April 30, 2009

the final try is over

Knowing Flight is Possible

Someone says, Close your eyes,
and I do. I remember the blooms
in early spring, running outside
to touch the new,
marveling at the buds of yellow tulips
pushing their way out of the ground.
It was a start.
I was outside in sweatpants,
a blue sweater,
drinking water and standing there
forever. Someone else, now,
is beginning afresh
and I'm leaving it all behind.

copyright Maya Ganesan, 2009

So I'm done with my very first attempt at NaPoWriMo. Sometimes it was a real struggle, but other times I truly loved it. I'm sad to see April leave, but I've got a handful of pretty strong poems from this experience that I'm going to focus on revising and preparing for submitting now. I'm first exercising all my energy towards a close submission deadline (a couple more days left, and I haven't even begun my revisions!) and then I'll see what's in store for me in this lovely poetry world that always surprises me.

The final poem of NPWM 09 took a couple of tries until I got it the way I wanted it. It needed to be a "this is both a beginning and an end" poem, because it is. It's a special experience for me because I got to celebrate poetry (really, truly, for the first time!) with such a fantastic group of people. Thank you all for the beautiful, beautiful comments I got on my post. (And Beth, your comment -- something like "Someday you'll win a Pulitzer Prize and I will say that I knew you" -- makes me feel so honored. Thank you so much.)

Whew. What a month. Don't miss tomorrow, though -- the poetry fun isn't over!

p.s. I sort of participated in Poem in Your Pocket -- I took "What's Mine is Missing" to school (I wouldn't read it to a stranger, I'm definitely not brave enough) and showed it to a couple of people. (They liked it.)

April 29, 2009

NaPoWriMo #29 (otherwise known as "There's only 1 day left and I'm all caught up!")


She knows it's only right to be imperfect,
sitting barefoot with her feet
tangled in the blankets.

She turns away from the window and
back to the empty walls. Back to her
Dolce & Gabbana shirt, the picture of the
girl in the cafe next to her,
the warmth of the covers, the singularity of
the word "her," meaning alone.

She wants it all, but she knows
she won't ever have it.

copyright Maya Ganesan, 2009

NaPoWriMo #28


In flip flops I'm out on the marina,
the only one there except for you: it's dark
and it's raining, and I'm soaked

but I know it's all perfect, like the Spanish
lullaby I've heard too many times

to forget.

I sing the pieces I can remember
and the water sways softly, slowly.

When I don't know any more words,
I drop a penny and walk away
as if I'm done performing. Still,

everything is just right.

copyright Maya Ganesan, 2009

April 28, 2009

NaPoWriMo #27


She folds bills into paper airplanes
and sits on the porch swing,
sending them out to sky.

Maybe it'll get lost between Saturn's rings
or someone miles away will find it
and wonder who she is.

The water bill has "I cried red tears"
on it. She doesn't want to pay it --
costs too much.

She watches the moths push the lamp
above her head,
the children running down the street,
the pressure of their blood-red whispers

copyright Maya Ganesan, 2009

April 27, 2009

Justina Chen Headley, author of "North of Beautiful"

I'm truly excited to have Justina Chen Headley, author of Girl Overboard and North of Beautiful, here. She's such a fantastic writer and an amazing woman, and a little exploring around her blog (as linked above) and her website should give you an idea of the great person she is.

She founded readergirlz, an online book community for teen girls that connects teens and authors. It's a group that celebrates girl power through books and the readergirlz blog is such a fun place to be and delve into.

Here she is:

1. What was your writing process for North of Beautiful?

The same as all my other books—dedicate my mornings to writing. Journal for 15 minutes or so. Log in 3-4 hours a day of putting new scenes down on paper. Research for an hour or two. Light edit at the end of the day. And then read for inspiration. Repeat as necessary for a year and a half.

2. What do you do when you hit a wall in your writing and how do you get past it?

I return to my character and remember what she really wants. What she’s afraid of. What will happen if she doesn’t get what she wants. Writing block is usually solved when I return to those basic questions. And then, of course, there's the therapeutic benefits of a good, long walk. And a little time off to let my subconscious go fallow and noodle over things.

