Worth the Struggle #Haiban

© 2020 Frank J. Tassone

In Indiana, where I grew up, gray skies muted the summer sun. The six-foot-deep ditch at the end of the street represented the most climbing we children could experience. Slide down, scramble up. Our panorama from the top of the ditch – cornfields, cows, a two-lane road teeing into another, and a 1950s housing development. 

No mountain grandeur,

No rocky ledges to scale,

Winding through pine trees.

Today blue skies peek through the dense forest.The scent of pine fills my empty lungs as I lumber up the narrow path to the top to Gertrude’s Nest. Where are the steps and handrails? Forget the steps, where’s the elevator? The slide down this crevasse is nothing like home. 

A struggle to climb,

Step after step I struggle.

Driblets burn my eyes.

Mosquitos the size of grasshoppers nip at my shoulders and elbows. Blisters dot my heels. Loose rocks echo as they skitter down the mountain. I embrace the mountainside until my stomach stops churning.

There’s no place like home.

Why did I agree to this –

Adventurous quest?

Atop Shawangunk Mountains, I survey where I’ve been and hold up my arms in triumph. The summer breeze dries my skin. The world is mine!

This is my entry to Colleen Chesebro’s Tuesday Tanka for June 30. I chose to do the prose envelope. Even if you’ve never tried to write a Haibun, step out and do something new. 🙂 Leave me a link in your comment section and also link it on Colleen’s website. We’ll both visit, read, and comment. 🙂

How to Write Haibun

  • Begin the haibun with a title. The title should hint at something barely noticeable in the beginning which comes together by the ending.
  • Your haibun prose can be written in present or past tense including, first-person (I), third person (he/she), or first-person plural (we).
  • Subject matter: autobiographical prose, travel journal, a slice of life, memory, dream, character sketch, place, event, or object. Focus on one or two elements.
  • Keep your prose simple, all excessive words should be pared down or deleted. Nothing should be overstated.
  • The length can be brief with one or two sentences with a haiku, or longer prose with a haiku sandwiched between, to longer memoir works including many haiku.
  • There are different Haibun styles: Idyll: (One prose paragraph and one haiku) haiku/prose, or prose/haiku; Verse Envelope: haiku/prose/haiku; Prose Envelope: prose/haiku/prose, including alternating prose and verse elements of your choice.
  • The prose tells the story and gives the information which helps to define the theme. It creates a mood through tone, paving the way for the haiku.
  • The haiku should act as a comparison—different yet somehow connected to the prose, as it moves the story forward by taking the narrative in another direction.
  • The haiku should not attempt to repeat, quote, or explain the prose. Instead, the haiku resolves the conflict in an unexpected way. Sometimes, the haiku questions the resolution of the prose. While the prose is the narrative, the haiku is the revelation or the reaction.

Colleen Chesebro’s Tuesday Tanka

What to Do When Your Muse Disappears 60,000 Words Into Your Book

You don’t give up when your muse leaves town. You start a new challenge. Join me in giving author Suzanne Burke a warm Always Write welcome!

Always Write Series: #Bloggers Hosting Writing Challenges

Writing Challenge hostess #1 Suzanne Burke AKA Soooz

Have you wanted to write fiction and struggled to get started? Or maybe you wrote a book, and your muse disappeared or you got snagged somewhere in the process of publication.

If this sounds like you, read on.

Author, Suzanne Burke hosts a flash fiction challenge and supports her participants with multiple social media shares. 

As I read her posts, it occurred to me how much goes into hosting a writing challenge of any kind. She responds graciously to every comment in her inbox. 

After exchanging a few comments and emails, I feel like I have known her forever. 

Suzanne agreed to write the first guest post/interview for Always Write to tell authors everywhere how she started and what it is like to host a writing challenge. 

Take it away Soooz.

Firstly, my grateful thanks to Marsha for inviting me here today. I hope I have given you a glimpse into my experience hosting a visual writing prompt. 

Q: What prompted you to begin to host a writing challenge? 

A: It all came down to the timing. I was already 60k into my latest WIP (work in progress) when my muse decided to grab a stagecoach and get out of Dodge. It’s happened before and the frustration and procrastination genies were warring with each other for dominance. I needed to commit to something creative, something I would also need to contribute to. That’s when the idea was born. 

Soooz

I can feel your pain. I have never made it to the end of a fiction publication. Grrrrrr.

Q: How long have you been doing this? 

A: It’s only been six weeks since the first prompt went up. It’s been a huge learning curve. But I’m having a marvelous time with it.

