Monday, November 30, 2009

No Matter

Stars and planets continue to roll

on the fingertips of God.  No

matter what man does,

or doesn't, He's always in control.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Listening to the Muse

I've been divorced for many years, now, and my sons are grown. One of my sons is married with children of his own. I found myself with time to listen to the muse and return to my other love, poetry. My aunt, who also loves to write, asked me to take a creative writing class with her on the graduate level at the University of West Alabama. I am so glad that I did. Poetry has changed a lot in the last, uhm, few decades! The professor insisted I write free verse. At first I hated it, but then I found it easier and that I could do it. I still write with internal rhyme, though. I love word play. Most of the time I get inspiration in the middle of the night. It's a good thing that I'm not married, because I'm sure that would be annoying, to say the least. At other times I am inspired by a word that pops out of someone else's poem or story, and sometimes I'm driving down the road and see or think of something that speaks to me. I'm not trying to become rich or famous; I just want to share these thoughts with others. I hope my poetry will spark a feeling, create a common bond, or inspire others.

My life as a musician

I started piano lessons in 3rd grade. My mother wanted me to learn and I was happy to do so. When I was about 5 or 6 we lived by a piano teacher who let me "play" her piano. I think experimentation at an early age is very important to developing as a musician. My uncles on both sides of my family played guitars or fiddle. One of them even had an accordian. Uncle Hamp (real name was Denver, but Hamp was short for "Hambone") was a great singer and guitarist. He was my mother's brother. He sang on the radio and was invited to sing at the Grand Ole Opry, but he chose to stay home and sing all over east Mississippi until he went almost completely deaf. I used to say I was related to Beethoven because my great-grandmother, Epsie Witt was German and deafness was inherited. My grandpa, Uncle Hamp and his son Darren all became deaf. I'm so glad I didn't inherit that! But my point is that I was always around music as a child. We'd sit on the front porch, or gather in the kitchen as my uncles sang and played. I imagine that's why my mother also wanted to play piano. After we stopped living as vagabonds, traveling all over the south with my dad's telephone construction company, we built a house. Soon afterwards, my mother bought a piano, ordered a kit to teach herself piano, and signed all three of us girls up for piano lessons. I was the youngest and the only one that stayed with it. I will admit that after the first year with my 2nd teacher (the first was a boy related to Van Cliburn who moved away) I wrote all over the cover of my piano book "I hate music." My mother made me keep taking lessons. I didn't really hate music, but my teacher had not taught me to read the notes and it was hard for me because I don't play "by ear" that well. My first recital piece was impressive--I did broken chords and block chords up and down the piano. But I did learn my notes with the next teacher and I was back to loving music again. I'd cut out the notes in the music books I'd finished to notate the songs I composed. By 5th grade I was substitute pianist at our little country church, and by jr. high I was organist. I played for hours. My family would yell at me and slam the door shut to the living room where the piano was. That's when I started playing with the soft pedal down. I didn't stop lessons until I was out of college. By then my mother used to ask if I hadn't learned enough yet? I was amazed and said, "NO!"

I played clarinet in band from 6th grade til 12th, was a majorette in 10th grade, and drum majorette my last two years of school. I could do triple aerials with that big heavy mace... I miss band a lot.

The jr. college I attended didn't have a marching band, but they had the best piano teacher I ever had, Barbara Fortenberry. Because I was salutatorian, I could have gone to the local college for free, but I was determined to be a piano teacher, and her reputation took me there. As a music major I had to sing in chorus and take private voice lessons. I was terrified. I had sung in youth choir at church, but this was a different ballgame. Then, to make matters worse I was asked to accompany voice lessons. I had to sightread very difficult art lieder and Italian songs. Dr. Hermetz was very nice and had to calm me down and talk to me like a scared puppy! I finally relaxed and did fine. The director of the stage band, Mr. Sweatt TOLD me I was going to play tenor sax. I had never touched one before, but he assured me it would be no problem. Pretty soon he had me playing the solo in "Proud Mary" on the lawn of the college in front of everyone! I dabbled with writing a few songs. Gosh, I miss those days. I made all A's, got the MCC Music Award and chorus scholarship. Dr. Hermetz helped me get the USM chorus scholarship and off I went. I never joined a sorority; I was only in the Phi Theta Kappa because of my grades. I spent all my spare time practicing piano and voice and going home on weekends to see my fiancée. I was a good girl... didn't drink or party! I graduated with highest honors and married my high school boyfriend.

