Monday, April 29, 2013
Day 29 of NaPoWriMo - it is getting down to the wire but I am really trying to write everyday, even if I do not "publish" what I write. Some things need more than ten revisions :)
Yesterday, the Day 28 prompt was a "color poem", write using a color, your favorite color, synonyms for your chosen color...
I didn't do it.
My favorite color is orange. In addition to nothing rhyming with this poor word/color/citrus delight, there are not many good synonyms for orange. The thing I like about orange? It is vibrant, happy, strong. A strong color. Ever notice traffic cones, pill bottles, safety vests, and pencils are a variation of orange? That is one workhorse of a color. Anywho, couldn't really come up with a poem so I skipped.
Today's prompt is to use at least five non-English words in a poem. Fairly straightforward.
Did you stop and think about how many "foreign" words we use every day in our speech? Not just words that are derived from other languages, Americans using these phrases in their entirety. (and not always lawyers and doctors)
"Prima donna". "Status quo". "Bon voyage". "Khaki". "Kudos". "Deja vu". "Bona fide".
Words and languages have always interested me deeply. To communicate is innately human. I have taken Latin, Italian, German, Spanish for Medical Professionals (okay the last one may not be helpful when ordering food but I can tell you what hurts after I eat it.) The teaching of foreign languages in the typical school district is usually the first thing to be cut. English is the language of the world, it seems, but for how much longer? Colleges are cutting the typical Romance Languages while adding Chinese and Arabic classes to capacity.
Are Business (with a capital "B") and global terror threats (real and imagined) our driving force to learn a second language? Why did we all take Italian and French in high school and college? We all weren't planning on moving abroad but it impressed our dates when ordering food or reading articles in "The New Yorkers" with it French Word Dropping For No Reason in the Middle of an Article.
I enjoyed Latin. Not just for SAT prep, it helped in life. When I was studying any other subject I had a glimmer of a clue what was going on. Latin is like a secret handshake and is on the serious decline. If you caught Pope Fever earlier this year, all the news outlets learned one phrase and were very proud of themselves. And that is how many people view the importance of languages we don't use every day. Pope Electing, What Body Part is my Doctor Going to Fix, What Meat is in the Cassoulet, Is that German Angry or Asking Me to Hug...
Anyway, long ass entry for me today. End result = no poem (good for you), long diatribe on why I believe language is important. Challenge yourself today, go read some poetry in the language you took in school. See how much comes back to you. See the beauty in the rhythm of words.
Saturday, April 27, 2013
A lot of work for a gorgeous Saturday.
I chose, instead, to take a bit from the Serenity Prayer and see where it led. The bold bits below are what I typed into the search bar, the italicized words are the results.
the wisdom foundation
-Jenn Mossholder, 31 and 3 Productions
|From the seinfeldtv.tumblr site|
Friday, April 26, 2013
I did not work with a poem for the erasure challenge, opting to take a prose passage from an author whose prose is poetry to my eyes and ears: Neil Gaiman. I chose a random passage from his book "Stardust". (pp 122-123)
Here are the altered pages:
Here is the poem I extracted:
My teen aged daughter had her first slow dance with a boy recently. What song was playing? "Every Rose Has a Thorn" by Poison. Seriously? 25 years later this snivel is helping 13 year old boys to sway close to a girl. Mr. Bret Michaels of Rock of Love, Celebrity Apprentice, and creator of his own doggie fashion line (available at PetSmart) has created a song that spans generations?
Am I becoming a cranky, almost-40 year old woman? Probably.
Same daughter came home last week to show me "an old type dance we learned in music class." What was it?
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
This is a BIG challenge for me since: I don't like rules; I don't like writing rules; I have to perform math.
Here is my effort for today, and perhaps some insight on my blog's name:
Monday, April 22, 2013
I started a kick boxing class tonight and I am hurt and exhausted.
