Tag Archives: poetry

The Window of Opportunity

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Introduction

When Opportunity knocks I’m usually in the bathroom or at work and I’m almost always missing the visit. However last week, when it came along, I opened the window and shouted, “Don’t move I’ll be right there.”

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A Startling Announcement

On Wednesday I shocked my friends on Facebook that I was quitting writing for the time being as my books were going nowhere. However, this announcement was misunderstood as I didn’t announce it properly. I was getting comments about take a breather, sit back, and you can get going again. Only two or three people actually got the initial idea as I explained it further in the comments section.

What I meant was, since I no one was reading my books and reviewing them, I had nothing to gage my future writing on and therefore I thought, “What’s the point of continuing if no one will read them?” I have had a few sales of my stories but yet people tell me that they just don’t have time to read them. Really? My books aren’t that long or complicated. I have three short stories available that could be read in about twenty minutes or so.

 

What about Giveaways?

Yes, I have given my books away as a promotion for myself through other Facebook pages. The response I get from them is, “I have a lot of books on my reading list right now, but I’ll get to yours.” How many is ‘a lot’? I’m not trying to turn this post into a rant; I just want you to know the frustration I am feeling. Yes, I know all writers go through this. What irritates me the most is that I’ll support another author’s work; read and review it, but not receive the same in return. I get that you are too busy writing but how is it that you’re able to praise other writers’ works but not mine?

A New Opportunity

As I stated before I’m not giving up writing totally and to be honest I just couldn’t anyways. It’s a part of who I am. Even if I’m not writing things down on paper or on the laptop, I’m writing in my head. Since March 2016 I started writing poetry in conjunction with this site on Facebook called Peanut Butter and Poetry Jam. I was pointed out to me by a fellow writer and I decided to visit. I hadn’t written poetry since high school, about 30 years or so, and even then it was mostly sonnet-based verses.

The page is rather simple: an image is posted on Saturday and you have roughly until the following Wednesday to post a poem that was inspired by the image. From there it is voted on and the winner is announced on Thursday. My first attempt, The Green Blade Witch, actually got me the win. Not bad for being 30 years out of touch.

From then on the creativity that creates poetry was awaken within me and I participated almost every week. Then early last week I was told that the page had disappeared. I was heartbroken as I found something that, not only was I interested in doing, but something that could keep the writer in me writing. I contacted the administrator of that page and asked if one of us could take over. She and her associate were too busy to continue the page and so she handed it over to me! Thank you Opportunity!

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New Year, New Writing Possibilities

            With the new year beginning, this gave me the motivation to make new ideas come to life via the poetry page. So for now, this will be my muse for the next few months or so. I’ll still be working on my other projects; either by typing them on the laptop or just writing them in my head. But with this poetry page I want to turn things around for myself and head in an entirely new direction and see where this adventure will take me. I have have plans to publish a collection of poems that are Fanstasy-based and from there we’ll see where ‘the road not taken’ leads me.

Conclusion

Where is the New Year taking you? Are you on track in your writing life or has something occurred to encourage you to take another road? Feel free to comment and if you get the chance visit us on the poetry page over at Facebook!

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Happy Adventuring!

Chris

Remembering Mom on Mother’s Day

This coming Sunday is Mother’s Day and, as tradition goes, people will spend the day with that special lady. Mothers, Grandmothers, and wives will be treated to cards, flowers, and even a special dinner. But for some of us, that day will be celebrated in remembrance of ones who left this world.

January 5, 2015

My mother died unexpectedly last January; shortly after the start of the New Year. I was already going through difficulties of my own; having been divorced for a year and my children finding other interests than Dear ol’ Dad. I hadn’t talked to any of my family back in Ohio for the last 12 years and although I can list many excuses, the main one is my lack of trying or simple neglect.

In 2015 I was planning on changing all of that by calling my folks after the New Year, bury the hatchet, and catch them up on all that was going on. Yes, I’m sure my mother would give the lecture about the person I chose to marry, the way we raised our family, etc. etc. But at least they would know and I could make sense of my life again.

Instead I am informed that my mother passed away and I’ll never get to say anything to her again. However, I did make amends with my father and sister and I believe we are closer that we have been in the last 20 or so years. Going back to my hometown was a great comfort to my soul in that I needed to reconnect who I once was with who I am now and bring the two halves together to become whole again.

