Carrot Ranch Literary Community

Home » Saloon (Page 2)

Category Archives: Saloon

Saddle Up Saloon: Liz Husebye Hartmann in the Author’s Chair

“Folks we’re real pleased to welcome Liz Husebye Hartmann ta the Author’s Chair this month.”

“Thet’s right. You know her as a friendly Ranch hand and a real fine writer. Here she is.

Howdy Liz! Thanks fer comin’ by with a story.”

“Hello Pal, hello Kid. It’s good to be in the Saloon. I’m going to read ‘A Giant Problem Solved’.”

“Yippee! I sure enjoy yer tales.”

Giant Problem Solved  

by Liz Husebye Hartmann

(Trigger alert: Not a tale for the wee ones)

Hugo’s belly pangs rumbled down the darkening mountainside above Heffinger Hollow. He was sorely tempted to nibble on a half-cooked morsel or two of the spunky spelunkers that frequented Carbuncle Caverns. This particular group of spelunkers had surprised the village by sneaking in to the Carbuncle and setting out to explore without a guide. They’d zigged when they should have zagged on that seventh leg of the descent, and had fallen deep into the bowels of the lowest cavern of Carbuncle. 

This had proved deadly for them, but put their corpses within easy reach of Hugo.

But a bit of history, first…

Several millennia ago, the Hollow’s ancestors had agreed to a quarterly human sacrifice, demanded by the Weather Gods in exchange for good hunting, abundant harvests, a healthy populace, and the like. Then, a handful of centuries ago, Hugo had been dropped on them by an angry Goddess, who’d demanded he do something useful and make amends though service. No one dared ask what he’d done, opting instead to accept him as a member of the community, and the new middle man in the quarterly sacrifice.

The villagers were grateful that Hugo had turned out to be fairly reasonable (for a giant), as well as a terrific strategist for a modern-day tourism plan that now kept him fed, and the close-knit community of Heffinger safe from the prying eyes of the media and those pesky, intrepid folklorists. No tourist had ever registered complaint over the occasional roll of light thunder through clear skies; stormy weather always passed quickly. Dining, shopping, and spelunking plans were never canceled due to inclement weather.

And if Hugo and the Hollow had found a creative way to appease the Gods, feed the giant, keep the tourists and spelunkers coming and their local economy healthy, then that was best for everyone. After all, the villagers needed to change with the times.

But on this particular day…

On this particular day that was neither the beginning, nor the end of the quarter, Hugo was very hungry. His stomach was rumbling, and his unhappy belches began to fill the pristine sky with noxious green clouds. 

UPS delivery to remote Heffinger Hollow was dodgy at its best, and Hugo had been late in getting out his bi-monthly order for HealthyMealz Krunchy Snackz ® (registered trademark). Not one to overlook an opportunity, Hugo had reached his long arm into the lowest cavern of the Carbuncle, fished out the dead bodies with his hairy fingers, and spitted the spelunkers. Waste not, want not, he reasoned.

Now the people of the Hollow looked up at the mountain with a little bit of terror as lightning ripped across the sky. The Weather Gods were clearly not pleased. Was this to be the end of their peaceful and prosperous life?  

Hugo quickly owned up to his mistake. He swore to the Weather Gods and Goddesses that he would do better next time, and never again be caught without a proper snack to see him through to his next meal. For that reason, and to demonstrate his sincerity and commitment, he had made himself wait, stomach rumbling and popping, as he rotated the sizzling spelunkers over his camp fire with the one hand, and shook the tiny canister of Hot Seasons Cheddar Sprinkles ™ (trademark, patent pending) with the other. 

Forgiving himself, he felt he deserved an extra portion of the cheese seasoning since he hadn’t had a snack since the day before yesterday; the athletic spelunkers tended toward being quite lean, and more than a little dry. And for pre-seasoning food prep, he’d rubbed the bodies with lanolin from a couple of very large sheep he’d plucked off the mountainside, promptly replacing the dazed creatures back with their herd.

