In Colleen’s words: ‘This poem is created with a 2/4/6/8/2 syllable count for each of the five stanzas. The last stanza is where it gets interesting. You take line one from the first stanza, line two from the second stanza, etc. until you’ve created the last refrain.
I especially like this form because it combines the brevity of syllabic poetry into a longer verse poem that tells a story.’
This is inspired by my photo of the copse of trees. My daughters and I were taking a walk during lockdown. We’d often taken this walk before but this time we stumbled upon a different pathway to the left.
I hope you enjoyed the cinquain garland poem. I’ve never written one of those before. I liked how it told a story! When we drive everywhere we miss so much. It’s great to walk in nature and find little gems.
My new book is coming soon! It is currently with first draft beta readers. There may be some changes and a few more writers to add to the collection.
This Is Lockdown, is a compilation of my diaries during lockdown, plus short stories, flash fiction, and poetry.
Sometimes you have to stop and take a photo! Isn’t this snowman so cute? I spotted him on Saturday in central Cambridge. I was out for a shopping day and this cheeky chappy caught my eye. It was the combination of his daft hairstyle and walking stick that did it. Those twigs are so perfectly perched on his head sweeping over his left eye and his walking stick is firmly planted in the ground. He means business. Ha ha! He really made me smile.
To celebrate his awesome cuteness I decided to write a Tanka especially for him…
For Mr. Snowman
This snowman’s vigour,
Frosty spirit caught my eye,
He winked, the snow fell,
His hairstyle melted my heart,
Sweet guy stay mine forever!
I used the synonyms vigour for power and spirit for energy.
Sometimes you just have to pinch yourself. Colleen’s prompt words this week express my morning breakthrough in such a wonderful way. I’ve been writing my prologue for Book Two of The Curse of Time and I had a BREAKTHROUGH. The words flowed so effortlessly I wanted to do a happy dance. As I was beetling away writing the prologue I suddenly had an unexpected flash of inspiration. I’m going to start each new chapter – (Puzzle Piece,) with a Cinquian! Bring it on.
Wait a minute, I have no clue how to write a Cinquian. Never fear… Colleen is the Queen Bee of mentoring! She is a fabulous source of inspiration and her blog is full of useful information, so without further ado, I popped over to read up on how to write a Cinquain. I discovered there is a reverse Cinquian too. Boy, this is getting exciting! More happy dance! What a morning…
Here is a tiny excerpt (unseen until now!) about Cinquians from the first (unedited,) draft of the prologue of The Curse of Time – Book Two – Golden Healer:
I’m so stressed. My go to when I’m stressed is writing. Poetry. It’s my number one anxiety solution, a bunch of words in a tight format make me feel better. But somehow I don’t feel in the mood for Tanka. There have been too many weird changes for that. I need a new more challenging form of poetic expression. I’ve heard about Cinquian. It’s very formulaic, first line is the title, second line add two adjectives that describe the title, third line stick in three verbs that express action, fourth line are four words that shout out feeling or describe more and the fifth line takes it back to the beginning. Closure. That appeals. The fifth line is a synonym of the first line. Sounds good. If anything will take my mind off my present anxiety this will do it. I feel it in my gut. Cinquain. I like it. It sounds like a cash register. Not that I’m materialistic but I feel a Cinquian coming on. Bring it on!
So to my Cinquain. I’ve used synonyms – Quantum Leap and sign.
That last line was a struggle. I had one of those ‘can I really do this moments.’ But I like a challenge so I didn’t give up. Then I found the word. Auspicious. Oh, I do like auspicious! I hope it brings me luck. 🙂
Any feedback for this novice Cinquian writer would be gratefully received.
Date for your Diary! My paperback is due for release mid April. The pre-release blog tour begins in April with my #ABRSC club pals, followed by a release tour with Neverland Blog Tours. (Jenny Marston is also a #ABRSC member!) http://neverlandblogtours.weebly.com/
Today I’m joining in a new link up for me – Linda Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday. In her words: ‘Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “brake/break.” Use one, use them both, but whatever you do, enjoy!’ Here’s the link to join in: Linda Hill
Ritu from But I Smile Anyway and I were having a blogging chat about our kids exam nerves so that got me thinking that I’d like to write a post and a poem about that…The prompt words sounded pretty relevant to how I’m feeling at the moment. My youngest is going through her GCSE’s and this is such a trying time for her (and me!) as she suffers from exam anxiety. This dates back to her doing her SAT’s. She works so hard, and often I have to tell her to have a break! Well the upshot of this is she is well and truly exhausted and been pretty ill this morning at 6 am. So she needs to press on the brake a bit, slow down, focus less on the exam emotions regarding the exam she has just sat, and concentrate on getting ready and rested for the next one.
