The Goods

It’s day 11 (actually it’s day 12, but I’m a slacker and have fallen behind) of the 30 Day Poetry Challenge, and guess what? When they said it would be a “challenge,” turns out they meant that it would be challenging.

Who knew!

Originally I intended not to spend any more than 5 to 10 minutes on these posts, but as they have progressively grown more challenging, I have been inclined to rise to the challenge. Which looks like me putting my forehead in my hand and grinding my teeth whilst I attempt to be clever and creative and Grand Canyon deep. I’m not sure if I have succeeded, but I am loving these prompts and I wanted to share today’s with you.

 

Happy Saturday/Sunday, friends!

 

Day 11 – Write a list poem.

vintage_housewife_cook

Tips and suggestions for the handling and dispensing of virtues and other savories

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Store kindness and mercy in reliable tupperware (nothing worse than stale charity)

Prepare and deliver intentions on the same day (possibly doesn’t age well)

Place humor at eye level and within arm’s reach (perspectives will clarify or conceal)

Poke theories and assumptions with a sharp truth (might still be gooey in the center)

Launder patience and keep folded in the linen closet (this will behoove you when unexpected guests arrive)

Begin each day with a bowl gratitude (otherwise you will forget to eat it)

Measure responsibilities for each day only (tomorrow is finicky and fickle)

If not on your person, peace should be kept somewhere safe and secret (I assure you this is for everyone’s benefit)

Rinse, rinse, rinse (rinsing is key to avoiding moods and attitudes gone bad)

Only serve opinions when the harvest is ripe (when in doubt, give it one more day)

Wisdom will keep for ages (but if you don’t share it then people will be none the wiser)

Wait twenty minutes before serving hurt feelings (additionally, running emotions beneath cool water reduces the risk of future cuts)

Look at all insights beneath a magnifying glass (this helps determine if they’re genuine or fake)

Be certain to monitor good deeds (they can spoil)

Generosity is like a tree: give it lots of water and plenty of sunshine and it will produce the sweetest fruit

Grace (give it prodigiously, and don’t be embarrassed to take some for yourself)

How do you read?

I love being at home. I enjoy the morning time, sipping coffee, checking e-mails, stretching out the wrinkles a good night’s sleep has left me. But I’d be lying most grievously if I didn’t admit that being alone without anyone to say so much as a hello to — save the fur-children — doesn’t leave me lonely once in a while. When I’m writing, steadily, I hardly notice the lack of spoken words. For inside things are very noisy indeed; a tug of war between characters, voices raised or lowered, hims and hers demanding I pay them attention. But times like these, quiet times, when I’m caught in the undertow, I notice. I notice everything. Today I noticed, though not for the first time, how I read.

I read slowly. I don’t have to, but I choose to because I don’t read for numerical achievement, but for immersion. I come before a book the same way I once came before the sea and my God, to be baptized in a glory not my own. Books contain oxygen. You can breathe them or spit them out. I am quick to euthanize a book I am not enjoying. There’s been too much good stuff written for me to spend my time reading what wasn’t. For a good book I’ll go the extra hundred miles. I will look up its every foreign word. I will teach myself to pronounce names that don’t read phonetically. I will make certain that I understand what I’m reading before moving on to the next page. If this means I have to put the book down and move to the computer, so be it.

Today I learned about gables. I typed the word G A B L E into Dictionary.com and yielded this: “the portion of the front or side of a building enclosed by or masking the end of a pitched roof.” And when that read like Greek I jogged over to Google images and searched until I found a picture. All in all it took me about 6 minutes before I fully understood a gable’s function and where I might find one were I looking for it. Is this strange? Am I the only who does this? Feel free to say “Cara, my friend, there there, we’ll make sure to find you a warm room with a lovely view of the lawn.”

I also noticed I am a savorer. If a line or passage strikes me as true and sharp, a flawless diamond mounted in rubble, I will read and reread until words morph into music, thereby easier to trap, easier to match the rhythm with that of my own heart’s beat. I must, or be driven to madness, consume the words, be absorbed, for only then can I secrete its beauty. I cannot go on to the next page, line, letter. Not until I know. I must know.

For me, reading is a lot like coloring. A book enters my hands bearing the detail of shape and structure, but it’s flat, like a wall or the ground. If I ran my hand over it, there would be no bumps, no hollows or secret passage ways, grooveless. It is my responsibility to give every word a color, every move a sound. I decide if the starry sky is black or purple, if the leaves on the tree are mint-green or kermit-green, or maybe not even green at all, but almost blue because of the time of day and the way the sun is hitting them. It’s not my design, no, but it is mine. And only when I make it mine does it become three dimensional, a living, breathing, effectual thing. The writer is the dream, but I the reader am the sleep.

So, anyway, these are strange musings, but I was curious today. How do you read? What does it look like for you?

The Strangely Normal Instance of the Twelve Missing Socks

A short story, fresh from the second row of the aimlessly extravagant corn field.

~

Priscilla Lemonluck could feel a stranger sitting on her face. Its name, Consternation. The usually smooth swath between her black feathery eyebrows was puckery, too tight, and strained; her thick lips — voluntarily distorted to bespeak the emotions she harbored — hung heavy to the left. At the back of her two front teeth is where she rested her tongue, sliding it in and out of the sizable crevice she’d opted not to correct with the suggested four years of braces. It wasn’t the pain she feared (although Cooper Lyons, her best friend and three-houses-down-next-door neighbor, had mentioned more than once after a tightening that it was like having an angry barracuda, a chain-link fence, and a rubber slingshot living in your mouth all at once). Dreadful as all that sounded, Priscilla wouldn’t have minded the gruesome reconstruction of her mouth if what she wanted was to have teeth that looked like everyone else’s. She didn’t want that, though. Not even a little. And so, at the age of nine and three-quarters, Priscilla determined with arbitrary zeal that her teeth were off the table (at the tim she didn’t quite know what that meant, but on enough occasions had heard her father, Judge Lemonluck, use the phrase — this usually accompanied by an austere scowl or impassive hand — to understand it meant strictly and formidably NO) once and for all. These teeth of hers had personality and character — something that would surely be mitigated with reparative orthodontics.

This is neither here nor there, however. Priscilla fancied a real problem: missing socks.

Continue reading

Words.

A few quotes:

“From the ashes a fire shall be woken,

A light from the shadows shall spring;

Renewed shall be blade that was broken,

The crownless again shall be king.”
― J.R.R. TolkienThe Fellowship of the Ring

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
― Lao Tzu

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
― Mahatma GandhiAll Men are Brothers: Autobiographical Reflections

“Courage isn’t having the strength to go on – it is going on when you don’t have strength.”
― Napoleon Bonaparte

There is great wisdom in each of these proverbs; however, it’s this last one I find eminently relevant.

Probably there is not one of us who hasn’t at one time felt the crushing blow of failing health, broken relationships, dreams that refuse to be caught, or simply that turmoil that coincides with being a human that feels things.

We have the gratuitous luxury of not knowing what will happen each day after we wake. If I were to count my blessings — which, isn’t such a bad idea, in fact — I would count premonition dysfunction as a biggie. I don’t know want to know. Ever. Good or bad, I want to be surprised; that way I can remain always in a state of hopeful anticipation.

Here I impart my own proverb: Continue reading