“Are You Guilty of Isms?” inspires a new game of Pessimistic Moustache

While reading the article “Are You Guilty of Isms” at Psychology Today, I realized I hadn’t played Pessimistic Moustache in a while. Pessimistic Moustache is a game I made up inspired by the wonderfully descriptive phrase penned by Agatha Christie. The idea is to use an ism (like pessimism, thus pessimistic) to describe things. Diana Rose Wilson and I pretty much stuck to mustaches (moustache being the way Agatha Christie spelled it) when we were playing.

The way we used to play was Diana or I would post a picture or gif of a mustache and then we would come up with isms to describe it. While reading the article on Psychology Today this morning, I thought the opposite might be fun: Come up with the description first, then send pictures of mustaches that fit the description. For instance:

What does a speciesist mustache look like?

Who has an ageist mustache?

baby stache

What shape is a nationalist mustache?

french mustache strike

Find pictures of a sexist mustache.

girl with mustache

If you would like to play along, feel free to post your pictures and descriptions in the comments, or head over to #pessimisticmoustache on twitter.

I hope you’ll join me in some fun when you need a distraction from your writing. You might find the perfect description for your character’s mustache.

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The Planner Experiment: Final Week of May and Finding Poetry

Fifth Week of May

I prepared the pages early this week and then spaced posting them yesterday, sorry.

2019 Planner May Week Five

Last Week

I finally typed up the ten unpublished poems from NaPoWriMo. I’m letting them sit a bit before I edit them. At the moment I’m not as excited about them as I had hoped to be.

In the meantime, I tried some collage poetry which was a fun and inspiring experiment. I chose two very different books:The Devil’s Teeth: A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America’s Great White Sharks by Susan Casey and Women and the Law (University Casebook Series) by Mary Joe Frug. I photocopied some pages from each book and highlighted phrased that interested me, creating a highlighter color code as I went. When I had highlighted all of the pages, I cut out the selected phrases and put them in a bowl.

I found a small book I had made from scrap paper and magazine pages in my art supply bin. It was a perfect size. I started selecting phrases and gluing them into the book. Over two days, I turned those phrases into five poems.

This Week

I enjoyed my word collage experiment so much that I’ve decided to continue it this week. I have pulled out seven of my morning pages notebooks and have started photocopying random pages from them. I plan to use the same color-coding I used before while highlighting phrases that grab my attention. I’m excited to see if the creation of the poems and the finished products feel more or less personal when using words from my notebooks instead of from books.

Submissions

I still have not been able to re-invigorate my interest in submitting, even though I get excited about the journals as I learn about them and often think one or more of my stories will be a good fit. Hopefully, my original excitement will come around again. Starting tomorrow morning, I will attempt to make my three submissions my morning priority.

Welcome to Summer

Happy Memorial Day to those of you celebrating. It’s beautiful weather here. I jumped in the lake for the first time this year (late for me). It was tingly and brisk. It’s going to get harder and harder to self-motivate and get work done. I hope these planner pages help keep us motivated and on track to meet our publishing goals.

Happy Reading, Writing, Planning and Submitting!

 

The Planner Experiment: May Week Four

May Week Four

Most of this week’s magazine submission ideas came from New Pages. New Pages Call for Submissions pages can let you know about brand new magazines and other interesting markets. It can be fun to be one of the first writer’s published in a magazine. I’m excited about Alien Magazine, a new literary magazine coming out this fall.

This Week’s Pages

2019 Planner May Week Four

This last week I received my first yes!! I have a short story coming out in a fantasy anthology. I’m very excited. It’s a story that’s close to my heart. I’ll tell you all about it when I have the release date.

I also entered my first literary magazine contest. I sent a short story to Carve Magazine’s Raymond Carver contest.

I did not reach my goal of typing up my poetry and submitting, but I’ll keep working toward that.

I hope everyone is continuing to find useful information and motivation in these pages.

Happy Reading, Writing, Planning, and Submitting!

