KMWP Wraps It Up with Fanfare: I Am So Grown!

All Good Things Must End

Added by Frances Ohanenye on Jun 28, 2012 at 10:57am

Is this phrase the coinage of a realist or the clamoring doomsday chant of a party pooper? Regardless, and sadly, our workshop ends. It ends without my desire. It ends according to schedule. It ends because there is a calendar that dictates the order of things, the end of things, and the finality to life and events.

It is unbelievable how much growth is possible in three short weeks. My mind expanded, my appreciation ballooned, my writing jumped up and touched the sky, and my empathy broke like a dam and spilled over.

I have made many new friends. This is really the coming together of the most profound think tanks, so gifted, so profound in insights, and so grateful to be handed the hand we were given, and what an endowing hand. I am transformed for ever and for good.

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Missing Something Before You Miss It

Added by Frances Ohanenye on Jun 26, 2012 at 9:32am

The thought of missing something puts us in a very pensive, regretful, and avoidance mode and mood. We start dreading that reality and wishing we could stop it from coming to an end. Such is the feeling rampant among many KMWP fellows this week as we wind down. We voiced different aspects of our day we would miss.

Most of us agreed that we would miss our morning report. More than anything, it revealed to us the ingenuity in each fellow as we dug deep into our originality to produce a report worthy of keeping sleepy heads awake and alive enough to bring forth laughter.

We will miss (and that is the phrase that resonates frequently: “We will miss…”) our writing time that forces us to put down thoughts worthy of publication. According to Dr. Rob Montgomery, our gifted and fearless leader, a talented writer without the discipline to write every day will not be as successful as a disciplined writer with little or no talent. The latter will make a lot of money because time is money and showing up dutifully to work guarantees a paycheck.

If I take nothing away today, it will be that I need to adjust the lens through which I see this writing thing. I have loved showing up to work daily as a reader. I just have to make myself show up daily as a writer. My perception has been clouded by many misperceptions and misconceptions. I will write daily. I will write daily. I will write daily...

40 views           Add new comment                 1 comment: Posted by Patricia Valley

June 26, 2012 at 3:35pm

It’s validating to know I am not alone.  But missing something makes us appreciate it more too.  We have a funny expression in my family that is meant the be endearing.  How can I miss you if you won’t go away?  🙂

Exiting with a Mountain-High Bang!

Added by Frances Ohanenye on Jun 25, 2012 at 10:04am

Today marks the last week of our KMWP summer fellowship journey. I fight the feeling of sadness that threatens to envelope me. I can’t help but want this session to last the entire summer. Alas, it won’t or can’t grant my wish.

Just like the lightning that struck my house over the weekend and created a very loud bang as it fried several electronics, we are going out with a definite and resounding thump as I hear the activities lined up for our last days.

I love to see my name in print. We are publishing an anthology, presenting a skit or some similar act, having lunch at a restaurant, having lunch at a former KMWP fellow’s house, having lunch catered on the last day, receiving our KMWP T-shirts, presenting our demos, meeting in our reading groups, meeting in our writing groups to finalize our skit, and so many other activities. If these all do not make a mountain-high of a bang, I don’t know what does.

Wednesday is my demo. As the last demo presenter, you can imagine my position. I am the last person to demo! Do you feel my stress? I want to go out with a bang as well, louder than the one the lightning made in my house. I have learned to make a grand exit (and entrance). I hope I won’t disappoint myself this time.

Third Week Is International!

Added by Frances Ohanenye on Jun 22, 2012 at 9:40am

Born overseas, I gravitate to all things of a worldly nature. I have always been a child of the world first before identifying with my country, Nigeria. This week has been of immense interest. We have savored foods from France, Germany, Brazil, and Costa Rica. We have immersed ourselves deep in culture and have grown in leaps and bounds for our open-mindedness.

Our perspectives enlarge and reflect our acquisition and appreciation of the different.  I cannot convey with sufficient eloquence and conviction my gratitude for being allowed to take part in the National Writing Project. I have met colleagues who fill my intellect with food for thought and meditation.

This is the third week, and we show no signs of staleness or tiredness. We still perceive everything in new light and still anticipate our event-filled days with a child’s rightful impatience. I don’t want to look at the end of the tunnel. I am busy enjoying all the landscapes, unique explorations, and captivating events that pile my minutes and hours.

I am ecstatic to be here.

Half of My Fun Is Still Ahead (KMWP)

Added by Frances Ohanenye on Jun 21, 2012 at 9:31am

We arrive at this juncture in the workshop, and I can either bemoan the past days or look forward to the remaining days, the equivalent of the glass being half full or half empty. I choose the glass being half full because I have so much to look forward to. Even if KMWP wraps up today, I still have so much for which to look forward, especially our reunion in October.

With the glass half full, I am looking forward to my own Demo (demonstration) of a lesson that I will teach when school resumes. The initial cloud of anxiety has cleared, and I am pumped up. I have observed several amazing demos from every teacher in here, past and present fellows, ideas I intend to use, ideas to propel my teaching forward exponentially. (I know, another “-ly” word just crept in.)

With the glass half full, I am looking forward to my writing group’s presentation, which we have not decided what we will showcase. I cannot wait to get there, to arrive at next week. Excitement fills me at the numerous events we have waiting.

I look forward to each day as it unfolds with uncertainty because no two have been identical and no two days will. I am growing, still.

Poetry, Poetry, Poetry, Wherefore Art Thou, Poetry?

Added by Frances Ohanenye on Jun 20, 2012 at 9:39am

I am re-learning poetry, rediscovering its makeup, its characteristics, its facial features, grooming, and wherewithal. I write poetry, but I don’t write the regular poetry for the regular person. I write poetry filled with elevated vocabulary. There are those who write with simple vocabulary. There are those who write with mid-range words. I write with “big” words that may cause one of two people a headache. I apologize in advance.

