Cover reveal of the book I wrote, illustrated and prepared for publishing in less than three weeks

Is there a correct amount of time to spend writing a book?

If there is, I broke every rule with this one.

My previously untitled “balloon-man project” is nearing completion. I designed the cover this morning. I finished the layout last night. I’ll probably publish it tomorrow.

This book is really about obsession—especially as it applies to us creative types. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of need that an especially appealing project creates in the belly of a creative.

And there’s nothing like that feeling of knowing it’s done. Even if you broke all the rules getting there.

Copyright 2022 Michelle Garren-Flye

Balloon-man Project: Excerpt from Sonnet #12

It’s 12:30 a.m. and I have to be up at 7 a.m. My son graduates high school this weekend. I’m working between graduation events. It’s a busy weekend.

But I’m up right now because I really wanted to share something else from my balloon-man project. You know, the one that seized me by the freaking throat, picked me up and shook me until I agreed to indulge it? And now it won’t let me go.

Okay, maybe that’s a bit violent of a description for what’s going on here, but I do feel like this one came out of nowhere. I mean, I decided to write sonnets one day and bam. There it was. Twenty sonnets in two days, all connected, telling a story. And now I’ve illustrated more than half of them and I’m pretty sure I know how to lay them out in book format (a very tiny book), and I’m thinking it’ll be ready about the same time as Hypercreativity, which I worked on for months.

I’ve never had a book happen this way before.

Poem and illustration by Michelle Garren-Flye

Which Wolf Do You Choose?

Fear and hope. One can easily defeat the other. It’s a matter of which wolf we choose to feed.

I’ve fed both in the past. Fear is a scavenging beast of a wolf. His ribs always show, regardless of how much you feed him. He’s always wanting more. More of your confidence, more of your dreams, more of your self. He brings nothing but doubt.

Hope is a mighty warrior when you feed her. She’ll slay Fear before he can eat your soul. She’ll encourage you to reach for those dreams, even when it seems there’s no way you’ll ever achieve them. She brings joy and life and love.

I am almost finished with my next poetry book Hypercreativity. During the course of putting it together, I realized that although I always want to choose to fill Hope’s bowl with kibble, I often dribble it into Fear’s. Because you have to consciously make a choice to feed Hope, but Fear is always there, waiting.

I made a conscious decision to finish my book with a healthy feeding for Hope. I’m pleased with that decision because my entire writing life is built on Hope. She needs to be strong.

Illustration copyright 2022 Michelle Garren-Flye

Poem: Motherhood

This isn’t exactly a new poem. It was inspired by my oldest son but over the course of the past year I’ve seen more and more instances of strength in all three of my kids. They’ve been generous with that strength, too, loaning it to me when I needed it. Like a warm coat they take off their own shoulders to place over mine.

So thank you, kiddoes. Without you I wouldn’t be me.

Poem and illustration copyright 2022 Michelle Garren-Flye

National Poetry Month, Day 5, Verse 5

Not much explanation needed for this one. I found these rather jovial flowers while on my walk the other day. They remind me of court jester hats. I fell in love, of course, and had to add them to the spring renga.

Poem and illustration copyright Michelle Garren-Flye 2022

National Poetry Month, Day 2, Verse 2

I actually wrote an entire haiku before I remembered verse 2 is only fourteen syllables and two lines… I’m not totally unhappy with the edits.

Poem and Illustration copyright Michelle Garren-Flye 2022

Poem for the spring equinox: Stay

The spring equinox actually slipped past me yesterday. I spent a lot of time outside, though, so I guess I celebrated by soaking up some of that spring sunshine.

I’ve felt spring coming for sometime for me. I’m thawing in many different ways. In the process, I wrote a poem that’s sort of a love poem, though it’s written to multiple different people. So not the steamy kind of love poetry. (Sorry, but maybe I’ll write some of that at some point, too.)

Anyway, I wanted to share it here. It’ll probably become part of my next book of illustrated poetry.

Poem and illustration copyright 2022 by Michelle Garren-Flye

Poem: Hypercreativity by Michelle Garren-Flye

It’s been a beat since my last update. Since then, I’ve spoken to a group of writers about my love of poetry and how it dropped me a rescue line during Covid. And I’ve had an explosion of creativity that has…

…brought me to a screeching halt.

How is that possible? When my brain is firing all its creative cylinders, how is it I can’t seem to create anything?

And it’s not totally true that I’m not creating. I am. I’m writing poetry and drawing and working on a book about my cat and gathering material for the next literary magazine. I’m entering contests and submitting poems (and getting rejected regularly). I’m working on a workshop about haiku/renga and researching poet laureates for a speech I’m giving at the end of April (National Poetry Month). I am creating.

I’m not finishing.

It’s the danger of hypercreative energy. And yet I’m still enjoying this surge because it’s been so long since I’ve felt creative at all. I’ll find a balance. Until then, I will go in as many different directions as I possibly can. All at once.

If I connect the dots and draw the lines right, maybe it’ll look like a star.

Or maybe just a jumble.

Hypercreativity

By Michelle Garren-Flye

No need to inspire

I am hypercreative

Ideas abound

Crowds of ideas

cloud my dreams each night and day

push reality