Thursday, November 10, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

New Doctor Who art

Though I'm home wit the flu, I've updated my site:

The Chambered Heartfan art, fan fic, various musings
by Celeste Hollister

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Source Key - A Doctor Who/Buffy Crossover Fanfic

Look! A shiny new obsession! That's right, I have now plunged headlong into a new fandom: Doctor Who! However, I haven't forgotten my Buffy fandom roots, and so tonight, it's my great pleasure to share with you new fanfiction:

The Source Key: A Doctor Who/Buffy Crossover
Doctor Who Season Three, Tenth Doctor; Rose Tyler, companion.
Set after Episode 20 (The Age of Steel)
Buffy Season Seven, Buffy Summers, Slayer and the Scoobies
Set between Episodes 10 and 11 (Showtime and Potential)

Rating: PG
Pairings: It’s a space ship. Buffy/Spike and Tenth Doctor/Rose
Word Count: 13,390

Disclaimer: I own nothing, just playing with other people’s toys. Credit for Buffy goes to Joss Whedon. Credit for Doctor Who and Torchwood goes to Russell T. Davis. “Begun by blood, by blood undone,” is a quote from Pirates of the Caribbean. The Vriskian Fellowkind, Frak, Frell, and Senator Frawlis are mine, though.

Enjoy! Currently, I'm working on a longer Doctor Who fiction. Keep checking back, as I'll probably post that one in serials just like I did with the Buffy novels.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

4K Run Playlist

Tonight's songs featured a number of Glee and American Idol songs. A year ago, I would have been ashamed. Not now. I have no shame! Also, Casey James and James Durbin, hello?

So here's what inspired me to keep going tonight:

1. Don't Panic, by Coldplay (I have my towel...)
2. Mrs. Robinson, by Casey James
3. No Air, by Jordin Sparks and some guy (Chris Brown, maybe?)
4. Let My Love Open the Door, by Pete Townsend
5. Question, by The Old 97s
6. You're The Storm, by the Cardigans
7. Dog Days Are Over, by Florence + the Machines
8. Take A Bow, from the Glee soundtrack
9. All By Myself, by Pia Toscano
10. Living For the City, by James Durbin

Saturday, June 25, 2011

3.5K Playlist - Brought to you by James Durbin

It's on random, I promise!

Tonight's run almost kicked me in the tail side, but the music kept my spirits high.

1. Let My Love Open the Door, by Sondre Lerche, from the Dan in Real Life soundtrack.
2. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow (live), by James Durbin
3. Hold On, I'm Coming, by Casey James
4. Uprising, by James Durbin
5. A Thousand Miles, by Vanessa Carlton
6. Don't Stop Believin', by James Durbin
7. Maybe I'm Amazed, by James Durbin (I might not have made it through this song while running, but because James was singing, I kept on.)
8. Love Potion Number 9, by James Durbin
9. Closer to the Edge, by James Durbin
10. Where Is the Love, by The Black-Eyed Peas

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

3.5K Playlist for 6-22-11

Tough run tonight, but here's the Playlist that got me through. This Playlist brought to you by an eduring sense of hope:

1. Will You Still Love Me, by James Durbin
2. Map of the Problematique, by Muse (Why can't they see that when we bleed we bleed the same?)
3. Mrs. Robinson, by Casey James
4. Turn Out the Light, by The New Amsterdams
5. Black Sheep, by Metric (From Scott Pilgrim vs. the World)
6. Rain King, by The Counting Crows
7. Hope For the Hopeless, A Fine Frenzy
8. You Got Another Thing Coming, by James Durbin
9. Let My Love Open the Door, by Sondre Lerche
10. Dancing Queen, from Mamma Mia

Thursday, June 16, 2011

3.5K Playlist for 6-16-11

Tonight's run kicked my slightly more toned buttocks, but I'm 0K with it.

Here's the playlist that kept me going:

1. Yeh Rishta, by A R. Rahman (Indian music makes my soul smile)
2. Don't Stop Believin', by James Durbin (@jdurbinai10)
3. Do You Realize, by The Flaming Lips
4. The Trouble With Love, by Kelly Clarkson, from the Love Actually soundtrack
5. Hey Soul Sister, by Train
6. My Hero (acoustic), by Foo Fighters
7. All By Myself, by Charice (tiny girl - humongous voice)
8. Love Potion #9, by James Durbin
9. Question, by the Old 97s
10. Wild Horses, by The Rolling Stones

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tonight's Playlist brought to you by the Apocalypse

Perhaps in honor of Simon Pegg's visit to Austin's best book store, Book People, tomorrow night, my C25K playlist served up a number of bleak, post-apocalyptic tunes. It's on random!

Here they are:

1. Rain King - Counting Crows (Only because it was a song in my post-apocalyptic fanfic)
2. Star Mile - Josh Radin
3. Poker Face - Lady Gaga (her wardrobe is post-apocalyptic?)
4. Closer to the Edge - by James Durbin
5. Where Is My Mind? - The Pixies
6. Uncle Mountain - The Fire Theft
7. Useless Desires - Patty Griffin (could be about a post-apocalyptic town?)
8. No One's Gonna Love You - Band of Horses (from the Zombieland soundtrack)
9. Panic in the Streets of London - Morrisey (from Shaun of the Dead)
10. Don't Go Breakin' My Heart - Elton John and Kikki Dee (because the song's so upbeat, even zombies would have to get up and dance.)

So that's it for the running playlist. This starts my 6th week in training. 5k, here I come!

Updates the

Stopping in today to update the BookList. I've added the two most recent titles, The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini, and Anthem, by Ayn Rand. I posted a very brief review on GoodReads for Anthem, and you can find that here.

