The Sincerest Form of Poetry: Review, Q&A, and Book Release With Geoff LePard

Geoff LePard -thank goodness- is unlike other authors. Where most would see a greening woodland dappled in midday light and write about fairies, Geoff is apt to whip up a dialogue ‘txixt Madame Rootbringerton and her onerous neighbor, Sir Pansybottom.

And that dialogue is not always appropriate for general audiences.

When Geoff announced plans to write and publish a book of poetry, I therefore wasn’t sure what to expect. Spurred by forays into this site’s Terrible Poetry contests and encouraged by his muse, Geoff pursued his dream and has produced The Sincerest Form of Poetry.

All of life in one easy couplet

To write poetry I need inspiration. Often that comes from my appreciation of the craftsmanship of other, better poets, whose skills I aspire to emulate. For this anthology, I have chosen two such sources: in part one, the search for Britain’s favourite poem led to the publication of the top 100 and I have used a number of these to craft my own take on those beautiful and inspirational works; in part two, my love of the sonnet form, fostered by reading Shakespeare’s gems has provided a selection covering many topics and themes. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed creating them.

-Geoff LePard

Half parody pastiche and half sonnet, Monsieur LePard outdoes himself. After reading, I came up with a few questions which he has graciously answered:

1. Many of your poems seem inspired by a certain topic or event. Could you pick one (parody or sonnet) and describe your inspiration for it?

-Sure (and your surmise is quite right). In the first section – Parody? Hmm, I might debate that some time, though I’ve had them called pastiche too which is worse – sorry, moving on… Foreign Is Quite Ghastly is a political rant, inspired, or maybe despaired is the appropriate term, by one word. Brexit. A word that will define my generation’s stupidity, pointy-headed narrow-mindedness and casual xenophobia.

Foreign Is Quite Ghastly
(Home Thoughts, From Abroad, Robert Browning)

Oh to be in England
Rather than ‘abroad’
To say travel broadens the mind
Is really quite absurd.
It’s dusty here, and full of smells
Against which the most robust rebels
And, God, the din the locals make
And don’t get me on what they boil and bake.
I’ll gift a kidney if you’ll just allow
Me back to England. Now!

The birds they have hereabouts
Have beady eyes and beaks of steel,
And I really must confess my doubts:
These evil beasts cannot be real?
Back home in dear old Blighty
Our beaded tits are cute and flighty
And fill my soul with careless rapture.
Hearts should sing! They shouldn’t rupture!

I’ve got my ticket, I’m on my way
Back to England’s green gold shores;
I’m done with ‘foreign’, outdone my stay
Take me home, to know-all bores,
To potholed roads and warm flat beer:
I’m an Englishman: get me outta here!

In structuring the poem, I began by focusing on certain well-established tropes that are raised by those whose experiences of ‘foreign’ have not been good: the strange smells when one alights from train or plane; the noise from local markets or minarets, made less attractive because it’s in a language that no self respecting Brit would want to understand; and the strange local diets inflicted on our poor traveller, which is a strange conceit given the British have adopted the mild curry as their own national dish. To give one example, I well recall my first holiday in Spain – I was 22 – when I was prevailed upon to spend a week on the Costa Brava, amongst so many other Brits. One sign, on a café, said it sold ‘tea like mum makes’: not only was it squarely aimed at we Brits and our obsession with tea but the joke had to be in English because it wouldn’t work in the local tongue.

In verse two, I’ve turned to another snobbish stereotype: that somehow Britain’s green and pleasant land – it’s natural environment – is so much nicer than everywhere else: our climate is benign; there are no poisonous creatures that will kill you (unless you have an unusual, and frankly not very British allergic reaction to say a bee string); there are no tier one predators that can out do a domesticated Brit (sure, cows can trample you and there are a few dogs I’d not want to be alone with for long) and the risk of being eaten is very remote. Further more our indigenous fauna are cuddly and cute, made more so by the propensity to anthropomorphise them in children’s literature – Wind In The Willows even rehabilitated a rat for pity’s sake. Everywhere else you have snakes that kill with a toxic glance, mammals whose teeth fail all health and safety procedures and bird life that put the lie on the theory that the dinosaurs died out.

In the final verse, I turn to consider what it is that draws the Brit home and poke fun at our acceptance of our inadequacies because, well, they’re so much better than everyone else’s inadequacies. Essentially it’s a dig at the one British past-time at which we have no superiors: our ability to moan. In the last two lines, there are two allusions which you probably need to be British to get: ‘warm flat beer’ is a reference to the chief Brexit stirrer, Nigel Farage who would often be photo’ed in a British pub sipping a pint of the ghastly muck, to prove his domestic credentials. And ‘get me outta here’ is a cultural reference to the TV show ‘I’m a Celebrity; Get me Outta here’; we like to make a big play on our cultural superiority: Shakespeare and theatre, the BBC and TV dramas and comedies Nowadays our exports are of a more prosaic nature: The Great British Bake Off, Strictly Come Dancing and Top Gear. How far have we fallen.

