A Quote to Start Things Off
Friday, December 30, 2022
Thursday, December 29, 2022
Friday, November 11, 2022
My brother Keith was born on this day in 1970. He passed away in April of 2013 at the age of 38 from a heart attack while in a nursing home in Elgin. He died a few weeks before he was scheduled to return home to his wife and kids.
Today, he would have turned 52. There is really very little significance to a 52nd birthday, but a few years ago I manufactured a little significance by referring to it as the full deck birthday. This is because a card deck traditionally has 52 cards. Today would have been Keith's full deck birthday.
My brother had social, emotional, physical, and mental health challenges on his brief time here, One could say that the deck was stacked against him. To judge him for his challenges, as many did, would be not only unfair but would rob you of knowing one of the kindest, smartest, funniest people you would ever encounter.
In his short life, he graduated college, fell in love, married and fathered 2 children who he showered love on. While it seems cruel that they hardly remember him, his legacy of kindness, passion, and creativity continues in them.
I was an older brother to Keith, I was also his youth group leader when he was in high school. I guess I was something of a model and an example to him. In many ways he was an example and even a teacher to me and although his life on earth is over the memories and the lessons continue.
Earlier this year, I started 2 sonnets with the same line: The time were given is quite brief. It started as just an exercise, It became much more than that when the 2nd poem became about Keith. As today is not only Keith's birthday but also Poetry Friday. I thought I would share it again here.
Death of a Brother
14 lines after 13 years
Monday, October 24, 2022
Sunday, October 23, 2022
Friday, October 21, 2022
Thursday, October 20, 2022
Sunday, October 2, 2022
Friday, September 23, 2022
Saturday, August 20, 2022
Thursday, August 18, 2022
I am hosting Poetry Friday today for my very first time. I originally said I would wait until Midnight Eastern time (11 P.m. where I live) so that it would truly be Poetry Friday. I have caved and am posting this on Thursday at 11:09 Eastern time as I worked at 2 of my jobs from 6 am to 9 pm (my time) counting travel time and don't want to stay up any longer than I have to asI am also working the same shifts tomorrow. Here's what I have for you ...
Back on June 17th, Rose Cappelli of Imagine the Possibilities shared her amazing poem, Music Lessons for Poetry Friday.
I was not familiar with the form, an etheree, and decided to experiment with it. An Etheree is a 10-line poem that works it way incrementally from one syllable to 10 syllables adding a beat with every line. At One aspect that I enjoy about creating poetry is the freedom to see the world a little differently than everyone else. An ability to make a connection, and then see where that connection takes me.
As I was reading Music Lessons, at Rose's blog, I noticed that right under her poem there was a section embedded in her post stating sponsored content replete with the usual clickbait about insurance rates, medical treatments, and other sundry time wasters. Among the annoyance, I had a flash of inspiration. Why not write an etheree about internet ads. This was the result ...
Don't care where
Singles in Elgin
Meet, Nor do I need to
Know the seven worst mistakes
I can make with my retirement.
There is a search bar for a reason,
I am content to find my own content.
My wife and I have had one car between us for several months now. We were hopeful that we would be working at the same school this year and only found out a few days before the school year started that there would not be a position for me. Fortunately my long term substitute skills are highly sought after and I received an offer to work at a middle school in my wife's district. While we begin to look for a second vehicle, I have been bicycling nine miles down our bike path (each way) to my new school.
When I bike to work these pictures give you an idea of the view ahead of me.
Granted it's gorgeous but it's also fairly common place. Don't get me wrong I love my commute. Most days I see at least 2 deer and some pretty good views of the Fox River but for the most part it's just tree after tree with a couple of towns thrown in for good measure.
But there is also this ...
Yes 2 miles from downtown Elgin there is this castle structure that I believe was brought over from England. Most days I bike right past it often not even seeing it.
Over the past few years I have found myself in a bit of Poetry Renaissance. To me poetry has been my way of finding castles among ordinary things and even making ordinary things stick out like castles.
That's what I have for this week. Let's see what you can add and find out where the adventure takes us.
As you read through what I'm sure re going to be excellent selections this week. I hope you experience your own Poetry Renaissance. Next Weeks Poetry Friday will be hosted by Tanita S. Davis at Fiction Instead of Lies.
