Category Archives: Blog Challenge

The Black Cat Blue Sea Award

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blackcat

Haven’t done one of these in quite awhile. I was nominated by Grace on her blog: The Life of a Teenage Princess. Thanks, Grace. What’s fun about her blog is seeing life through a different lens. I “think” i’m a little bit older than she, but I’ve been enjoying her passage and writing passions. Give her a look when you can.

What is

The Black Cat Blue Sea Award?

This award is for bloggers who strive to write for everybody, and no matter how many viewers they get, make an impact on a reader. This award is an expression of gratitude to the nominee. It should be awarded to anybody that you choose deserves it, and it doesn’t mean that they must have hundreds of followers and likes.

The Rules:

Anybody nominated can nominate seven (lucky number) other bloggers. Anybody nominated answers three questions.The questions you ask while nominating can be any three questions.

If any of the questions asked are offending or the nominee simply does not want to answer them, the nominee does not have to answer them to earn the award.

Grace’s Three Questions:

  1. If you could choose anywhere to go (with no expense in mind) to have the perfect day, where would you go, and what would you do?  Scotland. There is something about Scotland that has a huge draw on me. I feel I NEED to be there.  I’d go to Edinburgh first. Then, castles, moors, theater, music, and I’d try to find the non-touristy spots to explore. 
  2. What literary character from The Princess Bride would most likely reflect your personality?  Hm. I have never thought of a connection to any of the characters.  This is a movie I do love. Hmm. I’d say, at this moment, Miracle Max (Billy Crystal). “Have fun storming the castle.” Yeah, that character. 
  3. What is one thing you have discovered about yourself during Quarantine? I am more introverted than I had thought. No problem navigating my apartment. Plenty of Zoom, calls, texts, books, and writing.  I miss hugs, cuddles, and other human contact (get yer mind(s) out of the gutter) more than I thought I could want as much. 

My Seven Samurai Picks: 

There’s enough going on for many that this could be that ONE MORE THING!  So, if you are so inclined, go for it.  You can link this back to Tale Spinning, or not. I’d love to read your responses. Just answer my three questions (below). Cop out? Maybe, but I have a lot to get done before 4:30 (two hours from now. My apologies). If you feel you fit the criteria, go for it.

My Three Questions

  1. If you have had an epiphany that has changed/challenged/strengthened your life journey, could you please state what it was and its consequences?

  2.  What is your favorite food DISH, not the general “Italian,” Chinese,” “Mexican,” etc. What is the dish called?  Extra bonus points if you can paint a detailed picture for us so we all drool when we read it. Not the recipe, how you feel when it is set before you and when you take your first bite.

  3. What does your idea of Utopia look/sound/touch/taste like?

Sonnet: When The Time Is Right

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There comes a time when people get tired of being pushed out of the glittering sunlight of life’s July and left standing amid the piercing chill of an alpine November. Martin Luther King, Jr.

OIP

 

Intimidation tactics are useless

Where the many are set upon as thieves

These are times punctuated through much stress

With hopes that all of our fears are relieved.

 

Hateful, scornful words meet extreme actions

Quiet shattered by jeers of discontent

The deep divide of opposing factions

It puts roadblocks in the way, we are rent

 

Yet, if the tide was to turn to the truth

The consequences in dire dispute

Thoughts and prayers may not be the needed sooth

To mend what has been sundered by refute

 

What impending years that we will pass through

Steps can be taken for our lawful due

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☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

This was a blog challenge: Simply 6 Minutes from Stine Writing

The rules for the challenge: Use today’s prompt (The MLKjr quote above)

Write for SIX Minutes. When your timer goes off, you are done.

Post on Stine Writing blog or on your own with a link on that blog’s site.

I did the above in under six minutes, where I had enough time to make sure there were ten syllables in each line.

I know; I shouldn’t edit, but, c’mon. It’s a sonnet. 🙂

Grandfather Speaks

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1st Chime: Midnight approaches. I’ve prepared for the darkness, urging it to mask what is to come. What needs to be done. What will be.

2nd Chime: I sit in her favorite chair. I have never done that before. The dent of her body is etched into the fabric and padding. I do not fit.

3rd Chime: Time. Time is going too slow. It is out of my control if I ever had any. My palms are wet. A tiny rivulet streaks down my brow into my eyes. It burns.

4th Chime: I gasp. My mouth. It feels like I poured ground cinnamon into the chamber. I cough clouds of red.

5th Chime: Hurry. Hurry. I need to. No. Wait. I can’t. Wait.

