Monday, April 30, 2012
Z words deserve large font and exclamation points. Zebra - ha - too easy.
Zeal - Zeal without knowledge is Fire without Light - Thomas Fuller
Zen - yeah, find your own.
Final poison of the month - Zebrafish - Beautiful with vivid colors and elegant fins, this farflung fish (Pacific, Indian Ocean, and Red Sea) can cause respiratory distress and intense pain. Look but don't touch.
We've learned a lot this month about avoiding death by poisonous means. Basically you don't want to go to sleep - ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ - and not wake up. Good goal. Keep it in mind. Fortunately writing tends to keep us at our desks and away from deadly situation. Keep up the good work my friends.
Saturday, April 28, 2012
Youth is a perpetual intoxication, a fever of the brain - La Rochefoucauld
Yertle the Turtle - classic Dr.Seuss
Teton Yard Sale
aerial tram glides
moose tread below
eyes survey ski slopes
sharp narrow paths
pinball forested run
sit, stand, jostle
ski pants swoosh
buckle clink, velcro scratch
frankenstein boot step
cable car lurches upwards
downhill gondola passes
next level flows
peer down, plot course
spot crevasse chute
a body hurtles
black gloved tree branch
yard sale below
skier retrieves a purple scarf
Finally - Yellow Jasmine - so pretty, so deadly. Then again, don't chew on pretty flowers. I know I've learned that lesson this month. Oh, and Yellow Jackets - try to not aggravate them or you'll be stung.
Friday, April 27, 2012
#atozchallenge - X
Xanadu by Olivia Newton John and Jeff Lynne
A place where nobody dared to go
The love that we came to know
They call it Xanadu
(It takes your breath and it'll leave you blind)
Cheesy movie, but at least it gives us an X word. And yes, there's Xerox, X-ray, and Xylophone
from Roget's Thesaurus - racy, lewd, salacious, erotic, pornographic, adult, impure, obscene, smut, bawdy, filthy, blue. What constitutes an x-rating? Justice Potter Stewart in an obscenity case said hard-core pornography is hard to define, but "I know it when I see it". He did go on in that case to defend the movie in question against further censorship.
Lolita and Lady Chatterly's Lover were considered pretty darn racy for their time and are still subject to censorship issues.
Like many drugs, Xanax, can be poisonous if overused and abused. Prescribed to relieve short term anxiety, it can be quite addictive
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Whimsy - by Joanne Faries
The Bright Spot
Black shoes, blue jeans, gray sky
polka dots a conscious choice
pajama soft, the socks’
white and yellow spots
dance under cuff
touch of whimsy perk
this dreary afternoon
Wasps - Ray's allergic, so we always have Raid Wasp Killer at the ready. Wasps are incredibly lethal with their vicious stinger. Quite scary because reaction time is within an hour.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Vices are sometimes only virtues carried to excess - Charles Dickens/Dombey & Sons
I prefer an accommodating vice to an obstinate virtue - Moliere
Valium - Think Valley of the Dolls, this popular antianxiety drug is a muscle relaxer and can be quickly abused due to fast tolerance development. Valium is often fatal when combined with alcohol and other drugs like barbiturates.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
U is a rather sad letter. I don't have any great U pictures. Umbrella is too obvious. I shall check out other blogs and no doubt be amazed at others' creativity. Then again, maybe they've visited Uganda or Uzbekistan. I take it back - I've visited Utah and it's a lovely state. But my pictures are labeled Bryce or Zion - that's how I think of them, by the national parks we visited.
Unconscious - By undertanding the unconscious we free ourselves from its domination - Carl Jung
Understanding - You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view - until you climb into his skin and walk around in it - Harper Lee/ To Kill a Mockingbird
University - I was dropped by New York University because of bad marks. I was a film major - Woody Allen
My deadly poisons handbook has no listing for U. We are all safe today.
Monday, April 23, 2012
T: Talking The less said the better - Jane Austen/ Sense & Sensibility Indeed, as a writer, it's often better to listen. You can pick up so much good material.
