#Haiban: Illusion of Magic

COLLEEN’S 2020 WEEKLY #TANKA TUESDAY #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 195 #EKPHRASTIC #PHOTOPROMPT

#Haiban

This week’s Tanka Tuesday poetry challenge was an Ekphrastic #PhotoPrompt provided by Lisa Thompson. Thanks Lisa.

“Don’t Eat the Toadstools.”

… called her grandfather as three-year-old Sarah ran ahead of him across the park lawn to peek at the little fairy tables. “They’re poisonous.”

“They’re fairy tables. I don’t eat tables, Silly Grandpa,” Sarah called back at her grandpa as the wind whipped her words and carried them far away from him where he couldn’t hear them.

She reached the trees where the toadstools grew. All around the mushrooms growing in the ground were larger cement “fairy tables” that beckoned to children to step into their magic circle with a posted sign that said, “Never step inside a fairy ring.”

Sarah was only three and couldn’t read. She touched the sign. It was rough where the someone scratched out curly words. Sarah had questions that would hardly wait. Did fairies write the sign in magical writing? Could her grandpa even read the fairy writing? Where were the fairies?

Getting down on all fours, as three-year-olds are prone to do, she turned her head from side to side looking under the heavy toadstools for a sign of winged magic. She pushed the cement fungi. They didn’t move.

“Hurry up, Grandpa,” she called. “I need help.”

“Don’t go in there, Sarah,” Grandpa warned as he leaned against a tree and panted.

“Does this sign say when the fairies will come to eat?”

“It does not. It says to stay out. Which of the toadstools do you think are real, Sarah, the little or the big ones?”

Polar opposites
Old teaches young teaches old
Different perspectives

“They both are. Grandpa. I could sit on those big ones.”

“And you’re not even a toad.”

Sarah swiped her hand against her grandpa’s sweatered arm and pulled him closer to the sign.

“You’re a toad, Grandpa. You didn’t read the sign. What does it say? Do toads like fairies?”

Storybook fairies
In the eyes of a child
Illusions alive

As an answer, her grandpa sat down on a bench near the cluster of mushroom statues.

“It’s a very old sign, little one. The writing is almost cursive but not quite. Maybe old English. You explore under the big trees while I sit here and rest. But don’t go near the big mushrooms. How many real toadstools do you think you can find? I see one already. “

He pointed to a small orange mushroom with a slanted stem under a tree.

Myths about these mystical fungi pass from generation to generation and back again. Photo – Wolfgang Hasselmann

Sarah squatted and looked under the tiny mushroom. No fairies. She pushed it. It bounced. She pinched it. It squished and left black fairy dust on her fingers.

Imagination
Sparking investigation
Yielding first failure

“I killed the fairy’s table, Grandpa.” Sarah cried as she ran to her grandpa wiping her tears with her spore-coated fingers. “Now the fairy won’t have a place to eat. She will die.”

Grandpa took out his handkerchief, because this happened a very long time ago when grandpa’s had handkies with them at all times in case of emergencies. As he wiped Sarah’s face, five kids about six or seven years of age ran up to the cement toadstools, bumping into each other as they stopped to read the sign.

One girl couldn’t stop in time and fell into the ring of the fairies. Suddenly the toadstools came to life and fog spilled out from under them and the little girl was immersed in cold, wet clouds.

Mechanical toadstools
Concocted to ignite dreams
And delight children
NEVER STEP INSIDE A FAIRY RING!

Sarah jumped up and down, screeching like little girls do as she ran into the center of the fairy ring of toadstools. She grabbed the bigger girl’s hands and they spun around as all the kids danced in the fairy’s fog.

Fairies forgotten
In the joy of children's play
Expectations changed
by Marsha Ingrao

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Announcing the Start of Rodeo Contest Month at Carrot Ranch

Flash fiction and poetry with a western flare. Starts October 5th. Mark your calendars.

#Cinquain Poetry: Audacious Photography

Click to participate.

#TANKA TUESDAY! #cinquain poetry

This week, Annette Rochelle Aben selected the words for the syllables only challenge. That means you can’t use those two words. You must find synonyms to replace them. Fun, right?