It was a brilliant bit of ethical and sustainable sourcing. 

Hugo leaned backward into a nearby waterfall and drank deeply of its tumbling waters to soothe his stomach as he waited. 

The Gods, intrigued by his culinary imagination, were appeased. No more lightning. Gone was the green cloud and noxious fumes, and a beautiful full moon rose over the mountain and into every corner of the Hollow to promise continued prosperity. The Heffinger Hollow folk raised their noses and marveled at the rich scent carried on the now-clean winds, and considered that a quick and immediate visit to the giant might be in order. They packed up their kegs of Heffinger Dark Brew and made it a party.

And of course, they all lived happily ever after, and considered a new supply chain for Hugo’s meals, as well as a different delivery service for snacks. And if Hugo had not finished nibbling spelunkers then, he is surely nibbling them still.

Snip Snap Snu, and now my tale is through.

© Liz Husebye Hartmann (2021) (10/03/ 2021)

“Thet was a fine tellin’ of a fine tale Liz. Are ya ready for questions about it?”

“I am!”

“Okay folks, interact an’ ask questions in the comments section. Ya might even git randomly drawn ta win a free book! Last month’s winner is Nan who will relieve a copy of The Fire Keeper’s Daughter.”

“Yes, grab a cup of coffee, tea, or whatever is your favorite beverage, and say hi! The valley is open, the weather hospitable, and the trolls very friendly. And since the story shared here is about as fictional as they come, feel free to pose any question. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll make something up. Cuz fiction (wink!)”

Liz Husebye Hartmann is a Midwest dabbler in fiction, modern fairytales, and poetry. Her shorter works can be found online at https://valleyofthetrolls.blog/, in various chapbooks and anthologies, and most recently, “This Was 2020: Minnesotans Write About Pandemics and Social Justice in a Historic Year” (2021). 

Contact Kid and Pal’s writer, D. Avery, if you want to take a seat in the Author’s Chair here at the Saddle Up Saloon.

Saddle Up Saloon: Anyone Can Poem

It’s yet another month of Anyone Can Poem. The Management (me) would like to apologize for delays in responding to submitted poetry. I don’t spend all my time ’round these parts, and it’s startin’ to show …specifically, I’m delivering a baby boy this Tuesday and have been busy with cookin’ him.

Now… on to poetry.

I shore hope you took time to run through the steps we outlined last time we gathered. They’re a might helpful for creating any poem.

Speaking of, I think it’s time to try a poetic form. We’ve done simple haiku and limericks. Let’s move on to Acrostic.

Acrostic is easy. Children write Acrostic poems with letters of their name. Bloggers write them with no rhyme or reason…

That’s probably the pregnancy hormones acting up. The point is that this sort of poem does not have to be terrible. And it’s a great way to keep to a form and not get too difficult.

What is an Acrostic poem?

An acrostic is a poem or other composition in which the first letter (or syllable, or word) of each line (or paragraph, or other recurring feature in the text) spells out a word, message or the alphabet.

Wikipedia

That’s it! The only trick is that I want you to write your Acrostic while keeping everything we’ve learned till now in mind. You’re only doing yourself a disservice if I see:

Charming as a sloth
Hiding chocolate
Everywhere
Like a sloth

Pick a word. Write or type it vertically down a page so each line begins with each letter of your word. Then, imagine the feeling you wish to convey with that word. I want to feel that whilst reading your entire Acrostic. Gallop round the outline I gave last month and you’ll be golden.

Submissions are now closed. Find our latest challenge to enter.

Finally, share what you wrote. We’d love to read your poem in the comments. Or, feel free to use the form and only I will see it. No stress; just fun.

—–

©2021 Chel Owens

Saddle Up Saloon; Howdy Rochelle Wisoff-Fields!

