Sunday, October 30, 2016

Your Life as a Poem--my set of results

What a terrific group of comments we had yesterday on Your Life as a Poem!
Each one was wonderful and I loved reading them.  Clearly there can be no "best" or "winner" here;  each of our lives are too special for that.



There were some particularly lovely pieces of writing, and clever uses of form though, and here's my list. YOUR list may vary. We're BOTH right!

 
I know Hank isn't that old, but what a great visual
french sojourn 7:12am
Stagecoach west…Cali.

Just four small words, but packs a punch, no?

Ken Frisbie, Jr. 8:24am
Wife gone
Oh well

Doubling down: eight small words that pack a punch.

E.M. Goldsmith 8:46am
Sick and abandoned
Last Rites
Surprised by Joy

Loved these two lines
Marie McKay 10:37am

Thinking the crap out of things.
Thinking myself out of crap.
Adrienne Kisner 11:00am
Then I read YA and stayed
to write it.

This just cracked me up completely


John Davis (manuscript) Frain 2:04pm
A man of few words.
Except in November. Then,
Fifty-thousand words.



Holy Smokes, I'm grabbing this reader and getting the rest of the story here toot sweet (sic)!

Sharyn Ekbergh 10:28am

sheep farm
shipwreck
Mayflower
murder!
glassworks
Verdun
printing press
Mrs. Cobb
Woods Hole
suicides
Horseshoe crabs
moonlight
wandering
harbor night
land!
sister call
rescue
snowfall

I think we need to know more about this too!
Barbara Etlin 2:06pm
Owl Princess
tulip greeter
skunk sommelier

I love this phrase with all my heart
Karen McCoy 2:27pm

Writing for
The invisible


Our
Kates (Higgins and Larkindale) were great, but both DQ'ed on word count
(it was 25 this time, not 100.)



Here are the entries I particularly resonated with.


AA Greene 7:55am

Student athlete
Student, asunder
Master of counting
Death & taxes (just taxes)
Keeper of books
Keeper of house
Keeper @ school
Axed
Master of self, & books :)

I like the use of punctuation here to add zest to the poem.



Timothy Lowe 8:34am


Scribbler (King wannabee)
Poet (Eliot wannabee)
Guitarist (Garcia wannabee)
Brooding college student (Morrison wannabee)
Teacher (Keating wannabee)
Bandmate (Levine wannabee)
Husband (me wannabee)
Father (writer wannabee)
Writer (no going back)

I love the sense of the writer coming into himself here. We all start as wannabe somethings, right.  And note it's "wannabee" two e's here, like the bee. That's a nice subtle touch to give the reader a sense of flitting from one thing to another before finding the right flower.

Margaret Turkevich 8:50am


Nancy Drew
Mary Stewart
Kurt Vonnegut
PD James
Julia Spencer-Fleming
Martin Walker
and finally,
Curtains for the Corpse
by Margaret S. Hamilton



I love love love the sense of fulfillment here!




Steve Forti 9:24am


Scribbler, scrawler, stories to be
Subs’tute, song spin’r, sorta I.T.
Supervise, salary, ‘soff to work I go
Steve Forti: Super Dad, Sharkly prompt maestro

I love the rhythm of this.  And of course Steve has put his own personal spin on the contest with this. Just wonderful stuff!

Megan V 9:47am

Lost girl wishing for Neverland
Found books.
Flew through school
Then college
Then law school
Took jobs along the way
Joined the criminal justice league

That last line just makes me wriggle with happiness. It's fun and the perfect ending!

charlogo 10:39am

corporate impostor -> no
self-employed renegade -> no
disenchanted educator -> no
rogue writer -> know

I'm a total sucker for word play in these writing contests, and this one is just wonderful.

Elissa M 11:24am

Life's a circle
Not a line
Ever turning to catch the wonder
With pigment
With words
With music
Failing
And trying again
I love that the specific story here is truly the universal story for us all too. And those first two lines are perfect.


Colin Smith 11:45am
Words in German
Words in English
Words in music
Words in books
Word made flesh
Words of love
Words in code
Words yet published
I would have known this was Colin's even had his name not been on it. That's a pretty neat trick to pull off in so few words.


kdjames.com 5:03pm
Dóttir
Sœur
Madre
Reader
Learner
Number Wrangler
Chauffeur
F1 Driver
Personal Chef
Pediatrician
Psychologist
Cat Herder
Dragon
Hermit
She Who Must Be Obeyed
Professional Liar

Doesn't this just make you want to be friends with Kdjames? Yea, me too!



