So Much Stuff

I have a confession to make. I am a hoarder. I’m not like the hoarders you see on the TV programs that are surrounded by overflowing stuff and trash. My house is roomy and airy. My computer is a different story. I am a digital hoarder.

I compulsively save memes, jokes, interesting lists, screenshots and image grabs, PDFs of interesting articles, short stories and whatnot from the interne, and years of emails. Of course, there is plenty of poetry, mine and others, and a packed file of “In progress” work.

Here is an example to illustrate the depth of the issue. In just one folder in Outlook, I have over 1100 emails from Merriam Webster Word of the Day. I’ve subscribed to the daily email since 2018 and used to save every one of them but finally stopped doing that. Now I only save the odd or fun words, or the words that I can’t seem to hold onto, like “defenestration.” Sure, I know the meaning of many of those words. However, they usually go beyond the common usage of a word and provide the second or third definition or historical usage. I have to have that information available! Right?

This year has been full of health challenges and I’m currently nursing a recalcitrant foot. My ability to walk and stand is currently compromised, and I can’t do much in the house. Instead, I am playing around in my files and working on digital decluttering. It feels good. It gives me the same sense of lightness that I get from dropping off usable goods and clothes to the charity thrift store or getting a haircut. As I make room on my hard drive, I’m also making space in my soft drive.

My hope for myself as well as you, Dear Reader, is that we all have plenty of space in our lives, both physical and mental, to write, make art, and create in all the ways that make us happy.

Names, dates, and pictures
All this data doesn’t mean 
wisdom will follow

*Defenestration:

  1. a throwing of a person or thing out of a window
  2. a usually swift dismissal or expulsion (as from a political party or office)


A few things

One of the best things about Facebook are the memes, jokes, and funny tweets. Well those and the cat videos. One classic meme that I still find funny: You know you’re an adult when you get mad because the grocery store rearranges the shelves. Truth. But I can one up that one. You know you’re old when you get mad because a phone or computer “upgrade” changes the look of your icons.

The last update to my android phone changed my messenger icon and screwed up the settings. I can no longer send or receive pictures or gifs. (Confirmed it was the upgrade when I heard the same complaint from another android phone user.) The pain of this development is exacerbated by the fact that I can’t fix it. Or not yet. I will need more help. I’m getting old. I’m no longer interested in technology for the novelty of what I can do with it. I don’t need New. I just need Functional.

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Further proof that I am getting old was the birthday I had a couple of weeks ago. It was not a milestone year (ending in zero) and it wasn’t a half decade year either. A woman of my advanced years doesn’t need a lot of fanfare. Some friends came over for a low-key pizza party and it was lovely. I did not serve cake. I went with some nice cookies instead. Besides, if the Covid pandemic taught us anything, it’s that we should not blow (and/or spit) on food other people are going to eat. Still, there are rituals to this thing.

I had some potting soil in a small container. I stuck a few candles in the dirt; my friend lit the candles and they sung to me! And There were two children there, ages 8 and 3 and they blew out the candles. It was kind of adorable and a lot of fun.

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Two questions: How do you improve your writing craft? Are you currently seeking publication and need help?

I highly recommend signing up for the Author’s Publish free email newsletter. It is a great resource for finding current calls for submission for poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. There are no ads and I’ve never experienced an uptick of spam as a result.

In addition to calls for submission they offer online craft workshops in various aspects of writing and publishing. Some cost money but many do not. I signed up for their 2021 webinar series. Each month was a different topic with a variety of writers presenting. Next week they are offering a free lecture “Shaping your Poetry Manuscript.” presented by Kim Addonizio. She is the real deal. Check out her poem First Kiss on the Poetry Foundation website.

Wasteland

In response to the Living Poetry Monday Poetry Prompt

Wasteland
America has a waste problem

We waste our people
by failing to stop gun violence

We waste our people
by fighting in the wrong wars

We waste our people
by incarcerating two million citizens

We are four percent of global population
and hold sixteen percent
of all incarcerated people in the world

We waste food
Over twenty million tons of it a year

The road to hell
is paved with rotting vegetables
and gallons of pudding in wrestling pits

I should cook more
instead I drop wrappers and cups
from the drive thru into the trash

We buy, buy, buy recklessly
and throw most of it away
wasting two million tons of trash a year

Don’t look at the plastic unicorn
on my shelf which serves no purpose
If I am not part of the solution
I am the problem

Let’s get radical.
What is a landfill but a cemetery in waiting
No one can live forever
but for those chasing immortality
we will bury you in used plastic
bags and bins sealed with duct tape
Your bones will outlast life on Earth

For more information:
https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-recycling
https://www.vera.org/ending-mass-incarceration

It’s an Honor to be nominated

My lovely poetry colleague and friend, Lisa Tomey of Prolific Pulse has nominated me for a Pushcart Prize.

