Here, There be a Writer

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Day 30: Finale

Day 30: Just going to free verse it today, Dear Readers. Today's prompt involves translating a poem from a foreign language into a new poem. I just can't seem to wrap my brain around this idea, so I am going to write something a little different

Curtain Call 2

Within the final,
there is a moment
when you know this is the last time
the last chance to experience this moment.
It's a sad simplicity 
knowing that this moment 
it will never come again, 
so you need to live in the now,
enjoy what is.
There is always ends,
also there are beginnings
and that is what 
makes me smile.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Days 13 to 23: Get Ready to Be Here a While (Backlog)

Here is my backlog of NaPoWriMo poems. I know its a lot to sift through, but I always finish what I start. Some of these, Dear Readers, are not the best. In fact, I could have done better, but I was trying to catch up. Iwas also writing on the fly. Sometimes that works really well, other times not so much. I still think I have a few gems in this crop. I at last tried to capture the essence of each poetry prompt in a short amount of time, 

Please leave me a comment on which poem (of my backlog) you enjoyed and why. 

Thank you, Dear Readers, thank you!

Day 13: Use a fortune from a fortune cookie to write a poem....Not a fortune, but a joke from a Christmas Cracker. Using the haiku form for this one.

What did you get if you cross a cow, a sheep, and a goat?
A Milky Baa Kid.

A Cow, Sheep, and Goat?
Something fun, to make you laugh--
A Milky Baa, Kid?

Day 14: Write a "San San".  In particular, the san san repeats, three times, each of three terms or images. The seven lines rhyme in the pattern a-b-c-a-b-d-c-d.

Acting Retinue

Reciting the line
Performing out loud
Acting is the game.
To say mine
To play upon sound
And see what you get.
Where there lies fame
In a battle well met.

Day 15: Write a poem featuring Doubles in some form or another. 

Do You Correct?

Mirror image,
I see before me.
Another person,
Palms flat against mine.
Synchronous movements
Will they match?
Slow to move,
A dance it becomes.
As in time we,
Are breath for breath as one.

Day 16: Fill out the questions, then write a poem about the item you wrote down. Easier said than 

Almanac Questionnaire

Weather: stormy; 
Flora: Silver maple trees;
Architecture: Grecian; 
Animal from a myth: Phoenix; 
Story read to children at night: Frankenstein; 
You walk three minutes down an alley and you find: Empty Milk Bottles; 
You walk to the border and hear: Doors open; 
What you fear: Being alone; 
Picture on your city’s postcard: Little Joe Tower, Clock Tower

Corning Dreamscape

Amid the postcards of familiar landmarks,
Little Joe and the Clock Tower,
I am here.
I am looking for a Phoenix to light my way
Down darken streets
Where milk bottles are broken
And doors open and close
To soundless ears.
I am alone
In the middle of a crowd
 And the bravery has all
But left me alone in the storms,
Huddled under silver maples
And Grecian column.
But maybe this is all a dream
And I can still wake up
To see the rainbow after the storm.

Day 17: Find a specialized dictionary, pick 10 terms, and write a poem about those terms.

Catharsis, Flats, Deus Ex Machina, Apron, Prologue, Foyer, Flies, Backdrop, Wings, Teasers

Story of the Tech Crew

A story they say,
Within a chorus the prologue begins,
Not just for actors, but crew
In wings and foyers and aprons,
Oh My!
Where rooms become real,
Catharsis unburdened,
Flying in on silent wings
Where Wendy’s house is
And the Beloved Peter’s can Fly
Backdropped into Neverland.
And the teasers hide the hands that make
Fantasy and Reality,
The real Deus Ex Machina,

Day 18: write a poem that incorporates “the sound of home.”


It’s in a name,
Called out—
A nickname.
A forgotten memory
Of jellybeans,
Oh my little Jellybean.
Not, so little anymore.

Day 19: write a “didactic” poem, something like “How to_______”.

How to Herd Cats (or Being a Stage Manager)

Ever wanted a challenge,
Something to make you think?
Remember that cats do not stay in one place.
The same goes for actors,
When you need they,
Off they wander.
A fruitless task,
Most days.
How to herd cats you say?
I don’t,
I’m a stage manager,
And when I speak
My actors listen.

Day 20: write a “kenning” poem. Kennings were riddle-like metaphors used in the Norse sagas. Basically, they are ways of calling something not by its actual name, but by a sort of clever, off-kilter description — for example, the sea would be called the “whale road.”

Open Home = Stage

My Home

When places I think of
Where I feel most safe,
The open home is one I return to,
Time and again.
Open home is familiar,
Though often is never the same.
First a forest glen,
Or maybe a forgotten island’s shore,
Maybe it’s a heath.
My open home is different each time,
But never am I very far from it’s securities.

