Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Weekly Scribblings #69: Of the Hunt

Greetings, dearest poets and storytellers. I hope you are well, and with your pen (and muse) at the ready. Today’s prompt was inspired by the following exchange, which I overheard while waiting at my oncologist’s office:

One person said to another, “Do you ever feel like you’re being hunted, like there’re eyes stuck to your back, and someone’s about to grab you?”

The other individual shook their head, and said, “I’ve never felt that. I’m always the one doing the hunting.” Then, while pretending to grab for the other person’s throat, they yelled, “Boo!” and laughed.

After a few seconds, they were both laughing. The eyes of the one who booed were shiny with mirth. But the other one looked troubled, and the look stayed with me.  

So, with that thought in mind, I invite you to write poetry or prose from the point of view of a character or speaker who is hunting, being hunted, or both. Pieces which have been significantly rewritten are welcomed. This prompt will stay open for a week. One link per participant. If you go for prose, the word count should be 369 words or fewer. Let us write, share, and comment!

Do you find this quote slightly disturbing, or is it just me?

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Writers' Pantry #69: I Am Not Throwing Away My Shot!

Hello, Word Artists and Admirers! I have been quite loopy from having to juggle several things that I almost forgot that my second vaccination was scheduled next week. I’m hoping the side-effect fairy will be too busy celebrating Get Caught Reading Month to visit me. But even if they do, it will be totally worth it to be fully vaccinated. Besides, I have plenty of tea, warm blankets, and anime cued up on my streaming services to get me through. Bring on the shot!

After I realized that my appointment day was nigh upon me, Magaly graciously agreed to take over for this Wednesday’s Weekly Scribblings. She would like us to create poetry or prose from the point of view of a character that is hunting, being hunted, or both. Pieces that have been significantly rewritten are more than welcomed.

Now it’s time for you to share your Pantry pieces. I’m taking word wonderfulness both old or new, prose or poetry, fiction or non-fiction. One entry per person, and please keep prose pieces to 369 words or fewer.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Weekly Scribblings #68: Where Are You Placed?

Greetings, dear Wordsmiths!

Did you all see Lavender Street, early 60’s by Cheong Lee San (dsnake1) which he posted on Sunday April 11 for our Writers’ Pantry #65? In complimenting him on it, I called it a ‘poem of place’, adding that it was also a poem of time. Yet it is rich in other content too, evoking not only a place and an era, but a particular lifestyle, the boy he once was, the father he had at that time….

So what makes a poem ‘a poem of place’?

One of my Aussie friends once attended a workshop on ‘Poems of Place’ and was very disappointed. She sent me a copy of one of the teacher’s own poems which he had used as an example of the genre, and I agreed it was awful: pretentious and dull. Though it did describe a place in some detail.

‘THIS is a poem of place,’ I replied to her, sending the following. It was from a book I’d just bought which had recently won the Walt Whitman award: Black Aperture by Matt Rasmussen. I was currently in love with that book, and this poem most of all.

Tom Black

pushed me into my locker

right after I found out

my brother had killed himself.

He didn’t know yet.

A few years later,

a winter dusk in the field

behind our high school:

he, too, pushed a cold trigger.

The next night I walked

through snow to where

the northern lights

fell over the dead field.

The sky crackled in blue ash

above the police ribbon

strung around some stakes.

His sprawled imprint

had melted a little.

It looked like his life

had fallen asleep.

On the white plate

my flashlight made

on the snowfield, the blood

flickered. I turned

my light off and cried.

— Matt Rasmussen

You might remember it. I used it in ‘I Wish I’d Written This’ in the old Poets United on June 6 2014.

It’s not about place, is it? Nor time. It’s about grief. It’s about the effect on a boy of a brother’s suicide, and later a schoolmate’s. And yet, how it conjures that place! Somehow we get a whole world from it, a particular community, a certain part of the country (of one specific country) – just as we do in Lee San’s Lavender Street.

It’s just my opinion. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe poems of place should be just physical description and nothing else? 

One which does that successfully, which I also shared in Poets United back in the day, is Christine Strelan's about her home in the bush (not so very far from where I live) in  this video:



I guess what defines a poem of place is whatever brings the place to life.