Going Down Memory Lane

My sister and I would talk about all of the things that we experienced together as kids and the way our mother would sometimes react to the things we said or did. We were never troublemakers but we weren’t little angels either.

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Mom and her children, me and my sister Pam. 1973

One of the early things that I recall, though I have no memory of this, is when I first tested for Kindergarten my mother told me that of all the kids that were tested that day, I was the only one who said, “thank you” to the people that were running the testing. I even made the newspaper that day. There’s an article about it in the Advertiser-Tribune, circa 1973. Don’t recall the day or month but I assume ’73 as that would have been when I was five.

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My parents were married for 52 years and a big chunk of that time was used for, aside from raising two kids, growing roses. My father once got a rose bush from the bank (for opening an account, I guess) and that was the beginning of a lifelong event of buying, planting, and caring for rose bushes; primarily in our back yard with a few in the front. At last count I think Dad had 350 bushes. And it wasn’t just something to pass the time, he entered Rose shows all over Ohio including our county and State fairs. They made a lot of friends and connections in the world of roses and they brought home many trophies.

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Some of Dad’s award-winning roses.

Mom was just as much a part of the growing the roses as Dad was and, of course Pam and I were involved (whether we wanted to or not). Mom would always talk about the roses to friends and neighbors and be on hand to show people around while Dad was at work.

Still a mother even on vacation

My parents came out to visit us here in Arizona in May, 2002 as part of their vacation when they drove out here from Ohio stopping along the way and seeing various things.

 

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Mom and Sara

One of the things I found funny is that even though they were on vacation and visiting us, Mom still showed that she was my mother and parent. In the above picture you can see her vacuuming our living room rug along with our older daughter, Sara. She didn’t like the looks of our rug and wondered when was the last time we vacuumed. It didn’t matter if we told her last week or yesterday, if she didn’t like the look of it, she would get the vacuum out and do it herself.

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Mom and her grandchildren, Sara and Erika. 2003

Even one of their earlier visits out here, when we went up to the Grand Canyon in the Fall she kept trying to get me to button the top button of my coat concerned that I would catch a cold and be sick for days. You may take the mother out of her routine but you can’t take the routine out of a mother.

 Voice in the Wind

When I got out on my own, moving out to Arizona to live, primarily to get away from the Ohio winters, I took with me everything that my parents taught me. One of the more significant times for that to be very evident is when my children were born. I would say or do something to them, or about them, and my (then) wife would say, you sound just like your mother. Can’t really give you an example but it shows that she was an influence on me and my life and I’d like to think that I did a pretty good job being a parent because of her.

Even after her death I can still hear her voice speaking her disapproval of something wrong that I did or if a friend would comment about something I would jump in and say my mother would say that.

When I spoke to Pam about coming back for the funeral she assured me that everything was already taken care of and paid for by my mother.  My mother was close friends with the family that owned and operated the funeral home where my mother was born and raised and I knew the family as well as we would visit them often. It was like having extended family members overseeing the funeral services and burial.

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Me, my sister, Pam (right) with our childhood friend, Kathy. Jan. 2015

Anyway Pam said that not only was everything bought and paid for but our mother had the service itself mapped out right down to the music that was chosen. I jokingly said, “With our luck Mom will be standing off to the side of the room making sure that everything went according to plan and would probably wag her finger at someone if they weren’t following the ‘script’.”

This made Pam laugh which is something I’m sure she needed to do. I almost always use humor as a defense mechanism. Can’t say that I got that from Mom but I try to insert it in intense situations. My mother probably would have been shocked if she knew that I flew back to Ohio for her funeral; not having spoken to her in 12 years. And of course she would have to pass away in the winter time to remind me of what Ohio winters were like and why I moved out to Arizona in the first place.

Conclusion

Well I’ll wrap up this post by saying, “Mom, I miss you very much and I’m sorry for everything and anything that I did or didn’t do that put a wedge between our relationship.”

Here’s a poem my sister found on Pinterest, If Roses Grow in Heaven.

And below is an Acrostic Poem that I wrote…

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If you have any comments to make about your own mother, feel free to share them here. If you knew my mother, Sally Mentzer, please comment a memory that you recall of her.

Happy Adventuring!

Mom and Me

Me as a baby, 1967.

