Thursday, April 13, 2017

Nonsense Poems

It’s Poetry Month so it’s time I got off my, “I’m too busy with other things” high horse and did some writing.  If I’m going to write, it’s going to be fun because I am extremely busy, so it’s going to be nonsensical.  I enjoy writing nonsense and reading it too. 

If you’re not sure you know any nonsense poems or not sure what it is, may I direct your attention to the Jabberwocky or almost any Dr. Seuss works.  In these you will find some essential elements to a nonsense poem such as, made up words and silly story-lines.

For instance, the Jabberwocky is riddled with made up words that most can’t even figure out how to pronounce, let alone determine their meaning. 

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.


(from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872)

As you can see in this first stanza from “The Jabberwocky” there are very few familiar to guide us.  There is some description of the location, and there appear to be creatures or things doing some sort of activity, or behaving in some fashion.  Reading more we understand that there is a creature called a Jabberwock, that a fight ensues, and it is slain.  I love how I can let my imagination take me in any direction it chooses each time I read it.

Dr. Seuss manages to use made up words and tell silly stories that can teach and entertain.  For instance, in the Lorax we have many made up names and words.  He tells us of  “Grickle-grass,”  “gruvvulous gloves,” and, of course, the “Truffula Trees.”  He weaves with language creating delicious worlds, and gently pulls us in to take part.

If you’re like me, you may not be quite clever enough to invent words or a language or even a different world for your poems.  So, I choose to write nonsense using the things around me.  Here’s a sample of a poem I wrote a number of years ago while sitting at my desk at work.  I remember I was trying to work out a problem on a file and let my mind wander to all the stuff at my desk.

Nonsense Poem
September 2011

Excellent educational teamwork brings clarity to rocking regional knots.
Spinning paper scribbles integrate quick mail monkeys s
Stacking plastic keys under tables.

Tinker Bell violence, after inspection,
Credits calendars with water trash before folders help index text.

To write poems like this you must be knowledgeable in the parts of speech and all the different ways a word can be used.  For instance, in this piece the word ‘index’ in the last line is used as a verb.  So, as I look around my desk now I can identify things whose names can be used as a noun or verb or adjective.  These are the words you can use to make this type of poem come together.  Here’s another example.

Whirlpool filters swirl around Arizona sugar
Silver magnets multiply root beer carafes
Please refill igloo hot pads.


I wrote this while standing in the kitchen of the office where I currently work.  Once again, I let my mind wander over the words and items I saw around me and put down these lines on a post-it note.

It’s silly and fun to write poems like this.  It’s also a good exercise for your brain to work out how the words for thing can be used to write out sentences. 

I challenge my readers this month to take a few moments to write or read some poetry.  Simply enjoy the words, let your mind wander over them as you read or create them.  If you write anything and would like to share, please leave me a comment.  Or, simply leave me a comment anyway.  I’d love to hear from you.  

Monday, October 31, 2016

HALLOWEEN 2016

It's time for a Halloween Writing Prompt

As per my usual, this is an image selected to give the most tantalizing inspiration.


This image is inspiring to me and I hope it is for you as well.  Here is what I wrote.
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She hung on his every word.  Watching him in the candle light as he recounted the tale of the ghostly form that haunted the old house they lived in.  Never once was she afraid as he spoke, until the end of the story when there was a sudden thump from overhead.

“What was that?” she whispered.

“That? Oh, never mind about that.”  Her father said calmly. 

Meanwhile, she started to shiver a bit and wrapped her arms around her body.  

"Now, you're not scared are you?  There's nothing to fear.  It's just a story and I doubt if it's even true." He said trying to calm her.  But, she was not calm.  Something inside her now knew the truth.  

Leaving her in the shadowy room, her father walked to the kitchen.  Alone now, her imagination took a hold of her.  She began to believe in the story her father told. 

In bed that evening, she lay in the dark, listening to the quiet.  Every noise, no matter how low, no matter how insignificant, fed her imagination. Pictures of unknown evil invaded her mind, voices rang in her head, smells and sounds now confronted her reality.  

A voice spoke.  Was it real? Was it in her mind?  She couldn't tell.  

"Come to me child." The voice called.  It sounded distant and weak.

"Come and find me."  It said, stronger now.

As though in a trance, she rose from her bed and dressed.  Outside, the night air was warm and humid against her bare skin.  The full moon lit up the landscape and glowed in the few leaves still clinging to bare branches. 

She walked.  Barely aware of her surroundings, she walked.  With no understanding of what she was doing, she walked.  Her eyes were open, but saw nothing. 

"I'm here!" The voice cried.

"You have found me!"

She stopped.  She stopped and stood.  She stood  waiting, waiting for someone, something.  There in the moonlight, staring straight ahead, without moving, she stood.