Timing - There is a time for departure even when there's no certain place to go - Tennessee Williams
That's true of some characters - best to write the loud obnoxious sidekick in small doses. Television series on cable have made it a bloodsport - favorite characters are killed with abandon. It surprises the audiences and keeps us intrigued. I'm still not over Adrianna being executed on The Sopranos.
Typewriter - We got this IBM from Ray's folks - grimy & filthy from sitting in their garage. It's now in my office looming above my head, filled with noir tales of old.
Finally, I chose Turpentine. There are far more lethal T poisons, however everyone has turpentine in the garage. It rarely kills because it's painful to breathe or swallow. But, it's a great red herring - make a life appear to be threatened.
Saturday, April 21, 2012
I highly recommend the documentary Spellbound for fellow Word Nerds (as my husband calls our merry band of writers). It follows kids to the national title and is a nailbiter. Fascinating look into the world of spelling bees and the kids who prevail. You'll root for them as if it is the Olympics.
Scorpions freak me out. Growing up in Pennsylvania I heard about scorpions, but moving to Texas meant I could encounter them. In general, they are not deadly, but inflict a wicked sting. Very few bites are fatal, but the venom can cause nerve tissue damage. Apparently they can lurk in corners, climb into shoes, and are not happy if stepped upon. Yikes.
Friday, April 20, 2012
We love to vacation - that's what clinched it for me. Before we even knew each other very well, we traveled to Hawaii and had the best time ever. Bingo - we like super casual, we pack minimalist, and he laughs at my crap. Nowadays, he edits with abandon and supports my writing. That's a rainbow, as far as I'm concerned.
Ray picked our poison - radium. He contemplated rattlesnake, but decided that wasn't exciting enough. (However, I think rattlesnakes are scary. I went to his deer lease one time last August. Hotter than hell but I put on my winter boots (no, not snake boots, I'm talking my winter SNOW boots) to avoid a rattlesnake bite. Great fashion statement with shorts. But hey, did not get bit. ) Back to radium - face it, it killed Madame Marie Curie who discovered the darn element. Nausea, etc - radium is deadly, lethal, and will kill you.
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Anonymous - This period costume movie is rather boring. Who really wrote Shakespeare's plays? After watching this mess you won't care. I just couldn't get into the alleged intrigues of the court. I normally like Vanessa Redgrave, but even she didn't keep me captivated as the queen. Better to go read a Shakespeare play than watch this snoozefest.
Rango - rather weird animated movie. Funny, clever, but above the heads of kids. Johnny Depp voices the bizarre lizard who's finding himself on an existential journey. He travels to the Old West and is annointed sheriff. It's all zany and wild and there are a lot of good lines, as like Shane - there's a battle between good and evil. Plenty of pop culture references abound and kept me amused. Kids probably like the colors and action, but I question whether they really follow the story. Whatever - it's fun.
Being Elmo - Kevin Clash grew up in Baltimore, fell in love with puppeteering and achieved his highest dream - working with Jim Henson and the Muppets on Sesame Street. Even more amazing, he developed one of the most beloved characters ever - Elmo, and decided Elmo would stand for love. This documentary is endearing and a true feel good story. Kevin, now in his 50s, seems like a really nice man who's creative, hardworking, and still can't believe it all himself. His parents were supportive all the way through, and watching kids' faces when Elmo appears is worth the show. Excellent flick.
Portlandia - just started watching this series and it's hysterical. Fred Armissen and others from SNL fame all send up the hippy dippy vibe of Portland (not Seattle). Whether it's questioning a waitress on the origins of the farm raised chicken, or working at a store but not wanting to sell product, there are a ton of laughs in the 20 minute episodes. Truly on the mark snarky and trendy. Love it.
Queue up the poison of the day - not quinine -Quaaludes - No longer available in the American market, quaaludes (generally pill form) were taken to relieve anxiety and induce sleep. However, overdosing is easy and reaction time is quick.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Purple - great color and what better book to read than Harold and the Purple Crayon? Now that's a classic.
