Pat’s Latest Book

from Oxford University Press

how the light

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Pat's poem, Barry Moser's illustration. Proceeds to AWA outreach. For the text of the poem, click here.

To hear Pat read the poem, click here.

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A – at last.

B – be still.

C – care for your spirit

D – dream

E – eat, with deep pleasure

F – feel

G – go without knowing your destination

H – have, in abundance

I – instinct, rather than rules

J – – just this one day

K – kindness toward your own mind and body

L – let wild creatures, wild places, teach you

M – meander

N – name yourself she (or he) who is a writer

O – open to a blank page

P – put one word on the page

Q – quickly add another word and another without looking back

R – relinquish all judgment

S – stop//sleep//solitude

  • stop when you are tired and do not scold yourself
  • sleep extravagantly; sleep toward the writing
  • solitude – claim the sort you love. It is essential

T – trust your own voice and your own process

U – very gently make a u turn back to your page

V – trust vision more than intellect

W – wait if you feel stopped, rest, then ask your unconscious for an image

X – X out anything that displeases you, but don’t erase in a first draft

Y – Yes is a beautiful word. Say it to yourself

Z – when your pattern doesn’t work, abandon it. Go back to A.


Pat Schneider


  • Wow! This is a splendid list, Pat. Will go right above this writer’s desk. Thank you!

    • Pat Schneider says:

      Hi Susan – I think I already responded, but I don’t see it here so here I am again. I’m glad you like the poem — it was fun to write. Thanks for responding.

  • Martha Bartholomew says:

    Excellent ! I’ll invite my Village Green Writers group to compose their own.

  • The only thing that bothers me is that it’s difficult, from the layout of the page, to determine whether this was written by Sue Reynolds or by Pat Schneider. I happen to know the answer to that, but newcomers to the page might not . . .

    • Sue Reynolds says:

      Hi Cynthia, thanks for your comment – I didn’t realize that the author of the page showed up anywhere – I’ve fixed it now.

    • Pat Schneider says:

      Hi Cynthia — Thanks for this. I told my webmaster that I agree with you and she said it doesn’t show like that on her computer — must be just on the folks who “follow” me, and that she will change it.

    • Pat Schneider says:

      Hi Cynthia — I hope you received my email about this — it was posted with errors, but has been corrected by me and my web master. She was not able to correct the ones that had been sent out, but that was only to those who are “following” my posts. So hopefully they either didn’t notice, or saw it correctly in one of the other places where it appeared. I do very much appreciate your notifying us. — Pat

  • Marguerite Ferra says:

    Love it. Thank you.

  • Colette Volkema DeNooyer says:

    Ah Pat – how do you always know exactly what I need to hear, this very day. Eternally grateful for all you are and all you write.

    • Pat Schneider says:

      Ah, Collette, your poems remain alive in me long after reading your book. Thank you. I’m really glad you like the Alphabet poem.

  • Irene Egan says:

    Thank you, Pat! Good words not only for writers but for all people! Hope you are well and will be offering writing retreats again soon?

    • Pat Schneider says:

      Thank you Irene, for responding, and for the good hopes. I hope so, too. Let’s have a “girl talk” one of these days, OK?

  • Laurel says:

    U – you must remind yourself you are a writer

    (You taught us that mantra, Pat. Thank you!)

  • Ngaire Gee says:

    My favourite is S. Its speaks of Kindess. Wonderful thank you.

  • Pat Schneider says:

    Glad you like it, Susan. It was fun to write.

  • Gretchen Robinson says:

    Such a lovely and original alphabet poem.
    Gretchen Robinson Amherst Writers training going way back.

    If you ever come to east, I have an interview program
    on the local cable access program in Attleboro.

    • Pat Schneider says:

      Hi Gretchen,

      Thanks for your response. I’m glad you like the poem. And thanks too for your invitation to talk with you about your interview program. Email me at and let’s set up a time for a phone conversation, OK?

  • Jan Haag says:

    Wonderful, Pat! Especially Z, which, as in any good poem sends the reader right back to the first line… and A for all those great pieces of advice. (I think U might be my favorite!)

  • Rob Zucker says:

    Very wise and practical. Thank you!

    • Pat Schneider says:

      Hi Rob — I’m glad you like the poem. I send blessing to you and Andrea for strength and joy in one another. These days are unbelievably precious for Peter and me, and I imagine it to be similar for both of you.

  • Thank you! Hello, Pat!

    This will be a lovely and timely prompt for my Monday morning writing group at Women’s Wisdom ART in Sacramento, CA

    • Pat Schneider says:

      Great, Ali — I’m glad it can be put to use, and that you like it. It is lovely to hear from you. I hope you are happy and well.

  • Mary Jo Balistreri says:

    Dear Pat,
    It’s been a long while.You turned up today as I sit in bed trying to figure things out, my life, my writing, the curves taken with being a care-taker. I’m tired and want to write and here you are as you were so many times at the lowest part of my life.
    This is my third rescue quite by accident. Or not. Thank you so much.


    • Pat Schneider says:

      Dear Mary Jo,

      I’m glad you like the poem, and that it came on a day when you needed a poem. That happened to me a couple of days ago — it was lovely and needed. So I know what you are talking about. Write, my dear. And share it with someone who cares about you. Like maybe me.

  • Hi Pat, so glad I came across this site of yours on Facebook! The Alphabet is perfect for me now as I am working on my book. I look forward to reading more of your posts.

    • Pat Schneider says:

      Hi Janey — (do you mind, or do you hate that like I hate “patty?” If you do, apologies!). How nice to hear from you. I’m really glad you like it. I look forward to your book.

  • Oh yes!
    Thank you for
    TRUSTING words and

  • Anita Adams says:

    I love this Pat. I create interactive journals entitled Prayers of Gratitude from A-Z. I love this simple but necessary guidance for Writers. Thank you.

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Amherst Writers & Artists (AWA) is the organization that is carrying on the work Pat established and carried on for more than 30 years. To discover how you can write with an AWA Method Group, or become trained as an AWA facilitator, please click this link.