“Ode to the Liquor Store Lady” by M.D. /Writers I Like

I wonder sometimes if she sees their pain …all of our pain. What kind of job it must be to hand out the poison that ruins every other patron. Is she a home-wrecker? A murderer? An abuser? She’s just doing her job. We are the ones so willing to walk through her doors & waste away an entire paycheck on that sweet nectar that rots our minds. The housewife with her Sunday wine. The college kids with their vodka & Redbull. The awkward first-timer perusing the wares. The homeless man counting his pennies for some gin. Everyone has their story, why they’re here. Why they can’t look her in the eye. I’d like to blame her for all the misery. ‘Why do you do this to me?’ when I really want to ask ‘Why do i do this to myself?’ That must be one of the worst jobs in the world. To see the best of people with the worst of intentions go in & out – in & out – day after day, week after week … until one day they don’t show up anymore. Jail, rehab, death? Where did they go? What path did you lead them down? – the drunks, with their pursed lips & dry hands. The ones who are too weak or too strong to make it through their days. How many families have you ruined? How many hearts have you broken? Jaws have you broken? Cars wrecked? Thank you for your services, liquor store lady. You are the kindest of doctors. The sweetest of anesthesia. The warmest of fires & the Queen of the Drunks.

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Artist & Writer: Monte Robinson

I have shared several of his poems and essays on the blog–BROKEN DOLL, GIVERS VS TAKERSINCOMPLETE; we’ve collaborated on a few projects, or at least tried (FREESTYLE); and now, Mr. Robinson, aka The Writerly Genius, has finally granted an interview.

Do you agree with the cliché that creative types are misunderstood?
​I do​ agree with that statement, because of personal experiences and scientific research. Artists are often stereotyped as weirdos, and I think some of that perceived weirdness derives from the creativity we hung onto and expanded throughout our lives. We do not quite fit into the box of what is considered “normal” due to our natural born talent.
I draw, paint, write short stories, and dabble in poetry. Those things require me to think differently than the average person. I think all artists think differently than the average person, which can lead to us being misunderstood. In many cases, I just experience the world in a way that others do not. When I look at real life landscapes, I see them as two dimensional like they were on a canvas. At random times, lines and stanzas just pop into my mind.
From an educator’s standpoint, how would you encourage a young person interested in the Arts? How would you  encourage your younger self?
Usually when students tell me they cannot write poems, short stories, or plays, I reassure them that they have the ability, and they just need to tap into it. Generally, they are afraid that it will not be good enough, so I explain to them that “good” is relative. Some may like it; some may not, so write something that you will enjoy. My mother was very supportive of my artistic side, so I would encourage my younger self the same way she did.
We often hear the term “natural-born talent”, do you feel we have innate gifts, or is creativity one of those things learned over time?
​I believe we are all born with creativity. When left to their own devices, kids come up with some creative – sometimes crazy – stuff. I think some of us are more developed in specific areas than others, also. My mom said I started drawing at age 3. I remember being in Headstart at age 5 and drawing my own cartoon characters on the back of the pages they gave us to color. I think schools, adults, and the need to fit-in kills the creativity. ​
You’re both an artist and a writer. Which of these was most dominant in your formative years? In later years? Are there similarities in each field?
In my formative years, I was more of an artist. I did not think of myself as a writer at all. I still don’t. Looking back, I realize that I used to tell short stories to entertain my cousins. It was usually silly stuff, but it fit my age. I really enjoyed drawing, and it garnered lots of support, so it was much more of a factor for most of my life. I only started writing within the last fifteen years after I stopped drawing and painting. It started with blogging. I had a way of getting my point across in story form and that eventually morphed into writing short stories. My ex-wife was a poet, so I kind of started messing around with poetry because of her.​​
The similarities between the two are that I am trying to tell a story. The differences are – besides the obvious- I have to find just the right way to tell my story in a single image while drawing versus writing​​ ​where I paint the picture with as many or as few words as I like.​
Imagine you have time to pursue a creative project. What would it be?
I would write a novel. For years now, it has felt like something I was destined to do. It is hard to explain. It just feels like the next step.​

In one word. Writing is _____________

​Unpredictable​
 
                sketchII

Books and Authors: Bernice L McFadden

Bernice L McFadden came on the scene in 2000 with her debut novel, Sugar, which tells the story of a woman in the late 50’s with a painful past and less-than-stellar lifestyle.

