Tag Archives: writing

Emily Dickinson and I

One of my favorite poems by Emily Dickinson is “I’m nobody! Who are you?” because I can relate to being on the outside looking in. It is a poem about us vs. them and challenges authority (the somebodies) while seducing the reader into complicity with the writer:

I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there’s a pair of us!
Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!

Poet. Recluse. Brilliant. Dead at 56. Emily Dickinson is a paradox.
I found Dickinson at a time when life wasn’t kind to an awkward adolescent with frizzy hair, thick glasses, and crooked teeth. Her poems spoke to me then, and I often turn to them now when I’m feeling lonely, sad, or in need of inspiration. Dickinson became a celebrated poet posthumously because of her unique, compact phrases and quirky use of form and syntax. She praised nature’s beauty, questioned death and immortality, and paradoxically expressed opinions: what may make perfect sense is actually madness and what may sound crazy is perfectly sensible.

During Dickinson’s lifetime only a handful of her poems were published. After her death, her family found 40 hardbound booklets containing nearly 1,800 poems crafted by her hand. It was a labor of love for Dickinson who found comfort in words, yet she kept her words to herself. Instructed to burn her letters after her death, Dickinson’s sister Lavinia, ignored the request and had them typed, edited and published. In the end Dickinson became famous – a somebody she railed against in her poem – or did she?

How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –
To tell one’s name – the livelong June –
To an admiring Bog!

Like Dickinson, I am a prolific writer.
I have filled hundreds of journals and notebooks with prose, poetry and unfinished bits and pieces. These now reside in bins and drawers in my home. Like Dickinson, I dread the thought of someone finding my raw thoughts and would not want them published after my death. Sometimes I write about the same things over and over until I get it right. However, doubt seeps in just after I hit publish. Could I have made this sentence stronger? Is there a more descriptive word? Am I grammatically correct? So, I get Dickinson’s reluctance to have her work made public for others to comment and question.

Why does art lead to suffering?
I am fortunate to have many wonderful people in my life who lift me up when I’m feeling dislocated, isolated, and on the brink of throwing in the towel: You are good enough. You have a strong voice. You are a great writer. It’s important to surround yourself with those who listen, offer encouragement, and nudge you to get outside your comfort zone.

A while back, I met with author and columnist Pam Sherman and told her about the book I was writing, explaining that it was part meditation, part parenting lessons. And then I said: Who am I to write about parenting? I’m no expert. I’m just a mom sharing lessons I’ve learned from my raising my son.

You know what she said? “Your humility is cute, Kris, but it’s not helping you. The best thing you said was that you are a mom. You can help others by telling your story. You have something to share. You are a writer.”

Who am I? I am a writer, a mother, and an author.
Last year I published a book – Mommy Musings: Lessons on motherhood, love and life. It celebrates the big and small events, and conundrums, that I discovered in my own motherhood journey.

Instead of writing it long hand in a hardbound book like Dickinson, I typed it on my Mac and uploaded it to amazon. Now available in print and digital versions, Mommy Musings offers nineteen unexpected and uplifting true stories, each followed by a lesson and invitation to notice life’s joy and wonder.

Writing and publishing this book is a gift to myself more than anything else because it has allowed me to let go. I know now that I can’t hold on to my stories and keep them for myself. I have to release the darlings and share them with the world. Maybe, just maybe they will bring clarity, awareness and a little joy to someone.

I am public like a frog. I am somebody. Who are you?

What do you think?  This is my best work today. Thanks for reading. If you like this post, please feel free to share it with your friends. Follow me on:FacebookInstagram (@kristinebruneau), or Pinterest.

When the moment gets real

When the moment gets real and gut wrenching, I take out a notebook and pen to write down the bones of my feelings. Perhaps it is the flight in me to draw inward, away from the world towards freely expressing what’s in my head. Then again, it may be the fight in me to wrestle with complicated feelings, chronicle moments of joy, or create a sense of peace and calm.

Summer got real five months ago in western NY like the long anticipated smile from an infant gazing into his mother’s face. Clouds like tiny fists tumbled across blue skies. A warm breeze beckoned the ash’s feathery leaves to bow and bend. White blossoms danced across the great lawn, open to new beginnings.

