Relationships, Stories

Penguins Can’t Love Snowmen

He just showed up out of nowhere, all prim and proper with his top-hat and button-up. She tried to style with her tux, but the waddling and flops don’t quite work for that. He says it’s endearing. Still, her wings can’t straighten the mess of hair atop her head, and well no one ever offered her a hat like his. Of course, penguins can’t love snowmen.

Snowmen are around people and well, penguins can’t do people. The crowds, the laughter, the cheeriness when all penguins do is squawk. People make her shudder. So penguins stay far away – far away from people and cheer and snowmen. No, penguins can’t love snowmen.

Funny thing about penguins – they’re a flight risk. Just waiting for the snow to melt, to leave them out in the heat suffocating and sweltering and the people stand around and gawk at penguin bumbling. “Perform for us, penguin, do your silly way.”

Maybe being with a snowman, there’s always a little bit of winter around. And yet penguins can’t love snowmen.

His carefully crafted smile is worth measures of penguin attempts where beaks can’t turn upward. He props his hat on her head, and it doesn’t quite fit, but maybe that’s just how it should fit – off-kilter is the penguin way, right? Her waddles forward are okay when paired with a snowman that can roll with the punches. But penguins can’t love snowmen.

She asks if he’ll ever melt.

She asks if she can waddle slowly and he’ll take his time as if it’s a natural pace.

He says the snow will stick for “another 3000 weeks, at least.”

He says 3000 weeks is enough time for some waddling about.

The funny thing about snowmen is maybe they’re as real as penguins. And I’m not quite sure why penguins can’t just love snowmen.

 

 

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My Creative Projects, Stories

A Seussian Red Cross

For our most recent staff retreat, I was given the opportunity to write a poem, in the style of Dr. Seuss, about our team. What other workplace asks you to write such fun material? 🙂 Enjoy!

 

Seuss

A Seussian Red Cross

In a land of nonsense, quite grand they do say,

Where children and grownups quite ridiculously play –

The Who’s & the Horton’s, Sneetches & Zax,

Grinch & Lorax & Cat in the Hat –

 

There’s only one group to handle that clatter,

One crew enough to tackle the matter.

The Seussian Red Cross jump into the fray,

The Seussian Red Cross will save the day.

 

We’re led by our captain, the Betsy of Pratts,

While Amber and Bryan have Betsy’s back.

 

The Grinch stands no chance with Crystal around,

Sending cards & good cheer to all soldiers’ towns.

 

When Thing One and Thing Two muck up the house,

Alyssa’s team shows them what we’re about.

Providing for needs, while home disarrayed,

Working hard to ensure the family is safe.

 

When Green Eggs & Ham cause a terrible slump,

When “in a box with a fox” causes a bump,

When Sam-I-Am has no clue what to do,

Traci’s team brings calm to the hullabaloo.

 

And while the medics of Seussville need quite a lot,

The Blood Services team transports blood on the spot.

 

What a crew, what a team!

But don’t forget behind the scenes.

 

Eileen’s got a group drawing Who’s far and wide,

To help out the town, in blue and grey skies.

We can’t do this alone – not if we tried.

 

This they know, as do Lyn’s own patrol,

Who wrangles the money from high and from low.

 

Then there’s Brooke and Biz Ops,

Her behind-the-scenes team.

They help with buildings and fleet and little big things.

 

Oh the Places You’ll Go, thanks to Beth in HR,

Oh the Thinks You Can Think if you travel so far.

She gives money and vacation and holidays too,

Our own personal genie in this land of Seuss.

 

We can’t deny, it takes a full crew,

And Trish spreads the news with gusto renewed

By coffee and lattes and java and such.

You really just can’t compete with this bunch.

 

There’s so much about Seussville to love & to cherish,

But the Seussville Red Cross is greatest of greatest.

 

Red Cross

 

 

 

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My Creative Projects, Relationships, Stories

Poem: Happy UnBirthday

With recent birthday celebrations, I thought I’d share a little poem I wrote awhile back for some friends’ birthdays I missed. I make belated birthday greetings all the rage 🙂 Let me add that this is even more brilliant when spoken aloud in a ridiculous voice!

Happy Unbirthday

Happy Unbirthday to You.
I speak to all of us here of course,
But specifically Amber & Kim who
I really wish a happy unbirthday as a matter of course.

You see, while all of us have an unbirthday today,
Amber & Kim celebrated their un-unbirthday not long ago.
So while we all can celebrate our unbirthday in some way,
Only Amber & Kim can celebrate it today so close –
To their un-unbirthday.

