A Month of Poetry

April 8, 2014

A Month of Poetry

For special writing projects, I keep a separate journal. This year for National Poetry Month I chose an old lined journal of 256 pages. It’s canvas with faux leather corners and spine with a red ribbon book mark.

Handwritten thoughts are still my choice of entry into the writing process. It’s totally a part of an analog process when doing the creative flow part. When it’s time to start editing, I become digital and work at my computer.

Not Writing. Book In My Head – Day 8

April 8, 2014

As I enter Day 8 of National Poetry Month, I’m up to page 36 in my journal. I start a new one each time I have a specific project I want to keep intact. Today’s selection is based on a philosopher of interest. I hope you check out his work.  Poetry, fire and closed spaces are a few topics he explores. 

We are never real historians, but always near poets, and our emotion is perhaps nothing but an expression of a poetry that was lost.  Gaston Bachelard


Not Writing a Book in My Head – Prompt 4

April 4, 2014

#NationalpoetryMonth Writing prompt for April 4

Writable about

Writable about

Not Writing a Book in Your Head

April 17, 2013

Not Writing a Book in Your Head

Writing is your personal answer on your journey to discover what the questions are. I hand-write random thoughts, jagged fragments in jumbled cryptic description in my journals. My advice: Write down the rattle–there’s time for fixing later. n taylor collins, writer

Follow these simple writing steps and begin:

  • Focus on what you are thinking about when something strikes an emotional or tangible chord.
  • Begin writing your thoughts down – this is the part where the “writing a book in your head” becomes actually writing a book.  Take note — “Writing a book in your head” is thinking, not writing.
  • Write down your spontaneous thoughts.  Concentrate on the flow of words leaving your mind.  Watch them become visible tangible markings on a page.
  • Every day, or as often as you can, repeat this process. Just write down your spontaneous thoughts.
  • Write for 30 days.  If you do,  a habit of writing is developed.
  • Writers write.  You are writing that book. You are no longer just thinking.
  • For now, write. Write something each day for the next 30 days and the next 30 days.
  • Check back with me in 60 days for the next step..

Remember, thinking  a book in your head is not the same as writing it.   Writing stakes a claim on the writing part when you stake a claim on being a writer. 

A link to how I found inspiration in a card from a poet friend, Helen.  http://tinyurl.com/c2c6m4l

©2013 ntaylor collins (please keep credit with reposts)

Tomato By Any Name is an Appetizer – Part 1 of 2

February 26, 2013

Food and Recipes?

Cooking is not my forte...

Cooking is not my forte…

Ok – I will admit it – the kitchen is a foreign country that has an un-interpretable language to me.  Cooking has too many nuances, too many rules, too many tools!

I like to eat.  That part of food I understand.  I have a kitchen – that cooking part, recipes, I do not understand.

Gadgets still lurk in dark recesses of cabinets and drawers that I haven’t an inkling what to do with.  I got them at my kitchen bridal shower.  That was 45 years ago.

I decided recently that I need to learn to cook and maybe I should write about that, too.  The reasons were simple:

I am dating a man – a younger, used-to-eating-well-as-he’s-into-physical-fitness-and-all-that man.

AND  I ran into a man at an entrepreneur event – a Delaware slightly obsessed foodie,  who is a genius, named Dave.   He offers free cooking classes in his store.  Free.  That’s as in “no cost to take the cooking part.”  I will only have to pay for what I may purchase depending upon the desired results of the cooking and my immediate impulse on the given day of the free class.  In other words – it’s going to cost a fortune to learn how to cook!   But… I’m hooked by the free part.  I’m in Dave.  I’m in.

So here’s what I really know about cooking.  I’ll start with appetizers.

I have two best recipes for just about anything.  If you know how to cook or not, you will find these of interest.  If you master these top-secret carefully selected recipes you will never be at a loss when someone stops by or you are expected to “bring a little something” to a party or event.   The second recipe will be in my next post. Here’s the first no-fail recipe.

Sister’s Empty-Dish Salsa

This works for any size dish or pan.  You just increase or decrease the ingredients accordingly.  I’m giving you the 9 x 13 version which works well for feasts.

The Ingredients

  • 2 packages 8 oz. cream cheese (low-fat, regular fat, etc. – it doesn’t matter.  Just buy the best ingredients if you want it to taste the best)
  • Salsa (this can be from well-known brands in a jar or your own family recipe – my “secret” ingredient is found in the standard 15 oz. jar.  I’m not here to make this difficult for you – your choice of salsa can be red hot, mild, chunky, whatever.  And you can use the larger jar as well  but it’s not really necessary as it tastes great with smaller one.  If you’re really feeling creative, then chop up a fresh tomato and throw that in as well.)
  • Shredded cheddar cheese (plain old regular medium, sharp, or extra sharp, low-fat, no fat or whatever.  Again, the better quality the cheese, the better the taste.)
  • Bag of favorite scoopable chips – (this recipe screams scoopables)

The Process

  1. The first layer is the cream cheese.  Spread it out evenly on your pan or dish with a wooden spoon.  A wooden spoon works best for this.  ( If you don’t have any wooden spoons,  you should check out Dave’s shop as he has just about anything that you need to stock your kitchen like a chef.)
  2. For the second layer, evenly spread out the choice of salsa.  (so far so good, right?)
  3. Lastly,  load it up with cheddar on the top.   Sprinkle as much or as little of this as you want.  You know your crowd.  If they’re cheese lovers, add lots.  (These layers do not get stirred together, OK?)
  4. Bake at 350 for about 15 – 25 minutes.   It varies on how crispy you want your cheese.