Soooz

Q: How much time does it take? Is it all-consuming so that you don’t blog about anything else?

 

A: I must admit that I underestimated just how time-consuming the process would be. I spend many hours scouring the internet for free to use images. Images engage the creative juices. We writers tend to be intensely visual creatures, taking mental snapshots of everything that catches our muse’s attention. 

Soooz

The marionette image evokes some strong emotions. Your 750-word example kept me on the edge of my seat. 

I heard recently in a class that a blog needs some type of image every 100 words. I use Canva.com and have tried Unsplash.com as well. They both have thousands of images you can sort through in the click of a search word.

Q: How did you determine the genre?

A: I chose not to impose a genre restriction. That tends to isolate some folks from participating. I’ve been lucky to have had some wonderfully diverse entries, yours included, Marsha.

Soooz

Thank you, Soooz, with three o’s.

Q: What steps do you take to get your challenge ready? 

A: Because it can take almost a week and sometimes just before the deadline before the entries start coming in. I write my own contribution during that time. 

Then I share all the entries over the course of the week. 

Soooz

That’s a benefit for your participants to build the traffic to their blogs. 

I check daily for comments on the Author’s blogs who have shared the challenge, respond to those. 

Another great benefit to those who submit, Soooz. I found my entry that you shared on Twitter. How fun! I also found a typo in my customized excerpt. I need a better proofreader.

I’ve had a great response doing that. Finally, I put up the next week’s prompt. I’m determined to still make time to write and post Book Reviews and support other authors on my blog. 

Soooz

Q: How did you attract people to participate? / How do people usually find out about your challenge? 

A: I have been so fortunate to have met some wonderfully talented and supportive writers since my first foray into writing. Many belong to an online book club I’m a member of, and still others I’ve met via Twitter, all have been amongst the most generous and supportive folks I’ve ever met. These folks share my posts via tweets and the word begins to spread. I find Twitter to be a very effective platform.

Soooz

Q: Do you have help reading all the entries?

A: No, I enjoy reading all of them.

Soooz

Q: What do you do with the entries – like do you ever publish anthologies, award widget certificates?

A: I’m keeping it as simple as possible at the moment. I may use some of my own entries in an anthology in the future.

Soooz

In Conclusion

Thank you, so much for this wonderful post, Suzanne, Soooz, S., Stacey. It’s been a super pleasure to have you as the first interview/guest post in the Always Write #Bloggers Hosting Writing Challenges Series.

I hope you will come back to write another guest post again.

Links

Contact Suzanne at …

Her author page on AMAZON.

On Twitter.

On Facebook

On Goodreads.

Biography

Suzanne Burke resides with her daughter and grandson in a small country town located hundreds of miles to the west of her previous home in Sydney Australia.

Life interrupted her routine and allowed her to begin her journey into the world of writing in her early fifties, a journey she’d wanted to start for many years.

You can find Suzanne’s memoirs under the pen name of Stacey Danson.  Search for her powerful thrillers Acts Beyond Redemption and Acts of Betrayal and her paranormal anthology Mind-Shaft under the name S. Burke. 

Both of Suzanne’s non-fiction books, Empty Chairs and Faint Echoes of Laughter, have ranked in the top one hundred paid in Kindle on Amazon and continue to earn wonderful reviews.

Welcome Suzanne with your comments and check out her #6 Challenge.

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Back to the basics

Welcome my good friend, Dave Walters to the blogging world. He’s been a photographer ever since I’ve known him and used to take all the photos for CCSS, a professional organization for social studies teachers. Every once in a while you get a whiff of history in his writing. Oh I do love a little history wafting through a story, don’t you? Welcome to Always Write, Dave. Signed T. C. History Gal

davewaltersphotography-taking better photographs and telling stories

Just a few old box cameraa

Anso Shur-Flash

In its simplest form a camera is elementary. A box, an opening, and light sensitive paper or film. Lens, selectable shutter speeds, aperture control, even focus are not necessary. You can make a simple pinhole camera yourself or buy a kit or even a completed version from many online shops. They are frequently made of wood and as much a piece of art as they are a working camera. If you don’t want to go to that much trouble you can buy a used box camera like the Kodak Brownie 2 or 2A for about $10-20. You might even have one in a box from a relative.

I happen to have 20-30 of those old box cameras (want to buy one?) Today we’re going to look at three examples of the box camera from the era 1900-1935: an Ansco Shur-flash, an Agfa B-2 Cadet…

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17 Ways to Fill Your Literary Gaps and Ease Boredom While You Shelter At Home in 106 Degrees #Nonet

There’s a solution to enduring the sweltering heat of summer. Let your creativity set you free.

