R 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 found this great Roald Dahl quote in 365 Days of Wonder, by R.J. Palacio. 

Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it. 

What magic is he talking about? Are we talking witches and wizards? Probably not, though after reading (and loving) Harry Potter, I would be okay with that if it was Rowling’s wizarding world. Have I mentioned I really wanna go to Hogwarts? Oh like 50 times? Oops, my bad! πŸ˜€ But, hey, I really do! πŸ˜‰

I think Dahl is probably speaking of a different kind of magic. Magic that can be found in all the beautiful details he tells us to be sure to keep our eyes open for as we explore this world. 

Haven’t you ever had the magic of a late summer afternoon sitting on a patio with friends laughing and relaxed and worry free for a time? No, I’m not just talking about the margarita you had on that patio, though the margarita could’ve been quite magical, too.πŸ˜€

What about the magic of a moment watching a child joyfully blowing bubbles at the park with friends? Does it get any better than bubbles for kids sometimes? Pure happiness right there. 

How about the magic of discovering a new place, or a new song, or a new book that sets your heart on fire? 

I’m sure Dahl had his many imaginative types of magic, but his argument that we must believe in some magic to be able to find it is a good reminder – a reminder to be open to the magic all around us. 

What is magic to you? 

P 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.

 

  

Today’s quote was also found in the Love Book app I keep on my iPhone. 

The idea of a soul awakened by love, filled with poetry and music appeals to my romantic nature. I’m using this as inspiration for a new poem in the Tyburn form, found on the Shadow Poetry site.

Poet’s Soul

By CJS

Slowly

Deeply

Truly

Sweetly

His love for her slowly, deeply grew

His poet’s soul truly, sweetly knew

N 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.

 

  

As you may have guessed, this quote is from The Scarlet Letter, which was likely required reading when you were in school, like it was for me. It was actually required reading multiple times in high school and college for me. πŸ˜‰

I chose this quote because the concept of someone pretending to be something he/she is not could be a very rich one. So, too, could be the idea of exploring the consequences of such a deceit, both the consequences for the pretender and for those led to believe the lie. Many a good story could begin with these concepts, or perhaps could be used to add another layer to one (or more) of our characters. 

I think most anyone can relate to a certain degree with pretending to be something they are not, or perhaps just a better version of what they are, so why not incorporate it into our writing? πŸ˜€ 

Have you ever had a truth you kept hidden? Ever put on a brave face when your real face was crumbling? Ever pretended to belong when the truth was that you didn’t? My guess is that we all have at one time or another, but have hopefully found a way to live the truth. 

What are some of your favorite stories (movies or books) where someone presented one face to the world and another to himself? Any characters that this makes you think of? Feel free to share with me in the comments! 


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. πŸ˜€ 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. πŸ˜€

J 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 couldn’t resist having a Harry Potter Quote.  The Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling are some of my all time favorite books.  My H post for last year was about my love for Harry Potter, and like many I have so many good memories of the times when the new books (and then movies) were being released.  *wistful sigh* 

This quote from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is just so beautiful, but also so eye opening for her readers about the character of Snape.  I love how Rowling worked in this whole side to a character we thought we knew. With the revelations in this book, we see the depth and previously hidden interior of a character.

I have seen it said that to be a better writer, you need to be a better reader. I enjoyed the Harry Potter books for the pure joy of reading them, of course, but also as a writer examining Rowling’s craft. I read an article “Five Writing Tips From Reading Harry Potter” a few years ago, and have read others since, with examples of Rowling’s skills at plotting, world building and character development. 

But of course her books are more than a class on good writing. They are about courage, friendship and love. 

What is a favorite Harry Potter scene of yours? A favorite line? What did Harry Potter mean to you? Let me know in the commentsπŸ˜€

Then I will see you on Monday for K.

Have a nice weekend! 

G 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 have to confess that I am not totally sure who George Prince is, and a Google search brings up a million websites dedicated to the adorable baby Prince George, but I found this quote in the The 2,548 Best Things Anybody Ever Said book by Robert Byrne mentioned previously. 