How can I be true to me if I change who I am? I use “big” words naturally. They just come to me. I don’t know what that means for the general poetry public: that my poems will never be read? That people will get turned off by my poems because they do not want to crack open a dictionary in order to grow?

What do we tell our students, our children, ourselves? We say, “If you are reading a book, and you know all the words, that book is below your reading level.”

That makes my point. I want people to grow intellectually when they read my poem. I want them to acquire new words. I want them to read, re-read, and re-read my poems until the poem make sense, until those “big” words get cracked through any skills the reader has: context clues, word association, and so on.

So I write and will keep writing poetry in that hope that I will not compromise me in order to be and sound like all other poets out there. In order to stay true to me, I cannot be the other poets out there. Does that mean that no one will buy my poetry books when I publish them eventually? I guess so, and I am comfortable with that.

Not to say that I am Missy Elliot, Kanye West, Michael Jackson, or any other artist out there who dared to be different. I feel in my bones that I must be true to me and let the world accept my poems as they are. I am hoping that there are those who will. Get a taste at Thank you for visiting.

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1 comment: Posted by Fatima Abdulkazem, June 21, 2012 at 10:09am

I loved your poetry… It’s fancy…it’s tasty!

I also loved it because it teased my brain…and knocked on closed doors of knowledge to open!

i am just discovering an emerging poet in me…Your poems are inspiring


Building a BRAND with SWAG

I found an intriguing article written exactly one year ago today. To mark the anniversary of Elise L. Connors’ article, I need to examine my writing style by engaging in an introspective search of my own branding. As an aspiring author, I am constantly writing with passion. Writing is an obsession, an ambition, an aspiration, and is the essence of my being and my survival.

As such, I have been writing without worrying about branding or doing it with swag. I am borrowing these words, brand and swag, from Connors in the context that she used them in her article. I confess that I never paid attention to brand and swag in terms of writing.

It is now time to excogitate. Assuming that I do have that BRAND and that I built it with SWAG, what would the package look like exactly? I presume that after I have built my brand, I would like to maintain it for the duration of my “new-found” career. Branding oneself is a long-term goal and process and relies on audience perception. I do not know if I have an audience yet, considering that my Kickstarter project did not start; pun intended shamelessly.

I will now attempt to examine the acronym Connors created in order to gauge my progress in the branding-with-swag endeavor. She states that “Success as an author depends not only on writing a quality book (which is VERY important) but also how you are able to connect with your audience.”

As Connor’s defines it, brand is more than my name. It is my identity. It is how the general or reading public views me. BRAND stands for:

B oldness (You have to be able to say things others are afraid to.)

R elevance (Are you talking about the things your audience wants to hear about?)

A nd

N otable (Are you saying things that are “newsworthy”?)

D edication (Are you dedicated to yourself and your audience?)”

What is SWAG? This isn’t the swag that normally comes to mind. This is SWAG:

S ophisticated (Are you offering high-quality content? Big tip: proofreading is important.)

W orthy (Are you doing anything to deserve the notoriety you’re seeking?)

A nd

G rateful (Are you appreciative for your audience?)”

Taking the first word and dissecting it, I would say that I definitely am bold. I do not flinch from situations, and I say it like it is, which tends to contradict with the expectations of people. I try to make my postings relevant, always looking at the grand picture, always seeing how my postings will benefit people, and trying to find out what readers want. It is difficult to please every preference, but my aim is to try.

I will help Elise L. Connors a little by changing the word, “And, to Accessible. In acknowledgement of that substitution, I make my postings accessible by linking my blogs and other literary efforts to social media and other viable avenues.  

If you visit my Yahoo! Voices postings, you will discover articles about people who are making strides in their different fields. In that sense, these are notable people and notable topics, newsworthy people and newsworthy topics.

The final component of BRAND is dedication. I am a loyal, committed, and dye-in-the-wool kind of person. I thrived in education for decades, have stayed in the same volunteer capacities for decades, and I am unswerving in my devotion to my writing and my love of it, which has lasted almost four decades. It is that love of writing that gripped me at an early age, caused me to obtain two degrees in it, and I am poised to obtain a third one.

For the next acronym, SWAG, I want to believe that by virtue of having a Master of Arts degree in journalism and by being an editor, a freelancer, a book reviewer, and a copy writer–among other attributes, that my content is sophisticated in quality.

Anything we put out in cyberspace or publish brings with it the positive and the negative. The question is, “Are you doing anything to deserve the notoriety you’re seeking?” Notoriety carries both a negative connotation and a negative denotation. I want to see my glass as half full and take the good that exposure brings to me. I hope that I am worthy of fame and should deserve it when it arrives by dint of my hardwork.

Again, I am going to substitute the word, “And,” with another adjective that begins with “A.” That word is “Adventurous.” Am I allowing myself the courage to explore my creativity and take it as far as audacity will allow? Although several colleagues have recognized creativity in my intellectual products, I hope to grow in my ability to drizzle morsels of words with different tasty confetti that will entice all to partake in and savor the cornucopia of literary offerings that I craft.

The last word on the list is grateful(ness). I want to believe that I am appreciative of my audience. As I check my readership, I find it increasing daily, weekly, and cumulatively. I am eternally grateful to all who have stopped by and all who will visit. Please leave a mark of your presence by putting down comments so that I can express my gratitude formally.

I want to thank Elise L. Connors for providing the foundation for today’s posting, and I hope to Pay It Forward by returning the same type of favor to several people. As my friend and critic, Cynthia Adams, said, “Frances Ohanenye is a writer with a finger on the pulse of creativity.” I could not have said it better myself. Thank you, Cynthia, for always being my sounding board.