The poetry in my heart and soul today comes from Richie Havens, who sadly passed away today. I remember as a kid my parents three record set of the Woodstock Concert. Records are those big, black disc thingies. Anywho, one of the most haunting songs that was at the same uplifting was Richie Haven's rendition of "Motherless Child."
For today, here he is (after a 4 second commercial you can skip):
Sunday, April 21, 2013
Today's prompt is inspired from Frank O'Hara's piece "Line For The Fortune Cookie." People have different ways of celebrating the wise cookies, from not reading the slip of paper until the cookie has been eaten, to adding the words "in bed" at the end of their fortune. I like the "new" fortunes; the lucky numbers do me no good but the "Learn Chinese" portion is fun. Even if my vocabulary consists of "dog", "milk", and "bus" I feel like I am getting more than a slightly stale, almond cookie.
For a concise history of our famous dessert, look no further than from our friends at Wikipedia.
Another thing I like to read are bumper stickers. Old political campaigns, religious causes, school athletics, advertisements - I like them all. I abu.., er, adorn my car with various stickers and well, it struck me today while I was running errands that they are nice and short, like fortune cookies. I compiled new ones I saw today, with some others from the past, and tried today's prompt. I see this as some diverse advice from our fellow drivers and citizens.
Lines on the Road - Jenn Mossholder, 31 and 3 Productions
Jesus Loves You
Support Local Strip Clubs
I'm a Friend of Bill W.
Procrastino Ergo Sum
Heavily Armed, Easily Pissed
I have the body of a god - Buddha
Save the Earth
Bad Decisions Make Good Stories
Pray for Our Troops
Don't Believe Everything You Think
Built Fjord Tough
Somewhere in Kenya a Village is Missing their Idiot
Somewhere in Texas a Village is Missing their Idiot
Lines For The Fortune Cookies - Frank O'Hara
I think you're wonderful and so does everyone else.
Just as Jackie Kennedy has a baby boy, so will you--even bigger.
You will meet a tall beautiful blonde stranger, and you will not say hello.
You will take a long trip and you will be very happy, though alone.
You will marry the first person who tells you your eyes are like scrambled eggs.
In the beginning there was YOU--there will always be YOU, I guess.
You will write a great play and it will run for three performances.
Please phone The Village Voice immediately: they want to interview you.
Roger L. Stevens and Kermit Bloomgarden have their eyes on you.
Relax a little; one of your most celebrated nervous tics will be your undoing.
Your first volume of poetry will be published as soon as you finish it.
You may be a hit uptown, but downtown you're legendary!
Your walk has a musical quality which will bring you fame and fortune.
You will eat cake.
Who do you think you are, anyway? Jo Van Fleet?
You think your life is like Pirandello, but it's really like O'Neill.
A few dance lessons with James Waring and who knows? Maybe something will happen.
That's not a run in your stocking, it's a hand on your leg.
I realize you've lived in France, but that doesn't mean you know EVERYTHING!
You should wear white more often--it becomes you.
The next person to speak to you will have a very intriguing proposal to make.
A lot of people in this room wish they were you.
Have you been to Mike Goldberg's show? Al Leslie's? Lee Krasner's?
At times, your disinterestedness may seem insincere, to strangers.
Now that the election's over, what are you going to do with yourself?
You are a prisoner in a croissant factory and you love it.
You eat meat. Why do you eat meat?
Beyond the horizon there is a vale of gloom.
You too could be Premier of France, if only ... if only...
Saturday, April 20, 2013
I wanted to try and write a more "together" poem today and I fell down the Internet Research Rabbit Hole simply by typing "non-pareil" into Google. One of the entries it came back with is the former town of Nonpareil, Oregon. Since I had never heard of it and I love old maps and history I read all I could about the subject.
One of the more useful sites I came across was Western Mining History. It has a wealth of information from mine and town locations to geological studies to letters about the towns. I especially liked the article on what makes a ghost town a ghost town. You can view it HERE.