2. In my experience, some people are afraid of writing poetry. What advice would you give a writer who feels timid at the idea of trying a poem?

Oh dear, that’s easy to say: just write. I think people expect poetry to be a special skill and they have to have the knack or they can’t do it. I like to think of poetry as structured prose anyway. If you can write a sentence you can write poetry and some poetry is just differently aligned prose anyway.

Your lesson to me [when I applied for some advice years ago] is a great place to start. Go outside, sit and stare and then write down all you see, hear, smell and, if you do, taste and touch. Then see if anything jumps out at you as an idea or thought you’d like to pursue. Poetry doesn’t have to be about imagery or emotion, it doesn’t need metaphor or simile. It can be glib and silly. The fact that I like form is my weakness rather than a guide to how it’s done. I often wonder if we fail our children by offering them so much in rhyme that they feel the need to rhyme their poetry and that carries through to limit them in adulthood. 

3. What would you rhyme with ‘orange?’

Some say it is those on the fringe
On whose votes this election will hinge;
But despite all the chatter
It’s skin tone that’ll matter:
A grey face or one that’s orange.

—–

On Geoff’s permission, I’ve included another of his poems that I enjoyed:

The Inner Musings of Clouds
(Daffodils, William Wordsworth)

I wandered lonely as a cloud
Which is pretty daft for a man of fifty,
Cos, unlike a cloud, and I’m not proud
To admit, I’m not, these days, so nifty
As once I was. I’ve put on weight
Through beer and pies, and grown a paunch
That’s round and hard. I’m not the slight
Young fella, who’d down a vat at lunch
With space to drink the same at dinner.
Clouds are lonely, so posits old Will,
Like me, they’re seen as less saint than sinner
Who’ll rain on everyone’s parade, until
The fun stops. But we don’t care, cloudy and me;
We are what we are: grey, fat, round and free.

To pick up your own copy, visit Tangental.com or Amazon. Stick around his blog for some great stories and some envy-worthy views of Geoff’s garden as well.

The beautiful cover for The Sincerest Form of Poetry, ©2020 Geoff LePard

—–

Geoff Le Pard started writing to entertain in 2006. He hasn’t left his keyboard since. When he’s not churning out novels he writes some maudlin self-indulgent poetry, short fiction and blogs at geofflepard.com. He walks the dog for mutual inspiration and most of his best ideas come out of these strolls. He also cooks with passion if not precision.

My Father and Other Liars is a thriller set in the near future and takes its heroes, Maurice and Lori-Ann on a helter-skelter chase across continents.
Geoff 1

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Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle is a coming of age story. Set in 1976 the hero Harry Spittle is home from university for the holidays. He has three goals: to keep away from his family, earn money and hopefully have sex. Inevitably his summer turns out to be very different to that anticipated.Geoff2

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In this, the second book in the Harry Spittle Sagas, it’s 1981 and Harry is training to be a solicitor. His private life is a bit of a mess and he’s far from convinced the law is for him. Then an old acquaintance from his hotel days appears demanding Harry write his will. When he dies somewhat mysteriously a few days later and leaves Harry in charge of sorting out his affairs, Harry soon realises this will be no ordinary piece of work. After all, his now deceased client inherited a criminal empire and several people are very interested in what is to become of it.


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The third instalment of the Harry Spittle Sagas moves on the 1987. Harry is now a senior lawyer with a well-regarded City of London firm, aspiring to a partnership. However, one evening Harry finds the head of the Private Client department dead over his desk, in a very compromising situation. The senior partner offers to sort things out, to avoid Harry embarrassment but soon matters take a sinister turn and Harry is fighting for his career, his freedom and eventually his life as he wrestles with dilemma on dilemma. Will Harry save the day? Will he save himself?


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Life in a Grain of Sand is a 30 story anthology covering many genres: fantasy, romance, humour, thriller, espionage, conspiracy theories, MG and indeed something for everyone. All the stories were written during Nano 2015.


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Salisbury Square is a dark thriller set in present day London where a homeless woman and a Polish man, escaping the police at home, form an unlikely alliance to save themselves.
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Buster & Moo is about about two couples and the dog whose ownership passes from one to the other. When the couples meet, via the dog, the previously hidden cracks in their relationships surface and events begin to spiral out of control. If the relationships are to survive there is room for only one hero but who will that be?
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Life in a Flash is a set of super short fiction, flash and micro fiction that should keep you engaged and amused for ages.
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Apprenticed To My Mother describes the period after my father died when I thought I was to play the role of dutiful son, while Mum wanted a new, improved version of her husband – a sort of Desmond 2.0. We both had a lot to learn in those five years, with a lot of laughs and a few tears as we went.
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Life in a Conversation is an anthology of short and super short fiction that explores connections through humour, speech and everything besides. If you enjoy the funny, the weird and the heart-rending then you’ll be sure to find something here.
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When Martin suggests to Pete and Chris that they spend a week walking, the Cotswolds Way, ostensibly it’s to help Chris overcome the loss of his wife, Diane. Each of them, though, has their own agenda and, as the week progresses, cracks in their friendship widen with unseen and horrifying consequences.
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Famous poets reimagined, sonnets of all kinds, this poetry selection has something for all tastes, from the funny, to the poignant to the thought-provoking and always written with love and passion.
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Geoff Le Pard’s Amazon Author Page

