Here, There be a Writer

Friday, April 20, 2018

R is for Round Robin

I had a huge collection of books as a kid, and I still have a bunch of the books including today's book, Round Robin by Jack Kent. It is the story of a very hungry robin, who eats and eats, and by the time winter arrives he, 'looks more like a ball, than a bird' (actually line from the book).

It's a funny little story with some pretty awesome artwork that chronicles Round Robin's attempt to get south by hopping the whole way. He is chased by foxes and cars, sliding on ice, conversation and generally fearing for his life, until surprise, surprise he is able to fly the last bit on his own, because he lost weight with all that Hippity Hop, Bumpity Bumping southward.

But my favourite was and is 'Hippity Hop, Slipity Slide'', when he is sliding down the road.


We are have felt like Round Robin, just a little more, it won't hurt anything. But in reality, it is a good lesson in moderation, or watch out for foxes!


Little Bird Eat

Little Robin where have you gone?
All summer pecking at the seeds,
eating your fill and then some,
til you  become more of a ball, than a bird.

All summer pecking at the seeds,
called Round Robin, as you go,
til you become more of a ball, than a bird
and now winter is coming.

Called Round Robin, as you go,
must to the south you will travel
and now winter is coming
and there is no more seed.

Must to the south you will travel,
but to flap and flutter, now you stumble
and there is no more seed,
so off you set, hippity hopping...

But to flap and flutter, now you stumble
as you travel southward, 
so of you set, hippity hopping
and before you know it...

As you travel southward,
eating your fill and then some
and before you know it
Little Robin where have you gone.


Thursday, April 19, 2018

Q is for Quiet (Place, A)

Okay I have to cheat a little today. I haven't read a single book that starts with the Letter Q, and I'm slightly ashamed by this. A Quiet Place is today. Anyway, this movie was worth two novels, from the content to the acting. I usually prefer to have explanations for my characters and plot, but after re-watching Cloverfield and then seeing 10 Cloverfield Lane, I understand why storytellers will give you only a bare bones backstory (okay that was a lot of alliteration there).

A Quiet Place is a story to be seen. It is not quite the horror movie that the trailers are promoted. I think it falls into a science fiction thriller. John Krasinski wrote this screenplay, and I seemed to have forgotten that he was on the office as Jim Halpert.

Although, I did have to remind myself not to jump at the jump scares. It didn't really work this time, sadly...I enjoyed this movie. But jump scares aside, this is a solid plot with a fascinating concept, and top notch acting, especially from the non-humans.

The actors really needed to be able to act with their faces and hands as there there is little to no spoken dialogue. The actress, Millicent Simmonds, who play the daughter is actually deaf. Her and John Krasinski were wonderful together.An entertaining movie and one I would consider buying on DVD, which says a lot  because I am super picky about the movie I buy on DVD.

And, A Quiet Place was shot in Pawling, New Paltz, and Little Falls, NY. Favourite shot in the moive is of Main Street in Little Falls, so creepy and beautiful, but I have a thing for things that are old and abandon, or at least made to look abandoned.

So, some of you are probably here for the poem. Okay, I can when you are humouring me rambling on about movies and such. Today's pantoum that is so silent, well, it might kill you if you make a noise while reading it, Dear Readers. A bit of humour for you today.

Enjoy!

Silent Steps


There is nothing left but silence
throughout the empty streets.
Don't say a word, walking silent steps,
because that is how they know.

Throughout the empty streets,
the soft footfalls muffled upon sand,
because that is how they know,
when your feet hits a creaky spot.

The soft footfalls muffled upon sand,
walking to town, gathering supplies leftover.
When you make a sound,
and forget the nightmare all around you.

Walking to town, gathering supplies leftover
when your are sick with a fever,
and forget the nightmare all around you,
on prescribed paths outlined everywhere.

When tour are sick with a fever
after all the people are gone.
On prescribed paths outlined everywhere,
silent, because they can hear you breathing.

After all the people are gone,
everything becomes a chore,
silent, because they can hear you breathing
and knowing that frightens you.

Everything becomes a chore.
Don't say a word, walking silent steps
and knowing that frightens you;
there is nothing left but silence.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

P is for Peter and Pan

Things I remember about Peter Pan: Robin Williams will always be Pan, Banarang!, there was one time they made Tiger Lily's tribe multi-cultural (the movie Pan), Neverland in far under everything else in the Archipelago of Dreams (Chronicles of the the Imaginarium Geographica), and if you perform Peter Pan on stage you need to make Peter Pan fly (no matter how hard to try to get around it), Peter Pan flies.


Peter Pan was written by J.M. Barrie, born James Matthew Barrie. Some people wonder how someone like J.M. Barrie could write a story like Peter Pan. And most people probably don't know that Barrie wrote plays, a couple of them are renowned, Admiral Crichton and and Dear Brutus. It makes me curious to seek these out and some of his other novels.

Barrie received a shock at age 6 when his brother died and because of an over-baring mother retained a child-like innocence of the time before everything changed, which is a strange kind of sadness. It also make a lot of sense why he ended of creating the stories of Peter Pan and Neverland.

I finally read the book, Peter Pan, sometime last year or maybe the year before, and I remember it was more detailed than the plays and movies. That isn't to downplay any of the movies or the theatrical productions, there is just more presented in the book. It is a wonderful book though.

But, where some people read Peter Pan growing up, I was much older when I actually read it. It gives a different perspective when you do it in the order.

Morning Flight

It starts with adventure
in the late hours of night,
when the windows are open wide
and in sneaks a stray shadow.

In the late hours of night,
when you are supposed to be asleep
and in sneaks a stray shadow,
followed by the most unlikely boy.