Four words I pulled from a US Geological Study paper, basaltic, andesitic, rhyolitic, dioritic,
The 10 words I used from the list are in italics. I hesitated to highlight them thinking it would interrupt the flow of reading but it looks okay to me.
Friday, April 19, 2013
I used to read City Paper's and Philadelphia Weekly's personals with great glee. These days, Craigslist ads are de rigueur, but are usually so obscene, it isn't fun. I have heard some OK Cupid horror stories, from friends and Jezebel. I wish you could read OKC without an account.
While those are fun (and shudder worthy) I decided to do something a little more topical.
Here are my efforts for Day 19:
"Secular Humanist ISO a god/goddess/idol to explain this week's events. At a loss to continue rationalizing the actions of others. Looking for comfort in blind faith/trust in an immortal being. Gender unimportant. Must be a non-smiter. No fatties."
Thursday, April 18, 2013
DAY 18 - I am losing more readers as this experiment continues. I think I am the Ambassador for "Why You Should Hate Poorly Written Poetry Month."
Today's prompt is to start and end a poem with same word. I wrote a couple different ones, being inspired by the Spring rain we have today. (Inspired/aka "being rained on while arguing with husband unit at Lowe's". I truly wonder how many partnerships dissolve in home improvement stores. They should do a study.)
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
The theme for today's poem was "a poem of greeting". It being the 17th day of April in Southeastern Pennsylvania, the weather is catching up with what the calendar calls "Spring." It has been a long shout out to Spring to arrive here, but she is mostly here. The weather has been mostly sunny and warm, but still we have the cool winds, the occasional pop-up shower and the one-off days of grey clouds.
Growing up, I loved mythology. One of my favorite books, which I have passed onto my daughters, is Edith Wharton's "Mythology". My favorite Greek myth is that of Persephone and Hades. A quasi-love story for Greek myths (hey no swan fucking) it tells the tale of how Hades, God of the Underworld, kidnapped Persephone while she was picking flowers. Demeter, her mother and the Goddess of Fertility (among other things), was so sad, the Earth became barren. Hades and Demeter strike a deal (in some versions of the myth Hades had tricked Persephone into eating fruit from the Underworld thereby chaining her to him). One half of the year Persephone will live below the Earth with Hades, and Demeter in her grief will lay the soil sterile. The other half of the year Persephone will return to the terrestrial world and in rejoicing, Demeter once again starts the cycle of growth.
So, welcome Persephone, welcome Spring, welcome Proserpina, welcome robins, welcome warn breezes and welcome many sneezes. (Hey, a poem!) ;)
|"The Rape of Persephone"|
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Today, and barely under the wire, the prompt for NaPoWriMo Day 16, is to take a poem in a language you do not speak (mine is Spanish) and do a "translation" to see how the "foreign words" seem to be expressed in English (or your native tongue of choice.)
My Spanish knowledge is limited to episodes of "Dora the Explorer" and my class in medical Spanish so I am not expecting to know many words.
After you do a first pass, you are supposed to see what the poem was really saying and modify what you have written in English. Again, 15 minutes to "deadline" after a trying day of one child shaving her eyebrows off and a phone call from the principal, this is what you get to read from me tonight ;)
Interesting experiment. Kind of surprised to see I wasn't entirely in left field. Sleep tight, more Vogon Poetry tomorrow.
Monday, April 15, 2013
The tragedy in Boston is incomprehensible to me. I have tried to limit my diet of MSNBC and KYW today, getting the barest of details. Do not mistake this for a lack of interest or concern; these 24 hour news cycles do little to improve my emotional psyche. I am not tuned out, just selectively tuned in.
The writing prompt today was to write a pantun. By its nature, a pantun is supposed to be light-hearted and sometimes love poems. I am unable to write much on that topic today.
I hope this isn't terrible hokey, as it does rhyme.
Sunday, April 14, 2013
Reading through my news feed (sniff, sniff Google Reader, don't leave me!) I saw that "this day in history" was "the day before the day the Titanic sunk". Maybe not as exciting as tomorrow, but it was an idea enough to think of Molly Brown.
