Fruity Little Poem: Ode to a Key Lime” | A-to-Z NaPoWriMo

Hello, dear readers! I hope, despite the bad rap it tends to get, that your Monday was pleasant. Mine was–I got to spend time shopping with my dad, followed by a book-talk-sushi-date with Jeremiah, topped off with this:

Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt took me far down memory lane–back to high school, to be specific. Upon reading the prompt, I realized I’d already written a poem that matched it perfectly, from a similar assignment in Senior AP English. While I searched for the poem in the archives of my computer, I found many, many pieces of writing, including fiction, poetry, a screenplay, critical essays, memoir-style essays, and more. I even found chapters from the original version of the YA fantasy novel I’m currently working on. (Thank goodness I restarted it anew…) I was shocked to see how much I’d written, not just as a student, but also in my free time, and it’s amazing to me how long it took me to decide to be a professional writer. 😉 I was also grateful to discover the acquisition of my degrees in English and Writing & Publishing was time and money well-spent, considering my vast improvement–though I still catch vestiges of sentimental romanticism creeping into corners of my work from time to time.

NO! Bad sentimentalism!

Luckily, I found this poem wasn’t sappy–but rather tart. 😉

Today’s prompt is to write a love poem . . . but the object of the poem should be inanimate. You can write a love poem to your favorite pen, the teddy bear you had as a child (and maybe still have), or anything else, so long as it’s not alive!

Ode to a Key Lime
By: Amanda K. Fowler

Bright green:
A color usually associated with jealousy.
But you, little one,
Are more envied than envying.

Exotic in origin;
Nothing commonplace about you.
Divorce yourself from your family,
Take your own name and the equatorial beach house.

Beautiful, perfect fruit;
Bewitch your victims into biting your bitter flesh.
Intoxicating, electrifying;
They can’t stop drinking till your body is drained.

Prima donna of flora,
Grace us with your presence!
We eagerly await your renaissance all year,
Only to have to part after so few months.

Pies, juices, garnishes;
Tart though you may be,
We find a way to glorify you;
For you deserve the honor of kings.

“Charm for Happiness,” “Dancing,” & “Eternity”: Poems for A-to-Z NaPoWriMo

Hello, dear readers! I hope you’ve had a wonderful weekend! It seems spring is coming here in fits and starts, which is making for some pretty weather–and lovely poetry inspiration. 🙂 This weekend, I got to visit Jeremiah’s farm; take a long walk with my mom; and play ukulele music (my newest instrument to learn!) to celebrate a birthday party against the backdrop of springtime drizzle and fog. These picturesque experiences have inspired my poetry for tonight.

Today’s post is catching up on letters C, D, and E for the A-to-Z Challenge, and the corresponding NaPoWriMo poems (the prompts, for which, I will post directly above the poem, along with the inspiration).

In keeping with today’s status as the third day of NaPoWriMo, I challenge you to write a charm – a simple rhyming poem, in the style of a recipe-slash-nursery rhyme.

When I read this prompt, I wondered what kind of charm I would come up with, if I had the power for it (beyond just my pen 😉 ). I immediately thought of the conversations I’ve been having with multiple people lately on the elusiveness–and importance–of happiness. I know there are a few things that are guaranteed to perk up my mood, and they’ve gone into my charm below. Feel free to borrow the spell for your own use–it just might work. 😉

Charm for Happiness
By: Amanda K. Fowler

An ocean’s tide lapping your toes,
The scent of wildflowers tickling your nose,
A cuddle or snuggle with fur or skin,
Messy epiphanies with your favorite pen,
The warmth of the sun bathing your face,
The kindness of strangers–a show of grace,
A few bars of song played with fingers or voice,
All of these things to make you rejoice.


Write a lune. A lune is a sort of English-language variation on the haiku, meant to better render the tone of the Japanese haiku than the standard 5-7-5 format we all learned (and maybe loved) in elementary school. There are a couple of variants on the lune form, but just to keep things simple, let’s try the version developed by Jack Collum. His version of the lune involves a three-line stanza. The first line has three words. The second line has five, and the third line has three. You can write a poem that consists of just one stanza, or link many lune-stanzas together into a unified poem. 

The nighttime fog last week was so gorgeous, I just had to turn it into a poem. 🙂

Dancing
By: Amanda K. Fowler

Still, dense, heavy,
Fog drapes like a blanket
Covering the night.

It hushes, hides–
But under the gleaming streetlights,
It is dancing.


The night sky is always so beautiful and vast out in the country. It’s truly awe-inspiring, and I realized–there is power in perspective. No prompt for this one; just my own idea.

