Anne Finds Her Career (originally posted February 2016 )

— I first published this poem here on SOMETIMES in February of 2016.    The plan is to re-post some of my favorites among my 400+ posts since the blog began back in 2011.—

Anne finds her career …

When Anne was a girl, she always wanted to be
a dancer.  To wear flowing gowns and satiny slippers
and be guided as a sylph, lifting in twirls and leaping high,
up in the air with skirts twirling and shoes barely touching the floor,
and feeling the thrill of the collective sigh from the audience.
But as fate would have it, her two left feet, and her lack of graceful
moves — more like those of a duck than a lovely swan, or
even a goose–combined with her brother’s snickers
she stepped on her skirt instead of her shoes
and tripped over her partner’s feet.

So then, when she saw that a new goal was needed
Anne decided that she wanted to be, when she grew older,
a doctor.  To have a white coat, a stethoscope  and thermometer
and peer into ears and down throats of her patients…to quickly discover
what ailed them…and find a cure, and all of the people would just be
astounded when Little Anne became a Doctor!
A wonderful plan!
It would be  a good position, pay plenty of money, and mean
great prestige…and besides, the town needed a Doctor.
It might have been the perfect profession, except…
she fainted dead away at the first drop of blood.

Not to be derailed on her track to gainful employment
Anne thought long and hard to find just the right profession
that would serve both her ambitions and her need for recognition.
“One thing that I can do well,” said Anne, “without  tripping over any feet
while dancing…or to lose my wits and panic when anyone bleeds…

The perfect job for me (why didn’t I think of it sooner?) is to get
pen and paper, and a computer — and spend my life Writing!”
So she wrote and she wrote, books and poems, and tales
about dancers and doctors, and all kinds of things.

©Sometimes,2016

Smitten

(first published January 2017

Smitten

Please make your point, Madam
spare me the hints and hyperbole
your subtle suggestions are quite a lot
for one who prefers words spoken verbally
in addition to clear and simple…at all cost.

Please make your point, Madam
be so kind as to avoid this torture
What do you want from me?    I beg you to say!
Just as I think I understand your demeanor,
and decide to venture a move—you’re off.

Just as I think I catch your drift…do I earn your fancy?
Say, how can I tell?    I really hoped that I know you well.
But my imagination is befuddled…trying to see,
my poor heart muddled…beating a loud tattoo.
Pray tell: what are your intentions for me?

Marching off to war is far more assuring
my enemies always make their intentions clear to me…
and in return I do do not lead them on unfairly.
Please make your point, Madam—
What is your business with me?

© Sometimes, 2017

From Doorstep fiction writing— to unfinished dissertation (Re-posted)

When one of my daughters was about ten, her school bus came later than those of the other kids, so she and I had half an hour or so one-on-one time.  I loved to make up stories, and some of my best (maybe) ideas came at that time.   This means fiction…since I was a working newspaper reporter and writer at the time I was writing other types of material —news stories, police reports, obits, motor vehicle crashes, city meeting coverage— when I wasn’t making up far-out stories.

The story I am referring to was about a tiny slug that landed on a patch of grass, and was saved from trampling by a group of scuffling boys by a young girl named Fonzie McElroy.   Turned out the Slug was no other than Prince Rehebal, of some distant planet that was left behind on an exploratory visit to Earth.   To fast-forward the plot, the young Prince was rescued by returning space crew…and Fonzie was richly rewarded, although no one but she ever believed the tale was true.

I know…sounds vaguely like “ET,” which had not hit the movie theaters yet, and I did not hear about for at least a decade.  Yes, I did type up (on newspaper print paper) and I still have the original.

Another of my languishing plots was a Civil War theme, set on a Confederate prisoner-of-war island, a sutler’s daughter who fell for a Rebel army officer, and so the historical novel was set to go.   A sutler was a farmer or merchant who set up sales of produce like onions and potatoes in periodic markets held by prison officials for the imprisoned soldiers.

Then there is the loose plot of a murder mystery set in a small town, peopled by town municipal workers like council members, police, and of course a newspaper reporter that solves the whole crime.   My heroine is still (after about 30 years real time) sitting at the railroad tracks waiting for a train to pass, the murderer holding a gun to the reporter’s side–while the police chief waits on the other side of the train tracks.

In my Science Fiction story the location is a planet which is ruled by women.  All of the men are sent out on space ships doing various jobs, and serving out their time until they and their wives can reunite and move to a utopian planet where they live out their years in happy wedded bliss.

