#Micropoetry Monday: Faith & Spirituality

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God said, “Let us make man in our image,”
but Goddess had become barren from the Big Bang,
so Mary had become her surrogate.

Christ had been in the stories,
but had never been mentioned by name.
He was like the photographer that had taken the picture,
& it was because of Him,
everything else existed.

He loved God more than he loved
the environment,
more than the economy;
he could not see that
preserving His creation
& serving those who lived on His creation,
was doing His work.

When her way of living died,
and her friends went on living
as if hers had not,
she did not lose heart,
for her faith was in the Divine,
not humankind.

3 Wise Men searched for a Baby,
only to find themselves.
3 Wise Women searched for a Man,
only to find each other.

Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #357, Theme: Bigger

Her Sidney Summer

Karsen Wood drove from the Sunshine State to the Big Sky Country—
to the land that was bigger than her small, childish dreams.
She wasn’t running away, but to something she couldn’t yet see—
to something greater than the life she’d left and richly lived,
and would live again.

http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/wednesday-poetry-prompts-357

What Editors Want…

Christian films (and movies with Christian themes) are rising in popularity.  A revival is going on.  How much that influences what magazine publishers/editors are looking for, I have no idea, though I wish I did.

For instance, “The Saturday Evening Post” is sponsoring a Great American Fiction Contest, and one of the guidelines is this:  Think local. The Post has historically played a role in defining what it means to be an American. Your story should in some way touch upon the publication’s mission: Celebrating America, past, present, and future.

Now I can do that.  However, being a Christian (especially growing up in the Buckle of the Bible Belt), it is very hard for me not to include any mention of religion (good or bad) in my writings.  It is not only what I know, but it is part of what makes me, me.  I always think, before I send a piece that has even a passing mention of Christianity, that it will be rejected for that reason.  What I write tends to be too liberal to qualify as Christian fiction, and too conservative for mainstream fiction.

Hence my dilemma in crafting a story for this contest.  If I was submitting a piece for this magazine seventy years ago, this wouldn’t even be an issue.  My thought is that I’m writing to impress the editors, not the subscribers, because I have to get past the editors first.

When I think of what constitutes Americana, I think of “Huckleberry Finn”, “Leave it to Beaver”, baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, Stephen Foster and Norman Rockwell.  I think rural.  The story I originally wrote for this contest is about a group of young Mormons living in Montana (as I was once a young Mormon living in Montana).  I fear even the mention of the word Mormon, much less most of my main characters being members of such a controversial religion, might scare off the editors, who fear offending anyone.  That’s the kind of country we live in now.  We (or some of us) live in fear offending anyone, and if we do happen to offend, we must apologize immediately.  It doesn’t pay to be honest anymore, but rather, it costs us.  I can write what I want, all I want, but if I want to win a contest, I’ll probably have to censor myself a bit, thus making my piece less authentic.

So, I am at a crossroads.  Because of the ten dollar entry fee, I don’t want to send something I’m pretty sure won’t be chosen, but I am grappling with a story that will appeal to the masses (though I do believe Christianity, portrayed in a positive light, would be appealing to most people, but again, I have to get past the editors).

A few nights ago, my husband and I watched “I’d Climb the Highest Mountain”, a fifties movie starring William Lundigan, as a Protestant minister, and Susan Hayward, as his wife.  I’d read on an imdb.com message board that it was serialized in “The Saturday Evening Post” and it (the movie) was a perfect example of what qualifies as Americana.  The movie is a good watch, but milk without the meat.  Things happened, but it didn’t have a plot (which is fine; “Our Town” didn’t either, and I loved it).

I am thinking of abandoning my original story (or perhaps omitting the Mormon angle altogether, even though that’s what my characters are; I borrowed them from a book I will publish someday in which the Mormon theme is integral to the story), and writing something brand new.  No borrowing.  I am thinking of penning an homage to my hometown of Pensacola, Florida–a small city that is steeped in Christianity.  If I write as an observer, I might just get away with mentioning the existence of churches, maybe even God!

 

 

 

Having fun with lists and languages

Let me preface this by saying that I am not a fan of Shakespeare.  I have always found  his work boring (even though I’m supposed to like it).  Maybe there isn’t enough yolk in my head to like what I have been told is one of the greats.  However, I do think it is possible to appreciate something without liking it.  Shakespeare did invent many new words, many of which I like, so, I came up with a few myself.

Snowblowhard:  one who chooses to live in the South, but complains about everything Southern (like the weather, for instance).  A friend of a friend (on Facebook)  referred to Florida Christmases as fake because we didn’t have snow.

Raggedbagger:  woman who carries a designer handbag while dressed like a bum.

Paddyfibber:  one who claims to be Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.

Stackie (see shelfie:  http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=shelfie):  a stack, or tower, of books that have not yet made it to a shelf.

Crucifixation (I can’t take credit for this one, as my brother made it up):  one who is fascinated by the macabre elements of religion (exorcism, speaking in tongues, etc.).

Manicurist:  I know this is already a word, but I think it should be brought back.  Nail technician just isn’t an accurate of a description, and this is coming from someone who was an administrative assistant (which is really a glorified secretary with receptionist duties).

Multi-tabber (liken to multi-tasker)–one who has at least several tabs open on their Internet at one time.  This is me.

Mom joke (a.k.a. lame joke):  if you knew my mom, you’d understand.  An example of a mom joke:  Q:  What did the one casket say to the other casket that had a cold?  A:  Is that you coffin?

Femoir:  a fake memoir.  See:  http://listverse.com/2010/03/06/top-10-infamous-fake-memoirs/

Fictionary:  This list!

~

Maybe one of the amendments to my list of New Year’s Resolutions should be to learn at least one new word a day, but to learn that new word, I have to use it.

One of the reasons I enjoyed the Shopaholic series so much was because it was set in England, and I learned some British words/slang.  One of my favorite English phrases is “cheesed off” (which means disgusted or fed up).

When I lived in Montana, they used the word “spendy” to mean pricey.  In Southeast Missouri, where my family is from, they use the term “whopper-jawed” (I think that means jacked-up), and my parents still say “warsh” instead of “wash.”

Local lingo adds an authentic flavor to a piece of writing.  A setting is an important character, even if the place is made up.  I’d rather see an author make up a setting than do injustice to a real one.  Peyton Place was made up but felt very real (I’m referring to the movie and not the book).  Of course, it was based on a real place, like Sinclair Lewis’s Zenith, Missouri, in Elmer Gantry (another example where the movie was far better than the book).  Even Oz felt like a real place–just not on Earth.

One of the many reasons I love Christian author Linda Hall’s books is because almost all of them are set in Maine–a place I’d love to visit someday.  I also tend to gravitate towards books set in New Orleans (ironically, a place I have no desire to visit); the only reason I read any of Elin Hilderbrand’s novels was because most of them were set on Nantucket Island (where I’ve wanted to visit ever since I became a fan of the Wings TV series).  Dorothea Benton Frank’s Sullivan’s Island has made me want to go there, too.  However, the last two authors only made me want to visit the settings of their novels, not read another one.

Setting is great, but character still matters.

Updated 1/13/2020