Category Archives: Noodling

False Verse

I have two kinds of poems in the pile: those based on a truth, however faint and hiding behind paint and glitter to make it more interesting, and those based on nothing. Often the nothing verse is technically better because I wrote it in school, carefully, for a grade. One of my nothing poems that I’ve lost now was about a beach in Rhode Island, where I’ve never been, and the professor, an acclaimed poet, said it was good. When I revealed the lie (because someone said the color of the water was wrong), he laughed and gave me an A. I felt good about that back then; I don’t now. (I wish I still had that pome however.)

The reason my poetry was often based on lies/nothing in the early years is because I hadn’t done anything yet. I hadn’t gone anywhere. There was no drama in my life, no big heartbreak. The poetry professors agreed with me that poetry could be fictional; only other students thought this was breaking some rule. I never questioned my own stance back then, since the professionals were on my side. And yet… and yet…

I’ve changed my mind, at least with respect to my own work. When I reread my old poems, I immediately know which is which. The false verse is hollow and dead on the page, no matter how “good” it is. It has no emotional resonance to me, no layering. But when I read one of the truthy poems, I feel the truth again, however old and buried. I know exactly what inspired me to write that pome. Of course I don’t know what someone else would feel reading it (maybe nothing ~ maybe they’d feel more reading one of the false verse poems), but the point is that I know.

I haven’t written false verse since I began writing poetry again several years ago. No matter what I write about now, something in the pome is true, even if it’s just one line or one emotion. These aren’t just words strung together for a grade ~ they actually mean something. Also, the old pomes I poast here for my loyal blogfans are the true ones only. No false verse for you.

Happy May! ❤

Time Pieces

My mother had some old watches and pocket watches she picked up here and there at estate sales and such, and now I have them. I tried to sell them once and was told they had no value, so I keep them tucked away. I’m glad I didn’t get rid of them after all. They’ve grown on me.

This is a plain pocket watch with no cover. It says “Waltham” on the face. This piece is two inches in diameter and feels heavy in my hand.

Time4

This is the back. It has a cool geometrical pattern/logo, but no words.

Time5

This piece is smaller and lighter, about an inch and a half in diameter, but it’s thicker and more complex, as you’ll see. This is the front.

Time6

It flips open to reveal the clock’s face sideways. “Elgin” is printed on the face. The back of the cover says “Keystone” and has a serial number (1194946).

Time10

This is supercool ~ the back opens to show gears and stuff!

Time9

Next up is a ladies’ bracelet watch. It’s very delicate and pretty. It says “Victoria” on the face and nothing on the back. The clasp says “Hadley” with a patent number.

Time1

The last is another bracelet watch, a Bulova. I like it a lot, though its face is scratched up. I might get it cleaned up and working someday so I can wear it for real. I used to wear it anyway, just for fun, but then I decided it was bad luck and stopped.

Time2

The reason this watch is so special is because it’s engraved on the back. I imagine a husband gave it to his wife for Christmas in 1947. I’ve decided he fought in WW2 and she waited for him.

Time3

My mother died today, nine years ago. I love her and miss her every day. Her voice and presence are both still right here, almost, as if she just left the room a few minutes ago. Nothing has changed in all this time.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Timely

Approaching Lavender

I adore every shade of purple, from lavender to plum. When I was nine and we moved to New Jersey, my mother indulged my love for purple by finding beautiful violet-flowered wallpaper for my new bedroom and creating a Barbie house to match. She painted an accent wall for my room a medium violet and it was fab. I don’t have photos unfortunately; we weren’t into snapping pics of everything so much back in those days, except on vacations. It’s too bad about no pics of the Barbie house especially, since that truly was a masterpiece with different rooms and a guest cottage for cousin Skipper.

I’ve always wanted to love the scent of lavender, but sadly I hate it. I do love this song by Gordon Lightfoot however.

The Daily Prompt: Purple

Blowin’ In The Wind

Last evening after work I headed from my office in Irvine toward a poetry meetup in the city of Orange. I had my navigator on and was listening to oldies tunes in between the directions. Nav was telling me to get on the 55 in some convoluted way, but I’ve learned not to argue with her. Just follow along, like a sheep, baaaa.

As I was driving on Warner, I noticed there was something taped low on the passenger side of my windshield. An ad? Not sure. Usually ads are stuffed under the wiper on the driver’s side to make sure you see them, plus this looked too small to be an ad. I didn’t think it had been there in the morning when I drove to work ~ surely I would have spotted it then. But perhaps not, who knows.

