The Disappointment of Fulfillment is Intimate

Finding Disappointment in Fulfillment and Fulfillment in Disappointment by Maria L. Berg 2022

Contradictory Abstract Nouns (Photography Challenge)

Today I’m looking at finding the disappointment in fulfillment and the fulfillment in disappointment. For today’s images I chose a couple of the hot glue filters that I didn’t think had reached their potential previously, and took them out in nature. Not knowing what would constitute fulfillment, and searching for disappointment, was freeing and led to some interesting images.

Fulfillment in Disappointment by Maria L. Berg 2022

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

It is two for Tuesday, so today’s prompts are:

  1. Write a form poem, and/or…
  2. Write an anti-form poem.

I thought an anti-form poem fit well with an exercise from Tony Hoagland’s The Art of Voice. The second exercise that goes with Chapter Three: “The Sound of Intimacy,” provides a list of “speech additives.” I thought I would walk around with a recorder and use these phrases to literally create a “voice” in my poem.

dVerse Poets Pub

Today’s Poetics prompt is to include titles of movies that won Razzies (from a list) in the poem.

This fits well with my idea for today’s poem. I will see which of these movie titles fit with the “speech additives” as I record myself talking my poem. Then I’ll choose my favorite phrases and write it down. Here goes. Lillian promised no poem Razzies.

Thinking Out Loud: Fulfillment or Disappointment

This isn’t the first time I’ve heard the lonely lady speak of fulfillment
I mean she must have known it at some point for better or worse

Don’t laugh, I—
Laugh if you like, but it seems odd to me for the lonely lady to be talking about fulfillment
Don’t worry I’m not trying to sensor her, but it seems odd, don’t you think?
Someone who obviously knows disappointment,
where would she find fulfillment in her loneliness?

Don’t let me get swept away in these difficult abstractions
come to think of it my bias might come shining through

And when she’s lonely in the empty darkness
swept away by her dreams the color of night—hmm
and another thing is there really ever fulfillment for anyone?
As we wander along between right and wrong
in an area with at least fifty shades of gray,
what is it that defines the disappointment?
Is it the one who seeks fulfillment,
or the one who doesn’t measure up?
I mean, you tell me
Where is the line?

Once a goal is reached, there is always a further one
Fulfillment is never completely reached
Like I always say:
You can’t be disappointed, if you have no expectations.

Finding Fulfillment in Disappointment and Disappointment in Fulfillment by Maria L. Berg 2022


I’m glad I used my character creation spreadsheet yesterday. I used the results to brainstorm a series of scenes in which my protagonist and the character from her past had strange interactions that made her suspect him. The character creation spreadsheet informed the scenes with his fears, hobbies, and obsessions.While she can’t sleep, these scenes are playing in reverse order in her head. I’m enjoying writing it.

When I finish this series of quick scenes, I plan to introduce a scene with one of my Big Five characters, so I’ll quickly fill in her character sheet using the character creation spreadsheet before I dive in.

The next exercise in A Writer’s Workbook by Caroline Sharp is “Picture This.” For the exercise, she says to find an image that makes you feel, then write for thirty minutes about what’s going on in that image. I set up a Pinterest folder of cinematic images before NaNoWriMo began, having no idea I would pick up this book and do these exercises, and I haven’t looked at the images since I collected them. I’ll take a look at the first image, and see how it inspires some scenes, or informs a scene for my novel.

Why would a writer or a reader not want to learn new words?

The pages of a dictionary partially in shadow

Learning new words can be like discovering a new tool that makes a tedious task simple, or tasting a delicious flavor never sampled before.

I love to learn new words. When I come across a new word I enjoy or relate to, I collect it in my writing notebook in One Note and when I update my website,, I include a new word on my inspiration page. I follow a couple of great word blogs here on wordpress.Sesquiotica by James Harbeck and WordBowl by Ms. Charlie Schroder.

A new vocabulary writing exercise:

A while back, when I was reading House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski, I collected many words and brought my finds to my writing group. We decided to do a writing exercise in which we incorporated our favorite new words from my list into a short piece of fiction. I had been mulling around an idea for a sci-fi story for a while and decided to use it for this exercise. Just for fun, I used all of the words from the list that I could and found some more to create a short beginning to that story. I really enjoyed the exercise, but my piece was most definitely over the top and I put it aside while working on other things.

Revision: Deciding what to keep and what to change.

Recently, I decided to revisit this story for a class assignment hoping to continue to develop it, perhaps finish it, during the class. I expected to simply go through the less familiar words and replace them, but a number of them turned out to be the strongest choice. I didn’t find better words than tessellated and protean to describe parts of my monster rising from the sea and tenebrific truly describes the quality of its shadow. So some of the words I learned from the exercise stayed, and in my opinion began to define the voice of the narrator.

Disappointing feedback gets me thinking.

Imagine my disappointment when the feedback from my peers (three reviews) came to one consensus: they did not appreciate my word choice. The most complimentary said the words were too “technical” and another stated he did not like to look things up in a dictionary while reading. If not while reading, when?

The course is online. The readers are online while reading. How hard is it to split-screen with Learning new words is easier than ever and people taking a writing class acted as if using a word that was unknown to them was some sort of personal affront. Pareidolia is a great word. If I saw it for the first time, I would be excited to look it up.

The words I used are not archaic or abandoned. They have unique meanings that clearly state what I mean to say.  Should a writer be expected to limit her vocabulary? Why shouldn’t she expect her readers to rise to the challenge? Why would a writer limit his joy of language in fear that his reader doesn’t know the same words he does and won’t pick up a dictionary?

How could anyone who wants to write fiction not want to explore every word and its many uses? Isn’t limiting one’s vocabulary to fit an imagined understanding, condemning readers to a  truncated experience? Isn’t it wiser to assume a love of language and use all of the tools and weapons at hand?