The Planner Experiment: May Week Three – New idea for writing prompts

May week three

Finding writing prompts in old movies

The other day, while thinking about which classic monster I wanted to put in space for the Monsters in Space anthology, I remembered I have a copy of Little Shop of Horrors, the black and white, non-musical with Jack Nicholson. I also needed to come up with some writing prompts for this week’s pages, so I started the movie and sat down with a notebook and pen to jot down any writing prompts that came to mine, or any Audrey Jr. in space ideas, whichever came first.

To my surprise, every little thing began to trigger writing prompt ideas. First, I was inspired by the setting of a flower shop, then by the characters, then by getting ideas from films, then odd and fun dialogue. While I was writing the prompts, I noticed that a couple of them could, perhaps build off of one another.

A new idea for the planner

After writing twenty-eight unique prompts, I looked back through and grouped them into four weeks of prompts that could possibly work together to inspire work on the same story throughout the week.

Since I began this project, I’ve had fun making up the prompts, but not used many of them. I think this new idea of using each prompt to build a story through the week will be more useful. As I learned last month, I can write a story a week, so if I use the prompts to inspire a small section of a story each day, then I’ll be more likely to reach that goal of a finished draft each week.

So many prompts

After Little Shop of Horrors, I put in the original Night of the Living Dead and the writing prompt ideas just kept coming (mostly from dialogue). Now that I’ve discovered this technique, I doubt I’ll ever need to worry about coming up with prompts. I have collections of old black and white, even silent, Alfred Hitchcock and black and white Sherlock Holmes. I’m not sure the black and white is necessary for my prompt writing technique, but I’m going to stick with it for a while.

This week’s pages

Last week, I only got two submissions out. But I did get two submissions out, so that’s movement in the right direction. One of my submissions was a photography submission, an exciting first.

This week we’re hitting many of the month’s deadlines, especially for poetry. I’ve been telling myself I’m going to type up my poems that I have not published on this site and send them out, so this week is the week for my new poetry submissions.

This week’s goal, again, is to fill in the daily planner pages and hit those three submissions a day. I hope you’ll join me.

2019 Planner May Week Three

Reading poetry with a twist

I’m reading a lot of poetry. I’m still reading through all of the books I found to inspire my poetry last month. Last week, I tried something new and found it moving and enjoyable. I was reading Taking the Arrow Out of the Heart by Alice Walker, but not getting very far with it, so I downloaded the audio book, read by the author and listened to it while I worked for a while. Then I picked up the book and read along while I listened. I really enjoyed it, having her voice in my head instead of my own. I highly recommend this experience.

This week I’ll also be reading the poetry of

Diane Seuss
Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl: Poems
Four-Legged Girl: Poems

Alberto Rios
A Small Story about the Sky
The Dangerous Shirt

and

Louis Jenkins
Winter Road

Happy Reading, Writing, Planning and Submitting!

Z is for zeugma- Poems: Dive in, Creative and Zeugma

reflective flowers close

Today’s new word:

zeugma n. Grammar, Rhetoric. the use of a word to modify or govern two or more words when it is appropriate to only one of them or is appropriate to each but in a different way, as in to wage war and peace or On his fishing trip, he caught three trout and a cold.

National Poetry Writing Month prompt:

Try your hand at a minimalist poem

Writer’s Digest April PAD (poem a day) challenge:

  1. Write a stop poem.
  2. Write a don’t stop poem.

My poems

Take a deep breath and d
                          i
                           v
                            e
                               in



                                    IV
                                    :
                                    ;
                              CREAT      E

 

Zeugma

During National/Global Poetry Writing Month, we wrote words and stanzas, rhythm and rhyme, and culture and community.

 

Reading

Today’s poetry book for inspiration is Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings: Poems by Joy Harjo

Happy Reading and Writing!

Y is for yapok- Poem: Hagridden Again

yapok three

Today’s new word:

yapok n. a semi-aquatic opossum of Central and South America also known as the water opossum. The only living marsupial in which both sexes have pouches.

National Poetry Writing Month prompt:

Write a poem that meditates, from a position of tranquility, on an emotion you have felt powerfully.