Here all us unbirthday fellows sit around,
In joyous occasion of our recent un-unbirthday comrades.
And really us unbirthday folk celebrate year-round,
Except for one un-unbirthday a year we celebrate scads.

And now, to the recent un-unbirthday two
Present and accounted for.
We almost got to enjoy the occasion with you,
But now we’ll just have to wait 364 – or 348 – unbirthdays more.

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for the Writers, Stories

A Poem Written

You pick up a pen and start writing.

          Perhaps a tale of faeries and nymphs,

          perhaps an epic of swashbuckling adventure,

          or perhaps a poem of rich imagery and theme.

Regardless, you’re writing now.

Refusing to be bested by a mere blank page,

          you begin to dream up the words.

          You imagine the depth of the prose,

          heartrending emotion unleashing

          salty tears and deep belly laughs.

          Or perhaps only solitary groans of anguish and writer’s block.

          Or really indifference and some sort of forced caring.

But you are an author,

          and your characters are so beloved that you cannot shut them in.

          They are like a fire in your bones that cannot be quenched

          until all know their exploits and defeats.

Or so you hope.

          Pray….

          Coax….

          ….

Relationships in your head trump the world,

          characters demanding your time to distraction.

          “Leave me to my solitude and buy a book!

          Or perhaps you wonder why you can’t hear them,

          elusive head-people taunting you with their absence,

          with tangible people or social media

          or needless research taking the brunt of the blame.

          The characters must be in there somewhere

          “Come out, come out, wherever you are.”

          for you are a true writer.

But the idea is beyond the reality,

          the slights imagined and exaggerated

          “because they’re supposed to be.”

          So you claim.

An imposter is all you are.

          An imposter posing as the authorial idea.

          Every true author is.

          Right?

          Posing as something they’re not until proven otherwise.

          “Or perhaps never proved at all.

But wouldn’t it irk you, dear writer,

to become an awkward, neurotic, obsessive

only to discover that the ideal

you believe in is the true imposter?

for the Writers, Musings

Work-In-Progress

It’s not like you just say “Let there be…” and there is.

No, it’s this lovely and dreaded cycle.

It all starts with an idea. Then another. And another. And soon it’s just an overload of ideas. But one idea, that idea won’t leave you alone. It just keeps nigglin’ at the back of your brain, demanding attention like a constant drip.

Draft one. Seems like everything’s going fine until you stumble, and then you’re on to

Draft two. And the worst part is when it’s so horrific you have you scrap the whole darn thing, save your niggling idea Noah and a couple of each animal species. Sometimes you just wish for there to be a Moses in your story to cry out, “No! Don’t give up, your reputation is at stake. Why should people say you can’t follow through?! You’ve got the chops to fix the mess we’re in.” But what if Moses is preposterous and you’re all the way back to

Draft one. Déjà vu.

for the Bookworms, Stories

A Poem: Analyze This

One of the first moments where I felt I could actually be a successful writer (read: read writer) was when I was published in my college’s student publication Impressions. As if publication was not enough, I tied for second place in that issue with my best college friend. While it was a small accomplishment, I’m still quite proud of my poem. I feel like it sums up my college career, as well as conveys my view on the importance and tension of Author/Reader/Text interpretation. Enjoy!

 

A Poem: Analyze This

 
You pick up a poem and start reading.

          Perhaps you take pleasure in the written word,

          perhaps you wish to appear intelligent,

          or perhaps you were unaware of the content

          until you’d begun.

Regardless, you’re reading now.

Refusing to be bested by mere words on a page,

you begin your subconscious mission

          to conquer the text,

          crack the code,

          find the pirate’s elusive X.

Perhaps you start with the author – me.

          You find that I recently ended

          a serious relationship with a devoted fan,

          which suggests the poem is written

          in first and second person to design

          a connection between reader and writer,

          compensating for the woeful solitude I now face.

          (Funny, if I had my biography contain different

          facts – I was in the middle of Calvino’s

          If On a Winter’s Night a Traveller

          while writing the poem,

          or I receive brilliant writing ideas at 2:30am,

          only to wake up later and realize

          “Why Wrestling a Hippo is an Artistic Prey”

          doesn’t even make sense as a sentence,

          let alone as a writing topic –

          you would come up with an entirely

          different reading of my poem.)

I’m sure how much I’ve published

before will affect your reading as well.

          Since I’ve never been published,

          your reaction may be

          “no wonder it’s a simple failure”

          or perhaps “why isn’t more of her literary genius

          published?…the brilliant complexities!”

