Monthly Archives: August 2013

Just Jazzy 140

Wilderness Tip

Always be armed with a beverage of sufficient size to knock a bear unconscious.
Always be armed with a beverage of sufficient size to knock a bear unconscious.
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Just Jazzy 139

Jazzy is heading off into the wilderness for a 2 week endurance test vacation.  She will be sending you postcards from the edge of nowhere.  These may appear suspiciously like cries for help but are more likely just pathetic bids for sympathy.

Off we go, into the wild blue yonder, getting high on the in-flight wine.
Off we go, into the wild blue yonder, getting high on the in-flight wine.

Amphigory Diggery Dock

The Old English epic poem Beowulf is written i...
The Old English epic poem Beowulf is written in alliterative verse and paragraphs, not in lines or stanzas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Prompts for the Promptless Season Three, Episode Three:  An amphigory is a piece of nonsensical writing in verse or, less commonly, prose.  It often parodies a serious piece of writing.

How To Write a Poem In Ten Easy Steps

1.  Get inspired by something.  It doesn’t have to be anything amazing.  In fact it can be as inconsequential as a dust bunny under your bed or a flat tire.  Good poetry comes out of nowhere.

2.  Read poetry by other people, listen to song lyrics and attend poetry readings.  Inwardly scoff.  Then steal lines or phrases or words from several different sources and arrange them randomly on a page. No matter what your topic, this will form an excellent base for your own poem.

3.  Think about what message you want to convey to your readers.  Absolutely do not make it easy for them to figure this out.  Great poetry is always totally confusing.

4.  Choose a style – limerick, sonnet, ballad, villanelle, sestina, haiku – there are hundreds to choose from.  Or you can make up a style of your own.  Be sure to give it some fancy sounding name.  It might catch on, you never know.  If all else fails, free verse is pretty easy and has the fewest annoying rules.

5.  Look up some big interesting sounding words, especially ones with obscure meanings which are difficult to pronounce.  The thesaurus is a poets best friend.

6.  Build a strong structure with your words, sort of like building a tower of blocks in all different sizes and shapes.  There should be rhythm and flow.  Or a big pile of rubble. It is totally your choice.

7.  Use imagery and vivid description which appeals to the senses. Enhance the crap out of everything.  A fire doesn’t just burn, it blazes with monster flames and crackles and spits and shoots sparks into the stratosphere.  Everything in poetry should always be super emotional and intense.

8.  Try to make a few things rhyme here and there, just to show you put a bit of effort into the whole thing.  Pick easy words for this like boy, toy, and Illinois.

9.  Have a punch line.  Poetically speaking, this is better known as a powerful ending.  Go out in a blaze of glory.  But never attempt to explain what your poem actually means.    Refer to step three.  Give your reader something to scratch his head over once he’s plowed his way through to the end.

10.  Share your work.  Read it out loud with a ton of emotion.  Set it to music.  Join an on-line poetry group and ask for suggestions. If others are critical, inwardly scoff.  Refuse to edit, and never apologize.

Each of us has a way of putting language together that is ours alone. So seriously, how hard can this be?  Go ahead and write your poetic little heart out. I hope you find these ten steps helpful.  If not, as a last resort before tossing out your work, try giving it to your mom.  Critics be damned, she will love it unconditionally, simply because it’s yours.

Dancing In The Moonlight

dancing in the moonlight
dancing in the moonlight (Photo credit: AlicePopkorn)

Daily Prompt:  The Full Moon -When the full moon happens, you turn into a person who’s the opposite of who you normally are.  Show us the new you.

The new me, under the light of the full moon, will be dancing her little heart out with beauty and grace.  (The old me is a terrible and awkward dancer with heavy duck feet and a clumsy body which bumps into things and knocks them over.)

I found this picture of opposite me, wearing a fluffy white dress, on a pedestal, taking a breather from all that manic prancing around in the middle of the night.  And still smiling even though my bare feet are wet from the dewy grass and I have no idea how I’m going to get down from there.

It appears that moonlight also makes one young and gorgeous with great hair.  Wow.  That’s better than the magic of candle light, hey?  Get out there in that moonlight, people!

To quote some lovely moony lyrics from King Harvest –

When the moon is big and bright, it’s a supernatural delight

Everybody here is out of sight, they don’t bark and they don’t bite

They keep things loose, they keep it light, it’s such a fine and natural sight

You can’t dance and stay uptight.

Here’s the music I’m using for my next dance under the moon.  Come and join me!  I swear I won’t bark and I won’t bite.  Beyond that, I’m not making any promises about my behaviour.  A full moon does strange things.

My Monday

It’s best to get minor traumatic ordeals over with first thing in the morning, which is why I booked a hair appointment at 9:00 a.m. on my Monday off.  I know that’s an ‘orphan-which’ clause, but I dearly love my orphan-which clauses and don’t feel like correcting it.  One day I might be a famous author noted for just such a repeated grammatical faux pas.  In fact, maybe I’ll call my first best seller The Orphan Which.  Watch for that, and remember, you saw it here first.