When your supposed to be asleep,
but awakened by the sound of crying,
followed by the most unlikely boy
and a temperamental faerie.

But awakened by the sound of crying
and you don't know what is coming next;
and a temperamental faerie
blows you dusty kisses.

And you don't know what is coming next
as you float off the ground,
blows you dusty kisses
and fly so far away that time will forget you.

As you float off the ground,
think happy thoughts
and fly so far away that time will forget you,
and second star to the right, straight on to morning.

Think happy thoughts
when the windows are wide open
and second star to the right, straight on to morning;
it starts with adventure.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

O is for Ox-Cart (Man)

O is for Ox, Ox-Cart, Ox-Cart Man!


It is a lesser known story, but one I am most familiar with. I am not even sure how many people remember the Ox-Cart Man written by Donald Hall. It was a staple of my youth, either reading it myself or having one of my parents. It was part of the Children's Choice Book Club that my parents subscribed to, and I received a book a month, I think.

It was also where I got Bread and Jam for Frances, Best Friends for Frances, Roland the Minstrel Pig, Corduroy, and Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile just to name a few books from my youth. What stories do you remember from your childhood?


A Trip to Market

It was in Autumn,
when we loaded the cart;
all that was leftover from the past years work,
that will sell at Portsmouth Market.

When we loaded the cart
full of apples, potatoes, and maple sugar,
that will sell at Portsmouth Market
when the leaves begin to fall.

Full of apples, potatoes, and maple sugar
that will fetch a fine price,
when the leaves begin to fall,
but also will the cart that carries this load.

That will fetch a fine price;
the bull with a ring in his nose,
but also will the cart that carries this load,
one last time to Portsmouth Market.

The bull with a ring in his nose,
left with a kiss upon his nose.
One last time to Portsmouth Market
and a load of wintergreen peppermint in a black kettle.

Left with a kiss upon his nose,
the long walk back homeward
and a load of wintergreen peppermint in a black kettle;
a needle, a knife and some jingling coins.

The long walk back homeward
all that was leftover from the past years work;
a needle, a knife and some jingling coin;
it was in Autumn.

Monday, April 16, 2018

N is for The Night (Circus)

Speaking of traveling players, The Night Circus is a literary joy to read and even more fun to imagine. A  circus of dreams that is only open from sunset to sunrise, only to disappear one place, and then appear in another, it sounds like a dream, right? To some it is, but to others it is a nightmare. Frightening concept, right? Or exciting?

A beautifully, fantastical story, The Night Circus written by Erin Morgenstern is a book to be experienced. It feel very much like a Twilight Zone episode and a Neil Gaiman story all rolled into one. Fun fact, it was a NaNoWriMo novel-National Novel Writing Month-before it was a novel, which is really exciting for any  writing participant and/or aspiring writer.

In November every year,NaNoWriMo, a month-long challenge to write a novel is massive dedication by thousands of writers to write the daily word count of 1,667 words or more, which is harder that it looks. Trust me, I have been there. One must prepare outlines (they are your friends), plot, character sketches, and have an idea of what you are writing about. Inspiration is a must, however to acquire it! If you are interested, go to NaMoWriMo for more information.

I love the dream-like qualities of the Cirque de Reves-the circus portrayed in The Night Circus-and something about it make you want to go find yourself, or maybe just get lost.

So, hopefully today's poem will inspire you to go to the circus.

Impossible Circus

Dreaming of the impossible fare,
with high flying acrobats
and daring dos of bravery,
taming lions to jump through hoops.

With high flying acrobats,
and the wind in your face;
or taming lions to jump through hoops,
but what if you could walk on clouds?

And the wind in your face,
in an adventure most unforgettable,
but what if you could walk on clouds
or visit fantastic ice gardens that bloom?

In an adventure most unforgettable,
you can see things beyond your wildest imagination,
or visit fantastic ice gardens that bloom
and maybe catch a glimpse of a rare sight.

You can see things beyond your wildest imagination
that of living ice sculptures that breath candy floss
and maybe catch a glimpse of a rare sight,
of the speculated reverse rhinoceros.

That of living ice sculptures that breath candy floss  
and daring dos of bravery
of the speculated reverse rhinoceros;
dreaming of the impossible fare.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

NaPoWriMo: Gruesome Players Be

A poem for a gloomy Sunday (here at least), and in keeping with the Sunday's Shakespeare theme.


Gruesome Players Be

A lordly prince to be
though at a loss of a father
to find oneself so lost,
that everyone is suspect.

Though at a loss of a father,
where now his ghost he sees
that everyone is suspect,
of grievous misdeeds.

Where now his ghost he sees
a plan germinates within
of grievous misdeeds
that will follow yon Danish Prince.

A plan germinates within,
a play to speak the truth 
that will follow you Danish Prince
and the garish players perform.

A play to speak the truth
of murder most foul, indeed
and the garish players perform
before the King's own eyes.

Of murder most foul, indeed
that young Hamlet does perform
before the King's own eyes
when all of the bodies hit thine floor.

That young Hamlet does perform,
the most gallant of deaths
when all of the bodies hit thine floor,
and Horatio is left standing.

The most gallant of deaths
to find oneself so lost
and Horatio is left standing
a lordly prince to be.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

M is for Murder (on the Orient Express)

I will not give spoilers for Murder of the Orient  Express. I will not! (fights to insert Tommy Wiseau joke here) "Oh.Hai Mark!" Dammit, I lose...

Sorry, if you don't get the joke (but not really sorry, cause it was funny).

