#Micropoetry Mondays: Absurdity

Pi

The script was written, & the reality-TV stars were cast.
The Bachelor had to pick one for happily ever after,
tho’ the love story had been written once upon a time.

She was a spelling bee,
always drawn to an English rose or
recreating a page out of History,
but when it came to a Math problem involving Science,
she felt like Barbie trying to get her G.E.D.

The tenants of the Raintree Apartments were complex—
the military wives who cooked the meth,
the potheads who held Ph.D.’s,
the poor Republicans & the rich Democrats,
but all that mattered when a room blew up or there was a bust,
was that they paid their rent on time.

His Randy-ian Ways
She came home to find her husband in bed
with his literary lover, Ayn Rand,
well-hung above their bed,
for Ayn’s virtue was selfishness,
& he, the most virtuous of all.

When she took the self out of selfie,
she was left with half a rule: i before e.

Writing Prompt: The Desert (Inside of Us)

travel-857086_960_720Imagine a desert, and then a cube in this desert.  Describe the cube.  Then describe the ladder that you see.  Imagine a horse, then flowers.  A storm commences.  Describe everything as you go.  How do all these things relate to or affect one other? 

This was the first creative writing exercise in my creative writing class (the professor said it was based on an ancient, Middle Eastern philosophy, that reveals your inner self).  More in-depth analysis can be found at the link below:

http://oliveremberton.com/2014/how-to-connect-deeply-with-anyone-in-5-minutes/

Here was my attempt:

The desert is like scorched earth—dry, desolate, with nary an oasis in sight.  It’s like the life has been drained from it—evaporated in the air that doesn’t move, but is dead, like a radio gone silent.  It’s as if Mother Earth has been stripped of all her beauty…and flesh and blood.

In the center of this desert is a most curious thing.  It is almost clear, but not quite—a sort of milky pearl, except it is a square, like a lump of sugar.  It glistens under the hot sun, and there is a tiny puddle underneath it.

Adjacent to it is a ladder with 12 rungs, lying on its side.  Like a hologram, or a mirage, I move, and it is no longer visible.  As I move nearer, the cube becomes smaller, until I step on what I assume to be the bottom rung; it is only then I realize that I had to take the first step to be able to reach the oasis.  I had to acknowledge that I had a problem—this was the first step to sobriety, but that oasis was getting smaller the longer I waited.

I take the 12 steps and reach down to kiss the ice cube as if it is the Pope’s ring.

Twelve months have passed, and I look up to see this strange animal—a unicorn.  It is the only living thing besides the cactuses.  The unicorn is rainbow-colored, her tail reminiscent of Rainbow Brite—a favorite of my childhood.  Her horn is silver, and, upon closer inspection, I see it is a compass.  I pet the unicorn I have named Lavender, for she appeared in the twilight of my life.  I mount her, for there is a storm coming.  There is darkness ahead, but I know I can pass through life’s hurricanes if I just use the compass and carry on to wherever Lavender takes me.  I hold onto the horn and we pass through the storm.  When the clouds are behind us, I realize we have crossed over, for I see the Rose of Sharon—a single white rose—and Lavender stops, and asks, “Will you accept this rose?”

I answer, “I will”, and then I reach my eternal destination.

What each story element represents: 

Desert=worldview
Cube=you, self-portrait
Ladder=friends
Horse=lover, ideal lover
Storm=trouble, challenge
Flowers=things you nurture or create

What each story element (I surmised) represented to me:

Desert:  Hell on Earth, known as Pensacola (my surroundings)
Cube:  Oasis
Ladder:  My friends are my 12 steps
Horse:  At the end was my true love, leading me away/saving me from a life of drunkenness
Storm:  Addiction
Flowers:  I nurtured my faith, and my faith did not fail me; because of it, I shifted focus to the Living Water, not old wine

Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #321, Theme: Gripe

So my husband and I are fans of “Wheel of Fortune.”  We even play the Xbox game, and it can get heated (especially if I “buy time” by buzzing in like I know the answer and take the full 70 seconds to figure it out).  He says it’s cheating–I say it’s smart.

I chose to gripe about the most benign show in existence–“Wheel of Fortune”–the game show that makes you feel brilliant after watching “Jeopardy”.  (Btw, a “fickle wheel” is how AT&T describes the show in their synopsis.)

The Fickle Wheel

Buying unnecessary vowels,
calling letters that have already been called–
it’s not using your noodle, is all.

Listening to the host without the most,
who holds the female contestants’ hands to the Bonus Round,
makes me want to wash my hands and whiskey-wash it down.

Contestants who jump up and down after every triumph,
who use flowery adjectives to describe their significant others,
who rattle off all their kids’ silly, pretentious names,
are just a few of the many gripes I have about America’s game.

Reality TV, and The Reality of the American Economy

I am not a fan of reality television, with two exceptions:  I love “Shark Tank” and “MasterChef”.  I consider most news programs (on any channel–network or cable) reality TV, since news is more talking heads, opinion, and speculation rather than facts.

