Each Christmas it is traditional for my family to watch Judy Garland’s Meet Me in St. Louis. The more times I watch it, the more it and Garland’s dazzling voice pull me in. By now I know the songs by heart and if not all of them, then at least the well-known “Trolley Song.”
The scene of Judy Garland’s character singing on the trolley is what comes into my mind whenever I see one and why today, I feel that I need to ride the trolley, wherever it may be going. Sure, it may take me places I have no idea where I am or why I ended up where I did. But it will also lead me to unexpected and interesting city jewels, waiting for discovery.
As Garland’s character in the movie did not want to leave St. Louis but at the same time possessed a yearning to explore, I have a connection to the trolley and wanting to explore the city because of Garland’s famous song and her character’s adventurous spirit.
Thanks to Bikurgurl for hosting #100WordWednesdays. Today is the last NaPoWriMo prompt “to write a poem about something that happens again and again . . . It could be the setting of the sun, or your Aunt Georgia telling the same story (etc.).” I will add a quote but it’s pretty much any quote I want as the A to Z Challenge is finished as well.
“Home wasn’t a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.” ― Sarah Dessen, What Happened to Goodbye
Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is to recreate a myth in a poem. The A to Z Challenge quote from GoodReads has an author with a P in their name. Also, thank you to Bikurgurl for hosting last week’s #100WordWednesday.
” I moan with pleasure.
“Did you just have a foodgasm?” he asks, wiping ricotta from his lips.
“Where have you been all my life?” I ask the beautiful panini.”
― Stephanie Perkins, Anna and the French Kiss
There are those who believe the Greek gods left,
Went away, didn’t return, disappeared.
Where there was greed, pride, avarice, lust, and war,
There was no longer, because these gods were,
Never gods, more like spoiled children who were —
Tolerated for a while until the —
God who is the God, decide that they,
Need find another place to play, beyond —
Olympus, and Athens, and Rome — and then,
Came the Popes and the Cardinals, more sin.
They had always been there, but now they —
We’re warriors and wise men, judges and —
The Greco-Roman gods and goddesses,
We’re invisible, ethereal, just air.
It’s what becomes of beings that ‘are,’
But aren’t real, they’re missing a certain —
Quality that means that in some form they’re —
Alive; full of heart, blood, bone, marrow, soul.
But these gods were but mythology so they,
Faded as much mythology does.
Legends of all kinds and all cultures who
Have been, before and after them, or so —
I was told, ’til I began to see such surreal —
Things in town, at dinner talking with —
My dad, about life, and school and then,
Beside us was this old man; and his eyes,
We’re blue and twinkled, he had such,
Vigor for his age, he smiled at me while he —
Talked to his friends, other gods he said.
Not the God, but gods, he said who had been,
To me they were all invisible; he said —
Long ago in Greece and Rome, he was king.
As Zeus or Jupiter, but now they —
All blended into humans, they had their —
Special places where they could go, greeting —
Their old friends and eating what gods do.
He ate panini, talking loudly,
Today it was Aphrodite, he also —
Said he was eating Ambrosia, the food,
Gods required, and an extra plate lay,
Near his hand, licked clean; he said that his son,
The open road can take you anywhere. There are many places to go, its so difficult to decide precisely which road you will take. On one hand, you have opportunity and potential before you. You’re bursting with aspirations and a chance to discover a new or familiar place and make it your own. You’ve a desire to create lasting and meaningful memories.
But on the other hand, there’s the downside of open roads. Roads aren’t always safe. You believe the road ahead is empty, but you never see a speeding car whipping out, when you both crash. You aren’t paying attention when you see a moose in the middle of the road, directly in your path. You may have the SUV but he’s huge and more likely to kill you.
Journeys aren’t what we think they’ll be. Some of them lead to misery and pain.Some of them lead to mistakes and learning the hard way. But it’s the price of travelling the open road. As you’ve little idea if you’re playing the correct card in a Black Jack, you have little idea where that open road will lead, or end.
Welcome to my bi-weekly interview series. I’m pleased to introduce to you today an interview with dog enthusiast, thoughtful, and entertaining writer,Colin Chappell. He is often accompanied by his friendly and energetic dogRay. In fact, Ray is one of Colin’sfavorite topics. You can visit Colin on his blog: A Dogs Life? (Stories of Me and Him).
1. Please Tell Us A Bit About Yourself?
My name is Colin Chappell. When I was born, my parents were expecting a girl so, when I arrived, they showed great initiative by thumbing through the BBC Radio Times looking for male names. If Colin Yearsley (a classical pianist) had a second name, I would have probably had a second name also; my older sister did. I am originally from Peterborough (U.K.), and now live in Oakville, Ontario, Canada (on the outskirts of Toronto).