“Hey Kid. I see ya got a innerview with Rochelle Wisoff-Fields this week. I ‘member her from our first art show at the Saloon.”

“That’s right Pal, an’ the second art showin’ too. Oh, here she is now. Howdy Rochelle!”

“Hello Kid, hello Pal.”

“Rochelle, many of us know you from yer blog where ya host and write fer Friday Fictioneers. But yer also a visual artist. When did ya first idennify as ‘artist’?”

“Kid, I can’t remember a time I didn’t identify as an artist. You might say I was born with a purple crayon clenched in my fist. Some of my earliest childhood memories include those of my Sunday school classmates fighting over my drawings. 

My mother was slightly less enamored with my earliest works, saying she could never find a blank piece of paper because ‘Rochelle scribbled on every sheet.’”

“So which came first, the visual art or the literary art?”

“The visual art. Although, I was quite the daydreamer and would often make up stories in my head. Often, I would illustrate these stories on paper while I was supposed to be paying attention in class. I can’t tell you how many times this got me in trouble with my teachers.” 


“Ha!”

“I’m wunderin’, d’ya have different muses or inspirations for yer different arts?”

“What a great question. I’ve never really thought about it before. I’d have to say yes. Although my writing muse speaks to me in pictures…more like movies. I see the scenes and hear the characters’ voices. 

“My painting muse speaks to me in pictures as well. Surely, I’m not the only one, but there are times we’ll be at a restaurant or at someone’s house for dinner when I look at the glasses and think what a great painting they would make. Recently I was inspired by a ketchup bottle.

The same thing happens with landscapes. Once, while working out on my elliptical trainer I saw an amazing shelf cloud. I had to stop pedaling and snap a picture. What did we do before cell phones that double as cameras?” 


“Right? As ya know, Rochelle, we opened up this here Saloon at the beginnin’ a the pandemic, ta give folks a place ta git away an’ ta keep us busy. How was yer arts effected by the pandemic?”

“During the first few months of lockdown I finished a novel I’d been dragging my heels on.  After I delivered the manuscript and book proposal to my agent, I dove headfirst into my watercolors.” 
“So were ya more productive when staying at home during Covid, or less productive?

“One of my bloggers nailed me when he accused me of being a social media extrovert and a real-life introvert. So I really wasn’t scratching at the door begging to go out. Save for swimming. I hated the pool being closed. Anyway, back to the actual question. Was I more or less productive? When I say I threw myself into it it’s no exaggeration. There were advantages in having fewer distractions. Between painting whatever I wanted and the commissions that came in, I counted at least forty-two paintings by the end of 2020.”

“Thet seems like a lot ta me!” 

“Rochelle, tell about the virtual art fairs that you took part in.”

“As for the virtual art fairs, we artists made a concerted effort setting up Zoom meetings and virtual booths. We had a great time getting to know each other, however, at the end of the day, the fairs were disappointing in the sales department.” 

“What hepped ya the most through that time?

“Painting was the main thing. I threw myself into my art. 

Online connections like Friday Fictioneers, the blog challenge I facilitate. We have a supportive international community. 

I lost count of how many shows I binge-watched while working out on my elliptical trainer. I watched the news as little as possible. Just enough to know what was going on.

Walking around the neighborhood. I live in the perfect area for that. I might know every inch within a three-mile radius.”

“What’s a book that you think more people should read?”

“Why my books of course. Wink wink. I actually don’t have a good answer.”

“Well, I read yer trilogy an’ sure think others would also enjoy the characters an’ story.” 

“Thanks Kid.”


“Is there a visual artist or a particular painting that has influenced or inspired you Rochelle?”

“Garth Williams who illustrated the Little House books.”

“Oh yeah. The Little House books and Stuart Little and Charlotte’s Web, among others.” 