I'm also adding three new desktop images to the Artwork section. This normally happens at the end of a school year: Left Brain checks into rehab, which allows Right Brain to take her turn at the wheel. This year, Right Brain has found inspiration in James Durbin. Rest well, Left Brain. See you in August.

In the meantime, I'm going to be working on Dear Universe, the NaNoWriMo novel I started working on two years ago. Don't know where it's going yet, but I'm eager to find out. My goal is to have a rough draft finished before August 15th, so wish me luck!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

3K Playlist 6-11-11

Tonight I ran 3K in 20 minutes without stopping - a new personal record. I really didn't think I could make it, but when the C25K App alerted me that it was time for the cool down phase, I was surprised. Relieved, but surprised.

Here's tonight's Playlist. It kept me going:

1. Rolling In The Deep, by Haley Reinhart
2. Far Away, So Close (Stay), by U2
3. Suddenly Everything Has Changed, by the Flaming Lips
4. You Got Another Thing Coming, by James Durbin
5. Starlight, by Muse
6. Somebody to Love, by Queen
7. Calling All Angels, by Train
8. The Last Goodbye, by Jeff Buckley
9. You and Me, Her Space Holiday
10. Rain King, Counting Crows

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Poetry of Phrases Poem - Part of Today's Training

We had great fun today, using phrases to teach grammar concepts while writing poetry.
We used Pattern #4
A subordinate cluse
an independent clause
an infinitive phrase and a prepositional phrase (xfour)
and a final independent clause.

Here's my effort:

Breaking Dream

If I wake
I will try
To see over the crowd
To hear between the voices
To speak above the fear
To sing beyond my cage.
This is my breaking dream.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Playlist for Last Night's Run

How does one run without music?

I will never know.

Last night's run, Week 5, Day 1 in my @C25K training, was the best so far. I felt strong, the pace was good, and my kidneys didn't complain, as they are wont to do. I've never run so far at a sustained pace before, and it felt GREAT!

Part of what made it so wonderful was the random playlist on Ziggy the iPod.

Here they are:

1. Where the Streets Have No Name, by U2
2. She Talks to Angels, by The Black Crowes
3. Gimme Shelter, by The Rolling Stones
4. Let My Love Open the Door, by Sondre Lerche
5. Wild Horses, by The Sundays
6. Seed of Wonder, by Jesca Hoop
7. O... Saya, by A. R. Rahman
8. Dog Days Are Over, by Florence + the Machines
9. Find Me Someone to Love, Glee soundtrack
10. While My Guitar Gently Weeps, by James Durbin

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Day 30 - After Leaving Here

For today's prompt, write an "after leaving here" poem. This poem could be about leaving an actual place, a relationship, or even this challenge. We leave many places and things every day without much ado, including rooms, vehicles, people (both those we know and complete strangers), etc. And to make this poem even more interesting is that there is presumably something that will be done after the leaving, whether that's something fun, sad, hopeful, or whatever.

So here's mine:

After Leaving Here

We’ll have cake
with fondant clams
And peppermint pearls
We’ll have a
wheelchair race; I’ll
let you win

And after that
They’ll wheel us
To the seawall
Where we’ll hear
A band play
The Southern Cross
As rockets drift
On soundless pillars
Of sparkling sparks
Above the sea

You and me
Hand in hand
Won’t see our
Wisps of hair
We won’t spot
Our spotted hands
We won’t remark
Upon our scars

Instead we’ll see
An atlas spread
Beneath our feet
We’ll breathe in
The promise of
An ocean that
Folds and unfolds,
A treasure map
Blown by whispers
That call us
Ever home, ever
Loser to some
Endless horizon
Where we’ll know
No more sorrow
Not for us
After leaving here.

Day 29 - 100 (off prompt)

The prompt for yesterday was to write an ode. Maybe I'll write one later today. This one comes from Day 10's form challenge, to write a poem of 10 lines with 10 syllables in each line. I couldn't quite get what I wanted on that day, but managed this morning:


Inside, I’ve tried to keep some kind of strength
Inside, the voice whispers, “it’s all unreal.”
Inside, I wonder if life continues
Beyond this existence, beyond our small cells
Inside this pattern of experience.

Outside, I’ve tried to maintain a fa├žade
Outside, others claim to know the answers
Outside, I wonder if something I’ve missed
Beyond what we feel, beyond what we see
Outside will unlock all this emptiness.

Day 28 - Swan Dive

Day 28 - Posted by Robert

We're only 3 days from the finish line--actually 2 days after you finish today's prompt. Yay!

For today's prompt, write a "the world without something else" poem. If you remember on Day 3, I had everyone write a "the world without me" poem. This prompt imagines the world without something else, whether a person, place, thing, etc.

This one was going to be titled "World Without Windows", but midway through writing it, the poem morphed into something else. I was thinking about the sky diving trip we took two years ago, and that, combined with listening to "Coming Around" by A Fine Frenzy, produced this:

Swan Dive

Falling faster
Fight to untangle
From this latest

I am bleeding
From these old wounds
I’m in need of
Soul treating

Big risk taking
Soar without struggle
Or faking

I’m falling down
To the world
Through the clouds
And I’m—

I am laughing
Becoming unraveled
It’s not as bad
As I’d imagined
And now I’m


Day 27 - In the Stitch of the Lie

Day 27 - Posted by Robert

For today's prompt, take the phrase "In the (blank) of (blank)," replace the blanks with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Some possible titles might include: "In the Heat of the Night," "In the Heat of the Moment," "In the Middle of a Heated Argument," etc. Of course, you don't have to use the word "heat" in your poem title; blame my fever for coming up with all those sample titles.