Anyway...today is murder day. M is for Murder on the Orient Express written by the Grand Dame of Murder. Agatha Christie is pretty much considered the queen of the murder mystery and has written a few in her days (33 novels and 54 short stories with Poirot alone). Two of them have even been turned into successful plays; one is STILL running at St. Martin's Theatre in London. Yeah, I know a bit about The Mousetrap, having directed it. I wrote a bit about during the late winter of 2015. Maybe I should do a ful post about it sometime. But, I did a blog post for And There Were None, the other famous novel turned play by Ms. Christie for the A to Z Challenge in 2015.

Now is the time to talk about her other famous murder mystery, on a train, in the snow, in the mountains, and all alone. Murder on the Orient Express that has been made into a number of number movie featuring the likes of Albert Finney (1974), Alfred Molina (2001) - that was a surprise find, David Suchet (2010), and now Kenneth Branagh (2017) as the quirky Belgian detective with zee leetle grey cells and a knack for solving the unsolvable crimes. This time he may have meant he match.

As for other actors who have played Poirot, and there are a lot, check out Book Riot's Kathleen Keenan, A Guide to Onscreen Versions of Poirot. I stumbled upon this one by accident. :-)

Murder on the Orient Express is an ensemble cast, where it is not just a singular person that stands out, but the whole cast. Okay, that is as far as I get with spoilers, but the real reason I enjoy the Orient Express is because it doesn't give you everything right away.  It lets you savor the story and the characters, quite a bit different than other Christie mysteries where the focus is on a few characters, and the rest of supplemental characters to forward the plot. That isn't bad thing, but it makes things interesting on the Orient Express.

Do you have a favourite Agatha Christie mystery, Dear Readers? Not counting Orient Express, I am partial to The Mousetrap, Death in the Clouds (which feels like Orient Express at times), or The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.

Now for some poetry...Enjoy!

How about some murder?

Once there was a train,
famous in name more than anything.
Drawing everyone to ride the length
of two continents and many mountains.

Famous in name more than anything;
when strangers board for the Orient,
of two continents and many mountains
and a little man with a wild moustashe.

When strangers board for the Orient
and gather together to break bread;
and a little man with a wild moustashe
asks for just the right egg, indeed.

And gather together to break bread,
before the night's respite begins
asks for just the right egg, indeed 
and meets his fellow travelers.

Before the night's respite begins
and the murder most foul appears
and meets his fellow travelers
with violent stab wounds.

And the murder most foul appears
and collects its suspects like carousel rings
with violent stab wounds; 
to begin to suspect every and all passengers.

And collects its suspect like carousel rings
in a deadly ring around the rosie;
to begin to suspect every and all passengers
includes Poirot's little grey cells.

In a deadly ring around the rosie
and a little man with a wild moustashe
includes Poirot's little grey cells.
Once there was a train.

Friday, April 13, 2018

L is for Last (Unicorn)

"Am I really the last?" spoke the Unicorn at the edge of her forest.

An iconic moment for the most beautiful movie I have ever seen, The Last Unicorn is book and movie that capture the essence of what fantasy really means with a hero's journey, love, and battle. The book is written by Peter S. Beagle, the movie follows the book quite literally in parts.

It is the story of the last unicorn in the world. She discovers from two hunters that are hunting in her forest that she is the last; later the butterfly tell her about the red bull of King Haggard has taken the unicorns. The unicorn plan to leave her home to search for her kin, while leaving her forest (and the animals within) unprotected from her magic. While traveling the unicorn learns that men cannot see her for what she is and is soon captured by Mommy Fortuna, a wandering carnival owner, who wants to exploit her. But there is help hidden Mommy Fortuna's Midnight Carnival in form of the bumbling magician, Schmendrik. He frees the unicorn, who in turn frees all of the other miserable beasts of the midnight carnival, including one angry harpy.

Then the unicorn and Schmendrik travel into the forest where they meet Captain Cully, his band of rogues, and Molly Grue. There Schmendrik conjures up real magic and distracts Cully and his men, only Mollie isn't to be distracted and joins up with them. Once they get to King Haggard's kingdom, which is a miserable and forsaken land, they encounter the bull and Schmendrik uses real magic. They enter into the castle in plain sight, while they are force to work for Haggard as well as look for the missing unicorns. A romance later, a conversation with a cat, and a snarky skull lead them to the bull and the unicorn must face it, and make a choice.

I don't want to give a lot of spoilers, because this movie is best watched fresh and new, with as little preconceived notions, if possible. Sneaky, well maybe, but the story is really beautiful that it needs to be experienced. You can pick whichever version to prefer to, book or movie, but I leave you with this, "No unicorn was ever born with regret, but I do, I regret. And I thank you for that one..."

Many people have watched the movie growing up, which is where I first encountered The Last Unicorn. Later I read the book, and fell in love all over again. Seriously, go and check it out...

Oh, and for you graphic novel fans, The Last Unicorn was made into a graphic novel in April 2010. Also, amazingly beautiful.

Peter S. Beagle has written a number of other novels and short stories that are also wonderful, the short story collection The Line Between is a favourite.

What are your favourite fantasy, or sci-fi fantasy, or sci-fi stories, novels, movies? I have the top four (five): Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, The Princess Bride, The Neverending Story, and Stardust.

Now for the pantoum, Dear Readers.

Mission Unknown

Standing alone, along the edge
where she sees all, but  doesn't speak
there is no one to speak to
"Am I really the last?"

Where she sees all, but doesn't speak
this is her domain, but man has intruded
"Am I really the last?"
she asked in an echo to the men.

This is her domain, but man has intruded
speaking of red bulls and lost unicorns
she asked in an echo to the men
though they could not hear.

Speaking of red bulls and lost unicorns,
she asked the butterfly what he knew
though they could not hear
the questions that she asked.

She asked the butterfly what he knew
about the missing unicorns
the question that she asked
were left unanswered in fanciful song.

