Poetry Wednesday: Random Acts of Poetry

Warning:  Post contains a mild rant that may be slightly out-of-proportion to the triggering remark.

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“You must read a lot of poetry,” said a passing blog-quaintance, not quite making it sound like a private act of dubious intent.  “I wouldn’t even know where to start reading that kind of stuff.  I never could understand it.”

Or, I heard, the people who do.

This person seems to think it takes someone with certain enhanced senses—like a wine taster or a truffle snuffler or a mild-mannered reader who was bitten by a radioactive literary critic—to understand and enjoy poetry.

I don’t buy that.

Truth is, I’ve never gone out of my way to understand a poem if I wasn’t going to be graded on it and I’ve disliked several poems I understood perfectly well . . . I think.

I like what I like—or don’t what I don’t—and I share it because I want to and Wednesdays were open around here.

My four-year old has more sophisticated reasons for drawing fairy maps in permanent marker on her bedroom wall.

Yeah, I have a poetry collection.  It’s made up of family heirlooms either passed along by—or liberated (cough) from—my parents, childhood favorites (think Suess and Silverstein), college textbooks (think English Education major), gifts from friends and family (think postcards and Oops!), CDs (think Leonard Cohen), and several mystery items (still not sure where I picked up my copy of the Canterbury Tales), all of which are scattered all over the house (think bathroom).

But my absolute favorites are among  the literal cascade of wordplay that touched or tickled me enough to hunt up, scribble down, print out, photocopy, and/or clip ’em from newspapers, magazines, liner notes, other people’s blogs*, and/or the radio and stick ’em in a single, bulky folder that lives in my two-drawer filing cabinet so I always usually know exactly where it is (think miracle).

This is solely a non-radioactive reader’s opinion,  but in my opinion, most poetry . . . just happens.

Like cats or pennies or rubber bands, poems turns up when you least expect them and often when you most need them.

Like last night.

I had a couple of minutes between the kids’ last bedtime drinks of water and the time I’d set for tackling the synopsis of Pigeon, which isn’t the easiest part of this writing business for me,** so I thought I’d think up a theme*** or a likely poet^ or even a few poems for today’s post.^^  Maybe get the post done ahead of schedule, for once (cue maniacal laughter).

Right after I checked my blogfeeds one last time.  And my e-mail.  And maybe Twitter.

Guess what I found?

The perfect poem for how I was feeling at the moment:

K. Marie Criddle is a brilliantly funny writer-illustrator who often captures the frustrations,  hopes, excitement, and determination of a writer’s life in her own exuberant way.   And for whatever reason, on this particular day she decided that a poem expressed these best.

It worked for me—I winced and laughed and ran to share it with my husband.  And then e-mailed her to ask permission to share it here.^^^

Non-writers may not understand this poem the same way a writer does.  Other writers may not get the same inspiration from it that I do—or pester the author for a poster-sized print.

And that’s okay.

Poetry is everywhere.  There’s plenty for everyone.

So when you recognize the poems that speak to you personally, capture them, savor them, and share.

That’s what they’re for.

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*If you aren’t reader John S’s poems on Taps and Ratamacues, you’re missing out.  And MacDougal Street Baby shared one today that’s stunning in its simplicity.

**”Write it again, only in a thousand words or less.”  Seriously?  Seriously?

***Rain?  Chocolate?  Hippopotami?  Oranges would be a challenge . . .

^Betsy Lerner beat me to Ruth Stone, but it’s Mark Twain’s birthday and he wrote some interesting poetry—they may not be good poems, but they’re excellent Mark Twain . . . 

^^Maybe this was the week for Wordsworth’s dancing daffodils?

^^^She said yes, for those of you who might be wondering, though she might be regretting it now.

Conversations with Cha-Cha

Ever meet someone so smart, savvy, and snappy that it’s a blast just to riff back and forth, turning the conversation on a dime and back again?

I did, a couple months ago.  It’s no real surprise she’s a fellow librarian.