I thought this quote was both accurate and funny, as well as a great writing prompt. πŸ˜€ A fine line between madness and sanity seems a great start, but to then explore the idea that that line is getting finer, or more blurred, or even disappearing entirely would be very interesting to develop. 

Or it could just be a day in the life of a parent. πŸ˜‰

I’ve done a septoplet based on this prompt, using both madness and sanity. 

I also had a quote from Ghandi, but wasn’t sure the source except as found on quote websites (my favorite being BrainyQuote), so I chose the madness quote. I’m including the Ghandi quote as a bonus, though, since I made that one, too. πŸ˜€

 

Untitled

By CJS
Sanity 
was fleeting,
if ever really there
Madness
overtook all
or perhaps 
was embraced?

E 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 took this quote from the book, The 2,548 Best Things Anybody Ever Said by Robert Byrne. It is full of smart, funny and silly quotes and was another source for my A to Z theme idea.

I love the bold declaration of intent in this quote. It’s not, “I will whisper my plans for what I would like to be”.

I am here to live out loud.

It’s not I will hide who I am from the world because I have no value.

I am here to live out loud. 

It says unequivocally that I need to put myself out there. I have value. Who I am is worth sharing. What I have to say is important.

I am here to live out loud. 

One of my favorite bands right now is 30 Seconds to Mars (which you can read about in my A post from last year’s A to Z). Their song, Do or Die, is a favorite because it speaks to this idea and the sound always gets me pumped. Check out the cool video they made for the song. One of my favorite lyrics is pretty close to the quote above:

Here right now

Under the banner of heaven

We dream out loud 

Dream out loud..

Do or die…

And the story goes on and on and on...

I don’t have an original poem or flash fic to share based on this but would recommend the poem, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas. It crops up a lot in movies and books, but for good reason. I love the opening lines:

Do not go gentle into that good night, 

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

D 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.


 

  

Today’s quote is one of my favorites. There are so many great quotes on kindness (at least one other will be mixed into my A to Z), but this one breaks it down so simply. 

It is always possible to be kind, and the world needs more kindness. 

I am keeping this post short and sweet since it’s a busy weekend with family for the Easter holiday.  Whatever you believe, whatever you are celebrating this weekend, I wish you and yours a lovely weekend. 

And then I will see you next week for another bunch of A to Z challenge posts! πŸ˜ƒ

PS: 

Check out these great blogs participating in the A to Z Challenge: 

Wordsplash – Joanne is posting unique Texas towns and mixing in fun quotes from Downton Abbey. πŸ˜€

The Lunatic, The Lover & The Poet – Jesi is posting a poem a day mixing A to Z Challenge with NaPoWriMo πŸ˜€

Musings of a Meandering Mind – Lots of creative topics with a great conversational writing style. Newbie blogger – show her some love! πŸ˜€

C 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.


 

Today’s  quote is from Carl Sagan and is another I found it in 365 Days of Wonder, by R.J. Palacio.  

There are so many ways you could go with this quote. The focus could be on an attempt to make the world significant. Or the focus could be on the questions, the person(s) asking the questions, the type of answers, or how to find the answers. I love the layers of this one.  

I decided to do a very rough draft flash fiction for today’s quote/writing prompt. Since I am a parent of young children, I drifted that direction, but I think I will have to hang onto this quote for where else it may lead later. 

Thanks for stopping by. πŸ˜€



Talk

By CJS

“I almost fell into the birds and bees talk with Finn tonight” my husband said as he came to bed. 

“Uh oh, what movie did you end up taking him to that brought that up?” I teased, though some of those superhero movies were more adult than we intended for our ten year old son. 

“It wasn’t the movie, you know Finn is still repulsed by the sight of kissing, anything close to kissing has him covering his eyes more than any explosion or fight scene.” 

“And what does that say about our world?” I asked, but couldn’t hold back a smile. 

“Nothing. He’s a boy. You know Kayla isn’t scared by that. You’ll probably have to have the Talk with her before I have to talk to Finn.”  he said as he climbed in bed.

