7-Minute Stretch #5 Poetry Challenge: What's that Noise?

If your tots haven't read this book, they are missing out--and so are you! Buy It!

If your tots haven't read this book, they are missing out--and so are you! Buy It!

A poll of incredibly interested 2,3 & 4 year-olds revealed noteworthy data: Their favorite part of my picture book, Not Norman, A Goldfish Story, was:

  • Not our spunky main character,
  • Not the brilliant story,
  • Not the delightful pictures,
  • Not . . .  Norman???

It was the dark page toward the end of the story when our tad-bit-scared boy says, "What's that noise?"

Prompted by certain sounds, our minds take us places--interesting, provocative, visceral...scary places. Which leads me to this week's prompt. Let's use sounds to mess around with readers minds--and make our poetry...well...Sing

Poetry Challenge #5

What's That Noise?

Take a walk—around your house, a store, the school, or your neighborhood.

Write a poem about it. But, rather than focusing on what you see, focus on what you hear.

Extra points for using an onomatopoeia—or a few. In case you forgot: that’s a words that sound like the sound of the object it’s describing.

You know the drill:

Set the timer for 7 minutes

 Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

Write a poem, paragraph, or story. If the prompt moves you, follow it. If it sparks something else, go with it! Our 7-Minute Poetry Challenge is not about writing great poetry; or writing what is expected; it’s not even about writing anything good. It’s about one thing, writing IT!

For Inspiration: Here's a poem chock full of sounds by Roger McGough

The Sound Collector

A stranger called this morning
Dressed all in black and grey
Put every sound into a bag
And carried them away

The whistling of the kettle
The turning of the lock
The purring of the kitten
The ticking of the clock

The popping of the toaster
The crunching of the flakes
When you spread the marmalade
The scraping noise it makes

The hissing of the frying pan
The ticking of the grill
The bubbling of the bathtub
As it starts to fill

The drumming of the raindrops
On the windowpane
When you do the washing-up
The gurgle of the drain

The crying of the baby
The squeaking of the chair
The swishing of the curtain
The creaking of the stair

A stranger called this morning
He didn’t leave his name
Left us only silence
Life will never be the same
— by Roger McGough

**Need/Want more inspirations? Here's a whole page of sound poems.

And, if you do join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge be sure to let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole dang poem, in the comments!

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7-Minute Stretch #4 Poetry Challenge-Counting by Words

Von Trapp.jpg

Channeling the Von Trapp Family Singers today, sort of: Let's start at the very beginning. .. not with ABC or with Do-Re-Me, but with 1-2-3!

Poetry Challenge #4*

Counting by Words

Today's prompt was created for the math side of your brain, because it's a counting poem. Line 1 can have only 1 word. Line 2 can have 2 words. Line 3 can have 3 words, and so on. Keep going in that pattern up to line 10. Extra credit if you can work back down from 10.

If you’re stuck for a topic, write about something you can see right now or your favorite color.

You know the drill:

Set the timer for 7 minutes

 Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

Write a poem, paragraph, or story. If the prompt moves you, follow it. If it sparks something else, go with it! Our 7-Minute Poetry Challenge is not about writing great poetry; or writing what is expected; it’s not even about writing anything good. It’s about one thing, writing IT!

*(This prompt was filched from Cindy Faughnan--with permission. We are tag teaming to create and complete challenges. Check out her website: wwwcindyfaughnan.com for more--including recipes!)

Want the 7-Minute Stretch sent to your email? Click on SUBSCRIBE  to receive email notification when entries are posted on Kelly's Fishbowl.

7-Minute Stretch #3 Poetry Challenge-Party Time

party hat.jpg

Hurrah! Happy to have you with me. You know the drill (and if you don't it's easy enough): Grab a pen, a paper, your timer, and--why not!--a party hat! 

Poetry Challenge #3

Happy Birthday to Shel!

In honor of poet, singer-songwriter, cartoonist, screenwriter, and children's author Shel Silverstein's birthday (Sept 25, 1930) write a silly-funny poem about a made-up animal--or the perfect birthday party.

For inspiration, read one of Shel Silverstein's Birthday poems:

Happy Birthday Shel Silverstein.jpg
Birthday Snake Shel Silverstein.jpg

                          

   Set the timer for 7 minutes

                 Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

Write a poem, paragraph, or story. If the prompt moves you, follow it. If it sparks something else, go with it! Our 7-Minute Poetry Challenge is not about writing great poetry; or writing what is expected; it’s not even about writing anything good. It’s about one thing, writing IT!