About the missing unicorns,
seek out King Haggard by the sea, but others
were left unanswered in fanciful song
One, Two, Three O'Leary...

Seek out King Haggard by the sea, but others
will find you in your travels
One, Two, Three O'Leary...
and away she goes into Man's Realm.

Will find you in your travels,
speak with the skull, My Dear,
and away she goes into Man's Realm
to the distant sea and the unknown.

Speak with the skull, My Dear.
There is no one to speak to
to the distant sea and the unknown,
standing alone, along the edge.

From the movie, The Last Unicorn

Thursday, April 12, 2018

K is for Knots (on a Counting Rope)

I was a Reading Rainbow kid. I knew the theme song by heart, and almost all the episodes, especiallyKnots on a Counting Rope, written by Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault. It also had LeVar Burton camping by himself, which I don't remember as well as the story.

when they were put in re-runs on WNED 17 (my local affiliate in Chautauqua County). The episode featured is

It is the story of a native american boy and how he learns to cope with his blindness. He was born on a special night; a special omen appears to him and his grandfather in the form of two blue horses. That becomes his name, Boy Strength of Blue Horses. The boy's grandfather tell him this story and each time a knot is added to a counting rope. When the counting rope is full, then Boy Strength of Blue Horses will know the story well enough to tell it himself.

A beautiful story and with the most exquisite illustrations.

Did you know that Bill Martin Jr. didn't know how to read until he went to college? Taught himself to read by poetry books at Emporia State University. He also went on to get an Master's and a Doctorate in early education from Northern University. Not bad for a boy from Kansas, eh?

Bill Martin Jr is the brains behind the Brown Bear, Brown Bear style books with Eric Carl.

Today's poem is an hommage to Knots on a Counting Rope; and a little bit of a retelling too. Do you, Dear Readers remember Reading Rainbow? Do you have a favourite episode? Favourite story that was featured?

Tell It Again

'Tell me the story, Grandfather.'
'You say that so often my boy.'
'But you tell it the best. Please?'
'Alright, but only one last time.'

'You say that so often my boy,
tell me the story of my birth.
Alright, but one last time,'
"It was a dark night...wild storm..."

Tell me the story of my birth.
The wind was crying for you;
It was a dark night...wild storm
it was a strange night indeed.

The wind was crying for you
and when you arrived, it was suddenly silent,
it was a strange night indeed,
until the blue horses arrived.

And when you arrived, it was suddenly silent
and so they stood in front of you.
Until the blue horses arrived
we did not know of your fate.

And so they stood in front of you
nuzzling your fingers as you reached out;
we did not know your fate
except that you would have to cross dark mountains.

Nuzzling your fingers as you reached out...
But you tell it the best. Please?
Except that you would have to cross dark mountains...
Tell me the story, Grandfather.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

J is for James (and the Giant Peach)

So, James and the Giant Peach, a novel written by Roald Dahl in 1961, but I bet you didn't know that he helped invent a valve (the Wade-Dahl-Till valve) that help alleviate pressure in the brain. His son, Theo has hit by a taxi cab and suffered from hydrocephalus (water on the brain). He had also received head, nose, and and back injuries while in the Royal Air Force in the 1940s. I bet that was part of the reason he was keen to help his son years later.

It has been a few years since I read the book, so I hope the poem is enjoyable for everyone who has either read the book, seen the movie, or have heard of it. I like the concept of evil aunts, a giant peach, and an epic adventure with insects.

What is your favourite Roald Dahl book, Dear Readers? I am partial to The Witches or Fantastic Mr. Fox myself. Enjoy!

Just Peachy Adventures

Imagine if you can, there was a peach
that grew so big that it rolled away
down and down the high topped hill
and with a splash feel into the ocean.

That grew so big that it rolled away,
carrying with it a band of travelers
upon the adventure of their lives
away from the evil Aunts Sponge and Spiker.

Carrying with it a band of travelers;
a spider, a grasshopper, an earthworm, and ladybug
away from the evil Aunts Sponge and Spiker,
and one little boy, James.

A spider, and grasshopper, an earthworm, and ladybug
aboard a floating peach, quite impossible you say!
and one little boy, James
catching birds to fly further away.

Aboard a floating peach, quite impossible you say;
to some who don't believe that
catching birds to fly further away
is even more fantastic to believe.

To some who don't believe that
down and down the high topped hill 
is even more fantastic to believe--
Imagine if you can, there was a giant peach.


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

I is for It (Devours)!

Due to a sudden attack of strep throat I am condensing my posts to the bare essentials. It is 6:45 pm

and I am finally getting around to finishing this post. I don't want to skimp on my blogging, but this post is going to be shorter.

It Devours! is the new novel by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor. It is set in the fictional town of Night Vale, but featured a whole slew of new characters and a certain scientist with fabulous hair. The story centers on the scientist Nilanjana Sikdar and faith in science and the love of a member of the Joyful Congregation of the Smiling God, Darryl.

The Smiling God is going to be descending on Night Vale and Nilanjana and Darryl have to figure out how to stop it and prevent Night Vale from being devoured.

The best part of It Devours! is that you don't have to be caught up on the 100+ episodes of Welcome to Night Vale to be able to rad the book, actually both of the Night Vale novels are stand alone stories. So, new visitors to the little desert community off of Route 800 can still visit and enjoy all the Night Vale has to offer: the Ralph's, Radon Canyon, the Barista District, John Peters--you know the farmer's farm, the Dog Park, the Great Browstone Spire, andNight Vale Community Radio just to name a few.

A highly entertaining read, and I recommend it if you are looking for something a little different to sink your rotating teeth into and devour wholly.

