Do You Have or Want to Be a Muse?

by Art Editor, Carl Scharwath

Muse is defined (in Greek and Roman mythology) as the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, who presided over the arts (and sciences.) In literary history, Ezra Pound reins supreme. As a poet he started the new poetry movements of Imagism and Vorticism. As a muse he helped to launch the careers of William Carlos Williams, T.S. Elliot, Hemingway and James Joyce. He was the editor for the T.S. Elliot masterpiece “The Wasteland” as well.

As an artist, I feel we all need someone to support us. Art can be a lonely task and having some support and recognition of all our hard work inspires us even more. Of course, your God is your number one place for help and love, however I don’t know when God could ever edit or give you feedback on your work, although I wish he could. Therefore, an engaged Muse is so very important.

If you have a Muse, then you are very lucky indeed, but if you do not there are many places to seek. Your family or friends are hopefully supportive, but if they are not artists themselves, your work and their interest in it might get lost to the busy life they lead. The best place to find your Muse is in another artist.

How do you go about finding or being a Muse? One word: !!FACEBOOK!!. I know some of you do not use Facebook and yes, the selfies, cat videos and food pictures can be fun, but this social media platform reins king for networking. I could not believe how many artists, writers and photographers there are in the world and discovering them on social media is a true blessing.

All you need to do is reach out, read their work, compliment them and share your writing. Begin to build your friend base with writers and artists. I would also look for publications and editors as well. The support you will discover is real and when you find a few loyal friends, the ideas, successes and failures can be shared.

Join just one large writer group on Facebook. Some have over 5000 members and they are a treasure trove for new connections. (You can join more if you like, however every time there is a posting you could be notified.) A great group I found is “Calls for Submissions,” which posts daily Literary Journals seeking out your work.

The best way for you to meet people locally is to leave your comfort zone and read your work at an open mic event. You can also join a local writer’s group or start your own. Contact your local high school and if you are comfortable you can offer to teach a writing class. I have done all of the above examples and have had great results.

One idea which worked the best for me was to reach out to other poets and offer to do a collaboration. The new friend wrote a poem complimenting my photography and then I would do the work to submit for publication. I have worked with over 10 poets, mostly female and from other countries (as I prefer the dynamics of a feminine view with an international perspective.)

Everyone I submitted was published and 5 of the poets had their first publication working with me. Collaborations are a great way to be a muse to each other and help a new poet to be published.

As the Art Editor for Minute Magazine, I am always happy to see your work. If you need any help, please reach out to me on Facebook and I will be most happy to be of assistance. You are never alone in your art; there is always someone who would like to help you on your journey and of course I hope you find your Muse or become one. Thank you.

Interview: In Conversation with Daginne Aignend

by Art Editor, Carl Scharwath 

Daginne Aignend is a contributor for Issue Three. 

What sparked your interest in poetry?

I always played with words—mostly little stories in my head. I started to write them down at the age of fourteen, but then suddenly it was a poem. I thought it was a creative way to ventilate my feelings.

When did you realize you were a writer?

Writing was and is for me a “fun project.” At some point, I thought it was a pity when my poems only were read by me. I wanted to share my words, so I started to write in English instead of Dutch. When a poet friend I met on Facebook encouraged me to submit my work— and it was accepted—I realized I must be a writer.

How do you begin a poem?

No rules. Sometimes a line pops up, sometimes it’s a few words, not in any particular order, and my mind starts to spin a poem.

Has your idea of what poetry is changed since you began writing poems?

Sure. In the beginning, I thought all poems should rhyme. When I found out that free verse existed, I could finally express myself in the way I wanted. Rhymed poetry can be a restriction but also a challenge; it isn’t so easy as it seems.

What type of poems do you find yourself writing most? Do you have a recurring theme?

Free verse and no special theme. I can write about the sweet fragrance of wildflowers and the next time about the pollution of plastic waste in the oceans.

Tell us about your process—how do you write?

Pen and paper beside my bed; if I have a strong idea, I must have the possibility to write it down immediately. Fortunately, it doesn’t happen so often because I can’t catch any sleep after these brilliant scribbles. I write on my computer with a grammar checker afterward because English isn’t my native language.

I know you are also a photographer. Can you describe how your photos compliment your poetry?

For me, it’s actually more the other way around. If I have written a poem, I see if one of my photos fits the poem. Sometimes the photo needs some photo editing. On my fun project website, I have a category called “Friends in Poetry” where I publish the poems of poet friends together with an image, which is often one of my photos.

What do you want the world to know about you?

I don’t think it is so important to share as many credits as possible, but a little about the writer or artist is appreciated by the reader. My bio tells enough in a few lines about me.

 


Daginne Aignend is a pseudonym for the Dutch writer, poetess, photographic artist Inge Wesdijk. She likes hard rock music, fantasy books, is a vegetarian who loves her animals. She’s the Poetry Editor of Whispers and has been published in many poetry journals, magazines and anthologies, in the ‘Tears’ Anthology of the NY Literary Magazine to name one. She has a fun project website www.daginne.com.