Here are your two words:

Hint & Bold

Hint: clue, inking, suggestion, sign, signal, indicator, indication, pointer, insinuation, innuendo, mention, illusion, whisper

Bold: daring, intrepid, courageous, brave, valiant, unafraid, dauntless, audacious, valorous, adventurous, dashing, striking, bright, prominent, eye catching, conspicuous, outstanding, obvious, showy

Focus on Cinquain

Butterfly cinquaina nine-line syllabic form with the pattern two, four, six, eight, two, eight, six, four, two.
Photo by Tina Schell of the Lens-Artists

Can you imagine taking this picture – even with a telephoto lens at a zoo? Tina managed to make it look like nothing came between her and this huge, nimble predator. That’s audacious photography.

Audacious Photography

by Marsha Ingrao

Whisper

Don’t make a move

Brilliant, eye-catching shot

Exposed belly, paws embracing

The rocks

Grave stare, like a fashion model

Daring the camera

To capture her

Beauty

To read more poetry submissions, or write one yourself, check out Colleen’s blog, Word Craft Prose & Poetry.

Coming Up on Always Write in October

Carrot Ranch Rodeo Contest Month

Charli Mills of Carrot Ranch honored me by asking me to host one week of this year’s Rodeo Writing Contest. I have week three, October 20-26.

Colleen Chesebro invited me to take over one of her writing challenges. I am looking for partners to collaborate with on this project, which I’d like to start in October or November. If you have ever considered hosting a writing challenge, but don’t want all the responsibility, email me at marshaalwayswrite@tchistorygal.net.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

September 26th marks the one year anniversary of my final breast cancer surgery. So far I remain cancer free, but it comes at a price beyond surgery as those who have fought cancer know.

A mammogram caught my cancer early – stage one (sort of). Because of horror stories of cancer returning unannounced and metastasizing, I will take my anti-hormone pill daily for the next seven years, whether or not I have any hair left by the time I’m totally cured. I will see my oncologist for the next ten years. He does not take the disease lightly.

Abigail Johnson was not so lucky. Read her story here. There is not nearly as much help for people whose cancer metastasizes or spreads to other parts of the body. She plans to blog every day in October during breast cancer awareness month. I want to help her spread the word, so I will be reblogging some of her daily posts on No Half Measures. Please help by reblogging or sharing on social media.

Challenges

I try to participate in as many challenges as I have time to do. Even if I do not write a response to your challenge, I am committed to visiting the blogs of those I’ve interviewed on a regular basis.

I am so SLOW! Writing a blog post takes me several hours to create, and I enjoy visiting blogs connected with the challenge as well. So please forgive me if I do not contribute regularly.

If you would like to do an interview here about your writing or photography challenge, please contact me below. I’d love to chat about your challenge.

#Cinquain Poetry: Reach Your Destination with Maps

Map out your thoughts about maps, or borrow mine then write a cinquain with me. See where your mind travels.

#OneWordChallenge – nothing

Examining the Topic

We take maps for granted – shame on us. Many of us barely remember how to read a map. We follow along with our car on the dashboard which is always going straight up, no matter what the direction. We check out a location on the map by spinning our cursor so that we can go on a virtual tour which includes street names imprinted on the roads.

Wiki how

Writing the Poem

Who knew there were so many styles of syllabic Japanese poetry? Even though I gave a cursory nod to cinquain and haiku poetry when I taught fourth grade, all I remember is that haikus had something to do with nature.

There’s more to it. Some forms work well with emotions, some with nature. I can’t keep them all straight in my mind.

When I saw Tuesday’s prompt of “Maps,” I panicked. Definitely no emotions in a map for me unless I’m lost. Then I’m angry. There’s no way I can go down that road, Siri. It’s one way and cars are coming! Quick pull into a parking lot! (That happened to me at night in South Bend, Indiana, where I’d never been, late at night – like around 8:00 pm, with my frantic brother in the passenger seat.)

They are not an act of nature, although hurricane and other weather maps chart acts of nature. Firemaps pinpoint the fires.

HELP!

Colleen gave me some guidance, so I’m sharing it with you, for those of you who are new aficionados like I am.

Marsha, I would begin with a form that appeals to you the most. The cinquain would be a good one to start with. The rules are more forgiving than the Japanese forms. Work with this form for a couple of weeks. Make the last line of your cinquain the most important. This is where you change your focus away from the drama of the first four lines. That last line should be a surprise. To begin, try making a list of the things that the word “maps” make you think of. You know, like traveling, unknown journeys, etc. Then, work with your syllables on https://www.howmanysyllables.com/words/finally, click the workshop tab. The program counts the syllables for you. (I use my fingers, but we won’t go there.) Let me know how you are getting along. ❤