Behind the Smiling God

A battle between one smiling god and science;
an above average scientist
looking for meaning in between--
what is facts and what is faith.

An above average scientist
studying the mysteries of the world;
what is facts and what is faith,
how the church of the Smiling God became?

Studying the mysteries of the world,
or how time really works in Night Vale or
how the church of the Smiling God became
when Night Vale needs no church.

Or how time really works in Night Vale or
how to make a decent peanut butter and pickle sandwich,
when Night Vale needs no church,
because up until this point it didn't.

How to make a decent peanut butter and pickle sandwich
is one of Carlos' many secrets,
because up to that point it didn't
need to be a thing, except for Cecil.

Is one of Carlos' many secrets
looking for meaning in between,
need to be a thing, except for Cecil;
a battle between one smiling god and science.




Monday, April 9, 2018

H is for Here (There be Dragons)

Here, There be Dragons.

I've talked a lot about this book in past blogs; I will keep this short then. Here, There be Dragons written by James A. Owen is a fantastical story of high adventure, magic, literature, and heroes.

You're probably thinking that is like any fantasy book currently on the shelves of your nearest bookseller. Yeah, it may be, but what does Here, There be Dragons have that those books don't?!?!?!

Badgers!

Yes, badgers. First it was Tummeler; his story is heavily in Here, There. He is an aspiring Scholar and a pretty nifty driver (although you might want to buckle up if he drives). He goes into publishing to create the greatest tool ever, (no not Google, but a Little Whatsit) and is my favourite character outside of Samaranth, but that is for another time. Tummeler comes to the aid of John, Charles, and Jack the new Caretakers of the Imaginarium Geographica, as he knows a thing or two about the Archipelago of Dreams and those who live there and blueberry muffins. Oh,and there are more badgers in other later books.

Here, There is also about triumph over the forces of evil (does that sounds menacing enough?), let's try triumph over all things dark and brooding. Yeah, I like that! I think I should write book descriptions, right? Okay, off topic, I know. I just really enjoy Here, There be Dragons with all of its surprises and mysteries, but also it is a solid story; fully engaging and entertaining.

Now for a poem about the adventures of said Caretakers. Enjoy!

Indigo Winter

It started on a stormy night
when three men meet to find death;
adventure is waiting for them
in a man buried under scarves.

When three men meet to find death,
a dragon ship transport awaits to bring
a man buried under scarves
for a quest is called from one greater.

A dragon ship transport awaits to bring
the three Scholars to the isle forgotten
for a quest is called from one greater
and a book of maps they might chase.

The three Scholars to the isle forgotten;
to meet the Cossair, the Pirate Queen, and Badger;
and a book of maps they might chase
to discover who this king of winter might be.

ATo meet the Cossair, the Pirate Queen, and Badger
aboard the dragon ship of Indigo
to discover who this king of winter might be
and are charged the quest of the Archipelago.

Aboard the dragon ship of Indigo 
adventure is waiting for them
and are charged the quest of the Archipelago;
it started on a stormy night.


Sunday, April 8, 2018

NaPoWriMo: This Island Mine

I am off from the A to Z challenge today. It is Sunday and to make the month balance out 4 out of the 5 Sunday are rest days. I decided I would keep up with the book thing anyway and write a pantoum abut one of Shakespeare's work. I a also going to use today's prompt where the mysterious and magical things occur. I already used A Midsummer Night's Dream, so that means I have to use The Tempest, which is next in line for the most magical and mysterious.


I performed as Trinculo in a production of The Tempest back in 2014, the drunk clown in the court of King Alonso. That was a fun role. I got to be 'drunk' all the time and I got to keep the best prop outside of the Ass (hat) Ears I got from Midsummer.  It's a gord used for drinking (no actual drinking occurred, alas), which I cannot located at this time. It was an amazing time and I learn a bit of onstage physical humour performing with my friends, Sara and David, as Stephano and Caliban.

The Tempest is one I hadn't actually read before I auditioned for the show, but it has become a favourite; in my top 5. Ariel is my favourite role in the show, because, well, he is a magical creature, but is also a slave (though Prospero is the kindest of masters). My friend, Tara, had a stellar run as Ariel.

Truthfully, I think I had more fun playing Trinculo than I would have as Ariel. Something about being absolutely silly onstage is kind of freeing. It is also challenge, as to be THAT silly, it takes work.

This Island Mine

Upon this island I do stand
the master of fate to those
who dare to take from me, Mine
in their own form of justice.

The master of fate to those
men of Milan most callous and cruel
in their own form of justice,
so I returned to them tenfold.

Men of Milan most callous and cruel
I bring them here unto my island,
so I return to them tenfold
by magic most dark and deep.

I bring them here unto my island
and my spirit of air, Ariel
by magic dark and deep,
for a lesson in humility.

And my spirit of the air, Ariel
or my lowly earth spirit, Caliban
for a lesson in humility
they all must take.

Or my lowly earth spirit, Caliban
must take it all full weight.
They must take
in endless pile of sticks.

Must take it all full weight
who dare to take from me, Mine
in endless pile  of sticks
Upon this island I do stand.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

G is for Green (eggs and Ham)

There is a lot to be nostalgic for as you get older, such as TV shows you used to watch, music you

haven't heard in years. Some things do not age well.

Green Eggs and Ham is not one of those thing. Even after all this time I still enjoy reading it.

Theodore Seuss Geisel, AKA Dr. Seuss happened on a brilliant idea, to tell a story simply. He used few words and a lot of repetition. He created iconic characters, one who doesn't even have a name. Born was Sam I am and his great pursuit of the breakfast of champions and to share it with the world. Enter an unfortunate gentleman who gets caught of in Sam's over zealous enthusiasm. Unfortunately not everyone believes in the wonderful potency of the eggs and ham of emerald. (How times can I say it, but using different words or combinations?)

