If Your Life Feels Like it’s ‘Missing Something,’ September’s Got a GIFT for You

Do you ever feel like there’s something missing in your life? Or that you don’t always feel on top of your game? Maybe you’re like me – out here hustling your way through the gig economy, which brings a certain level of stress, along with the freedom of working for yourself.

Or maybe – you’re in a rat race that feels it never (ever) ends.

Or maybe, your home life is full of the boisterous activities of children and you never seem to get a break.

Or maybe – ALL of these!

Regardless, September’s got a little gift for you. A huge reminder that if you don’t prioritize your own needs you’ll suffer, no matter what your life looks like on the outside or how well you think you’ve got everything managed.

You see, September’s a special month: Self-Care Awareness Month. And as a freelance health and wellness writer, I’m all over this. Clients are ordering blogs that fit in nicely with September’s focus on self-care and I’ve been covering some of these topics in my personal writing as well.

Here’s a little of what you can do to take full advantage of this gift of September, this month, and from now on! See the 3 links below to start right now getting your life back into balance.

Note: If you’re not a Medium member you’ll only be able to view a limited number of articles each month. If you want to read more than that – or if you want a killer side hustle just by telling your own stories! – then here’s where you can join for a tiny fee each month. Part of your fee will come to me as the one who told you about this wonderful opportunity! (Don’t worry – you get the same opportunity when you join this interactive reading and writing community!)

1. Investing in yourself and your talents

2. Taking excellent care of your body

3. Taking excellent care of your mind

Now, go forth and take the best care of yourself that you can! Share with us your favorite ways to self-care yourself to success by leaving a comment for other readers. And to stay in the know on this and other topics of interest for your personal journey – whether you’re a hard-working freelance writer or not! – then plop your email right here:

F & F on Substack – The Free Newsletter that Helps You Stay on TOP of Your Life!

I’ll leave you with one more thought to help you on your journey today:

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.”

― Henry David Thoreau

Thanks for reading today. I am Christina M. Ward a full-time professional writer. Yes! I make a living doing this very thing! There’s no greater day than one spent behind the pen…pushing words out into the universe and getting paid to do what you love. Join here to get started.

Fiddleheads & Floss—Big Announcement!

Hello to you!

There are some exciting things going on in the world of writing. Whether you are a reader or a writer or both, you likely know the power that words can have in our lives. Today, Fiddleheads & Floss Writing Services (aka—ME) has reached a milestone and I have you all to thank for it.

Writers who intend to write books must do just that—write the books. But, of course, life gets tangly. There’s this whole Covid thing. Sometimes we move to new towns, start or end relationships, wait patiently for a new grandbaby to be born. We bang our steering wheels in traffic and we curse when the delivery of groceries is not what we wanted. In short—we’re all out here adulting as best we can. It gets tiresome, right?

And I have a question for you today:

Do you think that there is more to life than this?

Really, think about that.

(Don’t worry—I promised an announcement—and it’s coming…)

But I want you to think back to a time when you were a small child and there was a wild sense of curiosity in you. Remember that time? No, no…don’t focus on the traumas or the disappointments of your childhood—focus on the child. The curiosity and often whimsical thinking of your childhood self.

There, now, you in the sandbox…you, chasing fireflies or playing ball…you with the mix-matched socks and the wild hair (and don’t care!)…let’s stay here for a while. You’ve been adulting, you’re tired, and you deserve a treat. A mental play treat. A treat made up of words that transport you to someplace else.

Sound inviting?

What’s the Big Deal?

Now for the announcement: Fiddleheads & Floss has released a second collection and it is a whimsical gift. A nature-bound playground that is waiting for your tired mind to just let go and let words. Let the power of words take you to places you really need to go. Let words whisk away the stresses of life and tickle your mind with a little good plain FUN with poetry. Sure, there are a few dark moments in there—but this book is more playful, more inviting, and more sensory-appealing than its predecessor; organic. Don’t get me wrong, organic was good—people loved it—but this new collection takes your heart and mind to a restful place where life can melt away.