Writer’s Digest April PAD (poem a day) challenge:

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “(blank) Again,” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then write your poem.

My poem

Hagridden Again

In search of new knowledge,
my perpetual motion,
ambushed by yapok.
A disconcerting combination
of water and land,
of fingered and webbed,
of cute and horrifying.

I contemplate forewarning.
But I am not a gate keeper.
Who am I to impair the stun
of this captivating truth?
Once known, yapoks cannot be unknown,
once seen not unseen,
once imagined, forever a menacing possibility.

I am bewitched by potential,
spellbound by the shiny new tidbits of discovery,
and plunge into inquiry enchanted.
I contemplate a flustering illustration
of its thick tail tightly constricting a branch,
a bewildered bird in its mouth.
I ponder another unsettling engraving
in which it crawls ashore with a discombobulated fish.

In my image it circles you as you work your stoke
like a Labrador preparing a rescue.
In my depiction it perches on your shoulder;
its tail crawls into a coil on your arm;
it gorges on your harrowed head.

Today I am aware of the yapok,
surprised by its revelation,
alarmed by swimming teeth and tails,
mesmerized by adaptation.
I am under the spell of spelling.
Five letters ordered to an unexpected meaning,
leaving me fazed.

Reading

Today’s poetry book for inspiration is The Pushcart Book of Poetry: The Best Poems from Three Decades of the Pushcart Prize by Joan Murray (2009-04-03).

Happy Reading and Writing!

X is for xenium- Poem: Inward and Outward

Close-up of daffodils

Today’s new word:

xenium (plural xenia) n. a present, gift, especially one for a host or vice-versa. a compulsory gift.

National Poetry Writing Month prompt:

“Remix” a Shakespearean sonnet. Here’s all of Shakespeare’s sonnets. You can pick a line you like and use it as the genesis for a new poem. Or make a “word bank” out of a sonnet, and try to build a new poem using the same words (or mostly the same words) as are in the poem.

Writer’s Digest April PAD (poem a day) challenge:

For today’s prompt, pick a direction, make that the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. There are so many directions: north, south, up, down, left, right, over, under, etc. But there are also more specific directions like “Across the Way,” “Through the Woods,” and “Beyond the Clearing.” Or give directions like “Clean Your Room,” “Tie Your Shoes,” or “Get Over Here.”

My poem

Inward and Outward

Plastic-coated self untouched by any
precious xenium though unprovident
impenetrable walls keep out many
voluptuous luxury evident
voice lost in fear and fires of hate
bodies dance vinyl and satin conspire
bouts of cold murderous shame ruinate
ridges of almonds swimming in desire
delicious knowledge but also fear mind
washed with a certain Merlot love
an imperfect actor thinks she is kind
invigorate sweet moments not to prove
how many layers of onion to me
Oh! learn to read the stains you can see

 

Reading

Today’s poetry book for inspiration is The Sonnets and a Lover’s Complaint (Penguin Clothbound Classics).

Happy Reading and Writing!

W is for wamble- Poem: You Come in the Evening

evening

Today’s new word:

wamble v. 1. to move unsteadily. 2. to feel nausea. 3. (of the stomach) to rumble; growl. n. 1. an unsteady or rolling movement. 2. a feeling of nausea.

National Poetry Writing Month prompt:

Write a poem that uses repetition. You can repeat a word, or phrase. You can even repeat an image, perhaps slightly changing or enlarging it from stanza to stanza, to alter its meaning.

Writer’s Digest April PAD (poem a day) challenge:

Write an evening poem. A poem about or during the night. Or take evening a completely different direction and think of evening the score or making things more even (or fair or whatever).