The minute Sugar arrives in the small town of Bigelow, Arkansas, the accusations and labeling begin. “Slut”, and “whore” ring out as she struts down the sidewalk on a spring day in 1955 carrying two suitcases.  Sugar is, in fact, a prostitute, abandoned by her mother and raised by a group of women called the Lacey sisters.

Spell-binding, full of secrets, unspeakable traumas, ties, and friendship, I knew this would be one of those books I looked forward to reading every night before bed.  Just check out McFadden’s description of Sugar on page twelve:

The storm walked into their town on two legs and spiked, red patent leather heels.  She waltzed right through the main square, blond wig bouncing to the rhythm of her walk, a leopard print pocketbook slung over one shoulder, matching suitcases in each hand.

But there was something else about the main character, Sugar, that puzzled the neighbor, Pearl.  (One of the other key characters of the novel)  It was Sugar’s face.  It reminded her of her own daughter, Jude, whose body was found on the side of a dirt road–mutilated, murdered.  Jude, who at an age when most girls began to blossom, had her womanhood taken, cut from her body, and placed alongside her.

Despite the naysayers and Sugar’s cold attitude from years of  being unloved in the way that all women yearn to be loved, Pearl and Sugar form a bond that goes beyond that of neighbors, a bond that neither of them quite realizes the depth of until the end.

*

Other books I’ve read by Bernice L McFadden:

This Bitter Earth–A must read and the sequel to Sugar.  Want to know who killed Jude and scarred yet another for life?  Want to know why, in the end, you’ll both loathe and empathize with this person?  Care to gain insight into the past lives of Pearl, her husband, Joe, Sugar, Lappy, and even the Lacey sisters?  Then you have to read This Bitter Earth.

Loving Donovan   2003

by Matthew

Things I Want to Do

What is it I wish to do?
I want to get close to you;
I want to know what makes you laugh,
and makes you cry.
I want to be the one to
go with you
on those late Sunday drives.
The one to dry your tears,
to say, “I love you”
and leave no thoughts of why.
To spend my days with you
Until we die
The most pleasant thing I can think of
Is spending eternity
With you by my side.
Think of the things we can do
With the strength of love
Between us two.

Round Robin

I set the scene with the first sentence and three brilliant writers took it from there.  I want to give props to Vejukka, Jamz, and Monte R for their creative input, and a story that flows seamlessly even though four very different people lend their words.

If you would like to continue this round robin, then add a sentence or two…or a paragraph in the comments section.  Or see the link below.

PROMPT:

The sky was  a blanket of gray, not an ideal day for a wedding, especially an outdoor one.  In retrospect, this was  a sign.  

Before 10am the lilac and pink roses were nodding their heads in the drizzle and the lawn was too soggy for stilettos. Plan B was therefore set upon and the guests crammed into the anteroom of the small chapel on folding chairs ordered in wavering lines.

This was not ideal. It was hot, and crowded. The bride was rumored to be distraught, the groom tippling. In-laws of both sexes had nearly come to blows. The best man and the maid of honor – who had arrived separately on time with their respective signficant others – had not been seen since shortly after 9:30.

Perhaps it was not so very surprising then, shouts and screams notwithstanding, that at 11:17 two very loud noises shook the chapel. Around the time that the bride and groom should have been concluding their nuptials before fleeing to the plane that was to carry them to a sunnier, less moist climate, the police arrived.

“No!” A familiar, female voice shrieked from the adjoining room. Janice, the previously, inconveniently, absent maid of honor burst into the room with a look of horror on her face and spatters of blood on her gown. “He’s trying to kill me! He’s trying to kill me!”

Two more shots came whizzing through the crowded room. The first shot barely missing the first officer’s face only because he turned his head to look at Janice as she raced past him. His sudden turn spared his children from being fatherless; however, it laid the foundation for a lifetime of nightmares as he helplessly watched the second shot pierce his partners forehead and violently explode from the back of his head.

“Everybody down!” He had to bellow to be heard over the frenzied screams and shouts. “On the floor, now!”

His stomach churned at the sight of his partner’s body, broken and bleeding on the ground. Plum Grange was a small town. There hadn’t been a violent crime in those parts for over five years, and hardly anyone could remember a murder. But here they were, in a church filled with out-of-towners, all hell breaking loose, and an officer was dead.