©2020 Chel Owens
Geoff LePard’s works © Geoff LePard. Don’t cross him; he’s a lawyer

Let’s Make Some Order in This Chaos

I haven’t felt like writing. My busy blog-posting indicates otherwise, except that I’ve mostly written about Real Life. The world of fiction is not a place I want to go now that it’s knocking on my door and popping into my e-mails and being re-posted on my social media.

Dystopia is one of my favorite subjects. I intend to write a science fiction and/or futuristic novel someday. Maybe I’ll do Skinwalkers or Since the Bombs Fell or “Open the Sky“… But, like I said, that future is here. It’s not so intriguing when I’m living it.

I think I assumed I’d not be alive during a post-apocalyptic scenario.

I definitely assumed I’d be fit, well-armed, well-stocked, and driving an army Jeep.

It’s not quite as awesome to be wearing pajamas, carrying around postpartum baby weight, caring for five children, and occasionally driving a minivan.

The day-to-day sitting around involved with Coronavirus is precisely why they never showed Jack Bauer using the bathroom in his 24 hour days.

white tissue paper roll on white wicker basket

Maybe if TP was in short supply in one of the episodes, they would have included a bathroom scene.

I do better in the midst of chaos; needing to grab that last Clorox wipe, save the child from uncertain school days, or stumble to the wall while the world shakes. When all is calm and all is bright, I stay awake as anxiety gnaws at my conscience. What if we get sick? Will the boys ever have school again? What, exactly, do we do in a stronger earthquake?

My husband says worrying does nothing. I say it’s all I can do. If I don’t remember to worry about it, then I am doing nothing. He then says something about the Serenity Prayer

Which helps me realize that waiting may be difficult, but it may be what we all need to do right now. Realizing this helps me realize I need a plan besides buyworrypanic. Realizing all of those things helps me realize I ought to accept the things I cannot change and write up a schedule for life and blogging.

It may be infrequent, but I’d like to include the following:

  1. Interviews with my friends, especially those who have published and wish to share their work(s).
  2. Book reviews of the books I will get myself to read, especially if I manage to read the work(s) my friends have published.
  3. More poetry.
  4. More fiction.
  5. Bad poetry, of course. I think we need it.
  6. Some creative projects outside of writing. I art on occasion. I could share more.
  7. Favorite books, music, art, people, whatever.

I never have time for me when the children are home all day, so my chance of daily posts is not very high unless I schedule ahead. Still, I need this outlet. Twofacebook may have a lot more people on it now, but it’s mostly chainmails and reposts. No one likes my informational statistics on COVID for some reason…

If you have ideas of other things I could include on the blog, let me know. If you would like to be interviewed, let me know. As always, thank you for joining me on…

Well, thank you for joining me on my blog, anyway.

—————-

Here’s the past week:
Wednesday, March 25: “Going Postal, II,” the second in my serial story about Ron the postman.

Friday, March 27: Wrote an update on the Coronavirus situation ’round here.

And, crowned the winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Ruth!

Saturday, March 28: Announced the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is Springtime, or Autumntime. PLEASE ENTER!

Monday, March 30: Posted just after midnight with another Coronavirus update.

And, shared Gary’s inspirational quote.

AND, wrote “Desert Dreams” for Carrot Ranch’s prompt

AND AND, visited the new Saddle Up Saloon and Poet Tree, where I was interviewed. Head on over to leave a poem from the prompt “off shoot.”

Tuesday, March 31: “Going Postal, III.”

And, wrote yet another Coronavirus update.

Wednesday, Date: Today.

I also posted on my motherhood site. I think. I’ve scheduled a few poems over there, like “Mother of Two” and “The Busy Person’s Poem.”

 

Photo Credit: Pexels and GIPHY

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Utah Mormons: What Do You Want to Know?

I am a Utah Mormon.*

If that shocked you, you may need to spend more time plowing thru -okay, you’re right: I don’t mention it much. I mostly don’t bring up my location or religious affiliation because of The Box Phenomenon. People are so keen to categorize that they will automatically assume things about my character, things that are probably not true.

There are, however, many characteristics or behaviors or habits or lack of cuss words that are true because of my Utah LDSness.

