M is for…

My 2015 A to Z Challenge Theme is Quotes & Lines from Literature. Each day I will be posting a favorite quote or a few lines from well known short stories, poems or novels, with the letter of the first name as the A to Z. I’ll have a short write up with each quote, but each quote can also serve as a writing prompt for readers or myself.  I may write a poem or flash fiction based on that quote, or just throw it out there as inspiration. Hopefully you’ll join me in this adventure! I’ll try to include some of my favorite blog finds as I move through the challenge as well.


 

I’ve seen a portion of this quote before, but then found the expanded excerpt above when reading Mary Oliver’s full poem, Wild Geese, in an anthology of poetry called, Good Poems, compiled by Garrison Keillor.

These particular lines in the poem are especially powerful to me, though the entire poem is lovely.  

I don’t ever feel especially lonely exactly, but I think we all feel afraid at times that we are alone in feeling like we’re failing. Sometimes I doubt myself – as a writer, as mother, as any of a number of things depending on the day. ๐Ÿ˜€ My house is never really truly clean. I struggle to finish my writing projects. I lose my patience with my kids.  

In those moments of doubt, it’s easy to feel alone in those doubts and failings. But then I read a book where a character can’t catch up on laundry either and I don’t feel so bad. Or I read someone else’s blog and see that they too have their writing projects they’ve started and abandoned, or set aside for a very long time, just like I have. Or I have coffee with a co-worker and listen to her worry she’s messing everything up with her kids, too.  

When I look outside myself, I see I am not alone in my doubts and fears of failure. All around us in this world we can find things that help us understand ourselves better in the bigger picture. 

Sometimes we need something to call to us, like wild geese as Mary Oliver says (how great is that imagery!) to help us get outside ourselves. Thankfully, this world is full of ways to see we are not alone, to see we are just a piece in a much larger picture, and that we fit in some way into that “family of things”. 

Beautiful and comforting. ๐Ÿ˜€

K is for…

  

My 2015 A to Z Challenge Theme is Quotes & Lines from Literature. Each day I will be posting a favorite quote or a few lines from well known short stories, poems or novels, with the letter of the first name as the A to Z. I’ll have a short write up with each quote, but each quote can also serve as a writing prompt for readers or myself.  I may write a poem or flash fiction based on that quote, or just throw it out there as inspiration. Hopefully you’ll join me in this adventure! I’ll try to include some of my favorite blog finds as I move through the challenge as well.

   

I’ll confess when brainstorming for K, I tried to think of authors whose name started with K and then looked for the quote, rather than having this one. This quote is from Khaled Hosseini’s And The Mountains Echoed, which I will also admit I have not read, but I really love this quote. 

So many favorite books feature characters who seem ordinary or feel ordinary but end up having extraordinary things happen to them.  Harry Potter and Katniss Everdeen are just a few. 

By reading, or writing, we can find ourselves in the characters who live in an extraordinary world and through them feel extraordinary as well. 

To start of the new week of A to Z posts, I’m adding in a poem. I chose the Nonet form which I found on Shadow Poetry. A Nonet has nine lines, with the top line having nine syllables, the second with eight syllables, the next seven, etc down to the last line, which only has one. Rhyming optional. 

Ordinary

By CJS 

Some may say there is nothing worse than

being ordinary, but still 

the ordinary may find

extraordinary

moments may happen

in a life that

seems normal

even

dull.

I is for…

My 2015 A to Z Challenge Theme is Quotes & Lines from Literature. Each day I will be posting a favorite quote or a few lines from well known short stories, poems or novels, with the letter of the first name as the A to Z. I’ll have a short write up with each quote, but each quote can also serve as a writing prompt for readers or myself.  I may write a poem or flash fiction based on that quote, or just throw it out there as inspiration. Hopefully you’ll join me in this adventure! I’ll try to include some of my favorite blog finds as I move through the challenge as well.

 

   

Isn’t this quote beautiful? I got this one also from 365 Days of Wonder, by R.J. Palacio.  

Having our own alphabet with which to write poetry is so beautiful and so empowering. We all have within us the tools to create something wonderful. We all have our own voice, our own perspective, our own story that makes up that alphabet. Whatever your poetry, you have what you need to make it. 