Thursday, August 11, 2022
Greetings Friday Poetry People. I just came back from a month volunteering at a camp in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with my family. It was an amazing time. One minor drawback was there was very little access to Wi-Fi and such things and I did not get to read many blogposts let alone participate on any Friday Poetry events.
I did get to perform some of my poetry at a crew talent show so that was good. I didn't write any poetry while I was there and am saving the one I was working on before I left for next week so today I am going back to the archives.
Here is one from 3-11-1993
John Doe rests uneasily
Albeit eternally in the county morgue
Found outside a supermarket
Slumped against the cart return rack
On a different cart now
The contents as generic
Motionless on the table
A poem prepared for publication
The venomous white space atop the page
Leaves the editor no choice
But to mark the work: Untitled
An unnamed man
Alone in a dimly lit parking lot
Breathes his last amid
Unread circulars and candy wrappers
Leaving behind no glimpse of history
No hint of next of kin to alert
Height and weight can be measured
Eye and hair color observed
Blood type determined
Age only guessed at
The death certificate
Marks the cause:
Margaret is hosting this weeks Poetry Friday event at Reflections on the Teche. You can check it out by clicking here. Today is Margaret's Birthday so you may want to congratulate her on that as well.
Thursday, July 7, 2022
It's Thursday night so we all know that mean's it's time for Poetry Friday. This week's festival of free verse, carnival of couplets, and symposium of sonnets is being held at Bookseed Studio.
I went through about 1.3 million drafts or so of this poem before I got this far. I was driving my family crazy with all the revisions. Here is what I came up with ...
The Problem of Good.
I tried feeling good
Feeling good fades.
I tried being good
Being good is impossible
I tried doing good
Doing good is filling a leaky bucket
One exhausting drop at a time
Then I remembered
God is good.
I can ...
Feel His Goodness
Be His Goodness
Do His Goodness
That's not bad.
For more Poetry Friday click here.
Wednesday, July 6, 2022
Friday, July 1, 2022
Thursday, June 30, 2022
I have really enjoyed my short time as part of the Poetry Friday community. Up until a month ago or so, I would just occasionally see links to it on some of the blogs I follow. It wasn't until 4 weeks ago that I started posting there.
I love music, and I have a very eclectic taste in music. There are many things I enjoy about music, but I think overall I am drawn to the lyrics. Today's "Poem" is actually lyrics from a song that I think would make excellent poetry. I think once a month or so, I will share some of these songs here and post them as well to Poetry Friday, which by the way is being hosted this week by Janice at Salt City Verse.
Today's Poem/Song is How Can They Live Without Jesus by the late Keith Green.
Before I reveal the lyrics, a few quick comments about them and the writer. Keith Green was a contemporary Christian musician (CCM) from the mid-'70s to the late '80s who died in a plane crash in 1982. He was a gifted pianist, singer, and songwriter.
This song has a very strong and clear Christian message. It is a message that many may take umbrage with. I don't share it here to be divisive or evangelical. While I agree with the tone and the message of the song, I share it here because I think it's great poetry. I find it thought-provoking, and at the same time, it is enjoyable.
How Can They Live Without Jesus
How can they live without Jesus?
How can they live without Gods love?
How can they feel so at home down here,
When there's so much more up above?
Throwing away the things that matter,
They hold on to things that don't.
The world has gone crazy,
But soon maybe,
A lot more are gonna know.
For maybe they don't understand it
Or maybe they just haven't heard
Or maybe we're not doing all we can
Living up to His Holy Word.
'Cause phonies have come
And wrongs been done
Even killing in Jesus' name
And if you've been burned,
Here's what I've learned:
The Lord's not the one to blame.
For He's just not religion
With steeples and bells
Or a salesman who will sell you
The things you just want to hear
For His love was such
That he suffered so much
To cause some of us
Just to follow, follow
So many laughing at Jesus
While the funnies thing That He's done
Is love this old stubborn rebellious world
While their hate for him just goes on
And love just like that
Will bring Him back
for the few, He can call his friends
The ones He's found true
Who've made it through
Enduring until the end
The ones He's found true
Who've made it through
Enduring until the end
If you are interested in hearing the song, here is a rendition by the CCM vocal group, Glad.