Colleen Chesebro

Westward

Eighteen- O – Four

Hand drawn map, squiggly lines

Imagine Lewis and Clark with

Nothing

Dirt trails

End at raging river, no bridge 

Cliff ahead, make U-turn

Imagine It

Siri

Cinquain & Reverse Cinquain = a Mirror Cinquain

Lewis and Clark

Marsha’s Map Brainstorm

Maps – brainstorm – writing – outline, road maps, floor plans, old maps, land ownership, businesses, topography, squiggly lines, drawing, hand-drawn, satellite, car zooming down road taking pictures, war map, Google, Bing, 3 D, MapQuest, cartography, charting location, live traffic, dynamic imagery, arrival time,

Colleen’s Cinquain Cheat Sheet

CINQUAIN: A cinquain is a form of shape poetry that looks great centered on the page. The required syllables needed for each line give it a unique shape. The cinquain (aka the quintain or the quintet) is a poem or stanza of five lines.

The Crapsey cinquain is a five-line, non-rhyming poem featuring a syllable structure of 2/4/6/8/2. Choose words that create drama which builds into the fourth line. Remember the turn occurs on line five, the most important line. This is where you change your focus away from the drama in some interesting way. Surprise your readers!

The Crapsey cinquain has seen several variations by modern poets, including:

VariationDescription
Reverse cinquaina form with one 5-line stanza in a syllabic pattern of two, eight, six, four, two.
Mirror cinquaina form with two 5-line stanzas consisting of a cinquain followed by a reverse cinquain.
Butterfly cinquaina nine-line syllabic form with the pattern two, four, six, eight, two, eight, six, four, two.
Crown cinquaina sequence of five cinquain stanzas functioning to construct one larger poem.
Garland cinquaina series of six cinquains in which the last is formed of lines from the preceding five, typically line one from stanza one, line two from stanza two, and so on.

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Contact Me

If you know of someone who hosts a writing or photo challenge and would like to participate in my interview series on challenge hosts, feel free to email me at tchistorygal@gmail.com.

“For the Love of Challenges” Explained

Great teachers tell you what you are going to learn, then they teach you, then they tell you what you learned. Me? Maybe not in that order.

-Cee Neuner

Always Write Series: #Bloggers Hosting Writing and Photo Challenges

I’ve been asking some of you to participate in an interview about hosting a writing or photo challenge. Seven of you have already responded, and we have learned the back stories behind your great challenges. Through guest posts we understand how and why bloggers choose to participate in challenges.

Kevin Cooper asked me to send him a link to the post explaining my new series of interviews. I slapped my palm against my forehead. I hadn’t posted any reasoning for my interview series of the bloggers behind the writing and photo challenges. How dumb was that? (Rhetorical question)

So this post is to rectify that wrong.

My Thesis Questions

The most important question when I started on this quest was, who is hosting writing challenges? Are there as many independent writing challenges hosted by volunteer hobby bloggers as there are photo challenges?

The bigger question is why do hobby bloggers, not professional paid staff, take the time to create challenges? All the challenge hosts have great answers for this question in their interviews. I hope that you will read them all.

My Challenge Backstory

When I first started blogging in 2012, I quickly discovered photo challenges and awards. Both tools helped new bloggers like I was to make friends and create a presence on the blogosphere. It only takes a few posts written to empty air to realize you need friends.

I made some lasting friends through award giving on WordPress. However, the process of giving and receiving awards tired me out, took hours to complete, and didn’t add much to the overall purpose of my blog. Photo challenges molded my blogging style.

To up my game and my WordPress stats, I created several photo challenge pages. No sweat – post a picture and a theme, give participants choices, and thousands of talented bloggers would flock to my blog and share their stories. Right?

I should have stuck to it. Doesn’t this guy just make you want to say something?

Of course, no!

I got zero responses and gave up. Must be more to it than to leave it up on a page and hope someone saw it and wanted to join in. I didn’t know what to do, and I was so busy experimenting with just writing that I couldn’t focus on one thing. (That hasn’t changed over the years, which is why I still don’t host a challenge – yet.)

I participated in challenges that fit the stories I wanted to tell. I wanted to meet people. Then something happened and the photo challenges started to determine what I wrote, what pictures I took and published on my blog.

I got hooked. The challenges gave me a topic to fill up my blank screen, and new friends to read what I wrote. Impressed by people like Sylvia and Carol, I used challenges to tell the stories of my life.

Writing challenges are a new adventure for me.

Motivation Behind the Interview Series

This project got me excited about blogging after a long dry spell of not wanting to write. Let me tell you a few reasons I got so excited about interviewing other bloggers.