Here's mine, written after a harrowing moment during the TAKS administration on Thursday. The scary moment had nothing to do with lying but had the effect of shaking loose some creative ideas.

In the Stitch of the Lie

It unravels
At the seams
Where it is weakest
This fibril notion,
These tendril threads
Of trust
Unravel when tugged

Day 26 - Sociopath (Catching up)

Day 26 - Posted by Robert

Today is the final "Two for Tuesday" prompt(s) of the month:

Write a leader poem.
Write a follower poem.

I'll leave it up to you to decide what a leader or follower poem might be. You can either lead the way in figuring that out, or follow the lead of another.

I wrote this on Tuesday, after reading the first few chapters of The Sociopath Next Door, by Martha Stout

It's a villanelle. Or should I say, villain-elle?


He does not wish for conscience
He tied her to a kitchen chair
Remorse to him makes little sense

He does not wish for conscience,
Delights in causing her despair
Remorse to him makes little sense

Feels no desire for recompense
He’s caught her in his snare
Remorse to him makes little sense

Savors each tear, each tiny wince
No cruelty does he leave to spare
He does not wish for conscience

Dismantles every last defense
With cold and penetrating stare
Remorse to him makes little sense

Each slice he makes with precise care
Indifferent, he leaves her there
He does not wish for conscience
Remorse to him makes little sense.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Day 25 - Little Cat

The source of last night's insomnia:

Combined with today's prompt: today's prompt, write a falling poem. This could be about the physical act of falling (like someone tying your shoelaces together), or it could be symbolic falling (such as falling in love). With only five days left (after today), we're quickly falling out of another poem-a-day challenge. Make these last few days count, or at least, fall forward toward the finish line.

And so, I wrote a poem for her because I was not falling asleep.

Little Cat

Little cat
We are well-trained
Please stop driving
Everyone insane
Please stop scratching
At my door
I don’t want to feed you
Any more.

Little cat
Now that’s enough
Please stop gnawing
On my stuff
Please stop hauling
Out my socks
Please don’t make me
Change my locks

Little cat
Now don’t you think
Your toys don’t go
Inside my sink
And neither do
Those lizard bits
One more time,
I’ll call it quits

Little cat
It’s half past three
Why must you always
Do this to me?
I have to work
To buy your fish,
Your catnip mice,
Your every wish.
I need to sleep
Now go away.
You never need me
In the day.

Now don’t you give
That glum grimace
I’m already in my bed
Get off my pillow,
get off my face
Please don’t lie
Upon my head.

Little cat
You win this round
To you I will concede
And I’ll be bound
Forever more to serve
Your every need.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Day 23 - Tinner's Rabbit by Robert

For today's prompt, write a quit doing what you're doing poem. This could be about something you need to quit doing or that someone or something else should quit doing.

I decided to attempt a Bop Poem today, my first ever in this form. Here's more information about Bop Poetry:

Tinner’s Rabbit

Within the night, the walls draw in
I lock the doors, remove my shoes
And burrow deep inside myself
Into the tunnels of my mind
You call down, your voice an echo
You’re always waving your white flag

And sometimes I get lost, it’s true
But there really is no place for you

In the morning, I scrub the floors
and bang the dust from all the rugs
and let the wind scour my walls.
I make myself dizzy busy
While within, a tempest builds,
bubbling to a cauldron of dread.
The warren is presentable
But I cannot invite you in

And sometimes I get lost, it’s true
But there really is no place for you.

I know I have many treasures
That I should be willing to share
And you wait with gallant patience
Beyond my borders, beyond hope
I am not your Tinner’s rabbit
I do not wish to change at all

And sometimes I get lost, it’s true
But there really is no place for you.

Day 24 - A Prayer for Our Children

Poetic Asides, Day 24

For today's prompt, write a prayer poem. Your prayer poem could be religious, but it doesn't have to be. People can pray to make it to work on time. Or to be rich. Or even for the rain. It's completely up to you what you're poem is about. (I pray that everyone is respectful of each other's prayer poems today.)

Here's mine:

A Prayer for Our Children

Give our children curiosity
And willingness to explore
Give them courage to ask questions
Let them always seek out more

Let them seek the higher meaning
To all the lessons we’ve been taught
About love and understanding
Let it be the truth that’s sought

Let them heal our ancient bruises
To the wounded, let them tend
Let them look beneath the surface:
It’s our hearts that we must mend

Let them turn to one another
When in crisis, there is need
Let them look for ways to comfort
Let them turn away from greed.

Grant our children education
So they may learn from our mistakes
Give this newborn generation
All the knowledge that it takes

To understand this great big world
On which we all reside
Is the only world we have to share
We must live here side by side.

Grant our children tolerance
So they may understand
That it is love that makes a family,
Merely people, hand in hand.

Let them set aside our prejudice
And extinguish hatred’s flame
Let them shed our outward differences
And embrace how we are same.

Grant them a deeper wisdom
So they may finally see
That when we renounce our ignorance
Only then can we be free.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Day 21 - Why Do I Write? (off prompt)

When I do writing practice, I use my writing practice "Bible" Writing Down the Bones, by St. Natalie. I hold the book in both hands, and then just let it fall open. I read the chapter, and do the exercise. This always works. Even if I've done the exercise a dozen times, it works. She manages to spark something new every time.

Today's chapter was "Why do I write?" Given recent setbacks to my (novel) writing, I found this one particularly helpful. Hope you enjoy it!

Why Do I Write?