His walkie-talkie crackled. “Status, Roberts?”

“Officer down.” His voice quavered as he spoke. “I repeat, officer down. Shots have been fired. I’m gonna need some back-up.” He was moving warily through the crowded church, past the frightened guests huddled on the ground, their fancy clothes rumpled and stained with sweat.

“Copy that. Reinforcements are on their way.”

**

{Vejukka, Jamz, Monte/2-9-2011}

**

 If you would like to continue this in the form of a  round robin add your two cents below or visit me at

https://www.facebook.com/Whatevertheyaint

**let’s keep it going, calling all writers…

The Thing About Blogrolls…

Is that I can’t fit everybody over there in that little corner and I love you all, not in a weird, stalkery loonerish (yes, I’ve created my own vocab) kind of way, but in a you-all-deserve-your-props type adoration.

If it weren’t for you guys and your dedication to reading this blog, I’d still have a 1 in that intimidating space that says blog stats.  By the way, it is nearing 1,000, which is something I never thought could happen.  Seriously, I stared at that lone number 1 for weeks.  Radical Amazement at http://radicalamazement.wordpress.com thanks for being my first reader and follower:-)

Then, there were the friends who dropped in–whom I made drop in, rather, because, surely, something had to be wrong with the analytics.  Barb at Mommy of Three  http://barbieanndivine.blogspot.com thank you so much for sticking with me through good and bad and all the hilarious moments in between.  May we remain friends for life; we have to, you keep me laughing when the going gets tough.

To the top readers and commenters,

Miss Elizabeth http://elizabethre.wordpress.com , inspirational storyteller extraordinaire,

Alunderblog at http://readncook.wordpress.com , English teacher and writer whose writing voice I dig,

Mr. R better known as Rixbitz of http://rixbitz.wordpress.com music and book reviewer,

and Sharmistha Basu of the same name here at word press who is big on form poetry and often comes over to check out mine.

Not to mention the other folks who have decided to follow this blog.  Trust me, I drop in and read your blogs and websites too.   In fact, that’s what I’ve been doing all morning, ever since the babysitter called to say her and her daughter are taking a spa day and, well, sorry.  I don’t blame her.  She rarely takes days off.  Meanwhile, if I don’t hurry up and do something besides piddle around here, my family and I will all starve!  The irony of no babysitter is that I’m on a 3-day medical leave (naughty lupus flare) and I’m supposed to be on bedrest.  Bwahahah…

But back to what I was saying:

Know the Sphere 

Titillating Thoughts

Cyril Cliffette

Maggie Mae

Guy Nickwell

Miss Carol

Four Blue Hills

Jean Sica-Lieber

Winsombella

Dienna

Maggie Mae

The list is long but I appreciate everyone on it, okay…

And others who have taken the time to comment or share words of wisdom and support:

Kate Meadows http://katemeadows.wordpress.com

Kathy of Lake Superior  http://upwoods.wordpress.com

Trina Lynne  http://letterstoher.blogspot.com

Melissa   http://writingfordaisies.wordpress.com/

…and those on the blogroll

(see aforementioned blogroll located to the right of the screen)

TO ALL OF YOU, THANK YOU:-)

Prepare for virtual Kool-aid and cookies when I reach a thou. Seriously, I can’t even imagine that many people, but in any event, here’s to celebrating each day of our lives.  Have a blessed Monday.

Poetic Forms: Acrostic

One of the simplest poetry forms to master (Unless you’re adventurous and choose to create a double acrostic)

The rules are easy: Spell a word down the left hand side while also creating a poem.  Or, as I’ve mentioned, if you love a challenge, attempt to pull off a poem and TWO words–one featured on the left-hand side as well as on the right.  The first letter of each line will become your wording.

For example:

Didn’t mean to do it

Intern in stilettos made him stumble

Revved desire, warped reasoning–

“Too busy, too tired” all he heard at home

Yearning for the touch of an attentive equal,

Dove into illicit fruit

Impeteous rendezvous

Skilled seductress slipped out into night

How can he fix what is already broken

Explain to wife, or wish it away

Six-inch stilettos…trumped all common sense

sms/2010

*****

For an even better example (Double Acrostic)


A Fall that Speaks of Rain

Apples strewn in candied panorama,
Frosty Jack longs for autumn‘s better half.
Trees transcend with red and yellow raiment,
each glorious painted leaf a show piece.
Rain clouds fade to scenes of nature’s wonder.