6th & 7th Chime: My calves cramp. I hadn’t noticed my knees were jumping like pistons. It won’t obey me. It won’t stop.

8th Chime: All. It’s not well. Not. The walls are closing in. There is wailing from the floor, right under my planted soles.

9th & 10th Movement: I heard no chimes. I’m fixed on the second hand as he struggles for the next second. The grandfather is moving time on.

11Th Chime: My lips are cracked. As I use my tongue to sponge them, I get the taste of copper as it sweeps over the swollen bottom lip.

12th Chime: Here. It is here. The elevated heart rate hurts my rib cage. There is a sour smell surrounding me. It does not offend. I am dripping wet with perspiration. It is time. It is time. I reach over to the frazzled side table.

The grandfather clock ticks eleven more.

On the 12th tick, the gun barrel is in my mouth.

I…

 

 

<<<<<<<<<<     >>>>>>>>>>

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

I host a writing group on Saturday mornings: Daydreamers Write! Prompts & Challenges. The above was from the challenge prompt: Strange things happen when the Grandfather Clock speaks. The challenge: Coat your piece in MOOD. Write in First-person & the narrator is not reliable. If you can, use all five (six?) senses. Some wrote prose, some poetry, and then…

The picture is ©Eric Freitas. If you want to see more of his work, the link is attached to the picture. His work is amazing, and Eric works on commissions. Check his website. 

 

Daydreamers Write! Prompt & Challenges  is a virtual writers group. We meet every Saturday morning (EST) from 10:00 am to Noon. Two prompts (2nd one holds the challenge), writing, sharing, constructive feedback, all in that two-hour slot. What I love about keeping this virtual is that we have members from both coasts in the US, and one from London. 

Click on the link, sign up for a membership, and then find the date you’d like to join in. Please send in the RSVP that is attached to that day’s invite. 

Any questions? You can leave me a message on the MeetUp page or direct to organizerdaydreams@gmail.com

One Two 300

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The number 300,

Where did it come from, you ask?

Come sit, dear child.

I will do my best

To describe 300

It’ll put your mind at rest.

Once upon a time, One became known

To all across the world

Yet no One knew then

That One had a twin; of sorts

One was delighted

Thinking that “!” was by One’s side

Yet a rude awakening quickly followed,

That Exclamation Point always trailed behind.

One drifted along,

A fraction of fear, for

One wanted an addition

Of this, it was clear,

Alone One felt relatively null.

A need to multiply, One felt,

Was its right summation

Was One the final destination?

UNTIL

One terrible shaking shook the world

So unexpected and irrational

When the shuddering settled

One felt naturally at ease

Not knowing the quiet

Was but a tease.

Yet One was but a start,

Another One came calling,

Abstract and complex

People were swept off their feet

Heads all awhirl, 

Some stomachs, too, truth to tell.

Trees fell, waves rose up in the air

Then all was quiet on the front

Staying right and stable.

‘One happened, then once again?’

Questioning arose

One following another One did not compute.

A wise woman named Venn asked

“We should all come together,

A gathering circle.”

They joined as a group

They overlapped in a fury

Theories were thrown about,

Until One shouted, “Eureka!”

Twa claimed its name.

Ideas and events added more to the mix

Tres followed Twa

Then came the rest.

One hundred came,

Followed by Twa hundred in a row.

Last year it was 299,

Then we added One,

And 300 was born.

So, dear child,

300 is here! This equation is solved.”

“But Grandpa,” she said,

Rubbing her eyes,

“Why will next year

Be 300 and One?”

ON THE EDGES

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Bouquet, Van Gogh

On The Edges

The invitation was relatively concise

Arrive at two, the brightest of light

A short path to the house

Brings you up the three steps

A porch sweeps the space

The entryway is here

Knock once, twice, thrice

The door swung upwards

Letting you in

Gusty wind plays on your back

Pushing you inside the two-floor house,

First flight

Swiveled head & searching eyes

The walls were white

And nothing else

The place was bare, except

A sweeping curved stairway centered itself

Polished cherry wood atop

Carved wood posts with intimate designs

Of plentitudes of flowers; a bouquet of railing

Uprooted vines holding these tableaux

It caught your fancy

Drawing you near

Noticing the details grow deeper

As you traveled the veneer

The steps asked you to climb

Even though you initially declined

The curves, the peaks, the depth drove you so

Up the stairway was where you needed to go

Upon the landing, three doors were in view

The first a white blank

The next as vacant as the first

But down the hall, the third door was ajar

Difference cascaded with what could be seen

As you thrust this door open

Into a dream

The walls were a garden

A multitude of colors

An aroma on your lips

Laid out with grace, so serene

From floor to ceiling, white walls a memory,

A facing of beauty only nature provides

Spaced only apart when a window sat between

You count the varieties, the mixes, the hues

You softly place fingers

Coming away with light dew

Turn to the right, to the left

Back again and reversed

Taking in this garden menagerie.