3. Do parts of your life show up in your writing? How do your surroundings influence your work?

My books don’t reflect my life so much as my emotions. What the characters feel—those emotions are what I have mined from my own life experiences. My environs definitely influence the setting in my work. For instance, North of Beautiful is based in one of the most truly gorgeous, serene, and creative places I’ve ever encountered: the Methow Valley. And then I was able to draw on my personal travels through China.

4. Your favorite moment of your writing career?

Selling my first two novels at auction! That will always be something that has a slightly fairy tale-ish, unbelievable quality to the memory.

5. How did you get started writing novels?

I wrote my first 50-page novel as a second grader. So you can say, I’ve always been writing in this form.

6. Can you share some of your favorite authors and books?

That’s so hard! Just check out all the books we’ve featured on readergirlz. That shows you the wide range of books and authors I adore. But I do have a special fondness in my heart for my friends' works: Janet Lee Carey, Lorie Ann Grover, Dia Calhoun, Holly Cupala, Martha Brockenbrough, Melissa Walker, Mitali Perkins, among others.

7. The story of how you got published is...

For the long story, check out my website! But the short version is this: I sent a very cheeky letter to my favorite agent. He plucked my manuscript out of the slush, asked for my novel, and sold it within three days of sending it out to publishers. But the real version is this: writing, writing, writing, rewriting, rewriting, rewriting, writing, writing, writing. That’s how I got published.

8. What are your plans for the future? Any new projects you can tell us about?

Oh, I’ll continue to write for as long as I can! I’m currently working on another contemporary YA and have a fantasy series in the works.

Thank you for a lovely interview, Justina!

April 26, 2009

NaPoWriMo #26

Only four days left! This was the hardest of all the NaPo poems (so far) to write, and on days like this I'm thankful April's nearly over. Other days, I wish I was so disciplined to write like this during the rest of the year.


At eleven p.m.
she turns off her porch light
and lingers

in the dark of her window,
watching purple rain fall
in the glow of her lamp.

I probably have your address
somewhere on a scrap of paper
but I don't want to find it.

It is a quiet dusk
and she can only share it
with the walls.

copyright Maya Ganesan, 2009

April 25, 2009

NaPoWriMo #25

4/26: Posting this under yesterday's date.


It was July and Paris
and a place where the sunshine

striped the walls and floor
of every cafe we walked into.

So you said yes:
promises whispered
and never kept.

I breathe harder when
I remember July, full of

beautiful lies and
a loud town.

(My third titling problem this month. I usually don't have trouble with titles...what's wrong with me?)

copyright Maya Ganesan, 2009

April 24, 2009

Danielle & me: an interview

I've forgotten to mention that Danielle interviewed me over at Seeking Neverland. Enjoy!

We are almost done with this crazy mess

Broken Stars

They say I can't,
they say I'll need a map of strangers
and I can't hide anymore.
Ceramic corners dangle,
essence broken:

I would like to grow wings
and take flight
so that notes translate into
letters to Cassiopeia.

I've forgotten why I'm here,
dripping color on every centimeter
of white.

I'm not the postcard anymore.

copyright Maya Ganesan, 2009

April 23, 2009

NaPoWriMo #23


Over the quietest waves

copyright Maya Ganesan, 2009

(A small confession: I choose my words carefully, based on how they look on the page. So even if I'm dying to use a word, if it doesn't look "pretty enough" when it's written out, I won't use it. Weird habit. Is this just me? Or is it you, too?)

April 22, 2009

NaPoWriMo #22


I spent a life running, escaping,
trying to avoid the splashes of rain on my hair.

I'd sing the same song
over and over, trying to remember
what day it was, why I was here.

It didn't matter that two years ago
I was still running. Never
went anywhere at all.

I kept tripping and stumbling and falling.
Kept locking myself away.
I pulled the strings

and the world fell to the ground
and I
was still

copyright Maya Ganesan, 2009

Happy Earth Day 09

April 21, 2009


Today is my mother's birthday and I wrote this for her (in about five minutes :), it's true, because I just finished it, but I tried really hard to do it right). I love you, Mom! Thank you for all you do for me. (And I know these words will never be enough. I wish I had a better way to tell you how much you mean to me.) xoxo Maya

Five Minutes

She watches one red balloon
rise, climbing the sky.

From the ground
she can hear the thank-you
whispers as they fall into her hands,
echoing in her ears.