So with her in mind and all students taking exams at the moment here is a little GOOD LUCK poem with a crazy touch of humour to cheer you all up:
The Poor Invigilator Needs A Defibrilator
Factor in a break, a well-earned rest,
Press that brake pedal,
Breathe….. It helps to..
Fill your lungs as you count,
Whatever you do don’t vomit it out!
Can you imagine the mess you’d make?
The half-filled exam paper covered in puke,
Poor invigilator’s face turning stony,
Pulse weak, he’s having a bald-headed fit,
‘At least no one’s died,’ whispers some bright git.
Press that brake pedal,
Take a big breath in,
And let it all out,
Don’t rip the exam paper to shreds,
Heads turning as you run out for meds.
Press that brake pedal,
Take a big breath in,
And let it all out,
Don’t turn as white as a sheet,
Tip over your chair, and fall at the invigi’s feet.
I am very busy at the moment editing my book getting it ready for self publishing so with that in mind I will be doing some reblogs of posts that I have enjoyed. Today, its been a tough decision which to pick as there have been so many that I have enjoyed but after much thought I’d like to share with you author Ali Stegert’s inspiring post about young authors. Christopher Paolini started writing Eragon (2002) when he was 15…….. So age is no obstacle, young, old, we’re all in this together! Enjoy.. 🙂
Welcome to the third day of Heena’s 3 Day Quote Challenge:
My focus today is on happiness in its simplest form.
“I felt once more how simple and frugal a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, a roast chestnut, a wretched little brazier, the sound of the sea. Nothing else.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek
Yes this charming quote says it all, happiness doesn’t have to be anything fancy and elaborate in fact often it is the simplest things that give us the most pleasure. We’ve all had those little moments of happiness that leave us breathless in their simplicity, they’re the ones that remain the longest in our memories, such sweet moments to treasure.
Here’s the Goodreads synopsis – Zorba The Greek.
The classic novel, international sensation, and inspiration for the film starring Anthony Quinn explores the struggle between the aesthetic and the rational, the inner life and the life of the mind.
The classic novel Zorba the Greek is the story of two men, their incredible friendship, and the importance of living life to the fullest. Zorba, a Greek working man, is a larger-than-life character, energetic and unpredictable. He accompanies the unnamed narrator to Crete to work in the narrator’s lignite mine, and the pair develops a singular relationship. The two men couldn’t be further apart: The narrator is cerebral, modest, and reserved; Zorba is unfettered, spirited, and beyond the reins of civility. Over the course of their journey, he becomes the narrator’s greatest friend and inspiration and helps him to appreciate the joy of living.
Zorba has been acclaimed as one of the most remarkable figures in literature; he is a character in the great tradition of Sinbad the Sailor, Falstaff, and Sancho Panza. He responds to all that life offers him with passion, whether he’s supervising laborers at a mine, confronting mad monks in a mountain monastery, embellishing the tales of his past adventures, or making love. Zorba the Greek explores the beauty and pain of existence, inviting readers to reevaluate the most important aspects of their lives and live to the fullest.
Laughter’s the best indication of happiness ever invented! We can’t hope to laugh unless we are happy, and laughter has the most infectious quality to it.Happiness can’t exist without sadness, we wouldn’t know what happiness was unless we’d experienced its opposite. And of course there’s nothing like a kiss to make us happy.
If you haven’t read The Perks of Being A Wallflower then I’d recommend that you do. I read it ages ago in 2013 – perhaps I need to read it again – and I rated it 4 stars. Unfortunately I didn’t review, as I read it before I started writing reviews.
Here’s the Goodreads Synopsis:
Charlie is a freshman.
And while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it.
Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can’t stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.
For Writer’s Quote Wednesday I want to highlight a book that I am currently reading, The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson to celebrate staying young at heart, and getting up to mischief for as long as humanely p0sssible!
