Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #466: (Adjective) (Noun)

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Red Lipstick

It was her 3-second teeth whitener,
her lip balm on steroids,
her make love, not war paint,
but in its absence,
she was able to go incognito.

https://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/wednesday-poetry-prompts-466

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#Micropoetry Monday: The Lighter Side

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Chaos & Control were 2 of a mother,
Chaos, preferring the surf side any day,
Control, poolside & the sound side
only on green flag days.
Control retained her hourglass figure,
whereas Chaos had been as shapely
as every fruit in the basket.

Sir Benedict was a good egg,
always on the sunny side,
though sometimes he got scrambled
when he came out of his shell.
He could also be hard-boiled when unwell,
when his chicken-hearted mother,
who was bit on the overly easy side
would coddle him,
basting him with soup–
courtesy of one of his relatives.

Mr. Ruffles was known for his candies—
his chocolaterie being a real jimdandy.
Yet he was pounded into mincemeat,
when he dipped the shroomy truffle sweets
into the magic that made him randy.

Book Review: Nine Perfect Strangers

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          This book was a trip.
          Literally.
          Nine Perfect Strangers is definitely the kind of story better told from multiple-points of view.  My complaint? It started in the wrong place. It should have opened with Frances going to Tranquillum House, rather than with the antagonist’s backstory.  The reason? The way the prologue is written, we’re an observer, but with Frances, we’re a participant.
          I found most of the characters interesting enough to have their own POVs, but Masha was such an unsympathetic character, she could’ve remained in the third-person.  Even her backstory didn’t change how I felt about her. Sometimes, it’s best to leave a little to the imagination, and let the reader get to know a character the way they would get to know someone in real life–a little bit at a time without being privy to their thoughts.
          I found the characters of Frances, the Marconi family, and Ben and Jessica the most interesting as they had the most intriguing stories as to why they were willing to go to this spa to be “transformed.”
          I think Jessica, in particular, even though she was basically a plastic Instagram “star,” had some great insights about what happens when you go “from Prada to nada”–when you’re so busy working to try to make ends meet that you don’t have time to worry about anything else, but when you don’t have to worry about survival, you start to wonder if you are a good person (meaning, are you giving enough?).
          What’s more, I think Jessica represents a lot of the under-40 generation when it comes to social media–that it’s like it didn’t really happen if it wasn’t posted.  Sometimes, I think these millennials wouldn’t do half the things they do if it wasn’t for social media, so maybe it gets them to actually do more. At the very least, social media has encouraged people to become better photographers, as everyone’s a brand now.
          The lesson I learned from the fractured Marconi family is that you have to remember a person for how they lived, not just how they died.  When you can separate the two, the memories of a person can bring smiles without tears.
          I apply that same principle to this book:  The journey was much better than the destination.  After the resolution, the chapters went from multiple pages to a paragraph.  It was like the author lost interest because the conflict had been resolved.
          The only “catharsis” that didn’t make sense was Lars’s–why he didn’t want to have kids wasn’t explored deep enough (though such was the case with Frances; with her, I believe she just saw time with kids as time away from her writing).  I felt there was a much deeper for Lars’s aversion to starting a family with his partner, but it was never developed.
          Carmel was the least interesting, yet the most annoying character.  She reminded me of one of those liberals who would not defend themselves (or their family) from a crazed gunman because they were “against violence.”  Her deal? She had body-image issues. I say, who cares?
          Amazingly, even though there were a lot of characters, there were all so well-defined, I was able to keep up with them with ease.
          The story was a bit far fetched, but I’ve never minded that–it’s only when people come across as too far fetched (i.e. Masha) when it takes away from the story.
          As for the final chapters, Chapter 78 was cute but unnecessary; it made me think (rather cheekily) that Ms. Moriarty wishes unfortunate events on people who leave bad reviews of her books.  I also have no idea who Chapter 79 was supposed to be about. Frances, perhaps? What’s more, I thought the device of speaking to the reader directly (and not even as one of the characters) takes one out of the story, reminding the reader that what we read was just a story.  Such a narration device is better suited for stage plays.   
          For 22 pages, there are several mini-epilogues ranging from one week to five years later.  Ms. Moriarty should’ve just stuck with “five years later” and turned it into an epilogue with a reunion of the nine discussing what became of the antagonist.
          The beginning and the end of this book weren’t all that great, but the middle was fascinating enough to make up for it, with the “Hunger Games-like” plot device (which showed how bull!@#$ corporate-speak is) and the bizarro spa practices.
          Though I don’t think all Ms. Moriarty’s books are winners, they are certainly interesting to read.  The plots are always fun, and for the most part, her characters are real and flawed and loveable.
          That’s why I will keep reading her books, for character(s) matter.

