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Saddle Up Saloon: Anyone Can Poem

Welcome, ladies and gents, to Anyone Can Poem, the rodeo where …well, anyone can poem.

Last time we were in the saddle, I introduced the basics of haiku. We used its general syllable outline to jump in and have some fun.

Where will we ride from here?

To limericks.

A limerick (/ˈlɪmərɪk/) is a form of verse, usually humorous and frequently rude, in five-line, predominantly anapestic trimeter with a strict rhyme scheme of AABBA, in which the first, second and fifth line rhyme, while the third and fourth lines are shorter and share a different rhyme.

Wikipedia

I don’t know about you, pard’ner, but that was a whole chunk of intimidating text. -And limericks are not intimidating.

They’re fun. They’re edgy. They’re funny!

There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, ‘It is just as I feared!
Two Owls and a Hen,
Four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard!’
-Edward Lear

Like haiku, limericks follow a form. Myself, I find this form easy to write to once I pick up on the beat. Try reading Edward Lear’s (credited as being the master limerickist) contribution out loud. Still not hearing it? Here are a few more:

A wonderful bird is the pelican,
His bill holds more than his belican.
He can take in his beak,
Enough food for a week,
But I’m damned if I see how the helican.
-Dixon Lanier Merritt

Alas for the death of Hugh Hannity
Whose boat was capsized by a manatee.
When they saw it swim by,
All the townsfolk would cry:
“There he goes! Oh the beast! The Hugh manatee!”
-Graham Lester

Now do you hear it? Do you feel it? Anyone can poem a limerick, including me:

There once was a mother of four
Who never could sweep up her floor.
The clothes and the toys
Were stuck beneath boys.
Daddy wonders who taught them to swore.
Chel Owens

  1. The pattern of AABBA and anapestic trimeter means that you start with two longer lines that rhyme. In the case of Lear’s poem, the rhymes are beard and feared.
  2. Next, you pick two shorter lines that rhyme with a different word. Again, with Lear’s, those words are Hen and Wren.
  3. Finally, you end with a zinger of the same length as the first two lines that also rhymes with them. Lear uses beard again -that cheater.

Whenever I set out to write a limerick, I first choose a subject. For today’s rodeo, let’s pick everyone’s favorite duty: cleaning up after animals. Not only will this subject fulfill the necessities of being somewhat inappropriate and humorous, it will provide many easy-to-rhyme words.

Some possible opening lines:
There once was a man named O’Coot.
There once was a grand rodeo.
I went to the show to just sit.

There! The most difficult part is over, especially since I picked some easy rhymers (except for rodeo). O’Coot can match up with poop scoop and boot and shoot! Sit, on the other hand, has at least one possibility amongst the thesaurus suggestions for animal excrement.

There’s no wrong subject or strict count for limericks if you’re worried. Many famous poets break the form left, right, and center. The main criteria is silliness and that recognizable rhyme pattern.

Send me a few samples through the form. Or, write one or a dozen up in the comments. You’ll love it and so will we!

Don’t overthink; just do it!

—–

An embarrassing mess was my brother
With one leg that was short. Not the other
Which made this eccentric
Walk in circles concentric
Causing constant distress to our mother
Richmond Road
(From the A Mused Poetry Contest)

©2021 Chel Owens

Saddle Up Saloon: Anyone Can Poem

Howdy! Welcome to another month of Anyone Can Poem.

I enjoyed reading what y’all wrote last month, when we explored poetic parody. If’n you’re still in the mood, check it out and write to the challenge.

Now, on to more fun! Dust off your chaps and boots and cinch up your saddle straps. We’re going to jump into common poetry forms, beginning with haiku.

What is haiku?

Haiku is one of the most basic forms of poetry you can write, with the exception of replicating Ogden Nash’s “Fleas.” Despite this simplicity, an excellent haiku can still produce serenity of mind.

Furthermore, YOU can write an excellent haiku.