I was born immediately after WWII and moved around the U.K. a lot when I was young because both my parents were in the theater. My Dad designed and painted scenery, while my Mum worked in the costumes area.
The introduction of television decimated the demand for theater and my parents had to make some major decisions. Growing up, my Mum held down multiple jobs and my Dad came home only on weekends. He was working approximately one-hundred-miles away from where we lived. My Dad eventually decided to build his own house. He learned how to do this successfully from library books, visiting construction sites, and asking a ton of questions.
2. What Kind of Affect Has Your Childhood Had On You?
I learned to make the best of any situation, knowing it could always be worse. I learned to not be afraid to step out of my comfort zone; to swallow my pride and ask questions as necessary.
I wanted to be a locomotive driver, but was told that I couldn’t do this job by my Dad. I went to college to pursue a career as ‘Master’ of a cargo ship. I achieved a 2nd Class Honors Certificate and was welcomed into the Blue Star Line. I was ready to join ‘Scottish Star’ in Glasgow; however, I failed a medical exam which blocked my first chosen career path. This was my welcome to the world of adulthood and the realities of the world.
“I learned to make the best of any situation, knowing it could always be worse. I learned to not be afraid to step out of my comfort zone; to swallow my pride and ask questions as necessary.” – Collin Chappell
3. When Did You Being Writing and Blogging?
I have always enjoyed writing short pieces and songs, but they were always private and I rarely shared my work. I cannot recall how I discovered blogging. But I had already been adopted by my dog Ray and wanted to share our experiences. It was also an opportunity to write publicly which was appealing to me. My blog was officially launched in October, 2014.
Later, my desire to write was extended into a book about my first eighteen-months (pre-blog) with Ray.He made a huge impact on me and was nothing like any dog that I would have chosen to adopt. But Ray had a special appeal and after a few months, I loved him!
4. What Does Writing and Blogging Mean to You? Why Do You Write?
Writing is rewarding for many reasons. It allows me to express myself, to be as creative as I can, and to have some tangible evidence of my creativity and expression. No doubt there are psychological benefits to writing also. Poetry is a natural extension of writing because of my earlier days song writing; however, my blog is also my vehicle to present my poetry to the world.
Blogging is the corner stone of my literary endeavors because not only can I now share with the world, but I can receive feedback. I have access to links to bloggers and writers with similar interests and concepts. As well, I am generally able to create a worldwide network of wonderful people. Over time I have developed friends around the world of all ages, cultures, religious beliefs (etc.) Now I have the pleasure of knowing many details about friends which go well beyond mere blogging.
” . . . [M]y desire to write was extended into a book about my first eighteen-months (pre-blog) with Ray. He made a huge impact on me and was nothing like any dog that I would have chosen to adopt. But Ray had a special appeal and after a few months, I loved him!” – Colin Chappell
5. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Write? Is There A Time of Day You Most Enjoy Writing?
Some of my inspiration and motivation comes from the world! From various events occurring which cause me to think because I need to know where I stand. It is important for me, to understand myself. To do this involves constant internal interrogation, until I can come up with a feasible rationale which supports my views.
Ray is also hugely inspiring.He is unlike any dog I have ever known. Just by watching him (which I do a lot) I’m invariably provided with the basis for a blog post. I also inspire and motivate myself.I am retired so have the luxury of as much time as I wish to allocate to blogging and writing but I do have many other interests.
There isn’t a particular time of day I enjoy writing more. Although, mornings and late evenings tend to be my most productive times. This is due more to convenience relative to other day to day activities. It’s not that I feel more particularly creative during these times.
7. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects?
I have two active projects at the moment:
My first priority is promoting my book: Who Said I was up for Adoption?All profits from this book go to theHumane Societywhom rescued my beloved Ray. It’s hard to make the whole world aware of a book without investing large sums of money to market it.Self-promoting is more financially feasible, but a difficult and time consuming job.
My second priority is publishing a book of my poems. It is tentatively titled: Tina andOtherStories and could be available Spring 2017. My poetry book is ready to be published but some financial decisions have to be made.
I am uncomfortable making these choices until I have a better grasp of how Ray’s book is selling. Hopefully, I can make a decision within the next six to eight-weeks. I also have various other similar projects ‘on the back burner,’ but they will have to wait.
“Some of my inspiration and motivation comes from the world! From various events occurring which cause me to think because I need to know where I stand. It is important for me, to understand myself. To do this involves constant internal interrogation, until I can come up with a feasible rationale which supports my views.” – Colin Chappell
You can purchase Colin’s book from Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Indigo, Google Play, Nook, and IBooks. Here’s another link to Colin’s page where you can find links to all book sellers noted: HERE.