As a writer, I love this because it’s a reminder that no one else can write exactly what I might write. A favorite writing quote tied to that comes from Charles De Lint: 

Don’t Forget – no one else sees the world the way you do, so no one else can tell the stories that you have to tell.”

Another great quote in this same vein is from the fantastic Neil Gaiman: 

The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.”

As Gaiman suggests, this needn’t be limited to writing exactly, whatever your poetry may be, you have it in you to make it. 

I heard on the radio this morning the story of a hole in one by 75 year old veteran golfer, Jack Nicklaus at this year’s Masters. Prior to playing that day, an interviewer had asked Nicklaus if he was going to make a hole in one. He replied something to the effect of “Sure that sounds good.” Then he goes out and makes one! I’m not a golfing follower, but I would say that was pure poetry. Something also tells me Nicklaus had no doubt he had the alphabet for that poetry, either. 

So what will your poetry be? It makes me think of one of my favorite scenes in one of my favorite movies, Dead Poets Society, where Robin Williams’ Mr Keating gathers the boys into a huddle and quotes “Uncle Walt” (Whitman) to them, then says:

“That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”

What will your verse be? 


Poem a Day – Day 31 – Prompt is This Poetry Challenge

Happy Halloween and welcome to the last day of my adventure with poetry writing. I had some missteps along the way, but I think I managed to get a few up that I really liked. The overall experience has been a great one.

I am grateful to the OctPoWriMo organizers/creative team for putting this together and for the great prompts. Be sure to visit their blogs as they go into NaNoWriMo and other November writing challenges.

Julie Jordan Scott

Amy Phelps McGrath

Tamara Woods

Morgan Dragonwillow

My last poem speaks to my experience with this challenge. Here I would also like to say thanks to those of you who have joined me on this challenge and for the new people I have met along the way. Thank you. Hope to see you around. ๐Ÿ™‚

What It’s About
By CJS

It’s has not been about perfection
It hasn’t really been about being good

It has been about trying for the best
It’s been-a lot- about pushing myself

It’s not as if I am a poet
It’s not like I have all the skills

It has been a lot about learning and
It’s been about allowing myself to try

It’s not been about competition
It has not been about harsh critique

It’s been supporting each other & also
It’s been about sharing love of poetry

It’s not really truly over
It will not end today

It’s been about changing ourselves.
It’s about continuing to change.

Poem a Day – Day 30 – Prompt is The Day Before

We’ve almost done it now! Our last poem a day is tomorrow, and I really hope I get it done before deadline, because tomorrow is going to be a crazy busy day! (What am I saying, aren’t they all? ๐Ÿ™‚ )

Our second to last OctPoWriMo prompt is “The Day Before…” and included images and videos of great disasters with words like ‘before’ and ‘precursor’.

I had to play around with this one quite a lot, but hopefully you like where it ended up.

See you tomorrow for the last poem and Happy Halloween. ๐Ÿ™‚

The Day Before
By CJS

The day before everything changed
It was just a normal day
We went about our busy lives
Not knowing that what was normal
No longer would be the same

We rushed through the ordinary, the easy and what had then seemed hard
Waiting for a break, a chance to rest
Taking for granted that our future
would be so much better somehow.

On the day before everything changed,
we were blissfully unaware
that those busy moments would be longingly remembered as being restful
now that everything has changed.

Poem a Day – Day 29 – Prompt is Love

Time for a love poem! Today’s OctPoWriMo prompt was all about love. Past love, current love, changing love, new love – well you get the idea. It’s about love, baby.

So many great poems have been written about love, it’s a bit intimidating to write a love poem. But tonight, in the interest and spirit of the challenge, I am giving it a try.

A love story
By CJS

We just fit so perfectly
together, we two,
from the beginning,
so naturally, me and you.

You make me laugh
and I love to make you smile
these reasons alone make me
want to stay a long while.

But there’s more than
just the laughter,
the intelligence and
kindness I am after.

I love that I can count on you
I love that the kids can too
I love that you are such a great dad
I love our whole crew.

For my husband ๐Ÿ™‚

Poem A Day – Day 28 – Prompt is hunger.

