Happy Easter

Romance and Funerals

Oh, what a mix of topics! Actually, I’m combining the NaBloPoMo prompts from April 4th and 5th into one post because the prompt for the 4th wasn’t posted until after I had shut my laptop for the day. (Nothing like trying to force writing and creativity into a prescribed period of time. sigh)

Yesterday’s prompt was: What is the best romantic poem you’ve ever encountered?

I suppose the easy answer would be Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnet 43 (“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.”). Or, perhaps Robbie Burn’s My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose or even one of Shakespeare’s sonnets. But, as silly as it may sound, I think the lyrics to Chris de Burgh’s Lady in Red is the most romantic poem I know.

Yes, I know, it isn’t really a poem. But I like it, and it’s as close to love poetry as I’m really willing to get.

Today’s prompt is: What poem brings comfort at a funeral?

Yea, gods! A poem at a funeral? No thank you. I’m of the opinion that funerals should be solemn occasions (the “after party” is another thing all together), and a poem just seems far too twee to fit in. I know there are many sad poems full of lamenting and sorrow over the death of a loved one. But, they were written by someone else about the death of one of their loved ones. It all feels off to me, like reusing the eulogy, or the coffin. Yuck.

Hmmm… I don’t think these daily prompts are working out for me. While they are giving me something to write about, I don’t feel like I’m learning anything to stretching my writerly muscles very much. I think I need to look for some other ideas.

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When I’m Sad

Hmmm, I may need to rethink the NaBloPoMo thing. Today’s prompt is: What is the best poem to read when you’re feeling sad?  Ummm… I haven’t got a clue. Absolutely nothing comes to mind. I told you I didn’t like poetry.

When I’m feeling sad, I like to pout in the bedroom, away from everyone else (who are probably the people who made me feel sad in the first place). I like to read a good book (historical mysteries are my current favourites), have a bath, and go to sleep. I also like to brood. Of course, I also like to brood over things when I’m happy too. It’s just my nature.

I also like to plan when I’m sad. I make lists about how I would like my day to go, or the chores I know I should tackle. There are pages and pages of notes like these in various notebooks scattered around my desks. Want to guess how often I make these changes?

Never.

Maybe that is why I get sad about things I know I can fix.

To end things on a bit of a happier note, I’ve just started reading [amazon_link id=”0811846350″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]You Can Do It!: The Merit Badge Handbook for Grown-Up Girls[/amazon_link] by Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas. What an inspiring book! The first badge (and, obviously they don’t need to be accomplished in order) is to dream. I can’t tell you how much I needed that sort of permission. Bliss!

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Macabre Before Goth Made it Cool

I’ve decided to give BlogHer’s NaBloPoMo another go this month (Yeah, I did miss yesterday. Oops!). I was a bit disappointed, though, by this month’s theme being poetry. If there is one form of writing that I actually hate, it is poetry. There is just something about “clever” poems that make no real sense that sets my teeth on edge. The twee poetry of nursery rhymes is almost as bad, and adolescent poems about the cruelty of  life make me want to gouge out my eyes. I wish I was kidding, but I really do hate most poetry. This is going to be a difficult month worth of prompts

Today’s prompt is: What was the first poem you ever memorized?

Yes, even though I hate poetry, I have actually memorized a few poems. If we skip over nursery rhymes or poems learnt for the school Christmas pageant (something about a mouse hiding in a Christmas tree, if I remember right), the first poem I ever memorized was Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven.

Yep, every last word. Every Lenore and Nevermore. It was high school and I was going through the typical teen angst. Rather than dressing goth (which was just becoming a thing in the early 90s up here in Canada), I memorized The Raven, listened to Led Zeppelin and became Wiccan. Somehow, at the time, it all went together nicely.

I still listen to Led Zeppelin on occasion, although classical music is my genre of choice nowadays. I don’t self-identify as Wiccan anymore, but I was one for many, many years and those beliefs still influences my life. And, sadly, I don’t remember much of The Raven. But I’m sure that my early exposure to Poe and his Gothic worldview helped to shape my love of H. P. Lovecraft and Victorian horror stories.