“Yes. I emulated him when I was a youngster. Norman Rockwell has always been my hero.  Mary Cassatt’s mother and child paintings speak to me. At the same time, I love the drama of Van Gogh’s works. I’m a fan of impressionists such as Claude Monet. I’d have to say all of the above have influenced my current work.” 

(Not Kid’s goats, not the Poet Tree)



“What’s the best advice you ever got?”

“It didn’t come directly to me but through a monologue of a rabbi/singer Danny Maseng. His grandfather told him, ‘Be true to your gift. Don’t waste time.’ My advice is, Keep pursuing your dreams. You’re never too old.” 

“Thank you for this innerview Rochelle.”

“Thank you Kid and Pal.”

www.rochellewisoff.com

www.rochellewisoff.com/art

www.rochellewisoff.com/books

SADDLE-UP SALOON; COLLEEN’S #DOUBLEENNEAD CHALLENGE NO. 9

Happy October! Welcome to a new Carrot Ranch #DoubleEnnead monthly poetry challenge. Every third Monday of the month, I’ll be here at the Saloon with another challenge to help get your poetic juices flowing. Each month, we will explore a different theme or image to inspire our poetry. Take your time, there’s no hurry! You have an entire month to write your poem.

HINT: You can find this post again by typing double ennead challenge in the search box to the right of the Carrot Ranch banner. That will bring up the most recent challenge post. ❤

Check out the poems from last month HERE

The word Ennead means nine, and a double nine is ninety-nine! Carrot Ranch is famous for 99-word flash fiction. Now, the ranch has its own syllabic poetry form written in 99 syllables!

The Double Ennead comprises five lines with a syllable count of 6/5/11/6/5, (33 SYLLABLES per stanza) 3 STANZAS EACH = 99 SYLLABLES, NO MORE, NO LESS! Punctuation and rhyme schemes are optional and up to the poet.

We’ve been writing 99 syllable poetry for a few months now. Explore your own 99 syllable structure. In other words, you don’t have to abide by the syllable structure above. Just make sure that your poem comes out to 99 syllables! Have fun and experiment. I did!

Image by Bany_MM from Pixabay

October is my favorite month of the year! Halloween is just around the corner. As a child, I loved this holiday and still do today. I think the attraction was the opportunity to switch identities for one night a year. At Halloween, you could be anything you wanted simply by changing your appearance.

If you could assume any form or persona, what would you choose?

What is a Persona Poem?

Scott Sigil shares his definition: “A persona poem is a poem written in first person from the perspective of someone or something other than yourself. When writing a persona poem, the poet embodies a figure from history, or a fictional character, or even an inanimate object, and writes imagining what that person or thing might say if they had the chance to write a poem.” (Persona Poems by Scott Sigil)

Let’s celebrate Halloween together by writing a persona poem in the style of a double ennead. Be creative! Let your imagination run wild! Have fun!

My example follows:

"A Wise Woman's Companion"

the veil thins when dusk falls
Samhain spirits rise
now, the purveyors of death walk among us...
maybe crones in disguise?
black magic lives on

they burned us at the stake
not believing our truths, only lies
bad luck, or animal-shaped spies?
my coal-black color determined my death

my reputation's ruined
by superstitions,
ancient mythologies, and false statements...
My one redeeming feature—
black cats have nine lives!

© Colleen M. Chesebro

This month, write a double ennead poem where you assume a persona. It can be Halloween related, or not. Remember, your poem must have 99 syllables in total. Have fun!

  • Post your poem on your blog or in the comments if you don’t have a blog by Friday, November 12, 2021.
  • Include a link back to this challenge in your post. (copy the https:// address of this post into your post).
  • Read and comment on your fellow poet’s work. Feedback from other poets is how we grow our poetry writing craft.
  • Like and leave a comment below if you choose to do so.
  • I’ll visit, comment, and share your poetry on social media!

Chloe & Sophie assert that no black cats were harmed in the creation of this poem!

Now have fun and write some double ennead poetry!