Eternity
By: Amanda K. Fowler

A million stars dot the sky,
twinkling, shimmering,
ruling over their planets
and the life they hold.
I am just one pair of eyes
staring at the infinite,
but–I can cover ten stars
with just my thumb.

Two Challenges, Day Two: “April First” and “Brynhildr’s Passion” (A-to-Z & NaPoWriMo Day 1 & 2)

Hello, dear readers! Well, April is off to a busy start for me. I’ve decided to do my best with the challenges–even if the posts will be short, I’d like to attempt them. They broaden my creativity, and I would like to use them as warm-ups for the bigger writing projects I’m focusing on. I mentioned the specifics of the challenges in my last post, but I will define them here, for future reference:

A-to-Z Challenge: Every day in April (except Sundays), write a blog entry based on a topic beginning with consecutive letters (i.e., April 1 = A, etc.). The origins of the challenge are explained here.

NaPoWriMo Challenge: Every day in April, write a new poem from your own imagination of from the daily prompt here.

Without further ado, I present to you days one and two, below.

Day 1–A:

April First’s Verse Curse
By: Amanda Fowler

April Fools…
…I broke the rules.

Perhaps it’s best
I started late–
for all is jest
on this date.

Day 2–B:

Prompt: Write a poem based on a non-Greco-Roman myth. You could write a poem inspired by Norse mythology, or perhaps by one of these creatures from Japanese legend.

I consulted my resident Norse mythology expert, Jeremiah, for this prompt; he recommended Brynhildr.

Brunnhild by Gaston Bussière
Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
Public domain under {{PD-1923}}

Brynhildr’s Passion

By: Amanda Fowler

The fire encircling your castle
is a ring of hate around your heart.
It will engulf you whole–
but your love could extinguish it all
if only you let it.

BIAIL Fashion Show + Top 10: Favorite Things About Having My Blog After One Year

Hello, dear readers! I hope you had a fabulous weekend! I had the honor and pleasure of modeling for the Brain Injury Association of Illinois’s Annual Fashion Show for the second year in a row. As a TBI survivor, disability awareness has become really important to me, and I was so happy to help with such a great cause. The organization is a special one to me, and this event–run so well by heads Philicia Deckard and Ginny Doran Lazarra–always brings together compassionate people and organizations, making it fun to network and socialize (not to mention dress up in pretty outfits). This year, I got to model three gorgeous dresses from Pink Slip Boutique.

Models on the runway

I loved getting to see and chat with Alicia Roman again this year. (I am unashamedly name-and-photo-dropping.) She is a meteorologist for NBC5, and she was the emcee again for the event. She does a great job of being warm to the crowd and models (even asking me over the mic if I was OK when my shoe got stuck in the runway–yes, graceful me) as well as being impassioned about the cause.

Alicia and me after the show

***

This weekend was also important to me for another reason:

It marked the one-year anniversary of the creation of my blog! In some ways, I can’t believe it’s already been a year. However, when I look back at my entries over the past year, I realize I’ve put a lot of work and pride into my blog. I am so grateful to all of you, dear readers, for impelling me onward to continue posting. Every comment and view is a validation of my work–so thank you for making it worthwhile. ❤

As happy nostalgia washed over me, I realized this would make for a great Top 10 for this week (my last Top 10 till May!). Below, please enjoy my Top 10 favorite bloggy things. 🙂 Tomorrow marks the beginning of my double-challenge for April: NaPoWriMo + A-to-Z, which means a poem each day (except Sunday), focusing on consecutive alphabetic topics (or forms). I will do my best to complete all 26, but I’m also working on my novel plus my memoir plus, you know, life–but I look forward to the challenge. It was a productive blast for me last year. 🙂

Top 10: Favorite Things About Having My Blog After One Year

1. Making new friends

One of the most unexpected perks of having my blog has been meeting fellow bloggers (or commentators) who have become my friends. I’ve really enjoyed connecting with so many of you, whether it be through writing about similar topics, participating on blog tours together, comments, etc.

2. Keeps me writing

Having to keep up with my blog keeps my writing sharp, and it’s really helped me to develop my voice. My “blogging voice” has settled somewhere in the intersection of the tones of my critical essay, memoir, and conversational writing. My readers’ responses have helped me to nail that down–so again, thank you. ❤

3. Free writing workshops!

It is beyond awesome to receive feedback on my writing from readers who are actually interested in my work. Getting different viewpoints and constructive criticism helps me to tighten my work (often helping me to eliminate those flowery-sappy holes I can fall into and not notice on my own 😉 ). Similarly, I also enjoy offering feedback to other writers. It’s like an online version of a classroom workshop.