Today my hair stylist pronounced herself ‘so super excited to fix this up!’ which (sorry, I’ve done it again) set off a couple of alarm bells in my head.  But there’s really no backing out once you’re sitting in that pumped up chair under the giant black cape of doom.

To soothe my frazzled nerves and quiet what’s left of my hair standing on end,  I have spent the better part of the rest of this day finishing the second book I picked up off a bargain table.  Every so often I like to read a real book, as opposed to an e-book, and these two looked like easy reading romantic novels with a bit of mystery thrown in. I was not expecting to learn all kinds of things about assisted suicide.  In not just one of the books, but in both of them.  Really, what are the odds?

me before you

Louisa Clark has been let go from the Buttered Bun Tea Shop and with very few marketable skills is desperate for a job.  Will Traynor has spent the last two years of his life as a paraplegic following a motorcycle accident, is depressed and in pain, and has lost his will to live.  His mother hires Louisa as Wills secondary caregiver, hoping to somehow add something to his life which will change his mind about his decision to end it.  Louisa isn’t initially aware of his plans, but once she finds out, she goes a little crazy doing everything she can think of to make him happy and show him that his life is still worth living.  It’s funny and heartbreaking all at once.  Any story that makes me laugh and cry is probably one of the good ones.  The outcome is never a given.  You might be surprised.

kiss me firstAnd now meet Leila, a solitary and sheltered young woman who has recently lost her mother.  She joins a chat forum and impresses the sites founder with her ethical debate, and is asked by him to become part of what he calls “Project Tess”.  Tess, a beautiful and popular woman with bipolar disorder, has decided to commit suicide but wants to pass her identity on to Leila so that it will appear to her family and friends that she has simply moved out of the country.  They e-mail, chat and Skype in preparation for Tess’s check-out day.  Leila is very opinionated, but doesn’t have a lot of people skills and constantly misinterprets events and situations after she takes over this new identity, and you begin to think that this cannot possibly end well.  And that’s why you keep reading, because you have to find out.

I love to be pleasantly surprised by books that have a lot more depth than their titles or covers seem to indicate.  I am also pleasantly surprised by this hair cut, now that I’ve had a few hours to adjust my head to its present state of lightness and air.

So, all things considered, it’s been a not too shabby day.

Not So Deep Thoughts From the Void

English: English version of Brain in a vat. Fa...
English: English version of Brain in a vat. Famous thought experiment in philosophy of mind 日本語: 水槽の中の脳。英語版。 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I missed answering the promptless prompt last week about retrocausality  (“can the future affect the present, and can the present affect the past?”) because, frankly, it confused the hell out of me.  I took one set of philosophy classes in my life where everyone sat around a table and argued themselves in bewildering circles, and that was enough with the thought experiments for this poor befuddled little brain.  I passed the course, by the way.  I found out I could say any bizarre thing I wanted and the rest of them (including I guess the professor marking the final exam) would be properly astounded by my deep thoughts.

Well, my thoughts aren’t that deep anymore.  Sometimes I believe we think entirely too long and hard about things and that’s why we get headaches and are all crazy as loons.

Which brings me to the promptless prompt for this week –  L’appel du vide is French and translates to “Call of the Void”.  It is the unexplainable urge to jump when standing on the edge of a cliff, or tall height.  It can be considered a form of self-destructive ideation, or a protective instinct to let the brain play out what the body should not.  It’s definition has been expanded to describe responding mentally to the call of the siren song– whether that means the desire to reach into a fire, drive into a wall, or walk into the eye of the storm.

See?  Bat shit crazy.  With death wishes.  Not a great combination for the survival of our species, is it?

I am going to be alive (although perhaps just barely) in the year 2040. (A psychic told me this, if you’re wondering how I came up with it.)  I believe the reason for my longevity will revolve around the fact that I am a gutless wimp.  I have never in my life experienced the urge to jump off a cliff.  I do not reach into fires.  I crawl under my bed when there’s a storm.

Okay, I made that last bit up, but I certainly don’t go out for a stroll during a tornado watch or drive my car at breakneck speeds like all the other lunatics out there.  Or jump out of airplanes. Or engage in any activity that has the potential to cause physical pain.  Like hot yoga or housework.

Even in my head or my dreams I never do anything even vaguely adventurous.  I do not understand extreme sports like mountain climbing, or taking unnecessary risks or the mindset behind any of that stuff. I think roller coasters are stupid.  I had an adrenaline rush once, but it was from a cortisone injection in the bottom of my foot and completely by accident on my part. I thought I might be having a heart attack but the doctor said it was a normal reaction to the shot, and kind of rolled his eyes when I suggested he might have warned me.  I never went back to him.

I don’t even answer the doorbell or the phone if I’m not expecting a visitor or a call.  So the void can call me all it wants – it will get no response from this chicken-hearted scaredy-cat with a brain that can’t fathom the worst case scenario and has little desire to try.