eBook publishing workshop was a success!

Lou Gonzalez led a wonderful workshop on formatting the eBook using Word last Saturday in San Andreas. The writers that participated are moving ahead with their writing projects and we’ll be reading their books on the Kindle or Nook or ipad some time soon!  You wouldn’t think that in such a small, rural atmosphere, we’d have this virtual neo-Renaissance of literary writing—but there it is and there we are.





How to Avoid Writer Procrastination

Every writer does this–makes excuses about not having time to write, whether it’s the pressure at work, pressing family needs taking precedence, or— fill in the blank for an excuse: 1)______________2)_____________3)____________________4)________________etc.  Does this ring a bell? Yank your chain?

Usually this kind of procrastination can hold a writer back from completing a writing project–it can prevent that novel from getting written, delay the book of poems from seeing daylight, or hinder the query letter from being finished. This is not productive!

 I have found that the best method to solve writer’s block and procrastination in writing your novel is to write in rebellion.

Yes, you heard right. Rebel against another activity that is distasteful.

Go ahead and procrastinate! I give you permission, even. But…..Procrastinate with something else!

 Find an activity that you should be doing, and to avoid doing that activity, sit down and write instead.This works out pretty well for me. Here’s a handy list of things you can choose  NOT TO DO so that you can make time to write. This is a healthy counterbalance to feeling guilty about not writing. It’s good for about 2,000 words of a rough draft of a short story, about 3,000 words of a novel chapter, or several poems.

The following is a handy dandy list of procrastination ideas to get you started:

 1.  Rebel against cleaning – Pretend you’re a Bohemian writer living in Soho or Greenwich Village in the 1960s or early 1970s. No one visiting you in this imaginary Bohemian artistic world would mind if there were earthy leaves lining the bathroom floor, brought in with the wind,  or a little fashionable clutter on your table, or even unmade beds. Being slightly slovenly was fashionable then–and also fashionable today.  Artists and writers used to sleep on their pin-striped mattresses without sheets and leave dirty dishes in the sink, sport unemptied ashtrays proudly displayed on coffee tables, and treat guests to a trail of clothing casually draped over furniture.  Ah, the good old days when non-materialism prevailed in the midst of wealth. Artists and writers coveted their preoccupation with their craft and their avoidance of material worldly clutter. Since you’re creative, you have no time for such mundane things as making a sink shine. You have more important things to do, like write your novel and make a splash in this world. You have important things to say.


2. Yard work — ignore it. Let the weeds take over. Don’t fuss over pulling a few errant plants or trimming off some of the dead stuff and fussing over detritus.These wild entities are perfectly natural in a garden. Why fight nature? You are an eco-naturalist and environmental protective agent. Get your journal out and go sit on your deck or yard and write while a gentle breeze and the warm sun massages your skin. Don’t look at your scruffy plants. The weeds will just get a little higher and become natural sculptures in your garden. Unwanted greenery even adds nutrients, in some cases.


3.  Call in sick one day to your daily job.  You could be sick if you continue like you are going–ignoring your creative side. Take a mental health day. Write in rebellion. Don’t answer any calls from work since you’re in bed writing.


4.  Rebel against checking your calendar and list of to-do items.  Un-check the check marks on your list by turning them into little O’s, then, leave your Franklin planner by its lonesome and take off on a journey–a day trip. Get in your car and go somewhere — without a plan. Have your laptop with you or your spiral writing notebook and a collection of favorite pens. Stop in a cafe for lunch or coffee and deliberately sit near people, and write down people’s conversations near you. Write this into your book-in-progress. You’ll never see these people again. Or park near a natural landscape that inspires you. You could do this on the day you call in sick and take care of two things on this list at once.


5.  Rebel against random shopping. Instead of going to the local drugstore or grocery store and buying things you actually need, but could well do without, put off the trip. Sit down and write instead. You can use that little box of baking soda sitting in your refrigerator to brush your teeth for a couple of days. Economy and thrift help writers to succeed in finishing their projects. Think how much money you will save!


6. Add your own activity that you can avoid right here: ___________________________.

Think of all the things you can procrastinate in doing–distasteful things and those chores you just can’t bear: finishing a project at home; washing your car or cleaning up the garage; doing extra things at home for your job; cleaning out the closets and sorting through memorabilia deciding what to give away to goodwill or what you can keep; or whatever you dread doing. Whatever. Make your list here so that you can choose one at any time to avoid when you need to write.