My poem

You Come in the Evening

I wamble toward the evening
after pushing to exhaustion
exhausted muscles slack warm and heavy
heavy lids gather darkness as
darkness gathers along the horizon
horizontal pink and orange candy-floss clouds cling

clinging bits of nature hitch a ride inside
inside I want to fall into the cushions
but cushion that temptation until after a rinse
but before the rinsing waters can cleanse I see you
you wait patiently by the door
the door slides and I lift you to nuzzle at my neck
my neck vibrates with you and the sweat collects your hair
shedding, sticking hair covers me and joins the twigs and grass and leaves
and hairy nature greets the evening softly

the smell of gasoline leads to wamble
you push on into the evening
I let the warm and heavy water
wash the evening into night

Reading

Today’s poetry book for inspiration is The Tradition by Jericho Brown.

Happy Reading and Writing!

V is for green: virid, verdant, veridian, verdigris, verdure, vert Poem: Verdant Exile

commove in pale green

Today’s new word:

There are so many great V words. I may have some fun today along the lines of Margaret Atwood’s A Trio of Tolerable Tales and THE SESAME STREET LIBRARY and write a story about Vesicant Veronica’s vitriolic vitrifaction or Vespoid Vernon’s vespiary.

 

For the present poetry purposes, however, I’ve stuck to the V words that are green:

virid adj. green or verdant

verdant adj 1. green with vegetation; covered with growing plants or grass 2. of the color green 3. inexperienced; unsophisticated

viridian n. a long-lasting, bluish-green pigment, consisting of a hydrated oxide of chromium.

verdigris n. a green or bluish patina formed on copper, brass, or bronze surfaces exposed to the atmosphere for long periods of time, consisting principally of basic copper sulfate.

verdure n. 1. greenness, especially of fresh, flourishing vegetation. 2. green vegetation, especially grass or herbage. 3. freshness in general; flourishing condition; vigor.

vert n. English Forest Law. 1. vegetation bearing green leaves in a forest and capable of serving as a cover for deer. 2. the right to cut such vegetation.
n. Heraldry . the tincture, or color, green.
adj. Heraldry . of the tincture green: a lion vert.

National Poetry Writing Month prompt:

Write a poem that:

  • Is specific to a season
  • Uses imagery that relates to all five senses (sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell)
  • Includes a rhetorical question, (like Keats’ “where are the songs of spring?”)

Writer’s Digest April PAD (poem a day) challenge:

Write an exile poem.

My poem

Verdant Exile

Verdant exile in idyllic, virid splendor
springing and bursting verdure
an umbrella of viridian and vert
a bucolic shunning
far enough from everywhere to be too far
but not quite far enough
shoots like verdigris change the color of days
from gray to green

Does spring tease on purpose?
enticing the sower with warm kisses
then freezing the seedlings in a blanket of frost
or washing them away in muddy rivers from heavy rains
the viridian umbrella has holes
that let the rain through
the wet exile digs again

Reading

Today’s poetry book for inspiration is A Small Story about the Sky by Alberto Rios.

Happy Reading and Writing!

 

U is for ultradian- Poem: Complete SCAMPER

Close-up of the finished spider diva.

Today’s new word:

ultradian adj. Physiology

  1. (of a rhythm or cycle) having a period of recurrence shorter than a day but longer than an hour.

National Poetry Writing Month prompt:

Write a poem that, like “Dictionary Illustrations,” is inspired by a reference book. Locate a dictionary, thesaurus, or encyclopedia, open it at random, and consider the two pages in front of you to be your inspirational playground for the day.

Writer’s Digest April PAD (poem a day) challenge:

Take the phrase “Complete (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then write your poem.

My poem

Complete SCAMPER

Substitute her flippant, unkind words for what she should have said
Combine this delusion with her talking head’s talking points
Adapt to life’s illusion with ultradian reiteration
Modify and magnify this rosy reality
Put those gnawing thoughts to use for the company
Eliminate any creative impulses not for the institution
Reverse and rearrange memories of the lies told to children

Today’s poem was inspired by a page in The Crafter’s Devotional: 365 Days of Tips, Tricks, and Techniques for Unlocking Your Creative Spirit by Barbara R. Call in which she talks about a creative-thinking mnemonic by Bob Eberle.

Reading

Today’s poetry book for inspiration is Winter Road by Louis Jenkins.

Happy Reading and Writing!