Poetry Challenge #71-Lists

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January is a month of lists: resolutions, goals, projects, groceries.

Poetry Challenge #71

Lists

You can write list poems over and over with different results every time.

  1. Begin with any topic and list things it makes you think of as quickly as you can.

  2. Next go through the list and pick out one or more things that stick out for you.

  3. Try making a list from the thing you picked out.

  4. What does that thing make you think of?

  5. Why did you pick it?

  6. Add detail.

  7. Use your senses.

  8. Play with rhythm or rhyme.

Here are a couple prompts you can use to start if you want:

I like…
I wish I liked…
I remember…

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Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

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

*Cindy Faughnan and I resolved to begin this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge more than 1010 days ago! We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.

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Potato Chips, Penicillin, Post-It Notes, W-D 40 . . . 2014?

Potato Chips . . . 

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Penicillin . . . 

Post-it Notes . . . 

The Slinky . . . 

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Goodreads kick-started my 2014 with this quotation from author Neil Gaiman:

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes...you're Doing Something.”

That quotation haunt-taunted me through these last days of holiday and first days of this new year.

We celebrated the start of 2014 at a New Year’s brunch at friends, Joy & Michael’s new Kentucky home. Curtis and I were newcomers to the group. Lots of “news” at the launch of this year promising much change and challenge. Finding myself alone with one of the guests, I resisted the urge to withdraw into a dice-and-slice frenzy and instead tried to strike up a conversation by asking her if she’d made a resolution. It’s usual to make resolutions on New Year’s, isn’t it?

Big mistake! She doesn’t make resolutions. Doesn’t believe in them. Think’s they are stupid. A waste of time. Did I want to know why? Because we always break them, of course. Resolutions are made-to-be-BROKEN Blah, blah, blah blah-baaaaa. . .

I was feeling sorry for having tried starting that conversation when she added something that made me think maybe my resolution conversation starter wasn’t a mistake.

Turns out that morning on one of the “Morning Shows” (she watches several) the featured guest was some author who’d written some book about this very topic and he said (or so I deduced):

Along with making resolutions we need to “sweep away crumbs in our way” by resolving to stop doing whatever it is that is taking up the time during which we will do what we resolve to do.

Along with making resolutions we need to “sweep away crumbs in our way” by resolving to stop doing whatever it is that is taking up the time during which we will do what we resolve to do.

 A crumb. A take-away that bonded with Gaiman’s salutation the way 2 Hs bond with an O. Refreshing!

Spray W-D 40 on any surface & wipe. It will clear away even rusty crumbs.

W-D 40   will clean mineral build-up off glass shower doors, too. And kill cockroaches, remove gum from hair, keep squirrels from raiding bird feeders (spray   W-D 40   on the top of the feeder and “The pesky squirrels will slide right off.”

W-D 40 will clean mineral build-up off glass shower doors, too. And kill cockroaches, remove gum from hair, keep squirrels from raiding bird feeders (spray W-D 40 on the top of the feeder and “The pesky squirrels will slide right off.”

But, what do W-D 40, Potato Chips, Penicillin, Post-it Notes or The Slinky have to do with New Years? Resolutions? Or Neil Gaiman’s quote? Why should we even give a crumb?

All of these things along with The Pacemaker, Chocolate Chip Cookies, plastic and who know what other inventions were created by MISTAKE. Failed tries. Miss takes

Take One! Take Two! 

"I'm Ready for my Close-up!"     Take 40 . . .  

"I'm Ready for my Close-up!"    Take 40 . . . 

In W-D 40’s case, 39 failed tries by chemist Norm Larsen to prevent corrosion by displacing water.

What sets W-D 40 apart from these others is that rather than the end invention being something different or unexpected or accidental, Norm Larsen did what he set out to do: prevent corrosion by displacing water. The name W-D 40 is a testament to his efforts; it stands for “Water-Displacement 40th Attempt.”

Maybe Norm and the folks at W-D 40 Company have mistake envy, because they can’t seem to stop trying to find more uses for their spray. Along the way they’ve made mistakes, and discoveries.