The Creative Part

If you’re making a smaller portion, which I seem to do almost every day, just slather on some cream cheese, a little salsa, and top with cheese in your dish or bowl that fits the microwave.  Nuk for about 3 – 5 minutes (covered)   I will admit the cheese doesn’t get crispy but it melts nicely.  Test different lengths of time to get the consistency you like as microwaves vary.

My sister, practically a gourmet chef, swears by the oven as it makes the cheese crunchier.  I, as stated before, just like to eat, so microwaving is just fine for me.  The individual portions are great, too, for things like super bowl parties as you have your own dish and can be a double dipper if you want.

So now all you have to do is pick out your favorite scoopable chip – there are so many varieties out there now – and your appetizer will just knock them over.  Your dish will be one of the first to empty.  I can almost guarantee you that.

My second recipe, BFF Tomato Blues, involves Roma tomatoes (or any tomato) and fresh mozzarella.  I’ll post this next as I’m trying to do shorter blog posts.  I plan to incorporate my cooking experience in this blog as this blog represents my life (creative aspects mostly) more than any one particular aspect of it.  My focus is writing about what I’m interested in.  Right now, it’s cooking.   If you want to subscribe, you’ll be sure not to miss what passes as my attempt for enjoying a creative life.

Thanks for stopping by.  I’d love to hear if you try this recipe.     And remember my motto:   Cooking is not just an adventure, it’s a job.  Cheers. 



AN ASIDE:   And smaller dishes are great if friends just stop by unexpectedly as well.  Even though the last time several girlfriends did stop by I wasn’t able to make this for them and they know why, but I won’t be sharing this on this blog post but maybe another one.  And you know who you are girlfriends if you’re reading this, and you had better not comment!  LOL

I hold the copyright to this post.  I realize recipes are technically not but in the context of this post my words are.  ntaylorcollins ©2013  And if you’re in the northern Delaware area, Greenville specifically, stop by and see Dave at his store. 

Maybe we’ll run in to each other and the next thing you know, I’ll be writing about you.  :-)

Putting Me Back Together Again…

July 29, 2012

Sometimes It’s Just About Me…

I know – it’s daunting.  All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t fix Humpty Dumpty. But I’m tired of not knowing where I am anymore in this cyber world I spend so much time in.

It’s so difficult keeping up with myself.  I’m either off posting, or painting, or pinning, or writing, or reading, or liking, or linking, or sharing, or twittering.  The cyber side always winning as I try to hone each aspect of my life into my creative and diverse interests.

Well–it’s just too much.  So this post is about me or rather a ME page set up to link my relevant sites.  I claimed my .ME domain name a while ago and with the service I use you can have a free page.  I wasn’t even sure where to post anything about this special page.  There’s something redundant about posting it anywhere as I’m so fractured already.  And I don’t want to bother family and friends with emails at this point because I still haven’t figured out MailChimp which I desperately need to do.  It’s a fine mess I find myself in.

I’d love to hear your comments on how you’ve put yourself back together again.  If you click this link TaylorCollins - the ME Page, you can see the highlights where my career focus is at the moment.  I want to offer journaling workshops, expand speaking opportunities, and let people know my highlights around the web.  I’ll be updating it for the next couple of weeks as time allows as I’m working away on my first full draft of a manuscript.

And it’s fun to be king of my name domain.  I think old Humpty and I are going to be OK! 

Happy patching,

Where the Quiet Dust Is Quieter Still…

May 27, 2012

other loop of cemetery

At this time of memorials, on a weekend dedicated specifically for the purpose, I remembered the photograph I took upon exiting West Cemetery in Amherst Massachusetts.  My specific purpose of the recent visit was to leave an amethyst remembrance at the grave of Emily Dickinson on the anniversary of her May death.

Emily’s poems impact much of my writing and in homage to her as a female writing ancestor, I wanted to pay my respects to her and visit her where all journey’s end – in “this quiet dust.”  As I left Emily’s gravesite,  I circled around the more grassy driveway to the less visited area of West Cemetery – the quieter still part.

I was struck by the way the morning sun struck the slanted, multi-colored stones. In this part of the cemetery, jonquils sprouted randomly, disconnected from any particular grave.  Their flecks of white punctuated the stones they stood in front of.  The headstones colored in earthy tones of bronze, and brown and gray, could have been lifted from an Andrew Wyeth palette.  Dust permeated every particle of this somber stilled scene, from the pollen-filled air to barnacled crevices on carved stones.

This was that finite infinity that Emily often spoke of–the receding progression of names obliterated by centuries of rain and wind and sun and snow.  This was the dust of the dust-to-dust that the eons had produced—the embodiment of what we are perceived to come from and what we will return to again.

As I contemplated this scene, a bit of bright color caught my eye and another bit and another.  Sprinkled throughout this overgrown, seemingly forgotten space,  bits of red and white and blue started to pop out.  Reminders that someone still remembers our veterans, those who heeded the call to service, those who may have given their all.  Someone remembers still.

Someone plants a flag and livens up this quiet dust.  Someone remembers an unnamed veteran who served in an almost forgotten battle.  Even in this remote realm, someone remembers.  And to us, as a nation, that has made all the difference.

Have a color-filled holiday full of life and hold dear the remembrance of things now past.  My wish is that we all enjoy peace.  Peace.


P.S.  I think there are four flags showing in this photograph but there were many more scattered amongst the stones.

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