I write because I am empty
I write because I am filled
I write because I am half in love
With every person I meet,
And I want to get to know them
But I am too afraid to speak.

I write because I want to remember
The rich earth scent and rain at Disney
And us, splashing in little pools
filled with light and brushstrokes of sky.

I write because Gary’s Coffee Shop is gone
Someone should remember
The water-stained ceiling tiles
Rippled like tree rings.
Someone should recall
The mingled scents of burnt coffee
And roach bait.

I write to memorialize
my grandparents’ families.
People should know they lived
And laughed and loved and dreamed;
That they are more than dates
Carved upon graves

I write because at the edge of every happiness
There stalks a creeping anguish
That all of this will pass.
This moment, this earth.
I hurt knowing that the combination
of all my daughter’s delicate intricacy
exists only now
One day, it will pass,
and I will pass,
and who will memorialize us?

I write because there are characters
Who reside within me,
people I know more intimately
Than my own family.
Flawed and funny,
I love them so much,
And I want you to meet them.

I write because writing never leaves,
always understands,
is patient,
is unforgiving,
is a continual challenge,
an endless celebration.

Writing is a scream in the face
of constant inconstancy.
I ache that all things lack permanence.
Even this is not enough.
How many written records met with fire,
with rain, with the steady scour of dust?
Even still, I write.

I write because otherwise I am blind,
and writing is a mirror
where I can truly see myself.

I write because if I did not,
I would not be me.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Day 20 - Funundrum


For today's prompt, write a message in a bottle poem. Imagine that your poem is being rolled up and put in a bottle for someone to read. Or if you want to come at it in a different way, think of it as a poem left in a time capsule or hidden away in your sock drawer.

Let's hope this one fits the prompt.


Two cups of wine are too many
Two cups of coffee, too few
Now I have a headache.
What am I to do?

Day 19 - Butterscotch (off prompt, sorta)

Borrowing the prompt "Ain't nobody's business."


At thirteen, she learned she loved butterscotch.
She loved the creamy sweet taste on her tongue.
She adored the crinkling yellow wrappers
and the gold stripe they painted on her tongue.
All the hip kids were eating butterscotch
She fit right in, sucking her butterscotch
Until her pink tongue turned red. And then she
Went to the doctor, and he said, “Eating
Butterscotch is bad for your health, you see,
It blisters your tongue, your lungs and your teeth
So you must stop sucking your butterscotch.

She did right then, or so she said, except
Sev’ral times each week, she forgets the milk,
Or she needs to run back to the office,
Or return that DVD she borrowed
From her sister who lives just up the street.
We all know what she’s up to while she’s gone.
She’s unwrapping her precious butterscotch,
She savors the flavor lodged in her throat.

Day 18 - Like Angry Birds

For today's prompt, take the phrase "Like (blank)," replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title to your poem, and write your poem. Some example titles might be: "Like Superman," "Like Criminals," "Like a Poem," "Like Whatever," etc.

Like Angry Birds

These ignorant pigs
keep snorting at me
every time I fail.
But I won’t give up.
I won’t quit.
I’ll keep strapping
in to this catapult,
when I should
just realize
that I have wings.
It’s time for me
To fly.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Day 15 - Then and Now

For today's prompt, write a profile poem. When I think of a profile poem, I'm thinking of social media profiles. Personally, I have one for Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other sites like the Writer's Digest Community website. So you could write a poem that is your own profile, or that of another person (like what would Edgar Allan Poe or Emily Dickinson put in their Facebook profiles). Of course, I'll accept other takes on the prompt, such as describing a physical profile, or a piece on criminal profiling, etc. As always, the main thing is to write a poem.

Then and Now

Single White Female
Seeks companion
Of moderate means
For hiking, biking,
Romantic nights
Midnight strolls
Political debates

Must love:

Ideal Saturday night:
Dancing, fine dining
Romantic getaway
To a B & B
With a giant antique
Clawfoot tub

Smoking? Not for me…
Drinking? Only socially
Exercise? Three times a week
Nightlife? Yes, please!

Single Mom/Teacher
Seeks companion
Of equal educational level
Must read.
Must love Lord of the Rings
And Monty Python
Must enjoy cats and not
Just tolerate them.

Must love:

Ideal Saturday night:
At home on the couch
In my PJs with
A bottle of Moscato
A chub of cookie dough
And Angry Birds on my iPod
While daughter and her friends
Jam out on Rock Band 3

Smoking? No
Drinking? See above RE: Moscato
Exercise? Ha!
Nightlife? Not anymore…

Day 14 - In the End the Angels Sing (off prompt again)

Still catching up, this is another older poem from a story I wrote called "Anywhere Out of This World." This was the world-saving prayer at the end of the rather long story I hope to adapt someday to a real novel.

Since I'm reading C. S. Lewis' The Last Battle, this poem seems strangely fitting.

In the End the Angels Sing

Kingdoms crumble, rumors of war
Look to the east, the rising star
And wish not for an early sting
When in the end the Angels sing.

In triskele form, we take the three
The rose shall wilt, the Son will see
And fell the final death bells ring
When in the end the Angels sing?

In heather bed, where lovers lie,
When earthen circles fall and die
The King will take his silver ring
And in the end, the Angels sing

Day 13 - The Prophecy (off prompt)

Going off prompt for this day, since I'm so far behind anyway.

I stumbled across this poem while scavenging through old journals looking for ideas. I used to run an Amber RPG, long, long ago, and this was a prophecy the characters had to decipher. I remember writing out the couplets on strips of paper, and as the characters explored in the game, they would happen upon the scattered "scrolls". Eventually, they had to all come together and piece the prophecy together to interpret it. Such fun! And how I miss those days.