Some bad: W-D 40 is not edible.

Some questionable: Is a python coiled around the undercarriage of your bus?

SPRAY IT WITH W-D 40!

SPRAY IT WITH W-D 40!

Is a naked burglar trapped in your air conditioning vent? Dislodge him with WD-40.

2000+ dang useful! W-D 40 Company maintains a list of remarkable things this “corrosion prevention” in a can can do.

I went back to see if the squirrel repellant tip included a video (call me “cruel”, but I kinda wanted to watch slip-sliding squirrels) and was sucked into the 2000+ vortex. It took some time but I finally pulled myself free—But not before finding a helpful hint I’m itching to try: Last Christmas Curtis was gifted with blue ice cubes to cool spirits without diluting them. Sometime, someone tried using one. I don’t know who. Or when. All I know of the experiment is that one of my adorable, favorite juice glasses now has a blue glass ice cube lodged inside it.

Glass ice cubes look like this, but they don't melt and this one is lodged in an adorable cherry juice glass--one of a matching set, now relegated to the back of the cupboard

Glass ice cubes look like this, but they don't melt and this one is lodged in an adorable cherry juice glass--one of a matching set, now relegated to the back of the cupboard

I’ve tried to remove the cube. Yes, I've tried knives. Scotch. Running cold water on it, hoping to chill the cube enough to shrink it so it would slide free. No such luck.

According to a Reader’s Digest article,  “Stuck glasses will separate with ease if you squirt some WD-40 on them, wait a few seconds for it to work its way between the glasses, and then gently pull the glasses apart.”

When next I’m in WHB, I could give it a try . . .  

Uh oh. . . hang on. That’s how mistakes happen. Breakage. Damage. Possible injury. 

Do I really want to try?

Try, doesn’t mean succeed. . .

Try could lead to fail. . . .

Try could turn out to be a MISTAKE. . .

Consider son Max, then college student’s, attempt to concoct a high-test frat bathroom cleaning product. He tried mixing bleach with ammonia. That experiment ended in a trip to the hospital emergency room and destruction of who knows how many brain cells. Max counts it as a “partial success” as his potentially fatal mistake did save him from more bathroom cleaning. . .

Mistakes. Misses. “F-2” “  Missed my Battle Ship  ”     Frustrating, embarrassing, harmful, sometimes lethal “miss takes.” 

Mistakes. Misses. “F-2” “Missed my Battle Ship” 

Frustrating, embarrassing, harmful, sometimes lethal “miss takes.” 

Safer to stick with the known. If life is good, why rock the boat? Why tempt fate?

“ . . . if you’re making mistakes . . . you’re Doing Something.”

Gaiman went on to add a note to the quote:

"Happy New Year! What kind of mistakes are you looking forward to making in 2014?"

Gaiman’s writing is so varied: CORALINE, THE GRAVEYARD BOOK, CHU'S DAY, THE DANGEROUS ALPHABET, ANANSI WARS. . . It seems he’ll try anything.  

Was  Coraline    a mistake? If it was a mistake, it’s one that went horribly right for readers and reviewers. Reading it certainly was one of mine. It creeped me right out, then held me spellbound until I finished…

Was Coraline a mistake? If it was a mistake, it’s one that went horribly right for readers and reviewers. Reading it certainly was one of mine. It creeped me right out, then held me spellbound until I finished…

Paul Fleischman is another writer who likes to try new literary forms. He's recently adapted SEEDFOLK for the stage. 

SEEDFOLKS, a collection of linked short stories--one of my favorites for any age, read aloud to adults!

SEEDFOLKS, a collection of linked short stories--one of my favorites for any age, read aloud to adults!

At an SCBWI conference Fleischman admitted to attendees how his “tries” don’t always work. Mistakes maybe, but never a waste of time. For him, trying new things is what keeps writing interesting.

. . . INTERESTING . . .

In words from one of my fav songwriters,   Mary Chapin Carpenter  , from    I Take My Chances   :

In words from one of my fav songwriters, Mary Chapin Carpenter, from I Take My Chances:

Now some people say that you shouldn't tempt fate/And for them I would not disagree/But I never learned nothing from playing it safe/I say fate should not tempt me.