How could you not want to eat them with a mouse or a fox? And what about the thrilling chase to flee from the avian birthing pods of olive and a side of pork tinted the shades of a forest. (Okay, maybe I am stretching it a little on this one.)

Admit it. Green Eggs and Ham is fun!

There is something special about a story that uses only 50 words to tell a full and complete story. A story filled with the most detailed rhyme and silly imagery ever, yet it is known to almost all people since it's publication August 1960. That is a lot of children to read or be read to the story of Green Eggs and Ham in 58 years!

Since then it has been made into an animated TV special and a song by the Canadian quartet, Moxy Fruvous, which is an absolute pleasure to listen to (well for me certainly). It gives an insane romp through the beloved classic and makes it even more humourous as Sam I am takes on Mr. Cheese (the unnamed man) to who Sam asks to "try it, you might like it".

Take a listen if you never herd the song before; if you have, then enjoy it again.



In the wake of that, I present my daily offering of poetic license, a la pantoum to the famous lime coloured oval of protein and the salty ass end of a pig ( yea, still doing this). I have no shame,; I admit this.

This post is written strictly in the realm of the silly and absurd.

What is your favourite Dr. Seuss book, Dear Readers? I love Green Eggs and Ham, but was also fond of Scrambled Eggs Super, or On Beyond Zebra.

Enjoy today's pantoum.

The Real Story of Green Eggs and Ham

With eggs of green upon my plate
and all the sentences end that in rhyme,
it is no wonder why Mr. Cheese went mad
when asked to eat Sam's evergreen porcine and eggs.

And all the sentences that end in rhyme,
I don't even bother to try to finish 
when asked to eat Sam's evergreen porcine and eggs
for of the veggies I would rather eat.

I don't even bother to try and finish
when mice and foxes steal my eggs,
for veggies I would rather eat
than a broiled or baked pork rear end.

When mice and foxes steal my eggs,
and by boat or train I try to flee
than a broiled or baked pork rear end
meal cooked by one, Sam I am.

And by boat or train I will try to flee
because a vegetarian I am. And
meals cooked by Sam I am--
without consult to me on my tastes.

Because a vegetarian I am, And
it is no wonder why Mr. Cheese went mad
without consult to me on my tastes
with eggs of green upon my plate.

Friday, April 6, 2018

F is for Furiously (Happy)

What do you get when you find a book with a doofy looking 'stuffed' raccoon on the cover? If I didn't know who had written it, I would probably stop and look at it, at least. What if I knew it was written by Jenny Lawson. Then I would snap it off awfully fast.

Furiously Happy is the second book of Jenny Lawson, AKA The Bloggess. If you don't know, Jenny is a super, uber popular blogger and writer who writes about her struggles with mental illness and continues with stories from her unusually weird and delightfully family. There are stories of taxidermy, metal illness and hiding under desk at conventions, adventures in being a writer with dogs being a prime case of writer's block (see Jenny's Instagram), and everything else in between.

I first encountered Jenny Lawson when a really good friend suggested I read Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir. Jenny's speak about her daily struggles with anxiety, depression, and OCD in such a way that I was  hooked. Naturally, I found I couldn't put it down and read it in about two or three days, which is fast for me. The same was true of Furiously Happy, I read and read until I was done. In a time when I needed a reminder that there are others as f*cked up than me, and because they are as f*cked up than me I could laugh at the absurdity of everything. Jenny Lawson taught me to not be afraid of myself, even when it was so easy to be afraid of myself.

She certainly isn't afraid of me, or maybe she is and just hasn't told me.

Damn it, Jenny! Why didn't you tell me this...

Maybe I need to tell her thanks for being honest and real. "THANK YOU JENNY!" I scream to the heavens. Okay maybe the heavens aren't awake at 5:30 in the morning; and maybe they first want a good, strong cup of coffee before taking visitor, especially one so loud and early.

That is what I learned from Jenny Lawson is that you can be silly and it is okay. You can be afraid and it is okay. You can be true to you, and learn something that'll make you stronger. Thank you Jenny. I mean that. Although I would scream to the heaven for you to. I want you to know that.

And because of that, I can be honest and real. I am not as afraid of myself.  Still a little afraid of the word though. I mean, have you seen what's outside. There is a giant Dorito in the White House and it is STILL SNOWING in April (in southern central New York anyway).

Yeah, it is a little weird outside, but it is warm and wonderfully weird in here with Rory the Raccoon, Ferris Mewler and Dorothy Barker. Stay proud! Stay weird! (Make Good Art and even Better Trouble). And be Furiously Happy that you are Alive!



Did This Happen?

"Tell me a weird story, Mom."
"Like what? About Grandpa's dead animal collection?"
It is a common request in this house,
of taxidermy and backpacks for cats.

Like what? About Grandpa's dead animal collection?
How did Rory come to be?
of taxidermy and backpacks for cats,
except for the dog, who much prefers it.

How did Rory come to be?
A story for all the ages,
except for the dog, who much prefers it
when you have hot dawgs for dinner.

A story for all ages,
when Victor got me a giant stuffed squid and
when you have hot dawgs for dinner;
this is my actually life.

When Victor got me a giant stuffed squid and
I argued over semantics of vampire diets.
This is my actually life--
no one else would dare claim it.

I argued over semantics of vampire diets,
it is a common request in this house.
No one would dare claim it,
"Tell me a weird story, Mom."


What is your weirdest memory, Dear Reader? Best memory? Leave me a comment and some love below. 