Are you bored/ maybe a tiny bit grumpy trying to stay out of the heat and away from the crowds to avoid the virus?

There’s another way!

Our air conditioner broke two months ago. It was 106 today. Because of COVID-19, the new unit is coming…????? We think it should be here by November. To keep cool in the California sunshine, we watered our garden super well, brought the outdoor cats inside, turned on our ceiling fans and sat down to do as little as possible.

Next problem – boredom.

Not a chance!

Beat Boredom With Poetry

I’ve been updating my series on journaling for the past couple of weeks. Nothing provides as many medical and physiological benefits as journaling.

There’s a problem in journaling, though. Sometimes you stare at a blank page, whether it’s in a book or on your computer screen. Sitting in front of a blank screen has no medicinal advantages.

There’s a solution for blank screens, too. Journaling and writing challenges go together like Forrest Gump and a box of chocolates.

Writing challenges are ubiquitous if you know where to look. My research has led me to several hosts/hostesses. Check out Cee Neuner’s great list of writing challenges.

Today’s challenge hostess for me is Colleen Chesebro.

Seventeen Types of Poetry You’ve Probably Never Tried

  1. Haiku,
  2. Senryu,
  3. Haiga,
  4. Tanka,
  5. Gogyoka,
  6. Tanka Prose,
  7. Haibun,
  8. Cinquain,
  9. Etheree,
  10. Nonet,
  11. Shadorma,
  12. Rondel,
  13. Kyrielle,
  14. Pantoum,
  15. Villanelle,
  16. Limerick,
  17. Found poem

For a fabulous explanation of number one-eleven click on Colleen Chesebro’s Poetry Cheat Sheet.

For the other five, click on the Always Write Cheat Sheet. For even more samples of poetry visit Shadow Poetry.

I am entering a Nonet Found Poem in Colleen’s poetry challenge this week. The rules are to use the following Henry Wadworth Longfellow poem to create your own found poem.

TRADITIONALLY, A FOUND POEM USES ONLY WORDS FROM THE ORIGINAL SOURCE.

Colleen Chesebro

Colleen Chesebro’s Weekly Challenge

This week the challenge is to create a found poem out of these two verses from Longfellow’s poem

A Psalm of Life

What The Heart Of The Young Man Said To The Psalmist

 HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW

Here is a link to the full poem:
A Psalm of Life by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | Poetry Foundation

Two Verses to Use in Found Poem Challenge

“…In the world’s broad field of battle, In the bivouac of Life,

Be not like dumb, driven cattle! Be a hero in the strife…”

“…Lives of great men all remind us

We can make our lives sublime,

And, departing, leave behind us

Footprints on the sands of time…”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

A Nonet

NONET: A Nonet is stanzaic and written in any number of 9-line stanzas with the following syllable count per line: 9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 syllables per line. It can be written on any subject and rhyming is optional, although they are usually unrhymed. Because of the hourglass shape of a double nonet, it’s often used to represent the passage of time.

Be a Hero

Bivouacs in fields, sublime battle, 

Remind us –  battles – great heroes, 

Leave behind footprints in sands,

Broad battle – strife in fields, 

Not driven cattle, 

Lives sublime make,

Be Heroes,

In Life,

Sands.

I hope you enjoyed my first Nonet Found Poem. For more samples, check out Colleen’s challenge page.

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Always Write Form Poetry Cheat Sheet

“When you’re down and troubled and you need a helping hand.” You’ve Got a Friend in your journal. Want to fill it and exercise your literary muscles on some poetry you’ve don’t see of hear often?

Link added to Janice Wald’s Linky Party

In 1994 my first husband died. God comforted me. By day I taught fourth grade. By night I turned to poetry to keep myself together. 

Fixed form poetry has gone in and out of style over the decades, but enjoyed a modicum of popularity in the 1990s. Sticking to the form and making meaning out of the words I strew together soothed my sorrow.

With the onset of COVID-19 many are going stir crazy. Exerts thought the virus would go away with the hot weather, but it hasn’t. Many people still stay home more than they used to.

One of the best ways to fight boredom/frustration/anger and keep your mind alert is to write poetry.

In the samples below, each form is defined and I’ve used my own poetry as samples to model the style.

Like most of you, I am not an English literature major. One of the plusses about writing poetry or prose is that it doesn’t have to be perfect to share it. The fun is in the crafting of the words.

So enjoy.