As days grew longer, lilacs and peonies bloomed like children swelling with delight to begin summer vacation. The time of brightness and warmth had finally arrived for real and I couldn’t wait for the grass to tickle my toes and gaze into starlit nights. Music and laughter drifted over backyard patios while crickets buzzed, chirped and hummed to their lovers.

By October, the insect chorus fell silent; their love dead and gone. The Autumn Applause had burst into brilliant hues of red, orange and yellow. In the blink of an eye, the moment was whisked away by icy gusts – nothing gold can stay.

Outside my window, November snow falls gently on the majestic blue spruce; pine cones lie scattered in frozen patterns on the ground. I am stunned by the cold, starkness of the real scene.

My desk light casts shadows upon my notebook. Doubt rises like water boils for coffee. Surrounded by great literary minds, my prose pales to the likes of Shelly, King and Dickinson. Wise teachers reach through tattered pages with sage advice for writing practice. Strunk and White, Zinsser and Goldberg urge me forward.

Masters and humble practitioners grace my shelves and fill my mind with more ideas than I can keep up with. I hunch over my book and squeeze my pen, choking words and phrases that leave me sore. I give in to the moment and give it all I can. But is it enough? This moment is uncomfortable, exciting, and real.

What do you think?

This is my best work today. Thanks for reading. If you like this post, please feel free to share it with your friends. Follow me on: FacebookInstagram (@kristinebruneau), or Pinterest.  

Just hit publish

I just hit publish. Actually, I hit publish on November 1. And have been getting ready to tell you since then.

If you’ve been following me for awhile, you probably know that I wrote a book:  MOMMY MUSINGS: Lessons on Motherhood, Love, and Life is the story of finding wisdom in motherhood and among the presenting conundrums that occurred during my son’s first ten years. It’s an inspirational book to live by because the moment we become parents is when our ordinary lives become extraordinary.

I finished it in late 2014 and since then, I have been researching the publishing industry and submitting my book to publishers. No one has picked it up – yet.  So, I decided to publish it myself. My book is available in paperback on Amazon.com

Update: Now available digitally on Kindle, iBooks,  Scribd, and Issuu.

10 Things to Help an Author

You, dear friends, family and colleagues are the best gateway for finding an audience for my writing. There are a bazillion things to do, but I can’t do it all. So, I’m asking for your help. Here are 10 things you can do to help share the book and celebrate motherhood.

  1. Buy the book. Here’s the link to my book on Amazon.com.
  2. Gift the book. It makes a great gift for any mom (or dad!).
  3. Review the book. If you buy the book on Amazon, please post a review. Posting reviews gets books and authors noticed. The only thing that sells books is word of mouth. If my book sits on Amazon with no reviews, then it is unlikely to get seen by anyone and sell.
  4. Read the book in public. Reading the book while waiting at Urgent Care, or the nail salon, or before picking up your kid from practice, or wherever people can see it and ask about it helps it get noticed and spark a conversation. 
  5. Follow me on social media.  You can find me on: InstagramFacebook, or Twitter.
  6. Share news of the book on social media. Example: “This new book by my friend is a great gift for busy moms. Touching and funny stories for all parents to enjoy.” Tweet or post a picture of the book. If you see me post something on social media, feel free to like, love, comment, re-share, retweet, pin, flip, plus, etc. 
  7. Invite me to read at your next event. Whether you are hosting book club or throwing a Tupperware party, I’m happy to read from my book, or answer questions about writing or the publishing process. Send me an email.
  8. Arrange a connection or introduction. Do you know a publisher, blogger, or reporter who covers parenting, relationships, books, or a similar topic? Do you know the owner of a retail gift shop who would be interested in carrying  the book? Let me know!
  9. Request a book in local stores and ask them to stock it. You can walk into Barnes & Noble or other bookstores and ask them to order it. All they need is this: ISBN #1542863315. If it’s on the shelf, you can turn the cover face out on the shelf so it’s easier to see. 
  10. Send me your ideas. Can you think of any other helpful ideas to add to help share the book or celebrate motherhood? Post a comment below and I’ll enter you in a drawing for a free signed book.

P.S. If you want several copies, or signed copies, send me an email. I can place a bulk order and personalize them for you to pick up the week after Thanksgiving.

What do you think?

This is my best work today. Thanks for reading. If you like this post, please feel free to share it with your friends. Follow me on: Facebook, Instagram (@kristinebruneau),  Twitter (@kristinebruneau), or Pinterest.