Saddle Up Saloon; Robbie Cheadle in the Author’s Chair

“Pal! It’s our first real Author’s Chair segment! With Robbie Cheadle!”

“Robbie Cheadle? She’s a prolific writer, an’ in many genres. Whatever she shares, it’s sure ta be good. Here she is now.

Howdy Robbie. Welcome ta the Author’s Chair here at the Saddle Up Saloon stage.”

“Hello Pal, hello Kid. It’s good to be here.”

“What’re ya gonna read?”

“Today I’ll be reading Part 1 of Chapter 1 of While the Bombs Fell. I wrote this fictionalised memoir of my mother’s life growing up as a small girl in an English town during World War II. My mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton is a contributing author.”

“I am ready for questions and comments.”

“Thank you Robbie Cheadle!”

“Folks, be sure ta engage in the conversation ’bout Robbie’s readin’. Ya could git yer name drawn and win a book. Congratulations Liz Husebye Hartmann fer bein’ our winner from the last Chair!”

Robbie Cheadle is a South African children’s author and poet with 9 children’s books and 1 poetry book.

The 7 Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision.

Robbie has also published 2 books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.

Robbie has 2 adult novels in the paranormal historical and supernatural fantasy genres published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. She also has short stories in the horror and paranormal genre and poems included in several anthologies.

Follow Robbie Cheadle at:

Website

Blog

Twitter

Find Robbie’s books:

Lulu.com (paperbacks and ebooks)

Amazon US (paperbacks)

Amazon UK (paperbacks)

Saddle Up Saloon: Anyone Can Poem

Whew! Welcome to Anyone Can Poem, the time when we scare away the I-can’t-coyotes and embrace the I-will-wallabies.

Yes, our rodeo has wallabies.

Thank you to all the amazing poets who responded to my challenge to murder their children -erm, to remove their unnecessary or superfluous words.

Now, after taking out extra adverbs, adjectives, and grandiose language; we will spend this month filling our poetry with the best words.

How do you choose the best words? Easy.

  1. Decide what your poem (or, intended poem) is about. What moment do you want to capture; what feeling do you want the reader to feel; what action do you want to encapsulate?
  2. Which form (metered, rhymed, free verse, specific syllable count) do you feel works best with your theme?
  3. Take time to free-write descriptors, actions, feelings, colors -WHATEVER about the poetic moment.
  4. Pick your favorites from Step 3. Form phrases. Make it poetic.
  5. Form those pieces into a ‘final’ poem.
  6. Take the poem, line by line, and check if the words you picked are just showing off. Check if they are flowery. Make sure they are not fluffy bits of wallaby fur only intended to look cute.
  7. Instead; pick impactful, meaningful words and phrases that put the reader in the moment.

Let’s say my answer to #1 is chocolate. I want to capture the delectable moment when a piece of chocolate melts across your tongue and drips down your throat. Ah, the anticipation! The sensation! The bliss!

For #2, I choose to write it free-verse.

#3, Free-write: chocolate, rich, tasty, moist, mouthful, bliss, gurgling tummy, slip down, melt, rich goodness, milk chocolate, smooth, tantalizing, anticipation, square….

Now, I pick my favorites (#4) and smash them into a poem (#5):
Milky mouthful slips and drips
Across my licking, moist tongue
Come to me, my choc’late bliss

Slip down down down to my gurgling tummy.

Oh, dear. I have some removal to do of extra words (#6). While I’m at it, I’ll change or add better words (#7):
Milky mouthful slips and drips Rich and silky milky slice
Across my licking, moist tongue -Simmers on my tongue
Come to me, my choc’late bliss -Melting down; oh, choc’late bliss!

Slip down down down to my gurgling tummy. Anticipation, come.

Hmm. Looks like it wanted to be formed after all. In terms of word choice, what do you think? Did I pick impactful or unnecessary? What would you edit or suggest?

