I Am Soul By Yecheilyah Ysrayl [Book Review]

I Am Soul by Yecheilyah Ysrayl | Poetry Book Review | RachelPoli.com

Title: I Am Soul
Author: Yecheilyah Ysrayl
Published: 
December 20, 2017 by Literary Korner Publishing
Genre: Poetry
How I got the book: I received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

I AM SOUL is Yecheilyah’s Fourth Collection of poetry. Select poems from the PBS Blog and her personal journal, these pieces focus on all things personal and all things SOUL.

My Review:

rp-first-thoughts

I was pleased to find out this author had a poetry book up her sleeve for one last release in 2017. Poetry has intrigued me lately and I’ve been trying to read more of it. So I was eager to give this one a try.

rp-writing-style

As the summary suggests, I Am Soul is a collection of poetry from the author’s blog or personal journal.

These poems are based on African history and literature as well as Women’s literature. It’s interesting to read from such a perspective because I come from a different background than the author. It reads just like a journal and it’s refreshing.

The poetry comes in all shapes and sizes so that it doesn’t get monotonous. Some are long lasting two to three pages while others are just a few lines taking up half a page. Some of them rhymed and some didn’t. Some lines were long reading like prose and others weren’t. It kept my attention and I was able to read it in one sitting, despite how short it is at 96-pages.

rp-overall

If you’re interested in history or even just poetry in general, this is a great book to read.

I Am Soul by Yecheilyah Ysrayl gets…
5-Star Rating | Book Review 5 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“But I can write, / articulating the suffering / of the now silent.” –Yecheilyah Ysrayl, I Am Soul

Buy the book:

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Supernova [Movie Review]

Supernova

Title: Supernova
Director: Ishan Modi
Starring: Topaz Winters
Writer: Topaz Winters
Release Date: March 2017 (Singapore)

Storyline:

“It is so easy to believe that I’m made entirely of empty space. Loneliness is familiar – it’s blue and flushed, like remembering. It’s a mother tongue. It comes so easily to me. I disappear into myself and I find solar systems, galaxies. I understand more than I ever could when I’m surrounded by others.”

A film exploring the loveliness in loneliness & the infinite wonder we find when we allow ourselves to bloom into the empty. A soft sense of purpose, how it sings within & around itself: this is so, this is so, this is so.

My Review:

Supernova is a short film written by a good friend of mine, Topaz Winters. It’s a three-minute film exploring loneliness and the world and people around us.

Despite the film being short, I got sucked into it. I seemed to have blinked and it was over.

The narration was spot on and brings you right into the story as you watch the protagonist gaze around her, question herself, and try to figure things out.

The writing was poetic. I found it to be very true to life and it was easy to follow along with.

The words, sound, and music, were smooth and easy to hear in the background. The camera and direction were great as well. You forget you’re watching a movie.

Everyone should give this film a watch. It’s quick, poetic yet out of this world, and has a great message.

Favorite Quote:

“I crave the company of others as much as they overwhlem me.” –Topaz Winters, Supernova

Have you watched the film? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

Into The Light By Emily Stroia [Book Review]

Into The Light by Emily Stroia

Title: Into The Light
Author: Emily Stroia
Published: 
October 2017
Genre: Memoir, Poetry
How I got the book: I received a free digital copy in exchange for an honest review

Summary:

Into the Light is a memoir-inspired poetry collection in seven parts.

The book shares the author’s life from a transformative perspective of being in a deep state of darkness to finding hope, miracles and light. In the final part, there are notes to the reader and finding one’s inner peace after adversity.

This book explores trauma, abuse, sexual abuse, mental illness, loss, healing, spirituality, meditation, inspiration and empowerment.

My Review:

rp-first-thoughts

This isn’t the kind of book I would typically read. I’ve read poetry before and I do enjoy memoirs. However, if I saw this at the bookstore I probably wouldn’t have picked it up. It’s a dark, sensitive topic, but it’s a quick read and it never hurts to branch out a little. Since this is a memoir, this review will be written a little differently.

rp-plot

This memoir is told through the author’s point of view from birth and beyond. It goes through all the motions as everything she witnessed as a child between her father’s relationship with her mother as well as her father’s relationship with herself. She describes both of her parents and watches them both continue on with their lives, though not necessarily in an upbeat way.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, however. It’s hard to describe as the story is so short. This one is better if you just read it yourself.

rp-writing-style

This book is a quick read being only 158 pages. It’s told entirely through poetry, so it goes fast. Some pages only have a few words written on them.