Poetry - To have great poets, there must be great audiences, too - Walt Whitman
The best craftsmanship always leaves holes and gaps ... so that something that is not in the poem can creep, crawl, flash, or thunder in - Dylan Thomas
an original poem:
Tools to Trade
nefarious needle nose pliers
like wielding chop sticks
clumsy hands contort
hammer never hits the nail
random finger mashed
polka dotted wall signals
unlevel level usage
left-handed skill set
never garnered praise
proof in writing
blue inked smear
Poison P -Puff adder. This venomous snake warns by inflating its body and hissing loudly. It will stand its ground and not flee. Rudyard Kipling books encountered the puff's cousin - the saw scaled viper in Rikki-Tikki-Tavi.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Be very wary of opinions that flatter your self esteem - Bertrand Russell
Opportunity - A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds - Francis Bacon
This coud but have happened once:
and we missed it;lost it forever - Robert Browning
In the world of publishing today, it is up to the author to take advantage of any and all opportunity, that's for sure.
Oleander or Opium for my deadly O dose - I chose opium. Poppies, a field of poppies from Wizard of Oz put our heroes to sleep until the Good Witch made it snow. Then they awoke from their drugged state. The entire nervous system is depressed and a fatal reaction can occur in 2-4 hours. Alas, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll wa supposedly created from his opium high, and the caterpillar's hookah was filled with the drug. Go Ask Alice why she's ten feet tall........
Monday, April 16, 2012
smudge marks shade track walls
single Earnhart flag flaps for no one
vendor circus hauled wares
down the highway
another venue, another dollar
beer cans recycled
waves of workers combed grounds
plucked trash, bags compacted
lone trailer leans
forlorn fan abandoned post
cows graze nearby
engine roar memories
echo in open field
Saturday, April 14, 2012
boo at the zoo, fright festival
celebration of the dark
fanciful depictions, death and evil
wrapped in orange and black
candy corn gift bags
until the storm year
lightning struck grounds
surge busting phenomenon
released cage doors
rivulets of blood
(note - the rhino pictured is safely ensconced in the Dallas Zoo. The picture was taken on a lovely fall day)Next up -
shadows creep, engulf my brain in scattershot of shoulds
I slouch, encumbered by chance phrases, negative clues
refuse to connect, yet I'm captured, avalanche brews
while I grit my teeth, emit nothing, omit nothing
bleak landscape, bereft of pastels, mirror image
reflects jagged angles, shorn composure
immersed in shadows
(rather dark - maybe I should be ensconced in the Dallas Zoo)
Fun fact -in the 1800s, the hatting industry used mercury in shaping felt hats. Mad Hatter indeed - insane from breathing mercury fumes.
Friday, April 13, 2012
I decided to post an original poem I wrote on the subject:
Probability of Love
To differentiate the probability
of love for you
versus a fraction of past loves
subscribe to the condition of insanity
add, subtract, divide
a whim, a dream, a fantasy
a cosine or a tangent
read a lot of words
don’t remember the angle
story arc’s the same
probability of an x
often left to dangle
measurements in microns
days, weeks, and months
factor in a light source
sound, too slow, it’s mush
smile and agree
love’s a graduate course
Some might say, Love itself is a poison. However, today I chose the lovely Lily of the Valley.
White bell shaped flowers should be enjoyed from afar. All parts of the plant are toxic as well as the water in which cut flowers are kept. If ingested, reaction is immediate with severe stomach issues. Sadly, the plant can be mistaken for wild garlic and put into soup. Uh-oh.
We must love one another or die - W.H. Auden
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
"Hi, I'm Mike Wallace"
Those words struck fear in anyone answering a door or phone. Mr. Wallace passed away this weekend at age 93. Up until about 89, he was working hard for 60 Minutes with piercing questions, astute responses, and a fearless nose for news.
Anyone considering journalism as a major or career should watch every episode of 60 Minutes. Study Mike Wallace, Ed Bradley, Harry Reasoner, Dan Rather - those were from the gut intrepid reporters who earned their stripes on battlefield and political field coverage.