Day 21: write a poem in the voice of minor character from a fairy tale, myth, or story.

MacDuff’s Son

Not much of a chance,
You say.
So little time before
The battle is at your door.
Not quite child,
Far from adult
But hardly afraid.
In that cry
You have been vindicated, Sirrah.

Day 23:  write a sonnet. I cheated and am using  sonnet I wrote in January (still counts though).

Actor’s Sonnet

When the lights are shining upon the stage
In a graceful ballet of illusion.
The silence is the proceeding mage,
In a battle that the audience won.

Of Bottom’s racing to the wall’s own keep
Where he at last professes his true lines.
Of his love to Dearest Thisby runs deep,
As you laugh at the lovers kissing signs.

Or imagine Prospero’s staff glossed,
Drumming in a macabre dance of storm.
Whilst the boat of royals quite tempest-tossed,
Until is beached upon the sand so warm.

And at the story’s end we do arrive,

Actors bow, hands do clap, we are alive.

Days 28 and 29: Beach Times and Backwards Macbeth

This is me catching up, Dear Readers. 

NaPoWriMo is drawing to a close and even though I spend much  of my time in Dunsinane and Scotland weaving the world's of The Bard, I am still committed to finishing NaPoWriMo 2016. Many of these poem are actually inspired from my time doing Macbeth. And as I wrap up this little corner of my world, and thus more onto other projects, shows, and plans, I will say that every NaPoWriMo has taught me something, challenged me in new ways, and made me realize why I wrote poetry.

I know not everyone is into poetry. Some people only give it a passing glance,or read it once and that is fine. I will never force someone to dredge through poetry if they don't want to. It is here if you like to read others poetry. It is here if you are curious about what I write about. And it is here, . I also write about what is going on in my world, hence why theatre will often show up.

Thank you for visiting. Please keep coming back. I have some plans for Here, There be a Writer, everything from poetry, to review, gripping news stories about French Fries or The Muppets. Let me some love, suggest a poetry topic or poetic form, or just say hi.

I have oe more day to NaPoWriMo, and one more multi-poem post to get through and then the rel work begins. Hope your Spring (or Winter in the Southern Hemisphere) is going  well. Happy Reading, Writing, Theatreing...

Day 29 Prompt: Write a poem using "I Remember" and memories to tell a story. I adapted this prompt a little.

Beach Times

I remember the taste of Lemon Ice sorbet,
All lemony and cold
Trailing down my throat
After a trip to beach
Or those freezy pops,
Blue tasted best.

I remember the not quite salty taste
That the lake water had,
As I gagged on the water
After turning somersaults underwater
Too many times to count.

I remember the sunshine
Warming my cold and clammy skin
from the lake water
in moves perfected from mermaids
and the smell of seaweed and sand.

I remember moments
Like waves,
Tides blowing in and out,
Fading with the tide,
Only to return

To remember those times.

Day 28 Prompt: Write a poem telling a story backwards.

Backwards Macbeth

All the was left,
Battle cries and blood
When the trees begin to move
And the ghosts are piling up
I don’t know anymore
The owl from the cricket cries.
What plans do you set my Lord?
From Cawdor to Glamis,
I shall seek to known more.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Benji: A Retrospective

Once upon a time there was a little mongrel named Benji....

Higgins as Benji
Actually, named Higgins, but played the title role in the 1974 movie. I grew up watching this movie over and over again. Probably was in my top 10 movie when I was younger. Interesting to note that out of the 6 movies made from 1974 to 1987, I only ever watched Benji and Oh! Heavenly Dog, the detective comedy starring Chevy Chase. I always thought that Oh! Heavenly Dog was fun and even cute, in retrospect not the best movie ever, but campy enough to warrant a place in my heart. Note: The Cinema Snob does a excellent review of the movie.

But what about Benji?

I recently acquired most of the Benji movies on DVD, and includeing a really nice VHS copy of Benji: The Hunted from my local Salvo Store. I do not have Benji Goes to Marineland or Benji, Zax, and the Alien Prince, yet. This blog will feature commentary on the original movie and the 2004 Benji off the Leash. Future blogs will discuss the other movies and more obscure productions.

I never thought of Benji as anything but a fun movie about a dog when I was growing up, but now when I watch it I feel that the movie is half "a day in the life of" Benji as he visits his friends in a Texas town, followed by a loosely built plot about kidnapping of the main children who are Benji's guardians. This doesn't mean that don't think Benji is a terrible film, but for character development, I feel that there is some lacking. The characters are all very basic, and generalyl really flat. I guess that is because the story is more about Benji, but sometimes it is nice to have developed human characters. Although Benji's acting is pretty spot on and stellar for a canine.