Like

  1. I don’t drink alcohol. Never have, and I mean never.
  2. I have not done recreational drugs.
  3. I’ve never had a cup of coffee.
  4. I have no tattoos. Never have.
  5. I wear one set of earrings, in my ear lobes.
  6. I lived a very clean dating life and my husband is the only man I’ve known.**
  7. I don’t swear, unless it’s the morning after the children have not slept and they will damn well hear about how frustrating they’ve been after the umpteenth time -in which case, it’s still only “damn” and “hell.”
  8. I attend church every week and (before I was pregnant) voluntarily worked a ‘job’ in our ward.

The list could go on, I suppose, but that’s why I’m writing this post. I am naturally curious about how other people live their lives, and assume others might be curious about mine. I specifically wonder if everyone else starts the day with a cup of coffee. Does everyone else flip off bad drivers on the freeway? Does everyone slip on a tank top and short shorts and call themselves dressed?

I don’t.

And so, what do you wonder about MY day-to-day life or views based on my location and religious leanings? Within reason, what questions do you have? Do you have any?

I’m no official representative of my faith and will not purport to be so, but am willing to answer what I can.

Try me. I’m curious.

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*The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has officially stated that its members are not ‘Mormons,’ but are ‘members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.’

**You know, in the biblical sense.

—————-

Besides a question, you may also be interested in my writings of last week:
Wednesday, November 13: Made some important announcements about the blog’s schedule in “I’m Having a Baby (I Think).”

Thursday, November 14: Attempted an homage to Geoff’s style with “A Tribute to Geoff LePard of TanGental.”

Friday, November 15: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Matt Snyder!

Saturday, November 16: Announced the 52nd Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest! Happy birthday to bad poetry!! The theme is BIRTH, and is the last contest of the year. PLEASE ENTER!

Sunday, November 17: “A Confusing Session,” in response to Carrot Ranch’s prompt.

Monday, November 18: Shared LA’s astute assessment of life and its responsibilities.

Tuesday, November 19: “Since the Bombs Fell: Five.”

Wednesday, November 20: Today.

I also posted a poem on my motherhood site, “Is There an Echo?

 

Photo Credit: Michael Hart

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Where, Oh Where Should My Blogging Go?

I feel lost.

Where once I had goals, dreams, aspirations, directions, and a body weight I could control; I now have exhaustion and confusion. The problem is with writing, with blogging.

Why did you start a blog? I began mine because a very good (talented, beautiful, intelligent) friend recommended I start one. I’d been trying to make TwofaceBook into a salon of sorts. I failed. People on social media want it to be a trash heap -but I digress.

I started writing a blog because I wanted to share my writing with others. I also wanted to complete a book, become world famous, and retire from housework forever.

After 2.5 years and little progress in the book-writing direction, I wonder if my followers have lost interest. I know I have. I imagine everyone’s thoughts:

What is she doing with this blog, anyway?

Why does she keep posting terrible poetry?

Is this a short story or a -oh. It’s yet another piece of that serial story thing. Just END it already!

Since no one’s been blunt enough to tell me these things, I’m taking the liberty of assuming their reactions.

In all seriousness, though, what should I do? I’ve finally finished Wilhelmina Winters. I prematurely ended the life of one my favorite serials because it was going the same, lengthy direction. I’m not certain anyone ever reads my mom blog. I think the bad poetry is hilarious.

I need a re-vamp, or I’m bound to drop the thing entirely. We’re talking a new writing schedule and different posts than what I’ve been doing.

If you have a minute, could you leave a comment about what you actually enjoy reading or would like me to write? I’m open to suggestions.

Thank you.

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Here’s a brief run-down of what I wrote:
Wednesday, October 9: Asked about faves in “What’s Your Favorite Holiday? Why?

Thursday, October 10: Whipped up a (highly condensed) version of Stephen’s writing in “A Tribute to Stephen Black of Fractured Faith Blog.”

Friday, October 11: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Peregrine Arc!

Saturday, October 12: Announced the 47th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is to parody a nursery rhyme. PLEASE ENTER!

Sunday, October 13: Shared Carrot Ranch’s Flash Fiction Contest, Susanna Leonard Hill’s Children’s Halloweensie Story Contest, and Aurora Jean Alexander’s Halloween Poetry Contest.

Monday, October 14: An inspirational quote by Someone who may have been Winston Churchill.

Tuesday, October 15: “Wilhelmina Winters, Number One Hundred Eight.” The End!!!

Wednesday, October 16: Today.

I also posted a little bit at my motherhood site. I wrote “The Merits of Yelling in the House,” “Top Ten Things to Never Tell a Pregnant Woman,” and “A Parents’ Bedtime Poem.”

 

Photo Credit: Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Why Vacation if You’re a Stick in the Mud?

I don’t get out much. Maybe you’ve noticed.

When I do escape the dishes and children and laundry, my vacation destination is …Wal-mart. Ooh! Or Costco! Frankly, I spend enough at those, and the local Smith’s Marketplace, to cover a cruise.