One window tracked you

Wanting you to gaze through

Stark contrast unappealing

A blank whiteness with edges

Of shadows descending

You shiver as you walk back to room center

Sitting down on the floor

In equidistant space

The facing of flowers

Moves you inside

Embracing your vibrancy

Of peace and good faith

Craving Discourse

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I am right.

You are wrong.

It is as simple as that.

I follow the truth path

My way is clear

Nothing you say has meaning

Nothing can change my mind

My enemies are legion

I count you among their kind.

You are wrong.

I am right.

There is no debate in that.

It is evil in your actions

Evil in your words

Closing yourself to reality

So it fits you limited terms

I gather with my like-minded

You’re not worth a second thought

I am Right

    No, you’re not

You are wrong

    No, I am not.

Let’s not agree to disagree

Let’s find some commonality

Let’s understand the price

Segregating into piteous hate

We are deaf along this path.

I am not absolute

Whether right or wrong

The danger is the division

Two sides talking to walls

I will listen to you; please tell me why

Please

Don’t shove your viewpoint onto me

Please

Don’t refuse to hear my questions

Please

Don’t shut me up with condemnation

             Please

Let us deeply listen, for all its worth.

 

Deciding to get lost, in Paris: Psychogeography, Qu’est-ce que ç’est?

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DECIDING TO GET LOST, IN PARIS: Psychogeography, Qu’est-ce que ç’est?

Author’s Note:

Usually, this appears at the bottom of my posts. I’m never really sure if any of you read them. I’ve asked numerous questions that get little to no responses. C’est la vie?  Je ne sais pas.

This came from a #FF Prompt:  Psychogeography on the Fiction Can Be Fun blog.  I’ve mentioned the blog a number of times, as well as its creators, Debs & David. They are co-writing a novel that I can’t wait to get my grubby mitts on. I met them a few years ago during one of the April AtoZ Blog Challenge. If you are new to my world, click on the links. FCBF is always a good read, and the AtoZ challenge is a gratifying, if not sometimes nerve-wracking, feat to achieve. I’m grateful to have gotten to become friends with Debs, David, and Arlee (the creator and curator of the AtoZ Blog Challenge).

For full details on Psychogeography, I strongly suggest three sources to discover this brand new term (to me) is all about. Click above on the FCBF link. Then, click on Icy Sedgwick’s blog. You want folklore, she’s got it. Podcast included.

Third: Google. It does a mind good.

Basics: Imagine a place you’ve visited, or wanted to visit, or make it up, but only traveled by WALKING. No transportation of any type except by your feet. Take in the details. Describe them. Show, don’t tell, gets mixed around here, depending on how you are approaching this: Fictionally or Non-Fiction. You, or your character, is viewing through the lens of Psychology & Geography. Emotions? Details? Epiphanies? Your choice. To join in, please click on Fiction Can Be Fun  and read the “rules.”

I decided to get lost in Paris on the fifth day of my vacation.

Every previous day had been planned out: the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, Eiffel Tower, Rodin’s house and gardens, traveling on the Seine, Notre Dame (pre-fire), following a lengthy trail of Monet art, the Moulin Rouge/ Montmartre  /Place Pigalle. Those were all on my checklist.

Deliberately, I set aside one unorganized day to freestyle explore. No real destination, just walking the streets of Paris, taking in as much as I could. Noticing the architectural adversity of the past and the present. Cobbled stoned lanes crossing or connecting to paved roads.  

After a well-sustaining breakfast at the hotel, I set out with no map. Yes, I was living life dangerously: this was pre-Cell Phones, GPS, whatever. You actually had to talk to a real person if you were off course of your destination. Landlines and payphones the only way to connect beyond your immediate area.

I got on a train at the closest Metro station. Didn’t check where it was heading. First train I found, that was it. The car was reasonably full for a good portion of the ride. A lot would leave, a lot would replace them. Until the crowds lessened, and fewer people got on or off. I waited.

Next two stations, a few passengers left the train. Absolutely no one walked into emptying space. That was my cue to get off and explore the Paris above me.

I was met by paved roads, modernized buildings, and heavy Parisian traffic. I was used to that. Walking in arbitrary directions, I found what I wanted in a brief period: cobblestoned streets, a narrow road dotted with small shops, and relatively light on pedestrians. I crossed the main road and entered the Paris I had envisioned.