I used to watch “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” (a guilty pleasure that left me as unsatisfied as a box of Little Debbies–the commentary on realitysteve.com was far more entertaining).  I even used to miss a favorite yoga class to watch it with my mom (not before the days of DVR, but we’re always behind the times about ten years when it comes to technology).

I enjoy “MasterChef” because I like to cook.  I love “SharkTank” because I love the entrepreneurial spirit–I hope to one day invent a product that makes me a millionaire.  Not sure about starting a business, though.  According to the Sharks, you should spend 16-20 hours a day on your business.  If I didn’t get at least seven hours of sleep a day, I can’t think clearly.  When Mark Cuban talks about how he used to eat ketchup and mustard sandwiches, well, all I can say is, “Really?!”

I don’t think you have to starve yourself or go without sleep to be successful.  I think you just have to be focused, work hard, and it does help to start small.  I am amazed at the number of people who go on there and they’ve mortgaged their house and went deep into debt.  I know what Dave Ramsey would say about that, but I also know he doesn’t believe you should go into debt to go to college (which I disagree with, to a certain extent–if you’re getting a degree in Art History, yes, but engineering, no).  I look at college as an investment in one’s future.

There was one lady who started her business with two hundred dollars–money she’d made one summer from cashing in aluminum from old windows her husband took out (he was some kind of contractor).  She even taught herself to sew (which I can’t even fathom because that was one of two classes I flunked in high school, that and geometry).

Now that admission segues me into talking about the product I’ve created.  However, I not only have to learn how to sew to make this work, but I would have to secure a patent (which would be very expensive).  I’ve made a very crude prototype (there’s a word I learned from the show) for myself that works great.  I think there is a market for it.  However, the uncertainty scares me.  I may not be too big to fail, but I am too poor to fail.  I am not a salesperson–I am an inventor.  Just like I love the creative part of writing, I hate the marketing/business part.  I would be totally fine with receiving a royalty off of every sale–just make me money!  I don’t want the headache of running a business.  I really don’t.  I believe in simplifying life, not complicating it.

That said, I know I would have to agree to have my product manufactured overseas to cut costs.  I am okay with that.  I’d prefer to have the label “Made in America”, but it just isn’t feasible when you’re just starting out.  There was a man who pitched his idea of some kind of pick-up truck add-on, but he was adamant about it being made in the USA to help bring jobs to his impoverished town.  I get that, but until you become big, you can’t afford to do that.  He made zero profit.  If you can’t help yourself, you can’t help anyone else.

The reality is that we’re a global economy.  Ninety-nine percent of people just aren’t willing to pay more for something of the exact same quality, just to get that “Made in America” label.  Most of them can’t afford to.

I’d love for all our goods to be made here, but I don’t think that’ll ever happen.  We’re a consumerist society, a service-based economy.

Right now, I am focused on trying to make more money, to help give my family a better quality of life.  Sometimes, in order to achieve the American Dream, one must be flexible doing business beyond her borders.

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Can you judge a book by its title?

Several years ago, I heard that Harlequin romance read every manuscript they received, and so I began writing short romance novels, tailoring them specifically for that market.  I won’t lie–I’ve always believed they would publish anything.  One book I read had a character named Darren, also spelled Darrin.  I couldn’t help but think of the two Darrins on “Bewitched”.

I’ve read about a hundred Harlequin romances (for research more than pleasure), and I’ve probably liked about five of them.  Most of the titles (and characters) are forgettable.  (Though much meatier, I can barely name any of the Lisa Jackson and Sandra Brown books I’ve read.)  However, there is a market for these little books, and so I’ve been working on a handful of titles–I just need to write the stories that go with them!

I ended up writing two novels, “Regina Fair”, a light, fluffy romance for the Harlequin American romance line, and “A Splash of Blue”, a darker novel for one of the other lines.  I came up with “Regina Fair” for the title (it was originally “Regina’s Rainbow”) when I read that Audrey Hepburn’s “Sabrina” was originally “Sabrina Fair”; someone thought that sounded too highbrow (fearing they would think “Vanity Fair”), and so it was shortened.

My protagonist, Regina Morrow, is a refined girl who works a blue-collar job (she is a grocery clerk).  I wanted to show (and not tell) that a girl could have class without money and/or a white-collar job.  Plus, a character like that is more relatable than most of the contestants that compete on “The Bachelor”.

“A Splash of Blue” is about a young woman who runs away from her mother’s smothering love to become a mermaid for Soda Springs water park (based on Weeki Wachee Springs in Florida; I’ve been there, and it is truly a relic from the 1950’s).  This title is reminiscent of the 1965 movie, “A Patch of Blue”.

I do think the greatest books have the most memorable titles (“Gone with the Wind”, “To Kill a Mockingbird”, “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn”), and a catchy title (like a book cover that pops) is important, as are character names.  Did you know Pansy was Scarlett O’Hara’s original name?  Or that Mickey was born Mortimer Mouse?  I can’t imagine it either.