I can’t remember who started our frequent IM conversations—I think I asked her how to beat the water balloon level on Thingdom one evening, or maybe she asked me about next year’s list for my short story group—but they’re always fun.  She got me to read The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie* by promising to try Clementine.  We’ve debated Thanksgiving feasts and agreed that Stephen Fry is amazing.   She’s allowed me to swipe one of her fascinating relatives** for my next book.***

Our conversations often go like this :

Me: . . . but I’m ready for January, and that was teh goal.
I’m still missing a few stories, but they’re due later in hte year so no worries.
And I can’t spell THE to save my LIFE.

She: Reaching up to those top keys can be hard.  🙂

Me: I’s got stubby digits.

She: Stubby Digits totally sounds like a blues player’s name.

Me: The avatar for a bluesman on Guitar Hero.

She: Then it would have to be spelled Stubby Digitz.

Me: Like Limp Bizkit, except with soul.

She: Nice.

This is how cool this woman is:  when I asked her if I could share one of our odd conversations,  she agreed as long as she had a nom de blog.  I asked her if she had any suggestions, and she immediately said, “Cha-Cha.”

Done.

Cha-Cha:
Have you ever read [author]? I can’t remember if you read romances/chick-lit. I thought I remembered you saying you read romances….

Me:
I read anything and everything, but I haven’t read her.
Which one should I try first?

Cha-Cha:
None. I was just asking in case you had already read one. She wrote our book group book for tonight. I SOOOOOO want those hours of my life back.

Me:
Is this a library book club? Or did you join of your own accord?

Cha-Cha:
Library

Me:
Then it’s not technically *wasted* time.
It’s just work time.
Right?

Cha-Cha:
Work time at home.

Me:
You would just waste it on Thingdom, anyway.

Cha-Cha:
Har.
Here’s my super-short slam:

Truly bad chick lit. Ad exec from NY comes home: (to small-town Georgia) when her dad dies. Dad leaves her the house. She stays to try and sell it. Falls in love again with the South. Sister gets pregnant (child #5) AND cancer. Ad exec falls for cowboy-hat-wearing local doc who repeatedly and brutally tells her she’s a failure for not wanting to stay in the South. Sister chooses unborn child over cancer treatment. Sister gives birth to a baby boy on Christmas night AND it snows for the first time: EVER in this town. Ad exec gets partnership in company that allows her to work from Georgia instead of NYC and marries abusive-boot-wearing doc.
Okay, maybe not so short.

Me:
Ah. The ol’ “I’m verbally abusive because I *care*” plot.
Lovely.

Cha-Cha:
If there was an actual brick in this office, I would bang my head against it.

Me:
You don’t need one. You have the story.

Cha-Cha:
I tend to think of the story more like a putrid, runny brie.

Me:
That’s . . . fairly descriptive.
We had an Amy Tan. Wrtoe up the discussion here: LINK
Wrote.
Sheesh. I’ve lost the ability to type.

Cha-Cha:
Which Tan? Did you like it?

Me:
“Two Kinds” from Joy Luck Club.
It was panful, but I liked it.
PAINful
Holy Cow.
Too much caffeine.

Cha-Cha:
IDK, I think “panful” would adequately describe The Kitchen God’s Wife.

Me:
Har.

Cha-Cha:
I’m off the caff. On day 5.

Me:
I did that when I was carrying my first kid. I was off it for 7 years.
I don’t remember much. Probably just as well.

Cha-Cha:
I know it will get better, but right now I’m totally a poster child for a bad afterschool special.

Me:
I do remember that.
My sympathies!

Cha-Cha:
Thanks.

Me:
Panera has caffeine free Pepsi.

Cha-Cha:
I KNOW!!! I was so excited to see one of the Subways has caffeine free coke. (I can’t remember which, though, since I’m not on caffeine. Sigh.)

Me:
Talk about a vicious cycle.
It’s like losing your glasses, isn’t it?
Can’t find ’em without ’em.

Cha-Cha:
Like losing your glasses, and feeling the pain of what it would be like if someone ground them into a powder and made you eat them.