Carl Scharwath resides in Mount Dora, Florida. He has appeared globally with 100+ magazines selecting his poetry, short stories, essays or art photography. He won the National Poetry Contest award for Writers One Flight Up. His first poetry book is “Journey To Become Forgotten” (Kind of a Hurricane Press). Carl is a dedicated runner and 2nd-degree black belt.

A Quitter is Not Always Never a Winner

by Cindy Song, Editor-in-Chief

Quitters never win. That is a phrase I’ve come across numerous times, one that is reflected in countless novels, childhood stories, and even Internet memes. Certainly, a phrase that has been reiterated so often has to have some truthfulness to it. And I’ve experienced this truth when reflecting upon the many times I toiled through a homework assignment even when the clock read 1:00 a.m. Great people only achieve greatness by pushing themselves to success, though that success may be as minor as finishing an essay for English class.

However, where is the line drawn? What happens when the determination to not quit starts to take its toll–on health, on spirit, and on mentality? When is quitting a better option than not quitting? It seems that sometimes, people are so bent on pursuing this single goal in a narrow mindset, that they forget there are possibly better options out there. It all boils down to choices and what really matters to the person.

Last spring, I made the decision to quit my school’s varsity tennis team. I had played on the team for my freshman and sophomore year, although as an alternate (most of the underclassmen were designated as alternates). The reason I quit wasn’t that of anything skill-related; I was actually one of the best players out of the alternates. However, it was the vast amount time and energy I needed to pour into being on the team–long matches that stretched late into the evening, often clashing with my homework time and orchestra rehearsals–that made me wonder whether being on the team was the best decision. Every day after practice, I would come home feeling drained and still have a mountain of homework to do along with repertoire to practice. Yes, I loved the sport and made many amazing friends on the team, but my personal health was put on the line. I simply had too many activities to juggle.

It’s true that I sometimes regret my decision. Whenever I see my ex-teammates dress up for game days, or hear announcements of the team’s recent win, I feel a twinge of bitterness in my heart. When I dig through my closet and find my old tennis uniforms, I feel that same twinge. But as I look at the bigger picture, I realized that it was for the best. After quitting the team this fall season, I could focus more on writing and music and my other hobbies. My passion for tennis still hasn’t faded–I still play whenever I have some free time.

Quitting doesn’t always make you a loser. It can be a symbol of strength, that shows you know how to make the best choices for yourself. Of course, there are times when quitting isn’t the smartest option, when gritting your teeth through the hurdles is the only way through. And that perseverance, that unwavering determination is a quality I respect in people. The difference lies in the bigger picture–there is no set path to being a winner, but it’s up to the competitor to decide which path to take. The road to happiness isn’t a straight line, and neither is the road to failure. There are long and winding roads, and there are also short and easy ones. So take your eyes off the road once in a while and enjoy the scenery around you.

Interview: In Conversation with Amanda Sinco

Our Art Editor, Carl Scharwath, recently interviewed Amanda Sinco, a fine arts photographer from Orlando, Florida. Read the conversation below, and stay tuned until the end of the post for some gorgeous samples of Amanda’s work!

A word from Carl: I wanted to share this interview I had with Amanda Sinco. She resides in Orlando, Florida and is a friend from our previous employment. When I first started to write, she provided my bio photo and two more photos for my first published short stories. Until now, she did not know that I was inspired by her work to begin my own journey into the beautiful world of art photography. Perhaps she will inspire you as well. Please visit her website: amandasinco.com.


What first sparked your interest in photography

Amanda: I was always interested in photography. My father was a photographer, and several people in my family are photographers, and we had a dark room at home. Growing up, I was exposed to the art but was never allowed to touch my father’s camera. He thought I might break his camera and told me it wasn’t a toy to play with. At the time, I’ve always composed a photograph in my mind when I look at the scenery or just different objects. I still do that a lot to this day, except now I have a real camera that I can use to take a picture. People who know me always hear me say this would be a good angle when I’m looking at something. It’s just how my mind works naturally.

What inspires you in general? 

A: Beautiful subjects like nature and sometimes even people and everyday life; the list goes on. I think nature is so beautiful and I would like to share that beauty with the world. I think a lot of people take nature and everything around them completely for granted. I also like to take pictures of buildings once in a while.  I am constantly experimenting with different subjects but nature is my favorite subject to photograph.

Which do you do more often: get an idea in your head then set out to get it, or go out trying to get ideas and then come across something you like?

A: I think I do a little of both. I go out to an area because I know the area is beautiful and I try to pick a time that would be ideal for the photograph I am trying to take. Then things just happen and I take the picture!

When you get this idea in your head for a photo, how do go about getting that shot? 

A: I look at the scenery and just take the picture that I think would look best. Then, I pick and choose from the pictures that I took.