After a bit of tidying, here it is:

The Prophecy

The Jester King will take his wife
The two will disappear.

In his place, the Sun will rise
And reign for a thousand years.

Then, at the dawn of a newborn age
A fearsome storm will rise

To rend apart the Unicorn’s child
To blot out the Serpent’s Eye

But lose not hope when the Heart fills with pain
Those who fell will fall once again

And from within the storm’s bleak well
The Dark Queen returns from her Citadel

And from its lofty paradise
The Realm of Light will fall

Its silvered towers crumbled,
As well its pristine halls

Once the storm has been sated
Its venomous fury dispelled

A child born from the lost line
Will emerge as it is quelled

This child, the bearer of hope
Will set the fallen son free—

Those powers will balance chaos
When bound to the Order Tree

Seek ye, Children of the Rose,
To learn your father’s ways

And bring back the young old king
To serve out the rest of his days

The bastard of the Stranger
Will take up arms and fight

This child battles anger;
This child battles night

She will fight the false father
She will crush his bones

She will end his duplicity and
Destroy the holder’s throne.

Day 16 - Snapshot

For today's prompt, write a snapshot poem. When I think of snapshot, I think of a photograph or painting still life. The poem would bring this particular moment to life. However, if you have another interpretation, I encourage you to follow your muse.

Going to try a shadorma for this one.

Prom Snapshot

Points of blood
In her flashblind eyes.
Meanwhile, he
smiles, and she
worries what he'll do later.
Sometimes pictures lie.

Day 17 - Symmetry

Yesterday, we had the snapshot poem.

For today's prompt, write a big picture poem. I know these can be difficult to write, because they cover big ideas or emotions or concepts. However, we're just getting our first drafts out this month, so it's the perfect time to attempt something big--even if your big picture poem fits within a shadorma or fib, which actually might be a great fit for tackling a big picture since the poem expands with each new line.

I love Fibonacci sequences. Recently in class, we did a project in which we had to choose a personal shape; I chose a spiral, which follows the Fibonacci sequence. So here's my Fibonnaci poem:

In the sky,
The same spiral spins
In the arms of the galaxy.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Day 12 - My Mind

And just like that, we're already on to our second "Two for Tuesday" prompt of the challenge. I know this is a prompt that some poets have been craving, while others probably not so much. Regardless, I did this one on Tuesday to provide some options:

1. Write a form poem. This could be a sonnet, pantoum, lune, or even something as sinister as a--dare I say it--sestina.

2. Write an anti-form poem. Just as there are poets who love playing with forms, there are poets who think they are the worst thing ever. That's fine. Express (in either free verse or a prose poem) your feelings on writing in traditional forms.
Just make sure you poem!

So I chose an anti-form poem. Actually, it's a mash up. I was so happy with last year's effort of At Last, by Etta James and The Last Goodbye, by Jeff Buckley, that I decided to try this one, which has been overlapping for a while in the juke box of my brain. If I had one lick of mixing skills, I'd make this a real mash-up. It would sound amazing, I think.

My Mind

A mash-up of Tyler, by the Toadies and
Where Is My Mind, by the Pixies

I find a window in the kitchen,
and I let myself in
Rummage through the refrigerator,
find myself a beer

I can't believe I'm really here,
and she's lying in that bed
I can almost feel her touch,
and her anxious breath

And I ask myself,
Where is my mind?

I stumble in the hallway,
outside the bedroom door
I hear her call out to me,
I hear the fear in her voice

She pulls the covers tighter,
I press against the door
And I ask myself,
Where is my mind?
Where is my mind?

And she runs through her days
Way out in the water
with a smile on her face
See her swimming,
and I wait

And I ask myself
(I ask myself)
Where is my mind?

Day 11 - People Crying In Cars

For today's prompt, take the phrase "Maybe (blank);" replace the blank with a word or phrase; make the new phrase the title of your poem; and then, write the poem. Some example titles might be: "Maybe I should've read the instructions first," "Maybe I was wrong," "Maybe the world is flat," or whatever else y'all can muster.

I've been working on pieces of this concept for years, thinking it might brew into a short story or perhaps even a novel. Being a commuter for six years now, I see all manner of odd acts committed by humans behind their steering wheels, but one of the most common things I witness is people crying. I see it at least once a week.

However, much as I would like to write about what human state in which various people might find themselves inside their cars, this small stanza is all I have so far. Hopefully more will follow:

People Crying In Cars

Maybe we are all the same
People crying in cars
Singing with the radio
and wishing upon stars

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Day 10 - Little Wooden Man

For today's prompt, write a never again poem. Maybe you'll never again fall in love or never again tell a lie. Or maybe, just maybe, you'll never again not write a sestina.(Like that? It's a double negative.) Today, find my poem in the comments below.

As soon as I catch up, I'm behind again. This one is Sunday's challenge and below is my response. Enjoy!

Little Wooden Man

Never again
Will the little wooden man
Dance as he did
When he danced with you

Never again
Will his articulated limbs
Spin as they did
When he spun with you

In our childhood dreams
of watermelon teeth,
He jigs and jumps
To your knuckle bumps

On your pine plank stage
he swings and sways
But never again
Will his steps amaze
As they did then
In those huckleberry days

None of us learned
To play the spoons
and no one sings songs
To old Mr. Moon

The songs they crooned
remain unsung
The cuckoo's springs
have all been sprung

And never again
Will they rewind
And the jitterbug man
Lies on his side.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Day Nine - At 3:37 a.m.