The poetry was well written and easy to follow. Some pages rhymed while others didn’t. Some of the poetry was written in longer sentences and some weren’t. It flowed well and no matter how it was written, it just read poetically. The author does have a way with words.

The book is broken up into several parts as well. We start at the very beginning, go through the journey and pain, and end up with her breakthrough and finally forgiveness. It goes through the motions very well almost as if it were the stages of grieving.

It’s fast-paced, but I think it worked well for this particular topic. As I read the story, I felt as though the ending, the redemption, was slower than the beginning. That was my interpretation of it, but I liked it. You want that happy ending.

rp-overall

This was a great read. While I can’t personally relate to the author, I’m sure there are others out there who can. It’s easier said than done, but there are positive moments in life and everything does and will get better. I think that’s what this story is about. You go through tough times, but there always is a light at the end of the tunnel. It was well written and I commend the author for sharing her story.

Into The Light by Emily Stroia gets…
5-Star Rating | Book Review5 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“If you ever wonder what you could
have done differently
remember you were doing your best
with what you knew how.”
-Emily Stroia, Into The Light

Buy the book:

Amazon

About Emily Stroia

Emily is an intuitive teacher, spiritual leader, author, and artist. Emily first discovered her gifts of intuition and creativity as a child and was placed in a highly gifted program for children. She often explored her gifts through writing, art, and experienced frequent visions and dreams that would turn out to be accurate. Not understanding fully why or how she was able to do this, she decided to study.

She has always felt a strong attraction to the metaphysical and spiritual aspects of life and continues to delve deeper into each. Believing strongly in her intuitive gifts, as well as wanting to express her deep desire to help people, Emily decided to utilize her abilities to turn her passion into a profession.Her mission is to inspire people to find the gifts in

Her mission is to inspire people to find the gifts in their stories and live powerful transformed lives with ease and peace. Her life is a breathing expression of intuition, passion, spirituality and creativity. Most days you can find her coaching clients, writing, practicing yoga and playing with her dog in Los Angeles.

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Meet Emily Stroia, Author

It’s my pleasure to welcome Emily Stroia to my blog today!

Emily Stroia Author Pic

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am an intuitive and spiritual teacher.

I write and teach people on how to connect to your intuition and find healing after loss and trauma.

How long have you been writing for?

All my life.

I started with short-stories as a child. English was always a favorite class of mine in school.

What is your writing process like?

It starts usually with an inspirational idea that nags me until I put it into words. I use post-it notes to build the skeleton of the book. The post-it notes are like reminders of ideas for chapter names, concepts, themes and information.

I may go into meditation for answers or guidance when I am feeling stuck at a particular part in a book. If I am avoiding the book I will take a break and read another author for inspiration, listen to a podcast or practice yoga to gain insight.

It is so important to move the energy the writing process. There are moments of sitting and reflecting on what I am crafting and other times when I am 1000% in the flow and have created a message that feels aligned with the theme of the book.

Another tool that has helped me is recording voice notes of book downloads for what will come next in a chapter or section.

Do you have a writing routine? If so, what’s a typical day like for you?

My writing practice has become more consistent over the years.

I explore through journaling and free-writing to loosen my attachment to how I “think” the book should look.

I ask myself in a day what I can commit to with writing and some days it is only 15 minutes. Other days it can be an one-two hours.

I brainstorm in the morning and in the evening when I am in the trenches of the book.

What motivates you to write?

Realizing that my message is relatable and one that many people can connect to. I write to inspire others to never give up on the journey of life and find their own healing journey. It is most humbling to receive an email from someone about how my book has touched them or changed their life, or awakened them to finding their truth, courage and special gifts.

What was the first thing you did when you found out your book was being published?

Self-publishing my own books is a great feat! It takes so much courage to not only write a book but to be brave enough to share it with the world. It is truly being the master of my own fate.

Are you currently working on anything new?

I am working on a second book as sibling to Into the Light. This book will explore healing and growth in relationships, trust, and living a transformed life.

If you weren’t a writer, what would your career be?

I am a woman of many talents and also coach people on finding their intuitive gifts, connecting to their inner voice and sharing their stories with the world.

What is the easiest part of writing for you? What is the hardest part?

The easiest part of writing is the inspired ideas that come to me. The hardest part is trusting that this is a book people will want and can relate to. The actual writing process without judging it.

What’s one thing you learned through writing that you wish you knew before you started?