My best memory was meeting my mentor in 2013. I was really nervous and excited, all at the same time. Was TOTALLY worth it. And he is a good friend to this day. My weirdest memory, that is tough for so early in the morning. I'll go with playing myself in a show written in 8 hours, and confusing one of my best friends all day because one of my lines actually was, "Where's the coffee? Sara said there would be coffee."

Cheers!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

E is for Eats, (Shoots, and Leaves)

Everyone needs a little humour, especially when grammar is involved. Grammar is an insane beast.

I am sure nobody liked grammar in school; it's like that weird kid that is always doing impressions and wearing loudly mismatched clothing. That is who grammar represents in my head. It was something that I struggled with, often to the failure of other things. It was the thing that took me the longest to master, and I still struggle with it.

What's a writer to do?

You have one super snarky friend that gets you Eats, Shoots, and Leaves, a book that takes me through the principles of grammar, especially the ones that are often overlooked or missed, and to do so with a bit of humour. It was an enjoyable read. It was also fun to scan the pages of this book for this blog; there are a lot of passages of famous authors that are used as examples  that excites me quite a bit).

But seriously, it is a really good read for people curious about grammar and how to properly use many of the symbols we use, or at least encounter on a daily basis. You even get a bit history too.

Eats, Shoots, and Leaves is written by Lynne Truss. She openly admits to using grammar to get her point across. It is amusing. It is a solid read if you really want to improve your grammar, or if you are just curious about what your grammar Nazi friends are complaining about. What makes Eats, Shoots...a book that I enjoyed was that even though it was an educational book about the functions of commas, semi-colon, and apostrophes, specifically; there really was a good blend humour and the intellectual.

The thing I took most from reading Eats, Shoots... is the semi-colon. It is a oft forgotten punctuation mark; also it is very versatile. I was asked once by a teacher. Mrs. Kolo in 12th grade, she asked why I used a semi-colon in a sentence of one of my poems, probably for an assignment or something. I don't even remember now. I couldn't really answer her, because I didn't really know what a semi-colon did, or why I used it. I admit it, I was ashamed by the end of class...

Now I know that you can use a semi-colon to connect two thoughts or fragments into one complete sentence. Amazing! But, what is also amazing was the fact that you can use it to connect to fragments together and have a change the thought of the sentence; while the sentence can still be coherent. On that day I was ecstatic! (Okay, maybe that is an exaggeration).  I understood why I used the semi-colon back then; in that poem, specifically. I am sure I had been having a continuous thought, and maybe  had shifted the thought to a different perspective; something close to that in my high schooler mind anyway.

To this day it is why I use semi-colon. I also see how some people don't fully understand the semi colon's use in writing.

I didn't feel stupid after reading East, Shoots...I was wiser, and better prepared to utilize the punctuation in my daily writings. And now I present a little grammar humour in pantoum-style: enjoy! And the last o my over use of the semi-colon to prove a point. Ha ha!

Laughing at Semi-Colons

So, don't lecture me of the finer points
of comma usage and what a semi-colon is,
But then again, do I really care?
I don't even use a semi-colon.

Of comma usage and what a semi-colon is
can be marked in pencil or pen.
I don't even use a semi-colon;
when writing this sentence.

Can be marked in pencil or pen,
maybe a crayon or washable maker
when writing this sentence
for my daily poetic requirement.

Maybe a crayon or washable marker
will bring to life a lyric masterpiece;
for my daily poetic requirement,
and maybe use two semi-colons as well.

Will bring to life a lyric masterpiece,
but then again, do I really care?
And maybe use two semi-colons as well
so don't lecture ME of the finer points.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

D is for Divergent

It comes to this, doesn't it? I have to make a choice.

Either Hunger Games or Divergent?

It is actually a pretty easy decision. I choose, Divergent!

What faction would I be? That is tougher, probably a mixture of Dauntless, Erudite, and Amity (if that were possible).

Divergent takes places in a post apocalyptic Chicago where the people live in factions that are based on their personalities; Abnegation (selfless), Amity (peaceful), Candor (honest), Dauntless (fearless), and Erudite (intelligent). It is at the Choosing Ceremony where they can pick a different faction, but that means leaving their families.

This is the story of Tris (Beatrice Prior) of Abnegation, who chooses to becomes Dauntless. The only problem is she marked as Divergent, because of she scored high in three different factions. She is warned, and Tris must fit into Dauntless and remain undiscovered. Hers is a dark and difficult road, and incidentally made the pantoum for NaPoWriMo a lot easier to write.

I really enjoy darker stories, with flawed or broken characters. It gives the story a deeper feel, there is more that can happen within the story, and sometimes I relate more to the broken characters.

And for a world that was so broken it feels like one I could actually survive in. I am not sure why, actually. Maybe because my own life seems dull, or maybe feel that I could successfully fit in. Although, if you've read the whole series you know it gets far more interesting.

I don't have much else prepared that is super awesome and uniquely hard to attain information, so, Dear Readers I will say this. I like the Divergent series better than Hunger Games. I haven't seen ANY of the Divergent movies (yet). That is for a another blog post later.

Here is a pantoum, written in the voice of Tris. Enjoy!

Choose Your Fate

When from the world you know,
a graduation, of sorts, to change factions
when you must leave all that you know
and chart a new path.

A graduation, of sorts, to change factions,
from the meek you cast away to daring
and chart a new path
where death meets you at every corner.

From the meek you cast away to daring--
hop a ride upon a silver dart line,
where death meets you at every corner,
but you are no longer afraid.

Hop a ride upon a silver dart line
and catch your future in a dizzying display,
but you are no longer afraid
and leather feels better than dull grey cotton.

