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Friday, May 26, 2017

NaPoWriMo 2017, Day Twenty It's Just a Game

Day twenty's challenge is  to "write a poem that incorporates the vocabulary and imagery of a specific sport or game. Your poem could invoke chess or baseball, hopscotch or canasta, Monopoly or jai alai."

I made my choice of a common sporting game and began to write.  As I go along, trying to create a poem, it seems to be unfolding as more riddle-like than relevant vocabulary laden. So I am following that lead. Here's the beginning--let's see where it takes me! (Can you guess yet what game is being described??)

When You Set Out

Start in the middle, always the middle, or as close to the center as you can.
If you're first to depart, take your time, and take heart
Remember, the journey, whether easy or hard, will only endure for a span.

Keep a pine cache before you, just so, that its treasures enchant only you.
Though your choices may be moot, sometimes it's a hoot
and a holler to discover the unexpected and, thankfully, true. be continued off line

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

NaPoWriMo 2017 Day Nineteen: A Neo Creation Myth: A Beginning...tbd

That's the writing challenge on day nineteen.  Something absolutely new, or fictional, or experience, re-imagined...I'll try my hand at mythologizing a story that has its  real place in my memoirs.

How the Sweet Tooth Came to Be, by Shirley Smith Franklin

Actually, the tooth was there from the beginning.  
And the child, a girl child, somewhat fragile, content to spend early childhood days shadowing her mother at home whenever she was't reading a book held in one hand, eating an apple held in the other, she was there too or, failing an apple, sucking on her thumb..
It was such an ingrained habit, that sucking of the thumb.  At first it had seemed a good and valid way to avoid over-eating.  But when she became  seven mother said it was time for that sort of habit to stop.
It was post-war (doesn't really matter which war, every war  has its contingencies), so understandably there were some tightenings of the belt, limitations on the family budget, and extra work required in order to create, at home, flour-sack clothes, knitted mittens, and canned produce from the victory garden. A night out for the parents was always as modest as visiting friends, attending a church choir practice, or community square dancing.
And what did the girl child do when parents were away? If you paid attention before, you will have guessed reading.  Which is only partly true.  Read she did, in the attic where nobody would disturb her, and thus the story, on days when it was fair and warm.  Not too hot because that would be insufferable among the stuffy rafters, clothing and decorations stored until their season came due; not too cold, because after a sweater became not enough, a winter coat was too clumsy to wear up the narrow and twisty stairway and amidst the boxes, besides being not enough still to prevent the chill of a Northern Minnesota winter a way into the bones.
Night times in the attic were out, because the one feeble light over the twisty stairway was not sufficient with which to read, at any time of year.  And after all, who would want to be so far away from the world on a night when mommy and daddy weren't even around to know where you were.
No, at night she read in her room, or, strangely comfortably, sitting in a straight chair, at the dining room table.
Now the dining room,my dear, next to the kitchen, may not seem one's first choice for reading. Unless, of course, one has strong associations with food. Strong associations, nay longings, for certain types of food.  Desserts, perhaps, or, as the little girl was often prone to think, candy. All of which little or none was ever found in that house.  Desserts, okay, they were sometimes had, and could be excused as being part of a meal, Sundays or special days.  And they would never be left over.  Two older brothers made sure of that. Certainly there were not desserts everyday, and most certainly no candy.  What would happen to the children's teeth, for heaven's sake!
Every time the asked her mother or father to buy some candy, one or the two of them would definitely say one of two things: Father: We can 't be frittering our money away  on something  that we don't need. Candy is a luxury.(Ironically the word luxury itself was a kind of riches, the smooth beginning and simple ending surrounding that almos- un-American sound, 'ksh'.) While mother would say It's nothing but butter and sugar.
And so it happened that one night the little girl looked up from her solitary reading and thought, I'm hungry for candy.  As she glanced toward the kitchen and thought of how her mother would stand there, cooking and baking the most delicious things, she became aware that her sweet tooth was wanting some candy, and it wanted candy right soon.  And so it occurred to the girl that it might, just might, mind you, not be all that difficult to make some candy herself......After all, hadn't mother said it was only butter and sugar?