Today, soon after I click “post”, I’ll play that song again, for inspiration. Make that my battle cry of 2014

Then, I’ll get to work sweeping out some crumbs of my “play-safe days” to make room in this brand new shining year with New! New! New Attitude.  (And give a shout to the Patti LaBelle while I'm at it.)

I take my chances, I don't mind working without a net/
I take my chances, I take my chances every chance I get . . . 

Take one. Take Two. ACTION!                         

 . . . YES, IT MIGHT BE A MISTAKE . . .  

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It's a New Year!  

 "What kind of mistakes are you looking forward to making in 2014?"

(I’ll let you know if the blue glass cube rescue operation works, AND MORE!)

I'm Not Going To...and You Can't Make Me!

What inspires: Saying NO! It's usual to begin a new year with a resolutions. Lists of things we "must do" and "have to" and "will do" lists. It's also usual, and expected, that we will break those resolutions (If we're honest, don't we make some specifically so we can break them?)  We are barely into the 2nd month of the year, it's FULL MOON Time, and I've already broken mine...

So instead of more Do lists, how about a couple of Don't Do lists? Here are two :  the first a quit-pussy footing-around-and-get-after-it list called "Twenty-Five Things Writers Should Stop Doing..." specifically for us writers by novelist, screenwriter and self-proclaimed "Freelance Pe-monkey"  Chuck Wendig.

And for everyone:  the list that inspired Chuck to "cobble" his list: 30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself

Just say no! Reading them inspired me to begin my own No List. Item #1: NO MORE BEATING YOURSELF UP!                 

Chances Are the Chances Are Awfully Good

What Inspires: 2nd Chances! It’s the New Moon and the beginning of the Chinese New Year 4709: Year of the Black Water Dragon!’s Celebration! A 2nd chance to make a fresh start of 2012; a 2nd chance to commit to change. Chinese tradition on New Years’ houses are swept clean. Old thoughts, deeds, misdeeds are brushed out the door. Out with the old; in with the new. New Resolve! New Ideas! New Slate!

Gong Xi Fa Cai! Happy Chinese New Year!

 

The first day of the 2012 Chinese New Year is today—January 23, 2012 in China's time zone. This day is a new moon day, and is the first day of the first Chinese lunar month in the Chinese Lunar Calendar system. But, according to all my Internet research, the first day of the Chinese New Year is Feb. 4th.

The Year of the Water Dragon comes only once every 60 years. 2012 is the year of the Male Water Dragon.

Are you are Dragon? Know a Dragon? Want to be prepared for the Dragon year? Here’s more about the Dragon:

“The Dragon is a legendary creature. It can survive on the ground, in the water, and in the sky. Dragon is mystic, misty, blurred, unreachable and unpredictable animal. When Dragon has attraction relationship with the other animals, Dragon is quite likely to hide its Earth characteristic. When Dragon meets Rat, Dragon will show more Water characteristics. When Dragon meets Rabbit, Dragon will fully support Wood characteristic in the Rabbit. When Dragon meets Chicken, Dragon will turn itself into Metal identity. Dragon is a stranger to Dog. When Dog meets Dragon, Dog will bark and prepare for fighting. Dragon is kind of lonely. It's hard for other animals to build love or romantic relationship with Dragon.” Chinese Forecast website

What does the Year of the Black Dragon mean?

“Dragon contains Earth, Water and Wood. If your Lucky Element is Water, then you will have pretty good luck in 2012. If your Lucky Element is Earth, then you will gain some degree of good luck in 2012. The Dragon is the last year of Wooden Cycle, which is from 2010 to 2012. If your Lucky Element is Wood and you do well in the 2011 Rabbit year, then your luck will continue.”

It’s really all about knowing your “Lucky Element.” But first, you must find your Lucky Element. After finding your Lucky Element, you can click over to see a graph of the rise and fall of your life.

Luck if you've ever been a lady to begin with,  Luck be a lady. . . Happy New Year, Take 2!