Bu-u-u-ut the hubs and I made a goal to family vacay every summer. Sometimes it’s been camping. Sometimes it’s a cross-country trip. Sometimes we jaunt down to California for our every-five-years-Disneyland extravaganza.

Since I began this summer on bed rest, I had to put any travel plans on hold. Since we learned I was pregnant and needed to pay for removing our sweet, little parasite; we had to put our finances on hold.

I therefore booked a quick weekend away, using some reward points from the credit card.

I therefore picked somewhere not too far away but far enough to count as ‘vacation.’

I therefore booked a really fun hotel with a water slide and planned to eat tuna sandwiches.

I therefore demanded an oath of my husband that he would not point out any practical failings, metaphorically raining on our happy parade.

Problem is, I am an analytical person. I married an analytical person. We are both fairly practical as well. And critical. And, although I’ve been riding the Jaded Coaster since about age 3, my sweet husband got on and has been uncomfortably riding for over a decade now.

We made it to the second day before fighting about how the whole thing made no financial sense and we could be doing everything we were doing if we’d simply stayed home.

Fun times.

Which has since led me to ruminating about people and their vacations. For, of course one could save money, comfort, time, and hassle by staying put. There’s no risk. No bedbugs. No missing toothbrush. No change of climate or circumstance.

I’ve wondered a few specific things:

  1. Are vacations fun?
  2. Are they worth the cost?
  3. Are they worth the work?
  4. Is a vacation a vacation?

What do you think? What has your experience been?

 

—————-

I wrote a few things this past week:
Wednesday, August 14: Shared some of my favorite funny pregnancy t-shirts in “The Funniest Pregnancy Tees.”

Thursday, August 15: Announced I’d be going off the grid for a family vacay. I haven’t really come back yet.

Friday, August 16: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Thank you so so so so so so so so so so much to Bruce for adjudicating. Congratulations to Mathew for winning!

Saturday, August 17: Announced the 39th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is vacations. PLEASE ENTER!

Also shared “Except for the Exceptions,” from a depressed mood during vacation.

Sunday, August 18: Nothing.

Monday, August 19: Enthused about receiving Stephen’s published book, The Kirkwood Scott Chronicles: Skelly’s Square (soon to be reviewed!).

Tuesday, August 20: “A Tick A Kick.”

Wednesday, August 21: Nothing. Tra-la-la.

Thursday, August 22: Today.

I also posted all this week at my motherhood site. I wrote “Hotel For …Fun?,” “The Best Thing You Can Give Your Child,” and “There’s Nothing to Eat.”

Photo Credits:
Image by tim striker from Pixabay
Image by Daniela Dimitrova from Pixabay
Image by KRISTEN FOSTER from Pixabay

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Another Liebster Thingie

Mathew of Blog of the Wolf Boy let me know he’d tagged me in a Liebster Award. He mentioned interesting questions, so I had to check it out….

So, here’re eleven facts about myself: female, tall, brunette, literate, sarcastic, alive, tired, hungry, creative, analytical, intelligent.

Mathew’s (interesting) questions with my responses:

  1. What number can you count to without taking a single breath?
    Right now, about 12. One of my current pregnancy side effects is shortness of breath. I’m practically asthmatic.
  2. How many push-ups can you do before you can’t do anymore?
    (See my answer to #1.)
  3. If you could clone one person in the world who would it be?
    I’d clone me, but only if I could include happier hormones and no desire to chase after my husband. Come to think of it, I’d better settle on an android.
  4. Would you clone yourself and would you trust your clone if you did?
    I guess I should have read through these questions first.
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  5. Would you go into the ocean on a submarine?
    Nopity nopity no.
  6. Do you prefer to write on a laptop or with pen and paper?
    I prefer pen and paper, though not for composing. This dad-gum technological age has spoilt me and me hand gets tired.
  7. What’s a cherished childhood television show that you used to love but haven’t thought of in a while?
    “Today’s Special.”
  8. Whats a smell that you love?
    My husband wearing his Old Spice deodorant.
  9. Do you prefer green apples or red and sweet apples?
    I am not a sour person at all. I’m not big into too sweet, either, so I’d go halfway.
  10. If you could have the perfect dream and never wake up would you take it?
    Nope. Who’d remember to refill the toilet paper, for Pete’s sake??
  11. How many cats does it take before you start to be labeled as a crazy cat person?
    My son has a friend who owns 7 cats. The parents made it a point to let me know they were not crazy cat people, so I’d say the number’s somewhere around 3.
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I’ve about run the gamut of bugging my followers with these, but maybe some newcomers need recommendations of who to follow. I therefore officially nominate:

-Ruth of Ruth Scribbles, the most awesomest and supportive friend a gal could ask for.

-P’Arc of Peregrine Arc, the most awesomest and supportive friend a gal could ask for.