As for the movie, there are a fair number of human character that stand out. The two main kidnappers, Henry and Riley, are well played by (Tom Lester - Eb from Green Acres and Christopher Connelly - Paper Moon with Jodie Foster); and there's Deborah Walley as Linda Sue (she was Gidget in Gidget Goes Hawaiian and her character's name is my Mother's name, incidentally) to be a family friend adds a bit to the basic plot. As for storytelling, there could have been more of it and some subtext, but that's the inner storyteller in me kicking in. Benji is the star and stand out character. Trained by Frank Inn, who has trained Orangey the cat (from Breakfast at Tiffany's and The Diary of Anne Frank) andBenji can look everything from sad to pensive to excited. Higgins played Benji in the original Benji and For the Love of Benji movies, and whose daughter (named Benjean) played Benji in Oh! Heavenly Dog and Benji: the Hunted.

Another fun point are the special guest stars featured that included Francis Bavier as The Lady with the Cat (Aunt Bea from The Andy Griffith Show), Edgar Buchanan as Bill the cafe owner (Petticoat Junction and The Beverly Hillbillies), and Terry Carter as Officer Tuttle (McCloud and Battlestar Gallactia: Saga of a Star World and Second Coming).

Benji's Theme, "I Feel Love", sung by Charlie Rich was nominated for an Oscar and won a Golden Globe for Best Theme Song.

Benji was filmed in mostly in McKinney, Texas, but also in a park in Dallas, TX and the City Hall was used for the police station, in Denton, TX. And after having lived in Dallas for a bit I think I remember seeing the park where some of the scenes were filmed, but don't quote me on that. I found this video which shows some of the McKinney location, then and now. You can also see some comparison pictures on Todd Erwin's Blog, 1974 Locations.

Cut to 2004 when Joe Camp, director of the Benji movies returns to the franchise in Benji off the Leash. This little movie has  much more character development and a story that fills up a 90 minute run time than the original, but lacks the simplicity of the dog on camera action. The plot includes a boy whose father runs a puppy mill and is trying to save an ill dog and her puppies from the mill. The runt and mutt of the litter is cast out because she looks like a mongrel and not purebred like the others. The  boy raises the puppy in secret in his secret lair in the woods and then the puppy (dubbed Puppy throughout the movie) tries to rescue his mother from the puppy mill all while befriending another stray named Lizard Tongue, old Zachariah Finch, and two bumbling animal control officers.

Puppy turned Benji
There is clearly more of an attempt at a plot, and although very silly at times, it serves the Benji series well. While I harp on the original for a very simple plot and less than stellar character development, I can look at both the original Benji movie and now Benji Off the Leash with a fondness. There is a charm to them and the dogs are clearly very talented, often emoting more that some human actors.

If you like a like silliness and some camp you should check out the other Benji movies. Most of them are on DVD. Benji: the Hunted is currently only on VHS, and the others I have yet to find copies of any kind. According to the Meet Benji website Benji Goes to Marineland is due out on DVD soon!

Lizard Tongue - Benji Off the Leash
Benji (1974)
For the Love of Benji (1977)
Benji's Very Own Christmas Story (1978 - TV Special)
Oh! Heavenly Dog (1980)
Benji, Zax, and the Alien Prince (1983 - TV Show)
Benji: The Hunted (1987)
Benji Off the Leash (2004)
Benji goes to Marineland (this one maybe be harder to find)
Benji at Work
The Phenomenon of Benji 

Thanks, Dear Reader!

Day 27: Long Lines

Today's Prompt: write a poem with long lines, ones that extend beyond the normal length. 

An as this week is my post show crash from Macbeth, Dear Readers, you get another Macbeth, theatre related poem.

Theatrical Tempest

When the days begin to blur together in a mass of exposition
And I can hardly tell what day it is anymore,
I know that hell week has thusly descended into madness--
And the audience breaths, so I will I, hitting the stage.
It’s a marvel that everything is contained in one small space,
With costumes, props and, and set pieces whirling in common time.
When I am all but out of breath from chanting or sword fighting,
It’s what we do for our art, breathing to life something new
Something wasn’t didn’t exist before today.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Day 26: Shanty of the Asphalt Seas

Today's prompt: Call and Answer Poem.

I don't know if I did justice to this form, but as I havr been riding in cars for days and days, to and from rehearsals, I got this fun image about a car being a ship and riding the seas of roadways. I hope you enjoy, Dear Readers.

Shanty of the Asphalt Seas 

Riding upon the asphalt sea,
Riding upon the sea, upon the sea!
Riding upon the roadways, far away,
Riding far away, far away!
Riding within metal frame,
The metal frame, metal frame I say!
Riding to unknown destinations
Unknown destinations, I ride!