Laura Moe 5:09pm
Struggling to find
My rhythm
When the rest
Of the world
Sings
A slightly
Different song.

Like Elissa M, this entry is personal, and yet also universal. It's the perfect metaphor for memoir: it's about the writer, but it's also about all of us who are reading her work. 


Each entry was lovely; thank you all for taking the time to write, and share with all of us here. Truly a wonderful group of comments to read.


Have a fabulous day!

52 comments:

Theresa said...

Loved reading all of these!

Have a great Sunday.

Melanie Sue Bowles said...

I absolutely loved reading these... I read them all several times. Donna's gutted me. Barbara Etlin had me at Owl Princess. And I wish KDJames lived next door for oh so many reasons. The stand-outs are: Personal Chef and Dragon.

This was very meaningful.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...


Life time as a log line.
Awesome.

Kate Higgins said...

I have too many favorites. This exercise gave me so much insight into the foundation of our reef dwellers.
Oh, I did indicate in my poem that there was a reason I flunked calculus; 25 words, 125 words - whatever.
Other Kate: I guess we are dupliKates!

Brooke Linville said...

I loved the use of books/authors to chronicle a life. After reading that entry yesterday I thought for quite a bit about the authors and books I would use, which was a fun exercise.

CynthiaMc said...

I discovered I can't tell all my life in 25 words or fewer. And that's a wonderful thing to realize. Sorry, Europe and Great Britain - I tried to fit you in there, I swear! For me it came down to where I went and who I was with, and family took up a lot of words.

Love love love getting to know more about all of you!

french sojourn said...


This was my favorite contest yet. Given the fact we've all gotten to know each other through prose and voice it was an honor to be privy to seeing some layers removed as well. There were so many that gutted me and allowed to see so many of you in a more intimate light, and delineating your life was incredible. This was probably the first time I read all the entries more than three times. Well done all.

Why the hell I chose double Haiku is beyond me.

To all the finalists...killer job...Colin I knew it was yours instantly...well played man.

Cheers! Hank

Michael Seese said...

Wake
Dress
Feed, clean up x3, 3x
Football, gymnastics, Scouts, piano, violin, homework
Showers, brush teeth, kisses
BED!
Wine, couch, movie
Pass ou--


Wait.... Did I miss it? Damn! THAT'S the story of my life.

RosannaM said...

Well done everyone and oh, so many of you I would like to take for coffee and listen to your life stories!

Claire Bobrow said...

I loved reading every one of these. The poems make me feel like I stumbled into the attic and found a bunch of letters tied together with string. A correspondence, a feeling of getting to know someone, many someones. So wonderful. Thank you all, and Happy Sunday!

Julie Weathers said...

I'm very sorry I missed this one. What fascinating lives one and all and what a great way of expressing them. Salute.

Kitty said...

Absolutely wonderful writing! Congrats to all :)

kathy joyce said...

So rich! Thanks to all for sharing. Since reading everyone's stories,I'm thinking through my own life from so many vantage points...in short bullets and phrases, of course. The funniest so far is my life through my kids' eyes as they age. (Real quotes: 4 years, holding a nude Barbie, "Mom, if you were naked, would you look like this?" 6th grade, "Buy a decent car and find the fountain of youth." Life is so rich, no matter how you look at it. Thanks for the insights and inspiration!

Cassandra Briggs said...


Totally off-topic, my pre-ordered copy of Dixie Dupree just arrived this week in the mail. Cannot wait to dive into it. :o)

Barbara Etlin said...

Fun challenge! Fun to write and fun to find out more about you fascinating, talented writers.

Owl Princess is a title bestowed on me by our friends' five-year-old son so it must be true. Owls, tulips, and skunk sommelier are all things that have inspired my writing. :-)

Karen McCoy said...

I loved this challenge so much--a beautiful way to share unique perspectives. Thanks to everyone who entered and shared their experiences.

And thanks for the mention! Would you believe I almost cut that line? Shame on me. These contests constantly teach me to take my writing to unexpected places and to trust my instincts.

Donnaeve said...

I loved this peek into everyone's backstory! Like others have said, it was fascinating, and I love the beat of each entry. There was rhythm and rhyming all over the place!

Very, very well done, all.

Yesterday I cut back the canna lilies. Today, I washed my vehicle.

The weather is spring like instead of fall like - it'll reach about 83 or so here today. Porch time later. And...tomorrow is Halloween??? I've bought more candy than needed, so it must be true.