So–what are you waiting for? Quit procrastinating about writing and procrastinate with some other activity instead! Write in rebellion. Get to your keyboard or writing journal and fire away, while you neglect something else. Your guilt in ignoring the things you are supposed to be doing will be assuaged by the pleasure in writing. The underlying guilt will also give you an edge and a sense of urgency. If you do this at least once a week, picking one task or item a week, you should have a chapter a week finished and your novel completed in 24 weeks!

The other things, well, they will pile up. So what?  Your book will be read by others and may even become art valued by millions of readers some day in a few hundred years.  Who will care if you didn’t weed your garden or whether that little dust bunny grew into a monstrous rabbit that popped out of Lennie’s head in Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck’s little novel that the dog almost finished off? Or the March Hare from Alice in Wonderland.  Or Peter Rabbit running from Mr. MacGregor. But I digress, good thing. Instead of doing what I should be doing. Cleaning my toilet. Yes,  I digress. Blissfully so.



10 Great Writers Resolutions for 2012

Ten Great 2012 Resolutions and Other Writerly Activities to Stimulate Your Writing Life

1. Find more creative ways to counteract procrastination including physical pain, if necessary. German method: Slap yourself…but not too hard or you won’t be able to read what you just wrote down.

2. Reward ourselves for writing well.   Get a massage, a glass of wine or other libation, and a loving lick from the dog or cat. WE earned it! 

3. Write in rebellion to generate surprise writing. Type anything in a hurry not worrying about spelling, thought, ideas, or even coherence. Then,  just print it out. Circle the words that form or almost form and use them for something. Voila. Should be good for something. Second thought – get the cat to do it. Furry good words.

4. Put sticky notes with wise words, reminders, inspiring phrases from literary greats, all over the computer screen edge and in other places of the house, including the fridge door and coffeemaker. They will all fall off but the simple act of putting them there draws us closer to the act of writing. Bending over and picking up the drifting sticky notes is great exercise, too! On second thought… Get the cat to do it.

5. Find great lines out of books from favorite, ancient, and/or dead writers and type them up, print them out, and post them on the wall. When feeling inadequate, throw darts at the darn thing. Better yet, copy the lines and change them a lot. A lot, a lot. They’re yours, now, heh-heh-heh.

6. WE will finish our novel this year and get it out to an agent before 2013 arrives. So…how will WE do this?

Typing really works. That thing we do with our fingers. We shouldn’t worry about thinking. Just sit down and type and let  automatic conversation just pour out into the document. Or let’s try the Sony Dragon program and talk the entire novel into the microphone of the computer. It will type it up for us. WE are going to finish our novels this year. Plus, it would help if you would call or email me and nag, dare, or order me around. Let’s get bossy with each other. What else are writer friends for?

7. Back up all writers’ files so we don’t lose anything. Also back up emails and save  attachments.

Charles Herndon recommends the downloadable, free for awhile, viceversa program, which will back files up to an external drive and after that is done, will recognize new files, and back them up, for a very short process!

8. Find a way to make the writing space inviting. Get a massager for the chair, or get your cat and get her to stay there with you, purring away at your feet or in your lap. Better yet, get the cat to write for you while you pet him/her. Dogs won’t do that but they’ll keep your feet warm while you fire away at the keyboard.

9. Write rave reviews about your book even though it isn’t out yet. Put them somewhere in a drawer and sneak a peak at them. Everyone needs a cheering section!

10. LEARN WORD thoroughly. Write something coherent in your blog. Update Facebook regularly with something cool to read about. Update your NING page and blog. Make your web page look cool. Direct traffic over to it this year by putting up articles and information that people love to read about.




Gift-giving: Write a poem!

Dear Writers,

In shopping for the perfect gift comes a bit of stress in contemplating what to buy that special someone, or that distant relative, long lines at super stores and gift shops,  wrapping gifts once you get home, and then waiting to mail packages at the post office or mail store.  Avoid all the hassle and try this activity on for size: Write a custom poem, type it up and add it to a power point presentation slide or two, put it on a decorative background using publisher or some other program, add some photos to the slide show that you have personally taken, to share, put the entire power point in a digital photo frame, and then send it off to relatives and friends.

What a delightful gift that will sit on a counter or on top of the piano, or mounted to the wall, and remind them of you!

You can have the powerpoint transfered to a flash drive and send that little gift in a padded envelope. Add some original music or taped/transfered favorite music to the mix, and you can have them play this on their laptop or computer at will.  What a thoughtful gift.

If you need feedback on your poem, contact me.




