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

A Poet You Should Know: Samantha Lazar

Through the Eyes of a Poet series #8

Through the Eyes of a Poet series by Christina M. Ward
Featured Poet: Samantha Lazar

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.


I am excited to bring you another issue of the Through the Eyes of a Poet series; a series I hope you are enjoying. It is a true blessing to me to bring you the stories of these creative spirits. Today, I’d like to introduce you to a poet friend of mine, Samantha Lazar.

Samantha is originally from Madison, Wisconsin but now lives in my home state, North Carolina. We toss around the idea of having coffee together sometime when I am out her way–and if the poetic stars align, we shall.

Samantha was a born storyteller.

Her family reports that she has been telling stories since she first learned to talk. Today, she tells stories through poetry. Her poetic spirit came alive very early in her life. She spent a lot of time alongside the feed corn fields in Wisconsin, dreaming she was a doctor to the faeries, making dandelion chains, and making up stories in her head. Her love for this time in nature has brought her to poetry. What began as an escape for her from childhood trauma, the dissension in her parents’ relationship, and her father’s recurring illnesses, became a way to express herself through creativity.

Samantha’s education has prepared her for a successful writing life. She has a Bachelor of Science in English and Education with a concentration in creative writing from Appalachian State University, as well as a Masters in Education, with major in Academically, Intellectually Gifted Education (AIG). She’s been teaching writing, English, and Language Arts to students of all ages since 1998.

Samantha is a Top Writer in Poetry on the Medium platform. For those of you unfamiliar with exactly what that is; Medium has Top Writer status in many of their tags and only 50 of their writers obtain this status for each tag. To be one of them is an honor, especially in the highly competitive Poetry tag. Samantha publishes her work on Medium as well as on Samantha’s personal website. She’s currently working on 2 projects for publication so be sure to follow her (links at the bottom) to stay informed!

Without further adieu, here’s an interview with Samantha on her body of work, her vision, and her thoughts on the poetic genre:

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

I write mostly free verse poetry about a variety of topics.  I write often about nature and my observations during daily life.  I tend to write emotional pieces about life, motherhood, healing from childhood trauma, the state of the world.  I also enjoy rhyme and rhythm.

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

Any time I think of an idea for a poem, I write it down. I will grab a scrap of paper, if my notebooks are not with me, or I will use the notes app on my phone. I do not want to let amazing details slip by.

My students (I teach 5th grade) say remarkable things. Their wisdom sparks curiosity in me. I write questions and words and make a million lists.  Then I sit down to write my poem. I combine thoughts together. If I feel something while I am writing (usually this comes in the form of jitters in my solar plexus) then I know I am on to something.  

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

One poem that is very special to me is titled Yom Hashoah.

Yom Hashoah is Holocaust Remembrance Day.  In Hebrew, “shoah” means “whirlwind”or the catastrophe. One of the traditions on this day is to read aloud the list of names of people who perished.  People take turns reading the names all day. A few years ago, I wrote this poem after spending 20 minutes reading names from the children’s list.

(excerpt)

Their names slip from the list
to my lips
and they are the flame

the uprising
the hope
of the forgotten

Not even a whirlwind cyclone of
hate sprayed
fear epidemics
could un-light these flames

Read this poem in full at: Yom Hashoah


This poem can also be listened to, as recorded by the poet:

Listen to Yom Hashoah

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

Poets need sacred pauses. Stop to notice your life. Recognize yourself for a moment.  It is important to allow your senses to find the words.

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

I would ask them, What is your thing? When they tell me what their thing is, I would ask them to describe why their thing is their thing. Then I would ask them to tell me how their thing looks, tastes, smells, feels, sounds and any of their favorite memories associated with their thing. Then I would tell them that they just wrote a poem.

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

I do not want anything to really define me. If my poetry defines me, then it is up to the reader to say who I am. That is limiting. My poetry can help piece together the parts of me that I share. So in that essence, I suppose I define my poetry.


I am sad to report that Samantha lost her father due to illness this past week. She wrote the following poem about her experience.

in the rough
you recognized me
your blue eyes, blazing
searched the surface
for the mouth that tried
to sing to you
to help you sink back
away from the pain
impatient hearts
are still strong
broken bodies still heal
if they take a chance
to live

Hearts
by Samantha Lazar (written for her father who passed away this past week)

Thank you Samantha for taking some time to share your beautiful work with us. The poetry community also reaches out with empathy in this difficult time for you and your family. I know that writing can be very healing, cathartic, and can get us through the most turbulent times. May poetry be there for you when you need it most, my friend.