The probability of any of those works ever seeing the light of day is remote.  My more recent interests are in writing  Historical topics in which I have an interest…such as the British Abolition of the Slave Trade; Liberation Theology in Latin America; and various other essay contributions.

Oh, and my current…and possibly only novel is one that I worked on as a National  Novel Writing Month (not the correct name, but the popular writers’ competition in which the goal was to write a 60,000 word novel in one month…which was accomplished mostly stream-of-consciousness-style with no correcting spelling or style or anything else…just pounding away for 30 days.   That NaNoWriMo exercise is THE most useful and inspiring writing experience I have undertaken.   I have elaborated on the plot and the work to a great extent.   It is part Historical and part Time-Travel.

The topic of my novel was based on my doctoral dissertation (which I did not  bring to completion within allotted time.)    Obviously no one except my advisor professor has ever read the Final Draft, which I wish now with all my heart that I had completed.    Various readers such as my kids and best friends…captives, if you will…SAY they read the copies that I gave them ten years ago, but their eyes glaze over as they say it.     It’s about History of 500 years of the Catholic Church in Mexico, or something like that.   It’s a LOT more interesting than you all think!

What got in the way of my writing was … well… writing.    I often whine that  “I wish I had been a Writer.”   I spent years writing for newspapers, term papers, writing minutes as secretary of city boards and commissions, in college writing assignments and serious papers.  E-mailing (the way I have always done it) is sort of like writing as I wrote  to my friends and other people.

Blogging  is writing of course…and I love it because it is a combination of all the different kinds of writing I have ever done:   Fiction, poems, rants, news stories, satire, responding to prompts about all kinds of things…and writing about writing.   Photographing isn’t writing of course, but in a way it can be in that photos tell stories in and of themselves, or they serve as props for accompanying prose.

 

 

On Writing Poetry… with a nod to Miss Edwards (re-posted from 2015.)

I have always been a writer.  At age twelve, more or less, I wrote a novel.  Although I don’t recall any details of the plot, or characterization,  I do remember a name…Joyce Reena Phane.   That was to be my pen name, I believe.  To me that name was beautiful, and the very essence of sophistication.   I was quite proud of my novel, such as it was, and when my aunt asked to read it I was delighted.   Aunt Jada was a writer herself, and was working on a novel dealing with a group of Kent State students during the Vietnam War.  She loved my novel, and was impressed enough to talk with her sister, my mother, about it.

That was the end of that.    My mother was a very practical and down-to-earth woman, whose no-nonsense beliefs had no room for frivolous or non-productive pursuits.   As far as she was concerned no one made a living from writing books, especially if they had no college education–and the prospect of ME going to college was out of the question.   Besides, my writing was childish, the plot far-fetched and the characters unrealistic…and the pen name I had chosen so carefully was silly and unlike a name any real person would have.  The early….and only…draft of that novel consisted of several notebook paper pages, which no longer exist.

I did continue my creative writing, with encouragement from my seventh grade English teacher, Mr. Wilkinson.

I have some early poetry written in a brown notebook, one of those old dime-store notebooks  that were cheap and plentiful.  In addition to my own works of poetry, I have in those pages the complete Edgar Allen Poe, The Raven, copied in my neat and even cursive handwriting.   Also much of Macbeth, Shakespeare’s masterpiece which had also been immortalized as our high school play.  I was so enamored of that classic that I saw fit to enter much of the original play into my notebook.  There is also some poetry that I can still recite in part this many decades later…I was quite proud of my poems which also immortalized some of my early loves in my handwriting.   I used a fountain pen with real ink, and when I made an error I ripped out the notebook page entirely and started over.  I still think that the handwriting on those pages are perhaps the most endearing aspect of the whole brown notebook.  I wish I still loved my handwriting as well as I did then.

As for Shakespeare, my exposure to his works were in my Junior or Senior year of high school, when the truly marvelous reading by our English Literature teacher–who was also the school principal–sends shivers up my spine to this day.  I always stayed on Miss Edwards’ good side.  She was a small woman in stature, tough as any marine sergeant, and did not need any police personnel to maintain order over her classes–or her school.  One of the things I liked about Miss Edwards is that she liked my writing…she is definitely one of my mentors who had a positive effect on my life.

Ah well– I will never make it as a poet, but as long as I like my poetry and other bloggers occasionally say something nice about it as well–it is worth the oft-times lame verse that escapes my fountain pen….er, keyboard.