Chris

 

Wonderful World of Rhyming Words

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Introduction

Over the last several years I’ve been participating in various writing projects. I took part in the 100 words a day challenge in which your daily post is exactly one hundred words; I’ve taken on Round Robin Stories on the Nano boards in which you add a paragraph or two, or an entire scene, to a community story; And participated in a GIF interview hosted by the talented Kate Tilton.

Recently a fellow author, and friend, Elyse Salpeter, discussed how writers should become poets as well to help flesh out their creativity in other forms of writing. So I joined in as it looked like fun!

My Early Days of Poetry

Writing poems is not new for me; in school, as we studied poetry, we were required to write our own. The only one that I can really recall from memory is a limerick I wrote for 8th Grade English:

There once was a man named Reagan,

                        Who often looked like a dragon.

                        He climbed up a wall,

                        Although he did fall,

                        On top of Prime Minister Begin.

My senior year in high school we studied the sonnets of William Shakespeare and, as an assignment we were to write our own sonnet. If you’re not familiar with a sonnet it’s a poem that consists of 14 lines that make up three stanzas and a couplet at the end. Each stanza is 4 lines long and the couplet is two lines and is used to wrap up the poem. Below is the first sonnet I wrote for my Senior English class:

 

Does Anyone Care?

Does anyone care what goes on in the world?

With people that hunger and need much care?

They have bloated stomachs and legs all curled,

All shriveled, yet young, and entirely bare.

 

A war goes on every day of the year;

With constant killing and threats made to all.

Everyone is dying and living in fear,

The world around us will fail and then fall.

 

Won’t someone please stop the hunger and war?

Can’t someone stand forth and give us a hand?

We must feed the people and prevent the gore,

To make life sound and have a better land.

 

But do not think that the world is a mess;

With all your help we can make it the best.

 

I enjoyed this experience so much that I went on to write six more poems each titled, “Does Anyone Care?” using a Roman Numeral to identify each. I even wrote five love sonnets about female classmates in high school.

The Acrostic Poem

I read an article in a February issue of Williamsburg Magazine and it spoke of men writing acrostic poems to their sweethearts in the 18th Century. An acrostic poem consists of the girl’s name written vertically and each letter began the next line of the poem. I was very intrigued by this and wrote my own for a short story I had written around 1998. I put the first letter of each line in bold print so you can read the name:

An Ode to Elizabeth

 Every time I look into your eyes I know,

Love for me is there it really does show.

I have seen it since I first went to the tower,

Zelphine the sorcerer has no greater power.

Although your outward appearance is new,

Beauty within remains as sweet as the dew.

Every flower bows to your grace,

There is such kindness, I see, in thy dark face.

How I love thee more in your present form,

Still I feel sorry for your previous forlorn.

Kiss me, you cried and when I finally did,

I knew your true self was no longer hid.

Stay by my side my dear sweet companion,

Strength that we share will make us a champion.

 

Poetry Today

I hadn’t written poems for almost twenty years though I made an attempt a couple times within the last two years for a story project. Recently I was introduced to a poetry page on Facebook called, Peanut Butter and Poetry Jam. Every Saturday a picture is posted and you had roughly until the following Wednesday or Thursday to create a poem for the picture. Elyse wrote an article about this and I tracked down the page and knew I wanted to participate. Here’s the first poem I wrote for their picture of a girl who was dressed like a cat burglar and brandished glowing green blades:

The Green Blade Witch

I am not the night,

Nor am I the day.

But I bring justice to this town,

In a stealth-filled way.

I enter like the wind;

Silent and unannounced.

I take vengeance on criminals,

Like a cat I do pounce.

For my husband I do these things,

Though he’ll never return.

I’ll continue to feed my anger,

Until I no longer burn.

The Green Blade Witch,

Is what they call me,

My methods are referred to

As a killing spree.

Stay out of my way,

Or you will be next.

To the criminal underworld,

I do deeply vex.

 

You can view my other poems on the page under each picture posted.

Conclusion

If you think writing stories is a challenge, poetry is more so as you have to connect lines with rhyming words, and the cadence of each line. Granted, there are poems that don’t follow these rules but are no less challenging.

Have you ever written poetry or considered doing so? Please share your experiences in the comments below and feel free to join us on the Facebook page—Peanut Butter and Poetry Jam.

Happy Adventuring!

Chris