I’d like to know if you, the reader 1.) think this is a viable project, 2.) have suggestions for changes to poem placement, or 3) think that a different poem should be used for this photo.
See, not so hard. Just leave a comment to let me know what you think and why. I take all suggestions seriously. And thank you in advance, for taking the time to at least look at this.
The last few days have been interesting ones at Chez Young. Yesterday one of my Haiku poems was placed among the five finalists of a Haiku Poetry Challenge at Khara House’s website “Our Lost Jungle.” That was exciting. My Haiku poem stood with poems from four other marvelous poets, all of whom I’ve admired for a long time.
Today, my inbox held contests, challenges, and Calls for Submission from websites and publishers of varied types, no few of which were for poetry.
The first was an easy contest from the sense of an entry. It was a give-away contest by J.L. Spelbring (ebysswriter). The prize for this contest was multi-faceted. And you betcha, I’m entered in this one and gladly. will get copies of Dan Cohen’s book “Masters of the Veil,” either in paperback or PDF, and a chance at a B&N gift card at the end of summer.
The first Calls for Submission came from Robert E. Brewer of Writer’s Digest fame. Okay, so I’m a chump. You guessed it; I’m going for one of these slots, too. Robert’s looking for both how-to articles for the 2014 edition of Writer’s Market. He also calls for poetry to grace that year’s Poet’s Market. Call me an over-achiever. That’s okay. I am, and I’ll submit here, too. I do write poetry, after all.
To top off all the contests, challenges, and submission calls was Jane Freidman’s Newsletter “Electric Speed” which gave me great writer/reader tools to check out in my leisure time. How great is that?
With all of this going on, I’m going to be one crazy writer trying to keep up. My book of poetry “The Moon Sees All” is the in the hands of my beta readers, who are getting their responses and critiques back to me throughout this month. I’ll have that to finish off next month before going out to agents/publishers, That excites me as much as anything else.
For all of those writers out there who think they can’t compete, I ask this: how do you know? Have you don’t much of it? If the answer is “NO,” you might be short-changing yourself and your abilities. Remember: the only sure way to fail at something is to never do it. Be a doer, even if you think you can’t be good at it. Until you do, you can’t know.
Have a great weekend, peeps. Soak up the atmosphere wherever you are, smile at yourself as much as you do at others, and do something different with an hour or two. You never know—that something might become your next passion.
- Anniversary Week – Poetry Contest (dversepoets.com)
- Two Haikus Sprout from Travel (steffiwrites.wordpress.com)
- Here’s a fun poetry contest! (littleboxofbooks.wordpress.com)
- Andrea Gibson, DeVotchka and “How it Ends” (dadpoet.wordpress.com)
- poetry contest – $1 entry fee! (roughverse.wordpress.com)
- Just Keep Writing (floatingwiththebreeze.wordpress.com)
- Winner of the Name That Abstract 8 and new Poetry Challenge (timzauto.wordpress.com)
- How Innovation Is More Poetry Than Science (fastcompany.com)
- Poetry Picks (guerrillapoem.wordpress.com)
Today’s issue of Four and Twenty contains one of my poems, as well as poetry of several friends. Enjoy this lovely magazine and make it one of your favorites.
By now nearly everyone across the country has been to a stage of sweltering in the heat. It doesn’t matter where you live, except maybe in Western Washington, you’ve worked at staying cool.
When I talk about working in the heat, I’m not talking necessarily about laboring outside in it. Those who seldom leave the house, except for errands, are also at risk from heat. It depends on how cool the building is and how much air flow there is.
The heat affects all of us in similar ways. We get cranky when we get too hot. Tempers shorten as temperatures rise.
Attention wanders. Staying focused is possible but much more tiring at 95° than when at 70°. Dehydration begins to make its move and assaults the body, which has specific requirements. Thirst drives a person to intake more fluids, which results in more trips to the bathroom, which also pulls the attention away from your keyboard.
Sleep doesn’t come easily in the heat. There is no such thing as a comfortable position on the bed, couch, floor, hammock, or whatever reclined surface you can find. Sleeping on the porch isn’t an option either. It’s rarely much cooler out there than inside the house and other considerations remain; mosquitos, the odd stray dog, or worse, cat on the prowl.
Solutions? Oh, there are a few, but not many aside from air conditioning.
Let’s face it. We’ve become a society of wimps. Our pioneer ancestors—yes, even those in the 1940’s—didn’t need air conditioning. They worked, cooked, played outside with the kids, went to ballgames, etc. and all of it in the heat.
Here we are, subject to heat, many without blessed air conditioning. Take a crack at what the oldsters did. Put a big bowl of ice in front of the fan and let simple evaporation help cool you off.
Rearrange your work schedule, if you can, to move the most active part of your day to the cooler pre-dawn and early morning hours. Shift your priorities to help yourself. Decide how many cold meals you can prepare at one time. Cold soups, meats, fruits, etc. can help you think you’re cooler, even if you aren’t.
