A Brief List of Happy Tuesday Stuff

Things that made me happy today:

1.

Feeding my kids pizza for breakfast without guilt—
or pitching the uneaten half of their cereal, toast, eggs, or other traditional breakfast foods.

Pizza!

This also took care of my MIL’s complaints about the leftover pizza taking up too much space in the fridge
and the way my children don’t eat enough in the morning—
though it did not stop her from expression her silent, pointed, painful-looking opinions about pizza not being Real Food.

I can’t say that didn’t have an elevating effect on the “without guilt” part of the experience.

(and also maybe, secretly, the happy)

____

2.

Singing along to the radio on my way to work, stopping at a light, and realizing that the guy in the car next to me is belting out the exact same song.

He was doing Kimbra’s part, while I was covering Gotye.

He noticed,too, gave me a thumbs up, and we both sang louder, with feeling.
(long light +  a cement truck trying to back up over railroad tracks= looong light)

But the best part?

When the light changed, he grinned at me and hollered, “Let’s take this show on the road!” and took off.

He made my entire day.

____

3.

I gave a very young patron a pencil and some scrap paper this afternoon,
while her grandmother was having something notarized,
and later received a hug and a picture that Jackson Pollack would have been proud to call his own.

She said I was a “very nice Library Lady.”Librarian Stereotype

Sniff.

____

4.

Mike Allegra’s Doodle Contest! For which I get an extra entry because I mentioned it on my blog!

a-fine-artist

It ain’t ego, if it’s true.

If I win, I want a duck in a fedora!

Because that would make me even happier.

 

Poetry Wednesday: A Determined Introduction

It’s National Poetry Month, ladies and gentlemen!

So give yourself a gift and go to the library. Wander over to the 811 shelves (or the PN1010-1525 section, if you’re one of that LC crowd). Pull a book of poems off the shelf and open it to a random page. Read the poem. Wrinkle your nose in distaste or confusion or dust mites. Flip the page and read another one. Put the book back . . . and try another one. Maybe in the children’s area—there’s Silverstein in there somewhere, and snark hunting and streets full of mulberries.

And if you don’t end up taking one of those books home . . . try again next week.

You have all month.

Anne-FinchWhile you’re there, you might track down the works of Anne Finch, who unexpectedly became the Countess of Winchilsea only eight years before her death in 1720, by making a love match decades earlier with the uncle of the 4th Count, who died childless.

She wrote several collections of poetry, much of which was about how much she adored her husband—who showed up so often in her verses, he had his very own pseudonym—but also about the creating of poetry and the right of women to write it.

It might be noted here that she published her poetry while she and her husband were in political disgrace and somewhat short of money—it’s one thing for a Countess to have a book published and quite another for a young wife whose courtier husband who refuses to accept the right of the newly crowned Stuart monarchs to reign.

But damned if she didn’t do it. And do it well.

So, in honor of National Poetry Month and one very determined Lady Poet, I’m going to ask you to try something different when you read the poem below.

If you identify as female, I want you to read it aloud. Begin in a calm voice, then clench your fists about three lines in. Clench your jaw, too, and mutter through it. Raise your volume and speed up whenever you like. Stand up, if you want. Smile sweetly or scowl.

If you identify as male, I want you to pretend that the strongest woman you know is reading this to you, hands clenched. Try not to move; she will sense fear.

If you identify as neither binary gender, talk two of the above into helping you out, make some popcorn, and enjoy.

The Introduction
(Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea)

Did I, my lines intend for public view,
How many censures, would their faults pursue,
Some would, because such words they do affect,
Cry they’re insipid, empty, and uncorrect.
And many have attained, dull and untaught,
The name of wit only by finding fault.
True judges might condemn their want of wit,
And all might say, they’re by a woman writ.
Alas! a woman that attempts the pen,
Such an intruder on the rights of men,
Such a presumptuous creature, is esteemed,
The fault can by no virtue be redeemed.
They tell us we mistake our sex and way;
Good breeding, fashion, dancing, dressing, play
Are the accomplishments we should desire;
To write, or read, or think, or to inquire
Would cloud our beauty, and exhaust our time,
And interrupt the conquests of our prime;
Whilst the dull manage of a servile house
Is held by some our outmost art, and use.
Sure ’twas not ever thus, nor are we told
Fables, of women that excelled of old;
To whom, by the diffusive hand of Heaven
Some share of wit, and poetry was given.Mysterious Face
On that glad day, on which the Ark returned,
The holy pledge, for which the land had mourned,
The joyful tribes, attend it on the way,
The Levites do the sacred charge convey,
Whilst various instruments, before it play;
Here, holy virgins in the concert join
The louder notes, to soften, and refine,
And with alternate verse complete the hymn divine.
Lo! the young Poet, after God’s own heart,
By Him inspired, and taught the Muses’ art,
Returned from conquest, a bright chorus meets,
That sing his slain ten thousand in the streets.
In such loud numbers they his acts declare,
Proclaim the wonders of his early war,
That Saul upon the vast applause does frown,
And feels its mighty thunder shake the crown.
What, can the threatened judgment now prolong?
Half of the kingdom is already gone;
The fairest half, whose influence guides the rest,
Have David’s empire o’er their hearts confessed.
A woman here, leads fainting Israel on,
She fights, she wins, she triumphs with a song,
Devout, majestic, for the subject fit,
And far above her arms, exalts her wit;
Then, to the peaceful, shady palm withdraws,
And rules the rescued nation, with her laws.
How are we fall’n, fall’n by mistaken rules?
And education’s, more than nature’s fools,
Debarred from all improvements of the mind,
And to be dull, expected and designed;
And if some one would soar above the rest,
With warmer fancy, and ambition pressed,
So strong th’ opposing faction still appears,
The hopes to thrive can ne’er outweigh the fears,
Be cautioned then my Muse, and still retired;
Nor be despised, aiming to be admired;
Conscious of wants, still with contracted wing,
To some few friends, and to thy sorrows sing;
For groves of laurel thou wert never meant;
Be dark enough thy shades, and be thou there content.

