#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book

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Mother didn’t like to talk about her childhood, & I began to wonder if there was something in it that would explain what was happening now.

Mother told me not to love David too much, but I wondered, how could I love him any more?

I didn’t want to hear how my father had loved me, for I’d chosen David over him since the first time I saw him.

“Someday, you will understand, Katryn,” Mother said. “Just know I will finally be able to pay the debt I owed your father.”

Something wonderful was going to happen—I could feel it. Just then, I saw Mother remove her wedding ring & give it back to the man who had placed it on her finger.

I’d never been startled into consciousness with the shrill ringing of an alarm, but rather, gentled into wakefulness to Mother’s dulcet tones.

We washed away the grime of sleep, our hair drying in the summer air on our way to the cemetery, leaving us smelling like a spring rain.

The fragrance of the roses, mingling with the honeysuckle, made me think of an old dowager entertaining little children with sticky faces.

Only God, & perhaps the dead who had been perfected in Him, could hear our thoughts. It was why Jesus had said to go into thy closet to pray.

As Scarlett O’Hara’s home was in the South, I felt mine was somewhere up in New England, where there were four seasons, rather than two.

15 Life Lessons Learned From Classic Movies

 

  1. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn: Written lies can be stories.  (Just don’t print them as truth.)
  2. To Kill a Mockingbird: Sometimes there are consequences for doing the right thing.
  3. Gone with the Wind: You might lose your soul-mate by pining for someone else’s.
  4. Clash by Night: “It’s who I am” is not an excuse for being a jerk.
  5. Johnny Belinda: Sometimes you say it best when you say nothing at all.
  6. 9-5: If you want good office morale, treat your employees right.
  7. Office Space: “Humans weren’t meant to sit in a cubicle all day.”
  8. 12 Angry Men: “Not guilty” isn’t the same thing as “innocent”.
  9. The Night of the Hunter: Religion can wound, and it can heal; it depends upon the application.
  10. It’s a Wonderful Life: Your life matters more than you realize.
  11. Miracle on 34th Street:  Let children be children.
  12. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers: Never stop wooing your wife.
  13. Meet Me in St. Louis: A love of home and a sense of belonging is more important than more money.
  14. The Sound of Music:  Even in the darkest of times, music can be one’s salvation.
  15. Sullivan’s Travels: Making people laugh has intrinsic value.

Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #377; Theme: An Unsuitable (blank) for (blank)

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An Unsuitable Cure for The Sickness That Is Your Life

It’s investing in yourself,
rather than next year’s Christmas.
It’s making daily goals,
rather than New Year’s resolutions.
It’s sticky note reminders
on your fridge,
your bathroom mirror.
It’s enjoying the moment,
not living for the next.
It’s eating less,
and drinking more (water).
It’s not trying to like foods
you never will.
It’s exercising for the endorphins
alone.

It’s making more out of less,
less out of the not-so-best.
It’s creating more,
consuming less.
It’s replacing T-O-Y-S
with T-I-M-E.
It’s making time,
not finding it.

It’s about living,
not just living to record.
It’s beating your own record,
not someone else’s.
It’s making a life,
while making a living.
It’s working for a purpose,
not just a paycheck.
It’s showing up,
and showing up ten minutes early.
It’s beating your own drum,
and marching to it in a way
that other people want to follow you.
It’s not redefining yourself,
but realizing yourself.
It’s losing yourself in the service of others,
only to find yourself.

It’s not worrying,
but being productive while not worrying,
till the time comes when you should worry,
or realized you never had to at all.
It’s rewriting our internal dialogue,
so that when someone asks
who the hell do you think you are,
you will know the answer.
It’s using sarcasm and wit properly.
It’s finding the truth in fiction,
the poetry in the everyday.
It’s spirituality with morality,
not religion with rules.
It’s believing in yourself,
but more in the One who
created you.
It’s not about believing in others,
but in the One who sent them.
It’s knowing that prayer always comforts
the one who prays,
if not the prayed for.
It’s not love without limits,
but limitless love.
It’s belief in life everlasting.