For those who snicker because they have air conditioning, remember this. You still have to go outside in it to get from point A to point B. That’s at least one chance to get your hand burned on a door handle, to burn the backs of your legs when derriere meets car seat or bench, to inhale vaporous flame upon ordering that snow cone from the corner vendor, who’s stood out in that heat to provide you with cold, soon-to-be-liquid refreshment.
But above all, realize that you’re not alone. Heat drains your energy. Even when you’re working at home or at the office, if you don’t have air conditioning, take it easy on yourself. A cool washcloth on the back of the neck does help. Keeping your feet cool drains more heat from the body than you might think, and make sure that keep sweating.
If your body is hot and you’re not sweating, you need medical attention. You’re headed into heat exhaustion or heat stroke. If you’ve been there before, you’re more susceptible to it now. Stay safe everyone.
- Staying Cool During Deadly Heat (aarp.org)
- Pa. Department of Health: Hot Weather Poses Serious Health Risks (prnewswire.com)
- Beat the Heat: Amica Insurance Offers Seven Tips to Stay Safe and Cool as Heat Wave Continues (prweb.com)
- What are Your Favorite Creative Cooling Solutions? (elocal.com)
- The Dangers of Overheating in Older Adults (everydayhealth.com)
Soon the pickers will come; their baskets covered and darkly empty. Who will survive this season’s harvest? How many can we get to safety in the caverns below? And how many will survive the terror of remaining below until the sky homes are again safe?
Our new leader perches, grasping his branch of authority so tightly his talons have sunken into the bark, almost heartwood deep. Families gather to hear his plans for leaving our sky homes for burrowed havens during this time of The Gleaning. Not even sky’s soft breath disturbs the silence holding our attention.
“This night will see us gone from these homes. Each parent pair holds responsibility for their young ones.”
Fledglings tuck up against parents’ sides, beneath sheltering wing power. Feet shuffle and scrape bark with restless talons. The scouts must have reported the pickers on their way to the forest.
Leader spreads wings to call order and flips them again to his back.
“Our fasting will begin at full dawn. The hardship of the season is upon us. Feed well before entering the burrows. It will be the last for a foot of moon rises.”
The sound of his last instruction faded. Leader departed to get his own charges on the ground and fed before dawn. Each small group moves forward to launch.
Fledglings balk, hesitating. They are shoved off for their first flight. For them the dark unknown rushes to meet them, not caring that this is new and frightening for these small feathered bodies. Moss hummocks and short leaf blades cushion their landings and bounces. One parent accompanies each new flyer and examines for injuries at the landing spot.
As soon as able-bodied fledglings are grounded, parents roam the sky homes looking for stragglers. Here and there weak calls come from homes, where those too weak or ill have been left behind. Their sacrifice will ensure that the fit will survive The Gleaning.
As the sun begins to streak the forest with its rays, the people begin to stuff last meals down their gullets. Many will be too weak and malnourished to hunt after The Gleaning. Designated caretakers go through the crowds before each burrow, marking the ones to watch for when the safety call comes from the watch patrol.
Thank the Great Winged One, the watch patrol will be gathering larger meals for that unearthing time. Calls from overhead alert those who need to hide. Young ones are pushed into burrow entrances, followed closely by adults. In moments only the patrol remains; covering entrances with harvested mosses to disguise the havens from the pickers.
Task complete, they leap into the air, flapping for altitude into the high reaches, where pickers never climb. The wait begins; the wait for sky’s freedom for the people. With full light, the pickers arrive, their baskets covered, darkly empty. Soon those sacrificed will have given their glorious feathers to occupy those baskets.
Each day a lovely little website referred to as Flashy Fiction offers a writing prompt to a photo. Today’s prompt was a two-fer because it’s been combined with Friday’s prompt.
I had to do one for today. The opportunity was too good and the prompt too right-up-my-alley. So, this is what I wrote for the photo above. I hope you enjoy it. And please, stop by to see all the offerings on Flashy Fiction. You’ll be glad you did.
The Light of Meaning
Within me grows a tension I cannot place. What could cause this sensation of impending destiny, which perches like a vulture just out of visual range? Does my breath come short and quick because of unexpected claustrophobia at the looks of this canyon before me?
My friends don’t seem to notice how silence surrounds this place, how the scent of dust carries with it a hint of the ancient. Their shouts fall short of my space, leaving me in a personal bell jar inside these striped red walls.
Illusions of undulating Dune’s Shai-Hulud flash across my mind. I wonder if this was how Paul felt the first time he waited for that beast to rise from the desert floor. Would there be such a ritual for me to perform for the coming secret to reveal itself? And how do I know there is a secret?
Footsteps echo. Shock sweeps through me. I recognize them as my own, though I don’t recall moving into the inner recesses of a side chamber. Dim illumination draws me forward, faster as hesitation drops away. I must know this thing that would be.
