dVerse Poets Quadrille: Puzzle

For anyone who has been following my writing adventure, you will not be surprised that “Puzzle” inspired me to write many poems. I wrote three dVerse Poet Quadrilles in the first 25 minute sprint of #MagicMon over on twitter. I am excited about this one.

pieces

Bronchial Birch Trees

I asked for the box because I need to see the corrupted result
Pieces will fit together, but not to my vision
My passion for this puzzle used to excite me into the night
I can’t open this mangled mutation of my aborted dream.

 

Advertisements

dVerse Meeting the Bar: Bridging Southern Florida

Today’s dVerse poets prompt is a fun one. The challenge is to pick a line from two books then start your poem with one and end with the other. I just so happen to be reading  Rum Punch: A Novel by Elmore Leonard and Razor Girl: A novel by Carl Hiaasen. The first is set in Miami and the other in Key West. That should make for an interesting bridge.

Southern Florida Bridge

Always On The Grift

Sheepishly she displayed the razor
as she lowered her skirt

Flashing her wide whites and woollies
innocent as a lamb while

Hiding her black sheep, freshly shorn,
back into the fold

But he keeps visualizing
a fresh, pink clam

The wolf in sheep’s clothing
so well disguised

Even the shepherd was blinded
if only long enough for the crime

He follows her bleating
until he is fleeced

No apology or acting sheepish
about it, wanting to explain

She re-opens the straight blade
Just like that, back in the game

 

The first line, “Sheepishly she displayed the razor as she lowered her skirt,” was taken directly from Razor Girl: A novel by Carl Hiaasen (pg. 43) and the lines, “No apology or acting sheepish about it, wanting to explain” and “Just like that, back in the game,” were taken from Rum Punch: A Novel by Elmore Leonard (pgs. 143 and 144). I chose these lines to create my bridge because I found it interesting that two different authors in books separated by twenty-four years would choose “sheepish” to describe women who were committing crimes and in acts of deception.

The Quadrille: Not Just An Old Dance Anymore

quadrille: noun – 1. a square dance performed typically by four couples and containing five (or six) sections, each of which is a complete dance in itself. A piece of music for a quadrille dance. 2. each of four groups of riders taking part in a tournament or carousel, distinguished by a special costume or colors. A riding display.

The Dance

The dance took its name from square formations executed by four mounted horsemen in 17th-century military parades. The dance was executed by four couples in a square formation.

The following table from Wikipedia shows what the different parts of the Viennese six-part style look like, musically speaking:

  • part 1: Pantalon (written in 2/4 or 6/8)
    theme A – theme B – theme A – theme C – theme A
  • part 2: Été (always written in 2/4)
    theme A – theme B – theme B – theme A
  • part 3: Poule (always written in 6/8)
    theme A – theme B – theme A – theme C – theme A – theme B – theme A
    • Part 3 always begins with a two-measure introduction
  • part 4: Trénis (always written in 2/4)
    theme A – theme B – theme B – theme A
  • part 5: Pastourelle (always written in 2/4)
    theme A – theme B – theme C – theme B – theme A
  • part 6: Finale (always written in 2/4)
    theme A – theme A – theme B – theme B – theme A – theme A
    • Part 6 always begins with a two-measure introduction

All the themes are 8 measures long.

The Poem

I started this study of quadrilles today because it’s Quadrille Monday at dVerse Poets Pub and I wanted to participate for the fist time. The connection between the quadrille dance and poetry began when Lewis Carroll lampooned the dance in  Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’sThe Lobster Quadrille” (1865).

The dVerse Poets Pub Quadrille is a poem (or short prose) in exactly 44 words that incorporates a given word. To quote from the original post from Björn Rudberg, “The challenge combines two essential elements to have fun.” Today’s word is muddle and the quotes on the site are great!

I headed over to Shadow Poetry to see if they had a poetry form page for the quadrille and the closest I found was an invented poetry form by C. G. V. Lewis called a quadrilew.

Over at Poetry Soup I found a page of links to poems about quadrille that they call Quadrille Poems which I thought was interesting.

