” said another. “Some days I don’t even remember why I wanted to write in the first place.”
Over the past decade, the publishing merry-go-round has added more pretty horses to ride – self-publishing, small presses, e-books, Amazon, et al. Yet the golden ring – landing a lucrative book contract with a big publishing house, unless you’re James Patterson, J.K. Rowling or Dan Brown, is more elusive than ever.
The Atlanta Writers Conference, sponsored by the Atlanta Writers Club, a century old organization, with over 700 members, breaks a few barriers – by bringing the New York publishing mountain to Mohamed.
Friday: Aspiring writers meet one-on-one with agents, who critique “query letters,” an elevator speech proposal that must be as polished, if not more so, than the book itself. Afterward, a writer may stay up all night agonizing over the pitch, based on the agent’s suggestions, or ditch it altogether. A few lucky souls are encouraged, by a “show me more,” response.
Day Two: Editors, the big-time gatekeepers, critique partial manuscripts, sent in advance by bullet-sweating writers, in 15-minute one-on-one sessions. Awards are bestowed on the best of each. Actual publication is never a guarantee.
And if this isn’t mind-blowing enough – all writers, artists, and business owners must become masters of social media.
“Writers Digest Books” freelance editor Chuck Sambuchino, @chucksambuchino, www.chucksambuchino.com and www.guidetoliteraryagents.com/blog an obvious expert on the topic, held a Friday workshop. The audience, aware of the online imperative, was also dazed and confused by its baffling complexity. And who among us isn’t?
But it’s simple, really. Sambuchino defines the obligatory platform as “Visibility, influence, reach, authority, network, amplification, discoverability, ability to self market, avenues to speak to a community of your choosing, channels that exist for you to immediately reach others.
A successful platform requires these building blocks:
* Website and/or blog of impressive size
* An e-newsletter/mailing list of impressive size
* Article/column writing (or correspondent involvement) for the media
* Guest contributions to successful websites, blogs and periodicals
* A track record of strong past book sales
* Individuals of influence you know who’ll help you market at no cost
* Public speaking appearances – the bigger the better
* An impressive social media presence (Twitter, Facebook, etc.)
* Membership in organizations that support the successes of their own
* Recurring media appearances and interviews – in print, radio, TV or online.
Now go write the Great American Novel. Find the perfect agent who’ll sell it to the perfect editor, who’ll sell the idea to the best publishing houses and get your million-dollar advance. Immediately begin your next project, while constantly updating your Website, Twitter, Facebook (author and book pages) Blog(s) and checking analytics for performance on all of the above.
It’s that easy.
Directs Writing Center – former Bureau Chief WWD, contributor to every publication in the known world, yoga guru, psychic, Beatlemaniac, milkshake addict.
Today's guest post is by Tinderbox Society member, Georgia Lee. After our first meeting this week of the Fall workshop series, she offered to share a sublime blog, which is also posted on her own site, Georgia Lee Says. I hope you'll be inspired!
The full moon pulls me outside and I rise or fall, like the obedient tide. Last night, early October, the Hunters or Harvest - each full moon has a name, you know. I don't feel like looking it up, but I'm going with Hunters. It suits my current mood. And Harvest Moon gets too much attention.
I feel sorry for the other moons, unsung by, uh - Neil Young? - prolific Southern Manhater? I hope Neil Young will remember, a southern woman don't need him around, anyhow. If only I'd stuck with my own kind, flawed though they all are, I might not be out on wet grass after midnight, alone. Alone!! With vampire mosquitoes, out for a last taste of blood before we all sink into our winters' underworld.
My friends, I am a hopeless DRAMATIC. My backyard - The Fountain Theater, is an Al Fresco cross between the Globe and the Kit-Kat Club. In its heyday: Drunken Pagan Players; Shakespeare's Bastards; 500 Megahertz Revue and Versailles A'flame drew raving reviews, from teenage vagrants, neighborhood vigilantes and the Dekalb County Police. As founder, I directed, produced and starred in most.
The 2014 Summer Season never made pre-production. Shut down, as death, unemployment, breakdowns, assaults and stalkers plagued the theater, its owners and backers.
Last night, through a rotting patio door, I entered the sad, neglected ruins. Is anything more ominous than a darkened theater? Three rows of burnt out stage lights sagged the stage, where the Italianate eponymous Fountain is a cesspool of disease-carrying vermin. Virginia Creeper and dead mimosas sling long arms over ghosts in empty seats. A breeze carries a whisper of dialogue. Smoke of dry ice slithers through weeds. Sweet, decayed gardenias swill in spilled beer.
Into this wreckage, with lavender candle, three quartz crystals and an I-Pad, I stake my gray yoga mat in the ground. Brian Eno's "Music for Airports" is near silent, drowned by the thriving cicada/cricket stereo.
For thirty minutes, I sit. Breathe in. Breathe out. Only breath. It doesn't hold me, my own breath.
I hear my father's automated coma breath, 120 hours of it as I hold the powerful pulse steadfast - on and on, the wrist. I see my mother two years ago. The last scene calls for grace under pressure - Hemingway, Gary Cooper. Even this will not touch me, within me. She rises above.
These two stars dazzle my life.Comedians. Tragedians. Quick chameleons, as all actors must be.
But...this? Are they capable of portraying the the awe, the grandeur of death? Am I, front row - suspending belief, brought to tears, or not, staying until the curtain drops? They are. I am It's over. The End.
I wait. For them to bound back out onto the stage, take several energetic, role-busting bows, applaud me, the audience, and then, with a jaunty wave, exit. Thank you, goodnight everybody!
I wait, with no script. Out for a drink, discuss the end? No. This was one night only, never repeated never duplicated never forgotten.
Tomorrow tomorrow and tomorrow. Last night. The constant moon is my Mother. She reflects shape and light, forming a mosaic of my broken pieces. Full center stage, or hidden behind scenes, in clouds, over horizons.
Dad is the stars - mystery of dreaming constellations, never judging, receiving all that is undiscovered, our surprising universe.
Lured last night into the dead Fountain Theater, I expected nothing but 30 minutes of the full Hunters Moon. I already knew the setting, the characters and the story.
I did not know the message that came behind it. I did not predict the tears. I do not pretend to understand it now. Am I bringing my own bias to it? Probably. It doesn't matter. The dead, once on this stage with us, are with us still. The sheer curtain is opaque. Life and death are equal and both are illusions, stories - a dream within a dream within a dream. There is no Third Wall.
*Save the date: The all-new, fully-renovated, 2015 Fountain Theater, will kick off its Summer 2015 Season Saturday, June 20 with a Summer Solstice Celebrations. Calling all playwrights, actors, musicians, costume and set designers, creatives, rapscallions, art and even sports enthusiasts. Step into the light - all are welcome. Please RSVP. A splendid time is guaranteed for all.
DATE: June 20, 2015 EVENT: Summer Solstice Celebration WHERE: The Fountain Theater, Decatur, GA TIME: 8 p.m. until...(we don't follow Time's Arrow) Rain or Shine.
The Show Must Go On.
Georgia Lee directs Writing Center – former Bureau Chief WWD, contributor to every publication in the known world, yoga guru, psychic, Beatlemaniac, milkshake addict.
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