Category Archives: Introduction

A New Year’s Reflection – Celebrating Two Years as a Blogger

This is what I do. This is what I love. Perhaps you too will find the courage to take that road less travelled. –Debbie Okun Hill

Oh, what an exhilarating and bumpy ride! Two years ago, my publisher Black Moss Press and assigned editor Vanessa Shields nudged me to start this blog as a promotional experiment.

“You need a website,” they echoed as they prepared for the birth of Tarnished Trophies, my first poetry collection.

For me, answers reveal themselves in quiet places - Okun Hill

“For me, answers reveal themselves in quiet spaces.”

I felt like an untrained pilot in a thunder storm. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing or how I was going to land but I welcomed the new challenge and hoped that Mary Poppins would wander over, work her magic on my keyboard, and clean my house at the same time. Mary never showed up. Perhaps she wasn’t a computer whiz either. Perhaps those lingering dust bunnies terrified her or maybe it was the world-wide spider’s web hovering over my desk that deterred her.

Determined to please my publisher, I paper clipped my eyes to the computer screen, read all the fine-printed instructions and opened a WORDPRESS account to create a blog. The learning curve proved steep, steeper than Mount Everest (I’m using poetic license here) but like with any new project, additional practice paved and streamlined my blogger’s path. The rust on my journalism skills gave way to a new literary adventure while my poetic muse sulked in the corner.

No one said being a writer would be easy. Before I realized it, my blogging addiction took hold and I couldn’t wait to hone my photographic skills and find newsworthy items to blog about. What a surprise to discover that I had created 67 blog posts in two years! (Yes, WORDPRESS keeps tabs.) Did I enjoy this literary romp more than touring, reading, and creating poetry?

Confusion set in. The analytical side of my brain arm wrestled my creativity and dragged in that dreaded Writer’s Ice Block onto my shoulder.

I froze, stared at my blank computer screen with 20 plus blog ideas propped onto my other shoulder. My snowflake-words swirled then flung themselves like frost on a windshield. I couldn’t even pry them off with an icepick. Behind me, dust and word wads remained tangled in Christmas tinsel. Was I having an identity or mid-life crisis? I wanted to do it all!

I paused in silence. For me, answers reveal themselves in quiet spaces. As the noise of the festive season faded, I could hear the rattle of sports equipment settling in my basement closet. Outside the rustle of leaves beneath snow blanket reminded me of patience and new beginnings.

If you are one of my 94 subscribed followers, thank you for joining me on my literary journey! If you are one of my 3173 visitors, thanks for stopping by. If I promised to write a blog about your book and/or event, it will happen but not always as quickly as I would like. Slip me a note just in case the request didn’t make it to my “to do” list. If this is your first visit, I hope you’ll return but only if it adds value to your life.

I’m a firm believer that people and challenges enter and leave our lives for a reason. Just like the muse, some days I need to chill, switch directions, try another route or go with the poetic flow on another day. Unless I can find a time-machine, I can never go back. Yes, I can retrace my steps; discover my errors, attempt to make amends and start over but ultimately time moves forward.

Life is still a journey - Okun Hill

Life is still a journey whether others embrace that concept or not.

Even when I’m standing or sitting still, life is still a literary journey, whether others embrace that concept or not. At least for today, that is how I feel and see the world. We all have voices, some quieter than others. Each deserves to be heard and respected despite the differences.

If I may quote from the last lines in my poem “Cutting Remarks*”: “we hibernate/wait for spring/when ice cubed differences unthaw/spilling rainwater/aqua therapy indoors”.

Health and happiness to you and your extended family in the New Year.

*The poem “Cutting Remarks” first appeared in Tarnished Trophies (Black Moss Press, 2014) Copyright © Debbie Okun Hill 2014

 

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The Journey Starts Here…

Actually the journey started long before this blog ever existed, long before there were blogs, or personal computers or even my own personal manual typewriter. Maybe it even started before I could hold a pencil. I don’t know. All I know is that after all these years on the literary road towards finding a “real” publisher, I have a signed contract in my hand and a poetry manuscript that is inching its way to the designer. Spring 2014 is a long way away but there is much work to be done including the task of creating a website in preparation for the BIG day.

So this is my first blog post. Try to be patient with me as I fumble along, constructing, destructing and refining this website over the next few days or weeks.

Some may ask, what’s with that title Kites Without Strings? Do you really want to know? I lifted it from one of my unpublished chapbook manuscripts, a small collection of kite themed poems that is still circling the orbit for a home. (And before that, if my memory serves me correctly, it was suggested to me by one of my writing workshop buddies who happens to be the resident ‘title’ expert.)

And since I’m recycling the title, I might as well dust off the poet’s statement that I wrote back in 2009:

Like a kite, string tangled, stored in a layer of dust on a basement shelf, we can often find ourselves buried in our surroundings, losing sight of our inner spirit sun-dancing beyond a closed curtain. Our attachments…our detachments…these common threads of polar spools (some stationary, some flying, the pulling and releasing of butterfly emotions), help us to navigate through various seasons and cycles. For me, writing and reading poetry releases magical words, these imaginary kites without strings. Snapshots of love, loss, and healing take on a life of their own, elevated by metaphors of cleansing and flight: our tangled and untangled journey through light and darkness. I invite readers to break free…have fun…view the world from a different perspective.