So . . . how’d it feel?

Let me know in the comments, if you have the time—I’m sure you’re on your way to the library, right?

____________________________

The Vonnegut Challenge Winner!

A week ago, I passed along Kurt Vonngut’s Challenge  to write a secret poem and tear it up, simply for the joy and rush of creating it.

And also for a mug from Cafepress.

Six people sent me pictures of their poem pieces—and if the poems were half as creative as the images, you all outdid yourselves.

Thank you all so much for playing!  I’m sure Mr. Vonnegut would be chuffed.

But I can only afford one mug on a poetry-loving librarian’s salary, so all the names went into the Red Wool Hat of Win and one was selected as the first official act of my younger daughter in her position as family seven-year old.

Mausi Poem

Congratulations, firstmausi!

I’ll drop you a line soon, so can figure out how to get a mug from here to waaaay the heck over there!

Random Thursday: Geektastic

Random Thursday (ˈrandəm ˈTHərzdā): the day on which Sarah plunks down all the odd bits and pieces she’s been sent by friends or has otherwise stumbled upon this week in an effort to avoid writing a real post, the assembly of which usually ends up taking twice as much time as sitting down and creating actual content.

I have no explanation for why all this stuff ended up in my Random Thursday Stuff folder.

But I don’t have an apology for it either.

______________________

Outgeeked

May the Force Be WIth you

When it comes to Star Wars, I will trade laser blasts and light speed for the laws of physics every single time.

But I still really need this on  tee-shirt.

oooooooooooOOOOOooooooooooo

I Love Tolkien Fan Vids—But I mustn’t get into the Hobbit.

And this is why:

I laughed, ya’ll.   I laughed so hard I sprained what small amount of  dignity I have left.

oooooooooooOOOOOooooooooooo

Hawkeye FTW

Someone found this for me on Geek Universe.

Thank you, someone!

Cutest Team Building Moment EVER

I traced it back to its artist, and lost myself in
Skottie Young’s deviantart playground for an indecent amount of time.

I like his art and I love his sense of humor.

Turns out, Mt. Young’s been drawing for Marvel for more than a decade,
(including some of my favorite issues—I have got to start paying closer attention)

and

(deep breath)

HE DREW THE AMAZING COVER FOR NEIL GAIMAN’S

FORTUNATELY, THE MILK!

Fortunately the Milk(click for a better look)

I haven’t been this fansquee over an artist since Quentin Blake.
And Shel Silverstein.  And James C. Christensen.

(and maybe that Mike Allegra guy)

Seriously, go take a look at Mr. Young’s stuff.

It’s fantastic.

oooooooooooOOOOOooooooooooo

Fanfic in One Pic

No no no

oooooooooooOOOOOooooooooooo

The Answer is actually Forty-Three 

But how many of those cartoon theme songs can you identify?

The list is on YouTube, if you want to see what you missed.

If you didn’t miss any of them . . .
Maybe you should step away from the screen for a while?  ‘Cause you’ve been away a long time.

oooooooooooOOOOOooooooooooo

Don’t Forget!

I issued a Vonnegut Challenge yesterday!

Write a secret poem, tear it up, and send me a pic of the pieces
(or a link or a tweet or a Facebook holler—whatever)

for a chance to win the regular-sized CafePress mug of your choice.

Limericks Mug

You have until tomorrow midnight!

Poetry Wednesday: The Vonnegut Challenge

In 2007,  students attending Xavier High School in New York  wrote letters to several well-known authors.

Kurt Vonnegut was the only one to write back, and someone recently put a framed copy of the letter up on imgur.

It seems to have gone viral—my sister-in-law sent this to me last week, and two other people showed it to me over the weekend, and its all over Facebook—and no wonder:

Vonnegut Poem Assignment(click to enlarge)

Mr. Vonnegut isn’t known for his poetry,* which may be part of his point here, but he obviously loved the stuff, and he even more obviously loved the stuff inside people that makes poetry happen.

I admit to feeling that way myself.

