Submission Madness

28 05 2014

In “the Secret Life of Adrian Mole aged 13 3/4”, by the hilarious Sue Townsend, Adrian’s class is on a field trip when the bus driver, driven to the ends of his nerves, submits to motorway madness. All of the kids arrive home safely, but shaken, and the bus driver gets a well-deserved rest.

We’ve all been there, right? In the car, with howling kids? My oldest son just about lost his hearing thanks to the endless screaming by the middle one. I’ve felt that madness slip over me. (My sister still tells the story of me putting them out of the car.)

Well, today a different madness came over me. I started submitting things to publishers and journals. All sorts of things. Stories that have lain fallow for months, little ditty poems that struck my fancy, shorter or longer versions of other works in progress (called WIPs by the trendy Humber).

It’s not strictly speaking a sane process. I mean, I could work on these stories longer, could probably edit them for another few years, but there’s something about being in this crazy Humber program that makes me want to take it all seriously, start sending things about. It’s been a while since I was published, except in our local grass-roots poetry journal, OHForgery (which I love).

Oh, I’ve sent things in for competitions, sure. Won a few. Placed in a few others. But going for the publication thing – hesitant. See, in a contest, you can always argue there were so many competitors that you couldn’t possibly be expected to win. So when you don’t, that’s cool. No self-abuse required.

But when a journal writes back, no sorry, this isn’t for us, well, it chews a bit of your soul away. Immediately you start the inner walk of shame.

So today, I’m sending out submissions like I used to send out flirts in online dating. Send out lots, you don’t notice the no replies as much. Someone usually replies pleasantly…

Of course, if I don’t, I’ve got some lovely Writers Tears to drown my sorrows…

http://redroom.com/member/dorothyanne-brown/writing/first-date

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Playing with words

9 05 2014

And polishing the kitchen in an attempt to clear the mind. It’s amazing how ammonia and water can clean surfaces and sinuses and brain waves with equal efficiency.

One is somehow and oddly immediately in need of some Lewis Carroll.

399px-JabberwockyAnd so, herein:

“Jabberwocky”

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

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! and through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy.

‘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 (1871).

Wishing for a Vorpal Blade! I’m writing and I am lost in the wabe already….