It’s loving those you are with;
it’s talking to those around you.
It’s putting the cashier,
the bagger,
the clerk,
before the call,
before the text.
You will miss out on less.
It’s being a friend,
but not without reciprocity
of contact.
It’s being careful
with confidences.
It’s knowing if your spouse
asked you again,
the answer would be the same.

It’s using stress as fuel,
not as a furnace,
and it’s never,
ever
ending it,
but sometimes
it can be
simply
letting it end.

http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/wednesday-poetry-prompts-377

Book Review: Black Beauty

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I’d read this book almost a decade ago, and it made an impression on me, for it gave a voice to those who could not communicate in a way we could understand. Black Beauty isn’t a novel with a plot, but a series of vignettes—a timeline of one horse’s life.  Rather than The Five People You Meet in Heaven, it’s the multitude of people one horse meets on Earth who pass through his life, and how each person (or animal) illuminated Beauty’s understanding of the world.

The first time I read Black Beauty, I had expectations of something other than what I read—something more along the lines of National Velvet.  However, upon recursive reading, I saw that Beauty was Every Horse—a creature who makes friends with most of those he meets, for he has a servant’s heart, and is almost a Christ-like figure in his willingness to bear upon him the sins of men (and flightiness of women), complete with stripes from a whip, and the white star on his head, as if he was touched by the finger of God.  However, I saw Beauty like an innocent child who is shuttled to a series of foster homes, giving me a feeling of nomadic insecurity.

Sewell weaves a Christian narrative in a way that shows that what is good for God is also good for horses and humans: “If workingmen don’t stick to their Sunday…they’ll soon have none left.” (Loc 1612). Humans, like animals, are often valued for their productivity, rather than the value God has placed on them, “For ye are bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 16:20).  To have a day of rest actually increases productivity.  Sewell’s “spirit sense” has universal appeal in that even though it comes across as didactic at times, it does so in a way that employs common sense rather than religious dogma (i.e. “The Golden Rule” vs. “The Ten Commandments”): “There is no religion without love, and people talk as much as they like about their religion, but if it does not teach them to be good and kind to man and beast it is all a sham…” (Loc 582).

If one is expecting an exciting horse story, this isn’t the one; War Horse is closer to that.  What I loved more about Black Beauty is that the horses have verbal communication between themselves (something not in War Horse).  We’re not just privy to Beauty’s lots, but those of his friends and handlers; the story of Ginger, who considers Beauty her only friend, is one that would touch any animal lover.

Black Beauty highlights how what happens to humans can affect a horse’s life, for inasmuch as a horse may be considered part of the family, they are still property. Anna Sewell did a wonderful thing when she wrote this, and for that alone, it should get five stars; each little chapter reveals a simple truth, put plainly.  The book doesn’t contain many literary elements such as metaphor or foreshadowing, but it’s a charm bracelet with a clasp connecting Beauty’s life.  The anthropomorphism device and the spare writing style puts the reader in Beauty’s horseshoes in startling verisimilitude.

The brightest moment of the text for me was (next to the ending)—just as in “War Horse”—that wonderful familiarity when someone from our past who was kind to us, crosses our paths through happenstance.

A few of my favorite quotes from the texts are, as follows:

  • Ignorance is the worst thing in the world, next to wickedness (Loc 806). Sewell speaks through her characters when she says that humankind is responsible for their own ignorance.
  • A real gentleman has got “time and thought for the comfort of a poor cabman and a little girl” (Loc 1696). That goes for ladies, too.
  • “…but he is blind as to what the workingmen want; I could not in my conscience send him up to make the laws” (Loc 1829). This resonates today, because of all the elites in Washington who don’t seem to have stake in the laws they pass. Moreover, the working class is also given a voice in this book (horses being a part of that station).

