Today is Kat's birthday - we went out for dinner, then we went out for dessert, now I'm going out cold. Je suis le sleepy.
The starter for today is: happy birthday.
Happy birthday to you,
You are a dream come true;
Happy birthday to you,
Words will just never do,
English just has too few,
To give you your full due.
Today, on a very special edition of Daily Writing Practice, Blossom discovers... wait, that's not right. Hold on, let me try that again.
Today's starter is: fundraising. Yes, I'm asking for your money - but I'm also offering something in return for those who are able to donate big. Read on for the full details.
There are a lot of very good causes out there and a lot of good people are trying to raise money for them. Personally, I find it a bit overwhelming. So I've always chosen just one to support - in the past it has been the Canadian Cancer Society, as there is so much cancer in my family tree I think it might be an honorary grandparent by now. But these days I'm even more selfishly supporting a different charity.
In January of 2006 I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the ripe old age of 27. I spent five nights in the hospital while they tried to figure out what type of insulin worked best for me and I tried to put back on some of the twenty pounds I had lost in the previous month. For those of you are curious, I went from 135 to 115 - so I didn't exactly need to go on a diet.
I'm not much interested in funding new treatments or better needles. I want this silly disease cured. With that in mind I participated last year in the Telus Walk to Cure Diabetes for the first time. It snuck up on me and I registered pretty late, but a good friend and I still managed to raise $500 in about a week. I'm getting a head start on it this year and I'd like to raise a lot more.
So if you'd like to help out please head over here. I know with the current economic situation that money is tight, it certainly is for me, but every little bit is appreciated. However if you're able to afford a larger donation I'd like to humbly offer something in return.
Here's the deal: if you donate $50 or more (Canadian... which is about $40 U.S. and 28 Pounds, as a comparison), I will write you a 1,000 word story. All you have to do is let me know you've donated, either through email or by leaving a message here, and give me any three words of your choosing. I will write you a short story based around your words - they can be as unrelated or as connected as you want.
I won't promise that the story will be mind bogglingly brilliant, but I will do my best to make it enjoyable. It will not be a first draft; it will be edited multiple times - I'm too much of a perfectionist to pretend otherwise.
I can't bake, so I'm not having a bake sale to fund raise. I can write though, so this is my offering. I'll keep it open for the next two weeks.
It will depend on how many people take me up on the offer but I will attempt to get the stories done before the end of April. If that doesn't look like it's going to happen I'll let people know but I'm hoping I can keep the deadline.
If you have any questions, ask away. Thank you for reading.
This is how I spent Earth Hour last night:
How did you spend it?
Writing by Candlelight
Flickering warmth licks my face;
Candles share a medieval taste
Of late night scribbles and thoughts,
Of storied stanzas and poetic plots.
Shadows conceal letters,
Perhaps for the better;
Emotions dance across the page
And vanish when the light fades.
Ears are more trusted
When eyes become rusted -
For surely how the words sound
Counts for more than where they're found.
I'm having a rather productive morning and feeling quite good about it. Thus something is bound to go wrong this afternoon. But until then I shall enjoy the feeling.
Today's four line poem prompt, courtesy of Greg, is: junket.
If you happen to have an idea for a future prompt/starter please do let me know. I'm not a bottomless pit of inspiration over here you know.
Okay, I actually am, but I don't want the word getting out. So just keep it between us, alright?
The air is breezy,
The questions easy;
They all pay no heed
To the rampant greed.
This week's installment of Def Poetry Jam Friday features Helena D. Lewis' Stank Breath.
Er, and by that I mean the performance is titled "stank breath", not that Helena has... never mind. Just go watch the video already.
The Matrix portion of this piece is worth the price of admission alone. Assuming one were paying to see this performance. Which I would if she ever came to my neck of the woods.
All the words that began with 'H' was probably my second favorite, but smelling his breath through his cheeks is right up there too.
Anyway, I thought we could all use a laugh to get the weekend started. Have a good one!
Today I signed a contract extension that will see me through to the end of April. Hopefully I'll get extended again beyond that but we'll see how things go.
Either way, the prompt du jour is: the contract. Random note about mine - after writing the first two lines on my morning break at work I didn't write the rest until lunch. During that time I considered at least five different directions I could have gone with it.
If you will just sign here
You will receive your gear;
If you initial there
We'll throw in a free prayer!
We'll send you on your way,
To fight in fields of gray;
Please try to do your best
To rid us of those pests.
You'll die heroically.
Like that load of Blarney?
Then you'll love the Army.
A little something different for you today. I've been browsing various Whose Line is it Anyway clips on YouTube and thought I'd use one as today's starter:
Use whatever happens to inspire you while watching the video, be it a word or action or simply the name of the show, as mine was.