Her only sensation was the cold she felt as the shiver went up and down her spine and the night drew close around her. 


In the morning, her father called her down for breakfast.  He received no answer.  She would never answer him again.
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Despite being pretty busy with non-writing things right now, I do still find enjoyment in writing practice.  Lately, I've been writing stories about my childhood.  These little snippets of stories are fun to put together and are good practice for writing stories about other members of my family.  

Perhaps I'll share some of these with you in the near future. 

So what would you write if inspired by the above image?  I'd love to share your writing.  Please leave a comment.

Happy Halloween!


Thursday, September 22, 2016

First Day of Fall Birthday Writing Prompt


So, the convergence of things today makes it extra special for me.  It's the uncommon occasion when my birthday is on the First Day of Fall.  I woke to a wonderful breakfast with my daughter and we watched a special episode of a favorite show together before I left for work.  Then I decided to write something and found this writing prompt picture online.  Below is my short piece inspired by these two young fishermen.

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“Aww do I have to get up?!” moaned Dave as he hunkered further under his covers.  Only the glow of the digital clock illuminated the room. 

“Yes!” Jason implored as he shook Dave’s shoulder.  “It’s Mom’s birthday and we’re making dinner, remember?!”  Jason stood back as Dave finally peeked out from the covers voluntarily.

“This is the best time to fish. If we wait, they’ll all have swum away.  Now get up!”  Turning on his heel, Jason left the room.

Dave swung his feet over the side of his bed and reached for his pants.  Pulling them on he stood up and fastened them.  Wrestling a shirt over his head, he finished dressing by the backdoor where Jason stood waiting, tapping his foot. 

Down at the river, the sun was barely a glow on the horizon when they threw in their lines.  Now they wait.  And wait they did.  It seemed like forever ‘til one of them got a bite. 

“It’s as if they know how important this is and they’re not going to bite!” Dave exclaimed painfully.  “Why does this always happen?!”

“Just relax.  They’ll bite.”  Jason said calmly as he moved his line a bit.

And who got the first bite as the sun was now fully over the horizon? Dave.  He felt a great yank that jerked him forward.  “Wow, this is a big one!”

Jason dropped his line and reached out to grab Dave’s.  They both tugged and Dave started to reel in the big fish.  They both gasped as the fish jumped fully out of the water.  The sun glistened on its scales as it arched and dove back in, wriggling and pulling.

Excited, Jason grabbed their net and took a step into the cold water.  Dave pulled a few more times and cranked the reel. 

With one fell swoop, Jason caught the fish in the net, “Woohoo!” he hollered!

“We did it! No, you did it!  This’ll feed half the town!”  Jason yelled.

Dave stood there, awestruck.  He’d never caught anything that size before.  All he could do was stand and stare, savoring the moment.  Jason pulled out his camera and took a picture of Dave.  Then he tossed the camera at Dave.

“Hey, get a picture of this.” 


The camera almost fell, but Dave caught it on the way down.  Shaking off his reverie, Dave aimed the lens at Jason and snapped a couple, then put the camera in his pocket.
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I hope you like this little ditty.  I've never fished before and that's kind of why I selected this picture as a prompt.  If you're inspired and write something out, please share it.  

Happy Fall!  Here's another lovely picture for your enjoyment or to use as another prompt.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Writing Again

I've been terribly lax in my writing of late and I apologize for that, mostly to myself.  My writing is largely for myself and I share in the hopes that it will inspire or bring some small measure of enjoyment to others.

In order to spark some degree of creation from my sore and overused brain, I looked up some new writing prompt ideas on the internet.  I found that the blog Creative-Writing-Now.com has some terrific ideas and ways of thinking about a piece which inspired me.

One of the many ideas I gleaned from my rummaging on this blog included different forms for a poem, such as instructions, a recipe and a letter.  The most intriguing of these for me was a recipe.  My brain immediately began scanning for non-food things in my life that could be the subject of a recipe.  My psyche landed on my grandmothers hands.  

This was a natural choice since my grandmother was, and still is, a big influence on me.  Although she passed away about 15 year ago, I still remember many little things about her that made me feel good and loved.  Her hands always fascinated me.  They were never still, always creating something wonderful or doing something helpful.