Christina

Follow Samantha’s body of work or connect with her on social media:

Personal website: Samantha Lazar Writing

Medium link: Samantha Lazar on Medium

Medium poetry publications: Sky Collection Project by Samantha Lazar

Newsletter:  Subscribe to my newsletter. Other:  Twitter




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 ⭐ reviews and reaching BEST SELLER status for poetry books about nature!)

Introducing Poet Nikki H. Rose in a Personal Interview on Her Poetry

Through the Eyes of a Poet series, #1

Nikki H Rose has come a long way from writing about a Marshmallow Queen in kindergarten, the first of her writings she remembers making her proud. 

Today she’s a well-educated English teacher with a knack for writing emotional and personal poetry. 

Setting the scenery for a poet

Nikki was born in the great state of New York, but grew up in a rural area of Vermont, surrounded by trees and various mountains where she went skiing and ice skating regularly. 

I am already picturing the quaint scene–snow, red cheeks, smiling faces. 

Nikki lived on the side of a mountain, attending high school only ten minutes away and on the side of another mountain. Fall was her favorite season because of the beautiful foliage there in Vermont. It sounds like a beautiful place and one I can certainly understand setting the stage for an emotive, articulate poet to take flight.

Writing started early

Nikki has been writing for as long as she has been able to put pencil to paper. She specialized in creative writing in her undergraduate studies and continued with education and English courses in graduate school. Nikki keeps her skills fresh with ongoing education courses. 

Many people use writing to escape their minds. I use it to meet mine.–Nikki H. Rose

Nikki shares her poetry on both her personal blog and on her Medium platform where her work has been featured in publications such as  P.S. I Love You and From The Poet’s Heart. Her work has also been chosen by Medium curators for distribution, which is a testimony to the quality of her work.

I asked Nikki to describe the vision and focus of her work:

I tend to focus my poetry on specific emotions more than stories, granted they are often linked together. My goal and vision for my writing is to make it relatable. I want everyone who reads it to get something out of it – to see themselves in it – to feel something – even if it’s not what I had initially intended.

Nikki H. Rose

Nikki has agreed to a brief interview regarding her body of work, her writing process, and her thoughts on poetry and this is what she had to say: 


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

I seem to have a unique process for writing poetry, based on what other poets tell me. When I get an idea for a concept – usually linked to an emotion – I can crank out a poem it its final form within ten minutes. For me, the longest part of the process is simply coming up with the concept itself.

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

I’ll be honest, I’ve written a lot of poetry in my life, and until I reread them, many of the pieces from years ago that used to speak to me in volumes, are pieces that I don’t think about regularly. 

Recently, I’m proud of my piece called “I Miss You” because, for me, the meaning is centered on the loss of my grandmother. I lost her a few years ago and the pain has never subsided. I continue to ache from her loss – but the piece is more than this. It’s a chance for readers to connect with their own loss, and to recognize that while it’s okay to grieve, they don’t have to grieve alone. If I’m writing about it, it becomes clear to many who read, that they are not alone in the process.

I Miss You

I miss you
the you that I remember
the you that you once were

I miss your smile
that lit up the room
that was contagious

I miss your laugh
as it reverberated around me
humming deep within

Read the full poem on P.S. I Love You

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

My biggest piece of advice is to write what you feel. Don’t focus on rhyme scheme or even the enjambment to begin with. Worry about that, if you want to, during your revisions. Focus on the meaning – the emotion – and your own personal connection to the piece. Why are you writing it? Let that reason drive you.

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

I would tell them that I agree with them. Poetry is largely not my thing, because most of the published poetry in the world comes from a story-based background. Not from one that is easily relatable and emotional. Many also require deep decoding and analysis in order to properly understand. 

Some poetry can be simple, and yet hold so much meaning. But my main appreciation for poetry comes from the fact that you can get out of it exactly what you want. If you want simple, you get simple. If you want in-depth, you search for the in-depth and you’ll get it.

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

Neither. I don’t believe one thing can define me, but my poems come to life on their own and define themselves as they go. I can start one poem with an idea in mind, but it’ll often end in a completely different direction with completely different emotions and stories behind them.


Thank you Nikki for sharing a bit of your personal story with us. I truly appreciate your ability to turn emotion into poetry. Many people can appreciate this and find a deep connection to your work and perhaps, feel a bit less alone in their own human experiences. 

One poem that I found particularly beautiful is Living in the Present. I think the message of the poem is so poignant,  empathetic, revealing, and yes, relatable.

(excerpt)

I look up
lost in a sea
of desires
for something else

I feel the longing
that I see on their
faces

Read the full poem at From the Poet’s Heart

I wish Nikki the best on her journey through words. Let her poetry move you and inspire you to live your best life, connect to your own personal experiences, and take away something poetic.