#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book

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Mother would not give him marriage,
but she would give him sex & love.
She would not give him children,
but she would give him hers.

His thoughts were my thoughts,
his ways, my ways,
& I believed this was so—
only because he’d come first.

She was wrapped up in the Church—
just like a gift someone did not want
its intended to see.

My father, Patrick, was alive.
With one sentence,
Mother had resurrected the dead.

Mother was his full-length dark mink,
I, his white mink stole;
Caitlin was a leotard with ballerina slippers,
the only innocent one of us all.

Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #465: Exploration

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Deep Exploration

When they explored the land,
they saw how the faster travel and communication became,
the smaller the world became.

When they explored the spaces beneath them,
they saw the dark side of the earth–
an underworld untouched by the living
but populated by the dead.

When they explored the space above them,
they were in wonder of all they did not know
and all they could not see.
And it was there they hovered–
in awe of the God who would not show His face,
but had set it all in motion,
this God whose voice was unheard
but whose signature was on everything.

When they explored one anothers’ bodies,
making love on the beach at low tide
where the honeymoon rose and set on their salt-beaded skin,
their hair like the rim of margarita glasses,
they lost themselves in each other,
even as they found themselves in awe of one another
and of everything they were;
for they were the dust of earth,
even as they were the debris of the heavens,
rearranged in such a way
that made them perfect for each other.

https://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/wednesday-poetry-prompts-465

The Year in Review: 2018

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Twenty-eighteen was the best of years and the worst of years.

This year was my first Christmas without my mom.  I think of all the conversations that we never had about all the good things that were happening in my life, all the stories of mine she had yet to read, all the books and meals and time with Hannah we had yet to share, all the Christmas shows we had yet to binge-watch together (like the “Bob’s Jelly Doughnut” episode of “Wings”)…

But I know she was there–I just wish I could see her being there.

*

This December, I graduated with my A.A. and my A.S. and got a full-time job I enjoy at the college just before graduation–a job where my creativity is not only appreciated but encouraged.

The A.A. was what I wanted, the A.S., what I felt I was supposed to want.  I will go for my Bachelor’s in Business (with a concentration in Graphic Design) in the fall at the college that has been like my second home (as well as my Bachelor’s in Creative Writing at The University of West Florida when I can swing it).

It was my work on The Corsair designing recruitment ads, as well as making Shutterfly books for Christmas gifts, that led me to seeking a degree in the graphic arts.  (Besides, I can also use whatever I learn to make this blog better.)

My “passion for the college” was what got me the job (my supervisor actually said I had this thing called a “skill set”–something no one has ever said to me before), and it did not go unnoticed by me when I went in for my first day of work and saw a few or more copies of the newspaper scattered, opened to my farewell letter: http://ecorsair.com/letter-from-the-editor-in-chief/

How easy it is to have passion for something that has given me so much:  friendships, scholarships, a quality education, and numerous opportunities to become a better writer (and not always with a grade attached).

I put everything I have into everything I do.  There’s a quote by Mark Cuban I came across once–“Work like there is someone working twenty-four hours a day to take it all away from you”–and maybe that’s why I am the way I am.  I almost lost nearly everything or had it taken away, and the thought of that happening again terrifies me so much, I am hyper-vigilant about being the absolute best at everything I do (except for maybe astronomy or statistics), but it’s also more than that:  I care.

I don’t half-ass things (though the amateur lexicographer in me wonders if the opposite would be “whole-ass”?).  I don’t even read my own work once it’s been published–I just sort of glance over it, afraid I will find a mistake, only to obsess over it. 

*

On Christmas Eve, my husband and I accepted an invitation to a church where we could have a fresh start. There was a woman pastor–something that used to seem strange to me, but not anymore.

That is not a change in values but in perception.

*

I’m not one for making New Year’s resolutions (I prefer to look back and note my accomplishments); however, I’m always making To-Do Lists (as well as goal lists, be they weekly, monthly, or lifetime) because if I didn’t, I’d simply forget it all.

