Friday, April 18, 2014

Crow Wisdom


The crow does not know

That he is not beautiful

That he cannot sing

There’s a crow in the tree outside my window. He is preening with pride and cawing with conviction. He has Mick Jagger swagger and audacity in spades. He takes one look at the double negatives tucked within my haiku and says, “You got that right, Sugar.”

He knows he is beautiful.

He takes his rightful place in the choir.

And he does not give a biscuit what people think of his art…

Nor should you.

Often when we attempt a creative act, we run smack into fear. Fear that our art will not be good enough. Fear that we are not good enough. Fear of what others may think.

But here’s the rub. That kind of fear isn't real. He’s a man with no fashion sense on a stick in a field — his grubby straw hands just get in the way of what you are meant to do.

And you are meant to do something wonderful.

I know without a doubt that everyone is here to create some amazing something.

How do I know? Place your hand on your chest. Do you feel that thumping? Some folks will try to tell you that that is your heart driving blood through your veins. Yeah, I know all about their theories. I say it’s something different.

I say what you’re feeling is the amazing something inside of you that wants to be created. That special something with the soul of a crow — beating its wings against a cage made of bone. It knows it is beautiful. It knows it can sing… or write… or paint — you name it, it knows. And it does not give a biscuit what you think other people will think if you set it free.

Set it free!

Okay, now I’ll climb down off my soapbox before I break a tibia.

PROMPT: Do it.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Do You Haiku?

Black and white and read
These seventeen syllables
Feed my hungry soul

It’s the 17th day of National Poetry Month, and that can mean only one thing —

If you've been dragging your lyrical feet and have yet to put your poetic pen to page, then today is the day to clear your conscience. You, too, can Haiku!

Remember long ago when you first learned to print words with those chubby pencils and fat-lined paper? Well, that was probably around the time you wrote your first Haiku. Haiku has always been one of the stones teachers use to kill two Language Arts birds at the same time — poetry and syllables. 

While you may not have kept the little gem you wrote way back then, it most likely went something like this —

Rude green hoppy thing
Peeing when children catch it
Talking loud in burps

Okay, maybe your first Haiku wasn't like this, but my classmate Richie Richendifer insisted that it followed our teacher’s recipe.

“Describe something in nature,” Miss Henry said. “And remember the 5-7-5 rule. Use 5 syllables for the first line, 7 syllables for the second line, and 5 syllables for the last line, and you will make a great Haiku.”

“Gesundheit!” said Richie Richendifer… for the 87th time that day.

Even if you haven’t wielded a chubby pencil in years, you can follow Miss Henry’s fabulous recipe for your own Haiku stew. And you don’t really have to stick with the nature part. You’re welcome to use your mind’s elbow to 
bend and stretch that rule the way my son once did with this poetic 
offering —

Bad Haiku
Bad poem this is
It is extremely boring
Wait… was that too long?


Nuts never fall far from the tree.

PROMPT: Haiku! Haiku! It’s what we've got to do! Yep, I’m pretty sure that the 7 Dwarfs sang these work song words every April — now you can, too!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Gnome Gnews

And now for your “Across the Pond” update —

In a recent traffic stop, Scottish police discovered 30 garden gnomes hiding out in the back of some bloke’s van.

Of course, the driver was arrested for possession of stolen property.

But there’s another possibility, isn't there?

What if those pointy-hatted garden pests were actually hitchhikers?

And when the cops said, “Freeze!”

They did.

Never trust a garden gnome.

PROMPT: Prove the driver’s innocence, or create an entry for a future bestseller called Diary of a Garden Gnome.

If you’re participating in the National Poetry Month poem-a-day challenge and feeling rather rhyme-y — a gnomish limerick will do the trick if you’re into something quick. Otherwise, craft an epic “Ode to the Travelling Gnome” by writing ‘til the cows come home.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Food For Thought

As you know, it’s National Poetry Month, and we've been celebrating BIG TIME.

But were you aware that April is also…

National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Month 

National Pecan Month

Soy Foods Month

Cranberries and Gooseberries Month

Brussels Sprouts and Cabbage Month

and, um…

Emotional Overeating Awareness Month?

So, it should come as no surprise that…

April is  a "celebration" of Irritable Bowel Syndrome Awareness, too.


Old T.S. was right —

April is indeed the cruelest month.

PROMPT:  You can bet your next bellyache there’s a poem somewhere in this April shower of gluttony. So gather up some edible words today and…

Write on!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Listening to the Color of Bacon

If you’re using April to get your poetry game on, then it’s a good time to talk about those sensuous senses! 

Just for clarification, we’re talking about the five senses  we’ll not be covering the “I see dead people” sense today. Sorry.

Anyway, using vivid descriptions of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures can certainly add to the richness of any writing, but they come in especially handy when smacking down a good poem.

For example, you could have your Kansas wheat dancing in the wind, the sun’s warm kiss upon your cheek, or the prickle of a hedgehog on your tongue. Whatever.

Then you could push it, punch it, and pull it like taffy  take your writing to the place where…

Derek tastes like earwax.

Welcome to the land of Synesthesia!

Synesthesia is a neurological condition in which people experience blended senses. For example, sound and sight may be intermingled such that a person sees colorful fireworks whenever she hears music. 

A great demonstration of synesthesia occurs in the movie Ratatouille when Remy explains flavor combinations to his “muscle your way past the gag reflex” brother Emile. For the foodie rat, flavors evoke fireworks and music. For Emile… not so much.

For some synesthetics, words actually evoke flavor sensations  like the guy in the UK who really does taste earwax whenever he says, hears, or reads the name Derek. For others it’s a smell/sound tangle  like the gentleman who smells bacon whenever he hears the Lord’s Prayer.

Trust me, I am not making this up.

Anyway, you can use the concept of synesthesia to make your writing sensational

For example, his name could be sweet cinnamon on your tongue, you might move to the melody of the sun all summer long, or her shirt could be sprinkled with the painful language of purple.

So, while synesthesia can be an unfortunate condition, particularly if your best friend’s name is Derek or you salivate like Pavlov’s dog when Our Father arts in heaven, there's no doubt that thinking in synesthetic terms can make your writing…

 smell fabulous!

PROMPT: Make shapes taste funny and colors smell strange. Or get serious and contemplate the pale sound of autumn and the sun’s winter silence. Push the writing envelope today just for fun, just for you  no one else has to see, hear, or taste it. For visual artists  pick a piece of music and paint the melody. Singing bacon is optional.