This is it: my official post marking my break from blogging for a while. I couldn’t even officially officialize the break back when I said I would, which might clue my loyal readers in to the extent of my attention, energy, and current workload.
•#6 Pregnancy is going well. We’ve double-checked, and this one is most definitely a boy. Again.
•The house move is progressing slooooowwwlllly. It’s like I have no energy and feel sick all the time or something. I keep -optimistically- telling people we’ll be out of this house and into the next within a month or two. Problem is, the house we’re aiming for is a fixer-upper. We’d be more motivated if, say, the swamp cooler were working. …Yes, I said “swamp cooler.” Yes, I said it’s not working. Don’t even get me started on the pages and pages the house inspector gave us when we were in the purchasing process…
•My poetry post is going wonderfully over at Carrot Ranch. It’s a monthly installment, titled Anyone Can Poem. No matter your perceived skill level, I encourage everyone to try any of the challenges. Thank you to everyone who has visited already.
•I will visit all the blogs I can over the next few days.
•Finally, as is my tradition, here are some of my friends you ought to visit (and follow):
Hobbo of Hobbo’s Poems. A very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very (etc.) good poet of silly, whimsical types. He really, really, really, really, really, really needs to publish because his work is better than what makes it to print. I’m serious, Hobbo.
My new friend, Bossybabe. She’s hilarious to read and I love her comments on my (few and far-between) posts.
Willow, another very nice friend, who writes a variety of stories and prompts and poems.
The excellent proprietor of Opal’s Farm, Gregory Joel. Besides details about that community garden, Gregory slips in the occasional post about life.
Denny the caffeinated athlete. Someday, I’ll be back to running as well.
Rethinking Scripture -who is really a dude dealing with life and advancing the cause for mental illness awareness.
Frank Hubeny, another excellent poet who likes mixing religious themes in his work.
The ever clever Obbverse, who mostly bends his wit to poetry.
Pete Springer, whose book I discussed a bit ago. He’s the nicest guy you’ll ever meet.
“It isn’t about reading the words [with books]; it’s about reading the smell, which wafts from the pages in a cloud of dust and wood pulp. It might smell expensive and well bound, or it might smell of tissue-thin paper and blurred two-color prints, or of fifty years unread in the home of a tobacco-smoking old man. Books can smell of cheap thrills or painstaking scholarship, of literary weight or unsolved mysteries.”
Better late than never, here is the winner of the last A Mused Poetry Contest before my annual summer sabbatical! Which amazing poet encapsulated eccentricity the best? (Warning, for those who are prudish, to skip this one 😀 )
Untitled, by Matt Snyder Hi twiddily Dee hi twiddily Doe I prance about and give it a go Wearing nothing but a well placed sock down below my backside and top bits bask about in a moonlit glow
hi diddle Dee hi diddle Dee do with top hat and monocle and a touch of class How dare you speak of my big fat ask me now I say to thee I am but a man full of dignity of Grace of flair who cares if my sock is my frontal Underwear
A middle e and a middle o like a great cat’s meow I must go but not first without leaving you with a taste of my riches I remove my sock to reveal my delicious solid gold coc…. Sorry gotta keep the end PG for the poetry Mrs
Congratulations, Matt! You are the funniest poet for the month!
From such a talented pool of writers, Matt’s poem stuck out to me …erm, that is- it pushed ahead… hm. Let’s just say I laughed the most, shall we?
Eccentricity’s a tough one to define, but not so tough to write cleverly about -at least for these poets:
Moon Dancing, by Frank Hubeny The night sky is clear and the full moon is bright. It’s nutty I know but I’ll dance in its light. The moon doesn’t care. “Yes, I do.” Well, so what? “You’re nutty enough.” No, I ain’t. “You’re a nut.”
An Eccentrics Guide To Lightening Up / Or; Go With The Flow, by Obbverse A rare precious few view me as being one of a kind, Far more as possessed of a most peculiar singular mind, One gloomy psychiatrist classified me as slightly neurotic, A better one called me, far more politely, simply quixotic.
Some call me eccentric, but that ain’t fair, I prefer to think I think outside the square, Others say my view on reality is a tad murky, They say I’m ‘way out there,’ I’d say ‘quirky.’
The true eccentric is hard to define, The clued-up eccentric rides a fine line, It’s best to keep eccentricities on the down low; Tone it down bro, or up to Bellvue you’re bound to go.