Me:
Are you sure this is what you want to do with your life?
Just asking.

Cha-Cha:
No, not at all. I liked the caffeine. I liked the shakes. My blood pressure did not.

Me:
Ah . . . Did you get the coffee comic?

Cha-Cha:
Coffee comic?

Me:
Sent you a link

Cha-Cha:
OK, lemme check
Thanks. I was totally at the bugs stage.

Me:
Did you fall off the non-caff wagon?
Or is this withdrawal?

Cha-Cha:
WD. I’m at the pants stage.

Me:
Wow.

Cha-Cha:
TMI?

Me:
Tomorrow isn’t going to be fun for anyone. 🙂

Cha-Cha:
At mtg this morning sat btwn [male coworker] & [female coworker] both of whom had 2 diet Pepsis each.
I was contemplating drink theft.

Me:
I dare you to steal [male coworker’s] diet Pepsi.
And I want it on tape.

Cha-Cha:
I totally have better reflexes

Me:
I didn’t say he’d WIN.
I said I wanted to see it.

Cha-Cha:
Also, I think pointing at the sky and going “What’s that” would completely work.

Me:
Especially if he hadn’t had much of his first one yet.
And the meeting was in its second hour
I can totally see that.

Cha-Cha:
I just don’t remember ever being this tired.

Me:
The mind blanks it out.
Should have said: You have been, but you were probably asleep at the time.

Cha-Cha:
Ah. Nice.
I’m more or less going home at night and attaching my head to my “happy light” in hopes of getting some energy back.
Not sure that I am, but my retinas are nice and warm.

Me: I prefer chocolate. And room temp retinas

Cha-Cha:
As do I, but choc has caffeine

Me:
Right.
Decaf chocolate is . . . wrong
White chocolate is right . . .

Cha-Cha:
Ewwww

Me:
. . .but not the same.
Was that for decaf or white chocolate?

Cha-Cha:
Decaf

Me:
Ah.

Cha-Cha:
chocolate + peanut butter = fantabulous

Me:
Chocolate + chai = better

Cha-Cha:
ooooooooooh
love chai

Me:
PB and I have a non-aggression pact.
Dagobah Chai Chocolate Bars
[Grocery] has ’em in thier Organic section
AWESOME.
Shoot ‘they’re’
THEIR

Cha-Cha:
Clearly they are wise

Me:
They are also expensive and have cornered the market.
But so worth it.

Cha-Cha:
Agreed.

Me:
Whoops–missed a they’re
Dang

Cha-Cha:
Trying to contract?

Me:
I’m . . . I’m not sure anymore. I corrected a correction and then left out a they’re, I think.

Cha-Cha:
Have you read Diana Gabaldon?

Me:
Her first one.
I heard her speak at ALA.
Interesting woman.
Doorstop books.

Cha-Cha:
Any value in them?

Me:
Sure.
At the time the second one came out, I was too busy to read it, and then I fell way behind.
I’ll catch up eventually.

Cha-Cha:
Wasn’t sure if you only read one because they were crud…

Me:
Nope.
But they are involved.

Cha-Cha:
I would hope so at that length.

Me:
And you have to like time travel and a certain level of resulting anachronisms
And kilts.
Or plaids, really,

Cha-Cha:
Well who doesn’t like kilts?!

Me:
Not I.
I mean, I do.
There goes my grammar.

Cha-Cha:
In college I dated a guy who was his clan’s caber-tosser at the Highland Games.

Me:
I once dated a bagpipe player.
. . .
Well, that killed the conversation.

Cha-Cha:
Sorry, was disrupted.
I had a bagpipe player for an English teacher.

Me:
How’d that work out?

Cha-Cha:
She was a REALLY angry person. She was also a Civil War reinactor and about 4’5″

Me:
You know . . . those things shouldn’t fit together, but they sort of do.

Cha-Cha:
Yup. Weird.
Have a good night.

Me:
You, too.

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*I understand Sherlock Holmes so much better now.