4. Opens up my perspective on memoir, etc.

I’ve discovered I often find news or literary items I have an emotional response to that I want to write about on my blog. In the past, I might have an emotional response and not explore the depths of it like I have here. That exploration has deepened my own understanding of how my life or societal events have shaped me, which is very helpful, indeed, for writing my memoir.

5. Online portfolio

I love having a collection of my work all housed on my URL, where I can point people who want to see my work. The site is all mine, and the work I show is how I wish to represent myself as a writer. If, a few years later, I look back and wonder how I could ever have been so SAPPY, for instance, I can simply take it down–it’s a comfort granted when you choose to bare yourself to the world (lending us bloggers a bit of courage). 🙂

6. Experience as a book blogger

When I began my blog, I thought I’d write a little about my opinions on books, but I didn’t imagine I’d be an official Book Blogger. I’ve had the wonderful experience of being an official book reviewer for Novel Publicity & Co., which has been terrific. In addition to being able to use my blog as an official reviewing platform, I’ve also been exposed to books I never would have picked up on my own, broadening my perspective and taste. Receiving free books and publicity have been great perks, too. 😉

7. Challenges

Blog challenges (like NaPoWriMo) have pushed me outside of my comfort zone as both a writer and a reader, which invariably leads to my growth. Having a network of people doing the same thing gives us inspiration and encouragement to persevere, even when it’s tough!

8. Organization of my life’s events and writings–and how they intertwine

In reviewing my last year of entries, I realized another unexpected benefit of having my blog was seeing how my life’s events, writings, and cultural responses (like reviews I wrote) all intertwined and influenced each other. It’s kind of like a personal version of that introduction section in book anthologies that explain what was going on in society when an author wrote a work–“No man is an island,” and it’s neat to see where my inspirations have come from.

9. Able to share (give and get!) advice as TBI survivor & writer

I’ve always hoped to be a disability advocate, especially since my own Traumatic Brain Injury. Happily, I get to do that at my job at Marianjoy when I write patient stories and other articles. However, I’ve also enjoyed doing it right here on my blog. It’s nice to be able to write about issues that are important to me–even more so when I get a response that my writing has touched someone in some way. I’ve learned in addition to teaching, too–I really appreciate when people respond with their own life experiences, lending their perspective. The community broadens me as a person.

10. Pushes my creativity

This blog constantly pushes my creativity, impelling me to expand the way I think about writing. The nature of blogging has caused me to think in a much more “multimedia” fashion, once I realized how graphics can enhance a blog’s message. Also, I’m always having to think about writing new things in new ways to maintain–hopefully, increase–reader interest (I hope I’m doing a good job!) 🙂

———————————————————————

I hope you enjoyed my list as much as I enjoyed everything on it, dear readers–and you’ve made it all possible. Thank you.

Please join me tomorrow–and throughout April–for my A-to-Z and NaPoWriMo writings!

Rays of Love: An Illuminating Pantun

Hi everyone! I bet you didn’t think I’d be posting again so soon, but I couldn’t stay away. ❤ However, this will probably be my last post for about a week, so I can focus on my memoir project, but I should be able to post intermittently after that time. Remember, if you’d like to attend my memoir preview luncheon on May 9th, please refer to the details by clicking on the calendar entry on the right.

I was such a fan of the pantun form I used yesterday that I wanted to post another today. You can see the prompt and explanation of the form in my most recent post, but a quick review: It’s a quatrain, with an a-b-a-b rhyme pattern. The second couplet relates to the first in an imagistic way. They often link nature and love.

“Rays of Love”
By: Amanda K. Fowler

Sunlight streams through wispy puffs of cloud:
Spotlights illuminating through darkness.
When doubt or sadness have been my shroud,
Your love’s a rope to the sun out of the abyss.

A Self-Portrait in Anagrams

Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt was QUITE the doozy, but it was so creative and fun.

Today I’d like you to think about words buried in words. In particular, think about the words buried in your own name. Plug your name into an anagram generator, like this one, and try writing a self-portrait poem using words that are generated.