Saturday, May 20, 2017

NaPoWRiMo 2017 Day Eighteen: To Be or Not?

My immediate response to today's challenge, to write  a poem incorporating a neologism, was not very enthusiastic. Nothing came to mind.  So I did what all intentionally creative people do:  I waited until something did come to mind.

My first thoughts turned back to my childhood home, where playful language was frequently employed, especially, and though sometimes unintended, to the annoyance of other family members. (AKA teasing, namely me ). Sometimes even as a bargaining chip to allow a little sister to join in family games.  Certainly there must have been some neologisms among the epithets? (According to MerriamWebster, an epithet can be understood to be the part of a taxonomic name identifying a subordinate within a genus. Hmmm.)

I typed and thought about this assignment day and night. Still, the neologisms were neither coming nor coming back to mind.  My thoughts turned to nicknames, the ones my family sometimes used for me, as perhaps the next closest thing:  Mom: Te-za-leet 'ree, Tabut'ta boggala, Linti-linti (which I thought was Finnish for 'little bird' (the feathered kind) but evidently means 'tape'--go figure--presage of  my later marrying a 3-M-er?). , and the inevitable mommy choice, Princess; Dad: Squirrelly (which may've been a reflection of my early childhood's chortling attempts to wriggle away from extreme tickling upon his return from a work week away.)  Brothers: Shy (may've been a fact, but not if you knew me personally.  More likely this one was just an abbreviation of my name.)

You may not be tempted to employ these or similar nicknames yourself.  Please make up your own, if you would.  I feel as possessive of these being ''mine' as any adoptee feels possessive of his or her children, their own flesh and blood newly come into the world. Well, maybe not AS fiercely, that one's a joy to behold, this one just 'is.'

Later in the day a neologism did come to mind...I will add it here when the slip on which I jotted it surfaces!

But the question remains, are the nicknames  neologisms or not?  I vote some yes, some not. But just considering the question was fun.

Coincidental sidelight: My comment regarding Finnish narration of a short video I came across today:

 'Can't tell you how delightfully the Finnish narration falls on my ear, even though I can't follow it. I haven't heard it in years but it echoes of uncles (and other relatives') conversations,' background music' to childhood visits at grandparents' house. It must be awfully hard to translate to English, vis the fractured results of so many attempts out there. I applaud my mother, in retrospect, for the translation work she was able to do for others, years after there were few/no others around with whom to speak it. (Thanks to Ingrid, there was at least one!!)

Even more coincidentally, guest musicians in church the next day played and sang a Finnish song!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

NaPoWriMo 2017 Day Seventeen

                                                                                                         May 18, 2017
Who said the month of poems had to be written within one calendar month?  As April went on, and the world became new, life happened, and so it continues, new from day to day, PTL. So this year's Poohcetera's NaPoWriMo will continue as it happens, throughout the spring, whenever time and thought conspire!

Today's challenge is to write " a nocturne. In music, a nocturne is a composition meant to be played at night, usually for piano, and with a tender and melancholy sort of sound. (The)  nocturne should aim to translate this sensibility into poetic form!"

Ironically, I start this page in the middle of the night, or, (is this?) more accurate(ly) in the wee hours of the morning.

Sounds in the Night
or, Writing the Wee Hours Away

Keys clack under bent fingers.
Tinnitus, tiny mimicry of sound
fills the ears' small channels.
I sniff.  A footstep. Mine. Clack, clack.
A click--my back. Shift posture, stretch.
Black computer tower hums.
Rain rushes, smattering my window,
splattering sidewalk, deck, the drive.
Thoughts jostle in the mind,
rush to places I would go,
places where I must,
routes I then must take
when it is day. Breathe out.
Breathe in. Is it possible, I ask,
to hear my thoughts?
Sleep, sleep, til it is day.
Ho hum, a hum, furnace, frig
or air conditioner.
Sounds combine as one,
become irrelevant when, finally,
bedsheets and softer blanket,
jostle, rustle near my ear,
sleep, sleep til it is day, they say.
And I obey.
                ----Shirley Smith Franklin