Now, as always, it’s your turn. Go through the steps. Edit and refine. Then, send me what you’ve got or share it in the comments. You can also share what you’ve got at any point along the steps, for pointers. I’m happy to help.

And, above all, have fun!

Submissions are now closed. Find our latest challenge to enter.

—–

©2021 Chel Owens

Saddle Up Saloon; D. Avery in the Author’s Chair

“Pal, I thought the Author’s Chair feature weren’t till October.”

“Yep, hopin’ ta git someone ta read on October 11th. This here’s like a pilot.”

“Well, I’m sure it’ll take off. Okay, so we won’t have much of a role ‘cept ta innerduce, somethin’ like: 

Howdy, D. Avery. Welcome ta the Author’s Chair.”

“Hello Kid. Pal. Thank you for trying this out with me.”

“What did ya bring ta read t’day?”

“I want to share something you haven’t seen but that was prompted through the weekly challenges. You might recognize Tisquantum, more commonly known as Squanto, from responses to earlier Carrot Ranch prompts. This following one I wrote for the recent “Big Black Horse” prompt:

Reined In

They were the size of moose. Slany called those animals horses. He laughed when I asked if they tasted like deer. 

I remember a black one I saw, bigger and more muscled than other horses I’d seen. Its hide was dark and shiny. The hair on its neck was long, straight and black, like mine. 

Like all English, the man astride this horse’s back was small and dirty. But that great animal, solid and silent, did his bidding.

‘Come,’ Swany clucked, and I followed him along the crowded street to Cornhill while people gawked and stared up at me.

Okay. I’m ready for questions and comments. But first I want to remind you what Charli said in her September 23rd post:

We want to encourage reader interaction and invite the community to ask questions of the featured author. A week after posting, we will randomly draw a name from those who asked questions to offer a free book from the Carrot Ranch Community. 

For this trial run we are offering Chicken Shift to the lucky winner. 

So ask your questions about my “Reined In”— I have lots to say about this! 

And consider signing up to take a seat and read to us from your own writing. I look forward to hearing many voices from the Author’s Chair here at the Saloon.

D. Avery is the author of two books of poetry and one of flash fiction, ‪‪with a growing number of published pieces in print, e-magazines, and anthologies. D.’s writings can be sampled at ShiftnShake. When not writing, D. is in the woods or on the water catching stories. 

View: Amazon author page

Twitter: @daveryshiftn

Contact: shiftnshake@dslayton.com

SADDLE-UP SALOON; COLLEEN’S DOUBLE ENNEAD CHALLENGE NO. 8

Happy September! Welcome to a new Carrot Ranch double ennead monthly poetry challenge. Every third Monday of the month, I’ll be here at the Saloon with another challenge to help get your poetic juices flowing. Each month, we will explore a different theme or image to inspire our poetry. Take your time, there’s no hurry! You have an entire month to write your poem.

HINT: You can find this post again by typing: double ennead challenge in the search box to the right of the Carrot Ranch banner. That will bring up the most recent challenge post. ❤

Check out the poems from last month HERE

The word Ennead means nine, and a double nine is ninety-nine! Carrot Ranch is famous for 99-word flash fiction. Now, the ranch has its own syllabic poetry form written in 99 syllables!

The Double Ennead comprises five lines with a syllable count of 6/5/11/6/5, (33 SYLLABLES per stanza) 3 STANZAS EACH = 99 SYLLABLES, NO MORE, NO LESS! Punctuation and rhyme schemes are optional and up to the poet.

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

With the first day of Autumn quickly approaching on September 22nd, my thoughts naturally turn to pumpkin spice, hot apple desserts, and warm cuddly blankets. Think about how this season interacts with our five (or six) senses: taste, touch, sight, smell, and hearing.