And catch your future in a dizzying display,
flying through the air, as if a bird of prey
and leather feels better than dull grey cotton,
after far too long held in chains.

Flying through the air, as if a bird of prey
when you must leave all that you know,
after far too long held in chains,
when from the world you know.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

C is for Chicken (Soup with Rice)

Today is an easy pick. It is something wonderfully cheesy (or soupy) from my childhood. Chicken Soup with Rice by Maurice Sendak, is a book of months in verse. Maurice also wrote Where the Wild Things Are and many other books, even a musical.

I loved this book growing up and am pretty sure I read it close to a million times. I remember reading it myself or having one of my parents read it to me. And I swear, this is the truth, it gets faster with each month's verse, even when you try to not rush it. It's a weird word magic!

What' even weirder is that Chicken Soup with Rice was turned into a song. It is also magical because it is sung by Carole King. The song version was included in  a musical, Really Rosie, written by Maurice Sendak and with music by Carole King in 1980. Before that it was an animated children's special that aired on CBS in 1975. You can find it on YouTube. Later it went onto Off-Broadway in 1980 and revived in 2017. The story is about the sassiest kid in Brooklyn, Rosie and how she tells and acts out her stories with her her friends, the Nutshell Kids t keep the boredom away during summer vacation. Rosie is the bossy star of the show, but it features several character from other books Pierre (Pierre: A Cautionary Tale in 5 Chapters and a Prologue), Alligator (Alligators All Around), and Chicken Soup (Chicken Soup with Rice).

There is something special in the worlds of Maurice Sendak, whether and island of Wild Things or Alligator acting out the alphabet or having adventures with your favourite soup. I know that's why I love Chicken Soup with Rice and Where the Wild Things Are.

What is your favourite Maurice Sendak book growing up? What was you favourite book from another children's author, like Dr. Seuss or William Steig (for example)?



And now for the pantoum. This will likely get silly. Just warning you, in case you are squeamish about all things silly. Enjoy! (Note: this one was rather fun to write, BTW)

Hot Soup Praises

When singing praises of hot soup today,
remember not to blow too hard
or upon your floor your soup will grace
and a frown  upon your face will cast.

Remember not to blow too hard
for soup is better warmed than ice cold
and a frown upon your face will cast
if to taste of soup so frigid cold.

For soup is better warmed than ice cold
for who would want some chilly soup today?
If to taste of soup so frigid cold--
a soupicle upon a stick.

For who would want some chilly soup today?
But rather penguins might deem to like
a soupsicle upon a stick,
that you are now forced to lick.

But rather penguins might deem to like
your soup on a stick, indeed
that you are now forced to lick.
So, maybe for a trade now is time?

Your soup on a stick, indeed
or upon your floor your soup will grace.
So, maybe for a trade now is time,
when singing praises of hot soup today.

Monday, April 2, 2018

B is for Blue Heron

When shifting through me collections of books, I found  had a hard time deciding on a book/story for the letter B. I have a lot ob B titles, not as many as M or D  titles though, but I struggled to pick a book that I would enjoy reliving enough to blog about it. After a while I settled on Blue Heron by Avi. Many of you are probably familiar with the name at least, or have heard/read some of his books. He's a diverse middle grade/YA fiction writer who writes about field mice adventures (PoppyPoppy's Return), Edgar Allen Poe (The Man Who Was Poe), teenager girls who become sailors (True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle). Yeah, it is pretty diverse bibliography.

I discovered Avi when I would go on Saturday mornings to my local library in Fredonia, NY. In 1992 I was scanning the shelves of the new releases and found this book and I knew I had to read it. The artwork caught my eye. I love herons. It looked like it was done in watercolours and I wanted to be sitting on that rock. So, I checked it out. The silly, stupid, best part of it was that I was the first to check out from the library. Side note: my first library card number was 530. Yeah, I still remember that dumb detail.


I honestly can't remember much from the book. The last time I read it was over five years ago, I think, when I re-read it. So, it's been a while. I remember it was a story about a teenage girl who goes to visit her father for the summer at his lake house. It is a story about finding oneself, that much I do remember. 

Note: I do want to re-read it. It is only 186 pages, so I will likely do a quick read and an update in a few days to this post.

So, I have a deep love for Blue Herons, and the first time I saw one in the wild I was super excited by the discovery. I didn't have a camera, but I remember trying to remember the details of this tall statuesque bird wading in the waters of a creek in the early evening. It just stood there. At first I thought it was a trick of my eyes, but it moved slightly and I saw the long beak and it's wings. It was beautiful. I smile when I remember that moment.

Now the pantoum. This will be tricky, not having a fresh memory of the story, but let's see what we can do, Dear Readers.

Heron Sight*

It is when there is no sound
and the darkness crawling in
above a creek or lake that
is where you'll likely spy.

And the darkness crawling in,
just after  the sun has gone down 
is where you'll likely spy
this statuesque avian ballerina.

Just after the sun has gone down,
to feed upon the littlest fishes
this statuesque avian ballerina,
in a silent dancing delight.

To feed upon the littlest fishes
that the water can possibly offer.
In a silent dancing delight
is when you could catch it unawares.

That the water can possibly offer,
a meal fit for a Great
is when your could catch it unawares
with no sound your feet to make.

A meal fit for a Great
above a creek or lake that 
with no sound your feet to make
it is when there is no sound.

*-I updated the wording because I wrote this later at night and forgot to review before I post. I think it sounds much better because of it (at 10:06 am).

Okay, I lied. I ended up using my memory of the first time I saw a heron, that's not really a bad thing, is it? I did get a little existential at the end. I would love a comment or two about what you think of the poem though, Dear Readers.

Leave me some love and what excited you the first time you saw it in the wild?

Cheers!