So I’d love you to think about places which are special to you for any reason, and bring them to life for us in whatever way you choose, in poetry or prose. 

As ever:

  • One per person
  • New or newish, or very much rewritten
  • Prose needs to be a maximum of 369 words, excluding title
  • Link us to your specific blog post via Mister Linky below
  • Read some other people’s and leave (encouraging!) comments when you can.
  • Leave us some feedback here too, if you’d like. (We’d like.)

Material shared here is presented for study and review. Poems, photos, and other writings and images remain the property of the copyright owners, usually the authors. (Older material may be out of copyright).

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Writers’ Pantry #68: Get Caught Reading Some Short Stories!

I love May. Not just because of the yummy weather, dear poets and storytellers, but also because May is Get Caught Reading Month and Short Story Month

I will celebrate the first by taking pictures of random strangers reading. All right, that might be a terrible idea So, I will just probably take a reading selfie or stalk my Piano Man and the not-so-Little Princess until I can catch them reading. The latter, I shall celebrate by rereading some of my favorite short story collections of all times: M Is for Magic by Neil Gaiman, The Decapitated Chicken and Other Stories by Horacio Quiroga, The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo, and a new collection I’ve yet to choose. 

Do you have a favorite short story collection? If yes, would you care to share a title and bit about why you love it? Maybe, your favorite could become mine too.๐Ÿ“š๐Ÿ˜Š

Share your poetry or your prose. Let your contribution be old or new, fiction or nonfiction, short or longish (if you choose prose, then your word count should be 369 words or fewer). One link per participant, please. The prompt will remain open for a week. Let us write, share, and get caught reading in May!

- for our next Weekly Scribblings, our dear Rosemary would like you “to think about places which are special to you for any reason, and bring them to life for us in whatever way you choose, in poetry or prose.”

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Weekly Scribblings #67: Liminal Space

Hello, Word Artists and Admirers! Even before I knew there was a phrase for it, I loved the idea of liminal space. Those are times and places where things are not strictly one thing or another. Merriam-Webster defines it as 1: of, relating to, or situated at a sensory threshold : barely perceptible or capable of eliciting a response 2: of, relating to, or being an intermediate state, phase, or condition : in-between, transitional. And this fandom wiki expands on the idea with several examples. 

As for me, I remember first encounter the idea of it as the time that Bert the Chimneysweep sang about in Mary Poppins ('ardly no day an' 'ardly no night) and how that description filled me with delightful shudders. 

So for today's prompt, I'd like you to dive into the idea of liminal space. You don't need to use the words "liminal space" anywhere in your piece, but the idea of liminal space should be clearly conveyed. I'll take poetry and prose, fiction and non-fiction. I'll also take any substantially re-worked pieces. Just please keep your prose pieces to 369 words or fewer. Thanks!

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Writers’ Pantry# 67: Ecolinguistics

Ecolinguistics explores the role of language in the life-sustaining interactions of humans, other species and the physical environment. The first aim is to develop linguistic theories which see humans not only as part of society, but also as part of the larger ecosystems that life depends on. The second aim is to show how linguistics can be used to address key ecological issues, from climate change and biodiversity loss to environmental justice.”

When I finished reading the introductory quote, the first thought that came to mind was, I love language. I feel that, as writers, we are beyond lucky to have a medium that allows us to explore pretty much everything. And through our exploration we can affect the way the world and its creatures work and evolve. Doesn’t that sound like a superpower?

I spent most of Earth Day reading about the relationship between language and the environment. While searching around the Web, I ran into a list of weather words that are both poetic and terrifying: bombogenesis, frazil, haboob (I really like the way this one sounds, and it is not just because it includes the word ‘boob’), crepuscular ray, sastruga, williwaw, gloriole, moonbroch… the list goes on and on. One day, I will put all those words in a story or a poem or both. And deep in my heart, I hope that said story or poem won’t be about how terribly we are still treating our home. 

