Hail the Court Jester!

Today is April first. It’s also April Fools’ Day. Additionally, it happens to be the first day of National Poetry Month. Maybe if I looked a bit further, I’d find several other items of notable consideration, but I’m going to stop there.

My first participation in National Poetry Month was in 2014, so ten years ago. It was mildly amusing for me to offer posts with original poems in this space. I also participated in 2015, but after that, I stopped. I didn’t cease writing poetry. I just didn’t find it necessary to use the month of April as an incentive. However, in the last year, I’ve conducted some serious study of poetry and thought this would be an appropriate occasion to share my thoughts.

Continue reading “Hail the Court Jester!”

The Devil Made Me Do It!

Black History Month for 2021 ends today. I had been thinking about a comedian, Flip Wilson, who was the first African-American to host a successful ’70s-era variety show on television. Though he died in 1998, one of Wilson’s standard routines was built around the statement:  the devil made me do it! The 5-minute 1970 video from the Ed Sullivan Show provides a taste of Wilson’s humor.

Since I am ignorant of most pop culture, I was unaware there’s also a rapper album titled The Devil Made Me Do It, plus other references (none I’m familiar with). My only point of reference is Flip Wilson’s skit from the 70s. But a recent Facebook post reminded me of Wilson’s skit. (If you’re on Facebook, you’ve probably seen the same post.)

Conversation between 2 devils

To the left is a screen capture (not the full FB post) but enough for it to be recognizable. The post emphasizes the similarities between our current age of fear (centered around Covid etc.) and the author’s suggestions on how to foment fear from “nearly 79 years ago.”

The original post credits C. S. Lewis (from his book The Screwtape Letters) as author. While this conversation between two devils does reflect a similar theme, there’s one problem. The words aren’t from The Screwtape Letters. Continue reading “The Devil Made Me Do It!”

Anyone Can Blog

Almost eleven years ago, I began the Wiseblooding blog with my younger daughter’s encouragement. If you’ve been on the internet at least a week or two, you know anyone can “publish” a blog. Figures differ on the total number of blogs worldwide (500 million? 600 million? More? Less? Honestly, who can say for certain?) Did I mention, anyone can blog?

Image by Firmbee from Pixabay

Interestingly, there’s a website which counts the number of blog posts written today! The website asserts their statistics are based on blog activity published by WordPress.com (WordPress is the platform I use for my posts.)  As I type these words, the number of “blog posts written today” blog-blasts its way toward 5,000,000! The website explains this is only an estimate.

My mission (since I chose to accept it … tip of the hat to the Mission: Impossible genre) was designed to be a place (maybe even a showcase?) for my writing. Because I’m a person who can’t NOT write, I’ve filled notebooks and file cabinets full of my writing. (As I got older, that seemed a pointless exercise.) For me, blogging has scratched my itch (so to speak). Continue reading “Anyone Can Blog”

Intractably Distractible

The oft-blamed bugaboo “writer’s block” can be (and often is) an unfortunate misnomer. A recent email from writer/editor Katie Holmes spurred my thinking about this designation. Editor Holmes referred to my 2012 post in which I fessed up to a lack of production disguised as “writer’s block” but was (is) more precisely my intractable distractibility!http://quotesgram.com/blocking-haters-quotes/

One of the discussions hosted by Editor Holmes at Outwittrade.com offers helpful tips for (and from) writers on the topic of writer’s block. Holmes provides an excellent distillation of hints, work-arounds and motivators designed to help a writer work past his/her perceived lack of production. The tips are practical and constructive for the new writer as well as for experienced writers. Continue reading “Intractably Distractible”

Random Vicissitudes

Most people understand – at least in a theoretical sense – how quickly life can change. In the two months since I last posted, the silence hasn’t come about due to a lack of blogging material. No, no, no. Furthermore, every single day without a post brought a deeper sense of unease … the pattern of my life seeming slightly upended! Red-Pencil

But the respite from my daily pattern was necessary and welcome … necessary because life demanded I attend other matters and welcome because it freed me (somewhat) from my irrational obsession to slavishly maintain daily posts – no matter what! With each day that passed, my figurative pencil grew more insistent and red-faced. Much to my surprise, people continued to drop by and read previous posts. (I am gratefully humbled by your interest.) Continue reading “Random Vicissitudes”