If you would like to follow Nikki’s journey, read her work, and become a fan, you can find her on the following platforms: 

Nikki’s Blog
Follow Nikki on Medium
Nikki on Goodreads
Nikki on Facebook
Nikki on Twitter


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::

Podcast Interview on Poetry–and Me!

I think you’ll really enjoy this conversation on poetry and inspiration

Author’s photo

I am sure you have all heard the buzz. I have a new poetry book out called ::organic::

The reception has been humbling. Here are a few reviews that I have received so far:

In addition to a wonderful reception for the book, I’ve been interviewed twice; once for an article which is not out yet, and once for a terrific podcast called Words from the River.

Laurie Nave did a fantastic job with the interview and I invite you to give it a listen:

Words from the River Podcast

The conversation includes poetry, the writing process, poets and poetry trends, the human experience, and our connection to the natural ecosystem. I hope that you will treat yourself today with a cup of tea and a listen to this deeply inspiring conversation.

Poetically yours,

Christina Ward
author of ::organic::

Epiphany– a free verse poem on the creative process

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Epiphany

I can attach my entire existence
to the golden bleed of sun
through the whisp-staccato
edges of a cloud

Such moments steal my breath.

I can spiral into corners
and come out of them
painting with words.

I can feel the energy
flowing from life breathing life
paralleling, combining, releasing.

Epiphany moments, what hides
in plain sight, screaming
“mental illness” at the world —
are simply the inner workings
of a poet.

How many have suffered
without knowing
how to hone illness to craft?

The poets, the writers, the painters
the builders, the sculptors, the dreamers —
the artists — art underway, swimming thoughts
in color and form, rising up
— rising up into birth, rebirth
— intrinsic beauty.

Let the cells within me
shift and fold into
that burning, golden
sun.


Christina Ward 🌼 is a poet, columnist, and nature writer from North Carolina. Stay in touch!

You can follow her poetry at Fiddleheads & Floss Poetry.

Medium UPDATE–Here’s what you may have missed

Fiddleheads & Floss Newsletter

Hi to all my WordPress followers!! This week on my Medium account I did ALL of my links with the “Friend Links” which means that YOU–even if you are NOT a Medium member, can enjoy this content. I thought I’d share the newsletter with you! Read below to see what you may have missed over at Medium. I promise, I will get some of these poems posted here as well 🙂 Have a GREAT weekend!! If you would like to follow Fiddleheads & Floss on Medium, here is the link:

https://medium.com/fiddleheads-floss

What a week — sucky for MPP but a lot of great writing! Fancy that?

Here are a few highlights — all friend links so you can share this with friends or other writers you think may enjoy it. Thanks guys!

First offDid you know I am related to an ax murderer?

Two writing prompts for you!

Emily Dickinson Poetry Prompt (Thank you Jenny Justice for your response to this one — I really enjoyed it!)
Haiku Prompt (This one is from House of Haiku — they have great prompts!)


Poetry is queen this week!

This Poetic Sea (Thank you to Heath ዟ and Anna Rozwadowska for all you do to support L.L. writers!! You guys are the best!)

A terrible uninvited guest — IN MY BATH!!

Ladder-back Chairs

I Grow Restless

Late Night Ladies

The little guy that sent my heart through the roof this week when I stepped on him!

Without this guy I can hardly walk.

Poor Icy — R.I.P (Dennett thank you for your condolences and understanding!)

On the Outskirts of the Blue Ridge


Don’t miss these writing articles!

Are you running on a hamster wheel for Medium?

For the sake of Great Story


Articles to inspire you — win at life!

You need to be doing this right now!

The worst boss I ever had.

That is all for this week — stay tuned for a great poem due to post any day now— Rivers Through the Wasteland.

Happy weekend everyone. My tribe. My people. You guys are the best.

I hope you have found something wonderful here to read and share. Delivering content that makes your life better or more meaningful in some way is remarkably rewarding — so let me know what you appreciate and I will do more like that 🙂

One poem this week I wrote in less than 2 minutes and gave it ZERO edits — hoping that this would make it feel more authentic, be more relatable, connect better with readers — it received 1.1K claps in 12 hours. I learned something here. About not leaving my reader behind with poetry so complex that it isn’t enjoyable — thanks you guys for teaching me!

One more thing: Zach J. Payne has started a pub for SONNETS!! Here’s the link: Sonnetry Be sure to give it a follow — and get to writing some sonnets!

~Christina

Excavating a Poem

a free verse poem celebrating the process

Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

Excavating a Poem

Some, a breath
exhaled slowly
into life-giving words.