Black Beauty left such a mark on me that the end result of this inspiring story was my research paper—the best work I’ve written for a college course thus far: “Divine Equestrian: The Beauties and Beasts of Burden”.  One of my friends, who is a lover of horses (I, being more of a beach babe, have always admired these glorious animals from a distance), requested a copy and wrote this wonderful Christmas message (as I sent out stories, poems, and recipes in lieu of throwaway cards someone else wrote this holiday) on my timeline:  That was the most inspiring thing I’ve read about horses, ever. Yes, they are majestic, divine creatures who speak directly to your heart. Thank you for sharing your beautifully written paper with me…

divine-equestrian

 

#Micropoetry Monday: #Christmastide Couplets

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The Christ child has gone from babe to man,
His birth and death now lauded more than His life itself.

The Yuletide glow of silver and gold has dimmed from shine to frost,
whilst the resolutions of the New Year prepare to rewrite one’s storyline.

Twas the night of Christmas, when all through the house,
that leftovers in the fridge drew leftover guests like a mouse.

The Christmas trees remaining are like looking into the past,
the holiday clearance shelves, the regifted future.

On Boxing Day, the focus shifted,
the spirit of giving and thanksgiving, lifted.

A Christmas Thought: Mine…Everyday

As William Wordsworth spoke of the “hour of splendor in the grass”, I am enjoying some peace and quiet in a house that naps–myself, the exception.  When it is quiet and I am alone, that is when I do my best work.  A Facebook friend of mine just recently quoted (from Urban Dictionary) “Introverted people gain their energy from their own, complexed inner world, and tend to feel exhausted when they have to interact A LOT with people. (extroverted people gain their energy from the people around them).”  Perfectly put.  Yes, I draw from personal experience (which includes my interactions with other people), but I don’t “bounce off of other people”; rather, I draw from a well somewhere deep inside myself, and that is what flows onto the paper (or screen) in a sometimes muddy stream of consciousness.

My family does most of their celebrating on Christmas Eve night; Christmas Day is spent recovering from it all (Stevia Coca-Cola with Crown Royal, anyone?), so I use that time to reflect on the coming year, and how I hope to continue to make each better than the last.  When it comes down to it, even though this Christmas was a “Hard Candy Christmas” (a la Dolly Parton), what with our financial struggles, I wouldn’t trade all I’ve learned and accomplished and enjoyed to go back.  It is in this way, every year does get better and better.  Sure, I want more, but I also want to be more, do more, and that’s what I hope for this next year:  simply more, of what matters.

As for today, my readers, I leave you this thought:  Sometimes, we can look at the same person in different ways, and though the ways be different, they can all still be true (or have some truth in them):

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He humbled Himself to become a child,
to be cared for by the least of them.
He chose the low and lowly road,
to reach His highest potential.
His royal lineage was masked
by meager beginnings,
His crown of glory, an invisible halo.
He became the Everyman,
so He could understand the soul of Everyman.
He grew inside a woman who was chosen
and who,
in turn,
chose Him.
Those who believe,
see Him everywhere,
in the strangest places and
most unlikely situations
because He is everywhere
inside those who believe;
for they are looking not outside themselves,
but somewhere inside.
They see Him,
only to find themselves.
He isn’t ours,
but He is mine,
as He is for each one of us.
He is limitless.

#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book

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Mother was in bed, reading the Book of Mormon again, her eyes resting on a particular verse, as if to more fully absorb its contents.

Mother had never been overly affectionate, only giving affection when it was initiated, but I had always accepted that part about her before.

By going to Mother’s Church, I would see her future— a future that could be mine, as well, if I allowed its teachings to have bearing on it.

Caitlin’s smile was slight, her nod of approval almost imperceptible as she fingered the St. Christopher’s medal she never took off.

To me, the nature of God was an energy or spirit, rather than a being or person, for in that limitless way could He be everywhere at once.

I had assurance of David’s favor no matter what I did, but God’s favor could be lost with one sin without repentance.

I’d never believed that people changed, but rather experiences simply revealed what they had been all along.

For it was because they held fast to verses like John 3:16, they were able to accept everything else. For me, it would be always be a struggle.