Here is my recipe for Bang's Hands (the story of her name shall be for another post)
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Bang’s Hands 
By Kimberly L. McClune 
September 12, 2016 

Ingredients:                                             
Heap of Kindness                  
Accumulation of Gentleness              
Plenty of Industry                   
Hours of Play 
Oodles of Comfort 
Abundance of Calm 
Measure of Healing 
Bundle of Love 
  
Directions: 
Blend the kindness and gentleness until warm. 
Stir in the industry until well learned. 
Skim play off the top for hours of fun. 
Mix in comfort to bring a smile 
Fold in the calm until steady. 
Knead in the healing and 
Garnish with Love.
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While this image is generic, it reminds me of my grandmothers hands, riddled with arthritis, as she reached out for mine.  She often took my arm while we walked and I can still feel her grip and smell her perfume.  Writing this small piece churns up an ocean of memories and images that I will gladly rifle through in an odd moment.  

What recipe could you write as a poem?  Or perhaps, you prefer to write a letter or instructions.  I strongly suggest going to Creative Writing Now and looking under IDEAS for a plethora of poem and story prompts.

I'm hoping that this recent jaunt into creativity will spur me on to more and more poems and even a story or two.  Keep writing and leave a comment, I'd like to hear from you.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Back in the Swing in Spring

It's been a terribly long time since I've had the inclination or inspiration or time to put pen to page or fingers to the keyboard for the creation of a new poem, story or other creative writing endeavor.  

Recently, I was inspired by my westward morning drive from Arvada to Louisville.  The Spring in Colorado, along the Front Range, can create a beautiful tableau for one's viewing pleasure.  A particular morning a few weeks ago was spectacular, simple and inspiration for me.

Below is my final poem that will, hopefully, provide an insight into my experience that day.

Daily Masterpiece
By Kimberly L. McClune
May 26, 2016

Springs morning, a blank canvas on the western horizon,
Emerges from the night
Revealing Nature’s daily masterpiece.

Crystal clear blue water color tints the sky
Virtually transparent,
Polished and perfect, like a sapphire.

Clean white paper, cut
As if by a child with scissors
Pasted with sticky fingers,
Creates a rim of bleached peaks.

Dirt, leaves, rocks and sticks
Mixed in a puddle
Tossed by the handful,
Make layers of mottled, hills against the paper.

This, Nature’s daily masterpiece,
Frameless and unaffected by man,
The freedom of creation.

Writing this poem reminded of how much I like a good writing prompt to inspire me to write, even if what I write turns out to be junk.  After all, don't we learn more from making mistakes?

So here's a good prompt to put a spring in your pen:


This image gives me the creeps a bit and also pulls a few good story ideas out of my lazy brain.  For instance, is this the Invisible Man's girlfriend or sister? Take a gander at this and see what ideas you come up with.  Perhaps try setting a timer and seeing what you can come up with in 15 minutes. Or share this with a friend and challenge each other to come up with a 200 word story about this image.  Another good idea is to see how many genres of writing you can use to create different written pieces about this image, a poem, a short story, a caption, a slogan for an advertisement, or even the outline for a novel.

So, keep writing.  Maybe write something from this picture prompt and make a comment to let me know what you came up with.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Lyrics

This is just a fun blog to share some of my favorite Christmastime songs with you and to get you thinking about lyrics and how they can bring meaning to music.  Song lyrics are like poems, and songs are a marriage of words and music, two of my most favorite things. 

The lyrics of Christmas and holiday songs are special.  From the spiritual to the fun loving, all of them evoke certain images and feelings in anyone.  Even those who aren’t religious/spiritual, enjoy these songs because they resonate with joy, fun, love and hope. 

I have a lot of favorite Christmas carols and songs.  Some are favorites because of childhood memories.  Others are favorites for personal or spiritual reasons. 


A Christmas Carol favorite is Away in a Manger.  As a small child I loved that there was a lullaby for Jesus.  I remember singing it to my dolls at Christmas when I got ready for bed.

My parents had a number of albums of Christmas from different countries.  From the Christmas in England album I learned that there was another melody for Away in a Manger. This alternate melody has become my favorite.  The lyric remains the same.

Away in a manger no crib for a bed
The little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head.
The stars in the sky looked down where he lay
The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.

The cattle are lowing, the poor baby wakes
But little Lord Jesus no crying He makes.
I love thee Lord Jesus look down from the sky
And stay by my cradle ‘til morning is nigh.

Be near me Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever, and love me, I pray.
Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care
And fit us for heaven to live with Thee there.

What tremendous memories a song and its lyric can retrieve from hidden secrets that lie deep within each of us.  I find myself singing this song when I feel stressed or out of touch with my spiritual self.  There is a calm that comes from placing yourself  as a child at the feet of ones God.

My favorite Christmas fun song is Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.  This is the first holiday special I remember watching on television when I was little back in the 60’s. 

Nowadays, I love to sing this song with my daughter.  We’ve been signing it since she was tiny.  We always start by singing out the names of the reindeer, that’s her favorite part.

You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen
Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen.
But do you recall the most famous reindeer of all?

Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer
Had a very shiny nose
And if you ever saw it
You would even say it glowed.