Since there’s no little “reblog” button on her page, please click here to read about it:
https://prolificpulse.blog/2022/10/18/pushcart-nominations-2022/

Today is a day
that we accept ALL
compliments received.
Oh, we may grin or blush
and give an ‘aww shucks.’
But we take it all in and say,  "Thank you.”

FOMO

This poem was first published in The Fears of Us All: a collection of poems & short stories, Cherry House Press, 2018.

FOMO
I don’t need a pseudo-science charlatan
to tell me that my Fear of Missing Out
and thumbs-up connection obsession is unhealthy.
I always knew other people had more fun than me.

FOMO The Next Big Thing
Chasing the cool I never had, never will.
All of the all ̶ of everything ̶
fiction and non-fiction, Hollywood, D.C., music and sports ̶
It’s more than any one person can know or track.

FOMO Technology
Streaming digital data and entertainment,
endless updates, advances and improvements
have me on a short bus to rage town.
I’m becoming irrelevant.

FOMO Fun
I’ve peered over the edge
of the YouTube rabbit hole
and Googled myself into a Wiki Wonderland.
It wobbles my brain like a roller coaster.
The swirly whirly kaleidoscope makes me dizzy.

The riders on the outside lane of the carousel
reach for the brass ring from the back of a leaping horse.
I used to do that before I was sidelined
by an invisible age line, and motion sickness.

Watching other people have fun
my Fear of Missing Out is manifest.

Have you seen this one?

A while back a friend of mine declared each other Poet Laurette – of a few square miles of our respective adjacent towns. I don’t remember the specifics now but I don’t see anyone in the neighborhood writing poetry so it works for me. If you’re wondering what that looks like, see below. The cartoon was done by John Atkinson of Wrong Hands. I encourage you to check out his witty and often literary themed cartoons. There’s also an interview with him here.

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Hello Again

Dear Diary,
It has been a long time since I have been here. July and August went by in ennui. Then I was held in a tower of medicine and learning, for 22 days. I was not a prisoner, but all of the attendants and guards wore masks and routinely assaulted me with needles, pokes and squeezy things. They called it “getting vitals.” It has left me weak, bruised, and disgruntled but I am happy to report that I am alive!
Every wounded writer needs a hero. I had two. My Lady knight in shining armor with flaxen hair, strength beyond knowing, and her trusty dog stayed in my guest room for a week. They kept me fed, watered and sane.
I look forward to more diary entries, new poetry in to return to life as normal.
Princess JeanMarie

Technology Tanka

My response to the Monday poetry prompt.

The machine age brought
ease, comfort, new ways to war
and a race to space.

What will be our epigraph 
when at last we destroy ourselves?


Author’s Note: Don’t mistake me for a luddite. Some of my favorite things are electricity, WiFi, my devices…. You get the picture. But I worry sometimes about the ethical implications brought about by the leading edge of science. As to what the epigraph will be, that’s up to some alien archeologists to figure out.


My Sins are on Whispers and Echoes!

I am pleased as punch to see my poem Seven Deadly Sins published on Whispers and Echoes.

I submitted this poem for the submission call for Sorta Sonnets, And what exactly are those? Well, here in his own words, W&E guest editor Bartholomew Barker

“I’ve been taking poetry seriously for more than a decade and I’ve been posting poetry to my website for nearly as long. I’ve noticed that in many cases, poems naturally to resolve themselves in about fourteen lines which is why I assume our predecessors, Petrarch and Shakespeare, developed and perfected the sonnet. But getting things laid out in iambic pentameter with the appropriate rhyme scheme is a lot of work. So, that’s why I tend to write “Sorta-Sonnets,” brief poems of fourteen unrhymed lines. If there’s a rhyme it’s only the final couplet. Of course one good Turn is well deserved.

High on Helium

Image curtesy of the Monday Poetry Prompt.

Brightly colored orbs
against a clear blue sky
Smiles for young and old

Guilt for deadly consequences
for marine life eating them.

Did you know, helium is not just for balloons and squeaky voices? MRI machines and super computer use helium. A few years ago there was a shortage of helium in the craft stores and talk of running out of helium. It turns out private companies that extract and sell helium are just running down the stockpile

Free to be squeaky
Just do it responsibly 
From tanks, not balloons