Writing In Retirement Blog

Poetry Month: Hyping the Haiku

 

HaikuPond
This Haiku Poem was written by Matsuo Bashō in the 17th century

We are one more week into poetry month. I hope you have been having some fun writing and reading poems this month. I certainly have been! The Haiku poem is a popular poetry format that is short, creates a picture in the reader’s mind, and is usually read in one breath. It has been part of Japanese literature since the 9th century. It has a specific structure of three lines; the first and third lines have five syllables and the second line has seven syllables. The poems’ lines do not usually rhyme. There are no rigid rules about capitalization or punctuation. Traditionally the Haiku’s subject is nature; a small window of time that sites details that show the why emotion is evoked rather than the emotion itself. The modern interpretation of Haiku does not have to be about nature, and there can be more freedom in the number of syllables per line, but it still tries to create a significant picture that illuminates the moment.

 

Here are some examples I have written:

Springtime Mating

Little brown lizard

An orange dewlap bulges

Enticing the girls.

 

Here is an example of a riddle Haiku. I have written a description of something, and the reader is asked to guess what that something is. Children love this game.

What am I?

Walking atop bushes

Eying my dinner for one

My orange beak snaps

 

[Can you guess? (Egret!)]

 

The process of writing a Haiku can be rewarding. Once you have chosen a subject, think about words that describe that moment in time. Be descriptive and explore the emotions that surround that moment. Consider that the last line usually observes the relationship between the first two lines and the last. Can you find something that is unexpected?

I would love to see your efforts in writing a Haiku poem. Comments are welcome – see below.

Poetry Month: A Salute to Acrostic Poems

I hope you have had some fun writing poems this month. Did you try your hand at M is for Motherlimericks? Today I am going to discuss another type of poem called the Acrostic Style Poem. I’m sure you have seen such poems – this is when the first, middle or last letter of the lines spell out a word or phrase vertically. The most often used format is the first letter of the lines vertically spells out the word or phrase. The M is for Mother poem is an acrostic poem.

Because the poem focuses not only on what the words mean but also on how they are placed, the poem is not only fun to write but also to read. To start, pick out a word, a person’s name, or a short phrase you are interested in exploring – that will be your vertical word. The first word of each line is usually capitalized and sometimes even written in bold or fancy script so that the reader can keep track of the subject of the poem. I suggest you write out the vertical word or phrase first and then write each line.

Example:

An Acrostic Poem

A jolly good way to write a poem.

Challenging your creativity.

Relatable words with a theme.

Oh, so merry a poem!

Springing words across the page

To tell a story about the vertical.

Infinitely better than trying to rhyme.

Cherishing each word of the poem.

 

Acrostic poems take some thinking, but they are fun to write. Try one; you might like the style!

I’d love to see what you write. Comments are welcome!

Let’s celebrate! National Poetry Month.

April Poetry

April is National Poetry Month. Let’s celebrate!

Poetry is one of those things every writer should try to tackle.  Whether you enjoy Rap, James W. Riley, Shakespeare, Frost, or Angelu, there is always some part of poetry that touches a person’s heart. Since April is set aside to be the month we celebrate Poetry, I thought we could explore some of the types of poetry.

My favorite type of poem to write is the Limerick (see my March 3, 2019 post). A Limerick is a short, comical poem that often borders on the nonsensical or obscene. They are fun to write and to read, as they are meant to make your readers laugh.

The Limerick consists of five lines that rhyme in an AABBA pattern. That is: The first, second, and fifth lines’ last words (A) should rhyme with each other. The third and fourth lines’ last word also rhyme but with a different word (B) than the other three lines. In addition the Limerick has a specific meter to it. The meter refers to the number of beats, or stressed syllables, in each line.  (You can also use “da” for unstressed syllables and “DUM” for stressed syllables.) The meter will look like:

  • Line 1: Three stressed syllables (da DUM da da DUM da da DUM)
  • Line 2: Three stressed syllables (da DUM da da DUM da da DUM)
  • Line 3: Two stressed syllables (da DUM da da DUM)
  • Line 4: Two stressed syllables (da DUM da da DUM)
  • Line 5: Three stressed syllables (da DUM da da DUM da da DUM)

Example:

Limericks to write are such fun!

