How a Workshop Inspired a Poem #Tuesday Tidbit #Poetry

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

June and I have attended many poetry workshops together over the years. By the way, June isn’t her real name. I don’t want to embarrass her with the story I’m about to tell.

One year, we went to a workshop where the presenter was Dawn Senior-Trask. I don’t recall what year that was or where the workshop was held. I don’t remember too much about Dawn-Senior Trask except that she had worked with children. Naturally, she took in stride what transpired during the workshop.

In the morning, June and I were sitting side by side with other workshop participants. We’d just ben given a prompt, and we were writing away, minding our own business. Suddenly, June let loose a loud belch, and it was all I could do to keep from laughing. To her credit, she was usually not in the habit of large, aural expulsions of wind. When she realized what she’d done, she cried out in mortification. That made it even funnier. Fortunately, nobody else laughed, or I would have lost it.

That afternoon, Dawn Senior-Trask prompted us to write about something out of the ordinary. Below is what I wrote that day with a few minor revisions. Telling the story of poor June’s so-called fall from grace, it appears in my collection, How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver. You can click below to hear me read it. This weekend, June and I will attend another poetry workshop, and maybe, I’ll write another memorable poem.

Belch!

by Abbie Johnson Taylor

The room is silent

but for the scratch of pencil against paper,

murmur of voices,

flip, rip of pages.

Unexpected, it cuts through the silence,

raucous, obnoxious,

breaks my concentration.

I fight to diffuse a bomb of mirth

that threatens to explode.

The effort brings tears to my eyes.

After a moment, I continue writing,

but my heart’s not in it anymore.

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Image contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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Laughter, The Best Medicine #Wednesday Words, #Poetry

I like interjecting humor in my writing once in a while. I sometimes laugh at my own writing if I’ve made a typographical error that could be interpreted the wrong way. At other times, my writing has made people laugh when it hadn’t seemed funny.

Years ago, I was attending a poetry workshop with my friend Rose, with whom I’ve attended many such writing activities. In the morning, we were doing a writing exercise. Rose was seated next to me, and we were writing along, minding our own business, when suddenly, she let loose with a loud belch, followed by a cry of embarrassment.

Poor Rose, she’s a grandmother and a Methodist, not usually given to loud expulsions of wind. It was all I could do to keep from laughing. I somehow managed to get myself under control and finish the exercise. Later, during a break, Rose said that during that time, I’d looked like I was in pain, and she asked if I was all right. I told her I was.

That afternoon, the workshop presenter prompted us to write about something unusual or extraordinary. I jumped at the chance to write the following poem. I then shared it with the group, much to the delight of everyone, including Rose.

Now, in meetings of my local poetry group, some of whom attended that workshop, when anyone auditorily exhibits a bodily function, someone usually says, “Oh, Abbie, I’ll bet you’ll write a poem about that, won’t you?” Well, I tried writing a poem about an unusual-sounding hiccup but didn’t get very far.

Anyway, this poem appears in my collection, How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver. You can click the Play button below to hear me read it.

Belch!

 

The room is silent
but for the scratch of pencil against paper,
murmur of voices,
flip, rip of pages.
Unexpected, it cuts through the silence,
raucous, obnoxious,
breaks my concentration.
I fight to diffuse a bomb of mirth
that threatens to explode.
The effort brings tears to my eyes.
After a moment, I continue writing,
but my heart’s not in it anymore.

Thanks to fellow blogger Stevie Turner for inspiring the above post. If you’d like to participate in her blog hop on the subject of humor in writing, click here.

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Services for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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My Amazon Author Page

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Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Losing Bill, a Poem

Abbie-1

 

 

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LOSING BILL

 

 

The Nurse

 

He’d only been living here a month,

although he came frequently for respite care

while his wife went to writers conferences.

He loved bragging about her,

the author of two books,

When his decline made caring for him difficult,

he moved here to stay.

 

After that, he went downhill,

lost strength in his good arm

needed help eating,

developed bed sores so painful

he couldn’t sit up for long.

One day, he quit eating,

was given oxygen.

His wife signed end-of-life papers.

Four days later when I came to work, he was gone.

 

The Husband

 

For six years,

I couldn’t use my left arm or leg.

My wife did everything,

wiped me when I pooped,

dressed me, got me out of bed,

helped me with my computer,

prepared meals, did laundry and other chores.

Other women would have walked away-

she didn’t, despite limited vision.

For six years, I was happy until

 

I didn’t feel like eating.

It became harder and harder for my wife to lift me

so I reluctantly agreed to move to a nursing home.

She visited me every day.

We went out once or twice.

Although I wanted to be involved,

it was too hard, too painful.

 

I wanted to be in a better place.

I knew it would be a shock for her

so I held on as long as I could.

When she finally gave me permission, I went.

 

The Wife

 

The nurse’s call woke me at 6 a.m.

I thought, this is it, I’m a widow.

I knew it was coming.

In a way, it was a relief,

but that didn’t take away the emptiness.

At his bedside in the nursing home,

I kissed his cold face,

positioned my cheek in front of his still mouth,

expecting a response—none came.

I buried my face in his soft hair,

caressed his cold chest,

told him I loved him,

took his belongings,

my life changed forever.

 

The Wife, Four Years Later

 

His suitcase from the nursing home sits in the closet, still packed.

His computer and other belongings gather dust

in the nook off the kitchen that was his for years.

Whether I find someone new,

there will always be a place in my heart for him.

Life and love go on.

(((

I wrote the above poem during a workshop this past weekend given by University of Wyoming instructor Lori Howe. Click this link to hear me read it. Please check out my new memoir to read more of our story.

***

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.

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