It's a rush of remembrances,
knowing that the equal sign has finally
been drawn.
It's the time the pink cotton candy
ran out in five minutes.

NaPoWriMo #21

No Time for Princesses

I'm standing there and the world
just passes by on both sides of me:
I'm not sure what I'm waiting for.

Sometimes it all crashes,
falling down on me, and it's cold

like the teardrops of snow raining down
on me now. The tracks of cars cross on the white road
and a girl

dressed like a princess
stumbles across the hidden crosswalk.

(The title is pulled from a shot by flickr photographer Pensiero.)

copyright Maya Ganesan, 2009

The day is right in more ways than one

April 20, 2009

NaPoWriMo #20


There is a new hallway here:


Somehow the title "Desert" makes absolute sense to me for this poem...but if you've got any other suggestions that you'd like to share, I'll consider them.

April 19, 2009

NaPoWriMo #19

Dolce Preghiera*

In a church in Florence


*translation: "sweet prayers"

(There is a Florence Cathedral, which has such "trees," and I've used this picture for the essence of this poem. I don't know if there is truly a room full of saints, or if women in black go to the Florence Cathedral holding shrouds. And, of course, there's Mary's whisper -- it's up to you whether or not it can happen.)

And...I found a very lovely email in my inbox today from Belinda W. Thank you! That's one of the nicest emails I've ever received. You've made my day.

April 18, 2009

NaPoWriMo #18

4/19: Posting yesterday's poem under yesterday's date...

What's Mine is Missing

All I want are blue slippers



From Danielle...

April 17, 2009

NaPoWriMo #17


Suddenly everything feels counterfeit:


April 16, 2009

NaPoWriMo #16

Dance Routine

He's blowing soft, perfect bubbles
next to a lamppost until he can hear the soft tap
of ballet flats behind him.

He takes the string of glowing Christmas lights
off his back.

An intersection on a deserted street,
streetlight saying hello to nothing.
Two overlapping shadows stand there, waiting.

Under the blood-red sky there are more footsteps
and a small plastic stick clatters
to the ground, a sound that rings loud
in the silence.

copyright Maya Ganesan, 2009

(I thought I'd share something that's absolutely captivated me lately. This amazing flickr photographer takes gorgeous photos, and this set titled "night lights" is simply spectacular.)

April 15, 2009

NaPoWriMo #15

By Sunlight

The whole world seems softer.
I'm talking to someone four hundred sixty three miles away.
The number of miles doesn't stop the
phone calls, quiet conversations, letters. The
waiting for you to call back,
the emailing and the IM'ing, the
multitasking and tugging a blue shirt over my head
while talking into the speakerphone
and looking at my plain, girl-on-the-outside reflection in the mirror.
Now I'm writing you a letter and I'm fiddling with my necklace
and the sun softens the white, white wall.

copyright Maya Ganesan, 2009


Firefox and IE

So I've learned that my spiffy new font size doesn't show up larger on Firefox, but it does on IE. I'm really sorry about the problem.

I'm not sure how to fix it, though. Any ideas?

In the floral section

I wish I'd gotten a better picture of this. (This was taken an hour or so ago from my mom's phone -- I'm sorry for the poor quality. But it was really cool and I had to take a picture of it.)
If you can't read it, it says "poetry in bloom" and it was the sign over the floral section of the store.

April 14, 2009

NaPoWriMo #14

#14! I scratched this out in a hurry while looking at a photostream of colorful snapshots of life on flickr (my savior when it comes to NPWM).

(Population: 100)

So we decided to run at 2 a.m.
and leave this town where everybody knows
soon we'll be crossouts.
The world around us seems
so much more colorful, as if someone's
finally found the paint and splashed it
all over our world. So the umbrella's
now rainbow-colored, the houses are blue and orange,
and the view out the subway window
is filled with red and gray and black,
the shades of tunnel walls being left behind.
Suddenly the doors are green
and the lock, dangling from a chain,
clinks while we hang on and the train
pushes us forward.

Confession Tuesday

Confession time! It's Tuesday again.

I'm loving flickr so much because 1) it has amazing photos and 2) it's really inspirational, especially when my Muse is so dry. I'm also loving cuileann's tumblr, cracked pavement and paper crowns. (Isn't that such a fantastic name?)