Manufactured Outrage

Over the course of many years, I’ve come to realize writers are a rather strange subgroup of the human race. I count myself in that number and readily admit my strangeness … uniqueness, that’s the term I prefer. Actually, I’ve heard it said all creative people are strange, slightly off-center. Maybe so. When I hear of the strange things other writers do, I tend to shake my head and roll my eyes. Then I go on with my life … and my writing.Place, Vanessa

Here’s one example of the strangeness I’ve observed. The Twitter profile (shown above) belongs to a woman named Vanessa Place. (Her name appears just underneath the left-side photo of actress Hattie McDaniel.) From what I’ve read, Place uses this Twitter account for the purpose of tweeting – 140 characters at a time, plus or minus – the entire text of Margaret Mitchell’s novel, Gone With the Wind. I suppose one might argue this is an artistic expression and benign protest by which she registers her disgust with the racial stereotypes portrayed in the 1936 novel. Continue reading “Manufactured Outrage”

Too Beautiful To Hold

On Tuesday, my post referred to a poem (Spring) written by Pulitzer Prize recipient (1923), poet Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950). According to some literary sources, her sonnets are among the best of the early twentieth century. One particular poem I’ve loved many a year is not a true sonnet but still a top-notch and memorable composition in my opinion. It’s pictured below.

God's World - Millay
FROM: http://tiny.cc/t575wx

From the moment I first read this poem, Vincent’s ecstasy and amazement showcased in this poem made a connection with me. (I think I might have been in high school at the time.) This poem stands in stark contrast to Spring. Whereas Spring gives a contrary and cynical view of Nature, the rapture and pure pleasure expressed in God’s World supplies Vincent’s surprising yang to the yin that infuses Spring. So enraptured is Vincent in God’s World, she suggests her passion would necessarily overflow if something as simple as a bird call sounded on her ears.

Continue reading “Too Beautiful To Hold”

Lightly Turned Fancy

When Spring arrives every year, one finds there’s a great deal of poetic utterance devoted to one or another aspect of the season. There is, in the season, a wealth of subjects on which the poet might reflect and celebrate. I’ve read poems (old and new) that extol the freshly-blossoming flowers … as well as freshly-blossoming love.spring-season

In his poem Locksley Hall, Alfred, Lord Tennyson famously noted:

In the Spring a fuller crimson comes upon the robin’s breast;
In the Spring the wanton lapwing gets himself another crest;

In the Spring a livelier iris changes on the burnish’d dove;
In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.

In truth, only the fourth line above could be described with the “famously” adverb. That particular line is often quoted. Not being a man, I can’t speak specifically to Tennyson’s observation, except to say it is a lovely line in a much longer, rich and emotional work produced with 97 rhyming couplets. Continue reading “Lightly Turned Fancy”

Out of the Gate!

The horse-race has begun! Can’t you just feel the anticipation? The excitement? The hotly-contested, fiercely-competitive quest for the checkered flag … er, the green jacket … er, the stretched-out tape at the finish line … er, the party’s nod to run for President – that doesn’t necessarily mean victory and White House residency.andtheyreoff

You may actually have enthusiasm for this renewed political season to be kicking off … I’m not. I knew it would be upon us soon enough, but I’ve dreaded hearing various candidates announce they’re launching their campaigns. It seems as though the wall-to-wall nature of media and news has spawned a monster, like a massive and disgusting tapeworm that devours from within. Continue reading “Out of the Gate!”

Presenting the Englark Sonnet

Readers of this blog know my affinity to the sonnet poetic form. Nearly five years ago in this space, I posted my first poem (a sonnet) and mentioned one of my writing goals was to compose one hundred sonnets, hoping my efforts would allow me to attain a level of “mastery” with the form.Sonnet readerBy my count, I have recently reached the century mark of sonnets posted on Wise Blood. You may confirm my numbers for yourself by following this link (the Sonnets tab at the top of the page). In another post about my sonnet goal, I noted Shakespeare had written 154 sonnets during his lifetime. Continue reading “Presenting the Englark Sonnet”