Except . .  .  as wonderful and freeing as I know writing a secret poem can feel,  and knowing that the most secret poem is one that no one else can ever possibly read, I found the idea of destroying poems—even bad poems, even purple poems, any poem—disturbing.

So when a poet-friend walked into the library the other day,  I grabbed her.

She read the letter, heard me out, then shrugged and said, “Poems are  stubborn.  If they want to be written again, they will be.”**

That . . . I mean . . . whoa.

Talk about freeing.  I’m not a poet, but even I felt everything get lighter.

So.

Who’s up for a challenge?

 Vonnegut was of the opinion that the act of writing a poem—or creating anything, really—was its own reward.  And again I have to agree with him.***

But I also know—lord, do I—that the act of creation can sometimes use a little motivation.

Here ’tis:

You have until Friday at CST Midnight to write a six line poem that rhymes, tear it into little pieces, take a pic of the pile, and e-mail the image to me at the e-mail address at the top of my sidebar, with “Vonnegut Challenge Accepted” in the subject heading.

That’s it.  That’s all you have to do.

And when you do, your name will be put in my Red Felted Hat of Win for a chance at winning the regular-sized mug of your choice from Cafe Press,^ because I’ve discovered that mugs are a powerful motivation all by themselves.

Easiest. Challenge.  Ever.

Poet Mug

Go forth and experience becoming!
(and send me a pic)

 _______________________________

*Off the top of my head, I only know of one that’s independent of his stories. It’s about Joseph Heller, and it’s here, along with a pretty cool story about Mr. Vonnegut, which seems to be the only kind of stories there are about him.

**All my friends are cooler than I am, but this particular one registers at Vonnegut levels.

***Not that there’s anything wrong with getting paid for your creations—I wouldn’t mind being in that situation myself—but if getting paid is your only reward . . . you’re probably not creating art.

^Or an equivalent gift certificate, if you prefer to keep your mailing address as secret as your poem.  I won’t judge.

The 2nd Annual Chrishanukwanzmadanfestivus Contest Winner!

Thanks to everyone who took the time out of your annual Yuletide Panic—or coping with other people’s Panic—to participate in the Second Annual Chrishanukwanzmadanfestivus Poetry Contest.  Even if there was some bah humbugging over the rules this year.

Once again, I’m glad I set these things up for drawing instead of judging, because there’s enough Yuletide Panic going around and I can’t afford to hand out prizes to all of you, anyway.

Eleven names were placed in Sarah’s Lumpy* Red Felt Hat of Win and one was eventually** grabbed this morning by an extremely sleepy fuzznoggin of a six-year old, who had probably forgotten all about it by now.

Special recognition goes to Mike, who managed to work in the ACLU; Kev, who managed to fit ménage à trois into the scansion this year; indyclause, who created a sonnet of bitter exasperation; Linda and her granddaughter for alluding to cat barf in the cutest way; Grace for saying what we’ve all been thinking about automatic sorting machines; liligrif for almost agreeing to post a comment this time;  Siobhan, whose poem I will be sending to her mother-in-law unless I get some new pics of my fairy godkid; my two favorite Anonymous-numbered poets whose sense of humor deserve better than anonymity, and so who should expect much nagging in the coming year, and; George, who needs to learn to take a compliment, dude.

But, the winner of the $25 online gift card to Powell’s Books is:

Cha Cha

whose Hogwarts themed entry leaves Rita Skeeter in the dust.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me —

12 Grimmauld Place
11 pensieve lessonsThe Golden Snitch''.
10 ton-tongue toffees
9 phoenix feathers
8 fizzing whizbees
7 golden Galleons
6 Weasley sweaters
5 socks for Dobby
4 Privet Drive
3 deathly hallows
2 blast-end skrewts
and a thrashing from the Whomping Willow tree

Congratulations, Cha! I’ll send the card to you tonight with the e-mail you provided—if you would prefer I send it elsewhere, please let me know!

Christmas Stress

It’s possible no one would have noticed, but I thought I’d mention again that I’ll be taking the next two days off from the blog, as we have a houseful of company to enjoy, several hours of emergency Christmas Pageant rehearsals to attend, the traditional Last Minute Holy Cow I Forgot a Gift Waltz to choreograph,  and for some reason, our choir director has chosen Handel’s “A Child is Born” for the Christmas Eve service:

This is either a sign of great faith in the possibility of miracles or complete insanity, as there are only eight of us, one small organ, and—in the opinion of at least half of the Alto section—way the heck too many notes along the way.

But that’s half the fun, right?

Have a Happy Merry!

______________________________________
*And Damp, as the weather decided to spray our area with that iced napalm the meteorologists like to call Wintery Mix over the weekend.

**It took  few tries.  The first time, she grabbed all of them at once and nearly popped me in the nose with her fist, as well as potentially bankrupting me.  The second time, she tried with the hand holding the toothbrush, while telling me she was too tiiiiiiirrrrrrred, Mommy. This is the same kid who will be impossibly wide awake at 4am Thursday morning.