Enjoy your Sunday!

Donnaeve said...

Oops! THANK YOU Cassandra!

Lisa Bodenheim said...

What a great idea this was. And I went back to the comments several times yesterday to keep caught up on the comments coming in and moving into the differing rhythms that showed up.

Laura Moe said...

This contest reveals how poetry is "solved" in infinite ways. I loved reading all these, and how each writer stamped his/ hers with their own textures.

Susan said...

New website design! Love it!

This contest was a lot of fun--what I loved most about it was that it was proof that every life is extraordinary. Every. Single. One.

Personally, I was also thrilled to find my poetic voice again. It's been a long time since I've written poetry, but poetry is music to me, and I'm happy I rediscovered its song.

I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend!

Cheryl said...

I had such a hard time picking a topic. Many of the events of my life are pretty depressing and I just didn't want to go there yesterday.

If I'd gone with a list of authors I've read to the point of obsession it would have been:

Beverly Cleary
Kathryn Kenny
Walter Farley
James Herriot
Stephen King
Robert Heinlein
Margaret Atwood
Thomas King
Robertson Davies
Guy Gavriel Kay
Neal Stephenson
Robert Sawyer

Except that list never ends.

Colin Smith said...

Thanks, Janet! :) This was fun. There were some fascinating and heartbreaking snippets of people's lives in these short verses. In fact, I think this would make a great ice-breaker at writer events. I would love to sit around a table with you guys and hear more about the things so briefly touched on in so few words.

This was a great idea whoever it was that inspired it. Thanks, Janet for spotting a great idea and running with it. I guess that comes with being a good agent. :)

Marie McKay said...

It was so lovely reading the poems yesterday. I enjoyed each and every one. Thank you.

Colin Smith said...

Oh... and are we playing with autumnal themes for the blog? Redecorating for fall? Speaking of which... *eek* we are supposed to be moved in to our new digs by the end of the week, and there are still lots rooms to paint. I'll try to be engaged in the blog as much as I can, but forgive me if I'm absent.

RachelErin said...

Colin,, I think it was a combination of you, me, and Sharyn. I was proposing to you that theater was a perfect gateway drug into fiction using myself as an example, and wrote the bit Janet quoted yesterday. Sharyn took me up on it and wrote one of the pieces featured today.

It was an honor and inspiration to read all your backstories. What amazes me is not just that you all wrote such great things, but so FAST. Many brought tears to my eyes, whether happy or sad. I completely missed the 25 word limit, and so the poem, like my life, suffers from me talking too much.

The challenge also inspired me to listen to the one song from Rent everyone should know: Seasons of Love (which, btw, 8th grade, all the way).

E.M. Goldsmith said...

I loved reading all of these. Would gladly join Colin's table at some writer's event to hear more about all of you. What you are willing to share and spin into yarns. What a truly fascinating bunch.

kdjames.com said...

Awww. I think that's one of the best, nicest compliments I've ever received. [Related: Who are you and what have you done with The Shark?] Thank you, Janet. Melanie, I wish we lived next door too! I'd get to see all your critters every day. Well, and you. :)

Some of these were so moving and all of them were interesting. What an amazing group. I was incapable of being serious (big surprise) and went with the theme of "in her own mind" that Janet mentioned in her list.

Speaking of friendship, I've decided to do NaNo this year. If anyone wants to find me over there, I'm KD James.

CynthiaMc said...

Yet another weekend where I'm playing catchup on blog posts and comments. Well worth it. Hopefully this week will be a little more sane. Hopefully.

The good thing (if there is a good thing) about losing your parents early is you recall all the lovely "you can be/do/achieve whatever you want" conversations and avoid the helicopter parent syndrome because they are no longer there (not that mine would have done that, they were do-it-yourselfers which helped me survive).

When Daughter and I did Godspell a while back, our cast spontaneously started singing Seasons of Love as our warmup song. We sang it at our cast party wrapup. Years later when we run into each other we often sing the first line or two and smile. Great song.

Welcome to the Light, all ye who have been lurking!

And I need to check out Miss Snark.

Timothy Lowe said...

Wow, Janet - thanks so much for such a neat exercise. I admit I almost deleted mine because 1) looking at a poem about yourself is a little like listening to a recording of your own voice and 2) I was over the word count by 5 words.

I guess I let it sit because I figured WTF - glad I did. Now...should I cop to the fact that I misspelled wannabe? Nah - it was deliberate.

Off topic, 80 pages into "Dixie" and my hat's off to Donna - Lord can she create characters that tug us by the gut strings!