Pantoum

A pantoum is a fixed style French form of poetry. The second and fourth lines of each stanza become the first and third lines of the following stanza. In the last stanza, the third line of the first stanza is the second line, and the last line is the same as the first line in the first stanza. It is written in three-foot iambic lines.  So the stresses are read as – da DUM da DUM da DUM

boy with head on table writing

Writing Day

They stare at pencil leads.

Start chewing on their nails.

Nothing’s in their heads.

They heavily exhale.

Start chewing on their nails.

They grasp at thoughts that float.

They heavily exhale

And look at what they wrote.

They grasp at thoughts that float, 

Visions evade their reach.

And look at what they wrote,

Nothing to merit speech.

Visions evade their reach.

Too soon the poem’s due.

Nothing to merit speech.

They see only what they drew.

Too soon the poem’s due.

Nothing’s in their heads.

They see only what they drew.

They stare at pencil leads.

Marsha Ingrao

Rondel

A rondel, a thirteen-lined French-style poem begun in the fourteenth-century writing of northern France. The poem follows a strict rhyming pattern with only two sounds, A & B. Lines one and two are repeated in various lines throughout the poem. 1A, 2B, B, A, A, B, 1A, 2B, A, B, B, A, 1A. It has been modified since its earliest days from 14 to the 13 lines we use today.

Malign the Clothesline or Hire the Dryer

Bird droppings dripping off the line,

staked up behind the dirt driveway,

that circles our old country getaway.

Wind stiffened sheets, perma-wrinkled negligee,

Dangle precariously over grassy soot, on twine.

Brittle, linty black socks hung in disarray.

Bird droppings dripping off the line,

staked up behind the dirt driveway,

Faded towels I know are mine,

Smelling fresh as a skunk in the hay.

Cardboard tee shirts betray

No fleecy dryer feel, only crisp sunshine.

Bird droppings dripping off the line.

Marsha Ingrao

Villanelle

The villanelle, a French fixed form of poetry consists of 19 lines: five three-lined stanzas or tercets and a concluding quatrain. Lines one and three of the first triplet conclude the quatrain. Line one also terminated stanzas two and four, while line three terminates stanzas three and five. There are two rhyming sounds in the poem. “The villanelle frequently treats the subject of obsessions.” Wiki

First-Year Teacher

Facts, theories, knowledge within my mind blur

Strewn together in my eclectic interior.

Skill, creativity, love, and wonder in each life stir.

Come inside where class goals occur.

Encourage pride of work, be their counselor.

Facts, theories, knowledge within my mind blur.

Brainstorm, list, write, proofread, and confer

Develop their writing to be superior.

Skill, creativity, love, and wonder in each life stir.

Drill, games, mnemonics, knowledge transfer

Meritocracy, always the competitor

Facts, theories, knowledge within my mind blur.

Build new schema on what they prefer.

Encourage the inquisitor.

Skill, creativity, love, and wonder in each life stir.

Have myself ready, organized, not just on the spur.

Break up large tasks to easily monitor

Facts, theories, knowledge within my mind blur.

Skill, creativity, love, and wonder in each life stir.

Marsha Ingrao

Kyrielle

The Kyrielle is composed of eight-syllable quatrains in the rhyming pattern of AABB, CCBB, DDBB, with each stanza terminating with the same line.

automatic icemaker in standard freezer

Dry Ice

Where there’s no pipe, there’s no water,

Ice makers do, but ought notter,

Work. It programmed itself to crush,

Whenever its steel grin could mush.

Beware when you throw something in,

Make sure it is in something tin.

In plastic, biscuits turned to slush,

Whenever its steel grin could mush.

So now my Ziplocks safely lie

Out of reach of the evil eye,

No worry ’bout a toothy crush

Whenever its steel grin could mush.

Marsha Ingrao

Limerick

A limerick is humorous or nonsense that rhymes. The poems consist of five lines A A B B A. The syllables are in a pattern of 9 9 6 6 9. 

Remember this one? “There once was a man from Nantucket.”

drawing by Joyce Purporo

Guinea Mania

A cavy named Betty did bellow

To Buster her own guinea fellow

“Deaf?” She gave him a bump 

On his guinea pig rump

So hard that it turned his fur yellow.

A Trip to the Doctor

A kindly old doc from Visalia

Could cure whatever did ail ya.

If you went in with bumps,

You’d come out with stumps,

And a bill that forever assailed ya.

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Now It’s Your Turn

You should feel brave after reading my silly poems. Are you ready to write a poem on your blog and share the link?