Trends in Writing, The Arts, Regional Events, and High Desert Living

Posts in category Poetry

Set a Strong Ritual Instead of a Weak 2014 Resolution

I’ve been reading a lot about how rituals are more deeply conforming to a creative person’s needs. Music raises the mood of the mind and fits in nicely with ritual. So, if a ritual to write, let’s say, 500 words per day, is a way to establish your focus to accomplish that task, then let that task be a writing assignment, an exercise, or another blog post. By also finding a comforting way to start your ritual, you will be more attuned and expectant in seeing the results.

Let’s use one of mine as an example. When I write Western-themed short stories or poems, I like to set the mood with music. It becomes a ritual. I pull a CD with Native American flute music or a CD with flamenco-style guitar riffs. My awareness to the sounds introduce my brain to the task at hand.

Flamenco riffs

Flamenco riffs

The music sets the tone, the tone sets the memory of how it affects me, and the outcome primes me into writing. Many successful writers and poets have used this method. By making this a ritual method rather than just another resolution that I’m apt to stop or ignore, I accept it in my routine so it becomes comfortable.

Resolutions are so … pedestrian.

With a recognized ritual, a process that I determine and control, I feel I can better relate to the task I wish to do. Try it for two months and see if it works for you, too.


What type of ritual do you use in your daily life? Let us know if you establish a new ritual for 2014.

Rusty LaGrange

Add Blogging to Your Writing Craft

High Desert Bloggers, Bodacious Bundts, Hesperia

High Desert Bloggers, Bodacious Bundts, Hesperia









The craft of writing covers several genres. Is blogging considered one of those genres?

Genre Styles

Each genre includes multifaceted styles. Take poetry for instance. Listening to Poet Mary Langer Thompson speak to High Desert California Writers Club in Apple Valley, CA yesterday made me aware of a particular fact about types of poetry and the people who create the craft. One style rhymes. Another doesn’t. Some poets create lines quickly. Other poets fall into the gotta-think-it-out category (I’m one of those).

After Mary talked about renowned artists and their histories, she distributed art cards with various paintings to the group of writers. Several (the quick group) read poems they had written in yesterday’s class. I was impressed by the quick group at how they could craft such poetry that portrayed specific messages from the poets to the audience.


Perception is interesting. When you first observe a painting, you see one thing. Wait a day or two or until an object catches your eye, and your perception will change.

Purple Iris

Purple Iris from My Spring Garden











What I saw on the art card that was handed to me while Mary was teaching our writers’ group was a field of many blue irises, one white iris, green stems, a fiery bed of desert dirt – and gold California poppies. Anyone else might have seen gold irises. But in my own garden I recently pulled up a bed of blue irises because the aphids (and probably cats walking through) destroyed them. They had turned ugly, and I wanted to be rid of them. On the other side of the garden now there is a large patch of vibrant California poppies.

California Poppies with Raindrops

California Poppies with Raindrops










While I’m typing this blog post at a Starbucks, I’m looking outside at a bunch of gold irises in a rock bed. Ah! The art card. Blue irises. A single white iris. GOLD IRISES. Why couldn’t I see that yesterday? Two reasons. One, the gold irises were in the back of the iris field. Two, the gold flowers looked smaller than the blue and white irises. Mostly, though, I could envision those gorgeous California poppies. Later I looked on the back of the little card. Irises. Yes, the gold ones were irises. Reality has a way of changing how we perceive things.

The Craft of Blogging

Is blogging considered a genre in the craft of writing? Absolutely! Like poetry, there are different blogging styles. Let’s name a few.

  • Conversational
  • Informative
  • Political
  • Art blogs
  • Music blogs
  • Lifestyle blogging
  • Brand blogging
  • Review blogging

Which style of blogging do you prefer? I invite your comments. You may think of another blogging style not mentioned in the above list.

If you are a writer, incorporate the craft of blogging into your genres. The art of writing has been accomplished with pencils, pens, manual and electric typewriters, wordprocessors, computers, and digital writing devices. Can’t part with your old manual typewriter or feather pen and quill? That’s okay. There’s an art to them as well. Keep the old, but learn the new. Connect the dots from old to new. Blog about your talents of typing 50 words a minute on your old-faithful manual typewriter. Add another blog post on feather pen and quill history of writing.

Writing is a craft that never gets old.

Creating a painting with words

Pirates of the Caribbean

Pirates of the Caribbean

The written word, in my humble opinion is a form of escape. How
many times have you read a book and battled pirates, traveled back in time, or flown on an alien spaceship? Writing is creating a painting, an artistic masterpiece with words. The writer is a guide to new experiences, invoking emotions, and often gaining knowledge.


Emotions/Letting Go

For the writer, putting pen to paper is baring hidden parts of your soul for the world to see, judge, and possibly reject or embrace.

Terrifying? Yes, without a doubt.

Whenever someone asks why I want to write, I’ll say something along the lines of ‘Oh I’ve always wanted to’. The truth is, I’m an avid reader and I’m addicted to books. I love the idea of a happy ending or a strong female protagonist saving the day.

Piles of Books

As a writer, it’s my goal to take my readers away from reality for a little while. Let them escape their world and step into mine. To allow themselves to fall under my spell for a bit and at the end, perhaps have been impacted by my story.

The feeling is indescribable when someone reads your work and is moved by your words.

Yes, writing is terrifying but the thought of never being able to write another word is unfathomable. It’s become a part of who I am. And that is why writing has become my escape, my own artistic masterpiece.