Saturday, April 13, 2013
What is "Googlism"? You can read, in depth here, but essentially it uses Google (but is not affiliated with Google) to perform searches based on your keyword or phrase and give you a list of phrases associated with your query. They were ordered to stop performing new searches of Google's data in 2004, but there is a lot to still read.
I decided to input "April" into Googlism and have a little fun. Remember, these are experiments and poetry should be fun!
Friday, April 12, 2013
The writing prompt for Day 12 of NaPoWriMo at first glace to me, seemed like cake. The prompt from the site reads, “write a poem consisting entirely of things you’d like to say, but never would, to a parent, lover, sibling, child, teacher, roommate, best friend, mayor, president, corporate CEO, etc.”
I can rant better than anyone about just about anything. I am one of those people who has lists of pet peeves and collected enemies. But, probably why I have so many enemies, is I have few things I am unwilling to verbalize. As a woman in her 30s (hey, I will claim this every chance I get for the final 3 months), I am verging on "Andy Rooney Syndrome". I am not confident in my ability, however, to put these rantings into any poetic form; prescribed or free form without it coming out manifesto in tone.
So, a cop out for Day 12. I will leave you with these videos of Mr. George Carlin – his rants and tangents are pure, lyrical poetry:
Thursday, April 11, 2013
NaPoWriMo's Eleventh Day Prompt: Write a "tanka" style poem.
The history of tanka style is quite interesting. According to our friends at Wikipedia, tanka (tankas?), in Ancient Japan, were a communication between lovers, in place of prose or Shoebox greeting cards and follow a 5-7-5-7-7 syllable stanza pattern.
The Academy of American Poets has a much more eloquent history of the style. They also explain the arrangement of the "upper poem" (the first two stanzas), the third verse, which is the "turn", and the "lower poem" (the last two stanzas).
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
|Fair Use Image from Alamy.com|
|From the TV Show "Spitting Image"|
Finally, The Churchill Centre and Museum at the Churchill War Rooms, London, London, provides a website with a lot of free content, including his collected poetry.
Monday, April 8, 2013
One of my daughters is rather short in stature and has about eleventy specialists at CHOP. Poor thing is on a diet of enviable items such as fat, ice cream, fat, nuts, nut butters, whole milk, fat, real butter, and quite possibly, Crisco.
She has been reporting some "sensations" after she eats nuts. Like, "my lips are tingling, now my tongue, my throat feels weird", kind of reporting that no parent wants to hear. A lot of her fat and calories come from nuts. So today we spent a good portion of our morning at CHOP Allergy for skin testing.
This child, while short, is strong and recently afraid of needles. (Shout out to the oral surgeon who terrified her beyond all comprehension!) Last week we were at CHOP Genetics and she was with my husband and two phlebotomists getting a small vial of blood drawn while I was across the hospital (same floor, possibly 3 blocks away though) and could hear her resisting and fighting and crying. I had promised her today was going to be "something like a popsicle stick with stuff you may be allergic to, but no needles, I swear, when have I lied to you, don't you trust me?"
After we met with nice doctor, serious nurse comes in and lays down her set up of about 40 vials of allergens, alcohol swabs and a sharp metal jabbing looking item. Let the screaming and jumping off the table begin!
Telling the nurse I had promised there would be candy and unicorns at this appointment the nurse turns from my child and informs me maybe I shouldn't talk to my daughter about things I know nothing about. After pinning down the wriggling mass of an 52 pound-11 year old, the nurse mapped out some marks on her forearm with pen, dropped the scary potions on her, then (gently) jabbed each drop into her skin. Struggling stops, tissues offered, nurse glaring at me.
Fast forward 30 minutes and we are done and cleared to eat anything she wants again. No true allergies, just "sensitivities". Big sigh of relief.