(da DUM da da DUM da da DUM)

You’ll smile like eating a cinnamon bun.

(da DUM da da DUM da da DUM)

AA BB A is the trail.

(da DUM da da DUM)

With that you’ll never fail.

(da DUM da da DUM)

Do try your hand at rhyming one.

(da DUM da da DUM da da DUM)

 

 Here’s one I did just for April Fools’ Day.

April Fool Limerick

There once was a girl who said with dismay

I swear I saw an elephant today.

It was walking down by the railroad track

A lion, a giraffe and a bear in a pack.

“April Fool”! Said she. As they rushed to see the display.

Apri 1st

 

I’d love to see your efforts at trying to write a Limerick. Comment Below.

I Can’t Believe I Wrote That!

As a writer sometimes I get so into writing a scene that I look back with my editing hat on and wonder what in the world I was trying to say! I promise you tht I am the o=]wroets typist in the pwprld (the translation: that I am the worst typist in the world)!  Some writers tell me that I need to just write and forget about my inner editor, but if I did that consistently, I would just have a bunch of gibberish on the page, and I would have no idea what I had written. Thank goodness for Grammarly the program that corrects my misspelling and grammar as I write. I do wonder how Grammarly figures out from my crummy typing of “pwprld” that it is “world,” but I promise you it does. To understand why I am such a poor typist – come with me back to the summer between my junior and senior year in high school when I was a naïve idiot…

mom and daughter

Me: “Boy, I can’t wait for summer. Free to have fun, read, and just do what I want.”

Mom: “You know you need to take the typing course this summer.”

Me: “Typing? Why would I need typing?”

Mom: “Because then you will be able to type your papers and whatever else you need. It’s a very helpful skill to have.”

Me: “Mom, I’m gonna be a physical therapist! I won’t need to type! I’ll have a secretary!”

(Oh yes, I really did think that last part even if I didn’t say it!)

Mom: “Alright, but you will regret it if you don’t know how to type.”

Fateful words indeed  –  as with all things that mothers tell you – they are always right. I did alright with my papers in school, although I slathered a lot of that white stuff all over my papers to hide my mistakes. I mostly handwrote my daily notes, and for a while, I good computerhad a secretary that was more than willing to type up letters for me. Ah, but then the advent of the computer era came along. Sigh. My pecking along with one finger was not cutting it. So did I take a typing class? Did I seek out a YouTube course on typing? Of course not, instead I developed a funky two-handed method that I continue to use until today. I have to look at the keyboard to have any speed at all and often, and I mean often, I have to read each line and edit several words that I have goofed up with my homegrown method of typing. It’s embarrassing how much time I spend re-typing and correcting what I write.

However, all is not lost; I have typed up three manuscripts (only one I self-published). I type all my stories now. I type up my blog posts, reports, post on Facebook, etc. and somehow with much editing (and thankfully no more white stuff slathered on the paper) they come out fine. Nonetheless, if any of you are as stubborn as I was as a teenager, I would suggest you take a typing course. The moral of this story is Listen to your mother; they are always right.

How is your typing? Are you fast, or slow like a slug like I am? Comments are welcome.

Thoughts on St. Patrick’s Day

Ireland2When I think of St. Patrick’s Day, I immediately think of green. Ireland, the home of St. Patrick, is often called the Emerald Isle because of the many shades of green that dot the countryside. Of course, the most famous green plant coming from Ireland is the Shamrock, a three-leafed clover which comes in a variety of shades of green. Interestingly, the human eye can detect more shades of green than any other color. That is, perhaps, why green is second only to blue as the most favorite of colors.

The Shamrock’s three leaves were said to be used by St. Patrick to explain the concept of The Holy Trinity. The three leaves are also thought to represent Faith, Hope, and Love. Traditionally, Shamrocks are worn on St. Patrick’s Day. Some clovers do have four leaves due to a genetic mutation, and these are considered to be ‘lucky’ because of their rarity — the early Irish thought the four-leaf clovers to have magical properties that warded off evil.

shamrocks

St Patrick’s Day is celebrated by “the wearing of the green,” parades, Irish music, and dancing. Several cities, such as Chicago and Savannah with large Irish populations dye their rivers green. The traditional meal of St. Patrick’s Day for Irish Americans is corned beef and cabbage. Although cabbage has always been a favorite of the Irish, corned beef became a substitute for Irish bacon around the early 1900s.