Read it to yourself. Read it to your children or grandchildren. Let poetry soothe you and remind you to share those joyous and curious moments of life with them. We are so tangled in the complexities, the often weighted difficulties of life…that we need to remember our child-like souls. Our limitless dreams. I think, especially in light of last year—we need this.


As much as I needed to write this book—I think there are people out there needing to read this book.

Catch Your Fireflies!

So, my loyal fans and followers—the coolest people ever, in my humble opinion—will you show a little support? It’s easy:

✔ You can purchase your very own copy of fireflies

✔ You can share this post with your friends or forward via email to your friends and family.

✔ You can share a picture of you with your copy—on your social media—and tell others why you love the book.

✔ You can send a copy to a friend who needs a little sunshine in their life.

✔ You can leave a kind review—that helps writers SO much.

Preview of fireflies:

Back Description:

There was a time when you saw new things every time you went out into the world. The sunshine felt warmer. The clouds in the sky had names and faces. Each day brought some grand adventure and all you had to do was show up.

Who says when we grow up that all of these wondrous happenings must stop? Who says we can’t still look outside our windows and imagine all the adventures, all the joys, all the wonder life still has for us? Why shouldn’t we see the world with this type of curiosity and share that with our children, our grandchildren?

Some joys in life must be colorful, whimsical, fun, and mysterious. I see the world this way each day. Perhaps it is a coping mechanism. Perhaps it is a trauma response. Perhaps it is simply reminiscent of all those quiet hours I spent beneath a blanket as a child reading books and volumes of children’s poetry. I paint what I see and feel into poems. Because I must. Because it helps me to make sense of this world. And because I hope, you’ll come with me.

So you can see — even when the world feels dark, there is always light.

Just ask the fireflies.


Poetry Excerpts

An entire tree can be stripped bare
by ants. Let hope be persistent
as ants.

The gathered are powerful.

One by one, one piece at a time,
let a steady stream of hope carry away
all that weighs me
all that controls me
all that burdens me
still.

The gathered
are powerful.

—Let Hope Drip Here


Here it is.
A new year rising,
a great orange ball
of fire in the sky,
wearing my name
like a smile.—Tomorrows


oh yes, I’d live out my days
in the pages of a children’s book

far, far away ─ I can hear the faeries sing
turn the page dear friends

and let me climb in

—Within the Pages


A heart in the dark
learns to be
its own light.

—(Untitled)

BONUS: Fireflies features some artwork and photographs of other budding artists. I wanted to feature some visual images in this book and support other artists who are out there immersing themselves in their gifts and sharing that with the world.

Order a copy of fireflies:

Thanks, again, for being here on this journey with me. I hope you enjoy fireflies. In fact—I hope you always have fireflies in your life.

Christina M. Ward

FOLLOW ME ON AMAZON

Take Time for the Invisible People

You’d be surprised how much they can bless you.

Image by 👀 Mabel Amber, who will one day from Pixabay

This past week I shared a story to my Substack newsletter (a free subscription service!) and since then I have received messages and had some really personal conversations with some of my readers. The story, clearly, is affecting people. I have been meaning to share it here with you all and have had quite a busy week. But here we are, Friday, the cusp of a weekend again and I think the timing is perfect to share this and set the tone for your weekend. Let’s talk about the “invisible people.”


Many of you know, I have just moved into a new apartment. New to me, anyways. I have never been a particularly sociable person and most of the time I avoid people at all costs.

But in a busy apartment complex that’s next to impossible. Instead of running for the nearest bush to hide behind whenever someone speaks to me—I am trying a new strategy. Just talk to them.

I live in a rather cheap complex. There are people of all races and ages. Most of them have pets. Many in my building and the one next to me are older and live alone. There are some areas of the complex that are ripe with drug use and other areas with children playing. There are handicapped people, loud people, some very odd people, and some that never speak to anyone. People of all sizes, shapes, colors, and lifestyles.