So what’s happened along the trail? That’s what I wanted to find out.
  • No one else writes the back stories, the history behind hobby blogger’s challenges. Aha, a new niche. Doesn’t T C History Gal have the responsibility to record some of these stories for posterity?
  • These bloggers develop communities. I want to be part of their communities. I like these people! I would love to see these communities intersect and reach out beyond themselves as a result of these interviews?
  • People have had such positive responses to doing the interviews and guest posts. Charli Mills said, “It’s nice to have someone take an interest in what I do and ask me these questions.” Awww
  • I wanted to collaborate more with other bloggers. Charli from Carrot Ranch invited me to host a challenge for her Rodeo Contest coming up in October. Norah Colvin and Irene Waters both agreed to judge for my week. I’m super excited about this.
  • I had a chance – an excuse really, to slow down and study my interviewee’s blogs. Slower is better if you want to have strong relationships.
  • I wanted to have more fun blogging. For example, here’s my limerick for Esther Chilton’s blog this week’s prompt – Zoom.

Does Zoom work better than Skype?
If not, then what’s the big hype?
It’s free, mercy me,
But all we can see –
Your scalp and the chat you type.

What Is Success for the Interview Series?  

It would thrill me if the blogger who writes a guest post or has an interview on Always Write had a sudden surge of visitors and people liking their work. My stats have definitely grown during this series of interviews, but I suspect that it will take time to realize tangible results.

If the challenge hosts tell me that the interview questions gave them a chance to reflect on their work and examine their own motives and practices, then I have done my job.

Primarily, this project is to honor the hard work bloggers do as challenge hosts and give them a little recognition and hand clapping for their many hours they pour into their blog and their challenge. If they feel encouraged, I am fulfilled.

If the interview itself is something the challenge bloggers can use on their own blog to promote their challenge or use as part of recording their own history, I feel useful.

If I make some new friends and reconnect with bloggers with whom I lost touch, I’ll be over the top happy.

Challenge hosts invest hours of time and tons of passion. They don’t offer participants cash prizes. They aren’t from huge photography studios or literary magazines. But their success is worldwide. Let’s celebrate their hard work.

Do You Know a Challenge Host?

This has to be a community project. Maybe you already participate in a writing or photo challenge. Write a guest post about why you chose the challenges. Refer one of your favorite challenge hosts to me for an interview.

Help me update my list and create a new one. Photo challenges are already listed on my menu. I did not have the same resource for writing challenges, and so this series was born. After I started, I found that Cee Neuner had developed an excellent Writing challenge resource on her blog.

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Home Warranty Problems Dry Up When You Vent Through Poetry

Are you up for a challenge? This may take you a while, but it’s like solving a puzzle. It feels so good when you’re finished.

COLLEEN’S 2020 WEEKLY #TANKA TUESDAY #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 190 #SYNONYMSONLY

What, you don’t have problems to ameliorate?

So, bookmark this great advice for solving home warranty problems for another day. But go ahead and write some poetry anyway.

It’s Tanka Tuesday. Don’t worry if you’re running late like me and it’s already Wednesday. Colleen won’t fine you for being late!

We’re going to stretch our mental muscles and write some poetry. The struggle to write this #tanka poem is worth your effort. Use some words you seldom use. Make them fit the pattern. Learn a new pattern. The Tanka pattern is a new pattern for me.

Circled & Squared

Synonyms for the Target Words

Circled: Surrounded, enclosed, encompassed, revolve, rotate, whirl

Squared: Balanced, coincided, conformed, dovetailed, fit, harmonized, jibe, reconciled, agreed, in accord.

One Hundred Five Today, One-ten Tomorrow

No air con at home

Hot air rotated by fans

Conformed for two months

Relaxed, read, wrote, moved slowly

Enjoyed cool drinks and a swim.

Worse than No Air

Surrounded by noise

Dehydrators blast the rooms.

Drying walls, ceilings

Insulation, carpeting

Reconciled water leak

The Rest of the Story

You can power through almost anything. Like many of you, we are still somewhat sheltered in place due to COVID 19. But what do you do when your shelter turns on you?

My grandparents bed set circa 1920 in my spare bedroom

Our air conditioner did not get replaced for nearly three months. The repair company ordered the wrong unit, not even the right type of unit. That was the easy part. What followed was much worse.

Have you ever forgotten to turn the vent off after you bake ? When you turn it off everyone sighs in relief?