Art Reception – Hard-Edge Design and Writing Workshop on Ekphrasis – Writing About Art –

Gary Rose, artist, and Monika Rose, poet, had a reception on Friday, October 14, from 2-7 PM, for an art show, ekphrasis workshop, and poetry reading/signing at the open house reception at Mountain Ranch Community Center in the darling community of Mountain Ranch! Art show and reception occurred 2:00 P.M. through 7 PM – with artist Gary Rose, featuring his large, geometric hard-edge design wall sculptures and join a chat with the artist about minimalism, design, and modern art. His work will be visible from October through November at the center.

EkphrasisWorkshop  (writing about art) with Monika Rose   3-4 PM Writers and public art lovers enjoyed this art form, which is writing about visual art, dramatic art, presentation art, and more.  River by the Glass, a 212-page collection of poems spanning two decades, was signed by the author.



Red Room comment

Author Comment:

River by the Glass is an eclectic 212-page collection of poems that explores life and the living of it. River by the Glass is a collection of poems spanning two decades. The poems, says publisher of River by the Glass, Ron Pickup of GlenHill Publications, contain a whimsical wit and metaphysical humor ~ poems such as “Carp” or “Eye” ~ and such poems as “A Poet” or “Yellow the Dead Canary.” With biting humor and haunting verse, found in “Chester and the Bluebird” and “On the Fence,” the poems reflect visual puzzles and conundrums of life, thus the viewing of the River ~ by Glass ~ through lenses, windows, screens, mirrors, and drinking vessels. Rose recalls a time in her childhood when her barefoot ways met the barbarism in the human defacement of nature ~ broken beer bottles with ugly shards of brown glass marring the lovely boulders, sand, and water purity of her favorite river haunt, the Kern River. She could never understand how people could deface the lovely places in our lives ~ the only kind of refuge from the asphalt and concrete world that levels our aspirations and deadens our nerves and senses. Yet, in a strange kaleidoscopic way, those shards of glass that derived from sand and water, seemed to glitter and demand meaning for being what they were ~ products and reality. They existed and they were there, clashing with the ideal of what she envisioned. This collection is her way of cleansing some of the unpure places in the human heart and exploring the mysteries in human behavior as well as the natural movements in nature. It is a celebration of life in the natural and unnatural worlds that collide within, and without us. Yet, it’s not a collection of judgment and critical pointing of fingers. It’s also a glimpse into the quirky behaviors of man as well. The leaving of loved ones and the world of dementia ~ the meeting with a deer that connects the aspects of wild and tame ~ parthenogenesis, gold panning, gardening, skipping stones, finding a harmonica in the river sand ~ making coffee in the morning ~ the dying of friends ~ the haunting by a black dog when even holy water couldn’t protect enough ~ contemplating the breaking of a bull pine limb while a couple sleeps ~ the celebration of a woman’s cycle of birthing coming to an end with the flow of the “Tuolumne River” ~ and poems that whimsically explore love through visions and images of the particular, spilling into the universal. All of these and more… Take a sip of River by the Glass and quench your thirst. You may find yourself drinking harder than you thought.


About the poem, Harmonica, from River by the Glass, and notes by the poet, Monika Rose

One of the most interesting things I ever found was a tiny harmonica on a chain at Tuolumne Meadows, embedded in the sand bank, close to the Tuolumne bridge that traverses the Tuolumne River. The one-inch harmonica lying in the sand, attached to a tiny chain, sported four tiny reed holes. I tested the sound, a resounding and high-pitched tweedle–which added harmony to the river burble and the distant murmur of a pair of lovers’ voices dangling over the bridge. I gave the harmonica away, and then got it back and promptly lost it somewhere. Some things continue to want to be lost. The memory of my friend who passed away, fellow poet Julia Holzer, is intertwined with that harmonica. She was with me when I picked it up. She has been lost to the river of sky, no longer with us. The music of the harmonica still sings to her somewhere. Someone lost that harmonica. I wrote a poem about the losing. I wonder whose amulet it was. I wonder if they will find me through the poem. It won’t matter. The harmonica remains lost. The poem stays. If someone reads it, the harmonica will be found again, though in another form.

Side note having nothing whatsoever to do with the poem: The moniker, “harmonica” had been attached to my name, Monika, by my old Geometry instructor Mr. Flynn, who, in his darling Boston accent, would call out “harmoniker,” referring to me, while erasing the board with the elbow patch on his tweed coat and at the same time, and with the same arm, writing new material on the board simultaneously with erasing the old.   