When someone speaks to me—I have no real way of knowing whether they are one of the pot smokers, a regular worker, a friend or foe. Sure, I can look them over and try to decide, but this isn’t a very fair assessment. If it were, everyone that lives here would think I am angry and tired. Usually I am neither but my face tells a different story. When someone lifts a hand and asks how I am doing or comments on the weather—they are giving me a chance. It seems to me, the kindest thing to do, is to do the same for them.

Invisible people. Let’s get to that. What about the people who don’t move at the same pace as everyone else. Or communicate in the ways everyone else does. The people who move through society—whether it’s their age or health condition, or simply that they are lonely—and people just pass them by without paying them any attention. The older I get, when I am moving about out in public, the more I feel like one of these invisible people. And by saying invisible people, it is less about the people and more about those who overlook them. It is about what we choose as a society to value and to give our attention. It says more about us and how we treat people.

That guy in the wheelchair gets lonely just like you do. That older lady with the little dog, well, she gets tired or bored, same as you. The ones with the drugs—I’ll leave them alone for safety reasons, but everyone else? They are fair game for pushing my own limits, and for having a little small talk.

A funny thing happens when you open yourself up this way.

You begin to enjoy the quirks and oddities of people. You hear their stories. Share in their daily habits a little and begin to get to know them a little. And well, dare I say, you might actually like them. Soon you remember their names, their dogs’ names, and they remember yours. My dog, Josie, in fact, was instrumental in pushing me a bit out of my comfort zone. Dogs bring attention. And attention I have always avoided. But little furry ice-breakers that they are, they often take the burden off of you to start conversations with people.

So, a little more each day, Josie and I go out for our walks and we get to know people. Nice people. People that just tonight had me laughing ‘till tears when one of them shared a story about walking to the mailbox with the dog’s leash and getting halfway there before she realized she had forgotten the dog back at her apartment. We laughed and laughed. A whole group of “porch sitters” just congregating in the afternoon lull and sharing a bit of conversation about life.

And with the isolation of “the Covid year”—I’d say we all need a little more of that.

Say hello to the invisible people. The not-so-Instagramable people. The regular everyday folk who aren’t necessarily doing anything spectacular, but are walking around you in the same spaces as you, feeling all those same things that you feel. Have a laugh with one of them. Learn their name. It’s a real blessing; one you may not have realized you needed.

Take care,

Christina,
one of those invisible people with a little doggie

Spotlight on Poet Anna Shtorm and Her New Book ‘Friends Over Lovers’

Through the Eyes of a Poet, feature #14

Poet Anna Shtorm


Through the Eyes of a Poet series by Christina M. Ward
Featured Poet: Anna Shtorm

Objective: To encourage people to broaden their reading interests through poetry, support the poetry community, and introduce you to poets and their personal stories.

For updates on this series: Join this Author Newsletter.

Hello all you poetry lovers and fans of poets everywhere.

I am excited to share with you today the story of a poet. It fascinates me how I can sit here in my Mother’s farmhouse in rural North Carolina, on a Saturday afternoon, with Alexa playing me some nice meditation tunes, and tell you about a poet halfway around the globe.

Isn’t is glorious how poetry can unite us like this thread of creativity that can string across borders and oceans and cultures? So, yes, I am excited to bring you a bit of the inside story of a poet named Anna Shtorm, whose last name I have butchered over and over as I have prepared her post. (Please forgive me, Anna, if my typing fingers get it wrong anywhere, will you?)

But yes, this lovely poetess—let’s take a look at her and her work!


Anna is from Saint Petersburg, Russia, where she learned of her gift from a very young age. She began writing at the age of 4 and was encouraged by her grandmother who recognized her talent and pressed her to continue to pursue writing. I interviewed Anna about her childhood, what helped to develop her as a poet and artist, and about her poetic works. Please enjoy this story of a poet.

Childhood Shapes Us

Anna, tell me a bit about yourself, where you come from, and what your childhood was like.

I was born in Leningrad, USSR in 1987. I moved to the city of Penza at the age of 4, because my mom could not handle the arranged marriage she was put in. Mom secretly packed her stuff and left the house of my father and never came back.  I was raised in a (typical for Russia) same-sex family.  My mother worked three different jobs and my grandmother took care of the house. She also put her 5 cents in the process of my education by yelling at me and reminding me that I am just like my father.