Day 9 Prompt:

For today's prompt, write a time of day poem. In fact, make the title of your poem the time of day. For instance, "5:54 a.m.," 2:23 p.m.," "Midnight," etc. Then, write your poem. Of course, different things happen at different times of day. So have fun with it.

I don't know that I had fun with it, but I'm relatively pleased with what came out.

Here's my attempt:

At 3:37 a.m.

I awake from a dream of a zombie
Attack in some nameless airport,
And the whole dream is set
Set to God Only Knows
By the Beach Boys

Even in a semi-lucid dream state
I can’t seem to pull myself from sleep
In time to escape from my undead
Husband’s grasping hands.

As Katya and I climb, desperate,
Breathless, the last strains of the
Song echo up through the corridors
Of sleep:

“God only knows what I’d
be without you.”

I spend the morning struggling,
Trying to replay the dream so that
It comes out the way it should:

We reach the helicopter in time
I plant a kick to his face, and he
falls backward
into the terminal
with a splatter
like a Rorschach blot

And my daughter and I fly to the
Safety of a mountain compound
Where we are revered as queens.

That’s supposed to be
the way of dreams, right?
One ends bad, you build another?

But what if a shadow of that dream
Still wanders, grasping, gasping,
Still wearing the face he once did
Only now it’s twisted, contorted,
Almost lifeless, but not?

How do you let that go?
Just kick it in the face
And watch it fall?

And I know, too, in the
Heavy-handed metaphor
Department of dreams,
That I shouldn’t continue
To let it eat me up.

At 6:37 a.m.,
I give up on dreaming,
Drag my body to the kitchen
Where I stare twenty minutes
At the blank page of Saturday

I have my standard plans:
Laundry, bills, housework
Normal doldrums for a
Normal day

And yet, ten years later,
I feel that clawing doubt,
And I wonder, what could
I have done then to save him?
What can I do now to escape?

God Only Knows

Day Eight - Love, from Texas

Day 8 Prompt:
For today's prompt, write a ready to celebrate poem. You could chronicle the actual celebration or even write about the anticipation of one. As many of you know, I am in Austin, Texas this weekend celebrating poetry myself, but I'm also checking in regularly here to enjoy the celebration on Poetic Asides.

Here's my offering for a 'ready to celebrate' poem:

Love, from Texas

As we ride along
A back country road
A whole field nods
A sweet hello
In bonnets of
Resplendent blue
And just like me,
They welcome you.

Day Seven - What if?

Day Seven Prompt:

For today's prompt, write a "what if" poem. It could be a "what if" from the past, present or future. For instance, what if no one discovered electricity? (How would we do this challenge?)

This one's an attempt at a concept I've thought about for a while. Pretty sure I haven't fully captured it yet, but it's a rough draft for now. I've often wondered what our lives would be life if we didn't have the chance to travel, and connected to that, how difficult it is to convey travel experiences to the people back home.

Since this poem is about Alaska, I decided to do five interlocking haikus:

What if?

What if we had missed
Denali’s bright majesty?
Where would we be now?

What if we forgot
The eagle’s flight in Seward?
Would our hearts fail us?

If we didn’t take
That rock road to Hatcher’s Pass
Would our hearts not beat?

We would still draw breath
And continue with living
But we would not know

That around the bend
There lies untold mystery
It’s waiting for us.

Day Six - A Very Silly Poem

Picking up the prompt for Tuesday instead (, here's this bit of nonsense:

And now for something completely different…

If by chance, you visit New France
You may just happen to see
A bearded whale, a beatnik snail
Or maybe a blouse having tea

One thing you’ll find at the Coffee Grind
A wildebeest spouting Pope
Beside him there, but babe, don’t stare
Is an expatriate with his rope

Hanged by his neck, beware the Dalek
It’s come for Dr. Who
But it will settle for what’s in the kettle
Perhaps some aardvark stew

In New France, the animals dance
To music that they call frappe
Starts with a beat, knocks you off your feet
And then you take a nap

But wake up in time to finish this rhyme
The zebras play their charades
This little farce is a pain in the arse
Get on with this parade!

All nods to Monty Python and Neil Gaiman for the inspiration

Day Five - Friends

For today's prompt, pick a type of person and write a poem about him or her. To help set the scene, you may want to title your poem as who the type of person is. For instance, you could write a poem titled "Firefighter," "Cynic," "Optimist," "Teacher," "2-year-old," etc. The list is endless.


Remember that episode of Friends
Where Ross makes a T-chart
Comparing Rachel with Julie?

And then Rachel got so mad
When she saw it because on
One side, he’d listed all her flaws

Then she saw the Julie column
And was amazed speechless
At the words: She’s not Rachel.

Well, I’ve done that for you, too;
Made a Pros and Cons chart and
The good qualities outweigh the bad.

In fact, there’s only one thing
On the Cons side, but I’m afraid
It’s kind of a deal breaker.

As Freddy says, you’re my best friend
And for reasons I can’t explain
That supercedes everything else

But maybe it’s something like this:
You’re the one relationship
I haven’t managed to screw up.

I’d really like to keep it that way,
See, because you and me, we’ve
Always been Like This.

Day Four - The Test

I chose to diverge from the prompt path on Tuesday because we had our first battery of standardized tests earlier this week. Here's a bit of whimsy on something high-stakes and stuffy. This one's for my students:

The Test

It is a pain, a dreadful strain
I know they try their best
To work their brains and read all day
This long and boring test

Yesterday’s math began this path
And now they have to read
I say, “Slow down, don’t be a clown.
It’s not a test of speed.”