I'm sorry that the blog looks (a bit) different each time you visit. I'm tweaking the template a tiny bit now just to get it the way I want. If any, the edits will be over soon. Promise.


I'm goin' good with NaPo. Though it keeps me awake late, it's one of the best things I've done for my poetry. Re: your questions about #11 (the Starbucks one), the "you" is a close friend (a close friend of the narrator; this isn't autobiographical), Beth, and Mary Lee, it wasn't a photo that inspired this one. I just think Starbucks is one of the coziest places in the world -- especially in the winter.


Last confession of the day. I know I haven't been commenting on as many blogs as I used to; just know that even if I'm not commenting, I'm reading all your posts.

April 13, 2009

NaPoWriMo #13

Gmail locked me out, so I'm posting this under yesterday's date.


The delicate branches of
painted trees reach out below a
turquoise sky. From behind the
windows she can see every drop of rain
and can count them,
two hundred forty seven spots of
reflecting water, handing her small mirror images like two hundred forty seven
shards of glass would.
The hem of her skirt brushes the stone,
her feet moving down the endless rows
of gray-and-black steps. At the bottom,
the motorcycle waits while the rain pours
and the narrow, bare trees hang over the seat, the wheels, the whole.

April 12, 2009

NaPoWriMo #12

Hope you had a lovely lovely Easter. Here's my two cents for the day:


I come from the house next door:

April 11, 2009

NaPoWriMo #11

The way the first eleven days of NaPoWriMo have gone:

  • have fun all day
  • wait until it's getting late
  • worry about NaPoWriMo poem
  • thumb through flickr
  • search for any prompt/writing exercise
  • find something
  • throw a poem together
  • run to bed


Breakfast at Starbucks

Next morning, breakfast
is a quiet affair at Starbucks. It's
a cappucino and a cookie.
It's me sitting in a rainy chair
by the window, breathing in
the flavorful smell of coffee,
editing poems while
jazz rolls through the air softly.
It's the chocolate on my napkin
and me wishing you were here.

April 10, 2009

NaPoWriMo #10

Apparently I've been writing sad poems lately, which I didn't notice but can buy. In an attempt to write something happier, I wandered around flickr and found some gorgeous shots, which inspired this.

I'm not fully sure about this title. If you've got any suggestions -- anything that pops into your head while you're reading this -- please do share them.


She swims in
and out of transient dreams
that blend together, hazy roses
in my subconscious. Last
night, she drank brushed water, sipping blue from
the sea. Heartbeats later she passed me
on the other side of translucent curtains,
both of us moving in opposite
directions and ignoring each other:
silent silhouettes shifting. At three a.m.
she's standing in an empty field with a
beige sky, black dress
around her heels.

Catching Up

(Emily Ruth, I owe you an apology for the delay in posting this.)

Bookshelf Meme

Tell me about the book that has been on your shelf the longest:

I'm not sure if I'm even remembering this right, but I'm guessing it was a collection of Disney short stories. And at the time, I didn't like to read at all. But at age 2, I devoured Mickey Mouse. He was appealing, somehow.

Tell me about a book that reminds you of something specific in your life (person, place, time, etc...)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Oh my gosh. I remember that when I got my copy (the day it came out), my sister was off at a birthday party and I was reading in the car. The line at Borders was so long, and we had to wait forever to get to the front. But we eventually did.

My sister and I struck a deal that we'd each read six chapters, and then we'd read the rest of the book together (since I'd read a bit when she was gone). After chapter 20 ("Xenophilius Lovegood"), being the nice person I am, I let her finish the book first. Then I read the ending while munching on a strawberry bar. We had gray skies.

Tell me about a book you acquired in some interesting way (gift, serendipity in a used book store, prize, etc.)

My grandpa had an old copy of Alice in Wonderland -- it was blue, gold lettering on the front...and he gave it to me, which was really nice of him. I still have it and I read it last year (the first time I'd ever read it. I know.)

Tell me about the most recent addition to your shelves:

It would have to be this. I got it for Christmas because I was dying to read it, but I'm not going to say anything. Hopefully the lack of any rating translates to "0 stars."