**Who will become the grandfather of an assassin, I think.

***Or maybe three books from now.  I’ve got a list.

Sheldon® is the amazing and lovable creation of Dave Kellett, who holds all copyrights and is not litigious at all.  Right, Mr. Kellett?

Secret Confession of a Sonic Screwdriver-Wielding Underrock Dweller

For a brief moment this morning, I assumed Cyber Monday was a Doctor Who anniversary.

Seriously.*

That’s what I get for watching the library’s copies of the first two Doctor Eleven seasons over the past week. Or that’s my excuse, anyway.

But once the True Meaning of Cyber Monday was explained to me, I managed to snag both seasons for a very good price.

Which kind of makes it Doctor Who Day after all . . .

Hey—when’s Torchwood Day?

 

What have you been watching lately?

 

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*I’ll turn in my Geek Card and pick up a Loser Badge  first thing tomorrow, promise.  I’m keeping my Nerd Card, though—I’ve earned it.

 

Six Sentence Sunday – Full Metal Librarian II (The Library)

Another Six Sentence Sunday!

Six more sentences from my first complete drawer novel are below.

I managed to catch every red light as I wove through the one-ways that frame downtown Davenport—typical.

There was just enough time after plugging my car into its space in the library complex garage and clearing the retinal print at the staff entrance to sprint up the stairs to the locker room, throw on my body armor and clock in.  Thirty seconds to spare.

In the weapons room, Regina was behind the blastproof window, cleaning an assortment of firearms.  “Hey, Clyota.”

I gave her a brief nod, said “Afternoon,” and signed the sheet for my HushMaster.

First Six

Almost missed signing up this week—it hasn’t become a habit yet.

Um . . . Should it be?

Happy Hurty Feet

The following is what I would have posted yesterday, if our Internet provider’s server hadn’t lost a series of boards. But I had a lot of writing time after the family went to bed, so once I managed to un-grit my teeth, it wasn’t all bad.

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My feet hurt right now, but it’s a good hurt.

It’s a shopping hurt.

As is our Day After Thanksgiving tradition, the family went to the big crafts show one town over and spent two hours crawling all over it, looking at wood carvings, jewelry, quilts, boxes (lined or unlined), beautiful noisemakers shaped like frogs and crickets, the latest couture for dolls and humans and concrete geese (lined or unlined), dog treats, pens made out of bullets* and spark plugs,** ornaments made out of lightbulbs, garden flowers made out of iron, knitwear made from alpaca and/or emu wool, candles and soap made out of soy and/or goat’s milk and/or emu oil,*** stained glass made out of the usual, and pretty much anything and everything that could possibly be made out of fleece.

I found a great hand-carved wooden Santa for my MIL, who collects them,^ a little box with fairies on it for Sunny, who keeps swiping the one we bought for her sister last year, a fleece hat for Janie, who outgrew hers . . .  and a pair of copper bracelets for me:

One says, I am the Queen of my Decisions and the other says, Delay is not Denial.^^  I think they go very well with the gray rubber one I’ve been wearing lately.

Tonight, turkey soup and homemade bread.  It was going to be matzoh ball soup, but the last person to use the matzoh meal^^^ put the box back with only a tablespoon and a half of meal in it.

I’m going to go put my feet up.

What are you doing with your leftovers?  And if you didn’t eat your body weight in turkey yesterday, the question still stands.

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*Nope—bought one last year.

**Yep— bought one this year.  It’s springy!

***Mom and I don’t know how one gets emu oil.  We’re hoping the emuherders just squeeze them gently over a bucket when they’re being fed and let them gambol away, happy and slightly drier than they were.  If we’re wrong, please don’t tell us.

^Or at least, we all give them to her, which amounts to the same thing.

^^Not sure if these are affirmations or warnings—and whether the warnings are directed inward or outward.  Figuring it out should keep me busy for a while . .  .

^^^Yeah, okay, I’m the Queen of my own decisions.  But I’m fine with adding it to my shopping list for later—delay doesn’t mean denial.