But some are tired while others are wired
The stories are so long
Poetry, too – you know what to do
Remember: you are strong!

Your strategies, they better be
Right there upon your page
Mental toughness – you’ve got the stuffness
To clear this final stage

You’re almost there, don’t say you don’t care
You’d better stay awake!
Now here’s your snack, this reading TAKS
Is the last you’ll have to take.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Day Three - World Without Me

Here's my response to Day Three's prompt:

World Without Me

The river breaks into sunrays
Shattering in rippling facets
Fleeting it seems, this light’s bright play
But it shines, as it shone,
As it ever will shine
Without me.

Traffic twirls on its concourse climb
A dizzying pinwheel of light
Blurring strands in a string of time
But it turns, as it turned
As it ever will turn
Without me.

Faint fading notes of symphony
Filling the air with autumn song
A falling swatch of harmony
And it plays, as it played
As it ever will play
Without me.

Window panes and cold winter clouds
The splash of light on fish’s scales
Elusive, how they flit and fly,
They’re just like us, like you and I

So what about this illusion?
This fiction we call legacy?
What have I wrought in books or hearts
That will linger here, after me?

My daughter walks, her hand in mine
Catching our family by the tales
Within her, our stories entwined
And she lives, so we live
As we ever will live
Within us.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Day Two (2011) - Postcard From Home

2011 April PAD Challenge: Day 2
Posted by Robert

For today's prompt, write a postcard poem. Make it brief and communicate what it is like where you are. Also, make it personal. My poem is on the way, but I am having trouble producing line breaks with my smart phone. In the meantime, get poeming.

Postcard From Home

Saturday morning, the air smells of coffee, of sweet broom.
The wind rattles the leaves of that tattered old grape vine.
The breeze is holding its breath, like it feels the rain is on its way.
The cat’s on my lap. His claws dig and release, dig and release,
remembering his kitten days.

You remember them, too, right? When we found him and the rest
huddled in their nest? Say you do, even if you don’t.
Say you remember their blind bodies nudging, searching.
Say you remember, because those were our best days.
I think I’m like him, still searching, still dreaming, still waiting
For you.

Day One (2011) - How to Laugh

For today's prompt, write a "what got you here" poem. For instance, write a poem about a mode of transportation like your car, bike, horse, etc. Or write a poem about what "got you here" as a human being or writer (like what got you started writing, perhaps). Or write a poem about what brought you to this blog. Or whatever other interpretation you might have.

My parents recently re-told the story of how they met, so I decided to incorporate it into a poem. It's one of my favorite stories because, after all this time, they still laugh when they tell it.

Here's my first draft effort for the first day of Poem A Day 2011:

How To Laugh

They met in high school
At a record store where they
Made nonsense sentences
Out of album titles:
Get Yer Ya Yas Out at The Kiln House
Death Walks Behind You with A Pocket Full of Miracles
The Man Who Sold the World for Leftover Wine is Paranoid

Then they were friends
Who met at the county fair
Where he got drunk
And threw up
On the Tilt-A-Whirl and her friend left
An enormous red hickey on his neck
And he didn’t even know it was there

Then he dated her best friend
And she smoothed lotion
On her long bronze legs
And wore a copper halter
That made him sit up when he saw her
Come up that sidewalk like a sun-kissed goddess
And he took his arm off the best friend’s shoulder

Then he asked her out
They went to a pizza place
She wore a mini-dress
And when he pulled out the chair
He just kept going, and she fell flat
On her ass
And laughed

Then he reached down and took her hand.

Now we’re sitting on the patio
Drinking coffee and his hand
Still rests with hers
And I say,
“It would have been over
Then and there
If you pulled that on me.”

And He smiles and shakes his head.
Thirty seven years have passed
Thirty seven years of pranks and puns
And sickness and health, and he says,
“That’s how I knew we’d get along
Because right from the start
We both knew how to laugh.”

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New Short Story, and other updates

Much to update today, and since it's Spring Break, there's time to post! First, I've added a plethora of new titles to the BookList. I'm very much looking forward to continuing Kevin J. Anderson's Terra Incognita series, The Map of All Things. With all the political intrigue of Roger Zelanzy's Amber Chronicles and societal tensions as intricate as those in Tolkien's Middle Earth, Anderson gives his readers truly epic fantasy. If you enjoy reading lovingly lush descriptions about high adventure, you'll love this series.

I'm also including more romance in the mix, since I've been at practice writing romantic fiction. Special thanks to Lisa Heflin for sharing Shoe Addicts Anonymous. While it's more chicklit than romance, I find I can sympathize with the characters: one is head over her Ferragamos in debt; the other is an agoraphobic who handles most of her social interactions online. It's a definite fun read.

Which leads me to my latest endeavors in writing...
After several people, my parents included, said they didn't care for Valentine's Day because it's an over-commercialized excuse to spout bad poetry and buy overpriced chocolate, I decided to write a story for a friend who was feeling particularly down about the holiday. I wrote a light and fluffy piece of romance fiction titled Bluebird. Thanks go to Jim, for his inspiration, and to Matt, for his constant support and encouragement. Enjoy!

Bluebird, A Sweet Story for Valentine's

Summary: After a devastating setback in their relationship, Hector and Cora really need Valentine's Day to be really special. However, when their separate plans go awry, someone sees it as an opportunity to step in and take advantage of the situation.

Word Count: 5,225 words
Rating: PG-13
Original story and characters belong to the author. Any resemblance to characters real or fictional is purely coincidental. Re-print or re-post with author's permission only. Lyrics to "Bluebird" copyright by Paul McCartney.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year's Resolutions - The Novel!