And now that I have some understanding of quadrille (at least the word), here is my first attempt at creating my own:

The Dance

Lace and denim muddled
space in a rat race

Grace; a muddled mint
in a julep glazed

Chase a hint
of mace-muddled flint,
a warm taste

Face the phenom
of muddled voices
venom without trace

Time is a climb of thirsting,
bursting rhyme sublime

 

The Horses

Happy Reading and Writing!

and dancing and horses and costumes

Happy May! A recap of my April adventures and what’s next

galluping purple flowersI want to start by saying thank you to all of the organizers of NaPoWriMo and A to Z Challenge and the poets of dVerse. And the poets that included my poems in their lists, especially David Ellis at Too Full To Write.

I also want to thank everyone who read my poems and left such lovely comments. Everyone was encouraging and made me feel my efforts are worthwhile.

This was a long month for me  with some very high points and some low points.Signed by Anne Lamott

The high points were: my birthday evening seeing Anne Lamott at Benroya Hall; scrolling up some of my poems for Poem in your pocket day and having them on the counter at A Good Book Bookstore; and, of course, completing the challenges while learning so many interesting new words and facts.

The low points all had to do with short story rejections, but I think my very negative feelings had to do with a bout of the flu, so actually, the low points should have been seen as high points, as in, “I have new stories to shop around.”

This month hit some milestones for Experience Writing:

♦ Most views ever: April 30
♦ Most likes ever: April 16

Thank you for the comments, likes and follows!

Now to the recap.

NaPoWriMo

I found all of the different prompts inspiring. I learned so much from the resources and examples, the great interviews and unique ways to approach the page. This was a great experience and I’m glad I did it. To my readers who didn’t participate this year, I recommend giving it a try next year. And you can dive in sooner with OctPoWriMo this fall.

My favorite prompt: I think the haibun prompt was my favorite. First, because I had never heard of haibuns before. Second, it adds another element to haiku that I really enjoy, and third, because it opened up participation in dVerse’s Haibun Monday. I wrote three haibuns during the month:Contemplating the Other

Summer Comes Too Soon

The Lingering, Long Spring Day

Self and Setting

My favorite poems I wrote:

Why Stand By? This poem, inspired by a forensic psychology course I’m taking online, really seemed to resonate with readers and spur discussion.

Contemplating The Other This poem, inspired by the Polish poems from Here by Wislawa Szymborska, is one of my favorites and my sister liked it and wants a copy for my nephew’s baby book which makes me very happy.

Then I think it’s a tie between the poems I did the most factual research for :

An Apple Is An Apple – noosphere

The Next Pasquinade – Pasquino

Flawed Reflection – Pulitzer winner Frank Bidart

The Reliquary for the Miraculous -Saint Sidonius

I really enjoy learning new and interesting things.

A to Z Challenge

I think doing the A to Z Challenge as part of my NaPoWriMo experience was a great idea. As I learned last fall, I like to use multiple prompts to enhance my creative efforts, and the word of the day often lead to more interesting poetry challenges.

My favorite words were: xanthic (xanthodont), wayzgoose, wazzock, and atresia. All of them really.

Flash! cover

Reading

Favorite poetry books: Here by Wislawa Szymborska

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Favorite writing book: FLASH!: Writing the Very Short Story by John Dufresne

May Plans

So what comes next? It’s time to turn my attention back to my novel. I have scenes to draft and then another full edit. While I work, I will hopefully find inspiration from:

Between the Lines: Master the Subtle Elements of Fiction Writing by Jessica Page Morrell

Writing 21st Century Fiction: High Impact Techniques for Exceptional Storytelling by Donald Maass

The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing by Evan Marshall

How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method (Advanced Fiction Writing) (Volume 1) by Randy Ingermanson

I also have a great stack of fiction and poetry to inspire me as well.

monster dancer

I’m hoping to continue to blog three posts weekly:

  1. a writing and editing post
  2. a poem
  3. a book review

Site stats tell me that my most popular day and time is Thursday at 1pm. What would you like to read most on a Thursday at 1pm: a poem, some insight on the craft of writing, or a book review?

Or is there something else you would like me to share this May?

I have decided that the photography focus for the next Gator McBumpypants picture book will be using filters. I’ll be studying an old KODAK Workshop Series book called Using Filters, so you may see some odd photos to illustrate my posts.

If you have a poem, a micro-story, a book review, or a guest-post you would like to share on Experience Writing let me know in the comments or head over to MBer Creations and write to me on the Contact page.

 

Happy Reading and Writing!

