Chit-Chat Colloquy

Three guys gather in a recording studio. They’re preparing to record the initial episode of a new podcast. Unbeknownst to them, their podcast episode (once released) will become subject matter for a poem. It will also be a jumping-off point for this post related to National Poetry Month 2024, rising out of a fledgling podcast.

One of the three men is married to my niece. The other two are strangers to me. Since I’m listening to their podcast, I must improvise by recreating the scene in my head. My mental image suggests each man is equipped with his own microphone and headset. Being long-time friends, they know each other well and share an obvious depth of affection which communicates through the audio. They treasure each other’s friendship, so their conversation is relaxed and warm.

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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”

The Masked Man

During our childhood, my brothers and I often played Cowboys and Indians. (This was an era before political correctness.) One of our favorite heroes was The Lone Ranger, a fictional character who (with his Native American sidekick Tonto) fought against injustice. The Lone Ranger wore a mask. At the end of each episode, the Lone Ranger and Tonto rode off on their horses as another minor character would ask:  Who was that masked man?

Back then, only criminals and thugs wore masks … for concealment. In stark contrast, the Lone Ranger’s mask represented good. When people needed his help, they’d initially greet the masked man with suspicion, believing his mask signified evil intent. Though the mask concealed his identity, it also served as a warning to bad guys. They recoiled in fear knowing this legendary masked man was determined to uncover their evil deeds and throw them in jail. Preferring anonymity to fight lawbreakers, the Lone Ranger embodied silver-bullet dedication by serving law-abiding individuals selflessly.

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Care Bear

Not long after our December wedding, I acquired two heart-shaped metal pans, perfectly sized for use in baking a suitable Valentine’s cake for my Beloved. (Though we were relatively broke, I justified the purchase … the cost of a new card every Valentine’s Day over our lifetime together would add up, but these baking pans could be used over and over, every single year!)HeartCake

As the number of our shared Valentine’s Days now edges ever-closer to fifty, our focus swerves beyond the traditional declarations of heart-shaped love. Few store-bought cards and still fewer cakes have surfaced because the occasional hastily-written love poem or hand-drawn note represents a sweeter treasure. Continue reading “Care Bear”

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”

Dawson Up A Creek

A student named Kevin Bruce wanted to talk with an academic advisor. Bruce, a junior at Kennesaw State University in Georgia, hoped he could get quick answers to his questions but instead found himself in the midst of a firestorm when he recorded and subsequently posted video of one advisor (Abby Dawson) accusing him of harassment. The reason for the accusation? Bruce chose to sit and wait (since he was already there) rather than return in an hour.

This situation surprises me. Insofar as I have no experience at KSU (nor any other institution of higher learning in recent years), my limited frame of reference is the university from which I graduated. Comparing my experience to what is shown on the video above is a difference of night to day! From what I recall, my professors and the associated staff members were always eager to interact with students and provide help whenever needed. As Bruce points out on the video, students are paying for this assistance! Continue reading “Dawson Up A Creek”

A Man Who Listens

Fifteen years ago, the Mel Gibson / Helen Hunt film, What Women Want, was released. The film is an entertaining look at what happens when a charming and seductive man named Nick experiences a freak accident. The morning after his accident, he realizes he has a new ability … he can hear the thoughts of women around him.

FROM: http://tiny.cc/69e3xx
FROM: http://tiny.cc/69e3xx

The movie presents an interesting dilemma. With the tag line “Finally … a man is listening” giving voice to the almost universal longing of women to have the listening ears of their men, it’s understandable this film was generally well received. Flip that scenario around and Gibson experiences why there are hazards in hearing a woman’s unfiltered innermost thoughts. Continue reading “A Man Who Listens”

Reflected Glory

Back in the 1990s, a number of books landed on the bestsellers lists relating various aspects (and viewpoints) on the male-female communication divide. Deborah Tannen’s You Just Don’t Understand explained boys and girls approach language and communication differently. John Gray’s Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus offered a similar take … men and women perceive the world differently and naming those differences helps promote successful communication.

FROM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake
FROM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake

As we continue through The Book of Job, it’s becoming clearer that Job and his comforters (though not from either Mars or Venus) have been mis-communicating. In part, they may have been saying the same thing, but not successfully enough to reach a level of true understanding. Perhaps you’ve experienced the same thing? I know I have. Admittedly, it’s often because I’m more concerned about making a certain critical point. Perhaps Job’s friends were doing the same … and that’s why the first half of the book seems so repetitive. Continue reading “Reflected Glory”

Mairzy Doats and Dozy Doats

From the time I was born, I had feeding issues. Those were the days when breastfeeding was on the decline and my parents had difficulty finding a milk-product I could digest. Cow’s milk made me sick so they began testing the potential of other similar milks.goatsEventually, they settled on goat’s milk which enabled me to thrive. Those were also the days when goat’s milk wasn’t sold in every grocery store. I’m not sure where they found goat’s milk in our relatively large city because I doubt it was readily available … I’m just glad they found it!

Once I graduated to solid food, my belly matured enough that I didn’t have serious food challenges. However, there were plenty of foods I didn’t care to eat. (Truthfully, my daddy was a picky eater and I know I must have watched him turn up his nose at multiple foods, especially vegetables. I learned from him … but then I ventured out on my own. He’d eat peas and lima beans, while I’ve always gagged on them!) Continue reading “Mairzy Doats and Dozy Doats”

Preferred Pronoun Fitness

Currently, my Beloved is a dues-paying member of the now-famous (or infamous, depending upon one’s point of view) Planet Fitness franchise of non-judgmental workout centers. The recent hubbub revolves around a female member who expressed her dismay (to PF management) and questioned the appropriateness of a naked – and obviously male – individual boldly ensconced in the women’s locker room. (In this HuffPost news story, the naked male is referred to as “a transgender woman.“)planetfatnessThe outspoken woman in the story discovered almost immediately how seriously PF adheres to their stated policy of the facility as a “Judgment Free Zone.” In a move that surely defies the notion of “the customer is always right,” management at the Michigan facility immediately revoked the complainer’s membership! (Freedom of speech? Not here!) Continue reading “Preferred Pronoun Fitness”