I remembered that the homeless dude who keeps his stuff in one of the storage cabinets at my apartment complex left a note on my car a few weeks ago thanking me for letting him use my cabinet. First, I haven’t “let” anyone do anything; I simply didn’t shriek at him to go away like my neighbor did when she encountered him. I just shrugged when I saw him and got in my car. Second, it’s not my cabinet he’s using. Third, when he left a note, it was on a ripped piece of cardboard sitting on top of my trunk, not something taped to my window. This of course doesn’t preclude a leveling up of note-leaving by said homeless dude, so we can’t rule it out.

I didn’t go out at lunch yesterday, so the note (or whatever) couldn’t have been left from an advertiser in the shopping plaza nearby. If it was from someone like that, s/he would have been sneaking around a private garage during the workday, which is unlikely, but not impossible. Someone who has legit parking privileges could also moonlight as an Avon rep or whatever and be leaving ads on cars in the garage, I guess, though it’s probably against the rules.

Or… it could have been a nastygram from someone who found fault with my driving or parking, sort of a prelude to the guy who yelled at me later in the evening for parking on a street near the poetry place without a permit. I had to get back in my car and repark on a different street. What a pain in the ass that all was, but… pomes!

But my favorite idea is this… imagine that some man has had a crush on me (shaddap! it could happen!)… he sees me in the garage at work from time to time. Maybe he he’s even been in line with me at the cafe for a coffee or lunch. Perhaps he’s held the door for me and I’ve said thank you, but haven’t really noticed him. We may have taken the same elevator together, or possibly he works on a higher floor and uses the other elevator bank. Could be he doesn’t always get to work at the same time every day like I do, but he does know my car now. He decided that the next time he sees me he’s going to say something, but our schedules haven’t meshed for a while. So, he left me a note! It was something cute, witty, with a pic, contact info, whatever, idk. Nothing creepy.

All the above went through my mind in about two seconds and I decided I should pull over and retrieve the note. Because obviously it was from a secret admirer. Right?! Yes, yes. But I was in the left lane, and before I could move to the right and find a place to stop, the note detached and blew away.

The end.

secret-admirer

Blurry

blurry

This is one of my early cell phone camera photos, taken with my Moto. I loved that phone because it was so easy to deal with. It had internet access, but I couldn’t do “too much” internetting on it, or it would get overwhelmed and shut down. That was fine though. There was certainly enough time to stalk people and rabbit-hole down links from my laptop at home; I didn’t need to be doing that when I was out and about. But I can now with my Samsung Galaxy 5. Great.

The G5 also takes much better photos. Well, sort of. If I get everything right, then I end up with a perfect photo. But since I don’t understand 90% of the feechurs, and can’t be bothered trying to figure them out because there are people to stalk, links to follow into rabbit holes, books to read, pomes to write, socks to alphabetize, etc., I end up clicking away stupidly and getting pretty much the same variable quality photos as before on the Moto. Lots of blurry kitty faces half-turned away, basically.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m much happier with the Samsung now and wouldn’t go back. Once you have more technology you don’t want to settle for less. I have multiple ways to get in touch with my kids, for one thing. Actually, that’s the main thing.

But this pic is still a fave. I like the colors and the composition; it reminds me of the hectic pace here in SoCal. Most of us are not “laid-back” as people elsewhere think we are, lazing around on beaches, not working, chilled out. We are forever rushing somewhere, usually in our cars, and totes stressed. I used this pic as the cover photo for Gatsby’s Facebook page. Because of course I have a page for my cat. ^..^

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Blur

Crafty

crafty

 

I’m trying to remember the first handmade thing I created, in response to today’s “craft” prompt (which could be interpreted as boat or beer, but I’m not going in those directions). It was probably one of those ridiculous summer camp pencil holders made out of a frozen OJ can with glued-on popsicle sticks and covered with paint and glitter. Did anyone ever use these things, or just dump them right in the trash? This would have been when I was 6 or 7 years old, when we lived in Sleepy Hollow,  NY. We were there two years and both my parents worked full-time. One summer I went to camp with mean girls and the other I stayed with a grumpy old lady and her idiot grandsons. Both were horrible experiences. But I digress.

When we moved to Longuyland my new friends were into beads, so I made a ton of beady necklaces and bracelets. My mom saved some of them and possibly one of my daughters kept a few for sentimental value. This would have been when I was 8-9.