All of the other reindeer
Used to laugh and call him names
They never let poor Rudolph
Join in any reindeer games.

Then one foggy Christmas Eve
Santa came to say,
“Rudolph with your nose so bright
Won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?”

Then how the reindeer loved him
As they shouted out with glee,
“Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer
You’ll go down in history.”

Who doesn’t enjoy this simple story?  It’s one of many songs that were turned into television specials for children.  Some others include Frosty the Snowman and Santa Claus is Coming to Town.  These started out as fun children’s songs for the holiday and became endearing, long lasting holiday television shows.  If not for the gifted lyricists, these songs would never have been made into shows. 

Do you have a favorite holiday song, poem or story?  Do you return to that favorite every year to bring the memories, feelings and images back as part of your celebration?

Feel free to share with me in the comments.  I’d love to hear about your favorites.  Happy holidays!  Merry Christmas! Happy Hannukah!  Happy Kwanzaa!  And a pleasant greeting to all who celebrate in any way at this time of year!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Writing Prompts ~ 3 ~

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then shouldn't we be writing those words down somewhere?  Every time I see a beautiful scene or picture of just about anything, my mind wanders.  A story forms or I become inspired to write about it or describe it. 

Writing prompts can be a way to trigger or inspire words from anyone, most especially writers.  It's a great way to practice or even try a different style of writing.  I like to use prompts to help me get started on stories.

When my daughter was very small, she would get a story before bed.  Most of these were made up and most were inspired by an idea or character that she would ask for.  Some things she'd ask me to tell a story about include, a particular Disney Princess, the board game Candy Land, and Strawberry Shortcake (from the children's cartoon show).  

Many of my poems have been inspired by images, nature, or pictures.  Others have been inspired by a person or a particular trait of someone I know, like my grandmothers laugh.  

I have been very lax in writing poetry lately because I was working on writing stories about my uncle who passed away recently. As my thoughts wandered to all the memories lurking in my brain and heart about my uncle, I decided that the best way for me to mourn him was to write them down.

The stories about my uncle are on my Wattpad account in a new work called "Choose to Smile."  Here's an excerpt:

CHOOSE TO SMILE
Every year, around Easter, my family would drive out to visit them. My brother Keith, my Grandma Bang, and one parent would go along with either me or my sister (we had to take turns).
New Hampshire was like a dream when I got to go. On my very first trip I slept in the spare room all by myself. That first morning I remember waking to strange noises outside my window. The sound was rustly and crunchy and huffy. I lay in bed listening for a while until my imagination and curiosity could not be held back another minute. I climbed up to look out and saw three horses wandering around outside my window. They were nibbling at the ground and pushing at each other. They huffed out their noses as though the air was too cold. Finally they sauntered out toward the street.

I knocked shyly at my uncle's bedroom door and said, in an almost unheard voice, "There's horses outside my window. Can I go see 'em?"
All I heard was excited voices from behind the door. In a flash, my Uncle and Aunt were both bolting out the front door in coats and boots.
"Louise, what's happening, honey?" My Dad asked in the dark hallway.
"Daddy, there are three horses outside! Can I go see 'em?" I asked sweetly.
The next thing I knew, my Dad was running toward the door with boots and a coat too. Apparently, the horses weren't supposed to be walking around outside the house.
HALLOWEEN WRITING PROMPT
So, writing prompts can come from anywhere and your response to them can take many forms.  As usual, I'd like to present another picture writing prompt.  

I hope this isn't too scary for you, but it is the Halloween season, after all.

How does this image inspire you?  Write 150 words story or 3-4 stanza poem from this image.  Hopefully you will post this in the comments below and share with me and others.  

Here is my offering from this image:


She’s finally left, thought the evil presence behind the wall.  Slithering toward the mirror, tap, tap, thud, thud, harder and harder it knocked on the wall.  One small crack was all it needed to penetrate the other side and escape.  First the wall, then the mirror gave way to the insistent efforts.

An icy chill emanated from the fractured hole with razor sharp edges.  Slowly, the image of evil appeared from behind the wall.  Staring out from an abyss of darkness, the grayish creature had a visage of resentment and hatred. 

Noises came from outside the room. 

Now’s my chance, thought the entity, slinking back into darkness.

Bursting into the room, a tall, thin and lovely woman dressed in a flowing organdy gown covered in lace and pearls fairly floated toward the mirror, humming.  Seeing nothing amiss, she placed a vase of flowers directly beneath it on a table.


“AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!”

That was fun to do.  I hope you like my interpretation.  Please keep writing.  Use prompts if needed to keep you going.  Also, please share your writing prompt offerings in the comments so others may enjoy them.

Keep Calm 
and 
Keep Writing