  1. Think of a subject. It’s traditional to use something from Nature, but no one says you can’t poem about ice cream.
  2. Frame your subject into very, very simple terms. If your subject is ice cream and you want to write about its melting, think, Cream hot melt. That’s right: I want you to jot down words like someone writing a telegram who only has seventeen cents to do so.
  3. Start writing! Actually write Cream, Hot, Melt. Write more; why not Chocolate Desires Now Sidewalk? Or, Mint Chip Pavement?
  4. DO NOT HESITATE. DO NOT ERASE. There is no wrong way to do these steps, apart from skipping out from fear of mistakes.
  5. Look over what you’ve got, and open your fingers. Count the syllables of your chosen words and split them into three lines of 5 syllables, then 7 syllables, then 5 syllables.
  6. Look over what you’ve got again, and edit as needed for clarity. Some haiku are rather nonsensical while others form a complete phrase or thought over the course of the three lines.
  7. Try to avoid rhyming. It is not necessary; plus, readers will assume you know what you’re doing if you don’t…

Repeat these steps as needed. Write several poems if you’d like! Who’s stopping you?

After you’ve had your fun, send your creation(s) my way through the form. You may also share a haiku or two in the comments for all of us to enjoy.

—–

Cream hot melt pavement
Chocolate sidewalk desires
Mint chip dreams now gone

©2021 Chel Owens

Saddle Up Saloon; Colleen’s Double Ennead Challenge No. 3

Happy April! Welcome to the Carrot Ranch Double Ennead Monthly Poetry Challenge. As a guest of the Saddle Up Saloon, every third Monday of the month, I’ll be here 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. No blog? Don’t worry. Add your poem in the comments below.

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.

This month, let’s explore end rhyme schemes in our double Ennead poems.

First, let’s learn more about end rhyme schemes. Here is a quick definition:

A rhyme scheme is the pattern of sound found at the end of lines. These rhyme schemes are given a letter, usually beginning with the letter A.

A four-line poem with a rhyme scheme is something like this:

The first line rhymes with the third line, and the second line rhymes with the fourth line. The rhyme scheme is ABAB.

Roses are red,
violets are blue,
Shakespeare is dead?
I had no clue.

Let’s use the simple Abhanga syllabic form as an example. The Abhanga is written in any number of four-line verses. The syllable count is 6-6-6-4 per stanza.

In this form, only L2 and L3 rhyme. Often, the letter x, is used to denote an unrhymed end word. This rhyme scheme is:

xaax, x = unrhymed. (Lower case letters only show the rhyming pattern).

magic is found within 
breathe deep into your core 
open your heart and soar 
find inner peace 

©2021 Colleen M. Chesebro

We use rhymes in many poetry forms. Rhymes aren’t always used in patterns or at the end of lines, which means not all rhyming poetry has a rhyme scheme.

We only use rhyme schemes for poems that use end rhyme—which is rhymes at the end of lines.

A rhyme is a repetition of sounds, usually the same sound, in the final stressed syllables of two or more words. Poets use rhyming for artistic effect. It makes our poetry more interesting. I enjoy the challenge of mixing syllabic poetry with end rhymes… it’s like solving a word puzzle.

Litcharts.com has an excellent discussion of end rhyme schemes you can read HERE.


For this month’s challenge, write a double ennead poem using an end rhyme scheme of your choice. You can select the theme that inspires you.

If end rhyme schemes aren’t your thing, write your double ennead based on a magical experienceOR do both! I did!

Always check your syllables with a syllable counter when composing and writing syllabic poetry. The pronunciation of words is very important to conveying a meaning in your poems. You can use sodacoffee.com as a syllable counter. There is also howmanysyllables.com, which is my favorite because you get access to synonyms as you’re composing.

My Example:

Image by dewdrop157 from Pixabay

I’m a visual person, so I found some inspiration on Pixabay.com.

The rhyme scheme in each stanza (or couplet) is xxaax, x = unrhymed, only L3 and L4 rhyme in each stanza.

“The Cherry Orchard”

down the path from the farm
the cherry orchard 
ablaze in shades of mauve... glows under the moon,
while pink katydids’ croon
anthems to the stars

break of day streaks the sky
birdsong welcomes light
dew-kissed grasses bend in the delicate breeze
wildflowers hail the bees
morning glory dawn

magic blooms in rebirth,
blush buds share secrets
life unfolds in cycles and seasons repeat
ancient helix complete
life in the orchard


©2021 Colleen M. Chesebro 

  • Write a double ennead poem using an end rhyme scheme of your choice. You can select a theme that inspires you. If end rhyme schemes aren’t your thing, write your double ennead based on a magical experience—or do both!
  • Post it on your blog. If you don’t have a blog, copy and paste your poem into the comments below.
  • 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! I’ll share a roundup of all of your poetry on colleenchesebro.com the Saturday before the next month’s Double Ennead challenge.