9. Can You Briefly Describe Your Publishing Process? Will You Continue With the Same Process in the Future?
I researched a number of leads before publishing and just as life in general — you get what you pay for. The inexpensive route (a relative term) dictated I take responsibility for areas of publishing I knew nothing about.
If my book was planned for purely local distribution, I would have chosen that route, but that was not my goal. I wanted to market my book to the world becausedog loversexistin every country. Most significantly, this book is a fundraiser for Ray’sHumane Society.
My compromise was to have a contract with FriesenPress. They provided their expertise in cover design, book layout, proofreading, overall suggestions, legalities, and ensuring Ray’s book was available to all major book retailers. Regrets? I have none, although, what I learned during this publishing process will reduce the cost of publishing my poetry book!
10. Do You Have A Particular Writing Process?
Blogging – I write from heart to keyboard, and then read, re-read, re-read, fine tuning the piece. Sometimes I will leave a post for a few hours and then read it again to get a fresh perspective. I like to plan to create ahead of time, but more often I end up creating immediately prior to posting. I will not hit the ‘Publish’ button unless I am absolutely happy with my post.
Book Writing– I use exactly the same process, especially with poetry.Reading a poem can often draw attention to a bad line or difficult rhythm. My intended book of poetry is being reviewed, although, it was completed well over six-months ago.Who Said I was up forAdoption? was completed over a nine-month period, but took an additional eighteen-months to polish well enough to publish.
“If my book was planned for purely local distribution, I would have chosen that route, but that was not my goal. I wanted to market my book to the world becausedog loversexist in everycountry. Most significantly, this book is a fundraiser for Ray’sHumane Society.” – Colin Chappell
11. Do You Prefer Certain Areas or Genres of Reading and Writing?
I have little time for reading fiction — JRR Tolkein being the exception. It’s not that I don’t enjoy fiction, but more that I want to understand more about people and the real world. I recently read a beautifully emotional ‘lost love’ poem. I was devastated to learn later the poem was pure fiction! I need torelate to the writer and I feel I cannot do that with fiction.
12. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers?
Write… write… write.
Be honest to yourself.
Write… write… write.
Use blogging as much as you can because there is so much support out there in the blogging world for novice writers.
Write… write… write.
If you are pleased with what you write, then what other people think of it is secondary.
Write… write… write.
If you are not pleased with what you write, you need to spend time finding why you are unhappy with it. Once you have identified the problem, you can start working on the solution — Very logical!
“I recently read a beautifully emotional ‘lost love’poem. I was devastated to learn later the poem was pure fiction! I need to relate to the writer and I feel I cannot do that with a fictional piece of writing.” – Colin Chappell
13. Is There Anything Else You Would Like To Share Pertinent to Yourself or Writing?
I have volunteered in numerous diverse places over the years, and every position I held was valuable education for me. It was valuable both because of the work involved and in the learning it provided me.
I support a number of charitable organizations which help people regain their self-respect and of course, I support animal rescue organizations.Life has been and still is, a wonderful education; however, one must always participate in life to see any results.
14. Do You Have Any Favorite Blogs You Like to Follow? What Do You Like About Them?
I really do not have favorite blogs, but I do enjoy more philosophical blogs as they are thought provoking.Dog related blogs are interesting simply because I can relate to the topics presented. Any post I read that promotes a positive mental attitude maintains my attention. In a world which seems to celebrate negativity, we need as many positive vibes as possible!
15. Here is a Piece From Colin’s Blog, One of His Favorite Poetic Verse Posts:
Thanks so much to Colin for sharing with us his book, poetry, love for Ray, and his experience in life and writing. I loved discovering he both searches inside himself to find the right answers and also engages with the world to learn and discover the things he needs to know. His love of learning and passion for volunteering is something we can all aspire to.
If you would like to be featured as a writer and blogger in my bi-weekly interview series please reach-out to me on my contact page. Thanks for reading and see you in two-weeks!
Welcome to another bi-weekly interview. I’m excited to share with you today a writer and blogger by the name Simon Farnell from the blog: Planet Simon. Ensure you check-out his site. He is an avid and imaginative science-fiction and fantasy fan who writes superbly. I enjoy his Titan Mystery Serial and his thoughtful and interesting articles on the The Solar System.
1. Hi Simon, Please Tell Us About Yourself:
My name is Simon Farnell and I come from the UK. I’ve lived here all of my life and I’ve rarely been away. The only time I’ve been away from the UK is for work. I’m a nearly forty-two-year -old man who grew up with a great imagination and a poor understanding of math.
Nevertheless, I became an engineer and started working with electronics, soldering, wiring, and fixing things. After many years some crazy person thought I should design electronics and through much blood, sweat, and tears, I still am.