Twists and turns, dried water channels of exquisite sandstone, bring me, at last, to the chamber. I burst forth from the passage, panting in excitement and terror. Finally, I see what has haunted my vague dreams for longer than memory reaches. It waits; one glorious beam of pure light.
Within that circle of illumination is the future I’ve tried to escape from and now run to in a sprint of desperation. Could my heart beat any harder and remain caged within my body? Could my responding body contain so much light?
A jerk, like that of a tether drawn forward suddenly, pulls me into the beam of sunlight that squeezes through a tiny overhead opening. My head arches back. My chest swells and rises, as if I’m a mere marionette and someone has yanked my string upward. My mind is filled with music, sweet and gentle, as it ebbs and surges through the channels of my soul.
Home comes calling. I have been away longer than I can imagine right now. My mind registers the knowledge of a previous, though, different life elsewhere; a knowledge that explains so much that has confused me during this life.
The music and light fill me with the purpose I’ve been seeking. All is clear now. I have come this far to learn that only one act of mine is necessary for my life to have meaning for this world; to learn that with that act, I have completed my purpose here and can go home again.
Is there any better bliss than such sure knowledge?
- I’d like to order one Shai-hulud Special with extra Spice (theecaffeinatedcrow.wordpress.com)
- Friday Flash Fiction – “Humble Pie” (kbnelson.wordpress.com)
- Flash Fiction 100 words: CONFESSIONS (auroramorealist.wordpress.com)
- Desert Warrior (unduecreativity.wordpress.com)
- Flash Fiction Month: Why is it useful? (natashamcneely.wordpress.com)
Each year millions create an almost migratory herd, like so many waves rolling toward a shore called “vacation.” Each traveler has in mind a personal calling toward whatever destination reaches in and takes hold of the heart for that season. How many can resist that pull?
My writing partner left this past weekend for vacation with her children. Since that particular blog is on vacation this week, I’m left with additional and unanticipated hours of luxurious time to delve into new studies, new avenues of knowledge exploration. I could spend the extra hours working on some of my long projects, but they’ve already been delegated to regular work hours.
For now, I can download seminars and listen without guilt, soak in new knowledge to add to those bits I’ve stored away, and investigate hitherto unknown streets that branch off the cyber highway. There’s a lot of territory to roam in only a few measly days. What if I get lost?
No fears. Fear is the little mind killer. That has become my motto of life.
Learning new software applications will get an hour here and there. A new book will have a half an hour of my time each day. An hour long seminar each day isn’t too much to do. And a couple of hours devoted to my writing course will pay off handsomely in a few months. (I’m rebuilding—not revising–my YA novel.)
The finishing touches on my first book of poetry are happening today. It will go to beta readers within a few days, as soon as I get them all lined up. Once it’s out to readers, I’ll concentrate on the second book. I have all of the photos, thanks to Sister and that trusty camera of hers. It’s begun, but now I must implement the outline for the epic poem.
Did I mention that I just had two more poems accepted by Four and Twenty Short Form Poetry? That drives more incentive to send out more poems and create a few more just for outside submission. Surprises like this one I can handle without difficulty.
So far my week is starting out pretty well. Speaking of poetry, here’s the one I did yesterday for Poetic Bloomings Prompt of Write a Resting Poem.
What gentle rustlings
Probe mind’s nooks
While sleep hangs
What probings shake
While slumber paces?
What shakings loosen
Ponderings, dry eyes,
And weave weariness
Into strain’s distress?
These rustling, probing
Shakings serve to
Alert, with useless
Of sleepless nights
And fog-filled days.
Oh, to sit beside the
Stream of Forgetfulness,
Dipping toes into sweet
Thoughts of Easement;
To feel Zepher’s breeze
Linger on naked skin,
While Pan plays his
Lullaby to needy ears;
To rest within a cradle
Rocked by Earth’s pulse,
Removing all care, worry,
The better to nurse from Peace.
Some may see my planned week as anything but a vacation. That’s fair. For me, who has the occasional full day up in the mountains or along a lake shore, my definition of vacation tends to differ from that of others. A day to do nothing but read a new book or an old favorite is a mighty vacation indeed.
Enjoy your own coming holidays, everyone, and leave a comment here telling of your own vacation plans. Or, do you have to wait for get a break from routine? Don’t be shy. Everyone wants to go somewhere. Feel free to share.
- Poetry Revisited (kbunge.wordpress.com)
- The American in Me – (intheperputualruins.com)
- Workin’ For It – a Poem in Response (margoroby.wordpress.com)
- A Summerful of Tuesday Tryouts (margoroby.wordpress.com)
- Women Writers in Bloom Poetry Salon Celebrates One Year (lcurrelley.wordpress.com)
- Looking at the ground, seeing you. (owmaria.wordpress.com)
- From Nature’s Patient Hands: For Couplets, Elizabeth Barrette (wbabiak.wordpress.com)
- BYOD: Death of the nonworking vacation? (zdnet.com)
- Writing Poetry and the Creative Process (lizbethwrightbooks.wordpress.com)
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