Some admit they think outside the box, I don’t… wish to submit to electric shocks, So, Doc, if eccentricity’s in the eye of the beholder Just call me quietly eccentric- I don’t wanna smoulder.
Pickin’ a winner, by Michael Fishman I feel an urge! There’s something to purge!
I can’t tell it’s size without a poke and a prise.
Is it soft as a sock or as hard as a rock?
I won’t know a where, a what or a why until I reach in and wiggle and try.
I pick my nose. And so it goes.
What’s that you ask?
It was yellow and green it was curled up and dried; and if I ate it or not is up to you to decide.
I know it’s kind of gritty, my slightly odd eccentricity. And though it’s not so pretty, I hope you won’t dismiss-a-me
Shopping Al Fresco, by Hobbo When shopping for food She always went nude, A decision eccentric, if rash, But the girl was no fool And though sometimes cool, She was never again stuck for cash.
I plan to continue the contest once I return. Enjoy your summer (or winter) in the meantime!
Matt, here’s the slightly inaccurate badge for you to use on your site. Congratulations!
I cannot see my feet no more; I think they’re down there, on that floor -Which also rests beyond my view And holds those ‘lusive things called ‘shoes’- …And more than bumbling me can know; I oomph and eeek on stumbling toe.
It ’tisn’t fair, I amble, sigh; Lamenting loss of pedi-sight. That, as my motivation stops, As belly button pokes and pops, That I can’t see feet, floor or toe — ‘Cause I just dropped some cookie dough.
In dog years, I’m middle-aged at this point. Time to buy a Porsche…
Thank you; thank you to all of the friends and followers who’ve found and encouraged me. I started writing during a dark, lonely time and do not exaggerate when I say that you have all saved me with your support. ❤
I’m about as pro-female as the next woman. I want to be judged based on intelligence and ability, know that being female does not make me automatically enjoy flower-arranging, and get excited whenever Natasha Romanova takes out another bodyguard with her sweet moves.
Still, all this pro-woman stuff is starting to bother me. It’s the super- superpowers that’s the problem. It’s the lack of female characteristics. It’s …it’s …difficult to put my finger on, especially in a high-strung world that seems determined to erase any gender lines ENTIRELY.
Take Raya, the lead character in Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon. I wanted to like her. She’s determined, honest, has a worthy cause she’s fighting for, and is not naïve. But she really bugged me. First, the voice actor sounds 40 even when Raya is a young child. Her voice is old and her language is old. I get that Raya is supposed to be precocious. She is not, however, supposed to be 40. Nor is the chick she spends time with from the Fang Clan. Both of them needed to be young-ified. ….Okay; really, the voice and vocabulary are my #1 complaint. After that, I am bothered, as I usually am in movies with female leads, that she does not have to pull her hair back, have downtime once a month, or hurt her hand when punching a rock…
Next up is Captain Marvel. Woo-wee. Where to start? How about the fact that she is even more powerful than Superman? Again, I wanted to like her. She can do anything even though she’s a chick, so that means we women can do anything too -right? (granted, that’s if we first absorb the energy of an alien power source…). I can’t like her. I can’t believe her. The film kept trying to show that her ‘weakness’ was not being confident. Thank you, Marvel writers, for showing me that all I need is limitless abilities (including not being crushed in the vacuum of space) to get over my crushing self-doubts and alien-installed dampener on my neck.
Do you see what I mean? I recognize my concerns and begin to understand when I compare women like Raya or Cpt. Marvel to female leads I do like.
Like, Katniss Everdeen, from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Katniss is sixteen, independent, and not very touchy-feely. Her superpower? Archery. Oh, and good survivalist instincts and knowledge. Katniss is godlike in shooting arrows, described in Mockingjay as being able to bullseye multiple targets thrown into the air. She’s also able to recognize edible plants, find water, start fires, and kill children…. The only part of her character that irks me is her naivety to plans going on right under her nose –but, wouldn’t a sixteen-year-old be oblivious? I love that Katniss’ instinct is to run and hide, sniveling, when danger rears its ugly head. She’s calculating, yet cares deeply. She’s human -a teenage human.