Then we walk along a cobblestone street
holding hands, ecstatic and spent for each
electric intake of sweet scent we breathe.

Remind me how often raindrops occur
as a conveyor of fine ambrosia.
Ice must abide–for now, even Bambi
nuzzles lovingly in fresh sheets of rain.

(After The Rain: A double acrostic.)

*****

While it is not always the case, a daunting poetry form is the one showcased here, namely that of a double acrostic.  Yet due to the restrictions of the form, the results are often innovative and rewarding.  I enjoy the challenge.  In writing poetry overall, however, I am partial to consistent rhythm, meter and flow (such as 8-6), with basic rhyme patterns.  I have had good results with free and open forms as well.  A good example of what I mean by an 8-6 rhythm is the song, “Amazing Grace.”  I like to experiment, and in fact, one of my poems uses a 9-8-10-7 sequence.  Speaking of rhythm, in the showcased poem above, all lines are 10 syllabic rhythms.

The writing process varies, with inspiration coming from many sources and from many angles.  Sometimes it’s a random thought, other times it’s a visual image, like a magazine picture.  And there’s personal experience of course, or the day-to-day.  There have been rare occurrences when a poem will flow out easily, pretty much complete, but for the most part, the key to good writing is editing and rewriting–in short, hard work.  For me it is always best to write then come back, letting something sit for hours or even days; it is invaluable for perspective and objective evaluation.  Some writings need to cook longer than others do, and patience is usually the proper seasoning.

Acrostic poems spell out a word, reading down, with the first letter of each line.  But with a double acrostic, such as “A Fall that Speaks of Rain,” that same thing is also spelled out reading down with the last letter of each line.  I’m sure I didn’t invent the form, and probably saw it long ago.  But what I can say for sure is that I’ve always liked acrostics, and just decided, at one point, to “raise the bar,” to make it more of a challenge.  I am an engineer by training, so problem solving is what I do.  I suppose this is the way my mind works, and so I apply it, often, in creative writing, with a good deal of satisfaction.

I once read that the definition of a poet is, “Someone who is astonished by everything.”  I can think of no better advice, really, along such lines, to those who desire to write, who enjoy creating with words.  This a cosmos we inhabit is rich beyond measure, and we are very privileged to be part of it.  Be alert and vigilant at every step, and continue to observe and attune with all of the senses.  There exists a wealth of beauty and wonder, and there exists the wonder within us all.

Richard L. Williams

*Richard is a poet whom I featured and interviewed on bluegreenlilac last year.  I was impressed with his ability to create such an engaging poem while still remaining natural and true to his voice, all the while pulling off the unthinkable with a double acrostic. (Okay, it isn’t unthinkable, but I was never good at math…or puzzles, so I would have a more difficult time with such a feat)

Needless to say, he nailed it.

 

Hazy (A Freewrite) By Gwendolyn P

Miracle of miracles! My closest of kin and dear sister/best friend has agreed to share a poem.  🙂

HAZY

by Gwendolyn P

1/25/09

Occupying my mind

All of the time

These thoughts of you and I

Driving me crazy

Because things used to be so amazing

Now they’re just hazy

*

Everything that used to be

Currently seems like some kind of dream to me

Got me questioning its reality

No longer sure if it was the truth or a lie

When you said you loved me all those times

Cause you’ve changed on me with no explanation as to why

*

Leaving me to pick up these pieces

Of a heart-broken for unknown reasons

And I still can’t believe it

Felt we were bonded forever

That our love was strong enough to keep us together

And because of that, it could withstand whatever

*

Yet here I sit alone

Proving once again that I was wrong

Have I just been delusional all along?

Never before given me a reason to doubt you

But now you’re saying I’ve got to learn to live without you

Makes me wanna shake the ** out of you

*

Or, better yet, someone shake the ** out of me

Awaken me from this hellish dream

Where tears endlessly flow and from pain there’s no relief

Where no one can explain to me

How a perfectly good relationship can turn to ** almost instantly

*

I’m really needing some help solving this mystery

Because things used to be so amazing

Now they’re just….hazy