Now have fun and write some magical poetry!

Saddle Up Saloon: Anyone Can Poem

Happy April, pard’ners! It’s about time for another session of Anyone Can Poem.

Thank you to everyone who stepped up to last month‘s challenge. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your poetic thoughts! Anyone and everyone is welcome to re-visit that post and fulfill the challenge; it’s an excellent first exercise for poets of all levels.

For this month, we’re going to try mimicry. Parody. Pastiche.

Now, before you panic and pretend you’re only here for the free peanuts, I’ll let you in on a few secrets:

  1. Parody is not difficult. Haven’t you heard the variants on “The Twelve Days of Christmas?”
  2. You can do this. How do I know? Elementary students run around the playground singing, “Jingle Bells! Batman smells! Robin laid an egg!”

…..

Maybe I should’ve used more seasonally-appropriate examples.

The important point is that parodying poems is simple. Don’t get offended if that’s your go-to, because ‘simple’ does not mean parody can’t be difficult. Simple, in this case, means it’s an easy place to start. Plus, like in an aerobics video, I’m going to have three levels of difficulty depending on your comfort level.

STAGE ONE: Parody a nursery rhyme. I recommend “Mary Had a Little Lamb” or “Little Jack Horner.”

Mary had a little lamb,
Its fleece was white as snow;
And everywhere that Mary went
The lamb was sure to go….
© Sarah Josepha Hale

Little Jack Horner
Sat in the corner,
Eating a Christmas pie;
He put in his thumb,
And pulled out a plum,
And said, “What a good boy am I!”
© Mother Goose

—–

STAGE TWO: “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” or “This is Just to Say”

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter….
© Clement C. Moore

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold
© William Carlos Williams

—–

STAGE THREE: William Shakespeare, Emma Lazarus, or William Wordsworth

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimm’d;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st;
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
“Sonnet 18,” © William Shakespeare

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
“The New Colossus,” © Emma Lazarus

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze….
“Daffodils,” © William Wordsworth

—–

The ‘rules’ are also simple: pick a stage (one, two, or three) and write a parody or pastiche. You can include it in the comments, or fill out the form and share it with only me.

Not sure where to start? Read over one of the included poems a few times. Think about how it could apply to another subject -perhaps to something humorous or to a topic that deeply resonates with you.

Change the original poem enough to fit your new subject, but retain some vestiges so that people know to what it refers. This can be done by keeping some of the words, especially those that rhyme; by rhyming with the words in the original; or by writing of similar happenings but with a different animal.

Harry had a giant ham,
Its skin was black as sloe;
Everyone who smelled its scent
Said, “Hey! That ham must go!”

Yeah… it’s a work in progress. You can do better. I know it. In fact, get on that ‘doing better’ right now! You’ve got a month; I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

—–

©2021 Chel Owens

Saddle Up Saloon: Anyone Can Poem

Well, howdy! My name’s Chel Owens and I’ve a small confession to make: I’m not much of a rancher. The closest I’ve gotten to a rodeo is watching “McLintock!” The closest I’ve gotten to a saloon is to use the bathroom at a bar during a road trip.

What do I know? Poetry. And -believe me- poetry is amazing. It’s clever, awful, silly, serious, snarky, sincere, and beautiful.

Take Ogden Nash:
The Termite

Some primal termite knocked on wood
And tasted it, and found it good!
And that is why your Cousin May
Fell through the parlor floor today.
(c/o allpoetry.com)

—–

Or, William Shakespeare, the master prose-smith:
Sonnet 116

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
(c/o allpoetry.com)

Poems are the beat of life; the catchy jingle we hum whilst eating French fries (chips); the wandering phrase we think as our heart flutters in love.

Poems also terrify a large number of writers.

That’s why I’m here. Or Pal and Kid said I could use the bathroom. Either way, I’m up on this stage and I’m going to get you to write poetry. Everyone can write poetry, just like everyone can write. We each have a voice that needs expression and is beautiful when it finds itself.

So, for this introductory post, I’m not going to ask much. All I want is for you to take yourself on a date.

You heard me.