When we moved to New Jersey my mom made a giant house for my Barbies out of moving boxes and wallpapered it to match my room. We shopped for accessories to make rooms for the dolls, and she taught me how to knit and crochet so I could make teensy blankets and rugs for them. Later I turned it into a harem, but that’s beside the point. Well, there’s like one Ken for every 20 Barbies ~ Mattel must have foreseen this. Anyway, creating little dollhouse items was my crafty obsession around age 10.

In Jersey, my mom got very into DIY and sewing, so I tagged along and ended up learning some too. I embroidered a denim shirt for home ec and put together an outfit to model at the end of the semester (that I secretly took home at night for my mom to fix up on her sewing machine). I enjoyed that a lot and continued doing needlework after the class ended, buying kits and learning new stitches, making pillows and pictures. Mom and I made candles for a while too.

I stuck with the sewing type crafts for many years. When my girls were little I painted tee shirts. That was a lot of fun and the shirts came out great… I was thinking of starting a biz, until I overdid it and could no longer move my thumb without excruciating pain. Nixed my cake decorating career also. I switched to creating fancy photo scrapbooks, which became my obsession for the next several years. All along I still did the needlework, but as I aged I found I had less patience for it and nowadays have no interest in the detailed “art” type pictures, though I still would like to learn to knit and crochet (I’ve forgotten how). I know there are a million vids ~ maybe I’m not motivated enough yet.

One of the main problem with crafts is that they’re expensive. I priced out how much it would cost to knit a poncho (my ultimate goal)… and depending on the style it might be about 3x more than just buying one! I may do it anyway. And going down the bead path again (occasionally tempting)… yikes! I spent a ton of money back in my scrapbook days… and my tee shirt biz would no doubt have been a tax write-off. 🙂

Yesterday I wanted to go to an antique crafty show near my apt, but there was nowhere to park and I was trapped in the lot for few minutes, which was super stressful. ACK DRIVING ISSUES AGAIN. Anyway, I was happy to escape with my life and car intact. Will try again another time, another place.

*
The Daily Prompt: Craft

Since You’ve Been Gone

Stephen King has a short story in Bazaar of Bad Dreams called “Ur,” which is centered around the notion of an experimental Kindle with an extra menu feature that gives access to alternative literary realities. Forex, say you type in a random number… in this world of words Shakespeare lives five more years and writes a couple more plays. You get to buy, download, and read these plays on the new Kindle. It’s addictive, as you might imagine, for you could spend day after day checking random numbers and writers to see if your favorites appear in parallel universes with new works to read.

But it’s also comforting to know that the authors we love will continue writing in their familiar styles in the alternate realities. If we search for Ray Carver, we don’t want to find vampire romances. We want what we expect. Most of us anyway. That’s why when I go to a vegan restaurant and order a lush looking dish of macaroni & cheese I’m invariably disappointed ~ it appears so beautiful and cheesy, but it never tastes as expected. I’m always better off with a salad where the veggies taste the way they’re supposed to.

*

I dream about my mother frequently. This month is nine years since she was diagnosed; next April nine years since she’s been gone. In my dreams, she just goes on as she ever was ~ present, helpful, sometimes annoying. Nothing super dramatic. In the last one, we were at a table with a bunch of other people (I don’t remember who) discussing an arts & crafts project. At one point, I turned to my mother and complained that my pantyhose kept getting runs in them the first time I wore them, sometimes right out of the package. She commiserated. I don’t remember if she had any advice, but it’s almost certain she would have. Because Mom.

This was a comforting dream. Mom was being Mom.

*

In the King story, the protag next discovers that the experimental Kindle feature also has alternative reality newspapers. Some of these are funny, especially King’s election ideas. And then our protag finds his local future newspaper. ~ doo doo doo doo ~

I am highly enjoying Bazaar of Bad Dreams.

My Creative Mommy

When I was a kid, I didn’t think it was anything special that my mom single-handedly remodeled our homes. No, I don’t mean she went shopping and had furniture delivered, hired men to paint, and found contractors to install new flooring. I mean she stripped wallpaper, put up new paper, painted walls, redid floors herself, built shelves, planted gardens with fences, created fancy dollhouses for me out of moving boxes, etc. Didn’t all mothers do these things?

I spent a lot of time walking with her through hardware stores, yet for whatever reason she seemed to avoid teaching me to help her. I’m not sure why this is, but I suspect she didn’t want to impose her interests on me because she wanted me to find my own. While she was busy with her DIY stuffs, I would be reading or drawing doggies or making bead necklaces or embroidering a denim shirt… not that there’s anything wrong with that.

