Sunday Best: Third Thursday Poets Meeting

This past week, my Third Thursday Poets had its regular meeting. For two hours each month, we write, share, and critique. We take turns facilitating, and the person in charge gives a homework assignment for the next session.

Since I was in charge last month, I gave the assignment for this month. I got the idea from Writing Poetry (Second Edition) by Barbara Drake, the textbook for a correspondence class in poetry I was taking from the Hadley Institute. The prompt was to write a six-line poem, using the following instructions.

 

Line 1. Write a line, a sentence, with a color in it (or two colors).

Line 2. Make a one-line statement about a town.

Line 3. Say something about a time of year, a season, or the weather.

Line 4. Finish a sentence that begins “I wish.” Line 5. Say something about a friend or a famous person.

Line 6. Finish a sentence beginning with the words, “Next year at this time.”

 

When we do these assignments, we each make copies to pass around and read our poem aloud. When I read mine, everyone thought it was funny, and no one offered suggestions for improvement. I guess that goes to show that you have to have a sense of humor about these things, and that there are times when a poem needs no improvement. Here’s what I wrote.

 

MY HOMETOWN

 

With blue sky, white clouds,

Sheridan, Wyoming, is the place to be

in summer when the sun shines,

far away from Donald Trump,

where Bill Cosby fades into the sunset.

Next year, I’ll be where I am now.

 

Now it’s your turn. See if you can write a six-line poem, using the above instructions. As you’re writing this, follow the instructions and don’t worry about it making sense at first. You can always go back and revise after you finish it.

Please feel free to share your results in the comments field. If you prefer, you can write about the best thing that happened to you this past week. In any case, I look forward to hearing from you.

 

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

 

Saturday Song: We Shall Overcome by Joan Baez

In light of events in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend, this song offers hope that maybe someday, we can overcome bigotry and hatred and live in peace. The name also happens to be the title of my first book. Despite all the violence in the world, I hope you can have a great Saturday.

 

 

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

Dumbest Thing I’ve Done by Cher’ley

What’s the dumbest thing you ever did? When I was a kid, I followed the wrong person in a grocery store. With limited vision, this wasn’t hard to do.

We’d recently moved to Sheridan, Wyoming, from Tuscon, Arizona, and I was about twelve at the time. It was winter, and while shopping in a supermarket with my mother and younger brother, I spotted a figure about the same age as my mother wearing a red coat with hood just like my mother was wearing. After I followed the figure up one aisle and down another, my younger brother, who was about five, seemed to appear out of nowhere laughing and said, “You’re following the wrong person.” The figure turned, and after the hood was removed, I realized it wasn’t my mother but an elderly man, who chuckled as my brother and I hurried away. Having a visual impairment can be a pain in the anatomy.

Now read Cherley’s story and share your own dumb things in the comments field.

Writing Wranglers and Warriors

This Blog  by Cher’ley Grogg

Fashion woman portrait

Over on the SDL Facebook wall, Dan Pearce asked: what was the most hilariously stupid thing you’ve ever done?

He got 24 favorite answers. Here are 3:

  1. I stopped at Hollister and inspected one of the sweaters on their mannequins. Only it wasn’t a mannequin. It was a guy waiting for his girlfriend to finish trying on clothes.
  2. When I was pregnant with our oldest I once waited for more than an hour for my husband to pick me up from work. I called him, madder than blazes that he hadn’t come to get me. After listening to my upset he very calmly informed me that I had the car.
  3. My mother, not wanting to lose my dad in the crowd at Disneyland, stuck her fingers down the back of my dad’s pants. She gave him several affectionate bare skin pats. Of course, my dad saw what…

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Thursday Book Feature: Writing past dark…

Writing past dark: envy, fear, distraction, and other dilemmas in the writer’s life

By Bonnie Friedman

Copyright 1993

 

In this collection of essays on the writing life, the author, through stories of her own experiences and those of others, explores such topics as envy, distractions, and success. She talks about attending a writing school and how it didn’t help her. She asks the question of whether or not to write about someone you know and reflects on the loneliness of the profession and the need for perfection. In the end, she shares how she was affected by one story being accepted for publication by The New York Times and a string of rejections that soon followed.

I was compelled to read this book because of an upcoming appearance by the author at one of my writing group meetings. Because her writing can be abstract, parts of the book didn’t hold my attention. Her comparison between writing and the Biblical story of Abraham sacrificing his son to prove his faith in God was, to me, absurd.

However, I found most of her stories interesting, like the account of how her parents reacted when they read a book she wrote about them. It made me think of my own memoir. I’m thankful I didn’t have anything really bad to write about anyone in that book. To learn more about My Ideal Partner, click here.

 

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

Breaks Are Important

Thanks to Linda Hasselstrom for inspiring this. Linda runs a writers’ retreat facility in South Dakota. In a recent post, she shares how one of her clients showed her the value of taking time to enjoy what is around you. She and this client have a point.

Recently when I returned home from entertaining at a nursing home, my plan was to take a nap, walk on the treadmill for half an hour, then finish a blog post and schedule it to go live in a couple of days. However the afternoon was sunny, though a bit windy, and a dip of salted caramel ice cream from the stand in the park called my name. I decided to skip the nap and walk to the park for that ice cream. That way, I could satisfy my craving and get my exercise in at the same time.

It was wonderful to sit at a picnic table near the ice cream stand and watch people come and go while enjoying my treat. After days of ninety-degree heat, I appreciated the cool breeze that rustled my hair and threatened to snatch my extra napkins.

It only took me about an hour to walk to the stand, purchase my scoop in a dish, eat it, and walk home, probably less time than if I were to have taken my nap and walked on the treadmill instead. When I returned to my computer, ready to finish my blog post, I was refreshed.

What do you like to do to give yourself a break and enjoy your surroundings? I look forward to reading about it in the comments field.

 

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

Music Monday: “Lean on Me,” by Playing for Change

I remember this song being popular when I was a kid. It still rings true, even today. In light of the horrible events in Charlottsville over the weekend, we all need someone to lean on, especially those who lost loved ones during this tragedy.

Sharon E. Cathcart

I admit, after this weekend’s events in Charlottesville, Virginia, I have been struggling to find the right song for Music Monday.  I considered “Man in Black,” but I’ve used it twice (here and here).  I posted “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “If I Had a Hammer” just the other day.

My heart is sore.  I have been angry and concerned, by turns, pretty much since last November.  I feel like Cassandra, with people telling me I was “overreacting” … only to be proven 100 percent correct.

Over the weekend, a woman named Heather Heyer was murdered by a white supremacist who drove his automobile, at speed, into a group of peaceful counterprotestors.  Nineteen other people were injured.  A young Black man named Deandre Harris was cornered in a parking garage and beaten with bats and clubs by white supremacists; the images are eerily reminiscent of the Klansmen…

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