-J of Thru Violet Lentz, the most awesomest and currently busy friend a gal could ask for.

-Gary of Bereaved and Being a Single Parent, the most awesomest dad and busiest blogger a gal could ask for.

-And all of my other followers, the most awesomest and supportive friends a gal could ask for.

I decided to pull your questions from the other awards I’ve participated in:

*What’s your favorite cheesy joke?
*Who would win in a boxing round; rock, paper, or scissors?
*Who stole the cookies from the cookie jar?
*Why is it always the last place you look?
*Which storybook villain would always win a limerick competition?
*Given an infinite number of monkeys and typewriters, how soon before they realize typewriters are outdated and they’ll need to learn sign language?
*What is the best letter of the alphabet?
*Who is the most misunderstood nursery rhyme character?
*How much chocolate is too much?
*Who would win in a duel: chocolate volcano cake or bananas foster?

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The Rules To Award:

Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you
Share 11 facts about yourself
Answer the 11 questions the blogger(s) asked you
Nominate 11 bloggers and ask them 11 questions
Notify your 11 nominees

 

Photo Credit:
Franck V.
Jari Hytönen

Sunshine, Lollipops, and Blogger ‘Awards’

Kevin Parish at What Words May Come gifted me The Sunshine Blogger Award. Thanks, Kevin!

Sunshine

Here are Kevin’s questions:

  1. What verbal graffiti do you use too much? (Examples: Like…Well anyway… I know, right… Huh… Umm…)
    Ummm… Huh… I don’t really know.
    do know that I have detested “I know; right” since it first cropped up, so you shan’t hear me say that ever.
  2. What is your favorite color?
    I’m rather fond of winter shades: dark burgundy, dark blue, dark green, dark black, etc.
  3. Do you love, hate or couldn’t care less about professional sports?
    This may shoot me in the foot in terms of followers, but I am not a professional sports fan. I love to watch anyone who is a master of his craft, so I do enjoy the occasional match. Frankly, I find rooting for a team pointless since the members are not even native; they might very well be originally from the opponent’s home state or be traded there next season.
  4. What’s the name of your longest-time best friend?
    My husband is my longest-time best friend, and his name is Kevin Owens.
  5. What’s the funniest nickname you have ever heard?
    Like H.R.R. Gorman, I’ve a better story about a real name. My husband worked with a man who legally changed his name to something like Captain Yam*. The guy was a bit socially awkward as well, as in showing up to work every day in something like a bike helmet awkward**.
  6. Do you have a nickname that you can/will share?
    My mother called me Munkey as a child. Word is that I looked like a monkey but she made it sound slightly cuter than that. I also liked monkeys. Darn sticking-out-ears…
    saray-jimenez-WJw9ml1EAEk-unsplash
  7. Have you ever started laughing really hard just by thinking about something? If so, and you can remember, what was it?
    Oh, yes!! Occasionally I will engage in a comments conversation on WordPress and my friend or I will say something downright clever. I’ll think about it and laugh for days.
    I think one of the latest ones was betwixt me and masercot (AKA Charles). He mentioned Dr. Suess in response to my blog post on picture books.
    Me: “…Fish in a tree is hard to believe.”
    Him: “The worst was when they hopped on pop, right after his kidney surgery…”
    Me: “You must not hop post-op?”
    Still laughing. Though, I laugh whenever I read one of Charles’ blog posts as well. He’s dangerously funny.
  8. What are three of your “bucket-list” to-do’s?
    1. Write and traditionally publish a book.
    2. Visit Europe.
    3. Learn the violin.
  9. Would you rather have a lake house or a mountain chalet or something else?
    I’m more of a mountain chalet type. We once stayed in a house in Montana for a family vacation, when I was a child. The whole thing perched right on a lake and gave me anxiety that it would simply tip in at any minute.
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  10. What country would you live in if you couldn’t live in the one you live in now?
    I like Gorman‘s answer for this, too, but I’d probably choose Canada.
  11. Do you believe that people can change? Why or why not?
    I do believe people can change, and see that they do. Honestly, different life stages and circumstances force a lot of change on us whether we like it or not. It’s those who are able to initiate change that I admire, and those able to take surprises in healthy directions.

—–

Mostly I use this next part to introduce any of my readers to any of my other readers whom I find excellent to read. The main snag is that I’ve already ‘nominated’ a fair number here, here, here, here, and here. If you’re looking for some great sites, scroll down to the bottom of those links and also check out these:

  • Kat of The Lily Cafe. She writes, she mothers, she reads; she’s amazing.
  • Frank Prem, the poet. I can’t believe I haven’t mentioned him before! Frank has the gift of capturing voices in the poems he pens.
  • Robert C. Stroud of Mere Inkling. Primarily writing from observations of C.S. Lewis, Stroud expresses and expounds upon various interesting and informative topics.
  • Almost Iowa. I can’t find his real name right now (if he gave it), but these all seem to be hilarious recounts of experiences in …well, almost Iowa.
  • My Mindless Drivel. Another excellent writer, mostly sharing life stories and thoughts on how things ought to work.
  • Charles of Legends of Windemere. He’s an author and all-around good guy. We also seem to share opinions on …Bad Boys?