And, if you do join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge be sure to let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole dang poem, in the comments!

And for a real treat, celebrate by reading one of Shel Silverstein's books!

And for a real treat, celebrate by reading one of Shel Silverstein's books!

Want the 7-Minute Stretch sent to your email? Click on SUBSCRIBE  to receive email notification when entries are posted on Kelly's Fishbowl.

7-MINUTE STRETCH: #2 Poetry Challenge-Easy as ABC

egg timer.jpg

Know how sometimes just the thought of doing something will stop you cold? (Maybe, if you read the Challenge I tossed out in my last post, it did.) You are so not alone! I am not a poet. Worse, I'm a lousy poet. So you can believe 548+ days ago, when my mentor, author Mary Quattlebaum, sweetly suggested poetry might help my writing and suggested I "try" some poetry prompts, I wanted to run.

The only thing that kept me from say @#$*NO! and running away (aside from shame) was that timer.

That goofy, wonderful, shame-saving Timer

If you've been slogging through The Fishbowl for a while you know I'm all about the timer. My mom introduced us, my brother Joe and I, to the timer back when we were waist high. She used it for good and evil. If we wanted to do something (say play longer, stay up longer, swim longer) she'd say "I'll give you five minutes!" and actually mean it--I'm talking watch the timer and tap off seconds with your toe mean it."

Likewise, when we didn't want to do something (say clean, pick up, straighten up, grown up...) she set the timer. "Next commercial you clear the table, vacuum, dust, brush your teeth... Hurry or you'll miss the show!" Amazing how much we could accomplish during a commercial break. Rollin' Rollin' Rollin' keep them doggies rollin' Rawhide!"

Come on, give it a try. Grab a paper, pen, a timer and give it a go! You might surprise yourself! 

Poetry Challenge #2

Back to School—ABC’s*

             I remember the excitement of going back to school every year, both as a student and a teacher. Friends to see, things to learn, books to read! I barely slept the night before. Always, I loved getting back to the schedule of fall.

Write one line—five words—that begin in order with the letters A, B, C, D, E.

This line will be the first line of your poem.

Add four more lines. Try to begin line 2 with B, line 3 with C, line 4 with D, and line 5 with E.

That’s it! 

Remember the rules:

                                         Read the prompt

                                   Set the timer for 7 minutes

                                         Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it. Write a poem, paragraph, or story. If the prompt moves you, follow it. If it sparks something else, go with it! Our 7-Minute Poetry Challenge is not about writing great poetry; or writing what is expected; it’s not even about writing anything good. It’s about one thing, writing IT!

And, if you do join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge be sure to let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole dang poem, in the comments!

*(This prompt was filched from Cindy Faughnan's Sept 14th post--with permission. We are tag teaming to create and complete challenges. Check out her website: wwwcindyfaughnan.com for more--including recipes!)

Wanna keep in touch? Click on SUBSCRIBE  to receive email notification when entries are posted on Kelly's Fishbowl.

7-MINUTE STRETCH:#1 Poetry Challenge-If You Dare...

I've got a proposition for you. A challenge. A dare.  . .

The gauntlet to undertake a similar challenge was tossed to me by my writing bud, Cindy Faughnansome 540 days ago--and I caught it! I can't say it has been easy, or convenient, but it has made me a better something?!  Maybe it will you, too. So come on, try it! What have you got to lose?

7-Minute Poetry Challenge

Write a poem, a paragraph or a story in seven minutes. Here's how: 

                                                               Read the prompt

                                                              Set the timer for 7 minutes

                                                              Start writing!

Don't think about it too much; just do it. If the prompt moves you, follow it. If it sparks something else, go with it! Our 7-Minute Poetry Challenge is not about writing great poetry; or writing what is expected; it's not even about writing anything good. It's about one thing, writing IT!  

Challenge #1  The First Day

Gavin & Keira's 1st Day of School 2017

Gavin & Keira's 1st Day of School 2017

On the first day of school what things do you bring? A backpack? Pen? Paper? Maybe you’ll wear a new pair of jeans or shoes? 

Think about it: Not only will it be your first day of school, it will be that “things” first day of school too. How do you think those “things” feel about going to school for the first time? Write a “First Day of School” poem from the point of view of one of those things.

Note: It can be the first day of anything. Just tell the story from the point of view of one of the thing you bring with you that first day.