Wednesday, June 29, 2022
I am participating today in the Six Sentence Story Thursday Link Up at Girlie on the Edge's blog.
The basic idea is to write a story consisting of six sentences only. Each week a word prompt is given to base the story on. This week's prompt was: strike.
Down to the Last Strike.
Frank only understood one thing in his life, baseball; everything else was like watching a movie in one unintelligible language with subtitles in another unintelligble language.
Baseball had absorbed his life for too long now: obsessed with it as a kid, endowed with an incredible gift to play his favorite game on a high level, and then lucky enough to get drafted by his favorite team.
His luck and his signing bonus-grubbing wife ran out nearly simultaneously after a career-ending injury before his professional career really even started.
He stumbled at first but soon, Frank was making the transition from player to scout; until he got the news about his Dad's cancer.
Frank only understood one thing in his life, and that was baseball - everything he knew, his Dad had taught him; the greatest of those lessons was you play the game down to your last strike.
Frank knew that life wasn't all peanuts and Cracker Jacks, and was now absorbed with something more than baseball: rooting for the home team.
For more six-sentence stories, click here.
Monday, June 27, 2022
Friday, June 24, 2022
Thursday, June 23, 2022
I hope you are not confused by the title of this post. It is simply the name of the weekly blogging event I am participating in, and the title of my poem which will appear therein.
I did not mean to imply that I was participating in Poetry Friday for the first time. This, in fact, is my 4th appearance in as many weeks. Prior to that, I was an irregular reader of some of the entries through links to some of the other poetry blogs I follow. My blog is not a poetry blog as such, it is more a mixed bag of miscellany in the shape of a blog. It is true that I am certainly on a poetry kick these days. While this is not the first time I have posted on Poetry Friday, this is the first poem I have written specifically with this blogging event in mind.
I really enjoy these blogging events. Back when I was homeschooling my kids, and this blog was called Home School Dad, I participated in weekly blogging events called Three Things Thursday, Works for me Wednesday, Wordless Wednesday, and my favorite the Carnival of Homeschooling. Some of my favorite posts in my 13 + years of blogging were when I hosted the aforementioned carnival.
In a few months, I will be hosting one of the Poetry Friday's which I am very excited about and have already begun drafting. One thing I will put an end to, at least for the week I host it, is this whole Poetry Friday on a Thursday thing. This is very typical of all the blogging events I've ever participated in. If you want to be one of the first posts on the Linky list, and who doesn't?, you need to post the day before. Now I must ask you my fellow existentialists, is it really Poetry Friday when you post it on Pre-Poetry Thursday?
Therefore, When I host in August, my post will drop at 11 p.m central time on Thursday Night. That's because it will be Friday in New York City and if that's good enough for New Year's Rocking Eve it's good enough for me.
I believe that's more than enough pre-amble/rant. Here is my poem for the week ...
For The First Time
Into the middle
Of two movies
They walk into yours
You walk into theirs
You both walk into
What could be
The pivotal scene
Of your lives
Tuesday, June 21, 2022
Monday, June 20, 2022
Thursday, June 16, 2022
It's Poetry Friday again and this is my 3rd straight week participating. Before I share today's poem I'd like to thank everyone for their kind words about The time we're given experiment. I just thought it would be interesting to start 2 poems with the same line, I had no idea what would come from it.
We've been doing some Spring cleaning around these parts and a few weeks ago my wife and daughter found one of my old college writing assignments. It was for a non-fiction creative writing class which I may put on the blog later. On the back of one of the pages, I scribbled a poem.
I Can't Skip.
This week's Poetry Friday is being hosted by Michelle Kogan.
Wednesday, June 15, 2022
Blog Insider: An unsolicited and superfluous look beyond the minutiae
Today's Episode: Draft Status
Back when I started blogging getting to your hundredth post was kind of a big deal. People would celebrate the accomplishment in different ways. When I got there I made a list of 100 people I knew who who influenced me. At 500 I wrote a parody to I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles). Since I consolidated all my blogs here I have been in the process of consolidating all posts from all those blogs here as well. Because of that I'm not quite sure what number post I'm at exactly but I am nearing 1,300 for the ones that have been written or transferred here.