Do you have a favorite weather word? My favorite is petrichor—a bit predictable, I know, but still lovely… And it always makes me smile.  ๐Ÿ˜Š       

Now, the Writers’ Pantry is open! We welcome poetry or prose that is old or new, fiction or nonfiction about rainbows or thunder. Let your contributions be short or longish (if choosing prose, the word count be 369 words or fewer). One link per participant. This prompt will stay open for a week. Write. Share. Read. Rain clear comments!

- for our next Weekly Scribblings, our Rommy would like us “to dive into the idea of liminal space.” It’s not necessary to use the actual words (unless we want to) “but the idea of liminal space should be clearly conveyed.”

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Weekly Scribblings #66: All About April

Hello, dear Wordsmiths. How has your April been, so far? Mine has been mostly wet – in a way that does NOT make me share Langston Hughes’s sentiments, below.

We know that Eliot said this was the cruellest month – so memorably that the notion has been widely accepted. I thought it might be interesting to look at what others have said. It turns out that lots of people have said plenty! I chose for your delectation some poems which have for me, and I hope for you, a touch of the unexpected. (Sometimes more than a touch. The connection of Louise Gluck's piece to the month of April seems tenuous at best – but there's something rather paradoxically enjoyable about its irascible tone. And then, the point slowly registers....)

April Rain Song

Let the rain kiss you

Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops

Let the rain sing you a lullaby

The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk

The rain makes running pools in the gutter

The rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night

And I love the rain.

– Langston Hughes

Wet Evening in April

The birds sang in the wet trees

And I listened to them it was a hundred years from now

And I was dead and someone else was listening to them.

But I was glad I had recorded for him

The melancholy.

– Patrick Kavanagh


No one's despair is like my despair--

You have no place in this garden

thinking such things, producing

the tiresome outward signs; the man

pointedly weeding an entire forest,

the woman limping, refusing to change clothes

or wash her hair.

Do you suppose I care

if you speak to one another?

But I mean you to know

I expected better of two creatures

who were given minds: if not

that you would actually care for each other

at least that you would understand

grief is distributed

between you, among all your kind, for me

to know you, as deep blue

marks the wild scilla, white

the wood violet.

– Louise Gluck

April Fools

Spring. A great yellow stain.

Forsythias burst and daffodils explode.

Swallows hurry back from Mexico

and are bitten by

the laughing snows of April.

Spring, the smile

of a ninety-year old man

who can't hear a thing you say

yet keeps talking to you nonetheless.

Spring and dreams

have that in common.

– David Kowalczyk

In April

This I saw on an April day:

Warm rain spilt from a sun-lined cloud,

A sky-flung wave of gold at evening,

And a cock pheasant treading a dusty path

Shy and proud.

And this I found in an April field:

A new white calf in the sun at noon,

A flash of blue in a cool moss bank,

And tips of tulips promising flowers

To a blue-winged loon.

And this I tried to understand

As I scrubbed the rust from my brightening plow:

The movement of seed in furrowed earth,

And a blackbird whistling sweet and clear

From a green-sprayed bough.

– James Hearst

I invite you to be inspired by any or all of these: a line or phrase, an idea, a mood, a whole poem … I’ve given you a variety to choose from.  

And there's the song, sad yet achingly beautiful, which you may also (or instead) use as  inspiration.

You may take issue with something said, if you like.

Or if you’d rather, ignore them all and scribble for us your own story about April

Some of us have girded up our loins (yet again!) to write a poem a day in April, using one or more of various online prompts. If you would like to share one of those pieces here (from this April, 2021) rather than write yet another new one, that's sufficient connection to April to be acceptable to me, whatever the topic. (I might even do that myself; we'll see.*)  

Please tell us somewhere in your post which option you are responding to.

As you know, we welcome poetry and prose. If you choose prose, please keep to 369 words maximum (excluding title).

Then please link, below, to your post on your blog; one entry per person. We love it when you link back to this post from your blog, too. The prompt will stay open all week.  Happy scribbling!

*Later: Yes I did select from my April prompt poems, at the last minute, having not found time to write something specially. I have chosen a piece which seems to me suitable for this day in this April, immediately following the verdict in the George Floyd murder case.

Material shared here is presented for study and review. Poems, photos, and other writings and images remain the property of the copyright owners, usually the authors. (Older material may be out of copyright).