“Your five senses help you take in information from the world around you. These senses are also a powerful tool to use when you’re writing. They help convey a message to readers by providing a strong image in their heads.” Source: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/article-5-senses-in-poetry

For example, think about Autumn and describe it using your five senses:

  • Taste: pumpkin spice, mulling spices, apples, pears, harvest foods, etc.
  • Touch: wet rain, cold fog, warm sunlight, soft blankets, bonfires, etc.
  • Sight: leaf piles, fall color, red gold and orange leaves, wheat sheaves, corn stalks, bales of hay, pumpkins, etc.
  • Smell: wet, moldy, wet leaves, decayed leaves, pumpkin spice, baked bread, etc.
  • Hearing: autumn rains, cool or stormy winds blowing, geese honking in migratory flocks, etc.

My example follows:

"Lady Autumn"

welcome Lady Autumn— 
wet dew on grasses,
foggy sunrise awash over the fenland
sunshine between shadows,
chilly to the touch

red-tipped maples glitter
embracing the Queen 
of all seasons, trouping their finest colors
like burnished leaves displayed
in a royal crown

nothing gilded can stay
every leaf must fall
for a vivid autumn is death's finest hour
cold rain despoils the bracts
death, decay follow

© 2021 Colleen M. Chesebro

This month, write a double ennead poem dedicated to Autumn. Pay special attention to sensory words.

  • Post it on your blog or in the comments if you don’t have a blog.
  • Include a link back to this challenge in your post. (copy the https:// address of this post into your post).
  • Read and comment on your fellow poet’s work. Feedback from other poets is how we grow our poetry writing craft.
  • Like and leave a comment below if you choose to do so.
  • I’ll visit, comment, and share your poetry on social media!

Now have fun and write some double ennead poetry!

Saddle Up Saloon; Linkin’ Inklings

“Kid, is thet…”

“Yep. We got ranch hand and columnist Sue Spitulnik ta take the stage. Howdy Sue!”

“Hello Kid, hello Pal. It’s good to be here again.”

“I fer one am real glad ta see ya Sue. What d’ya got fer us t’day?”

“I’d like to share another stage, Pal. I’m here to invite Carrot Ranchers and any writers to take part in Inklings.”

“I ain’t got an inklin’ what thet is.”

“Inklings is a weekly online writing “critique” Zoom meeting, open to the public through the Lilac City Rochester Writers (NY state).”

“Think I mighta heard Shorty goin’ on ‘bout thet group.”

“Well, Charli Mills recently gave a great presentation to this writing group. She talked about the need for three bios and how to tweak them for specific purposes. Of course, my group was impressed with her. She was impressed with our organization and the questions people asked. It was a win-win and I got to introduce my mentor/friend.”

“So how does this work, Sue? You say anyone can take part?”

“Yes. Inklings is hosted every Tuesday from 8 PM to 10 PM EST by David Woodruff. As president of LCRW, I attend regularly. Authors take turns sharing the screen and reading small bits of their WIP work aloud. Then other attendees express what is working and what isn’t. We do our best to not do line edits as we are usually working with first drafts.”

“Soun’s friendly enough.”

“It is! I usually read my weekly 99 word flash. Even those can be improved when others see/hear them. As we say at the LCRW Inklings website:

What if there was a place you could meet your fellow writers virtually? What if there was a place where you could read your draft work to others, without having to edit it or spend hours using a spell checker? What if there was a place you could help other writers with their work… no prep necessary? Now there is. Every Tuesday 8 PM

The group is different from other groups because we focus on what the writer has left out that makes the story clear to the reader. As writers, we know what our characters are thinking and doing, but sometimes we don’t share enough details for the reader to get what we are trying to convey. This group shares thoughts of whether the writer has accomplished their goals.”

“Sounds good, Sue.” 

“It is. Barbara Helene Smith says ‘The weekly Inklings sessions provide excellent feedback on my submissions, but I also learn even more from the comments on the other contributors’ works. Join us on Tuesday evening at 8:00 and become a better writer.’ And Rick Taubold has found the group to be very helpful; ‘It has offered diverse perspectives on my writing that are hard to come by otherwise. The various comments have given me good insights on how to improve my storytelling.’