Because this year has been crazy, and I’ve been spending so much time finishing college while applying for jobs and trying to make a living, I haven’t been taking care of myself or spending as much time with my family as I should.  I’ve still done a lot of writing, but more for this blog and the newspaper than submitting to magazines.

It’s time to read more, sleep more, and even play more (like with dumbbells, if not barbells).  Managing my stress is going to be a large part of my New Year’s health goals, for once I do that, my mind will be clearer to focus on other areas of wellness.  

I drained my batteries dry this past year but was able to sally forth because the light at the end of the tunnel just kept getting bigger.  I feel like I have passed through to the other side, only to find that there are more tunnels.  My community college experience opened those doors; that’s why I never saw them before.

But for now, I am content to just stand in the light.

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Writing prompt:  The art of the autobio

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I haven’t posted a writing prompt in quite some time, and as I was going through all my old Facebook page posts to schedule this summer’s Weekly Writing Workshops, I remembered I wrote this autobiography in verse form a couple of years ago while I was taking our local Poet Laureate’s Poetry class at my alma mater.

Let me just say a few things about that class:  It helped me explore different ways of poeming (I fell in love with the pantoum), which was like discovering a whole new palette of colors.  I also learned that you really get to know people not just by reading their poetry, but by listening to them read it; they will reveal more about themselves in one poem than they will in a whole semester of conversations.  What’s more, taking a college level poetry course deepened my appreciation for works not my own.

This writing prompt is on making an “autobio list” (i.e. a list poem about you), which is a great form of freewriting, for you will find that as you recall one memory, another will be jarred loose, and memories will be tumbling over each other so fast, you will be scrabbling to get them down before they fall through the wrinkles of your brain.

“Slow-Speaking Lady” was originally going to be a Shutterfly book, but really, it was more of a writing exercise, modeled after Anne Waldman’s Fast Speaking Woman–one of the required texts in my poetry class.  Anne’s “break” stanza (i.e. the centered stanzas that break up the litanies) was “water that cleans/waters that run/flowers that clean as I go.” Do I get it? No, and I probably never will, but I am learning to appreciate things I don’t understand.  I already like that “Dominique” song by that French nun, and I don’t understand a word of it–I just like the way it sounds.

Without Waldman’s influence, I would’ve never written something like this, so she helped me think not so much out of the box, but to step out of the box completely.

That said, this is the kind of poetry that is better read aloud, as it is more like a chant.  It wasn’t until I watched Anne’s performance of her piece that I got more out of Fast Speaking Woman.  “Slow-Speaking Lady” would make a great YouTube video, but I’m not ready to put myself out there like that just yet.

So this prompt is to just write down everything that you are and categorize accordingly.  I guarantee that if you write one of these every seven years, they will be very different.  

Free your mind!

Slow-Speaking Lady

I’m a diamond lady, but a flawed lady.
I’m a ruby lady, a ruby-slippered lady.
I’m a sapphire sea lady, an emerald coast lady.
I’m a pearl with cameos lady, a blue moon lady.
I’m a rose gold lady, a silver lady, but not a gold-&-silver lady.
I’m non-pierced, non-tattooed lady.
I’m a soft-hearted lady, but not a bleeding-heart lady.
I’m a hard-headed lady, but not a soft-boiled lady.
I’m a red shoe lady, a flip-flop & bikini top lady.
I’m a glossy red-lipsticked lady, a freckled-face lady.
I’m a barefaced & barelegged lady.
I’m a brunette in a redheaded body kind of lady.
I’m a lady on a mission, but not a missionary lady.
I’m a spiritual lady, but not a churchgoing lady.
I’m a lady with many questions, a lady who questions God.

Over & over,
I hit the reset button,
but it freezes,
& I am stuck,
stuck,
stuck
on myself.

I’m a wifely lady, a motherly lady.
I’m a wannabe breast-feeding lady.
I’m a lady with a seedy Mormon past, a fruitful post-Mormon present lady.
I’m a minimalist lady, a mindfulness lady.
I’m a retro lady, a vintage lady, a modern lady.
I’m a board game lady, a head games lady.
I’m a gift-bag giving lady, a wrapping-paper receiving lady.
I’m a porcelain doll, but unbreakable.
I’m a gift card lady, not a greeting card lady.
I’m a French twist-braid-pastry lady.
I’m a cooking with electric lady, not a cooking with gas lady.
I’m a nut-loving, dark chocolate noshing lady.
I’m a truffle-making lady, not a Christmas cookie baking lady.
I’m a lady of many tastes, a lady of good taste.
I’m a Southern lady, a lady who loves everything fried.