Earlier this week, I discovered a different century mark. I noticed that I have 100 posts here in this blog that are in draft status. That means they are not currently accessible to you. the reader. I was astounded that it was that many.
When I consolidated the 2 other blogger blogs here it also brought over anything in draft status from those blogs.
The most recent of my posts in draft status was from May 26th. Over the past 3 years I have had 35 more identical posts/ They have no title and no content whatsoever. I don't think I was aware that i was leaving phantom drafts
The oldest of my drafts is originally from my sports blog. It is from January 10, 2012 (more than 10 years ago!) and entitled A thought on Harold Baines and the HOF. It was written right after Baines was removed from the HOF ballot by failing to received more than 5% of the writer's vote. Written is too strong of a word as the only thing written was the title of the post. Baines was eventually voted into the HOF on the veteran's ballot in 2019. So since the motivation for my post (expressing my opinion that Baines is HOF material) has been for all intents and purposes been achieved there is really no reason to keep it in draft status.
The most recent of my posts in draft status was from May 26th. Over the past 3 years I have had 35 more identical posts/ They have no title and no content whatsoever. I don't think I was aware that i was leaving phantom drafts. That's more than 1/3 of the 100 drafts and those will be easy to delete. There are other posts like the Harold Baines post that are title only with no content.
The remaining posts are basically in the following categories.
* You Tube videos.
I post quite a few you tube vidoes straight to my blog. Since I have had in the past more than one blogger blog at a time, when I put those videos onto my blog I get a screen shot like the one below.
If I accidentally put the video in the wrong blog it usually gets trapped in draft staus in that blog without being immediately aware about it.
When I moved my sports blog and vlog to this one, I also brought whatever blogs I had in draft status with me, like the aforementioned Harold Baines post.
* No longer relevant, No longer interested, could not do it justice
These are actually 3 very similar situations. In each case I start a post and put it aside to finish. By the time I get back to them they are not worth finishing for one (or more) of the above reasons.
* Work in progress
After I have finished this post, this should be the only category of posts in draft status that remain. These are posts that I am either still working on or do not want to give up completely on.
* Ready to publish/overlooked.
There are a few posts that are in draft status by mistake. When I find those I go ahead and put them into the blog as was originally intended.
100 posts in draft status is not an achievement I ever anticipated achieving. Now that I'm finished achieving it, I'm going to spend a few minutes behind the scenes and unachieve it.
Tuesday, June 14, 2022
Monday, June 13, 2022
Sunday, June 12, 2022
Saturday, June 11, 2022
Thursday, June 9, 2022
I am participating in Poetry Friday for the 2nd week in a row. Last week I contributed this sonnet and mentioned I had written a 2nd sonnet with the exact same first line
One of the many differences between this sonnet and last week's is that today's is an Italian sonnet and the first one was an Elizabethan sonnet. Each one has 14 lines but the rhyme scheme varies. Today's sonnet has the rhyme scheme ABBA ABBA CDE CDE.
Death of a Brother
14 lines after 13 years
Tuesday, June 7, 2022
Friday, June 3, 2022
Tuesday, May 31, 2022
At the end of the Summer I will add a page to this blog with a link to all the books I finished this Summer.
Friday, May 27, 2022
Wednesday, May 25, 2022
Friday, May 20, 2022
I like to apportion 100 days of each year for summer reading. These 100 days generally fall between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends. This year the 100 days start on Sunday May 29th, the day before Memorial Day and end on Labor Day on September 5, 2022. As I mentioned in Moby Dick: My White Whale my only real goal for these 100 days is to finish listening to Moby Dick. I always read at least 10 books during the Summer and expect I'll get at least that many again.
Sunday, May 15, 2022
White Whale - Something that someone pursues obsessively with little chance of success.
In 1993, when I was teaching English Literature while living in Russia I taught the first chapter of Moby Dick by Herman Melville. I had never read Moby Dick before and was only provided multiple copies of the first chapter. The chapter contains probably the best first paragraph of a novel I have ever read. The first sentence, Call me Ishamael is highly regarded as one of the best opening sentences ever written. It is not, however, my favorite opening sentence. That distinction belongs to the first sentence of C.S. Lewis's voyage of the Dawn Treader, "There once was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.".
I have asked Dave from Dave out Loud to come in from out of the loud and read the first paragraph for us.