Upon reviewing last year’s resolutions, (listed here if you want to point and laugh; I did. I did not do as well as I hoped. Maybe the point is to have a goal in the first place and no so much the achieving it, but I rather like the feeling of doing both.

Last year, I had resolutions in three categories: Personal, Health, and Career. I had dropped Romance from the previous year’s list because I felt that some things must be left to the Universe. There are interesting things developing on that front, but I’ll leave it at that.

One major change this year, I’m moving my Writing Goals from Personal category to Career. I’d like to make some kind of money from writing eventually; therefore, it makes more sense to slide that one to the Career Column.

All right, so here is my 2010 Year in Review and my New Year’s Resolutions for 2011, in very particular order:

Personal Resolutions
Last year, we resolved to cut back on our TV viewing from two hours to one hour during the school week. We succeeded in that, more or less. We lost Lost and filled the gap with Glee (yay!) and Big Bang Theory. One way in which we did not succeed, though, is that we frequently stayed at my parents’ house to watch Raising Hope after Glee, which put us over our viewing limit.

This year, we’re going to have to compromise. Instead of one hour, we’ll split the difference and limit ourselves to ninety minutes of TV. But, we must not get sucked in to So You Think You Can Dance or there goes our whole game.

Last year, we went to Paris during Spring Break. It was the trip of a lifetime. I guess if this was a score card, we’d get a check in that category.

Our Travel Goal this year is a road trip we’re calling 12: Twelve states and Canada from the point of view of a 12-year-old. We are going up the spine of the Rockies to Yellowstone, then into Banff, and back down to Texas through the Midwest. We are going to stay in family hostels along the way so that we can enjoy some of the towns on a personal level, which is what Katya really likes to do.

Our Finance Goal last year was Be Even More Generous! I learned year before last that I never regret giving. Rather, it’s the times we didn’t give that haunt me. I’m keeping this as a lifetime goal: When in doubt, give.

Now the Reading Goal. Last year, I set a minimum of 36 books because I had read 38 last year. This year, I reached the all-time personal record of 46 books! ( I ventured out of my normal comfort zone of fantasy and realistic fiction to include many Young Adult series, which I have enjoyed immensely. This year, I’m upping the minimum to 40 books, and I’m adding that one of them must be Mansfield Park, the final Jane Austen title to complete the goal of reading all of her works.

Health Resolutions
Epic fail in this category. Not only did I not meet any of my goals, I dropped my diet and exercise routines. I have become – eee, I cringe as I type this – sedentary. I quit Curves due to time constraints. I quit the Paleo diet because, well, I got lazy. Same goes for the yoga. If there is a category that needs a kick in the tush, this is it.

This year, I joined a diet and exercise site called It helps you track food stats, exercise, and personal habits so that you can target areas of need. For instance, I know I eat enough sodium to kill slugs and that my fat calorie ratio is an indicator for heart disease. Another bonus to the site is that it helps you set and track realistic health goals.

So in 2011, I’ll be using that site to achieve these goals: One, I’d like to return my BMI to 25. I will lose eleven pounds I’ve gained back over the last two years. Also, I want to run in the Capital 10K with my work friends, so I’m working on a running schedule to prepare for that.

As far as the Paleo Diet goes, I’m going to return to it as I did the first year I adopted it – by eliminating foods from our diet one at a time each month, starting with potatoes, then wheat-based products, and then yellow cheese. Most of the good habits we instituted with way of eating are still with us, so we’ll just target the ones we’ve let slide. With Katya entering adolescence, it’s even more important that she continue healthy habits. She’s what it’s all about.

Career Resolutions
Last year, my primary Writing Goal was to fill one speckled composition notebook each month. I filled ten. The September 2010 notebook is still in my purse, half full, and I have another notebook from class that is full, but much of it is writing prompts I’ve worked with students, so those don’t really count.

I’m keeping this goal because even though I didn’t achieve the twelve I set out for, I still did write a lot – four more than I did in 2009. Katya continues to out-write me in terms of volume and quality, which is amazing and inspiring, so I’ll follow her lead.

Another Writing Goal was to query agents and submit my novel Reprieve for possible publication. Daunting, yes, but I did submit the novel to two agents and managed to create a whole database of agents to query in the future. Sadly, Reprieve got rejected, and I was deeply wounded, but I’m not giving up. I believe it’s a strong book destined for publication.

My goal this year is to keep submitting. Due to the time-consuming nature of this process, though, I’m reserving the task for the summer. I will send three queries a month in June, July, and August.

Two other things that occurred in 2010 that I would like to keep in 2011: Katya and I participated in April’s Poem-A-Day Challenge and National Novel Writing Month in November. We both achieved our goals for those months, and we had a lot of fun doing it.

As for the goal to find a publishing outlet for Katya’s novel, that got sidelined because she decided to re-write it. That led her to getting the opportunity to read an excerpt at the Texas Book Festival in Austin, where she met and spoke with great authors who gave her invaluable advice. Katya met some of her favorite authors this fall at Book People and at the Texas Teen Book Festival with the awesome girls from the Ann Richards School. We’ll keep searching for a suitable venue for Katya’s stories, even if we self-publish.

If I placed 2009 and 2010 side by side, I would judge 2009 as the better year. Even though we lost some dear family members in 2009, we suffered greater losses in ’10. We lost our sweet Papa in June, and my Dad lost his job in October. Katya and I also made some grand changes to our living arrangements, which have led to some adjusting. But overall, we have enjoyed good health, great family, strong friendship, and stability. At least we can say 2010 was an eventful year, and now we’re looking forward to shiny new 2011.