Silence descends as our conversation awaits the next line. It lengthens and grows deeper as I wonder if it's yours or if it's mine. I pretend indifference as I continue to dine but the clock continues to mark the time until it strikes nine. I make reluctant eye contact, hoping for some sort of sign.
You return my look with a superficial smile that tells me that you find this quiet most vile. But no words are spoken so I gaze out the window for a while before sorting my food into three separate piles. I wonder if the distance between us can now be measured in miles.
How has our bond reached such a state of decay? Our lives have less spice than this bland fillet; we used to walk this road together but now we've gone astray. It's much too late to fix all out wasted yesterdays, so I guess it doesn't matter whose line it is anyway.
Just got back from a quick little outing which, as it often does, has inspired the starter.
So have a go with: at the pharmacy. I'll admit I was a touch miffed when I wrote mine. It's funny how one little comment can show so much.
I need a refill on my needles please.
Do I want insulin as well?
You ask that with such breezy ease!
It's odd that I cannot smell
The greasy burgers or frying fries;
Your uniform is all wrong too!
But surely this is McDonald's in disguise?
Or perhaps you just need to get a clue.
Stop looking at me like you care,
Just go on and peddle your wares.
We had T-bone steak for dinner tonight and it was delicious, if I may say so myself. I can still feel it sitting happily in my belly right now - in fact I think it was getting in the way of finding a writing prompt. So I gave up and let it choose.
So the starter is: a well made steak. Interpret that as you like.
One strong hawthorn stick,
A touch of garlic,
Dipped in hot silver,
Blessed with a quiver.
The stake is ready -
Keep your hand steady;
May your aim be true,
May your prey fear you,
And before sunrise,
May you claim your prize.
We really enjoyed the show last night - we were sitting in the third row so it felt really intimate, like there was no real separation between audience and actors. The performances were totally absorbing, I was impressed by all six actors.
One of the main themes of the play was cheating (he's cheating on her, she's cheating on him, who's cheating when?) so I'll use that as today's starter.
The test results have come back,
I seem to have won a plaque;
There's just one problem with that:
I stole my answers from Matt.
I'm just really not that smart,
I just try to play the part;
And now I have the top mark,
Though my head's still in the dark.
I can't tell them the truth now,
I would be a disgraced frau;
I would be kicked out of town,
Or thrown in the lake to drown.
So this secret I shall keep,
It will haunt me in my sleep;
Learn this lesson that I speak:
Lies are only for the weak.
We're off to catch a play tonight, so the topic for this week's four line poem is: the theater.
I might do another one after the show if I'm feeling sufficiently inspired.
Update: I just noticed that Beth has chosen my entry from yesterday as the writing of the day for her Friday Fiction prompt. As this is by far my favorite of the three times she has picked my writing, I'm updating the link from my winner button.
That's all - have a happy Saturday!
Expectant eyes track your every move,
Every night you've got something to prove.
Your brilliant yesterday has faded,
Once more critics must be persuaded.
Def Poetry Jam Friday is here to get the weekend started. Have a look at Suheir Hammad's What I Will.
That is some elegant defiance right there. A peace-filled refusal to dance to the wrong beat, a beat that's been drumming for far too long.
Powerfully poetic, rhythmically rousing. That final line, so full of attitude, is the perfect conclusion to this piece.
Have some more Suheir Hammad over here.
I'm in the mood for haiku today. Let us use "drawing" as the topic.
A single black line
Frames a poor imitation
Of your rosy lips
You asked me to draw
One more card from your soft hands
But I liked my deal
White background with a
Hidden scene in the foreground -
Snowman In Snow Storm
My favorite high school teacher is in the middle of a well deserved spring break at the moment, so I thought it'd be reasonable to use that as today's topic.
Plus, she baked up some fantastic pumpkin cookies this morning and I thought this would be the least I could do in return.
So: spring break.
You've been working much too hard -
Sit down and breathe deep;
It's time to relax, let down you guard,
Get some extra sleep.
Those little terrors you teach
Can't bother you here;
On this couch you're out of reach
And the coast is clear.
So enjoy this break of spring,
Savor each moment;
See the peace each second brings
And just be present.
Happy St. Patrick's Day! The one day a year we all get to indulge in our love of all things Irish. On this occasion I'd like to share my favorite Irish blessing: May you be in heaven an hour before the devil knows you're dead.
Today's topic: luck.
In me back pocket
There be a lucky penny,
Next to me locket
That holds a hair from Jenny.
The coin's a winner,
It's never left me lowly;
Though I'm a sinner,
It brought me love so holy.
The topic du jour is: radio silence.
About halfway through my backpacking trip through Europe I met an English girl in Innsbruck, Austria. We got along pretty well, so the morning of my departure for Zurich I was ready for the usual exchange of email addresses that happens between instant friends at hostels all over the world.