What to do with the rest of the day? I should be a "good" mom and take her into school but it was 77° in Philadelphia in April so we played hooky. I took her for a tour of my college alma mater; went for a walk in a sculpture garden; ate ice cream while walking on cobblestones; and ended the day with simply throwing rocks into a creek. Bliss.
Tomorrow the PSSAs start back up (Pennsylvania's crazy standardized testing for NCLB). (Wish I had read Punky Mama's post from yesterday first.) Today was a small victory in my on going battle with the school, and the education system, and finding time to spend with my daughters one on one, and against stupid medical crap, and just having a really great day with a really great kid.
To continue the NaPoWriMo Thread, here is my gift to you today from Publius Ovidius Naso (aka Ovid):
"O lente, lente currite noctis equi!"
O, run slowly, slowly, horses of the night!
Originally from Ovid's "Amore" (Liber I, XIII, Line 40: Lente currite noctis equi)
Sunday, April 7, 2013
I really am a FOWS. (copyright 2013, Jenn)
Here is one of my favorite sonnets, he did write more than Romeo and Juliet folks:
My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips' red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damask'd, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.
I am not good with poetry. I have written some. Not particularly good ones. Think "Vogon" and you'd think "Jenn".
So, on this Holy Seventh Day of NaPoWriMo, here is a pithy number I scribbled in a Fathers' Day card years ago:
"Way back in October 1972,
You and my mother decided to screw.
If it hadn't been for that fateful lay,
You wouldn't be a father today."
Friday, April 5, 2013
Well today came and she didn't wash her clothes. She flies around the house making a new-within-dress-code-gym-outfit and stuffs it in her bag. And promptly leaves it in the foyer by the front door. No clothes. Do I take them to school? I am driving past it later. I could be nice. But I won't. She needs to learn there are consequences for forgetting things. Let the gym teacher deal.
She comes home after school and sees her gym bag on her kitchen chair. I asked, casually, and all cool-mom like, so, how was gym? Did you get in trouble for not having your clothes? Nope. Mrs. G lent me clothes. Groan. So another set of school clothes I have to wash and return (we are always getting “loaner clothes” from the nurse for her younger sisters.) Nope. She went into Mrs. G's office, picked clothes out of a box of other assorted clothes and returned them to said box after class. I asked her what she thinks happens to those clothes. Are they ever washed? Do they look new? A dawning look of horror creeps across her face.
Let's just say her shower was 15 minutes longer than usual. Today's poem is in honor of the horror that is her:
I was THAT parent today. The sitcom parent. You know, the one who is doing everything in their power to maximize embarrassment for herself and her children. The one who has hundreds of people pissed off at her all before 8:30 am.
Today was Grandparents' Day at school. Loosely translated, it is the day where the kids' grandparents come in for a class or two, eat cookies, have milk and get their picture taken with one another. I volunteered to donate milk. Go me!
The girls usually ride the bus but since two of them would be carrying a gallon of milk, I threw on a bra AND socks and drove them to school. Now, some of you know that my mom-mobile/mini-van is very recognizable. Weird color, dents, bumper stickers and the vanity license plate. Blind people would have no problem picking my car out of a line-up.
We get to school and there is no one in car line. I look at the clock and it displays 8:17, too early, by all the email, flyer and newsletter appeals to parents to leave their kids and run. I pull into the orange traffic cone cattle chute and sit and wait. I am first in line.
As the minutes tick by, the girls start to ask me why other kids are out of their cars and walking by us. And looking. And laughing. And pointing. Meanwhile I am fuming over the parents who are driving in front of me and dropping their kids off. I look behind me and see a stream of mini vans and SUVs and angry, angry drivers wondering why I have not moved or dropped off my children.
Um, I ask the girls. Doesn't a teacher come out and greet the cars to tell us it is time to let you out? No. No. No. I manage to get three kids out of the car and peel out of the parking lot and drown my shame in a bag of Mickey D's.
I guess next time I go to school I will be driving the incognito “dad sedan”. Sigh.