Here’s to an abundant and prolific May.

dVerse Monday Haibun: Take a walk

And as a treat for finishing NaPoWriMo and the A to Z Challenge, I took the advice of the prompt at dVerse Poets Pub and took a walk.

black crust on stump

 

Self and Setting

For this respite, my reward for diligence, I grab my lens, aspiring to share my view. I find myself not walking, but squatting, twisting, turning and reaching for the space and light. Pushing buttons, twirling knobs, zooming in and out to capture contrasting colors in secondary stewardship. Wings flit seconds before the click. I debate if taking a walk had to mean wandering the neighborhood. A pedestrian coming toward me, a man in a red jacket, whom I would have to pass, answers my question for me. I do not have to wander to break a sweat and hear my muscles sing their discordant threnody.

Am I of this place
A loop of known origin
The last or the next?

 

curlinglording over

little white pills

Tragic Magic

The road home

Tragic Magic

I wait, camera ready
Patient as stone
For her to return

The blue, of her name
Coats three speckled
Magic orbs

The sky breaks aflutter
She shapes a world
To plump body

I twitch; she disappears
Clacks and cracks
burst to life

The clutch, altricial horrors
She hunts and returns
to nourish

Quick clicks, intent to capture
Death and life entwined
Becoming one

In growth, patient negotiation
Hidden hope
To witness flight

The loss, complete disappearance
Tragic magic
The attack in blissful blindness

 

Today’s poem was inspired by yesterday’s revelation that a robin rebuilt the nest I watched last year. After the chicks had hatched and begun to grow feathers, the nest was attacked and one of the chicks was left dead at the base of the Camellia bush under my office window.

Part of me is excited to see the eggs again, watch them hatch, and take pictures of the momma bird feeding grubs and worms to her young (it’s somehow beautiful in all its gore and horror). But then part of me wants to scare the bird away and destroy the nest and spare the bird from the inevitable cruelty of nature.

I’m also thinking about birds because I’m going to see Anne Lamott, author of Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. I’m looking forward to an evening of inspiration.

I started a story about ornithologists a while back. It’s about identity and specificity causing difficulties in relationship. I think I’ll try to finish it up this week.

If you like birds and want to learn more about ornithology, you may want to check out Essential Ornithology and The Bird Watching Answer Book: Everything You Need to Know to Enjoy Birds in Your Backyard and Beyond (Cornell Lab of Ornithology).

Happy Reading and Writing!

See you tomorrow.

 

E is for Erumpent and Etiolate

erumpent: adjective – bursting forth or through a surface.

etiolate: verb – 1. to bleach and alter the natural development of by excluding sunlight 2. a. to make pale b.to deprive of natural vigor: make feeble.

 

The NaPoWriMo challenge for today would have been daunting–find a photograph and a poem in a foreign language I don’t know then pretend I am translating the poem so that it describes the photograph–if I hadn’t recently read Here by Wislawa Szymborska. Her beautiful book of poems is laid out with the Polish versions on the left hand pages and the English translation on the right.

The Polish poems look so interesting; so many curious diacritics. The kreska or acute accent (ć, ń, ó, ś, ź); the overdot or kropka (ż); the tail or ogonek (ą, ę); and the stroke (ł) (from Wikipedia) all combine like a wild jungle of ferocious expression. I know nothing about the Polish language, so hopefully exploring the Polish poems (while covering up the translations) will spark some creative translation.

 

Contemplating the Other

                                                                                                            photo by Maria L. Berg

 

Contemplating The Other

Sad boy who stole my clothes, why are you made of flowers?
You float on a sea of boards beyond this barrier where I cannot go
You have my hair, my nose, my ball, even my shoes
But you do not have my smile, where has it gone?

When you sing, do you sound like me?
When you cry, who kisses you and wipes your tears?

If there is another of me, do I still possess specialness,
Or does acknowledging him etiolate me?
What becomes of me if the flower boy is more precious?
I want to play with him, but our hands are full.
He wants me to leave, but won’t turn away.

 

It took me a while, but I found a video of Wislawa Szymborska reading her poem “True Love” in Polish. I really wanted to hear her words in her language. And here you can see the words of a poem while she reads.

Happy Reading and Writing

and Exploring poems in foreign languages!