Notes by the poet on the poem, “Harmonica, ” in River by the Glass




Forgetting the music

But finding new sound

Here by the river

Where stone shapes the

River songs,

An amulet glitters

In the sand


A talisman lost

By a lover

Maybe, last night

Here, by the water

Straining under the weight

Of new romance


A four-holed harmonica

On a black string tossed

In a groan

Or a sigh

Flown into sand

Reeds altered by grit


Bitter on the tip

My lips almost envelop

The musical words

Wondering how

The tryst went

How deep

Did it slip

And how the

Taste lingers.




Vulgarity on the Rise

A recent controversy arose, with a good friend of mine doing battle with a barbaric element so prevalent in modern day speech–the expletive.  How necessary is it to bombard a reader or listener with a barrage of the seven dirty words you can’t say on TV or Radio that George Carlin made so humorous?  We used to save the uncontrollable outburst of words for something special — a particularly bad moment of desperation — so bad that no descriptive set of words could describe its depravity.  Now, it seems as if bleeping is fashionable — and verborrhea is the language of choice.

My friend who hosts a radio show decided, and with good reason,  not to air an interview with a writer, another friend, who read a peppered passage aloud on the air. The passage included sexual references, and it  included three of the seven words you can’t say on the radio or on TV, with an assortment of  graphic violent images.  Now the writer who was interviewed says that the public wouldn’t be bothered by them. He wants it aired in the name of free speech. The argument concerns whether a broadcaster and show host controls the creative content of his/her own show and has the right to not air material.  The answer is yes.   My friend decided not to air the show and I support her decision to maintain the quality and flavor of the show she designs.

It’s her show, her idea, her script, and her decision.

Why not bleep out the offensive expletives and content as is done in TV reality shows, such as the bounty hunter shows, or the Repo show, in which every other word is bleeped out? We still know what the word is that is bleeped out, so in effect, the attention is called to that word in its deletion.

An interview is not the property of the person interviewed, but it belongs to the broadcaster who designed and recorded the show and provided the venue. Much like a photo is taken of someone and kept, shown to others…the photo is not the property of the subject of the photo, but of the creator of the photo.

Should someone being interviewed for a show assume that at say, 9:00 AM on a Sunday morning, or at any time during family hours, children will be listening as they ready themselves for church, or family activities? Yes. Families having a leisurely, relaxing morning at the breakfast table, turning on an enriching, artistic show about writers and their craft are listening, and are not prepared for expletives.  Most people do not want to hear crass language while they are preparing for a daily homily or listening to a show about authors, or while they are having a family breakfast on the weekend.  

Offensive language mars the artistic sensibilities of listeners not prepared for it. Especially on a Sunday morning. And tell me when the big seven unbleeped expletives are heard on AM radio? I think most broadcasters are classy about keeping the air waves listenable  and spare the listener  crassitude.

My friend, the host, has an  analogy for this situation and it is a good one: You’ve invited guests over to your home, and they behave badly, swearing and cursing up a storm, which insults and offends your sensibilities. Can you kick them out? Hell, yeah. Pardon my French. A radio show or any interview with invited guests is similar. The content belongs to the artistic, designer/host,  to edit or to not use, if he or she chooses, whether it be due to poor quality of the recording, or due to  inappropriate or uninteresting content.

Long story short: when you are invited for a radio or TV interview and you have selections to read from your book,  keep the broadcaster and audience in mind, and show him or her, as well as the host and audience, some common courtesy.  Think of it this way: You are an invited guest. Demonstrate good manners.  Select passages that the general public will be interested in, as well as children, the elderly,  the infirm, readers from all walks of life. Honor those who would love to just quietly eat their morning roll and have their coffee without the vulgarities of the world intruding into the comfortable air space of their home.  

Do interviewees want people to turn the station and not listen to the rest of the interview? It comes back to this: Know your audience. If it’s a late night show catering to college kids, then there may be some laxity there, and a shift in expectations, depending on the nature of the show. But generally speaking, for a public arena, such as a reading, interview, media presentation, or show, keep that general audience in mind.

Remember those nostalgic, free-wheeling ’60s? Some of the free speech advocates of the ’60’s, those who thought they could say and do what they pleased,  myself included, just grew older and matured.

But a few, hung onto the need for shockarrhea.  Ho hum. As if we’ve never heard the words before.  In appropriate context, and at the appropriate venue, when people know what to expect, no problem. But don’t shove them down our throats. Keep the potential bleeps to your bleepin’ self.

Now that all of that ranting is over….have a wonderful, non-bleeping day!