My grandmother played a huge role in my artistic development as she was a teacher of Russian literature and the director of the school theatre. She made me love reading as our neighborhood library was her favorite spot. When I was little, she showed me how to rhyme and gave me the credits for the poems that she probably wrote herself or we wrote together. It seems to me that she was obsessed with making me successful as a writer. But she also compared me a lot to her friends’ talented kids, so I had an impression that I was a total failure.

When I was 18, I got a chance to go to the United States, and it was life changing for me. I experienced cultural shock not when I entered The States, but when I came back to Russia. I saw my country for the first time, really. By separating from it emotionally, I could see all these little imperfections and absurdities that surrounded me through my entire life there. So I decided that I should travel more to broaden my horizons. I did a couple exchange programs, lived here and there.

In 2014, I moved to Poland and started my career in IT in addition to writing. Today,  I have a Master’s degree in Journalism.

Anna, the Poet

Tell us a little about your work as a poet.

I like to describe human emotions the way they appear as relatable to many people. I am a highly sensitive person. Regular things that other people will not even notice knock me down. Sometimes it is so hard to recover that I use poetry as a coping skill to process what I feel.  (Christina, you had a great Medium article on it.)  But I do not want to just whine about it, I want to make it useful and entertaining. I want people to read my poetry, nod and say ‘Yep, I felt that too!’ And that means that we as human beings have shared experiences which is important if we want to understand each other and treat each other with respect.

(Author’s note: This is the article Anna was referring to on HSP: Turn Your HSP into a Creative Gift)

What inspires me? I combine my never ending love for rhymes with everyday observations. It’s little things in life that could sum up a joyful experience or make you feel like nothing makes sense. Your everyday bus trip to work or the person who you constantly meet in the supermarket. Those are little pieces of your life’s puzzle.  

Describe the vision/style/content/etc of your poetry?:

I consider myself a new formalist. I like rhymes, to be honest, I believe there is no shame in so-called forced rhymes if you use it ironically. I know  that is not in favor of modern English poetry but I can’t hold back. Probably, I carry it from my Russian poetry background where rhymes are essential. I enjoy describing modern themes using traditional form. All those subjects like the internet, social media and corporate work just sound more fun when presented with rhymes.

Where is your work currently published?: 

I often publish my poems on Medium and I’m also proud to announce that in August 2020 I published my debut poetry collection Friends Over Lovers. In this poetry collection I explore counter-dependent behavior. Why friendship feels safe and love tastes like danger. It is also about recognizing your pattern and breaking free. In addition to that I post some of the poems on my Instagram account.  Nowadays, there are so many ways to reach your audience.

Anna’s Work

What is your greatest hope with regards to your poetry?

I think it’s an ongoing process of mastering the craft. I hope that I can improve my writing style and expand my knowledge in this field. But the most important thing I hope is that poetry will always bring me this magical feeling of the universe whispering her secrets in my ear.

Does your poetry have a message or a theme that you want to portray to the world?

I used to say that my poetry is a digital sorrow wrapped in overdressed rhymes. I use poetry to let go of things and encourage people to reflect on themselves. I talk about feelings and everyday situations in a quite relatable way. I want people to read and nod and say, Oh yes, that’s me! That’s what I feel.

How do your poems come to you? And how do you take them from the initial inspiration to the final poem? Tell me about your writing process.

I have the impression that I don’t create them, instead, I recall them. Like these poems already exist somewhere in the universe and I just put them together piece by piece. Sometimes just the phrase comes to my mind, for example, “I like that Silence in my head, it’s very rare.” I write this down in my notes and come back to it later or finish it right away. Silence in my head

Or sometimes I say to myself negative things and after that, I try to change the mood of the message from negative to a positive one like in the poem Poetry is lame

Tell me about one of your poems that is very special to you, and why.

