“Do not try to save
the whole world
or do anything grandiose.
Instead, create
a clearing
in the dense forest
of your life
and wait there
patiently,
until the song
that is yours alone to sing
falls into your open cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know
how to give yourself
to this world so worthy of rescue.”

-“Clearing,” by Martha Postlethwaite

Hey! Wilhelmina’s Back, and Matt’s Reading Her Aloud!

I’m still on break, so don’t tell anyone, BUT my good friend, Matt Snyder of Prolific Potpourri, has started reading my Wilhelmina Winters series for his Short Story Saturdays.

Wil was the first series I wrote; I even started her on Twofacebook before I found the better world of blogging. She’s what I always wanted my imagination to be like, what I experienced in middle school, and an attempt at my understanding one of my sons.

https://aprolificpotpourri.art/2021/07/31/short-story-saturday-wilhelmina-winters-chapter-one-from-the-desk-of-the-mouse/

I’m so excited for Matt to read these! Enjoy!

Blogging Break. Oh, Baby.

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.

Speaking of:

•#6 Pregnancy is going well. We’ve double-checked, and this one is most definitely a boy. Again.

It’s aliiiiiive.

•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 tried my hand at the new-fangled audio-posting option with “I Cannot See My Feet No More.” Check it out if you’re curious how I sound.

•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):

  1. 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.
  2. My new friend, Bossybabe. She’s hilarious to read and I love her comments on my (few and far-between) posts.
  3. Willow, another very nice friend, who writes a variety of stories and prompts and poems.
  4. The excellent proprietor of Opal’s Farm, Gregory Joel. Besides details about that community garden, Gregory slips in the occasional post about life.
  5. Denny the caffeinated athlete. Someday, I’ll be back to running as well.
  6. Rethinking Scripture -who is really a dude dealing with life and advancing the cause for mental illness awareness.
  7. Frank Hubeny, another excellent poet who likes mixing religious themes in his work.
  8. The ever clever Obbverse, who mostly bends his wit to poetry.
  9. Pete Springer, whose book I discussed a bit ago. He’s the nicest guy you’ll ever meet.
  10. Herb, another great, down-to-earth guy.

And, actually, many more! Visit my Awards posts for more, or stalk my comments sections. I couldn’t ask for a better group than the friends I’ve made through blogging.

©2021 Chel Owens

We are writers.

We are writers.

Our innocent country walks; our grocery trips; our meditations -are narrated. “Lush greenings brush against…” “So stands the stoic milk…” “Thus, she found herself…”

We can subsist on very little, although it must be a consumable accessory to a keyboard or notebook.

It’s perfectly normal and reasonable to find we’ve only left our desk to curl up somewhere, muttering about a “block” or “wall” or “J.K. Rowling.”

Time does not exist. Dishes do not exist. Why are you asking about the dishes?

Words are all that matter.

Therefore, we are also readers. Don’t bother us during or after a book. Blinking blearily, we’re likely to assume you’re less real than the world between the words. And we’ll bite.

To those still wishing understanding or attention: practice a straight face, prepare encouraging remarks, clean the kitchen, bring something chocolate, and stay away until THE END.

Sometimes, we are human again.

Photo by Lisa on Pexels.com

©2021 Chel Owens

“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.”

The Ten Thousand Doors of January, by Alix E. Harrow

WINNER of the A Mused Poetry Contest 6/30/2021

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?

Well —

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!

©2021 The poets, and their respective works

I Cannot See My Feet No More

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.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

©2021 Chel Owens

Heeeere’s Chel, out loud!

*I’ll post the results of the A Mused Poetry Contest tomorrow. Go ahead and enter if you haven’t yet; the judge clearly hasn’t had time to look at all the entries!*

Priorities, Priorities.

It didn’t matter anymore.

That shipment of designer-label makeup and brushes Maggie saved and saved for, finally sitting in its box on her porch.

Those Mike sneakers Joe wasted his entire paycheck on.

The brand-new, glistening, powerful Lawn Steere tractor (and attachments) Lori drove home from the shop just yesterday. Parked in the outbuilding of her late grandfather’s estate.

Steve’s collection of bottle caps.

Ada’s books. Oh, how she loved books.

Even Clair’s six pack of beer, alone on the dusty counter.

None of that mattered, anymore, as Maggie, Joe, Lori, Steve, Ada, Clair, and every sentient being watched-heard-felt-breathed Methuselah’s Comet break through the atmosphere. And silence all of Earth.

©2021 Chel Owens

Raya, Captain Marvel, Katniss Everdeen, Trinity, and GIRL POWER

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.

Scarlett Johansson Film GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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…

Disney Movie Raya GIF by Walt Disney Studios - Find & Share on GIPHY

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.

Captain Marvel GIF by Marvel Studios - Find & Share on GIPHY

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.

Jennifer Lawrence Aim GIF by The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 - Find & Share on GIPHY

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!”

Ready To Fight The Matrix GIF by HBO Max - Find & Share on GIPHY

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?

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

©2021 Chelsea Owens