#Micropoetry Monday: The Lighter Side

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Although a mismatched pair of socks,
Lefty & Righty still served a dual purpose:
to keep their contents warm—
in winter & in summer,
in smelly times & in freshly-laundered times,
in plush times & in threadbare times—
for as long as they remained un-holey.

For the brunette bombshell
known as Buxom Brown,
Jenna & Barbara Bush
lived in 2 different zip codes,
but when Bux got her reduction,
all that double-duty heavy lifting
was behind her,
for this girl’s 2 best assets
were now known as Jen & Barb.

Sox the Cat & Shooz the Dog–
named for what they unraveled or chewed up–
sold for pennies on the pound.
When they crossed piddle & poo paths
with Cashmere the Cat & Jimmy Choo the Dog,
they were reviled for their generic breeding.
But Sox & Shooz were major leaguers,
for by their names alone,
they represented EveryCat & EveryDog.
So this ragtag duo got together
with all the other neighborhood pets & strays,
& the candy asses of Cashmere & Choo
were kicked to the curb
where the garbage can diet was the only thing
on the menu.

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Book Review: King & Kayla and the Case of the Lost Tooth

Kayla

As part of my Post-K Summer Reading Boot Camp:
https://sarahleastories.com/2019/06/08/post-k-summer-reading-boot-camp-2019 

This was a nice book but nothing special.  I like that it’s trying to get kids into mysteries, using their problem solving, critical thinking, and powers of deduction/process of elimination skills.  I also liked that it showed that if you want to solve a mystery, you have to “write stuff down”; Kayla and her friend Mason not only write down what they know but what they don’t know (an interesting concept).  However, if the solve had been more interesting than simply a case of overlooking something, I would’ve liked it a bit better.  

The story was told from the dog’s point-of-view, which was a good call; a children’s book should rarely be told from the parent’s point-of-view.  

But the idea of a communal/classroom tooth pillow seems rather unsanitary–is this a thing now?  

I didn’t like that this was divided into chapters because this is the kind of story that needs to be read in one sitting.  Use a bookmark if you want a stopping point. Teaching a child to use a bookmark (rather than folding down the corner of a page or turning the book over so that it puts pressure on the spine) is a good habit to instill early on.  Whenever I’m reviewing an adult book, I have multiple bookmarks handy, so I can refer back to certain passages.

The Case of the Lost Tooth is a paint-by-the-numbers book where the dots all look the same.  Kayla needed a more interesting personality, though King is all dog.  Captain Cat Obvious needed a bigger role, for he could’ve added a bit of spice to this overly sweet book.  The tooth fairy could’ve also joined in the search but maybe kids–just like with Santa Claus–aren’t supposed to see the tooth fairy.  However, the note under Kayla’s pillow was a nice touch.  

Using the dog’s best sleuthing tool–his nose–King and Kayla solved this non-mystery.  The moral of the story? Dig a little deeper–literally.

The illustrations were somewhat eighties (i.e. reminiscent of my childhood).  The lack of background/negative space made it very readable, though ultimately, the visuals fell flat, and the story wasn’t compelling enough to make me want to read the other installments.  This was too long for a read-aloud, but short and simple enough for early readers–a book my child would have to choose on her own for me to pick it up again.

Suggested activity:  There are lots of children’s books that talk about the tooth fairy.  However, if your child is old enough, you can also talk about how dogs help humans solve mysteries (e.g. find missing children–I would not get into finding corpses), help the blind navigate a seeing world, etc.   Here is a good listicle outlining all the ways dogs improve the lives of humans. https://www.petfriendly.ca/articles/how-dogs-help-people.php

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36928748-king-kayla-and-the-case-of-the-lost-tooth

Writer’s Digest November Poem-a-Day 2017 Challenge #8. Theme: Thing

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The Bridge That Took Walks in the Park

The last time they met,
M. knew it would be the last,
but he did not.
Lollygags had been her constant companion—
not a seeing-eye dog,
but a GPS for lasting love.
And when M. died,
leaving her beloved friend behind,
he picked up her care where M. had left off.
As one dog year passed,
it came to pass that Lolly led him to his second love,
after which the last remnant of his first
passed away,
having served her masters well.
For she had been the thing
that had kept The Others away,
but the being that had brought The One
his way.

http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/2017-november-pad-chapbook-challenge-day-8

 

Writing Prompt: On Memoir Writing, and Finding Their Voices

If you ever get writer’s block (which can happen if you’re just working on one project at a time; I tend to work on at least seven, and in a variety of forms and genres), writing prompts might help you get unblocked.  Even better, you might come up with a great, publishable piece that you otherwise would have never written. 