 I Am Just Waiting For Lunch is my all-time favorite poem, though I can see from the claps and engagement on Medium that it is not the most favorite for people who read my poetry. I like this poem because it is the combination of all things I appreciate in poetry: rhymes, rhythm, self-irony, sorrow and modern topic like never-ending work in corporations. When you feel sad about your office work, you can rap this poem in front of the mirror in the bathroom and feel better.

             I Am Just Waiting For Lunch

In the big open space, I am just waiting for lunch
I’m supposed to do work, but I didn’t do much.
Google, Facebook, and Twitter got me really distracted
These technology days you can’t be inactive.
If the next day I die and go to corporate heaven
Or another institution, or hell, or whatever
I ‘ll be asked to provide a report on that all.
Well, for most of the time I just stared at the wall.
I just waited eight hours for it to be over
For a meaningful life to show up and take over.
By the time I got home, I felt really worn out
There’s always next time to try fun stuff out.
I am just waiting for lunch in the big open space
For all things in my life, there’s time and a place.
I’ll be famous one day I feel it, I know
Just watch me, I ‘ll probably do that tomorrow!

I Am Just Waiting For Lunch on Medium

One last question, what would you say to readers who do not normally read poetry to encourage them to read the genre?

I think poetry can be extremely useful. You can use it in a variety of situations. You can memorize poems to train your memory. I don’t speak Spanish, but I like to memorize Spanish poems as an exercise. Obviously, you can use some poems as a pickup line or express your feelings. Believe me, you can impress someone with that if this person is on a romantic side of the spectrum. Last but not least you can use poems as a spell to fight anxiety. One of my favorite poems is Letters To The Roman Friend by Joseph Brodsky. I am afraid of dentists, so every time I am at the dentist’s office, I close my eyes and repeat this poem to myself. It helps me to focus on words and not on what is going on around me. And of course if you need a great phrase for your Instagram, Facebook or Twitter post poetry is your go-to source. 


Follow Anna Shtorm’s work:

Personal website:annashtorm.com

Medium link: Anna Shtorm on Medium

Twitter: Anna Shtorm on Twitter

Instagram: Anna Shtorm on Instagram

Author page Amazon: Anna Shtorm on Amazon

Author page Goodreads: Anna Shtorm on Goodreads

Book sales link: Friends over Lovers on Amazon

Other:Youtube: Anna Shtorm`s poetry on Youtube 

SoundCloud: Anna Shtorm on SoundCloud


Thank you for reading about this featured poet. I invite you to include poetry in your reading and give this genre a chance to enrich your life. I will be featuring poets on my blog (Author Website), in my newsletter (Author Newsletter), and on my Medium platform (Fiddleheads & Floss Poetry). I welcome you to read about these poets, support them, and perhaps find a poet that brings something very meaningful to your life.

Poetically yours,
Christina Ward, poet, author, and blogger
Become a fan
Purchase ::organic:: (My first poetry collection, 5 -star reviews and reaching BEST SELLER status for poetry books about nature!)

New Content Creator for the Popular News Break App

Here’s the skinny on News Break, what it is, and why you should follow your favorite content creators.

https://www.newsbreak.com/@c/561218

Have you heard of News Break? Well, I hadn’t either until they invited me to be a part of the new Content Creator Program, a paying content stream for my work. It is my understanding they have only accepted 200 writers to this program.

News Break is a popular free app that funnels local news stories right to your phone for you. Live in a small town? It’s ok because anything in your area will come to you–and it’s super helpful to stay on top of what’s going on in your area. If you want to download the free app, here’s the link to do that. FREE NEWSBREAK APP

You will likely see me sharing my profile all over the place as I need to build followership on this new platform. The platform pays handsomely, so I need to give this a good head start! (I mean 1K a month? Yes please.)

Please hop by and give me a hearty FOLLOW.

So far my statistics are looking in the “just ok but promising” category, but given the large numbers I have gotten right away on some pieces, the opportunity for growth is certainly there.

I plan to post local news, national news, and all kinds of self-help or educational pieces–maybe even some entertaining essays. I look forward to seeing you on NB!