Here’s the synopsis on Goodreads:
It all starts on the one-hundredth birthday of Allan Karlsson. Sitting quietly in his room in an old people’s home, he is waiting for the party he-never-wanted-anyway to begin. The Mayor is going to be there. The press is going to be there. But, as it turns out, Allan is not… Slowly but surely Allan climbs out of his bedroom window, into the flowerbed (in his slippers) and makes his getaway. And so begins his picaresque and unlikely journey involving criminals, several murders, a suitcase full of cash, and incompetent police. As his escapades unfold, we learn something of Allan’s earlier life in which – remarkably – he helped to make the atom bomb, became friends with American presidents, Russian tyrants, and Chinese leaders, and was a participant behind the scenes in many key events of the twentieth century. Already a huge bestseller across Europe, The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared is a fun and feel-good book for all ages.
The main protagonist is a one hundred year old man, a downright ridiculously sprightly scoundrel.
Here are a few quotes to tempt you to read this novel, unless you already have! Do comment below I’d love to hear your opinion..
“Allan looked at the bus and then at the suitcase, then again at the bus and then again at the suitcase. It has wheels, he said to himself. And there’s a strap to pull it by too. And then Allan surprised himself by making what – you have to admit – was decision to say ‘yes’ to life.”
“When life has gone into overtime it’s easy to take liberties.”
The humour just keeps on coming, and coming even when the main protagonist Allan considers death:
“Imagine that, death was just like being asleep. Would he have time to think before it was all over? And would he have time to think that he had thought it? But wait, how much do you have to think before you have finished thinking?”
So with the sentiments of this book in mind here’s a little quote I’ve written myself:
With each day we get a little older but our minds mock our creaking limbs by remaining youthful, that is the wicked truth of life, and there is no escaping it.
So, like the sea, my constant friend, drift with the tide of life, exalt in the highs and prepare for the lows, but remain in your heart forever young, a humorous scoundrel longing for your next adventure.
To end my Writer’s Quote Wednesday I’m finishing off with these superb quotes that sum it up for me:
“At the age of six I wanted to be a cook. At seven I wanted to be Napoleon. And my ambition has been growing steadily ever since.”
― Salvador Dalí
Just recently I started working in retail as a Christmas temporary. My plan is to earn some pennies to get together a book fund to pay for artwork for a front cover, my promotional, and other expenses that I will incur when I self publish my novel Krystallos in 2016.
I’m not working in Ted Baker as this photo above might suggest, I like to confuse you!
The Abominable Snowman is sticking his rather long tongue out at passers by. A new ploy perhaps to gather customers? Anyway I digress, I’m waffling, back to my experience working as a Christmas temp. This has been a huge departure from my usual daily routine of writing, taking photographs, updating my social media accounts, and of course blogging here on WordPress. What a retail baptism of fire it has been!! Particularly as I am working in a large, prestigious store in a very busy department which happens to be right next door to children’s toys and clothes. The experience has been illuminating in a multitude of ways that I did not expect.
First off you have to walk miles to get anywhere, the shop floor, and stock rooms are vast, and it is a long journey to the staff canteen too, so by the end of the day you feel as if you have had a mega session workout! There is no need to spend money on a gym membership! If you’re like me your water, bubble bath, and heating bills will sky rocket because you’ll soak your weary limbs in a hot tub of bubbly loveliness every night.
The very nature of retail means that you are standing on your feet all day, and if you’re not standing, or walking, you’re climbing up step ladders, (particularly if you’re short like me, and unable to reach the top shelf in the stock room,) or if you aren’t doing any of these aforementioned things you are lifting…. With all of this physical work there is the temptation to sneak into the stock room and take a short sit down for a few seconds on a stool there. The stock room itself is a vast Alladin’s cave of just about everything you can think of, there is even a wall of hangers dedicated to just about every brand you can think of, so the first room of thumb is to befriend the stock room manager as he is a guy you most definitely want on your side.
Thirst, that’s another aspect of working in retail that I didn’t consider. Working in retail is thirsty work, so rule no. 1 is to drink loads of water before you begin, and avoid alcohol at all costs, this I learnt the hard way. Last Saturday I had a very nice Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, Christmas pudding, minced pies, chocolates and a couple of glasses of wine, courtesy of my employer but going on the tills immediately after this gourmet delight wasn’t a good idea, no, I needed a sleep after all that food and alcohol… ZZZZZZ…..