In New Jersey, she experimented quite a bit with recipes. We had a large garden and the typical zucchini megacrop. That was fun. She also went through a homemade soup phase and a Jell-O mold phase and a DIY ice cream phase… and of course a breadmaking phase. We also had a summer of candlemaking. I wish I had photos. See, if I’d made candles with my kids, that would definitely have generated a scrapbook spread, but my mom didn’t do scrapbooks, and photos were mostly taken on vacations. I have no tangible evidence of our candle phase, except the memory that it was fun. I know I made a few colorful mushrooms that could have festooned a set of Alice in Wonderland. There was also at least one frog and possibly other woodland flora and fauna.

Later on, whenever I was interested in something, my mom found a way to help me with it, if she could (or if I would let her). I didn’t appreciate this so much at the time, but isn’t it a nice quality of someone who cares about you? I appreciate that now, when a friend offers the gift of their time unexpectedly. It’s such a generous thing to do. I’m trying to be more that way myself, remembering Mom and what a kind, caring, generous person she was.

I will always miss her.

Regarding Elegance

People have described me in many different ways (some not fit for print), but no one would call me elegant ~ and I’m OK with that.

silly-hat

 

This isn’t because I dislike elegance ~ quite the contrary. Elegance holds great appeal for me in many ways. First, I love math and logic, both of which, at their best, are often beautifully elegant. There’s nothing more intellectually satisfying than to work out a complex equation by discovering a clean, lean, streamlined solution. Elegance!

Second, the pure aesthetics of clean and simple design also turn me on. I adore a bold artistic statement of monochromatic décor with a splash of contrasting color. The uncluttered ivory bedroom with a single red rose in a crystal vase on the dresser is the height of elegance ~ gorgeous. Remember when it was all the rage to B&W-ify your photos and add back one accent of color? Loved that elegant look.

Third, I totally admire the olden days of elegant dress. James Bond in a tux is the ultimate male, sipping champagne in the casino and then slipping out back to slit someone’s throat. He adjusts his cuffs and returns to baccarat, white shirt pristine and every hair in place. Same goes for his female counterpart in her long black gown with diamond stud earrings and ruby lipstick that never gets smudged.

But I am not that woman. If I ever get fancy in an elegant black gown with lovely black heels and my hair done just so, then I will fling on  a sequined rainbow shawl, wheeeeee! And my lipstick will get smudged right away on a cupcake or from using my teeth to open the plastic wrapper on a new deck of cards or from smooching a kitteh, who will proceed to shed half its furs on the dress.

Sometimes I start to write an elegant poem, but it always dissolves into something silly. I can write angry and/or sad and stay with those emotions, but whenever I catch myself trying to be elegant I can’t resist tossing a handful of glitter in the air.

It’s not my fault ~ I’m just made that way.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Elegant

The Vice Principle

Isn’t that a great title?

It’s actually available, not that you couldn’t use a title that’s out there (sort of ~ you probably wouldn’t want to reuse The Maltese Falcon unless you were doing something funny like The Mall Tease Falcon, which, surprisingly, is also available).

Whenever I see/hear the “vice-principal” or the “vice-president” I automagically put the emphasis on the first syllable because I’m just wired that way, wired to be weird, I guess. Although I prefer to think of it as wired to be hilarious. YMMV.

Maybe that’s why Breaking Bad really kicked in for me with the introduction of Saul Goodman, the guy to call when you need a criminal lawyer. Loved that so much.

But they’re entirely different things, vice and vice. 🙂

I don’t know how anyone learns English. How is it possible for someone to learn it as an adult? I can’t even. It’s such a disorganized, horrible mishmash. Where would you even begin? Why do I speak such a messy language, argh?!?

No wonder there are so many misunderstandings.

According to the dico, vice means moral depravity or corruption; a moral fault or failing; or a habitually and usually trivial defect or shortcoming. So, it’s anything from kidnapping children into a sex slavery ring to popping your gum all day at the office cube farm.

Clearly we don’t need the word “vice” for any of the things along the spectrum from trivial to hideous because we have much more specific words for all of them. Vice is useless as a noun and should be used only as a preposition or prefix.

However! The Vice Principle is still a great title and I give it to you because I’m all bogged down in otter things right now. Plus it sounds like it’d be a title for either a detective story (or a story in a series of detective stories) or some sort of self-help woo book, and neither of those would be the sort of book I’d write.

I almost wrote a mystery/suspense novel once, but it didn’t work out. And when I say almost wrote, I mean I wrote about 50 pages, which is what my friend AH once said we all can do. What really separates the writers from the wannabes is what happens after 50 pages.

I’m not a mystery writer.

~*~

Via The Daily Prompt: Vice