Get yourself alone, somewhere safe. If you can, go somewhere beautiful and inspirational. The catch is that I want you to bring along a notebook and writing utensil. Yes, I want paper and a pen. No, I don’t want those new-fangled electronic devices.

Step two is to get comfortable.

Third, soak in your surroundings. Meditate. Find your happy thoughts.

After all of that, I want you to word dump prosaically. Write words, phrases, observations, descriptions, and even the odd knock-knock joke –all in the form of a freelance poem.

Once you’re ‘finished,’ you’re allowed to look it over and lightly edit. Maybe you misspelled epiphany and it’s bothering you; you are allowed to fix that word. Perhaps you really hate how you compared a winter’s day to your ex-husband’s drinking habit; you may compare the snowscape to something more appropriate. The only thing you are not allowed to do is crumple up what you wrote and throw it into the saloon’s toilet.

If you’re comfortable, return to your computer thingy and share your masterpiece with me using the submission form. If not, I’ll settle on an “I did it, Chel” in the comments or through the form.

You can do it. Believe me. I can safely say that I have seen the worst poetry ever, and yours is not it.

Lather, rinse, repeat. We’ll have you poem-ing in no time.

—-

©2021 Chel Owens

Raw Literature: Haiku, Tanka and a Debut Novel

Essay and flash fiction by Marjorie Mallon, guest writer to Carrot Ranch.

<< ♦ >>

Thank you so much to Charli Mills for her kind invitation for me to guest post on her Raw Literature series on Carrot Ranch.

I’m delighted to introduce you to my first novel: The Curse of Time–Book 1–Bloodstone.

On Amelina Scott’s thirteenth birthday, her father disappears under mysterious circumstances. Saddened by this traumatic event, she pieces together details of a curse that has stricken the heart and soul of her family.

Amelina longs for someone to confide in. Her once carefree mother has become angry and despondent. One day a strange black cat and a young girl, named Esme appear. Immediately, Esme becomes the sister Amelina never had. The only catch is that Esme must remain a prisoner, living within the mirrors of Amelina’s house.

Dreams and a puzzling invitation convince Amelina the answer to her family’s troubles lies within the walls of the illusive Crystal Cottage. Undaunted by her mother’s warnings, Amelina searches for the cottage on an isolated Cambridgeshire pathway where she encounters a charismatic young man, named Ryder. At the right moment, he steps out of the shadows, rescuing her from the unwanted attention of two male troublemakers.

With the help of an enchanted paint set, Amelina meets the eccentric owner of the cottage, Leanne, who instructs her in the art of crystal magic. In time, she earns the right to use three wizard stones. The first awakens her spirit to discover a time of legends, and later, leads her to the Bloodstone, the supreme cleansing crystal which has the power to restore the balance of time. Will Amelina find the power to set her family free?

A YA/middle grade fantasy set in Cambridge, England exploring various themes/aspects: Light, darkness, time, shadows, a curse, magic, deception, crystals, art, poetry, friendships, teen relationships, eating disorders, self-harm, anxiety, depression, family, puzzles, mystery, a black cat, music, a mix of sadness, counterbalanced by a touch of humour.

It is my great pleasure to share with you some of my poetry inspired by themes in The Curse of Time.

I’ve always loved poetry but never considered myself to be a poet! If I hadn’t started blogging I doubt I would ever have written a poem. How sad that would have been! A blogging event on WordPress: Ronovan Writes Haiku Challenge kick started my confidence! So, I have much to thank Ronovan for. I now write loads and loads of short form poetry and have written the odd limerick or longer piece of poetry too.

More recently, I’ve been participating in Colleen Chesebro’s weekly poetry challenge.

I love writing haiku and Tanka.

Haiku is a Japanese form of poetry.

The four great Haiku Masters of Japanese poetry are:
Matsuo Basho (1644 – 1694)
Yosa Buson (1716 – 1784)
Kobayashi Issa (I763 – 1827)
Masaoka Shiki. (1867 – 1902)

古池や蛙飛びこむ水の音

furu ike ya / kawazu tobikomu / mizu no oto

An ancient pond

A frog jumps in

The splash of water [1686] – Matsuo Basho

 

隅々に残る寒さや梅の花

Sumizumi ni nokoru samusa ya ume no hana

In nooks and corners

Cold remains:

Flowers of the plum

(translated by RH Blyth) – Yosa Buson

 