Here’s how to get the app.
Here’s how to apply to be a content creator and earn 1K per month.
Here’s how to follow my account on NB.


Thanks for reading and stay safe these holidays! Stay home if you can.

Christina M Ward
Owner @

Fiddleheads & Floss Writing Services

Reaching Marrakesh

I am so proud of Samantha Lazar for completing this wonderful poetry collection. It was an HONOR to work with her on this project!

Samantha Lazar, Writer

I am thrilled to announce that I have at last published my first collection of poetry. I feel like I have been writing this book my whole life.

I really want to thank my mentor and poetry editor, Christina M. Ward of Fiddleheads & Floss for her guidance and assistance throughout the process.

Here is the link to check it out on Amazon. Thank you for your support! More projects to come!

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The Healing Power of New Beginnings

A Living Your Best Life / Fiddlehead Life feature post

Today I am grateful for new beginnings.

Yes, even the ones that are traumatic and painful. Because sometimes, life turns you right on your head. Suddenly nothing makes sense, everything is barreling in a new direction, and it seems everything in your life is totally out of control. Have you ever had a change like this in your life?

Suddenly he wants a divorce?
A loved one passes away?
You get fired from your job and suddenly have no idea what you’re going to do?

(Insert your trauma HERE.)

Life is a series of decisions and the results of those decisions. But what happens when it is totally out of your control and everything is turned upside down?

You’re traumatized. Maybe a little angry. Okay, maybe a whole lot angry. But being the dedicated optimist that I am, as I sit here in the midst of my trauma, I have to look for the silver lining or I think my head might actually explode.

Trauma happens to you. It happens to your mind. It happens to your body. And it happens to your life. If you struggle to control the trauma or force it away, you can often find yourself in a losing battle. After all, it wouldn’t be trauma if we had much of a say so in the matter, would it? So you dig in, you dig deep, you find your strength, and then you set out to find a purpose for this new direction in your life.

I suggest that you not only tie a knot in the end of your rope and hang on but that you grab onto that rope and swing out over that canyon like a child swinging out over the creek. Shout like a lunatic and laugh through tears. Release, release, release.

You have to find joy in your trauma as ridiculous as that sounds. You have find that one thing in your new beginning that you can cling to and call hope.

In the midst of my trauma right now, the biggest thing I can cling to is the excitement over living on my own for the first time. I’m 46 years old. I went from a family of seven in tight quarters to living with a new husband at the age of 18. I got divorced and remarried within a year. I raised my two sons and 10 years ago met up with my boyfriend and his five-year-old daughter and we have lived as a family since.

Until two weeks ago. My relationship over, I have to figure out what the hell to do with my life right now. We had all of these plans and ideas of what our future looked like together. All, gone. In a matter of about 30 hours, it all came crashing down and I found myself leaving with what would fit in my mother’s car. I left my cat and my dog behind. The air suddenly felt foreign to my lungs.

So, I have never lived alone. In my life. And I have always wanted to. This time, though it is a bit unexpected, I cling to that little bit of excitement to help me get through the unbearable pain and sadness that my body is experiencing right now. I cling to the vision of getting my own place. One that lets me retrieve my dog and my cat, and start over.

I envision wiping down the counters in the evenings after eating a meal in front of some TV show that I wanted to watch. I envision playing music when I want. I envision working in the peace and quiet of my own home. I envision decorating the place to my own liking without a care in the world is to what everyone else thinks about it.

I envision coming and going from my home with freedom, and without having to explain myself or my actions to anyone.

These are things I have never experienced before, so I am holding onto that vision to get me through these difficult times for my heart.

I’m not going to lie, it’s been extremely painful. Some of the time the tears overtook me so hard, I couldn’t breathe. I find myself walking outside in the dark at 3 am. I am forgetting what day or time it is.

Trauma can turn your life inside out and it can be horrifically painful. I’m not saying to pretend you’re not in pain. That would be counterproductive and unhealthy. Honor your pain. Admit it’s there. You have to STEP UP your self-care, listen to your body, and slowly work your way through the pain to find a place of peace.