Image: Édouard Manet [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons (cropped for size)

Uncertain Air

In a little under a week, the husband and I will be getting on an airplane and flying down to Florida. Normally, I would be worried about the flight itself. I don’t like to fly. I don’t like the idea that if, all the gods forbid, something were to happen, I would be aware I was on my way to a fiery death for an unacceptably long period of time. There is also all that turbulence; the bumping, jumping and terribly sudden drops that makes you wonder if humankind really was meant to fly. All of these “legitimate concerns” are in the back of my mind, but right now I’m more worried about whether we are going to get to fly at all.

Air Canada, one of Canada’s major airlines (bet you couldn’t have guessed that from their name), is smack in the middle of some pretty major labour disputes. Just about every union that works for Air Canada is revisiting their contracts. Some of the unions have settled, but two of the unions, that of the the pilots and that of the mechanics, the baggage handles, and other ground workers, were just prevented from striking by an act of Parliament. The same bill also prevented Air Canada from locking out their employees. So, it is apparently business as usually at Air Canada… until 19 pilots decided to call in sick this past Saturday.

Are we going to be able to fly on Saturday morning? Right now all we can do is watch the news and hope that things get figured out before then. Plan B would be to try to get a later flight or a flight on another airline. But if we can’t make it to the Ft. Lauderdale before 3pm, our vacation will be over.

I do understand that the pilots and other Air Canada workers have a right to express their frustration with their employer. And I know that by having their right to strike revoked by the government, they don’t have a lot of options left to them. But, at the same time, their customers expect them to be at work, and have paid money (the same money that pays their salaries) to be flown to destinations around the world of reasons ranging from business to pleasure, and everything in between. And if you can’t rely on a company when you need them, how likely are you to use them again?

Air Canada, please get this figured out. Talk to your unions, come to an agreement. Let’s get the planes back in the air, or there may be no one left who wants to fly on them. I know that I have enough worries when flying that I don’t need to be worrying about whether my plane will actually be there for me on top of it all.

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

I may only be about 1/4 Irish, but I can still spread some green cheer. One piece of advice, avoid the green beer and stick to the gold-covered chocolate instead. St. Patrick would have preferred that.

That Old Bugbear Grammar

Grammar mistakes can make even the most erudite writer sound like dime store hack. Goodness knows I make endless elementary mistakes, using to instead of too, or getting loose and lose confused. And, while there are lots of sites offering grammar advice, an infographic from copyblogger is one of my favourites. I’ve posted it below (with permission).

15 Grammar Goofs That Make You Look Silly
Like this infographic? Get more copywriting tips from Copyblogger.

Why I Don’t Write

Who do I blame for the fact that I’m not writing? Well, I really want to blame everyone in my life. My son for always, always, always distracting me and for making me feel like I need to put him before any of my own desires. My  husband, because even though he thinks he is supportive of my desires, he has a way of making me feel like all I am capable of is keeping house and looking after our son in a barely acceptable manner. (Honestly, he is a really great guy.) I also blame my parents, but only because they have never had any real idea of how to support my dreams and talents, nor did they ever have the money to do so.

I also blame my hobbies. They are just too darn interesting and time consuming! It takes 400 hours to cross stitch a large design, or over 200 hours to play one of the video games I love. A pair of socks or a child-sized sweater can take upwards of two weeks. Even a simple sewing project can eat up a day or two. How is a women supposed to be crafty, look after her home, try to educate her child, relax, and still find time to write?

I want cry foul and say that life is setting me up for failure. How is a mom supposed to fulfill her desire to write and still be a good mom? Unfortunately for me, there are a whole lot of moms, with many more children than I have, writing and living their dreams. They may not have as many hobbies as I do, but I bet their lives are more fulfilling because they are writing and reaching out beyond themselves and their family circle.

As I try to write this, my son has interrupted me numerous times. He’s asked what I’m doing, asked about the program I am using to write, insisted that I type his name, talked to me about his blocks, insisted that I type the word house, told me he wants to play a game (which is currently running on the other computer), asked why my second monitor is black, etc. He nattered away the entire time it took me to write this, and yet I was still able to write. Maybe trying to live my dream is not as hard as I want to believe. I know, deep down, that it is my fear of rejection, of success, of the world, that keeps me from writing, and not the sock sitting on the sofa waiting for me to knit it.

Inspired by an exercise in [amazon_link id=”1582977968″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Crafting the Personal Essay: A Guide for Writing and Publishing Creative Nonfiction[/amazon_link] by Dinty W. Moore.

Happy New Year!

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Merry Christmas!