So many ways to go with today’s OctPoWriMo prompt. Our prompt was hunger (tied in with a second need).

I thought about working on a poem dealing with poverty, but this was done well by Jessica Scott, so I… went a different direction. ๐Ÿ˜‰

His
By CJS

He trailed his finger slowly
Across her collarbone

He let his eyes linger
on her slightly parted lips.

He spoke softly, so soft she
had to ask him to repeat.

He leaned in close to whisper
his words against her neck.

He backed away when she shivered
Feigned an apology.

He knew perfectly well though
what he was doing to her.

He built a hunger he knew
would make her seek him out.

He would happily wait for her –
and he would make her his.

Poem a Day – Day 27 – Prompt is Sleep/Dreams

It was tempting to take our OctPoWriMo prompt about sleep and dreams and just write about wanting more of both. I would love more sleep and hey, dreaming is fun. ๐Ÿ™‚ But I was thinking of Keats’ “La Belle Dame Sans Merci” today and loved the idea of a warning in a dream.

The dream
CJS

I don’t remember
falling asleep
But I do remember
the dream.

I don’t quite recall
the details of the room
where it happened, but
I can remember the
austere furnishings and
the crisp line of light
breaking past the curtains’ edge.
I remember the light because of
the way it hit the floor.
I seemed unable to look away
from the floor as you spoke.
I remember I certainly could not
look at you.
I don’t know if I ever looked at
you in this dream, but I know
it was you. In the dream, I swear I could hear you
right next to me.
I cannot place how you said
goodbye,
but I can still feel the
emptiness
of being left behind.
But surprisingly, I felt no fire-
no burn when you
walked away.
I just remember
feeling grateful.

I don’t remember
waking up.
But I know,
my eyes are open now.

Poem a Day – Day 26 – Prompt is Face Your Fear

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Hello! Happy Sunday and thanks for visiting on my normal post day. I am still continuing the OctPoWriMo poem a day challenge. We’ve made it to Day 26 and will be finishing up this week. It’s been a great way for me to push myself and also great to meet new writers. I have enjoyed visiting new blogs and appreciate those who have visited mine.

Our OctPoWriMo prompt today was about facing our fears. Our suggested inspiration possibly scary movies or Halloween, or maybe words like frightening and mysterious.

My poem today is a real horror story ;). I hope you enjoy.

Nightmare
By CJS

With white knuckles,
tensed muscles,
and blood pressure spiking,
she walked in the door.

The smells and sounds
she had forgotten assaulted her
as she walked in the room,
but she steeled herself.

She was not alone, others waited.
She looked at their faces –
they all seemed braver,
more prepared than she.

Too soon they took her back
into the room full of drills
and tools and strange instruments.
Time for the dentist.

Poem a Day – Day 25 – Prompt is Magic

Today’s OctPoWriMo prompt was a fun one for me.ย  Magic. ๐Ÿ™‚

I enjoy books and movies that have magic.ย  I like imagining having extra powers or special abilities.ย  I like thinking about magical worlds and creatures.ย  It’s captivating to imagine a world beyond our own.

But when I did my freewriting about magic, I thought of something I saw on Pinterest once – a quote about kindness.ย  Kindness is magic.ย  I love that.ย  Below is a favorite quote on kindness and below that my poem inspired by the idea that kindness is magic.

Three things in human life are important.

The first is to be kind.

The second is to be kind.

And the third is to be kind.

-Henry James

A Simple Magic

by CJS

The day had been too long

the pressures piled up

and stress threatened to

spill over and out

Another task completed

and another call comes in

he doesn’t think he’ll be able

to take on anything else.

But the call was not

another task,

it was a thank you-

a compliment saying

job well done.

It made him smile

and soothed his rattled nerves

to know that maybe he

wasn’t completely unappreciated.

This little moment may not

change the world or

save the day

but every simple kindness

has the power to change

in ways we may never know.

We all have this magic inside us:

A compliment, a thank you,

a touch, a moment of our time.

All may seem like nothing

but could mean the world

to someone who needs it.

So don’t ever hesitate

to spread kindness

whenever you can.

We can never have enoughย 

of this special magic.