But enough about me.

You’ve finally decided

to look at the poem itself.

What do you think of its length?

          You decide the poem’s concepts

          are exquisitely drawn out and explored.

          Or you think the author – I –

          didn’t edit enough to cut out

          the useless nonsense from the gems.

Of course you look at imagery, too.

          A fighting hippo, fortune teller,

          and treasure-hunting pirate come to your mind.

          Perhaps the poem conveys the problem

          with stereotyping and making assumptions

          from one aspect of a person’s life.

          (And I am sure one day, critics will debate

          if “fighting hippo” refers to an African version

          of Steve Irwin or to sumo wrestlers.

          But that’s beside the point.)

By now you may have a mental image

of me as a crazed gypsy, gazing

into a crystal ball, what with my mix

of predicting and guiding your thoughts

the entire time. Or maybe the “you” I refer to

is no longer you, the reader you, but another “you”

than you, “you” merely being “you” the reader, “you,”

of my imagination, while you are flesh-and-blood

you. But let me assure you, actual reader, in case

you are troubled – I am not in your head.

Now on you go with your reading; after all,

it would be a shame for your analysis

to end so soon. So you move on,

tackling my use of rhyme scheme.

          You discover that rhyme is rarely used,

          but alliteration needs no X to be noticed.

          P’s in “pick up a poem,”

          B’s in “be bested by,”

          X’s in “exquisitely explored,”

          or B’s in “bunch of bull,” among many others.

          You pick up the notion that a struggle is being

          explored in these phrases, perhaps a tension

          between the deepness of text

          and the exquisite ideas actually conveyed.

          Or maybe that’s a bunch of bull utilized

          to convince you that this one poem

          of mine has some literary value.

But wouldn’t it irk you, dear reader,

to get to the last page of my lengthy biography,

after multiple readings and careful critical analysis

of my only poem, only to discover that I

had written the entire thing in just one brief sitting?

 

 

 

What do you think?

Where do we find out interpretation of writings? Through authorial intent, through text alone, through reader engagement? Share your thoughts in the comments below. I’d love to hear.

Faith, for the Writers

Being an Author Makes You Pray

Being an author makes you pray. Because when you have become a god of your authorial universe, you suddenly wish you would hear more definitive input from your characters. Don’t they have the next plotpoint? Why is the protagonist obsessed with pursing her lips if she doesn’t have something to say? What is the antagonist’s next step, and what’s his motivation? Surely these people have some opinion they’d like to voice. And yet the silence of writer’s block persists.

And being an author, you certainly don’t want the God of your universe to have a case of writer’s block. That’s what causes snooze-worthy dialogue, worthless details observed, and heaven forbid a catastrophic turn of events that has no plot value whatsoever – if there’s some trial to go through, there better be some reason for the struggle by the last chapter.

So you begin to tell Him your opinions of things. Regardless of His existence or lack thereof, surely He would appreciate some input. Most people might think, “While You’re working on the big picture stuff, I sure would appreciate winning the lottery; oh, and I’ll take the closest parking spot.” But no, you as an author understand God now. “The secondary characters need more depth, the protagonist needs to be more empathetic and heroic, and the plot needs to be more straightforward. While you’re at it, make the mission more apparent. And draw out the action, cut out all those lousy chapters that have nothing to do with the concept and theme.” As an author, you know it would be nice to have everything down to the most minute detail. So you throw in, “Oh, and I’ll take the closest parking spot.”

My Creative Projects

Poem: What’s Your Emergency?

According to my brief look at the weather, it’s supposed to rain every day next week. Summer is just around the corner though….right?! Here’s my most recent poem, actually not written during a thunderstorm, but during a wonderful time of rainless worship at my church.

 

What’s Your Emergency?

The thunder cracked like a whip
and brought a splatter of fat raindrops.
Focus.
Wipers flip-flapped to smear the blobs,
hardly help against the looming thunderheads.
The fujita scale was threatening
as the wind gust tugged and the car lurched.
Focus.
Blackness, blurs of white and yellow,
hinting a stripe somewhere to follow.
Lightning crashed – I could see –
and then I was spinning. So dizzy.
Focus.
I’m lost. Tears mix with the rain.
I imagine them splatting the window from the donuts.
Focus.
Where are you? I’m flipping,
and my stomach flip-flops as if wishing to stay upright.
Focus.
I can’t see. Not through the tears and flips and wipers and stripes.
I don’t want to be here. Come back.
Focus.
Can you call 911? Something’s broken.