Another of the female powerhouses I love is Trinity from The Matrix film series. Cool, powerful, strong, independent. Trinity makes everything looks awesome. Yet, she is also terrified. At times, she is vulnerable. My favorite, favorite scene is when she is lying on the ground, guns drawn, after flying through a window. She’s just run across rooftops after wiping out an entire police force and expects an Agent to break through and annihilate her at any second. Pistols pointed at the broken window, she grits her teeth and tells herself, “Get up, Trinity. Get. UP!”
Why do some women leads bother me and others not? I think everyone is confused about what Girl Power means.
I’m a woman. I’m female. I grew up seeing girls choose dolls and friends; hearing girls talk about fingernail polish and cute boys; smelling girls spray fruity vanilla scents on each other and worrying over their hair. Even as a woman, I notice most other XX’s fretting at house decorating or “The Bachelor” or botox.
Me? I had Barbies with superpowers who went on adventures. I chewed my nails and thought boys were disgusting. I think ‘doing my hair’ is pulling it back in a ponytail. I wouldn’t be caught dead watching something as stupid as fake-dating for a supposed millionaire.
I want girls to be anything.
Buuuut, I also know that females have many physiological differences. They seem to gravitate toward certain tastes. Many share attributes like being nurturing, good at communicating, and -yes- arranging flowers well. Quite obviously, they are also the only ones able to make babies.
As we’ve emerged from a long history of mostly baby-making out into the limelight of higher education, politics, and management; we’re not sure what to do. We’re not sure what to encourage. Women who’ve obviously chosen home life are raising their daughters to choose the opposite. Petite movie directors and writers make their characters sound middle-aged, fly to other worlds, win in a deathmatch, and stand up to beefy-armed hirelings.
I guess that sells better than The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe.
What to do, then; what to do…
Here’s a simple takeaway: keep female characters believable. Keep them as good, reachable role models. Why do I hate Captain Marvel? No weakness; no humanity at all. Why do I love Katniss? Her go-to is to hide when things get difficult; to act irrationally. Why do I prefer Disney’s Moana over Raya? Practical physical limitations and age-appropriate behaviors. Why do I favor Trinity, even though she pushes some realism? Because she shows fear, uncertainty, jealousy, and deep emotion.
Women are complicated. Don’t make us impossible as well. Right?
The native peoples of pre-European settlement in Utah were waaaay ahead of we bathroom-stall and tree-carving scrawlers. According to a sign posted at the site, “The first carvings at the Newspaper Rock site were made around 2,000 years ago, left by people from the Archaic, Anasazi, Fremont, Navajo, Anglo, and Pueblo cultures” (Wikipedia).
From there, ancient passersby etched even more images local animals, human figures, symbols, and past events. Apparently, it’s “one of the largest, best preserved and easily accessed groups in the Southwest” (also Wikipedia).
How did it happen? Why?
It’s surmised that the perennial natural spring attracted [peoples from the ancient Native American tribes] to this distinct area. There are over 650 rock art designs and include animals, human figures, and various symbols, some thought to be religious in nature. These petroglyphs were produced by pecking through the black desert varnish found on the rock to the lighter rock beneath.
Best of all, this wall of petroglyphs is easily accessible. You know, assuming you can get parking at the side of the road. It’s along the access road to Canyonlands National Park. According to Visitutah.com, “There are no fees or permits required to visit Newspaper Rock or to drive the Indian Creek Scenic Byway through Indian Creek National Monument. There are fees to enter Canyonlands National Park. Just across the highway from the petroglyphs there is a picnic area and campground, which is free and is first-come, first-serve.”
If you rent a car or RV after arriving at SLC International Airport, that’s a five hour drive. Maybe you’ll want to stop for lunch along the way. Or, make this one of your stops whilst staying in Moab if you can’t get over to see Arches.
It’s been a busy last few weeks, but not on the blog.
Just remember to enter the A Mused Poetry contest. The theme is eccentrics and it ends on June 26th.
If you’re a better blog friend than I, you knew this was coming. I have not been around much. I haven’t had time for anything except a paltry effort at feeding the children and ensuring they’ve showered semi-regularly.
I’ll write now and then, visit everybody, wrap up the current A Mused Poetry Contest; then take off around June 27th. I’ll not disappear entirely because I am writing a monthly poetry post over at Carrot Ranch called Anyone Can Poem.
(By the way, you should check it out!)
In other announcements:
We found out we’re having Boy #6.
We’re moving house.
We’ve cured cancer.
Now, you get to decide which two are the truths and which is the lie….