For Inspiration read: SCHOOL'S FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL, written by Adam Rex and illustrated by Christian Robinson (Roaring Brook Press, 2016), the story of the first day of school as told by Fredrick Douglass Elementary—a brand new school building!

 

 

Gavin & Keira were up the the Challenge. As you can read below, Gavin's Binder shared. Keira's dress was "shy" on that first day:

If, like Keira & Gavin, you're up for the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge, please let us know by posting the title of your poem under "Comments". Or if you would like, share your poem (or whatever the prompt inspired you to create!) We would love to see IT!

Beatles.jpg

This is only the beginning. Cindy and I will post a new challenge prompt once a week—every seven days. We invite you to take the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge with us.

And, please share our Challenge with your friends, students, classmates... (even those, like me, who are absolutely, positively, NOT poets!) After all, the state of the world being what it is, to paraphrase the BeatlesPoetry is All We Need!

Wanna keep in touch? Click on SUBSCRIBE  to receive email notification when entries are posted on Kelly's Fishbowl.

Fie on Harvey, Fie!

Harvey Aug 29, 2017.jpg

HARVEY rose up from the Gulf waters like one of those menacing cartoon storm clouds on Aug. 27th, 2017. My mother's 81st birthday. Harvey was definitely no cartoon we could click off when it grew too terrifying.

As I write, the rain is still falling, the rescue efforts are ongoing, people are still trapped and scared, animals are missing, and worse--much worse--the evil in us has reared it's nasty, greedy head--looters are prowling. But. . . 

Goodness! Kindness! Compassion! Win! And that is what I, We, cling to. 

Our Friend's mid-town Houston patio, garden and pool, Aug.27, when the rains came.

Our Friend's mid-town Houston patio, garden and pool, Aug.27, when the rains came.

You may have noticed (maybe not) that I've been Blog silent for the summer. Not because I didn't have anything to say (I always have something to say. . . ) Since January blues set in (preceeded by election disbelief-fear-healthcare despair . . . ), I have been reconsidering the energy I want to send. Our collective response to Harvey gladdens my heart. That what I break my silence to CELEBRATE!

As soon as the news broke that Harvey was coming, people from all over reached out with offers of help. Facebook messages flooded my inbox: "I have a boat! A generator! A room! An open door!" . . . Red Cross mobilized, communities banded together, individuals joined forces, support for relief efforts grew and grows!  Here's news footage of some rescues.

Our friends Dan & Kristin Stacy of Royal Fig Catering in Austin, are one example of how people are stepping up to help. Along with Royal Fig employees, friends, family and food & supplies donated by Austin businesses and folks, drove through the middle of the storm to set up a kitchen at Texas Children's Hospital where they are now cooking for the staff--cupcakes included.  National and local companies are sending relief, Texas Football star, JJ Watts kicked-off a relief YOUCare Compassionate Crowd Fund with a $100,000 donation that's now risen to more than $5.6 million so far, and the rain is still falling. 

Unfortunately, when the rain ends, and the waters receded, often so does the attention. And saddest to say, as heartening as they are, the funds pledged to date are just a drop in the bucket compared to what will be needed. Officials have estimated the amount needed to rebuild will be in the BILLIONS.

After the storm is when the most, long-term help is and will be needed. Let's be there, together. Let's bring the Sun!

FIE ON HARVEY! HOW WE CAN HELP:

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Slacker? Maybe . . . NOT!

You calling this kick-line "Slack"?

You calling this kick-line "Slack"?

It's not often, even when visiting a school, that I'm invited to lunch in the Teacher's Lounge. And before this week, I didn't realize that could be a good thing. But, maybe it is...

You know that old adage, "Eavesdropper seldom here good of themselves"? Well I was sitting there chatting with teachers at one table while behind me another table of teachers discussed my mornings presentation. How do I know? Because, as a self proclaimed committed eavesdropper, my ears bent back and cranked to high as soon as my name was mentioned. Anyway, here's what I overheard, read it in your envy-greenest disdainful voice: "She said she only writes for two hours a day--blah blah blah--I wish I only had to work two hours a day . . . 

On the way home, that night, the next morning, and after, unlike any other school visit, ever, the only thing I could recall was that teacher's comment. It bothered me so much I told Curtis about it. "What should I have told them? A lie?"

“What should I have told them? A lie?”
— agonized response following the teacher's lounge rebuke

A few days later, sweet Curtis sent me the perfect response by way of an article from the Natulus blog entitled:

Darwin Was a Slacker and You Should Be Too

Many famous scientists have something in common—they didn’t work long hours.