Over & over,
I hit the reset button,
but it freezes,
& I am stuck,
stuck,
stuck
on myself.

I’m a Scots-Irish lady, a Black Irish lady, a Northern Irish lady.
I’m a white lady, but not a colorless lady.
I’m a fast-typing lady, a slow-writing lady.
I’m an introverted lady in person, an extroverted lady on paper.
I’m a left-brained lady, a right-brained lady.
I’m a right-handed lady trying to be a left-handed lady.
I’m a typesetting, if not a trendsetting lady.
I’m a lady with a past, a lady with a future.
I’m an in-the-moment lady, a lady who daydreams.
I’m a have-it-all lady, not a do-it-all lady.
I’m an event lady, not a party lady.
I’m a creative mess lady, a clutter-free lady.
I’m a modest lady, a wandering eye lady.
I’m a fallen lady, a lady who’s been lifted.
I’m a cameo lady, a lady with the face of a cameo.

Over & over,
I hit the reset button,
but it freezes,
& I am stuck,
stuck,
stuck
on myself.

I’m a clothes lady, I’m a naked lady.
I’m a cold-natured lady with bare shoulders, a hot-natured lady with a sweater.
I’m a satin-edge blanket lady, a cotton sheet lady, a matching pillowcase lady.
I’m a paisley pattern on my bed, not on my person lady.
I’m a controlled water lady, not an uncontrolled water lady.
I’m a mechanically-disinclined lady, an artistically-inclined lady.
I’m an acoustic guitar lady, a folk-song loving lady.
I’m a country music loving lady, a lady who doesn’t say y’all.
I’m a printed book reading lady, an online research scanning lady.
I’m an Instagramming lady, a telegramming lady.
I’m a grammarian lady, a Shakespeare-making-up-words lady.
I’m a dictionary lady, a thesaurus lady.
I’m a bleeding through the page, gel pen lady.
I’m a serious in-person lady, a comedienne on paper lady.
I’m a lady who takes her work seriously,
but a lady who doesn’t take herself too seriously.

Over & over,
I hit the reset button,
but it freezes,
& I am stuck,
stuck,
stuck
on myself.

I’m a beignets on Christmas morning lady.
I’m a cake lady, a frosting-hating lady.
I’m an al fresco dining lady, a “Wheel of Fortune” watching lady.
I’m a picnicking in the park, a barbecuing on the beach lady.
I’m a mixed drink lady, a mix-&-match lady.
I’m a plaid lady, a polka-dotted lady.
I’m a thigh-high, not a waist-high lady.
I’m an open-question lady, with a mind at half-mast.
I’m a conservative lady mind-wise, a liberal lady heart-wise.
I’m a Bible-reading out loud lady, a praying to myself lady.
I’m a Christian-y arts lady, an artsy Christian lady.
I’m a play-by-the-rules in life lady, a breaking the rules in print lady.
I’m a spiritual lady, not a religious lady.
I’m a Jesus-loving, God-fearing lady.
I’m a lady with issues, a lady with values.

Over & over,
I hit the reset button,
but it freezes,
& I am stuck,
stuck,
stuck
on myself.

I’m a twilight lady, a lavender & periwinkle lady.
I’m a nurturing lady, a nature-loving lady.
I’m a day-outdoors lady, a night-indoors lady.
I’m a slow-running lady, a fast-walking lady.
I’m a firefly lady, a lightning bug lady, a barefoot lady.
I’m a fire lady, an ice lady, a sun lady, a moon lady.
I’m a rising lady, I’m a setting lady.
I’m the lady in red
I’m a champagne-drunk lady, a soda-sober lady.
I’m a couponing lady, an extravagant lady.
I’m a soft fabric lady, a durable goods lady.
I’m a button-loving lady, a zipper-hating lady.
I’m a twenty-seven-toothed lady.
I’m a long-haired lady, a shaved lady.
I’m a glass lady, a clay lady, a wooden lady, a woman of steel.

Over & over,
I hit the reset button,
but it freezes,
& I am stuck,
stuck,
stuck
on myself.