As a kid, I contemplated journalism as a major. I was a reporter for the high school North Penn Knight Crier. Sadly, I did like money and became a business major with a minor in marketing. Tough choices in a tough economy.
Caution to a young reporter. If your mother says she loves you, check on it - Ed Eulenberg.
Get if first, get it right - William Randolph Hearst
You're only as good as your last story - Helen Thomas
Poisons seem appropriate for this post - not many J choices, but Jellyfish totally creep me out.
Aquatic creatures with dangling tentacles, often unnoticed until the rash of stings. Mildly irritating to deathly lethal. The initial sting reaction can cause more poisons to be released. Ouch and Yikes! The Portuguese Man-O-War is famous for fatality. Love Australia. Hate the jellyfish.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Monday, April 9, 2012
Sunday, April 8, 2012
Saturday, April 7, 2012
So here's some useful quotes from my Good Advice book
Generosity - When you have nothing, ask for nothing - Albanian proverb.
Gift Giving - Give all thou canst;high Heaven rejects the lore Of nicely calculated less or more - William Wordsworth
Goals - It's not enough to be busy ... the question is: What are we busy about? Henry David Thoreau (way too true in today's world)
Good Humor - We are all here for a spell;get all the good laughs you can - Will Rogers
Friday, April 6, 2012
On the other hand, I loved The Sopranos on HBO - I loved every f-ing word spoken, however casual or extreme. It was a barrage of potty mouth and it worked for me.
First base - oh wait, were you expecting a romance move of some sort? Nope - Good Friday this year is the Texas Rangers home opener. I'm talking baseball, peanuts, fried something, and beer. Maybe this is the year for the World Series WIN. It's our field of dreams.........
Aaah - deadly dose today a la the Medicis of Italy - Foxglove was a favorite. All parts of this plant, cultivated in gardens, is poisonous. Flowers are purple and bloom midsummer. The leaves, etc. do not lose their toxicity in cooking. Reaction time is twenty to thirty minutes and the heart just goes berserk.
Thursday, April 5, 2012
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Characters need some despair in their lives, something to work through and ultimately overcome. The reader can feel his or her pain and wants to keep reading and rooting for that person.
In a real dark night of the soul, it is always three o'clock in the morning, day after day- F.Scott Fitzgerald.
Depression can torment your character. But again the writer can have him or her fight through it (pill taking, psychiatric visits), wallow in it, and use it to create a strong, albeit flawed, individual.
Hand dumbells - I just wanted to use the word and picture to honor the letter D. Often I despair of exercise, and am depressed by my Wii Fitness score. Minor setbacks to be sure, but I'm deluded in thinking I'll achieve Olympian skills.
Finally - Daphne, a female name, an ornamental flower with a deadly berry fruit. Baked in a pie and eaten, death can occur in a few hours. It is one of the oldest plants recognized as poisonous.
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Or during the day, you sit at your desk about to write a genius line, and mockingbirds out on the back fence are chastizing a squirrel. Natter, natter, natter - it's a cacophony of sound.
I'm guilty of writing scenes lacking noise. Life contains a background din, if you think about it. Clock ticks, dryer or washer churns, electronic devices hum. Car engines rev or a fire siren in
the distance. Characters aren't in a bubble, and need some distractions sometimes. Blast 'em at a crucial moment with a cry, a clank, or a clink.
And part of my alphabet of Death -from Deadly Doses by Serita Deborah Stevens w/Anne Klarner:
Swallowing six to eight castor beans (product of the castor oil plant from Africa) can induce a cough, convulsions, and coma. Extremely fatal after a week or quicker if chewed. Sounds like a noisy death to me, if you are contemplating a murder mystery.
Monday, April 2, 2012
Belladonna - I decided to check out my book on Deadly Doses - a writer's guide to poisons. Belladonna, also known as nightshade, is a plant from Southern Eurasia. It's useful in writing a murder mystery because it paralyzes the nervous system. It can induce fever, convulsions, and death. All very dramatic for a story. I don't even write murder mysteries (yet), but I decided to explore the theme during the A to Z challenge.