She had other ideas though.
She told me that she had stopped giving out her email address because too many people had stopped writing back. Which is totally understandable, I'd get tired of that too. But that's not why she'd made that decision.
"I get worried when people stop emailing," she told me. "What if they've died or something? Sure, maybe they just can't be bothered to write back, but how can I know that?"
And it was completely true - you get so attached to these people that you spend two or three days with, these "instant friends" you make in odd little hostels all over, and then all of a sudden they drop out of contact. Are they okay? Has something terrible happened to them?
I'm sure a lot of people take it in stride, shrug it off, but a lot of backpackers don't. I guess we'd be the more sensitive ones. I know I'm guilty of doing that to several people I met along my travels - combine being terrible at returning emails in general with a return home where life just isn't nearly as exciting as on the road and... voila.
It's been almost five years since I've "settled down" now and I had forgotten about that hollow wondering feeling. But now I'm wandering in the online writing community and I'm getting a reminder or two of it.
For a while there was someone who would do the daily writing very regularly... but then she stopped. Is she okay? Probably. But I can't be sure. So Olivia, if you happen to be reading this, drop me a note.
Over on Protagonize authors come and go every day. Sometimes it takes a while to notice someone has been away for awhile... but then I do. I usually leave them a note on their profile and they almost always write back within a few days, to my relief. But occasionally they don't.
I am a big softy? I can be; I know I get too caught up in things like this sometimes. But that's just part of who I am.
Also - dear everyone who drops by here regularly: you're not allowed to abandon me without saying where you're off to. Just an FYI.
Today's starter is: the movies lie.
My take was inspired by the continuing gun violence in the Vancouver area.
So many shootings but so many survive -
The movies are full of lies;
On the big screen you get shot, you die!
Except for the heroes, they usually survive,
As well as the occasional bad guy.
But there ain't no heroes here,
No criminal masterminds are near,
Just a bunch of lowlife's spreading fear.
But they keep catching bullets and walking away,
Just so they can keep up their idiotic gunplay.
Is it wrong for me to be filled with dismay
When I hear they'll make a full recovery?
Hey, I can't help it if I feel that way.
But let me make one thing clear:
When they die I don't cheer...
But I certainly don't shed a single tear.
The topic for this week's four line poem is: afternoon nap.
My room is replaced
By far off spaces
And forgotten faces.
My, isn't 2009 off to an interesting start? Two Friday the 13th's in a row.
I used up my creepy Def Poetry Jam performance last month, so I'm going back to the usual assortment of pure excellence with Mayda Del Valle's To All The Boys I've Loved Before.
I don't know how I've managed to go this long without featuring Mayda - she's so great. Such wonderful lines and passionate delivery and a bottomless pit of energy.
I love how she split this poem into two parts - the contrast makes part two so much more powerful just by having that little bit of separation.
The emotions laid bare for all to see just make this performance feel so very, very real. Like we're getting an almost uncomfortably close look at who she really is.
Here's one more Mayda Del Valle's performance for you - I'm not convinced she takes a breath for a good two minutes in this one.
Go radio, YouTube, or iPod surfing. Steal a line or two from any song that catches your ear and use them as the first lines of your poetry or prose.
Beck - Scarecrow
My soul's just a silhouette,
In the ashes of a cigarette;
My sad sorry tale is sung,
Through yellowed teeth and blackened lungs.
Smoke's been filling up my eyes,
Truth's been hiding behind lies;
My embers are losing their glow,
Soon I'll join the fires below.
On most days, the ability to write about absolutely anything is extremely freeing.
On days like today, the feeling is more along the lines of 'I can write about anything? How will I pick just one thing?'
Thus, today's starter: spoiled for choice.
I could write about this,
Or I could write about that;
My very first kiss,
Or my deep fear of bats;
The secret path to bliss,
Or noisy little brats;
I could pen a nasty diss,
Or tell you of my distaste for cats;
But now I've reached the end of this,
And I've written about none of that!
Jeez, 275 days in a row? That certainly snuck up on me.
In unrelated news, today's starter is: it's not as hard as it looks.
I was asked towards the end of my shift yesterday to help one of the team leads with something he was trying to put together. I was in the middle of something at the time and promised to swing by this morning to see what I could do.
I don't want to get into specifics, but let's just say that he had a document in one form and needed it in another, properly formatted and all that good stuff. Apparently he'd had someone else working on it but that person only got about halfway through it before having to do something else. I was asked to finish the job - no rush, end of day would be fine, but take your time and make sure it's done right.
Sure thing, I'll get right on it.
After looking at what needed to be done for about ten seconds I decided to see what would happen if I copied from the first format and pasted it in the second - what's the worst that could happen, right?