“Kayla is six and she thinks every boy in class is cute and chases them at recess so WE will definitely keep an open conversation with her, but WE don’t want to wait too long before we talk to Finn seriously. It shouldn’t just be me talking to her and you to him. Though, I will talk to her about some of the details.”

The look of horror on his face at the very idea made me want to laugh but I was trying my best to resist. 

“Answering all those questions scares you a bit doesn’t it?” I asked.

“Not scared really” he said and set the book down he had picked up. He turned to face me in the bed, in full serious mode. 

I won’t lie, it freaked me out a little how serious he had suddenly gotten. 

“Birds and bees will be more embarrassing than scary,” he said, then reached over to take my hand. He stared at the skin on my hand and traced his fingers across my knuckles almost absentmindedly. 

“Oh really?” I said and scooted over a little closer to him in the bed. 

“Really. It’s the bigger questions that they will ask before we know it that scare me,” he said.

I waited for him to go on, I could tell he was lost in thought. 

Finally he said, “I am scared I won’t know how to answer those questions that will be coming as these guys get a little older.” 

“Like?” I asked and gently touched his face, he had grown too serious. 

He looked at me, and gave a small smile. 

“You know those questions like when someone they know dies or something else bad happens and they want to know why. Or when they get their hearts broken for the first time and ask why that person didn’t love them back.”

I nodded, those questions would be hard. 

“But also those questions like ‘Who am I’ and ‘Why are we here?'” He said.

“To be fair, they will probably be in high school or college or in a band by then and will be far too cool and far too smart to come to either one of us for those questions.” I said and got a good solid belly laugh from him in return. 

I kissed him lightly and then said, “Seriously, hon, I know it scares me a bit too thinking about all the questions they may ask and what answers we should give, but as long as they know they can ask us those questions, any questions, and we do our best to answer them, we should be doing all right by them.”

“You’re probably right”, he said, “still I know I will get stumped sometimes. You are always so much better at that. I’ve heard you talk to Finn about stuff before. You seem to know just what to say.”

“I do the best I can, but struggle too.” I admitted. “They surprise me sometimes with the things they say and some of what they think of to ask me.”

“Yeah, they are both so much like you, so smart and so caring.” He said and then kissed away my attempt to deflect the compliment. 

As he leaned over to turn off the lights, our six year old, Kayla, came running into the room. 

“Dad, I heard thunder, I know I heard thunder. Can I sleep with you guys tonight?”

We knew it was supposed to be storming all night, so told her okay and she climbed up in bed with us. 

As she snuggled up under the covers, he whispered to me, “Well at least there are some questions we know we can manage to answer.” 

Then he kissed us both goodnight. 

B 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.


While I could have done this as L for Lord Byron of G for George Gordon Noel Byron, which I believe is his full real name, it seemed most appropriate to use just Byron.πŸ˜ƒ

This quote was taken from a beautiful book, The World’s Greatest Love Letters, given to me by my friend and fellow A to Z participant, Jesi Scott. This collection includes love letters through the ages from people like Byron, John Keats, Napoleon Bonaparte, Mary Wollstonecraft and Beethoven. 

The line from Byron above struck me as especially beautiful in a collection full of beautiful. The lovers may be separated by distance, by ability to marry, and by a host of other things, but still their love unites them.  It’s a lovely thought and seems a great writing prompt. 

As an added note, the deep love and strong connection across a wide distance made me think of the vampires in the fantastically romantic Jim Jarmusch movie, Only Lovers Left Alive. The main characters, Adam (played by Tom HiddlestonπŸ˜€) and Eve (played by Tilda Swinton) live on opposite sides of the world but the distance does not diminish the depth of their devotion to one another. The line from Byron’s love letter evokes a love like theirs that no distance could destroy.  

What does it make you think of? Tell me about it in the comments. I’d love to hear. 

No new poem or flash fiction on this post, but perhaps tomorrow. Thanks for the visit & hope you liked the romantic quote. πŸ˜ƒ

~CJS