An excerpt from my novel Innocent Labor:

Elena pulled up to the Childer’s home and glanced around as she got out of the car. Toys were tossed carelessly amidst the overgrown grass and weeds, memories of a playdate long since over. The pretty flowers someone planted near the porch
swayed in the breeze and the metal wind chimes decorated with fairies and frogs danced in the afternoon sunshine. Whimsical gnomes placed in the planter guarded the front porch, armed with shovels, wheelbarrows, and bright smiles.

Although there were a few signs of disarray, this appeared to be a home that was shared
by a family filled with love and laughter.

As she walked to the front door, the uninhibited war cries and laughter of the neighborhood children floated along the evening breeze. Peals of laughter rang out as harmless insults hurled back
and forth. She looked across the street and watched the children chase each other, intent only on themselves and their games.

Such innocence should be protected and treasured for as long as
possible, the world could be an ugly and cruel place.

For more information or to get to know Just a HD Mom you can follow me on Twitter @MGEdwardsWrites and/or join my blog

Curled Up in Front of the Heater With Pen and Journal

My early memories of writing are based on cozy places.

I loved writing poetry and short descriptive paragraphs of the world I saw. My short stories were often decorated with little ink drawings.


Cozy writing places


In the winter, I would sit in the hallway in front of our forced-air heater. My desk was my knees bent in such a way that I could write for hours.

As I reached high school years, my “perch” as Dad called it, was at the kitchen table, on the couch, in the backyard under the walnut tree, or on the front porch. The porch held the sweet smells of Lantana and a lemon bush. If I brushed by the lemon branches a fragrance so clean and pure would linger with me until late in the day.


The Lantana would attract Monarch butterflies. I could point my finger in the air and a moment later a butterfly would perch on it. I was a quiet girl, and just sat and watched.



My favorite pen was a Bic Click with blue ink that wrote smoothly on newsprint, my writing surface of choice. Anyone could write on college-ruled paper. There was something in the feel of the ink gliding on newsprint that felt like satin. I still like it today.

When I got older and in college, my favorite spots to linger changed to the library and my car. I was a people watcher, and enjoyed gathering tidbits of people’s characteristics. That’s probably why I write with so much depth of description in my works. Not too much… just enough.

Today, I sometimes go to a busy mall or at the swap meet and listen intently to all of the conversations.

Those little pieces of dialog and accents become filed away for another story, a story with rich tones, and clear memories.

Source: via Elizabeth on Pinterest


Where do you write? And what made you begin?

Rusty LaGrange


Remembering Their First School Day

It’s been many years since my daughter stood at the bus stop for her first day of school. In the more remote areas of the High Desert you can see for miles and watch vehicles approaching your area. Those big yellow buses, always a curiousity to younger children, grew ominous and scary as the time approached for them to climb aboard.



I can still hear their excited and nervous chatter in anticipation. But when it arrived, everything changed…


First Day of School

         FIRST DAY

            Little birds fluttering over the bus stop,

            Soft eyes and smiles like hers.

            Beating incessantly, flustered in waves

            Within the wind’s tumbling gusts

            As cars whiz by.

            Joyous courage, wings of power

            Driving onward beyond pavement

            To the limitless sky.

            It stops: the doors open in one swoosh,

            a breath, a gasp.

            Little birds, hovering once, at the point

            Where hearts are torn and dreams are born.


By Rusty LaGrange © 1995

High Desert Bloggers Meet at Adelanto Starbucks

Bloggers like to meet and network at coffee shops.

A latte or blended coffee drink helps the blogging mode to kick in. Our bloggers wouldn’t necessarily need that extra kick, though. All we need is to meet up and network, discuss what we’ve been blogging about or our blogging plans, and creativity starts flowing.


High Desert Bloggers, Adelanto Starbucks

High Desert Blogger Joan and I met at Starbucks in Adelanto Saturday, August 4th. Joan is a gifted poet with three published books and a new one, Strength of the Small, to be published in September 2012. Joan is a beautiful person and inspiring to blog and talk with. Besides writing poetry, Joan blogs to inspire. Take a moment to visit Joan’s blog and receive your inspiration from this talented lady.

The blogging meetups motivate us every time, and today is no exception. I have begun a book about southern hospitality and entertaining but have become so busy with the day job and necessary daily living responsibilities that the book has been put on the shelf. While listening to Joan sharing about publishing Strength of the Small through, I was reminded of my decision to publish through that website.

If you’re interested in learning how to publish a book, visit It’s easy to set up an account and publish. It helps to speak with someone who has already been through the publishing route. Have publishing questions? Ask them in the comment section here, or you may ask Joan in the comment section of her blog.


Innocence by Joan Ambu

I was born free
Without personal sin…

Teach me acceptance
Teach me tolerance
Talk to me about your experience
Share your grievance
Share your strife
Warn me about the danger of Life.

Do not fill my mind with hate
Teach me to appreciate
Do not rob me of my innocence
Allow me to see the World’s magnificence
To bear my own consequence
To witness mankind’s ignorance
To experience indifference
To practice vigilance
To feel Love
To share Love
Knowledge does not update itself
Allow me to think for myself.

Do not add a twist to my fate
Hatred is not innate
Do not take away my joy
Do not shape me to destroy
Whenever you are upset
Remember, time we cannot reset.

Believe me
I will not forget
Do not scar me
I will regret.

© 2011 Joan Ambu. All rights reserved.
(An excerpt from Strength of The Small)

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