芙蓉咲いて古池の鴛やもめ也
fuyo saite furuike no oshi yamome nari

cotton roses flowering —
the mandarin duck in the old pond
is a widower – Masaoka Shiki

 

露の世は露の世ながらさりながら

Tsuyu no yo wa tsuyu no yo nagara sari nagara

This dewdrop world —

Is a dewdrop world,

And yet, and yet . . . – Kobayashi Issa

Kobayashi Issa wrote the above poignant haiku after experiencing two terrible tragedies. His first-born baby died, and his daughter died less than two-and-a-half years later (translated by Lewis Mackenzie) as you can see a tiny poem conveys so much sadness and torment in so few words.

These original haiku from the masters are translated from Japanese. Our English haiku attempt to approximate the work of these great poets.

Our English haiku tend to have seventeen syllables, in three lines of five, seven, and five. In, the Japanese form it often evokes images of the natural world. Haiku traditionally avoid the use of metaphors or similes. The last line suggests the opposite to your initial thoughts conveyed in the first line.

Tanka is a longer form of haiku with a rhythmic variation with the two final lines being longer: 5,7,5,7,7. The first three lines (5,7,5,) create a visual image and the last two lines (7,7) express the poet’s thoughts about the first three lines.

It sounds complicated, but it really isn’t too hard and it’s fun to experiment with the syllables and have a go.

Haiku and Tanka may be short but they deliver a tremendous punch with the capability of expressing a wide range of emotions from humour to deepest sorrow. These wonderful forms of poetry are intriguing to a potential reader and hopefully motivate book enthusiasts to discover more! With encouragement from my writing friend, author Colleen Chesebro I added further micro poetry to my novel. Each chapter, or puzzle piece as I call it begins with a Tanka.

Here are some of the Tanka’s I’ve written in response to Colleen’s challenge. These are extra material not included in the book. Several are inspired by the main protagonist Ryder and these are the ones I’d like to share with you today, as Ryder is without a doubt one of my favourite characters, and he is handsome with a dark side!

***

Marjorie Mallon a debut author who has been blogging for three years at M J Mallon Author. Her interests include writing, photography, poetry, and alternative therapies. She writes Fantasy YA, middle grade fiction and micro poetry – haiku and tanka. She loves to read and has written over 100 reviews.

Her alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. She love superheros! MJ was born on the 17th of November in Lion City: Singapore (a passionate Scorpio, with the Chinese Zodiac sign a lucky rabbit), second child and only daughter to her  proud parents Paula and Ronald. She grew up in a mountainous court in the Peak District in Hong Kong with her elder brother Donald. Her parents dragged her away from her exotic childhood and much loved dog, Topsy, to the frozen wastelands of Scotland. In bonnie Edinburgh MJ mastered Scottish country dancing, and a whole new Och Aye lingo.

As a teenager MJ travelled to many far-flung destinations to visit her abacus wielding wayfarer dad. It’s rumoured that she now lives in the Venice of Cambridge, with her six foot hunk of a Rock God husband, and her two enchanted daughters. After such an upbringing her author’s mind has taken total leave of its senses! When she’s not writing, MJ eats exotic delicacies while belly dancing, or surfs to the far reaches of the moon. To chill out, she practise Tai Chi. If the mood takes her, she snorkels with mermaids, or signs up for idyllic holidays with the Chinese Unicorn, whose magnificent voice sings like a thousand wind chimes.

Amazon UK Author Page

Amazon US Author Page

Amazon Canada Author Page

See M J Mallon Author for information about new releases, photos of main characters/character interviews, book reviews and inspiration.

MJ’s New Facebook Group #ABRSC: Authors/Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebook

Instagram

Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon and @curseof_time

Facebook: Facebook: m j mallon author

Tumblr: Tumblr: mjmallonauthor

MJ has devoted the past few years to writing over 100 reviews on Goodreads and her blog to help support traditional and indie writers.

<< ♦ >>

Raw Literature is an ongoing conversation about those first works we create as writers, as literary artists. Guest Authors share personal insights on their craft, its process, the experience of creating raw literature and what they do with it. Carrot Ranch is a dynamic literary community that creates raw literature weekly in the form of flash fiction (99 word stories). If you have an essay idea, pitch to Charli Mills, Lead Buckaroo, at wordsforpeople@gmail.com.