 

D is for Duende and a Double Dose of Dufresne

 

duende: noun – 1. a goblin; demon; spirit 2. charm; magnetism

Bonus word: dejecta: noun – feces; excrement

 

Azalea petals

 

Azalea Petals

                                           It was a shame
to cover up those voluptuous curves in that floral tent of a mumu
such a contrast to the white hood and robe silently hanging in the padlocked closet
Her lime and tan wide-brimmed sun hat veiled her face in shadow,
but she also shuttered her eyes with oversized mirrored sunglasses
as if darkness was not dark enough to hide her thoughts

It was a dirty shame
the way he still stared longingly, lustfully while imagining no one saw
his history of apologies sloughed like the purple azalea petals
scattered on the pavement at the cease of spring
His gape eluded to his ape ancestry, unaware of the taboo;
triggered by olfactory stimuli: the heat, the sweat
He stood erect; up from the dusty ground revealing his genitals,
revealing his weakness

It was a crying shame
that she looked out the window at that moment of passing duende
She observed his every twitch of the dance
Her nose curled at the smell of dejecta while festering secrets burst forth
like erumpent maggots from a rotten apple
She thought of his ancestry, his family grooming him in consolation after
his beat down by the alpha male from whom he did not evolve
Now he only suffered the yearnings of the flesh.

For shame!

 

For today’s poem I took a look at a couple philosophy staples I’ve kept with me since college:Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future by Friedrich Nietzsche and Civilization and Its Discontents (The Standard Edition) (Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud).
For the poetic form, I was inspired by District and Circle: Poems by Seamus Heaney, specifically “Edward Thomas on the Lagans Road,” “A Clip,” and “A Chow.” This book of poems has great examples of using specific descriptive nouns.

Craft Book Review

If you have followed Experience Writing for a while or follow me on twitter, you have probably heard me mention Is Life Like This?: A Guide to Writing Your First Novel in Six Months by John Dufresne. I read this book early in my writing journey and I still use the tools he discussed.

Mr. Dufresne has a new book about writing flash fiction called FLASH!: Writing the Very Short Story and for this review, I also read his book The Lie That Tells a Truth: A Guide to Writing Fiction.

Flash! cover

Why I picked it up: I enjoy writing flash fiction and was curious about Mr. Dufresne’s take on the subject.

My Expectations: I am a big fan of Mr. Dufresne’s other craft book Is Life Like This?, so I had high expectations that I would learn something and enjoy this book.

Intended Audience: People curious about flash fiction.

What I liked: This book is full of great examples of flash fiction stories, in their entirety, by many different authors. There’s a wonderful variety. The book flows nicely: heavy on the examples at the beginning and ending heavy on the suggested exercises and writing prompts.

What I didn’t like: There isn’t anything I didn’t like about this book. The only problem with reading it is I now have even more stories to write. Because I read Mr. Dufresne’s other writing books, I recognized some of the exercises–he even included a Flash-O-Matic–but it makes sense that many fiction exercises for longer fiction would work well for flash fiction also.

Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ 5/5

Why I picked it up: I picked this one up to see what other gems of knowledge Mr. Dufresne had to impart.a lie that tells a truth cover

My Expectations: My expectations were perhaps not quite as high for this one. I wondered if it might repeat  much of what I read in his other books.

Intended Audience: Fiction writers of all levels and interests.

What I liked: This book is packed with exercises. Someone in a chat the other day asked me what books I would recommend with good writing exercises and I replied, “Anything by John Dufresne.” I was not wrong.

What I didn’t like: My issue with this book is the format. It is so packed with quotes (usually two to each page) that I couldn’t get through the text without reading through the chapter’s quotes and then going back to read the chapter. And even then I found the quotes distracting. I’m not into quotes out of context in the first place, so they don’t enhance my reading experience when placed well, but the way these broke up the page distracted me from the substance.

Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ 3/5 I recommend doing the exercises.

Happy Reading and Writing!

See you tomorrow.

C is for Commove

galluping purple flowers

commove: verb – 1. to move violently: agitate 2. to rouse intense feeling in: excite to passion.

Vandalize In Space

Blank stares
Blank slates to vandalize
Vandalize the empty hearts
Vandalize the vapid
Vapid vikings
Vapid minds
Minds the sloths
Minds to commove
Commove me
Commove the day
Day washers
Day away
Away from here
Away from you
You too
You who hear
Hear visceral fear
Hear the lines in the vinyl
Vinyl Pauly
Vinyl vanguard
Vanguard of the future
Vanguard vertigo
Vertigo Cliff
Vertigo Dizzy
Dizzy danglers
Dizzy disease
Disease ridden
Disease infernal
Infernal hedgehog
Infernal thieves
Thieves at the doorstep
Thieves and lovers
Lovers leap
Lovers last laugh
Laugh at it
Laugh in the face
Face the music
Face foundry
Foundry of fools
Foundry flakes
Flakes again
Flakes of flotsam
Flotsam hoard
Flotsam filled
Filled to the brim with Kim
Filled Space
Space Divers
Space for staring
Staring
Divers