If any of you whom I’ve named get the notification and wish to respond, here are my questions:

  1. If you could be a type of cheese, which would you be and why?
  2. What is the strangest fact you know?
  3. Who inspires you the most as a writer?
  4. If you were King of the World for one day, what change(s) would you make?
  5. What’s your favorite cheesy joke?
  6. Who would win in a mud wrestling match: broccoli or a potato?
  7. What is the first thing you think of when you see the word collywobbles?
  8. What is the best letter of the alphabet?
  9. When two roads meet in a yellow wood, are they dirt or paved?
  10. Could you live without your left thumb? What if you needed to give something a two thumbs-up rating?
  11. What’s your favorite salad dressing and whoever thought salad was a good idea in the first place?

—–

RULES:

1. Use the sunshine blogger award logo

2. Give thanks to the blogger that nominated you

3. Answer the 11 questions given to you

4. Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 questions

Photo Credit:
Saray Jimenez
Jose Rago

* This is not his name, but is close.
** This is not what he wore, but is again close.

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Are Food Cravings Always Specific?

I’m currently pregnant. If you didn’t know that, you do now.

As such, I’ve gotten a lot of well-meaning questions like, “Have you had any funny cravings?” and, “D’ya know what you’re having?” These are often accompanied by a figurative elbow nudge and *wink-wink.*

The answer to both is, “NO!” -definitely so to the first, because I get very very very very very very very very very very (etc.) sick whilst pregnant. I haven’t had to get a feeding tube and I have amazing resistance to losing my lunch, but -Ugh.

When I do crave food, it’s more of an intense, five-minute demand for one very specific taste. Say… nachos from the Maverik gas station. Or, a croissant sandwich from the local deli. Or, pickle ice cream.

K, not really on the ice cream.

But all that is on par with when I am not pregnant -except for the being sick part. When I am hungry for dinner during normal times, I imagine the taste of something I had before. I want it precisely like that, down to the last rosemary leaf.

Which led me to wonder: does everyone crave food that way? When you want chocolate, is it a certain brand or flavor? Is it just chocolate? Does your taco have to be the one from that over-smiley dude on 5th? Can it be Taco Bell, instead?

Do tell. And, do share some of your favorites.

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—————-

Grab some chips and check out what went down this past week:
Wednesday, June 12: Announced Baby #5 in “Really Big News of a Non-Writing Kind.”

Thursday, June 13: Tanka Tuesday. On a Thursday.

Friday, June 14: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Deb Whittam!

Saturday, June 15: Announced the 30th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is to pick a number and repeat it ad nauseam. PLEASE ENTER!

Also shared that I won second place in the Annual Bloggers Bash writing competition.

Sunday, June 16: “Many Hands Make Enlightened Work,” in response to Carrot Ranch‘s prompt.

Monday, June 17: An inspirational quote by Denzel Washington.

Tuesday, June 18: Nothing!

Wednesday, June 19: Today.

I also posted all this week at my motherhood site. I wrote “Rainy Days and Mondays Don’t Have to Get you Down” and “A Pregnancy Poem.”

Photo Credit:
Jason Leung

If You Could Be Any Mythical Creature, What Would You Be?

Once upon a time, I had a boss who thought each employee on his team might benefit from sitting in on an interview. At the time I was working as a Quality Assurance Engineer for coded litigation documents. That fancy title meant I wore the most comfortable clothes possible without their being pajamas, worked in a cubicle corner that looked more and more like a cave every day, and frequently talked to my coworkers so that we didn’t start gnawing the upholstered walls out of boredom.

Quality control is mind-numbingly dull.

I was thus attired and thus mindsetted when said boss (we’ll call him Jim) alerted me to the interview and his expectation that I be there. I had no training in what to say but certainly knew I ought to have put on something fancier than jeans and a sweatshirt. At least I had shoes.

And so I went, attending my suit-clad supervisor. We met an expectant young man in the conference room. His name was(n’t) Mike. He also wore a suit. We shook hands all around and sat and organized papers and I pretended to know what I was doing.

“I see from your résumé that you worked at X…” Jim began. Fortunately, the questions and responses ran just like I’d seen in movies. I nodded at appropriate points, looked stern and interested at others, and added a (hopefully) relevant query when requested.

We were nearly finished, when Jim asked, “If you could be any mythical creature, what would you choose?”

Mike thought for a few seconds, then responded, “A ninja tiger.”