Structure and routine are important to hone the writing craft. I think before it was more spontaneous for me to write.

What is your favorite book or genre? Is there a special book that made you realize you wanted to write?

Sabrina Ward Harrison is a collage artist and writer who changed my life with her books when I was in high school.

She spoke to my heart about the struggle of life and being brave in the unknown. My favorite book right now is Milk & Honey but Rupi Kaur.

Genres of books are poetry, self-help and spirituality.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

To explore writing with being attached to the outcome. Write because it is a part of you that brings you the gift you need.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Writing for me is a constant state of exploration and self-discovery. I write because I am endlessly curious about what my next work will be like, feel like and how I will be different. I get to be the witness to my own growth and transformation in the writing process.

About Emily Stroia

Emily is an intuitive, writer, spiritual leader, teacher, and artist. Her life is a breathing expression of intuition, passion, spirituality, and creativity. Most days you can find her coaching clients, writing, practicing yoga and playing with her dog in Los Angeles. Her life’s work is to inspire everyone to find the gifts in their story and share them with the world.

Connect with Emily Stroia

Facebook | Instagram

Buy Emily’s Book

Amazon

Into The Light by Emily StroiaInto the Light is a memoir-inspired poetry collection in seven parts. The book shares the author’s life from a transformative perspective of experiencing trauma & darkness to finding hope, miracles and light.

In the final part, there are notes to the reader and finding one’s inner peace after adversity and healing through brokenness. This book explores trauma, abuse, sexual abuse, mental illness, loss, healing, spirituality, meditation, inspiration, and empowerment. This book is for anyone who has ever experienced loss, grief, brokenness, depression, abuse, trauma and heartbreak.

 

September/October 2017 Writing Contests

September/October 2017 writing contest deadlines

September 2017

Genre: Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, or Poetry
Theme: None
Website: Still: The Journal
Deadline: September 9, 2017
Entry Fee: $12
Prize: First – $200

Genre: Essay
Theme: None
Website: Literal Latte
Deadline: September 30, 2017
Entry Fee: $10/1 essay or $15/2 essays
Prize: First – $1,000

Genre: Nonfiction
Theme: My Crazy Family
Website: Chicken Soup for the Soul
Deadline: September 30, 2017
Entry Fee: None
Prize: $200

October 2017

Genre: Poetry
Theme: N/A
Website: Writer’s Digest
Deadline: (Early bird) October 2, 2017
Entry Fee: $15
Prize: First – $1,000

Genre: Popular fiction (romance, YA, thriller, crime, horror, sci-fi)
Theme: N/A
Website: Writer’s Digest
Deadline: (Early bird) October 16, 2017
Entry Fee: $20
Prize: First – $2,500

Genre: Fiction
Theme: Short story (new writers only)
Website: Glimmer Train
Deadline: October 31, 2017
Entry Fee: $18
Prize: First – $2,500

Genre: Nonfiction
Theme: Christmas and Holiday
Website: Chicken Soup for the Soul
Deadline: October 31, 2017
Entry Fee: None
Prize: $200

Please be sure to read through the guidelines for each contest. Information may change.

Do you know any other contests with deadlines coming up? Are you thinking of submitting to any of these contests? Let me know in the comments below! Good luck if you do!

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August/September 2017 Writing Contests

Writing contests for August and September 2017

AUGUST 2017

Genre: Flash Fiction/Non-Fiction/Poetry
Theme: N/A
Website: Blue Earth Review
Deadline: August 15, 2017
Entry Fee: $5
Prize: $500

Genre: Non-fiction
Theme: Miracles and More
Website: Chicken Soup for the Soul
Deadline: August 31, 2017
Entry Fee: N/A
Prize: $200

Genre: Non-Fiction
Theme: Stories of Redemption
Website: Chicken Soup for the Soul
Deadline: August 31, 2017
Entry Fee: N/A
Prize: $200

Genre: Fiction
Theme: Very Short (flash)
Website: Glimmer Train
Deadline: August 31, 2017
Entry Fee: $16
Prize: First – $2,000

Genre: Fiction
Theme: N/A
Website: Glimmer Train
Deadline: August 31, 2017
Entry Fee:$21
Prize: First – $3,000

September 2017

Genre: Nonfiction
Theme: My Crazy Family
Website: Chicken Soup for the Soul
Deadline: September 5, 2017
Entry Fee: None
Prize: $200

Genre: Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, or Poetry
Theme: None
Website: Still: The Journal
Deadline: September 9, 2017
Entry Fee: $12
Prize: First – $200

Genre: Essay
Theme: None
Website: Literal Latte
Deadline: September 30, 2017
Entry Fee: $10/1 essay or $15/2 essays
Prize: First – $1,000

Please be sure to read through the guidelines for each contest. Information may change.