Have a great week everyone!

Lennon Faris said...

I loved reading all of these! Thanks, Janet!

Timothy Lowe said...

Off topic off topic - if anyone wants to read a story that rips your breath away, try this one by Joyce Carol Oats. A recommendation from the instructor at a class I'm taking:

https://celestialtimepiece.com/2015/01/21/where-are-you-going-where-have-you-been/

AJ Blythe said...

Amazing stories. We're quite a bunch here, aren't we!

Love the redecorating, Miss Janet... have you run out of walls at home?

Beth said...

Fun. Loved every story.

Clicking on the blog today was a little like walking into my living room to find new furniture. Lovely, but a little unsettling. But then I need to be unsettled once in a while.

Barbara Etlin said...

Re: Skunk Sommelier:

https://www.thestar.com/life/2015/10/16/how-torontonians-can-co-exist-with-their-furry-neighbours-even-raccoons.html

My article about Boomerang is under "This skunk got drunk" at the end. :-)

Craig F said...

Yes, thank you My Queen. So much learned by reading these and the introspection used to write one. Hats off to all.

OT: I wanted to say something witty but the Troubled One struck again last night. The Troubled One is our young male cat. He re-earns that name every few days.

Last night as I was heading to bed he materialized on Kathy's dresser and set off a minor hurricane. I think the heavy glass cup he knocked off broke a toe. Mine not his. So my brain has been foggy all day. It will probably be worse tomorrow.

roadkills-r-us said...

Yesterday was super busy, and by the time I got back to the contest, it was too late. I guess I could have typed it on my phone earlier, but I hate typing on that thing. I was going to include things I have seldom shared in public, but alas...

Janet, maybe next time you could just add a comment that says, "No entries past this line will be considered, but feel free to comment, anyway."

All that said, I agree that this was an incredible set of entries. Thanks for being real, everyone.

-Speaker to Sharks

(Any Larry Niven fans lurking around the reef?)

french sojourn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MA Hudson said...

Sorry I missed this. I spent the weekend in Alabama with the gutsy Dixie Dupree.
Hats off to Donna. She's one awesome author.

This contest was a great idea though. It's great to browse the snap shots of everyone else's lives - a small hint of the infinite variety the world's made up of.

MA Hudson said...

Craig - was the glass looking half full to start with and pretty darned empty once it hit your toe?
Hope you recover soon and your limp disappears AFTER Halloween!

Panda in Chief said...

What a great writing exercise. I feel like I know you all a little better. Have a good week everyone. I will be attempting to get back in my home time zone after being out of it for 3 weeks. Out of my time zone, not "out of it" as if I'd been on a 3 week bender with a case of scotch. Not that that is a bad idea.

Colin Smith said...

Oh, and I just received notification that my little dentist story won the runner-up prize in the contest! Yay!! :D

AJ Blythe said...

~congratulations~ Colin! I don't think I want to read the first place-getter - yours was creepy enough.

LynnRodz said...

I read too fast
and didn't see
this was suppose
to be poetry.

I wrote down words
that didn't rhyme.
If you must know
I was pressed for time.

Can I go back
and redo my lines?
Never mind, off I go for
more wine, wine, whines.

Her Grace, Heidi, the Duchess of Kneale said...

Sorry I missed it.
"Ambidextrous polymath"
Does not fit few words.

Kate Larkindale said...

Perhaps I should have added 'fails to read instructions' as part of my life story… It seems to be a regular occurrence!

Great work everyone. So many wonderful lives to get to know.

Sharyn Ekbergh said...

Too sweet to see my 25 word life story in the best of list.
I'll be working on a Key to Sharyn which I will post on my blog after hunting down some dates.The piece uses true incidents and inspirations from my family tree starting from England in the 1500's to the current day in the White Mountains.
Maybe I should skip the novel and write a memoir.

Barbara Etlin said...

Congrats on winning the runner-up, Colin!

Her Grace, Heidi, the Duchess of Kneale said...

Colin: ignore us.
Go paint your house. We'll be here when you get back.

Her Grace, Heidi, the Duchess of Kneale said...

Colin: ignore us.
Go paint your house. We'll be here when you get back.

Her Grace, Heidi, the Duchess of Kneale said...

Colin: ignore us.
Go paint your house. We'll be here when you get back.

Gypmar said...

I just loved reading all of these. Gave me warm fuzzies for everyone here and made me wish we could all get to know one another in person. Lots of fascinating lives here!