Besides the usual gamut of “Where do you see yourself in five years?,” “What experience do you feel you bring to X Company?,” and “Have you ever been in a stressful situation and how did you handle it?;” I knew some quirky interviewers pulled out a random question for fun (or, to my paranoid mind) for psychological assessment. When Mike, by all appearances a QA nerd, answered the way he did, I was surprised.

But Mike was/is a bit of an odd duck. I knew that because we hired him and I worked with him for at least a year. He enjoyed sitting at home and introvertedly watching hours of television, yet also bowled. And was quite good. He was quiet and reserved but walked the halls in a sort of sliding fashion. Yes, like a ninja. I believe he told me he had a black belt in karate despite having the physique of a toothpick.

Yes, this could very well be a post about judging people. Bad, bad Chelsea. Don’t judge.

I’m more interested in answering the same question posed to Mike: If you could be any mythical creature, what would you choose? I’m interested because of how that classifies us. People are complex beings. Sure, we relate to certain groups and often lump ourselves together with similar personalities and interests. Through a simple question about preferences, however, we can reveal a deeper aspect.

We can reveal a ninja tiger.

I’m not that cool. Most days I behave like a Grick, a “darkly colored worm or snake-like creature” that lays around caves and waits to grab things with its tentacles. Since I get to name my own preference, though, I’d love to be a phoenix or an imp or a dragon.

Flying, right? No-brainer.

How about you? What mythical creature would you choose? For bonus interview points, what do you think that might say about your personality?

Draconika

—————-

In the real world, here’s what I wrote last week:
Wednesday, May 15: Wrote “Just Another Day in the Life,” and learned that I need to stop dusting.

Thursday, May 16: “Suddenly Spring,” a poem about …well, suddenly spring.

Friday, May 17: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Deb Whittam!

Saturday, May 18: Announced the 26th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is engineering failures, real or imagined. PLEASE ENTER!

Sunday, May 19: “Tree Search Exclusive Tours, Ltd.,” in response to Carrot Ranch‘s prompt.

Monday, May 20: An inspirational quote by Timothy Leary.

Tuesday, May 21:”Wilhelmina Winters, Ninety-Four.”

Wednesday, May 22: Today.

I also posted all this week at my motherhood site. I wrote “Don’t Be so Hard on Yourself,” “Special Projects Take a Lot of Time and Mess,” and “A Poem, I Think.”

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Why Do You Write?

I wasn’t certain of what I’d find when I started blogging. I thought to write an initial story; polish it, edit it, re-write parts of it, and timidly make it public. I planned to use snippets, poems, and short fiction pieces I’d already posted on Facebook for most of my posts. I vowed to publish to the blog every day for a year.

When one person liked something I felt surprised.

When another re-blogged my scary story I felt embarrassed but pleased.

When I saw that another writer was following me, I followed back. I read all she wrote and commented on her posts. I did the same for the 10 others who followed my site.

In gaming terms, I was such a noob.

The real question, however, is Why did I even start writing? It’s a favorite to ask authors, besides When did you write your first story? and What’s your secret to successful writing?

I began writing seriously because I was working on a book. After spending nearly two years on WordPress I’ve learned this is not a unique situation nor an unusual reason to be writing on here. I continued writing because I felt it would help my writing overall and give me connections to people. Maybe those people would read my book one day.

Y’know, if I wrote it.

But life happens. In my case, the thick of life is happening. The book hasn’t been revisited for a while, though I felt inspired to open up another blog using my proposed title for its URL: I Didn’t Want to Be a Mother.

Also like many writers, I now feel stuck. I feel overwhelmed. I feel intimidated and lost in a gigantic pool of talent and time, without the will to paddle. I probably shouldn’t have thrown my compass overboard during that one depressive episode last year…

Until I find my North Star, or even a lost kite, tell me: what is your motivation? Why do you write? How do you keep writing?

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—————-

I lagged a bit and back-posted, but we’re counting all I wrote over the last week:
Wednesday, April 24: Wrote “Where Did THAT Come From?” after pondering about heredity and genes with mental illness.

Thursday, April 25: “The Cure for Depression: Journal, Meditate, and Pray,” another suggestion in a series originally posted over at The Bipolar Writer Mental Health Blog.

Friday, April 26: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Bruce Goodman!

Saturday, April 27: Announced the 23rd Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. Spread the word! Enter! This week we’re doing rap.

Sunday, April 28: Re-blogged Frank Prem‘s fantastic “(what if I hear them) whistle and cry.
And posted “The Author of a Long Night,” to Charli, hostess at Carrot Ranch.

Monday, April 29: “Wilhelmina Winters, Ninety-Two.”

Tuesday, April 30: Inspirational quote by Og Mandine.

Wednesday, May 1: May Day!

I also posted all this week at my motherhood site. I wrote “Steal Your Kisses if You Have To,” “Me Time Just Might Be Wishful Thinking,” and an okay limerick about kids making me late.

Photo Credit:
Thought Catalog