In the article, ALEX SOOJUNG-KIM PANG (author of REST and THE DISTRACTION ADDICTION), explores how many acclaimed scientists, scholars, thinkers--i.e.  Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens, Henri Poincaré, and Ingmar Bergman--spent very few hours doing deep work--2 to 4 hours a day in fact doing their "important work."

The rest of the time, they were hiking mountains, taking naps, going on walks with friends, or just sitting and thinking.
— Darwin Was A Slacker, March 30, 2017

While the "10,000 hour" theory, Malcom Gladwell expounds in his book The Outliers (originally put forth in a study of outstanding violinists), holds true, in order for the 10,000 hours of practice to be fruitful,  it only counts if those are hours of "Deliberate Practice," capital D, capital P, as in practice that is "focused, structured, and offers clear goals and feedback; it requires paying attention to what you’re doing and observing how you can improve."

Turns out even the most gifted, committed students aren't capable of more than, at most, 4 hours of Deliberate Practice.

What's more, (and what is especially reassuring) is how, along with focused deliberate practice, these outstanding practitioners also sleep more! But not at night. Turns out, these great thinkers and doers nap. Capital N-A-P!

About four hours a day. About the same amount of time Darwin spent every day doing his hardest work, Hardy and Littlewood spent doing math, Dickens and King spent writing...four hours of really focused, serious effort per day.

I'm sharing this in case you, like me, have been called "Slacker", or worse. May (as I do) called yourself the same, all because you (like me) can't or won't keep your butt in the chair for more than a few hours at a stretch. Take heart! 

And, Give Yourself A Break!--Lots of them!

Slacker? Playlist:

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A Poet-Picker-Profit-Poet-Problem . . .Solved!

Kristofferson at 42 in 1978

Kristofferson at 42 in 1978

If you regularly click over to test The Fishbowl waters, you may have guessed how music is my touchstone. My earliest recollections on are triggered by songs:"A walking contradiction/partly truth and partly fiction . . . "Busted flat in Baton Rouge," "Make believe you love me one more time..."  And, like many folks of a "certain age" aka mine, Kris Kristofferson's song--some performed by him, but mostly not--are the playlist of my teens and twenties. So, when I learned he was performing in our village, I jumped at the chance to attend.

Here's the scary part: Kris Kristofferson is 80! Here's the scarier part: He had pretty much disappeared from the music scene these past few decades. Here's the scariest part: Why? Because of memory loss, depression, assorted other complaints doctors were treating unsuccessfully. In fact, according to an 80th birthday hurrah by Neil Strauss in the June 2016 RollingStone, having labeled Kris baby's issues as "Alzheimer," "Dementia," or "Results of too many football, hockey, head butts," the medical community told the family to expect bad to worse . . .

Kris Baby at 80 (my mom's age!) Still smokin!

Kris Baby at 80 (my mom's age!) Still smokin!

Que the Rainbow: One of those doctors went beyond--and tested Kris Baby for Lyme's disease. Here's the happy: The lyme's treatment seemed to have worked! Kristofferson is Back! And touring! And that's why we were going to get to see him! And hear him play and sing! 

But wait, there's more! We were supposed to be a party of four at last night's concert. But, as happens, the couple (who shall remain nameless) that were supposed to be sitting beside us backed out at the last minute. Not wanting the tickets to be wasted, we returned them to WHBPAC and were told the concert was Sold Out! And surely the tickets would be resold. 

Problem Solved: When the usher showed us to our row and pointed to our seats, it wasn't hard to guess which two they were. Ours were the only empty seats in the whole theatre! Of course I checked out the folks seated next to us. I was curious to see who'd snagged the two--prime--last minute seats. One was a tall, young (too young to have been alive when KK's songs came out) curly haired guy; next to me was an older women (probably my age). At first I thought they were mother and son--or grandson--and thought "sweet", but a little eaves dropping quickly sussed out that they did not know each other. In fact, the young guy was trying hard not to be "with" the lady--trying so hard he was practically leaning on the person seated on his other side.

Why? Maybe because the lady seated next to me was crying. She cried through the whole concert. During some songs sniffling softly; during others sobbing. At one point, I reached over and held her arm. She looked at me, and smiled. Hers, like mine, were happy tears. 

Can't tell you how the concert affected the young guy (hope it did). But I can say for sure, how it happened with those two extra tickets, happened for exactly the right reason, and to exactly the right person.  This ole' world keeps on turning...

He's A Poet-Picker-Profit-Poet Playlist:

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