For the last forty-eight hours hydrators have blasted 90 degree air into two rooms in my house. Yes, it’s still 105 outside. The next step, tearing out all the insulation in the attic, possibly replacing framing, drywall and plaster in two rooms will be a relief from the noise.

Dehydrator at work.

Normally an air conditioner drips the entire time it works. Instead of it leaking down the roof, they pipe the water through pipes to get it safely into the ground without dripping on anything.

The condense line coming into our attic.

In our case, the air conditioner installers forgot to connect or glue the pipe that carries the condensation from the air conditioner into a the attic to any other pipe. The water dripped unfettered into the attic for days, soaking through insulation, wood framing, drywall, plaster and finally the mattress on my grandparent’s antique bed.

Actively Advocate for Yourselves

Expect the unexpected. It’s okay to be a bit of a micro manager, even when you don’t know much about a home repair.

  1. Ask nosey questions! The company that does the repair, in our case, replaces your air conditioner (or any appliance) might order the wrong unit or part for the unit and delay your installation. Ask them to tell you what they ordered. Write down the number. Our air conditioning repair company didn’t want to tell us. My husband persisted.
  2. Document work with photos. The repair company told the insurance that they couldn’t find the air conditioner number. My husband went on the roof and took a picture of the number which was clearly visible and sent it to the insurance company. The repair company had ordered the wrong unit. (big delay) My husband researched and found several companies around the country which had the unit we needed in stock and gave everyone the names of the companies. Otherwise, we still might not have air conditioning.
  3. Get to be good friends with your home warranty and your home owners insurance companies. Keep them informed with pictures and a timeline of events if anything starts to go wrong. 
  4. Read your insurance policy. Our home warranty policy states that they are not responsible for damages done by the repairing party. 
  5. Don’t assume. I thought someone had spilled something on the bed. I stripped it to let it dry out. Two days later it was still wet, as was the floor and the ceiling plaster in our spare bedroom cracked and peeled. Water damage causes mold, so it needs to be mitigated quickly.

Conclusion

When all is said and done, mistakes happen. We could not convince our home warranty insurance company to use another repair company to install the new air conditioner. But when it leaked, they agreed to pay for a different air conditioning company to fix the leak. That repair company took pictures. 

We also have an umbrella homeowners’ insurance policy which will cover most of the damage caused by the repair company.

My hope for you is that all of your appliances will continue to work. But if they don’t be alert and advocate for yourselves. 

Keep cool. 🙂

When it’s all over relax.

What Is a Tanka?

Like me, you might need a little help with this form of poetry. Colleen has some guidance on her website, which I copied here to help me write this new form of poetry.

TANKA IN ENGLISH: 5/7/5/7/7 syllable structure. Your Tanka will consist of 5 lines written in the first-person point of view from the perspective of the poet. When writing a Tanka, the third line is considered your “pivot,” but feel free to let it happen anywhere, or to exclude it. It is not mandatory. If you do use a pivot, the meaning should apply to the first two lines, as well as the last two lines of your Tanka. Remember, Great Tanka can be read both forward and backward.  

  • Your tanka should be filled with poetic passion, including vivid imagery to make up both parts of the poem. The first three lines of the poem consist of one part and should convey a specific theme. The third line of your poem is the often where the pivot occurs although it can happen anywhere. The pivot gives direction to your poem whose meaning should be applied to the first two lines of your poem, as well as the last two lines so that your tanka can be read forward and backward.
  • The last two lines of your tanka are where the metaphor (where the poet compare two concepts without the words: like or as), simile (where the poet compares two concepts with words: like or as) or where a comparison occurs to complement the first three lines of your poetry. Use words you are comfortable with from everyday speech. Avoid ending your lines with articles and prepositions.
  • Make use of your five senses. Don’t describe your theme. Instead, use adjectives, or exclamations of sound, taste, and smell, along with hearing and sight to make your tanka powerful.
  • Tanka are untitled and should be written in natural language using sentence fragments and phrases, not sentences.
  • While many poets will adhere to the 5/7/5/7/7 structure, there is no rule that says this is written in stone. Remember, tanka poetry is looser in structure than Haiku. Let your creativity guide you. Follow the short/long/short/long/long rhythmic count instead of counting the syllables in the traditional fashion.
  • Tanka poetry does not require punctuation. You don’t have to use capitals at the beginning of each line, nor do you need to add a period at the end.
  • A double tanka is two poems. Three or more tanka poems are a sequence. They are usually linked by a common theme.

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