Today’s NaPoWriMo theme didn’t inspire me to poetry at first, but then I remembered the Blitz poem I wrote for OctPoWriMo and got inspired. The band name list idea pairs perfectly with the blitz form.

commove in pale green

fun note: I came up with my word of the day yesterday, before I knew the NaPoWriMo theme – band names. It turns out there is a rock band named CoMMoVe. They created a powerful short film music video about PTSD. I think it’s well done, but WARNING it is at least PG-13 for images of war and violence and a difficult topic.

Happy Reading and Writing!

See you tomorrow.

B is for Banausic and Bickham – Craft Book Review: Jack M. Bickham Double Feature

banausic beauty

banausic: adjective – relating to or concerned with earning a living; utilitarian; mechanical; practical. Not operating on a refined or elevated level; mundane.

Why Stand By?

I heard a scuffle on the sidewalk below
You put down your glass and walked to the window
She saw a hussy in a public embrace
He saw a man gettin’ his
We heard her scream
They turned back to the TV

I grabbed your glass and brought it to the window
You took a sip and poked your head out
She yelled, “Let that woman go.”
He finally called the police
We watched and waited
They turned off the lights

They were too late
We took one last look at the body
She had bled out
He was never found
You refilled your glass
I contemplated banausic windows

Today’s NaPoWriMo theme was the I, or the speaker of the poem. I thought it tied in well with witness testimony which I am studying in an online forensic psychology class through futurelearn.com

I also found inspiration in National Book Award Winner Lighthead: Poems (Penguin Poets) by Terrance Hayes, especially “Lighthead’s Guide To Addiction” and “Satchmo Returns To New Orleans.”

tools of physical labor

Craft Book Review

I first came across Jack M. Bickham‘s name while reading Crafting Dynamic Dialogue: The Complete Guide to Speaking, Conversing, Arguing, and Thinking in Fiction (Creative Writing Essentials) from the editors of Writer’s Digest. His book Writing novels that sell was mentioned in a section called Parent-Adult-Child which talked about three primary roles people/characters occupy in life.

My local library didn’t have that book, but did have Scene & Structure (Elements of Fiction Writing) and Setting (Elements of Fiction Writing), so I picked them up instead. They are both part of a series called Elements of Fiction Writing 5 Volume Set (Beginnings, Middles & Ends – Description – Setting – Characters & Viewpoint – Scene & Structure)

Setting

My Expectations: A while back in a critique meet-up, I  heard people talking about active setting. I hadn’t read A Writer’s Guide to Active Setting: How to Enhance Your Fiction with More Descriptive, Dynamic Settings by Mary Buckham yet, so I still wasn’t clear what sort of magic made setting active and hoped this book might clear that up.

Intended Audience:
All fiction writers, but it may be a little advanced for early beginners.

What I liked: It was fun to learn about setting from the man who wrote Twister which  has a vibrant setting and uses setting (weather) as a character. Not only did this book answer my questions about active setting, it inspired me, through straight-forward exercises, to think about setting differently in my novel. This book really clicked for me and helped me understand aspects of setting that I hadn’t thought of before.

What I didn’t like: The writing is very dense. Though the book isn’t very thick, it’s a slow read. Definitely worth it because I really felt aha! moments, but it felt like mining through thick stone to get to the gold.

Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ 4/5 I recommend this book.

Scene & Structure

 My Expectations: Because I had such a good experience with Setting (Elements of Fiction Writing), I had high expectations for this book. I looked forward to seeing what sort of clarity Mr. Bickham could bring to my understanding of plot.

Intended Audience: Writers of fiction. Perhaps most useful to someone planning a novel. Though I plan to use his order of component segments of scene and sequel to evaluate my scenes during revision.

What I liked: This book did not disappoint. Mr. Bickham’s presentation and explanation of scene and sequel were eye-opening and gave me lots of ideas to evaluate and improve my draft.

What I didn’t like: This book, even more than setting, felt like a lot of reading for the amount of useful information. However, the information is so useful, that it makes it completely worthwhile.

Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦  4/5  I recommend this book.

 

Happy Reading and Writing!

I’ll see you tomorrow.