  • The Wife of Brian.  (About not losing your identity, but rather, becoming more of who are you through the marriage relationship.  This would definitely have a Christian chick-lit vibe, as I am not the queen of oversharing.)
  • Second to Fluff:  Growing Up with Pet Parents.  (My mom’s story of having to compete for affection from her mom and dad, who liked to say that “dogs were easier to raise than kids”.)
  • Life with Griff.  (Told from my P.O.V. about growing up with a dad who is an unintentional Lucy Ricardo.)
  • Twice Upon a Time in Pensacola.  (My husband’s story of us, and how we crossed paths before we knew each other.  Love and Serendipity.)
  • Hannah Banana of Florabama.  (Though I had already written this as a nursery rhyme about my daughter, I am going to write another in the form of a fairy tale.  It is easy to take any story, and turn it into a fairy-tale:  https://sarahleastories.com/2016/02/12/writers-digest-wednesday-poetry-prompt-340-theme-finally-or-at-last/)

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  • The Huntsman of Poplar Bluff.  (My Uncle Bill’s story of his “countrified” life, juxtaposed against the lives of his “citified” children.)
  • Jasper Vizsla:  The Hot Dog of New York.  (Based on Dana Perino’s dog of the same name.  A tale/tail? of New York Life, from a dog’s perspective.)
  • Santa Claus:  The Before.  (A fable or legend about how Santa Claus started his trade/calling.  Maybe this has already been done by L. Frank Baum, I don’t know, but I can have my own take.)
  • Before Laurie Nolan:  A Prequel.  (Laurie Nolan is a character in my book, “Because of Mindy Wiley”.  https://sarahleastories.com/because-of-mindy-wiley/)   Mine your writings for characters who still have their own story to tell.  You may even end up with a series of short stories to promote your primary work.
  • Lila Caddy’s Second Family.  A poignant narrative (from the P.O.V. of a twenty-five year old Cadillac named Lila).  Lila was my and Brian’s first car together.  She was more than just transportation–she was our freedom to go wherever we wanted.
  • House on Cottage Row.  The story of a house with heartwarming and heartbreaking secrets.  (Think of all the stories Tara, from “Gone with the Wind”, could tell.)
  • Pensacola:  The Dark Paradise.  Think “City Confidential”.  Every town has a story to tell.  I told mine in “The Ghoul of Whitmire Cemetery” (which was published in an anthology sponsored by the Saturday Evening Post, and was based on a true story).  https://sarahleastories.com/2015/12/06/more-good-news/

I believe these prompts will also help you to write in other “voices”.  I have found that almost all of my main characters are extensions of myself, and so I am in bad need of an “out-of-body” experience.

A persona poem is another great exercise in this:  http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/the-many-faces-of-persona-poems

Poem-a-Day Writer’s Digest Challenge #13. Theme: Confession

So this poem has a bit of truth in it.  When I was little and whenever my mom brought a pecan pie home (which she tried to hide on top of the fridge), I would (while she was sleeping) eat all the delicious, gooey nuts off, leaving the rest (which reminded me, strangely, of that sudsy, membranous stuff coming out of the pea pods in “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”) and try to spread dry pecans over it in its place, which was, I confess, not a very good cover.

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Sally’s Secret Confession
of her Pecan Predilection)

There once was a pecan pie,
glistening on the stove,
when along came Sally,
eight years old.

A true nut-lover, this girl was,
and she plucked the nuts from the goo,
noshing on them till the pie was bare,
and went back to her room.

Then along came Pistachio and Braggadocio
(“Brag” for short)–
the two dogs of the family Foyle.
Pistachio stood up, putting his big paws on the range,
Brag waiting for some of the spoils.

Then in came Mrs. Foyle,
and, upon seeing the pie,
no longer the apple of her eye,
wagged a finger and
wielded a rolled-up newspaper.
The dogs dared not linger.

She shook her head and said,
“Just as good as a confession”,
while Sally gave them each a bone,
consolation for reaping wrath
for what she had sown.

And Sally, sticky with guilt,
went to tell her mom
that nuts made her wheeze,
and from then on,
Mrs. Foyle ate her pie at the Dewdrop Inn,
and Sally never went nutty with temptation again.