Now this is where I’m going to get a bit silly, but that’s allowed as this is Kyrosmagica blog after all. There is a whole new language in retail that just sounds like gobbledegook to me. I haven’t worked in retail since I was a teenager, I do wish this was just yesterday but in truth my teenage years were a long time ago! Of course this is the case, I have two teenage daughters for goodness sake! Obviously back then things were very different, we didn’t have internet returns, fancy collection services, in fact my memory of retail work is pretty hazy, I seem to remember selling china, lots of it and wrapping it carefully in bubble wrap, and dusting, but did I do much more than this? I worked for a department store called Goldbergs in Edinburgh which doesn’t exist anymore, a bit like my foggy retail experience, so it’s no surprise that when a manager asked me to do recovery…… I looked confused and a bit stumped. Recovery, what in heavens is that? My writer’s mind did a merry dance and came up with all kinds of exciting possibilities but ….. Recovery isn’t giving mouth to mouth resuscitation to an old granny who has collapsed in the store, grabbing a stolen package from a thief, or catching a Christmas mug before it splats on the floor, no recovery, is simply making the store ready for customers, in other words tidying up! That I can do, I think….. Then, there is the Kimble gun, no this isn’t a deadly weapon, well not unless it gets into my hands, that sharp needle has to be kept well away from my fingers and from passing customers, that plastic safety cover is a must. What is the lethal Kimble? It’s just an over sized stapler type device for putting tags on, once you get the hang of it, it’s quite easy! As well as this there are other terms which escape me…. There are a plethora of abbreviations on the rota of work to confuse you, so MT is Menswear till, FR is fitting room, if you happen to be a bit dyslexic and think FR reads FP you’d be in real trouble. Funnily enough that’s just what I did the other day, FP, what’s that, Fred Perry? No read the initials properly Marje…. and I’m not even dyslexic so I have no excuse!
Somehow working in retail has been an unexpected fund of inspiration for me, Yippee!!!! Nowadays I can’t go anywhere without thinking of ideas for stories. The stock room has given me an idea for a short story about an evil stock room guy, that’s no reflection on anyone who works in the stockroom you all seem lovely I hasten to add… Those terms that I mentioned might just feature in my writing too, who knows….
Oh, before I forget to mention it one day we had a customer in the store screaming which was frightening, given the prevalence of terrorist attacks recently. The managers cautiously went off to investigate. I’m not sure exactly what happened and why she was so distressed but thankfully nobody was hurt. Perhaps there’s a story there too..
My highlights up until now have been many but here are my favourites:
1. A handsome young man came and asked for a different size in a garment and asked if he could come to the stock room with me to find it!!! Cheeky….
2. Santa’s arrival, and of course all the excited kids in the toy department which happens to be right next to Menswear, they bring back memories of my two daughters when they were little!
3. Music playing, one day we had a band playing right next to my particular section in Menswear. This was great fun, and put a spring in my step but by the end of the day, I was kind of glad it wasn’t a daily occurrence! No offence it was lovely for a while…..
4. Minor accidents. Yes I managed to stab myself, drawing blood with the Kimble gun that shoots plastic hanging hooks on to caps, and gloves. I nearly became a selling item! Also at the till one of the staff managed to staple her finger with a bog standard stapler, who knows how she managed that? !!!
One day after work I had to walk some more to pick up a canvas for my daughter for her GCSE Textiles mock exam. I ended up walking to the other end of town to find one in my price range. A mother’s love knows no bounds! My poor wee legs…. There was a wizened old lady serving on the till in that particular shop who looked as if she should be well beyond retiral age, poor soul she looked exhausted, it was just before closing. Sympathy.
As I waited for my bus home, I noticed that across the road from where I was standing there was a large yellow skip with two men standing in it, shouting orders to a young man bringing huge slabs of polystyrene packing towards it. The younger man arrived at the skip carrying these potential missiles above his head, and tried to lob the packing at his mates but his weapon was too big and unwieldy to be a useful missile. Watching this kept me entertained and amused on my long, long, wait for the bus….
Well it’s been an eye opener, it really has. Respect to all those shop workers, and the plethora of employees who work standing on your feet all day, you do a sterling job. It’s not easy.
Have a very Merry Christmas, and put your feet up and have a long soak in the tub whenever you can…
My retail work has really put me in the mood for Christmas this year. What about you? Are you in the mood for Christmas too? Have you started your Christmas shopping? Or are you really behind like me? Do tell….