Do you know any other contests with deadlines coming up? Are you thinking of submitting to any of these contests? Let me know in the comments below! Good luck if you do!

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If You Give A Writer…

I have no idea what made me think of this, but I had a lot of fun with it and I hope you enjoy it. It’s based off the children’s book, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff.

If You Give a Writer

If you give a writer a pen, she’ll want a notebook to go with it.

If you give her a notebook, she’ll fill it up and complain her hand hurts.

If her hand hurts, she’ll ask for a computer.

If she asks for a computer, you’ll have to go to the store to buy one.

If you go to the store, she’ll spend hours picking one out.

When she finally decides, she’ll want to start using it right away.

If she wants to use it right away, you’ll have to set it up.

When you finally set it up, it’ll be nighttime.

If it’s nighttime, she’ll ask for coffee to keep her awake.

If you give her coffee, she’ll ask for more.

If you give her more, she’ll ask for more.

And more.

And more.

When she finally crashes, you’ll have to go to bed.

Because when morning comes, you’ll have to do it all over again.

This is probably one of the weirdest things I’ve ever written… But I had fun with it and I hope you found it at least a little bit funny!

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

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Short Story Sunday 98

short story sunday writing prompt

So today’s Short Story Sunday isn’t actually a short story. It turned into a poem! Of some sort…

I never write poetry, though I do try every once in a while. It’s something I would like to improve on. So hopefully you guys enjoy it!

I know you miss me,
I miss you too.

We’re not together,
But you’re not alone.

Dry your eyes,
Put on a smile.

I’m okay,
I made it safely.

I’m with old family,
Who we’ve missed dearly.

I’ve reunited with friends,
Who left too soon.

I’m with past pets,
Who never got enough time with us.

I see you’ve left my bedroom the same,
I’ll miss all my things.

I’ll miss the way,
Mom’s cooking smells.

I’ll miss the way,
Dad hugs me tight.

I’ll miss the way,
My sisters laughed and gossiped.

Life was cut short,
Just like many before me.

I was happy with my life,
I don’t regret a thing.

So don’t cry because I’m gone,
Smile because I existed.

Don’t feel sorry I’m gone,
Be thankful you still have opportunities.

Don’t be angry I’m gone,
Be happy you knew me.

Think of the good times,
The happy, fun memories.

Because all I ask is,
You remember me.

And when your time comes,
I’ll be here waiting.

Words: 171

Dead Poet’s Society

Dead Poet's Society movie review

Title: Dead Poet’s Society
Starring: Robin Williams
Rating: PG

Summary (from back of DVD):

In an age defined by crew cuts, sport coats and cheerless conformity, he not only broke the mold… he reinvented it. Academy Award winner Robin Williams delivers and extraordinary performance in one of the most compelling motion pictures of all time.

Williams stars as English professor John Keating, a passionate iconoclast who changes his students’ lives forever when he challenges them to live life to the fullest and “Carpe Diem” — seize the day! Keating’s unconventional approach meets with irrepressible enthusiasm from his students, but the faculty at staid, exclusive Welton Academy prep school is, to put it mildly, not amused.

My Review:

I have heard many great things about this movie. When I finally sat down to watch it, I was impressed, but not as much as I thought it would.

Robin Williams is fantastic in more ways that one and they couldn’t have picked a better actor to play the role of John Keating.

The movie is, as everyone says, inspirational. Williams has some great quotable lines in this movie that everyone should listen to.

The students all have a huge amount of pressure on them from their other teachers as well as their parents. This one needs to be a doctor, that one needs to get straight As and get into the absolute best college there is known to man. One student wants to be an actor, but his father just simply won’t allow it. None of the students want to do what their parents tell them to, but they obey anyway. Otherwise there are other consequences.

Their professor, John Keating, breaks them out of their shell and gets them to do what they want to do. He gets them to do what makes them happy.

The best part? He does all this through poetry.

I will admit the ending disappointed me, but I think it was mainly because I wanted more. I had high expectations for this movie because everyone speaks so highly of it. While is was good and very inspirational, I didn’t fully understand why people fell in love with the movie. I think it’s because the ending was bittersweet. If it ended differently, I might think differently.