Turns out? It worked just fine. I have no idea what the first guy was thinking, typing everything out manually. Maybe he had a whole lot of time to kill.
So I sat there, double and triple checking to make sure everything had transferred over properly, which it had. I messed around with it for another five or ten minutes, making it all nice and pretty, and then worked on some other stuff for a couple of hours before emailing it back to the team lead.
After all, I'd hate for him to realize just how simple it really was.
Ah, the world of business.
Alright, basically happy with the new layout - let me know what you think!
So this article totally creeped me out. Maybe 'unsettling' would be the better description.
Either way, today's starter is: planning ahead.
A little piece here,
Another piece there;
Oh what a surprise there'll be
When they come to see me!
I am the king of this cage,
See how they cower as I rage!
Oh they're having quite the fit -
That was a direct hit!
Here comes the man with the food,
Think I'll stone him too!
Or perhaps I'll have a nap instead,
I should really rest my fuzzy head...
Note - I'm messing with my blog template. So if things look screwy, hold tight - things will hopefully be looking good shortly.
Update - okay, it's not perfect but it will have to do for tonight.
Today is International Women's Day - celebrate a woman or two in your life in today's writing, be it poetry or prose.
Mother don't worry,
Us kids are alright;
No fears of scurvy,
And we're mostly polite.
Two daughters and a son,
Our lives too rich to be stale;
A few bad things we've done,
But at least we've never been in jail!
So relax, take it easy -
You raised us right;
Stress will just get you queasy,
So sit down, have a drink - the future's looking bright.
Today there has been sunshine, rain, hail, and now sunshine again. Welcome to Vancouver in March.
The four line poem topic for this ever so usual Saturday is: just visiting.
These people are so strange:
The music doesn't change,
The bed's a robin's nest...
Thank God I'm just a guest!
This week's Def Poetry Jam performance, for your viewing pleasure, is Geoff Trenchard's Ode To My Bathroom.
This performance just makes me smile.
It's two poems for the price of one - I'm not sure which one I like more. Okay, I do - it's totally Jason's. Sorry, I can't pretend otherwise.
Although I'll admit to really liking the description of his classmates, as well as some really choice lines like '... clenching his paper like it's God's autograph.'
Here's another piece from Geoff Trenchard, with the intensity ratcheted up about a bajillion notches.
Today's starter: curtain call.
Michael Jackson announced in London today that he will play several shows there this summer in his "final curtain call."
Is this... is this really necessary? Are people actually keen to see and hear him... perform after all this time?
It seems to me this is a train wreck just waiting to happen. I don't know, maybe he needs the money to pay for his various habits and hobbies. Check that - I don't want to know. And just for the record - good lord that man is terrifying to look at. Why didn't anyone tell me the zombie invasion has begun?
I'm always the last to know about everything.
I suppose nobody is forcing me to attend or even read about it. But I just think that maybe he should wander off to pasture and play with his monkey and enjoy the retirement one might earn after selling 750 million records.
Oh hey, quick question - remember when Michael Jackson was still cool?
Yeah, neither can I.
First off, a quick thank you to Beth at The One-Minute Writer for choosing my contribution as her writing of the day on Monday - it's even better the second time around!
I haven't really spoken about it here, but I'm prone to bouts of sport fanaticism every now and again. With the NHL playoffs approaching and the home team actually playing well recently, I can feel it coming on.
Anyway, with today being the trade deadline in the NHL today's starter is: trading places.
Won't you stay for a while,
Maybe walk for a mile;
Hear with these tired ears,
Shed some of my tears?
Look around with my eyes,
Taste your easy lies
With this foreign tongue -
Do you still feel young?
The light is fading fast,
Do you think you'll last?
The clock won't stop for you,
So what will you do?
I overheard someone at work this morning talking about today being square root day. I therefore felt obliged to indulge in this bit of nonsense by making today's starter: square root.
You and me are the square root of we
Multiplied by our special chemistry
Never divided by fights
Or subtracting from our light
We are united on our path
With our unique style of math
In honor of Dr. Seuss' birthday, use the title of one of his works as the first line of your poem.
The cat in the hat
Was really quite fat;
With each step he took
The ground moaned and shook!
His hat was so big
It held eighty figs;
And when he would sit
Birds nested in it!
His end was so sad:
He tried a new fad
To lose all that weight
To find a new mate -
But the diet lied,
And soon his insides
Grew so far apart
They stopped his poor heart!
Welcome to March! Bring on the sunshine!
Alright, today's starter is: cartel. A word with more definitions than I had previously realized.
I'm sorry dear,
The letter was clear:
Pistols at dawn,
On the front lawn,
To settle once and for all
The feud of Jacob and Paul.
It's simply no use,
They'll have no truce;
It must end this way -
Bullets will have the final say;
So tonight pray to the Lord above
That your son will be spared by His love.