And while you’re doing that–get on your rope swing and take a few chances looking for some joy with in yourself. It may take you a while to find it, but I guarantee you, it’s there.

With a new beginning comes new possibilities. It’s up to you to decide what those possibilities are and dig deep for the bravery it takes to pursue them.

Don’t let anyone call you selfish. You know the pain that you are in and you know what you’ve been through and you know that you are processing that pain in this moment. And don’t be afraid to call this a new beginning. New beginnings can be painful, yes. But they can also be immensely transformative in your life. Those pivotal moments happen so few times in our lives, that if you were to see those pivotal moments as an opportunity not to be missed, you can take back some of that control you have been missing.

That’s all for now. I hope you all are well and I hope you are taking care of yourselves and listening to your own inner voice that tells you what you need. Honor yourself and don’t be afraid to go after the life that you want!

Until next time,
Christina

“Doe Season in Mamma’s Kitchen” is Selected as a Feature Poem

Thanks to The Coil Magazine for selecting my work

Image by (El Caminante) from Pixabay

I am very pleased to share with you all that an exclusive magazine, The Coil, via Alternating Current Press, has chosen a poem of mine which I submitted to them in April of 2019. It takes a long time to hear back on poetry submissions, but they are so worth the wait to add credibility to your resume…so we poets submit and we wait and we hope.

I am excited to add this publication to my resume and share the post with you all here. Also this poem is a semifinalist for the Luminaire Award:

Your submission has been entered into the semifinalist round for the 2021 Luminaire Award, for a chance to win $100 and other prizes. Your submission will receive additional print publication if it is chosen as a Top-5 Finalist in the editor’s pick selection. We will be in contact with you further down the road when we are ready to lay out the forthcoming publication.

Alternating Current Press

Hop by there and see my work! The link is below 🙂

#CoilMag

Memorial Day 2020–Our fallen Soldiers Honored in Verse

a free verse poem to honor our soldiers on Memorial Day

Image by Myriam Zilles from Pixabay

For the Honor of Soldiers

Our tears find rest
in a sea of
white crosses.

We cannot raise
our thanks
nor their
loss — enough

to honor them.
Enough to remove
that dead look in the
eyes of their spouses,
their parents, their children.

We gave them a flag
as they buried you. 21-gun
salute shook their hearts,
trauma-bound, grieving.

Memorial Day celebrations,
since the 1860’s.
We give our moments
of silence. Sometimes
from our boats with a beer
in one hand and a hot dog
in the other — how
American
we are.

We lower our flags
half-mast and full respect
to honor their loss,
their sacrifice
for the country
we so take
for granted.

Let us, today honor
those who find rest
in a sea

of white crosses


Thank you, soldiers
for your service, for the life
you gave
for me.

Memorial Day~ 2020


Christina M. Ward
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Author Newsletter

Spotlight on Mark A. Schrader, Poet

Through the Eyes of a Poet series #13


Through the Eyes of a Poet series by Christina M. Ward
Featured Poet: Mark A. Schrader

Objective: To encourage people to broaden their reading interests through poetry, support the poetry community, and introduce you to poets and their personal stories.

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It’s funny how you discover things by accident. I’ve been working with this poet for some time now in the Poets on Medium Facebook group and had no idea he hails from the same town where I was born, Charlotte, North Carolina. Sometimes it seems people are millions of miles away from the other side of the computer screen. What a small world it can be sometimes!

Mark A. Schrader is the featured poet today and I hope you’ll take a little time to get to know this poet–what makes him tick–and see if his work speaks to you! (Catch up on the other Through the Eyes of a Poet Series features by clicking the tab at the top of the homepage on this blog. Thanks for following along and giving POETRY some space in your heart. We poets thank you!)


Mark has been writing for as long as he can remember and only recently began sharing his work on Medium. His work is very much an outward expression of what goes on in his heart and his mind. Driven by the need to record his inner workings–Mark creates poetry which explores his thoughts, his experiences, and very much his emotional reactions to it all. These poems function as a way to sort through all of those things, but also as a very important record of his place in this world–as a thinking, breathing, feeling human.