 

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Raw Literature: Jewels on the Page

jules-paigeEssay by Jules Paige, a member of the Congress of Rough Writers.

<< ♦ >>

“How complex in its simplicity or how simple in its complexity; is writing. Much to think about that is for certain,” and so she thought…

How do I describe how I write. I put a pen in hand or place fingers on a keyboard. Do I need prompts? When I started writing about fifty years ago; while sitting at a table at a Teen Arts Festival, I asked those who stopped by for a subject – I then wrote a poem. Simple as that.

While some years I wrote less, other years I wrote more than one piece a day. For the last several years, I write a small daily piece, maybe adding a longer verse and or a fiction piece as well. Prompts sites on the web reintroduced me into writing fiction and memoir. Some have a limited word count. But generally I try to limit myself to one ‘typed’ page. Though I also have done/do series. Some evolving into chapters which could possibly make it into booklet form.

I see prompts, quotes, images and the light bulb in my brain goes off. And to challenge myself further I combine prompts as few as two as many as five or six. I make associations to memory, news articles and anything else and everything else that crosses my path.

I write for amusement. Perhaps guided by a muse. Though some may argue that muses do not exist. Maybe my muse is my own intuition, which often unconsciously picks up even the most subtle of cues. I write for myself as well as everyone who believes they can see themselves in something I have written. I can not explain how my brain works. I just like to, I just have to, write. For me writing is like breathing. A necessity of my life.

I write as JulesPaige (or as evolution has occurred; just ‘Jules’) because words are like ‘jewels on a page’. Not all are gems. But a good lot of them strung together are fair enough.

Daughter, sister, friend, poet, wife, mother, and grandmother. More introvert than extrovert, inspired by nature and pretty much anything.

About (me, sort of):

I’m just an old leather boot

not army boots, though I once thought about joining

however early rises and following someone else’s rules –

you know that a rebellious artistic spirit just wouldn’t work there

trying to walk on a catwalk

or eggshells, being the ‘monkey in the middle’

Jane of all trades, master of none, little bits of knowledge

tucked between aging marbles and greying locks – still young at heart

and nobody cares because

Oh maybe there are a few, but I’m not in the spotlight

and frankly that’s OK too – If you are looking for frilly lace

and a made up face – you’ve come to the wrong place – I’m not a rock and…

I’m not a plastic mock animal high heel shoe.

###

I was a teacher for young students and worked in various retail positions full and part-time until I became voluntarily employed to watch my grandchildren for a few years before semi-retiring to travel with my husband (who does so for his job). I’ve also had an active volunteer life when my own children were younger. I also enjoyed singing in choirs, though I only sing now to my favorite oldies station (though I enjoy other music too), because I’m a misfit of the 1960’s.

Always young at heart, humor is a big part of my life. While I’ll celebrate turning sixty this year, I still like to tell the story of how while vacationing with family that not once but twice I was mistaken for my oldest son’s wife. But I can be very serious, and have had bouts with depression after the loss of my maternal mother at a young age, and having to move many times as a young child. Even in my very healthy marriage I’ve had several homes with my loving husband whom I often write about, like in this renga:

Love 1

On’t Truth

(a renga)

she found a book by

an author he liked, and placed

it by his pillow…

he found it and asked her where

she found it… ‘charity shop’

so that night they read

when politics aired instead

of a favored show

©JP/dh

“We love being in love, that’s the truth on’t.”

William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863)

English Novelist

The Book Of Hearts: Visions of Love in Word and Image

Running Press  * Philadelphia / London

© 1994

Through the internet I’ve learned many different short forms of poetry and experiments with combining them, even creating a new form called a Shadorma Summation. Where a haibun is prose that has haiku (within and or) ending the piece, a Shadorma Summation does the same with the six line syllable counted verse like this (first attempt in September of 2015):

Mooning Mayhem

(free verse/ shadorma haibun? Shadorma Summation)

Definitely and defiantly a horse of a different color.

She never did have one of those pink princess ponies.

Now she was getting on to be an old grey mare.

That reflection in the mirror could just have well been

in the smooth reflection in an aged fine wine.

Doppelgangers are not twins.

Are most of us really triplets; me, myself and I?

Grammar notwithstanding or sitting either, I suppose.

It all has to do with one’s id, ego and superego –

Are all horses of the same color, Thoroughbred?