I had done my practice teaching at a great elementary and was offered a job there, but all I wanted to do was teach piano...and rest! Three years later I had a son and exactly 3 years later I had another son. During that time I was teaching private piano lessons at school. I formed a National Junior Federation Club for my students called "The Piano-forte Club." Orginal, right? But we won the State Loving Cup and my students almost always made superiors at the festivals. When my youngest son was old enough for pre-school I taught public school music at an elementary part-time, piano lessons at 2 schools, and I was church choir director and youth director! A few years later I gave up piano lessons in favor of becoming a public school teacher with guaranteed pay and retirement. I am so thankful to my teachers for talking me into getting the "education" in my music degree!

I have served as judge for the National Federation Festival, The Baptist Hymn Festival, and recently for local finals of the "Colgate Country Showdown." After my divorce I was choir director at a Disciples of Christ church for 7 years. Now I'm having a well-deserved break from church music. I'm sure I'll return when God leads me to the right position.

Getting Published: Just Starting Out

Hi, I began submitting my poetry for publication in February this year, actually on my sons' birthdays (they were born the same day, 3 years apart). The very first poem I ever submitted (since jr. college) was a card I wrote for my mom and dad's 60th wedding anniversary (the day before my sons' birthday). I was so happy that Blue Mountain Arts optioned it, but I won't know for up to 2 years if it will pass testing. My poem, "Winter's Cackles and Kisses" will appear in Emerald Tales, "Winter Solstice," Special Issue on December 21. Some time in late winter my poem "Birthing an Idea" will be published in Waterways: Poetry in the Mainstream, Vol. 30, No. 4. I'm very excited!

Today my poem, "The Earth Gives Thanks" was read on the radio. The DJ called me 2 days ago and asked if I had a poem about Thanksgiving. I said, "No. When do you need it?" He said, "Tomorrow!" So, I wrote it and emailed it to him almost exactly an hour later as "poem #1." I kept thinking it needed more work, but I intended to write and send him a few choices, then editing some more. But he liked the first one, therefore, there was no poem #2...

Trimmings: Next...

We gathered, said grace, ate turkey and trimmings,
had fellowship with family and friends,
the food and the plates are all put away,
and we feel too stuffed to move. But, then
already it's time to put up a tree
for Christmas with all of its trimmings, too!
Seems the holidays are too close together to ever find time to rest! I vote to move Thanksgiving to another day, but
when? Canada celebrates it in October, but there's Halloween. Any ideas? Let's start a petition! (just kidding)

Monday, November 23, 2009



Apostrophes are my pet peeve.
Don't add them if they don't belong.
Don't add them if they don't contract.
Apostrophes have one long "e"
at the end and so does my name—


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Why I Write

When the muse throws down inspiration like golden manna from heaven, I catch it— that small taste of knowing—and savor it in my mouth. Then I spit out the words on paper, let them dry, and try to arrange them into a poem that another human being can digest.

About Me

My photo
Wynne Huddleston is a poet, musician and teacher. Her first book of poetry, From the Depths of Red Bluff, ISBN: 978-0-9840483-2-8, published by the Mississippi Poetry Society, Inc., is now available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Ms. Huddleston is the Mississippi Poetry Society 2014 Poet of the Year. Her poetry has been published in numerous publications including the Birmingham Arts Journal, Camroc Press Review, Stymie Magazine, Danse Macabre, Orange Room Review, New Fairy Tales Anthology, Ink, Sweat & Tears, and Four and Twenty. Her poem, Same Stars, Different Houses received a Pushcart Nomination from Deep South Magazine. Awards include the 2013 MPS Award, and Winner of the Grandmother Earth National Contest 2010 for Environmental Poetry. Ms. Huddleston was born in Lone Star, Texas, but has lived in Mississippi most of her life. She has been an elementary music teacher for 25 years, and has 2 grown sons, and 2 grandchildren.