I think this is a very special thing to do and to have. Recently Mark wrote about an experience where he’d inadvertently deleted a passage of thoughts he’d recorded for the purpose of turning it into poetry:

Those words were precious. I don’t know when I wrote them. I don’t remember where they came from. But they were mine. They were a part of me. They were ephemeral. The words that haven’t escaped the ideas section of the note’s app could be lost forever with a momentary lapse and improper deletion. –Mark A. Schrader

You can just feel the emotion over his lost words. Words are precious and it is a beautiful thing to be able to transform our words, our thoughts, into poetry. I asked Mark to describe the vision for his work:

I think of it as my emotional mind. For me it’s tapping into the undercurrents that we paper over in our day to day lives. I don’t think of it as a specific type of poetry/style other than my attempt to understand what I’m feeling and remember it later.  Most written with little to no intent to share.

Poet Interview with Mark A. Schrader

Tell me about your writing process with regards to writing poetry, specifically.

I’m very straightforward when I write poetry.  I have a goal to get to the emotional core of the idea and get it on the page. I don’t usually think much about the form or lines until I look back later. Of course a general structure forms as I write but I don’t usually think about writing different poetry styles in the initial draft (which I may not realize is a draft until reading back through).

Tell me about one of your poems that is very special to you, and why.

This question is like asking a parent to pick their favorite kid. I love most of the poems deeply and for different reasons as they come from different times of my life.

If I had to pick one poem now it would probably be “Whose fault is this?” The words in there aren’t complex but there is a lot of emotion packed in. I think on the surface it can appear to be a simple conversation about a lost pen, though its really more about perception and understanding of self and the world around you and your place in it and using your time and talents wisely in the choices you pursue and don’t pursue.

Whose Fault is This?

It seemed to me some sort of sign

although many see things that are mere coincidence

and perceive them as they wish for them to be

I myself, I think

have misconstrued some of my past observances

as proofs of reasoning

proofs of discovery

proofs of love

truly, one can never know

what is a sign and what is not

one will determine something

the Act of a higher power

Another will see the event as their own creation

whatever is true,

I don’t know

I only want to figure it out

(continue reading)

One of Mark’s recent poems I particularly like–it is also a great example of enjambment:

Peace (Published in Scribe)

I find myself again, unable to

sleep. Never able to explain what

forces my mind to wander. In the past

perhaps sadness. Sometimes joy. Sometimes

loneliness. Tonight, once more, my

emotions stir. Is it tireless…is it

timelessness that echoes? I do not

wonder of places I would

rather spend my moments. I cannot think

of better alternatives. Loneliness and want

are nonexistent in this place. This

wonderful place occupied by my heart,

intertwined with the heart of one other.

Is this the one for whom I’ve searched?

Searched in my soul? Every waking moment

spent waiting/hoping for this connection. I

welcome this feeling. A feeling that is more

powerful than any before it. I once dared

fate to do its worst…It has done wonderful

things for me. I have been given love. I

have found peace.

If you had a piece of advice for other poets, what would that be?

Write for you.  Write what you want to express.  Read a lot. I know most writers say that but read everything. Read different styles and even try to emulate some but make sure what you are writing is yours.

What would you say to people who may not consider poetry to be “their thing?”

 I would say they haven’t found the right poetry yet. They haven’t found someone that speaks to them and shares their perspective. I may also ask if they listen to music.  I know the audio component changes the medium but most music is related to poetry.

One last question, do you define your poetry or does your poetry define you? Why?

Poetry is a part of the whole.  My life, my experiences, my emotions make up the whole and poetry and writing help fill in the empty spaces and makes me feel more solid.


Thank you for reading about this featured poet. I invite you to include poetry in your reading and give this genre a chance to enrich your life. I will be featuring poets on my blog (Author Website), in my newsletter (Author Newsletter), and on my Medium platform (Fiddleheads & Floss Poetry). I welcome you to read about these poets, support them, and perhaps find a poet that brings something very meaningful to your life.

Poetically yours,
Christina Ward, poet, author, and blogger
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