#Micropoetry Monday: The Writer’s Life

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Her poetic license had no expiration date,
for she went around putting line breaks
where she thought they should be,
inserting the Oxford comma wherever she went,
omitting needless words,
adverbs,
& clichés,
for just as brevity was literary minimalism,
clarity was literary purity.

When she brainstormed,
her fingers were like lightning
across the keyboard,
her words like thunder
as she hammered away at a clump of words
to create a viable human-interest story.

It was reading, writing, & arithmetic
in grammar school,
academics, arts, & athletics
in college.
Sara Lee Storey excelled in the arts,
writing about the academics, 
& editing the words of those
who wrote about athletics.

Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #329, Theme: You Should

For once, I was able to craft a poem the same day the prompt was issued.  This will be the last Wednesday prompt until December.  In November, there will be a Poem-A-Day (PAD) challenge that is dedicated to collecting material for a chapbook manuscript, and I am all in.  My goal will be to write shorter poems (which will definitely be a challenge for me).

The definition of the word “chapbook” has always eluded me, and so I looked it up and found this out:  Stephen King wrote a few parts of an early draft of The Plant and sent them out as chapbooks to his friends, instead of Christmas cards, in 1982, 1983, and 1985. Philtrum Press produced just three installments before the story was shelved, and the original editions have been hotly sought-after collector’s items.

I think that was a pretty neat idea, but since I’ve already planned all my holiday gifts this year, I am going to do this next year.  My family and I always do Christmas photo cards, so a poetry chapbook will simply be a fun addition to that.  I wrote a nursery rhyme (and framed it) for a friend of mine who’d had her sixth child, and her delighted response really gave me confidence that even friends who aren’t writers can appreciate your work.  Her reaction honestly meant more to me than winning a writing contest, because that is what writing is about to me–sharing and adding to one’s life in a positive way through words.

The PAD challenge is totally free (even though you win exposure, not cash), so that is HUGE when it comes to Writer’s Digest, who charges exorbitant fees to enter most of their contests.  Considering NaNoWriMo is also in November (and my Creative Writing prof wants us to participate), it’s going to be an even larger challenge, but if I have time to watch movies with my husband, I have time to do this.

Here’s the link if you’re interested in participating in the challenge:  http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/2015-november-pad-chapbook-challenge-guidelines

And here is my poem that is not meant to be controversial in any way.

You Should…You Should Not

You should make the bacon,
not burn it.

You should bring home the bread,
not eat too much of it.

You should never put ketchup on a hot dog,
or a relish on a burger.

You should not put all your Easter eggs in one basket,
or eat a regifted fruitcake.

One should and should not do a lot of things,
and the wisdom is knowing the difference.

Words/Phrases that should be banned

The use of clichés (unless your character uses them) is considered poor writing.  I avoid clichés like the plague (cliché intended).  There are many phrases that make me cringe when I hear them; I will share my Top 10:

  1. “That went well.”  People say this whenever the opposite is true.  I don’t know why this is funny.  It’s mean to be sarcasm, but it’s a cliché of sarcasm.
  2. “Bless this mess.”  Cleanliness is next to godliness, so I’m not sure how God is supposed to bless a mess.  That makes about as much sense as saying a blessing over a McDonald’s “cheeseburger”.
  3. “In harm’s way.”  I hear this whenever people talk about the troops.  I’m tired of hearing it.  “On the battlefield”, to me, sounds better.
  4. “Purple people.”  Whenever people talk about race, they tend to mention imaginary purple (or green, blue, etc.) people.  It is ridiculous.
  5. When people say “N as in Nancy” (to cite one example).  When people feel they must spell out a word because it is easy to confuse a B with a D, they could use a little more imagination.  How about “N as in Nightingale”?
  6. “Have a blessed/blest day.”  I live in the buckle of the Bible belt, and I’ve heard this many times.  I don’t like this saying; “Have a good day” is sufficient.
  7. “I don’t read fiction.”  When someone says this, it comes across as snotty.  I want to ask, “Do you watch movies based on fiction?”  Chances are, they do.  I think it’s a little more intellectual to read fiction than it is to watch it where you don’t have to use your imagination to fill in the blanks.  Furthermore, it is insulting to say this to someone who writes fiction.
  8. “Step up to the plate.”  I hear this on reality cooking shows.
  9. “In English, please.”  People often say this when a doctor isn’t speaking to them in layman’s terms.  Just ask for the doctor to use simpler language instead.  They are speaking English, whether you understand it or not.
  10. “Jesus freaks.”  Self-explanatory.
  11. “Bad boy.”  When talking about a really big sandwich, or something really, really great.
  12. “I resemble that remark.”  It’s just not funny anymore.
  13. “How the hell are you?”  This means someone is just trying to sound different, but basically say the same thing.
  14. “Happy dance.”  There is no such thing.  Stop.  Just.  Stop.
  15. “She’s good people.”  This has always made me cringe, and not just because I sport a swastika made of semicolons (i.e. grammar nazi).
  16. “All that good stuff.”  “And everything else,” will suffice.  Avoid using words like “stuff”, “crap”, etc.
  17. “Dollar makes me holler.”  Self-explanatory.
  18. “I’m ___ years young.”  We get it.  You feel like a million bucks.  Nobody says this unless they’re trying to get attention or show off.
  19. “Bling.”  I prefer the word sparkle, but neither is better.
  20. “Mommy blogger.”  This term is often used in the pejorative sense, though I don’t have a substitute for it.

What are certain words or phrases that are so cliché, they make you cringe when you read/hear them?