I’m a Roman numeral clock type of lady.
I’m a shabby chic lady, a distressed lady.
I’m a candle-burning, lamp lighting lady.
I’m a letter-writing lady, a cursive-writing lady.
I’m a film noir lady, a Technicolor lady.
I’m a memory-making, memory recording lady.
I’m an Arial lady, never a Times New Roman lady.
I’m a nostalgic lady—for times gone by, for times that never were.
I’m a lady who loves Comic Sans for children’s books.
I’m a children’s poetry lady, an adult-story lady.
I’m a fighting-with-words the other doesn’t know lady.
I’m a deconstructed lady, a reconstructed lady.
I’m a compassionate lady, a passionate lady.
I’m an enchanting lady, a disenchanted lady.
I’m a lady inside one man’s head.

Over & over,
I hit the reset button,
but it freezes,
& I am stuck,
stuck,
stuck
on myself.

I’m an introverted lady.
I’m a type A lady, a type B lady.
I’m a wandering lady, a stay-at-home lady.
I’m a fast-eating, slow-food lady.
I’m a fact-finding lady, a making-it-up-as-I-go lady.
I’m a breakfast for dinner lady, a dinner for breakfast lady.
I’m a bread & butter lady, a toast & jam lady.
I’m a lady who doesn’t procrastinate.
I’m a crayon lady, not a colored pencil lady.
I’m a get-it-done-before-I-forget lady.
I’m a day-dreaming lady, a night-fantasizing lady.
I’m a bra-hating lady.
I’m plain lady, a fancy lady.
I’m a black lace lady, a pink satin lady.
I’m a crafty lady, but not a lady of the craft.

Over & over,
I hit the reset button,
but it freezes,
& I am stuck,
stuck,
stuck,
on myself.

I’m a bargain hunting lady, a seashell gathering lady.
I’m a winter clothes loving lady, a summer weather loving lady.
I’m a less is more lady, a more is more lady.
I’m an upcyling, if not a recycling lady.
I’m a primetime watching lady, not a daytime watching lady.
I’m a no-sew, no-bake lady.
I’m an ABBA lady, a Tom T. Hall lady.
I’m a Lady Stetson.
I’m a watermelon-scented loving lady, a watermelon-hating lady.
I’m a baking soda bath lady.
I’m a hair-drying hating, sundried loving lady.
I’m a crimped hair lady, a foam curler lady.
I’m a beach-here lady, a mountains-there lady.
I’m a Shakespeare appreciation lady, but not a Shakespeare-loving lady.
I’m a lady who loves to live, but not live to record.

Over & over,
I hit the reset button,
but it freezes,
& I am stuck,
stuck,
stuck
on myself.

I’m a Scrabble lady, not a Sudoku lady.
I’m a levity lady, not a gravity lady.
I’m a rhyming for kids lady, a non-rhyming for adults lady.
I’m a vegetable lady, not a fruit lady.
I’m an any flavor potato lady, but not a sweet potato lady.
I’m a browsing in the bookstore lady, not a Kindle scrolling lady.
I’m a self-help lady.
I’m a Capri-loving lady who doesn’t wear Capris.
I’m a sock eschewing lady.
I’m a timeless lady, an untimely lady.
I’m a plain paper lady, not a coloring book lady.
I’m a dollhouse lady, a paper doll lady.
I’m a wood burning, rather than a woodworking lady.
I’m a character-driven lady, not a plot-driven lady.
I’m a lady who prefers summer days over holidays.

Over & over,
I hit the reset button,
but it freezes,
& I am stuck,
stuck,
stuck
on myself.

I’m a thirtysomething lady, feeling a twentysomething girly.
I’m an “I Love Lucy” lady.
I’m a fried chicken on Wedgwood blue china lady.
I’m a windchimes lady, a lullaby-loving lady.
I’m an interviewing lady, no a “woman on the street” lady.
I’m a human-interest lady, not a hard news lady.
I’m a Princess Kate, Grace Kelly, Melania Trump, & Jackie Kennedy fashion lady.
I’m a poet, I’m a poetess, whatever gets me noticed.
I’m a just-so story lady, a shaggy God story lady.
I’m a glossy paper lady, a ripped edge lady.
I’m a dust-jacket removing lady.
I’m a been-there, let’s-do-it-again lady.
I’m a get-in-my-zone lady, a stepping outside my comfort zone lady.
I’m a lady with a double life—a life outside the pages, a life inside.
I’m a lady who loves, a lady in love.

I am, in all my forms, a lady.