To inspire and motivate all of you sitting exams and tests, I’m focusing on one precious short and sweet word, Shine.I know that my youngest daughter Gina is starting her mock GCSE exams this week so this is especially for her, and all of you currently studying in schools, colleges, and universities. Gina is a clever lass who excels at course work but finds exams pretty tortuous so that’s why I’m harping on about this. if you saw last week’s #MondayBlogs post you will have seen my photo of my eldest daughter, Natasha Mallon’s artwork, this week I’m featuring another piece that she did whilst studying GCSE Art, the above leaf drawing which I have entitled:
One word, but that is all you need. Shine.
This sentiment is also for all those #Nanowrimo writers out there who are insanely working towards their 50,000 words, you have my admiration, respect, and awe. I’m doing a bit of editing and writing short stories quite feeble in comparison but I’ve got a bit of an excuse, well sort of. I’m starting a new job this week, the day before my birthday! So at the moment I’ve got my daughter’s mock exams, a new job, and as well as this I’m waiting for feedback from The Hilary Johnson Author Advisory Service: http://www.hilaryjohnson.com/ regarding my manuscript. How Exciting!
Getting back to my birthday, don’t ask me how old I am I won’t tell you, I’ll let you guess…. I’m not a day over…. ????
I hope to work this new role alongside my blogging and writing but it probably does mean that my posts will not be as frequent as before. This is the moment when I sigh dramatically for emphasis. Such is life, how am I going to pay for Christmas and book marketing otherwise? Still they say Quality is better than Quantity so I do hope that I will still manage to achieve some Quality and keep you entertained.
I’m going to be super busy. Let’s face it pretending that I’m still fairly young takes up oodles of energy. Anyway I do hope that I will shine and remember to keep on top of everything! A friend of mine gave me a bit of a mobile phone tip – she puts alarm settings in her phone to remind her to do what she needs to do, when she needs to do them, I might have to resort to this tactic so I don’t forget anything. I’ll leave off my birthday reminder, I’m not too ancient to remember it’s my own birthday! YET !!!!
So remember to Shine, in whatever you do, achieve your very best, reach for those intellectual stars, give those exams a bit of an almighty ninja whack in the chops!
Shine, Smash, Sock it to ’em!
And same with that #Nanowrimo writing word count, whack it into submission, you’ll have it praying for mercy, I know you can do it!!
Shine, Smash, Sock it to ’em!NANOWRIMO!!
Oh and to conclude this drawn out waffle, here’s my final thought, it’s about driving. Did that topic come as a surprise? There was a clue in the title: Drive Thru Shine. Whatever is Marje @ Kyrosmagica on about now, you might ask? What has the word drive got to do with the word shine? Well they both kind of sound the same, well driving and shining do, and they both take you places. Driving plays such an important part in all that we do, it gives us freedom to go where we want, when we want, and how we want. The word drive is synonymous with ambition. There is no doubt in my mind that passing my driving test was one of the highlights of my life! That sounds a bit sad but it is true, I managed to finally get my driving licence after I got married, I wasn’t seventeen, I was a bit older. But, if you happen to be sitting a driving test right now and you are a bit dreamy like me, you have my sympathy, let’s just say driving tests, examiners and me ended up knowing each other real well. Maybe I should re-write that last sentence it sounds kind of a bit dubious!!! No matter, I like to make you laugh!
So my driving shine tips would go like this:
Don’t ninja punch the driving instructor that will be an instant fail! Not saying that I ever did this, of course not, even though perhaps I felt like it after I found out I didn’t pass.
Don’t worry about no. 1 that’s just me, you’ll be fine, keep focused, pretend that you’ve already got your licence, that the examiner isn’t right there with you by your side, watching you like a hawk, waiting to slam his clip board into the dashboard for that emergency stop.
Whatever you do don’t let go of the all important steering wheel. That wheel is going to take you places, believe me, I’m behind it and if I (the xxxx ? times failed driver can drive you sure can too!)
Don’t hit that brick wall, it really won’t impress the examiner, and it won’t make your parents too happy either, or if you happen to be a more mature learner, it won’t do much good to your bank balance!
Breathe, this is the first rule of thumb for any exam situation, if you forget it you might just pass out, and that is not to be recommended. Take deep comforting breaths, even if the examiner looks at you as if you are a tad odd, he’s not marking your personality quirks, he’s marking your competency.
Do some yoga the night before, light some aromatic candles, meditate, it really does help.