Some, an excavation
with bristles firm,
then soft and careful.

Some, roots
gnarled and half-buried
we trip over them
and follow them to trees.

Some, grains of sand
to be gathered and shaped
into delicate mounds
washed into the sea.

We gather. We excavate.
We dig and we build.

We are careful to use
the right tools, the right angles
the carved-out landscapes
of metaphor and dream.

We speak for them, but they
are our teachers.


To all my fellow poets out there digging deep, finding the breath to breathe life into your poetry, or just listening to your poems until they speak themselves to you…it is a gift to be their voice.Embrace it. Be mindful. Always seek. Always listen.

Christina Ward
:::i paint with words:::

Abysmal You

Free Verse poetry


Image by Jess Foami from Pixabay

I dream of things unspoken.
You shake me to the surface
sleepy-eyed, confused.

You might still be real.

There might still be one moment
that is mine.

My nakedness aches.
I don’t want
the gray
the shadow
the memory to absorb you.

Eyes wide and blind, I am a child,
abandoned, untethered.


Original publishing: Abysmal You

My name is Christina. I am a poet. 
:::i paint with words:::

Christina Ward is an accomplished poet, aspiring author, and columnist for the Observer News Enterprise newspaper. She earned her Bachelor of Science from Catawba College in Environmental Science which greatly influences her work. She also studied creative writing and English at Catawba. Her poetry has been published in the Cameo print literary magazine, the Arrowhead print literary magazine, Vita Brevis Poetry Magazine, and in Wolff Poetry Literary Magazine.

A Pier No More

an original poem by Christina Ward
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

We were an old pier, standing in the sea,
pilings caked with barnacles, ravaged by the currents,
our foundation weak. We waited for the tides to displace us,
unplug us from our feeble grip on shifting sands…
for the sea to bring us to our knees.

The sandy currents burn with salt life
nibbling our shins and worming its way in,
the moon setting our time clock spinning,
one massive watery shift after another.
 
Age and weather befell us. Our wooden rot
compelled us to fall — can we be blamed for this?
I crawled upon the skin of sand to the edge 
where water ebbed, rose and smashed upon itself.

I could have buried our secrets, there in the sand.
The sand crabs scattered and danced sideways across
the rise and fall, into holes that swallowed them up.
They took no mind of me.

The ocean now digests that which was us.

I wrote my name there
— (on the beach where forgiveness was more vacant than the 
roar of a shell)
with scrapings and clawings on malleable sand
I am mere letters; a pier no more.
I walked away, salt stinging in my pores.


My name is Christina. I am a poet. 
:::i paint with words:::

Don’t Miss Updates on Christina’s Poetry and Book Releases!

The Poetry Paintbrush Can Write Your Life

it began for me with Sylvia Plath’s Edge

Soap Bubble, Color, Colorful, Iridescent, Kunterbunt
Pixabay, No attribution required

I am thinking of my favorite paintbrush — poetry 🖌

My first experience with loving the poetic word was in a high school literature class when my teacher assigned us to choose a poem and deliver a short speech about it to our class. The poem I chose was Sylvia Plath’s Edge.

…odors bleed
From the sweet, deep throats of the night flower.

The moon has nothing to be sad about,
Staring from her hood of bone.

— Edge, Sylvia Plath

There was something so deeply disturbing, yet profoundly magical, in that poem. I was drawn inexorably to those words.

I began writing creatively in high school and poetry as early as 16. A Tale of Two Poems is an article I wrote featuring two of the poems I wrote in high school. And, I don’t think they are too terrible. 😉

Poetry is a living, breathing element of my being, the tool by which I choose to express parts of me I dare others to attempt to understand.

It is my favorite tool, and as I choose to paint, and I paint with words. What poetry means to another individual is completely unique and right in its own way as all of us are touched and moved by it in varying ways.

Despite my initial attraction to poetry, at times writing it has eluded me, the brushes remaining in a dusty cup on a shelf in the corner of life. As a child, I was compelled to pick up this brush and sit with it in my hand, yet no poem would pour out of its colorless brushes.

As I have grown into my adult skin I have both lived and consumed and observed the colors of life that fill my brush again and again.

This gives me means by which to splash myself onto paper, eternalizing that which could otherwise be washed away in time. I have learned through the years that sometimes I write the poem, and sometimes the poem writes me.

Poetry can breath itself into us, painting our souls with richness, emotion, clarity, and a whole range of other reactions, or it can be bled out of us, inviting others to grasp its music and its colors with canvases of their own waiting to be filled.

Consider the poetry in your life. Consider the paintbrushes with which you write. And always seek to fill those brushes with wondrous color.


Originally published here: Paintbrushes Article

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