Either way, it was a great movie.

Dead Poet’s Society gets 5 out of 5 stars.

Would I recommend? Yes.

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Via Goodreads
Via Goodreads

Summary (from Goodreads):

Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.

Written in beautiful prose, Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming is a memoir. Woodson describes her life from the moment she was born and beyond in free verse.

We get a closer look at her life, the ups and downs, the special moments and the not so special moments. We follow her as she moves from one place to another, the relationship between her and her family is uncanny.

Woodson was very observant as a young girl and learned a lot from her family and the world around her. She makes a big point to mention that she’s black, as is basically stated in the title, and how she lived in the era where black people were fighting for their own rights.

There is so much love and hate in this story and so much history behind it all. We’re not just learning about Woodson’s childhood, but we’re also learning a little bit about the world in 1963.

I would highly recommend reading this novel to anyone. It’s quick, beautifully written, and teaches us a lot. I even had a hard time picking a favorite quote for this one and ended up going with one of the Haikus in the story.

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson gets 5 out of 5 stars.

Favorite Quote:

“Even the silence
has a story to tell you.
Just listen. Listen.”
–Jacqueline Woodson, Brown Girl Dreaming

Be sure to check out my Goodreads page to see what I’ll be reading next!

Short Story Sunday #27

The title lies. I didn’t have a short story written for today. I’m not going to be home today to write a story, either. But… I did find a notebook with haikus in it that I wrote a long time ago. So here’s three haikus picked out from that lot that I thought were the most interesting. Enjoy.

The beginning starts
Middle is most important
Finally the end

Writing is not just
Words on a piece of paper
It is a passion

Painting on the wall
It shows creativity
Never wash away

Day Eight

Over The Hump…

 

It’s a little after twelve in the afternoon and I have to say that’s it been a very good day. My class at school today was 8-9:15, but I left a little before nine o’clock because we weren’t doing anything. She was helping some people sign up for classes next semester, but I graduate at the end of this semester, so it was pointless for me to be there. I came straight home and started to get some more writing done.

I wrote 5,023 words between 9:30 and 12:00. It was a good morning. I wanted to make it to 30,000 words in my story and now I have a total of 30,041 words. Not only am I over the hump for Camp NaNo because I’m more than halfway done, but I am also over the hump of my story.

I explained in my last post that Saving Each Other is just the first part of five in one novel. I’m at the very top of the climax for this part and I think it’s just about done. I have a couple more parts to write for it and I should be good. I don’t know how many words it’s going to take…I like to think it’ll take about 20,000 more words to make it to 50,000, but it might be more or it might be less. We’ll see.

Also, I heard that it’s NaPoWriMo this month, as well? That’s where you’re supposed to write one poem every day during the month of April. Well, why not? I have a lot on my plate already, so let’s go for it. I’m not really good at writing poetry, but I’ve always wanted to get better at it. Of course, because I do have a lot on my plate right now, I decided that I’m going to write a Haiku a day. It’s easier and quicker and since I was a few days behind, I needed something easy to make sure I was able to catch up.

I have eight haikus so far (because it’s been eight days) and I posted them on my website Spilled Ink. The only thing is, you need to be a member to view the Journal section on Spilled Ink (don’t want any guests stealing ideas from the members). So if you want to view them, you need to register. It’s a free Proboards writing website and we would love to have new members because we just re-opened. Of course, if you don’t want to join that’s perfectly fine. For that reason, I also posted the Haikus on my FictionPress account. Check that if you want, but I would really appreciate it if some of you looked at Spilled Ink and considered joining…yes, I am degrading myself and am advertising on my own blog…

Anyway, tomorrow is another day and I hope to make it to 35,000 words! But Tuesdays are really busy, so I’ll settle for the normal 1,667 words.

 

2013: 111,820/365,000 Words Written
2013: 1,749/18,250 Pages Read

What If?


I am not good at poetry. However, last semester, we had to write a freeverse poem and a formal poem. I thought I would post my formal one for feedback. I’ve always wanted to get better at poetry. So let me know what you think and I’ll post the other one soon!

What If?

 

What if we’re not all that different?
Yet we stay so ignorant
What if people didn’t die?
Yet we always say goodbye

What if animals rule?
And we’re just fools
What if money is useless?
But we’re all just ruthless?

What if life is a bunch of dreams?
What if nothing is as it seems?
What if we don’t belong?
What if everything we know is wrong?