I know for me, listening to all the comments with an open mind has helped me improve my own writing because I have become more aware of what to do to engage a reader and keep them wanting more. And participants do not have to be members of LCRW.”

“Really?”

“Really. Some of us are regulars and members, but we get other participants. Inklings and can be found on Meet-up. That’s where the Zoom link for the 2-hour sessions is. You must join the LCRW meetup group to be able to click on the events tab, and then the Zoom image to get the meeting link. But there is no other obligation.”

“So we kin jist go ta   https://www.meetup.com/lilaccity-rochesterwriters/   ta join in?”

“That’s all, Kid. And you get camaraderie and feedback on your WIP.”

“Wow! Thanks fer sharin’ Sue.”

“Thank you Kid and Pal!”


I
f asked, Pal & Kid will deny that they spill from the pen of D. Avery. They claim to be free ranging characters who live and work at Carrot Ranch and now serve up something more or less fresh every Monday at the Saddle Up Saloon. If you or your characters are interested in saddling up to take the stage as a saloon guest, contact them via shiftnshake@dslayton.com.

Saddle Up Saloon: Anyone Can Poem

If’n your summer (or winter) has been as busy as mine, I shore do ‘preciate your comin’ back for more poeming.

Still, I didn’t get many volunteers in last month‘s offer to send me your poem needing a bit of meter-tinkering. The offer is open, even if you’re reading this months or years after its posting.

Now, on to more FUN poetry specifics:

If my #1 pet peeve is meter, my #2 is when people write poetry for entirely the wrong reasons and are therefore showing off.

Their work is flowery, superfluous, showy, fluffy, wordy, adverby -in short, too much tell AND show in some of the worst ways possible. Their poem ends up a mash of obscure words and emotional pleas that lack a concise theme.

If a poet is new to The Game, s/he will do this innocently.

If a poet is old to the game, s/he will do so because swaths of followers are wowed by a naïve misunderstanding of what really makes poetry good. What will make it memorable. What makes it timeless.

How do you avoid this pitfall? The same way you do with regular writing exercises: brutal murder of useless words.

“When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done.”

Stephen King

This is one reason why I believe Dr. Seuss is among the poetic masters. How many words does he use in The Cat in the Hat? And yet, I love it. And yet, with my kids, that book I still get…

This is also why, in intentionally ignoring the other rules haiku must follow, I had us try 5-7-5 for our first form. I am sorry to those who felt stabbed at my casual treatment. It had to be done.

Make your poem concise!

Compact!

To a point -please, please have a point to your poetry!

Easier said than done? Nah.

The way I see it, the most common reason a poet strays too far is because the poem doesn’t feel special enough. We have a misconstrued idea that poetry must be mysterious (obscure), beautiful (flowery), long (wordy), and impressive (vainglorious). It DOESN’T; at least, not in the blundering way we try to get it there.

The purpose of a poem is to capture the feelings of a moment and then use the artistry of words and meter to convey that exact moment and its feelings to another.

So, take your moment; your idea.

  1. Write the moment. Try the first exercise we did, word balloons, free-writing, doodling, or finger paints.
  2. Form the words of your moment more poetically. If you feel comfortable following a form, do so. If free verse appeals, try that.
  3. Follow the first two steps a few times. Let someone else read what you’ve got and tell you what they think you’re writing about.
  4. Next, fix the meter. Even free verse poetry follows a meter.
  5. Last and most difficult, murder the unnecessary.
  6. Polish.

And, I want you to use the attached form to send me what you’ve got at any step along the way. I’m happy to give pointers and I NEVER judge writers negatively. Writing’s difficult enough without worrying about judgment.

If you feel up to it, comment with what you end up with after step 6.

I’m waiting.

—–

©2021 Chel Owens