Merriam-Webster defines anagrams as “a word or phrase made by transposing the letters of another word or phrase.” I actually took this literally and only used whole phrases that used each letter of my first and last name. Most of the phrases were nonsense, as you can imagine, but some painted interesting images. I also learned several new words in this process, which I’ll provide hyperlinks to (click on unfamiliar words in the poem and it will take you to a definition; it may not always be the first meaning, but there should be a clear choice of which makes most sense). I realized, with the collection of phrases I’d picked out, once I rearranged the lines, they almost told the story of my traumatic brain injury. In case you’re new to the blog, I will summarize: I was a passenger in a severe car accident and received a traumatic brain injury, which redirected and changed my life. I’ve felt blessed and guided to help others ever since, and the strength, courage, hope, and love I learned throughout the process have forever shaped me. The self-portrait poem below illustrates that journey from feeling lost in the beginning to blossoming at the end, to the best of my ability by using the exact phrases generated. I think I will tweak it in the future to read a little more easily, and I will provide a “translation” at the bottom. I have already used a strike-through in two cases of “oar” underneath, changing it to “or”–I figured this was allowable, since the two sound the same and are already almost spelled the same. 😉

—–

Amanda Fowler: A Portrait in Anagrams
By: Amanda K. Fowler

A flared woman—
a modal fawner
fawned a moral.
Aroma-led fawn
fawn roamed lea.
RAM! Waned foal;
a dawn or flame?
Lamed fawn, oar
flawed man—oar–
loam-drawn fae.
Dawn: foal–>mare.
Damn fear alow!
Dare of law, man,
and formal awe—
and–am flower.

———–

Thanks for bearing with me through that! Hopefully it made some semblance of sense. Just in case, I will provide an approximate line-by-line “translation” below:

A woman with strong emotion–
a fan of grammar and rules
showed affection to a moral idea.
A child led by atmosphere–
the child wandered.
RAM! [The car accident] diminished the child;
was it a beginning or an end?
Disabled child, or
flawed person–no–
a metaphysical person of peace, reshaped by earth.
Decidedly, it’s a beginning, a dawn: child to woman.
Banish fear below!
Dare rules, people,
and disbelief with courage–
and, I am a flower–I have blossomed.

A Triolet in Raindrops

Another rainy day today–I think we must be in store for some fabulous May flowers! My apologies for the short post again tonight–it’s been a busy day for writing!

With Earth Day and the weather today, I knew nature would again be my inspiration for my NaPoWriMo poem.

Today’s prompt was another fun rhythm challenge:

Today, let’s try writing triolets. A triolet is an eight-line poem. All the lines are in iambic tetramenter (for a total of eight syllables per line), and the first, fourth, and seventh lines are identical, as are the second and final lines. This means that the poem begins and ends with the same couplet. Beyond this, there is a tight rhyme scheme (helped along by the repetition of lines) — ABaAabAB.

I’d heard of iambic tetrameter, but I’d never tried it. It is a close cousin of my favorite iambic pentameter, with only two less syllables per line. I was shocked by how much I liked it; I think my favorite may have some new (or ancient, as it were) competition! The rhythm is so much more song-like than iambic pentameter, and this was helped along even more by the triolet repetition of the 1st, 4th, and 7th lines–which, again, I’d never tried. The rhyming, too, lent a melodic quality to it. I’ve worked with repetition before, as with the pantoum–an example of which I will likely share later this month–I would argue that it was the most difficult style I have ever attempted.  It has a similar idea of interlacing with repetition, but the triolet’s repetition is shorter, and the whole poem is only eight lines, which gives more pressure to say something profound in a concise manner, but less anxiety about droning on with a story. Somehow, with the triolet, I had more of an instinct to capture a moment than a story, the latter of which I felt compelled to do in a pantoum–or rather, impelled, as I was immediately inspired to write about my mother’s quilting when I noticed the weaving pattern of the form. When I study a form of poetry, it often sparks a related idea for the subject, much as a smell can recall a memory. It is almost a physical feeling–the writing process feels like a muscle memory of an image or a story to me. That is how I came to think of tonight’s poem. It has a trickling, soft, graceful effect in the way the rhythm sounds; almost like a delicate dance. In the hustle and bustle today at work, I was momentarily stunned when I walked outside and was greeted by drizzle.

“Raindrops”
By: Amanda K. Fowler

The raindrops mist upon my face;
Light as they are, they give me pause.
I’d rushed outside, but ‘tis the case,
The raindrops mist upon my face.
They fill my soul with sudden grace;
I’ve near forgot my journey’s cause.
The raindrops’ mist upon my face—
Light as they were, they gave me pause.

——————-

A parting tip: when I work with such strict rhyming forms as this, or a sonnet, for example, I find it helpful to lay out a template for myself on my page/screen, line by line. It seems simple, but it works for me. This is what it looks like:

A
B
a
A
a
b
A
B