How do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Comments welcome!

Let’s Discuss Point of View

POV Magnifier
Point of view changes with how close we are to the character.

Point of View (POV) is one of the elements of every story and often it is the least discussed. Because the POV filters everything the reader learns in the story, it has a prominent position in storytelling. Through the POV used, the reader experiences the feelings, thoughts, and motivations of one or many characters depending on which POV the writer uses. The POV shows what the character knows, which is different than what the author knows. The POV used determines how the reader understands and experiences the story. Let’s take a look at the types of POVs that are acceptable in storytelling.

First Person POV

The first person POV is only seen in writing. No similar style of storytelling appears in theater or movies. This POV tells the story in the eyes of one character. It can be either the main character (First person) or a peripheral character (Peripheral first person POV) that tells the story only through their POV.  Because the story only contains one person’s POV, it can be biased and incomplete. It tells how one person experiences the story, not the “whole” story. Hint: The pronouns used in this POV are “I,” “me,” and “my.”

Second Person POV

The second person POV is seen the majority of the time in nonfiction or instructional manuals. However, it can be used in fiction when the author wishes to make the audience part of the story, such as in a story where the reader decides on the ending. The author is directly addressing the audience. Hint: The pronouns used in this POV are ”You,” “You’re,” and “Your.”

Third Person POV

The third person POV is the most frequently used POV in fiction. With the third person POV the narrator is outside of the story and relates the story to the readers.  This narrator is not involved in the story but tells of the actions and thoughts of the characters in the story. The author is talking about someone or something within the story.  Hint: the pronouns used are “he” “she,” “it,” and “they.” There are three versions of the third person POV.

Third person limited is when the POV is limited to one person’s thoughts and feelings. The main character can be the conduit through which the story flows, or the story can come through another character further from the Main Character which then becomes the narrator.

The third person multiple is similar to Third person limited, but instead of one person’s thought and feelings, the narrator follows several characters. There is danger in this as the author must make sure not to confuse the reader. The switching of POVs must be carefully engineered to avoid ‘head hopping.’

Third person omniscient is when the narrator knows everything and has full access to the thoughts and feelings of all the characters. The author is like a god who knows all.

 

POV DOG
Pick a POV that serves the story.

Whichever POV you use you must be consistent. A good rule of thumb is to establish the POV you are using within the first one or two paragraphs. The POV you choose reflects how intimate the reader will become to the characters. Most important? Pick the POV that serves your story the best.

 

What POV do you use the most? Comments are always welcome!

Celebrate: I Want You to be Happy Day!

Happy I Want You to be Happy Day!

March 3rd

Yes! March 3rd is that sweet day dedicated to making another person happy just because … It doesn’t have to be a big thing like giving away a million bucks – although I wouldn’t say “No” to that! It’s holding the door open for someone who is having trouble with it. It’s making breakfast for you sweetheart. It’s buying lunch for the car behind you in the drive-thru lane. It’s doing something special for anyone really. The reason? Just because.

Doing something to make another person happy has an unusual effect – it grows and multiples. As you make one person happy, that person feels great and because of that – makes another happy and on it goes.  I can’t give all of you a hug, but perhaps a silly limerick, or two, or three by me will bring a smile to your face. Here goes!

Limerick 1

There once was a pretentious bookcase

That sat next to the fireplace

Alphabetically, the books were in line

In a way to show each spine

Haughtily showing its knowledge base.

 

Okay so how about this one?

 

Limerick 2

There once was a weekly blogger

Who impressed everyone with her swogger

It was out there in cyberspace

That her blog was a showcase

And she really was a good jogger.

 

And finally!

 

Limerick 3

Limericks are such fun!

You’ll smile like eating a cinnamon bun.

AABBA is the trail.

With that, you will never fail.

Try your hand at one.

 

I hope I have made you smile.

Happy,

I Want You To Be Happy Day!

Comments are always welcome. Share a limerick or two.