The person I am becoming…ever evolving…

empathetic humane human, valuable, priceless?

Trying consistently constantly to remember the worth of

my being – self awareness, self forgiveness,

self indulgent; enough to give myself some hugs

Looking up what the human body is worth

can be deceiving; dead or alive – pieces and parts –

from about $3.50 to about $9 million

which doesn’t take into account what one

person’s actual artistic or intellectual value might be.

Definitely and defiantly wake up each day

Rule it with passion, exploration, devotion – It’s all better

than being lead astray through some unknown dark alley

where you might not know which way is up,

especially if you forgot to pack your compass rose.

as she was

a fish in a bowl

out of her

natural

element

it was all she could do to

step back, look and breathe

©JP/dh

I would like to be a published author, but I know that poets are hard pressed to get agents. I’d have to hire a secretary, and I’m not terribly fond editors who seem to like to change the tone and value of even short pieces. Having also almost been taken by some vanity publishers, I’m wary of the whole process and don’t feel skilled enough self publish via the web. Though I have put together several booklets and have just given them away.

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Jules Paige, a Rough Writer  for Carrot Ranch, writes every week for about a year and a half since she found the ranch through another blog friend. You might think so, but she is not a professional writer or at least hasn’t been paid any money…yet. She’s been published in school and college journals, congregational services, a narrowly themed chapbook and a local newspaper. She also entered and got an honorable mention in a haiku book contest. She has been ‘published’ on her friends blogs for haiku and Elfje and for prompts in flash fiction, non fiction and memoir. Jules also has a few pieces published in a book overseas that is raising money for charity. A self proclaimed opinionated rebel, born in the south, but northerner by life, Jules is thankful for all of the friends she has made throughout the world via the net. And is most grateful for the opportunity to write for Carrot Ranch and be one of the Buckaroos.

Jules attempts to stay organized by keeping her short verse here. Her longer verse here, and fiction or non, here.

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Raw Literature is an ongoing conversation about those first works we create as writers, as literary artists. Guest Authors share personal insights on their craft, its process, the experience of creating raw literature and what they do with it. Carrot Ranch is a dynamic literary community that creates raw literature weekly in the form of flash fiction (99 word stories). If you have an essay idea, pitch to Charli Mills, Lead Buckaroo, at wordsforpeople@gmail.com.

Liebster Award Paying It Forward

Blogger Norah Colvin of Norah Colvin has honored me with my second Liebster Award, reminding me that bloggers can pay it forward. It’s an opportunity to read other bloggers and to be read. As part of the acceptance, she has posed the following questions to her nominees, which I have answered:

  1. What do you value most in life? I value living in such a way that I look for beauty all around me and find good even when life’s path gets rocky. It feels like a way to live truth. Not big truths, necessarily, but my own.
  2. What activities do you enjoy and why? Since I still love to dig in the dirt, I enjoy gardening and scrounging for rocks and old bits of broken glass. Activities that connect me to living in the moment are best; simple things like cooking and writing about the birds outside my window.
  3. What is something you wish you had more time for? I used to wish I had more time for writing, and now I do. I think we fill our lives with too much busy-ness. I’ve found that by taking time to stare at a sunset or falling snowflakes, I have all the time in the world. It’s what I do with it that matters.
  4. What is one change you would like to make in the world? I’d like to contribute to world change through one beautiful book at a time. It seems we have too many books embracing darkness, and I just want to honor the hero’s journey within us all and to actualize everyday beauty.
  5. What is something you would like to change about yourself? To stop worrying whether or not people approve of what I do. It’s a deep-seated issue that I work on rooting out and some days I do better than on others.
  6. What surprises you most about your life – something good in your life that you hadn’t expected, dreamed of or thought possible? Wow, if you would have asked my three years ago when I was going to take on the “writer’s life” I would have said, maybe in 20 years. Little did I know that an upheaval in my life would open the door for me to step into that writer’s life. It isn’t easy, but it is what I’ve dreamed of doing and I’m doing it.
  7. What ‘big” question do you often ponder? How do I listen to God’s calling and live in the light?
  8. What sorts of things amuse you? Silly little things amuse the daylights out of me. I have a quirky sense of humor that’s easily triggered. I laugh at things like realizing that my hubby and I forgot to drop off our trash at the dump before we drove into the mountains to fish. I laugh at the knowledge that it’s going to summon every grizzly bear in the region and I’m so scared of bears. All I can do is find amusement in the juxtaposition of garbage vs. bear-fear.
  9. What do you like to collect? Stuff from the ground that’s old–rocks, fossils, arrowheads, purple glass. I have a keen eye for these things. I have a large glass vase filled with old glass, buttons, marbles, tokens that I find while gardening or walking the pastures around the house. I have bowls and clusters of river rocks, fossils and Lake Superior agates and beach pebbles. Oh, and books!
  10. If you could talk with anyone and ask them to explain their ideas and/or actions, who would it be, and why? I’d love to talk to my 5th-great grandfather, James McCanless, and ask him why he left North Carolina. He was a poet and wrote such sad verse about leaving those mountains as an old man. I’d like to have coffee with him and talk about why we feel compelled to seek other places beyond what is familiar.
  11. What is something you can’t do without? Internet! Awful to admit, but I’d go crazy as an isolated writer in the Rocky Mountains without human connection, and the Internet provides that daily touch. Also, I’m not only compelled to write, I’m compelled to share what I write and read and comment on what others write.
  12. What is something important you learned about life, and how did you learn it? A life of truth is not an easy one. Some truths are scary, others humiliating, yet  truth sets us free. But many people cling to lies that they use to cover up truth. I’m drawn to people, artists and writers willing to be vulnerable in seeking their truth. This is why I’m drawn to  write fiction–I seek the truth that is revealed in the hero’s journey. I learned this the hardest way, being a survivor of incest. Such families are masterful at deceit. Seeking a different way became my own hero’s journey, and I successfully raised three children away from that family, thus breaking the cycle of lies and ugliness. But it’s hard, not to have a family of origin that I can trust.
  13. What is your earliest memory? One of my earliest memories is of a black cat that I coaxed into being a pet on a ranch where I lived the first seven years of my life. That cat made me feel safe.

The purpose of the Liebster award is to help discover new blogs. In keeping the engagement dynamic, I’d like to offer this nomination to the following bloggers who I’ve recently discovered their poetry and short stories, something that inspires me in pursuit of my own fiction. You can read their work at:

I Am A Writer, That’s What I Am is a terrific blog with stories, thought, photos and quotes. Truly it’s a well of inspiration. I’ve learned that creativity is a pool we swim in; if you don’t dive into its waters, you’ll never know. This is a blog that you can dive into and find out about yourself and your own writing.

A Little Bit of Poetry is a new blog by seasoned blogger, Susan Zutautas. This blogger is multi-talented from the kitchen to her writing space. She inspires me daily with her posts, recipes and poems. I have fun every Sunday with her on another blog (she’s prolific) but this new blog of hers is new and deserves discovering.

The Well Tempered Bards is an amazing blog of poetry. It’s the kind of poetry that seeps into your bones. You’ll discover many poets who make guest appearances so it offers a variety.

Squirrels in the Doohickey is great fun. I started grinning at the title and went into full-blown belly laughs as I read entries. This is a new blog to me, but I hope other will discover it too–sharp writing, well-branded and spot-on humor.

The Real Housewife is neither fiction nor poetry, but is so funny it should either be chick lit or a series of life’s limericks. Kelly finds funny anywhere, and her humor is scathing. She’s such a character she might show up in my fiction (just kidding…sort of…).

If you have been nominated you can choose to accept to play along, or not. No pressure. It’s a bit of fun, an opportunity to connect and can help spread knowledge of your blog. If I nominated you, it is because I do read your blog! If you accept, here are The Liebster Award Rules adapted from Wording Well:

  1. Each nominee should link back to the person who nominated them.
  2. Answer the 10 questions which are given to you by the nominator.
  3. Nominate 5-11 other bloggers for this award who have less than 1,000 followers.
  4. Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer.
  5. Let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them.

Questions for my Liebster Award Nominees:

  1. Congratulations! You just won a Liebster Award. What award do you dream about winning?
  2. What compelled you to start a blog?
  3. How did you come up with the blog’s name?
  4. What else do you write?
  5. Why are you drawn to writing fiction?
  6. What is your favorite genre to read?
  7. What is your favorite writing snack?
  8. What is your strongest writing strength?
  9. How do you keep focused on your writing?
  10. Who is your favorite book character and why?