How do you know when you get “the shot”? 

A: You just know when you take the photograph.

What type of camera and equipment do you use? How do you get such vibrant colors in your photos? 

A: I shoot with a Nikon D800 and use my 16-35mm wide-angle lens a lot.  I also have 18- 300mm zoom for close ups. I am not too fond of my tripod but I bring it with me in case I need it. On one occasion, I had to take over 200 exposures just to be able to capture lightning in the distance by propping my camera up with a windowsill. This was when I realized that the tripod is very important. For my photographs, I see the vibrant colors in my mind, so I make sure to make my photographs as vibrant as the way I see it. Then I enhance the photos through post-editing.

Any advice for first-time photographers? 

A: Experiment, experiment, experiment! I still experiment to this day and will never stop. Take the picture the way you want to take it, not because someone told you that this is the only way. I don’t believe in conforming to the standards of this or that. The only standard you should conform to should be the one you feel is best for you and your taste. There are several photography classes out there that one can certainly learn from; I would use that as a starting point. Art, after all, is anything you want it to be. As the saying goes: beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.


Samples of Amanda’s photography:

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To see more of Amanda’s work, visit her website amandasinco.com.            

Minute: Pursuit of Happiness & Writing Till the Last Breath

by Kinzey McHale, Prose Editor

I’ve been asked one question too many times over my short life: what do you think you’ll do in life?

To be truthful, I have no set plan for my life. My main goal is to earn my GED and then focus on developing myself. Learning what makes me happy. As of now, that is all my plan contains. No college ideas, no career ideas, no detailed life plan, no rush. I’m living as I go, and learning as I experience new things. I’ve had tremendous pressure on me, from my mom primarily, to excel in school and begin college this fall. My “plan” was just to follow her plan. Unfortunately, that plan fell through in late May of this year. My mom passed away from a heart attack.

Everything happened so quickly. After going to the hospital and saying goodbye to her still body, my little brother and I moved in with our older brother. It all went down over the course of a few hours, from the first signs of her heart attack to seeing her in the hospital. It was immediate and startling having to live with someone we haven’t lived with in years, as well as his girlfriend of two years. I hadn’t known her very well, but I knew my brother and I knew that whoever he chose to live with was a good person. So, we accepted the move to his townhouse in Laurel, Maryland.

It’s been almost two months since my younger brother and I were completely uprooted from our lives in Stevensville, Maryland. We’ve both adjusted fairly well, and are closer than ever before with our older brother and his girlfriend. I’ve gotten closer with her and consider her family, call her my “second sister.” My older brother, who is in his mid-twenties, has shown me business tricks and helped me further my interests. Recently, my laptop broke and he let me use the desktop for a while, until I started to want to write when he was working on it. My “second sister” offered her old laptop, the laptop on which I’m currently writing this piece. That kind gesture has allowed me to continue an incredibly therapeutic hobby.

My mom taught me how to write when I was six years old, citing it a necessary skill in life. Although I knew how to write, I didn’t know how to actually create art. I’ve helped co-workers design event posters, edit short stories, and assist with speeches. The ability to bind letters at a moment’s notice has strengthened numerous work relationships, attracting attention to me and my skill set. Above all the other things she showed me, she taught me how to weave life with words.

My love for reading and writing was nurtured from age six, continuing well into my teens. That’s one reason I’ve been accepted as Minute’s new Prose Editor! I always hoped that having an insatiable appetite for writing would bring me amazing opportunities like this. My hope is to eventually be a fully-employed writer for a magazine publication, whether it be a tiny advice column or a travel spread. Somewhere I can spread what I’ve learned to others, offer a place people can go to for fresh thoughts. I’ll work as hard as I can for a career in which writing is necessary, no matter how much it takes from me.

As long as I have a pen and paper—or in most cases, a laptop—I’ll be writing until my last breath.

Photoem: The Crux of Poetry and Photography

by Carl Scharwath, Art Editor

Is the photograph dependent upon the poem or is the poem dependent upon the photograph?

I love poetry and I love photography, but in my opinion, I find combinations of the two to be difficult to master. One or the other might have to be sacrificed to “fit creatively” with the other.

To borrow from  Frederick Sommer: “If we can feel that whatever finally happens was not done at the expense of the thing photographed, we are okay. But many things, not only in the arts, not only in photography, but in many walks of life, get us rudely tangled with the awareness that one thing has been done at the expense of another. Something was  skinned to the bone; something was absconded with.”

Why not think in terms of their working together, harmony, counterpoint, tension, and of course dialogue? Should we look for the poetry in the photograph or the words giving light to the moment in time captured by the camera? In my work the image is the birth of my idea followed by fragments of poetry to complete the reflection of thought. I have also worked in collaborations with another poet, where the photograph was presented to her and she created the poem to compliment. This adds a new dynamic of two artists attempting to enter the psyche of the others art.

As your new art editor, perhaps you will be inspired to attempt this. I would love to see your work published!