Colors were vivid, changing shop by shop. The décor varied as well, most embracing their past roots. I walked, turned corners on a whim, and headed into this, to me, a delightful maze of discovery. Clothing, bakeries, cheese shops, cafes, women’s clothing, men’s suits, every bit of finery well displayed, nothing ostentatious. This wasn’t Le Avenue des Champs-Élysées. I was glad of that.

I noticed a sign for a Picasso museum. Sold. As I made my way there, I found magic.

It was a dried flower shop. Shop doors wide open, arrangements on the outside of the florist shop, the many colors, the many weavings of this wild assortment of flowers, drew me in.

From the ceiling beams hung bunches of wildflowers drying, the stems pointed to the top. The aroma filled the store, a light mixture of scents that I hungrily breathed in. I was not very knowledgeable about flowers. The names, varieties, when they grew best. All that was lost on me.

It was the way each piece was crafted. How the shop could seem disjointed in its exhibitions. But, the more time I spent walking around the uneven aisles, noticing the varying levels of placements, the degrees of color shifting, I could never think of it as thrown together without thought. 

One-piece stopped me. A grouping of dried dwarf Red Roses, in the shape of a heart. I had begun dating a woman a short while before I left NY. We were at the point we both wanted to take the relationship further. We liked each other. A hopeless romantic, I purchased the arrangement. Well wrapped, I left with the package to continue on. A few steps from the shop, I looked back, seeing it all from a slightly different point of view. 

This was art on display, in a fitting setting, along a cobblestone road in Paris.

I continued getting lost, looking for more magic. 

The Misfortunes of Sea Monsters (Part 3)

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NOTE: if you have not read parts one and two, the following will make little to no sense.  I feel you really do need to read it, part by part. Thank you. 

THE MISFORTUNES OF SEA MONSTERS

PART 1

PART 2

… And now ladies and gentlemen, for your reading edification, the further exploits of  The Misfortunes of Sea Monsters, Part 3

Chapter 3: The Sundering and The Call

The Return groaned as the coils of the Hafgufa tightened around the span of the ship. As it tilted and cracked, Young Ned held onto the rail with one arm while he jabbed with his razor-sharp weapon. The many-tentacled creature screamed its rage with each piercing. The thrashing beast of the deep blue continued its crushing actions.

Many of the crew members put up a valiant fight but were soon tossed into the sea…many losing their battle immediately. The stronger swam away; too many were swept under by the beating of one tentacle or another. Capt. Magnus had strapped himself to the wheel of his ship, brandishing his cutlass with accurate and deadly aim. The realization that all was lost for The Return came upon him almost too late.

“Save yourself Young Ned!,” yelled the captain.” The Return is lost.” and, cutting the straps that held him to his beloved vessel, the captain dove into the waiting seas.

Young Ned would not go so easily. As The Return tilted and broke apart, Young Ned continued his battle against his most hated foe. Even dangling from the rail he would not give up. It was not until the ship began to break into kindling that Young Ned was forced to cede this horrible skirmish and find shelter in the cold waiting waters.

Swimming as if his life depended on it, which it did, Young Ned strove to haul himself as far away from the ship as he could. The Return began its descent to the bottom of the sea, being escorted by the Hafgufa. It squelched and ripped and tore apart the once mighty ship, and there was nothing that could save it. Many of the seamen went down with the ship, caught in the whirlpool of the returns drowning, and their own lack of strength. Young Ned, the last in the water, made excellent headway and was saved from going down with the ship.

Yet, there was no land in sight. He had outswum the flotsam and jetsam of the dying ship. As strong and determined as he was, Young Ned could not but grew tired. For a while, he alternated between floating and his failed attempts at swimming for a non-existent shore. It took a lot to discourage him, what with all that he and his family have been through. This, though, seemed to Young Ned to be his last hurrah. The last of his strength ebbing away, Young Ned laid his arms at his side, still holding onto the tool which he still hoped, as he drifted away, would slay the Hafgufa.

************

Young Ned was prodded awake with something sharp in the side of his head. Rousing himself, he got up on one elbow and found himself to be on the dry ground; a copse overlooking the sea. Looking around he was startled at first by the empty landscape in front of him. Poked again from behind, he was equally startled (if not more so) than what was now before him.

” You do know, I would think twice before eating you.” She smiled, and the smile sent shivers through Young Ned… But not in a good way.

to be continued…..

⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗    ⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗    ⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗    ⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗

Author’s Note: 

…and I did not go further. I don’t remember why I let it drop, but drop it went.

I’ve been searching storylines that I enjoyed creating, seeing them through (in this case) a nine-year growth in writing.

READERS:  Would you like to see this continued?

I know I will have to do thorough editing on these three pieces if I do.

Please leave a comment below. As simple as Yes or No. If you can give your reasons for either way, please do. Please No Maybes. Yes or No, & commentaries.

Stay Safe & Healthy

Stu

 

 

 

Alphonse On The Ocean

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©catfacesonbirds.tumbler.com

ALPHONSE ON THE OCEAN

Alphonse, the PengCat, stood on the hot sand. The waves beckoned him to join his brethren in watery freedom. Alphonse, the PengCat, leaned toward the water and groaned. Gaze fixed, turning vacant as the waves rolled in and out. Alphonse began to move towards the sea.

His eyes cleared just four seashells away from the incoming tide. Halting, Alphonse, the PengCat, trembled at the thoughts of the unknown. While looking at the vast ocean, the never-ending ocean, he pictured its fathomless depths, the unseen oppressors, voracious predators of the briny deeps.

Alphonse, the PengCat, flippered himself on his leathery nose, bringing him back to purpose. This brought him back to his reality. Alphonse geared up.

Once everything was in place, his checklist commenced:
Swimsuit? Check.
Goggles? Check.
Triple-Layered Swim Cap? Check.
Flotation Devices on and Secure? Check.
Underwater Defense Gun Mark 1 Mod 0, loaded? Check and Check.

Alphonse, the PengCat, meowed in an undulating force as he waddle-leaped through the wall of waves.

His journeys became the stuff of legends.

Singing Songs of Joy and Peace

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Singing Songs of Joy and Peace*

 

 

We know what strict is

In the counts of the missing

The missing found

Splatters of their former selves

Shatters of what memories we had

Pushing away the viewpoints of before

It has to be forgotten

Or drag us into the mud

Meaningful deaths, but not now

They graphically get pushed away.

 

The clarity of the season was here

Wintery chills drifting along open skin

Particles inappreciable in white shells

Ingesting the soot of the days and nights

The wet becomes us

Slogging through the cold

We’re nothing but walking icicles

Degradation in our feet

 

Mornings must start with songs of Joy

From barracks to fields

To lift any spirit that could be raised

Through enforced blockage of what’s to come

Songs of Peace enforced taking Joys place

Blaring out, amplified unjust

Home is dancing in the street

Yet no dance here; our patterns are strict,

As long as this weather held.

 

Mercurial temperaments of nature

Have no sense of staying put

Wished away, ignoring petty whines

Pleading prayers always unheard

Chilled or sweltering

We melted or froze

In the fullness of time,

The weather changed.

 

Of the frozen deaths

We revoked our hearts

Set to extra toils

Making up for the dead

Of our sweat drenched backs

We camouflaged our hearts

What was left of them, numb or dead.

 

As long as this weather holds

“This” becomes mythical

While we wait; We wait

Continuing to give up lives

Joining the unremembered in their weather passage.

The egregious screws are welded holdfast

As we sing songs of Joy and Peace

Nevertheless the vagaries of weather;

Nonetheless what clasps us to those songs.

 

March on.

Opposite actions enforced.

Strictly.

 

March on.

~~~~~     ~~~~~     ~~~~~     ~~~~~     ~~~~~

Author’s Note:

“Songs of joy and peace” come from Joni Mitchel’s beautiful song, River. I had listened to it only minutes before when I shut off my music app and tuned into that night’s writing group, River River Writer’s Circle. The prompt was “When the weather changes.” The above happened, was shared, and got the suggestion: “Think about expanding this out” (well, “stretching it out”). So, I let it sit, came back to it, and the above is the result.

Thank you, Ms. Mitchel. A sad, but integral song for many.  What I wrote is no reflection on her song. The fourth line of the first stanza stayed with me.

The opening stanza from Joni Mitchel’s River is: 

It’s coming on Christmas
They’re cutting down trees
They’re putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
Oh I wish I had a river I could skate away on

Songwriters: Mitchell Joni
River lyrics © Sony Atv Music Publishing France, Joni Mitchell Publishing Corp, Sony/atv Tunes Llc Obo Joni Mitchell Publishing Corp., Wb Music Corp Obo Jam N Bread Music

 

EDIT: Boy, am I dense!

Joni Mitchel’s River

RiverRiver Writer’s Circle. 

I just realized it. Not planned at all. Doh! Oy! :::palmface:::