The writer’s group I am privileged to be a part of meets every Wednesday night. The core group of five women (others visit on occasion and all are welcome) are the epitome of encouragement. They encourage me not in a “let’s blow smoke and applaud every little thing everyone does” kind of way, but by sharing their experiences as writers and human beings moving through life without all the answers…

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Mining T.S. Eliot

     I spent the morning  reading the collection of T.S. Eliot poems online at

   The moody, morose and often baffling poetry of Eliot reminds me of my college English classes, where I tried to untwist Eliot’s tangled, haunting imagery and meaning. Most often I was left bemused but also enchanted.

    While reading “The Wasteland” I remembered an early short story of mine. The story, “The Violet Hours” is not very good, but I love the title. It was drawn directly from Eliot’s poem.

  I decided to mine the rest of Eliot’s available work for inspiration and other possible story titles. I find this a useful writing exercise that really gets story ideas rolling.
  Here’s the list I came up with (which probably says more about my frame of mind on this gray, rainy morning than I like to admit):

The Lowest of the Dead, Of Insidious Intent, Green Silence, Noon’s Repose, The Floors of Memory ,The Spaces of the Dark, Chilled Delirium, Ladies of the Corridor, The Skull Beneath the Skin 

I think it is going to be fun to try to think up stories to match the titles, which is exactly how my story “The Violet Hours” came to be.

If you’d like to try the exercise or just read Eliot’s excellent poetry, click here.

Elusive Muses

What’s that you say? “Oh, no. Not another poem about writer’s block.” Well, it is that, but it was also a writing exercise. I’d been trying to make my writing lean and mean, simple and straightforward, no fancy stuff. It was getting to me. I was bored with my writing, never a good sign. I decided to just let go of that and turn it around, go as purple as I dared with big words and frothy imagery. I like to think this poem helped me find a middle ground.

Elusive Muses

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