Tell me about a book that has been with you the most places:

Since I've no idea, I'm going to steal this off my sister. According to her, it was The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan, which we took to...8? 9? countries in Europe. Sure. I can buy that. :)

Tell me about a book that doesn't fit any of the above questions:

Oh gosh. Well. New and Selected Poems: Volumes One and Two (Mary Oliver) were the first books of poetry I'd ever owned. And they're fantastic. If you haven't read any Mary Oliver, DO IT.

Emily Ruth's post - along with rules - is here.

And since some of you despise tags and others of you love them, I'm letting you tag yourself. Cheers!


I've also been given two more fantastic awards -- from Em and Leigha.

The Proximidade Award and the "Your Blog is Fabulous" Award. Thank you! I'm nominating:

Danielle of Seeking Neverland (http://www.seekingneverland.wordpress.com/)
Erin of Miss Erin and Backstage Musings (http://www.misserinmarie.blogspot.com/, http://www.actressbackstage.blogspot.com/)
Emily Ruth of AyeCaptain (http://www.ayecaptain.blogspot.com/)

Your Blog is Fabulous:
Priya of Book Crumbs (because you're a very nice sister and have a very nice blog!) (http://www.priyaganesan.blogspot.com/)
Summermoon of The Summermoon Chronicles (http://www.thesummermoonchronicles.blogspot.com/)
Cassandra of You'll find me where reality meets fiction... (http://www.dark-hearted-rose.blogspot.com/)
Maribeth of Over the Rainbow (http://www.sunshinemaribeth.wordpress.com/)
Faith of Faithful ;) (http://www.faithfullyme.wordpress.com/)

April 09, 2009

NaPoWriMo #9


She will ask. In Mexico,


April 08, 2009

NaPoWriMo #8

Searching For Me

There's nothing in my window



I just realized. This is my 100th post.


What do you think? I LOVE IT.

April 07, 2009

NaPoWriMo #7

Without Wings

Angels call my name,


This one was inspired by Kelly Clarkson's "Behind These Hazel Eyes." And re: the angels, they're just fascinating poem subjects. Why not?

(I just realized this took me precisely ten minutes to write. Figures. This is one of my worse NaPo poems.)

Confession Tuesday

I'm not denying that NaPoWriMo has been fairly difficult. But it's the most fun I've ever had when writing poems. I'm really liking it. I'll be disappointed when April's over. Through this first week I've discovered that I write best in the night. I never knew.

flickr is one of the best prompters ever. I pulled poem #3 inspiration from a friend's flickr shot, and I'm probably going to end up using flickr again through the month. There is so much to be taken away from a picture.

I've promised myself that I won't fall behind on writing my poem-a-day. I might fall behind on posting the poem(s), but I won't let the day slip by without writing one. So far, so good...but we'll see. If I can keep this promise, I'll reward myself in May. Somehow.


#7 is the hardest. I'm finding it hard to get inspired -- even flickr's failing me right now. Back to trying.

April 06, 2009

Thank You

Thank you all for being the most supportive people ever. You've left such kind and beautiful comments about my poems and I can't begin to tell you how grateful I am for your words. They're like the sun peeking through the clouds on a gray afternoon. I'm blessed to be in the company of such fantastic people. Thank you.

NaPoWriMo #6

I Have Finally Found the Hole-Puncher, and It's Black

I'm not sure what I'm here for


April 05, 2009

NaPoWriMo #5

The power went out last night, so I'm posting this under yesterday's date.

December Skirts

It snows in Asheville while we


April 04, 2009

NaPoWriMo #4


Under the perfect sky the gray-blue ocean

April 03, 2009

NaPoWriMo #3


I hang up the telephone,


April 02, 2009

NaPoWriMo #2

Darn! (Almost) everyone got me with their April Fools' prank yesterday. Here's NPWM poem #2 -- 2 down, 28 to go.


Surrounded by strangers in high heels,

Poem in Your Pocket Day

Thursday, April 30, 2009 -- the final day of National Poetry Month and NaPoWriMo! What better way to celebrate the end of the month?

April 01, 2009

NaPoWriMo #1

I'm poeming! So far, the first day has been fantastic -- and I've gotten fooled a few times around the internet, definitely, but that's what makes April Fools' so fun -- so here it is, my first NaPoWriMo poem ever. (Happy NPM!)

Forgotten Blues

Every day I pass


(Title courtesy Summermoon.)