I have always loved the outdoors and I have an avid sense of adventure in the natural world outside my back door. I’ve climbed numerous mountains, sailed around on the sea, and canoed to different places. This sense of exploration and discovery shows in my tastes of reading, films, music, and writing.
I’ve always loved Star Wars from when I was young and I love the science-fiction and fantasy genres. Through the years my love for these genres has shown especially in my taste in music. I listen to wonderful tracks that take me on great adventures.
One day I realized I have a vivid imagination and that maybe I should write some of my thoughts down. That’s how it began.
2. When Did You Start Writing and Blogging?
I started blogging in 2012 when a friend I was working with suggested should write and share my thoughts as “I have something to say.” I didn’t blog much at first but I had a few ideas which I posted. Looking back on some of these first posts, I see some of it was terrible. I struggled working with WordPress and almost gave up on my blog until I figured out how to use the WordPress platform and discovered its power.
When my mother died in 2014, I discovered I had all these emotions inside me and while I didn’t pour them into my blog, I found writing to be an escape for me, a kind of therapy. I believe it’s still helping me find the real me inside myself.
“When my mother died in 2014, I discovered I had all these emotions inside me and while I didn’t pour them into my blog, I found writing to be an escape for me, a kind of therapy. I believe it’s still helping me find the real me inside myself.” – Simon Farnell
3. What Does Writing and Poetry Mean To You and Why Do You Write?
I write because I feel I need to write. I have stories I want to tell, worlds to discover, and feelings to pour out. When we read a story it’s someone’s story or imagination in written form and poetry feelings in written form. While I didn’t start my blog to write poetry, I have written some pieces which are my feeling painted by my fingersinto words.
4. Where Do You Find Your Own Inspiration and Motivation to Write? Is There A Time Of Day You Prefer Writing?
A large part of my inspiration is from music. I’ve always loved movie themes and music soundtracks without words. I’ve discovered the likes of Two Steps from Hell and Audiomachinewhich take me to places only my mind can go.
I like to write anytime, but the evening is easier; however, even that is difficult at the moment – so I write any time I can.
“I write because I feel I need to write. I have stories I want to tell, worlds to discover, and feelings to pour out. When we read a story it’s someone’s story or imagination in written form and poetry feelings in written form.” – Simon Farnell
6. What Are Your Current Writing Projects or Do You Have Any Future Projects Planned?
A. For my blog I’ve been writing a serial story called theTitan Mystery– the title is crap and I’m going to re-work it later. The series is about a huge ship that bends time. It traps another ship and its crew in a time bubble and the story is of how the crew escapes.
C. I’ve also been posting a series about conspiracy theories which have come to life and I study them to test their viability. It’s amazing how many mysteries there are out there and scary ones too.
Apart from these serials, I have two books that I have started and I am slowly working through them. I’m not saying anything about them yet, but I’m hoping future posts will have information and updates on the books. Lets say, they should be pretty amazing.
My writing process is to write what comes to mind or what I feel. I like to write more than I like to edit and I think this shows. My viewpoint is, spending time editing is time wasted which could be spent writing or something else. I know that when I write my book(s) that will have to change and I will have to edit.
8. What Are Your Preferred Genres of Reading And Writing? Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers?
I like to read and write science-fiction and fantasy stories, this way I can let my mind go anywhere and anytime. I believe writers and bloggers should write themselves first. I know that if you want to sell you need to have a product. But make sure you write for you most of all.
“My writing process is to write what comes to mind or what I feel. I like to write more than I like to edit and I think this shows. My viewpoint is, spending time editing is time wasted which could be spent writing or something else.” – Simon Farnell
9. Do You Have Any More Pieces of Writing You’d Like To Share With Us?
This is more poetic piece that I wrote recently based on thoughts and feeling I was having at the time:
Thank you Simon for answering the interview questions and sharing with us your fascinating science-fiction writing, fantasy writing, and thoughts on the world. If you would like to be apart of my bi-weekly interview series, please reach out to me on myContact Page on Mandibelle16.
The Mirror Sestet, created by Shelley A. Cephas, is a poem that can be written in one or more stanzas of 6 lines each. The specific guidelines for this form are as follows:
The first word of line 1 rhymes with the last word of line 1.
The first word of line 2 is the last word of line 1
and the last word of line 2 is the 1st word of line 1.
The first word of line 3 rhymes with the last word of line 3.
The first word of line 4 is the last word of line 3
and the last word of line 4 is the 1st word of line 3.
The first word of line 5 rhymes with the last word of line 5.
The first word of line 6 is the last word of line 5
and the last word of line 6 is the 1st word of line 5.
The Mirror Sestet can also be written in non-rhyme.
All rules must be followed except there is no 1st and last word rhyming.