From Wikipedia, some suggested interpretations of words. Check out the full Jabberwocky article – well worth a read.
Possible interpretations of words
Bandersnatch: A swift moving creature with snapping jaws, capable of extending its neck.[18] A ‘bander’ was also an archaic word for a ‘leader’, suggesting that a ‘bandersnatch’ might be an animal that hunts the leader of a group.[16]
Beamish: Radiantly beaming, happy, cheerful. Although Carroll may have believed he had coined this word, it is cited in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1530.[19]
Borogove: Following the poem Humpty Dumpty says, ” ‘borogove’ is a thin shabby-looking bird with its feathers sticking out all round, something like a live mop.” In explanatory book notes Carroll describes it further as “an extinct kind of Parrot. They had no wings, beaks turned up, made their nests under sun-dials and lived on veal.”[16] In Hunting of the Snark, Carroll says that the initial syllable of borogove is pronounced as in borrow rather than as in worry.[18]
Brillig: Following the poem, the character of Humpty Dumpty comments: ” ‘Brillig’ means four o’clock in the afternoon, the time when you begin broiling things for dinner.”[15] According to Mischmasch, it is derived from the verb to bryl or broil.
Burbled: In a letter of December 1877, Carroll notes that “burble” could be a mixture of the three verbs ‘bleat’, ‘murmur’, and ‘warble’, although he didn’t remember creating it.[19][20]
Chortled: “Combination of ‘chuckle’ and ‘snort’.” (OED)
Frabjous: Possibly a blend of fair, fabulous, and joyous. Definition from Oxford English Dictionary, credited to Lewis Carroll.
Frumious: Combination of “fuming” and “furious”. In Hunting of the Snark Carroll comments, “[T]ake the two words ‘fuming’ and ‘furious’. Make up your mind that you will say both words, but leave it unsettled which you will say first. Now open your mouth and speak. If your thoughts incline ever so little towards ‘fuming’, you will say ‘fuming-furious’; if they turn, by even a hair’s breadth, towards ‘furious’, you will say ‘furious-fuming’; but if you have the rarest of gifts, a perfectly balanced mind, you will say ‘frumious’.”[18]
Galumphing: Perhaps used in the poem a blend of ‘gallop’ and ‘triumphant’.[19] Used later by Kipling, and cited by Webster as “To move with a clumsy and heavy tread”[21][22]
Gimble: Humpty comments that it means “to make holes like a gimlet.”[15] The setting for spinning objects such as gyroscopes. (OED)
Gyre: “To ‘gyre’ is to go round and round like a gyroscope.”[15] Gyre is entered in the OED from 1420, meaning a circular or spiral motion or form; especially a giant circular oceanic surface current. However, Carroll also wrote in Mischmasch that it meant to scratch like a dog.[16] The g is pronounced like the /g/ in gold, not like gem.[23]
Jabberwocky: When a class in the Girls’ Latin School in Boston asked Carroll’s permission to name their school magazine The Jabberwock, he replied: “The Anglo-Saxon word ‘wocer’ or ‘wocor’ signifies ‘offspring’ or ‘fruit’. Taking ‘jabber’ in its ordinary acceptation of ‘excited and voluble discussion’…”[16]
Jubjub bird: ‘A desperate bird that lives in perpetual passion’, according to the Butcher in Carroll’s later poem The Hunting of the Snark.[18] ‘Jub’ is an ancient word for a jerkin or a dialect word for the trot of a horse (OED). It might make reference to the call of the bird resembling the sound “jub, jub”.[16]
Manxome: Possibly ‘fearsome’; A portmanteau of “manly” and “buxom”, the latter relating to men for most of its history; or relating to Manx people.
Mimsy: Humpty comments that ” ‘Mimsy’ is ‘flimsy and miserable’ “.[15]
Mome rath: Humpty Dumpty says following the poem: “A ‘rath’ is a sort of green pig: but ‘mome” I’m not certain about. I think it’s short for ‘from home’, meaning that they’d lost their way”.[15] Carroll’s notes for the original in Mischmasch state: “a species of Badger [which] had smooth white hair, long hind legs, and short horns like a stag [and] lived chiefly on cheese”[16] Explanatory book notes comment that ‘Mome’ means to seem ‘grave’ and a ‘Rath’: is “a species of land turtle. Head erect, mouth like a shark, the front forelegs curved out so that the animal walked on its knees, smooth green body, lived on swallows and oysters.”[16] In the 1951 animated film adaptation of the book’s prequel, the mome raths are depicted as small, multi-coloured creatures with tufty hair, round eyes, and long legs resembling pipe stems.
Outgrabe: Humpty says ” ‘outgribing’ is something between bellowing and whistling, with a kind of sneeze in the middle”.[15] Carroll’s book appendices suggest it is the past tense of the verb to ‘outgribe’, connected with the old verb to ‘grike’ or ‘shrike’, which derived ‘shriek’ and ‘creak’ and hence ‘squeak’.[16]
Slithy: Humpty Dumpty says: ” ‘Slithy’ means ‘lithe and slimy’. ‘Lithe’ is the same as ‘active’. You see it’s like a portmanteau, there are two meanings packed up into one word.”[15] The original in MischMasch notes that ‘slithy’ means “smooth and active”[16] The i is long, as in writhe.
Snicker-snack: possibly related to the large knife, the snickersnee.[19]
Tove: Humpty Dumpty says ” ‘Toves’ are something like badgers, they’re something like lizards, and they’re something like corkscrews. […] Also they make their nests under sun-dials, also they live on cheese.”[15] Pronounced so as to rhyme with groves.[18] They “gyre and gimble,” i.e. rotate and bore.
Tulgey: Carroll himself said he could give no source for Tulgey. Could be taken to mean thick, dense, dark. It has been suggested that it comes from the Anglo-Cornish word “Tulgu”, ‘darkness’, which in turn comes from the Cornish language “Tewolgow” ‘darkness, gloominess’.[24]
Uffish: Carroll noted “It seemed to suggest a state of mind when the voice is gruffish, the manner roughish, and the temper huffish”.[19][20]
Vorpal: Carroll said he could not explain this word, though it has been noted that it can be formed by taking letters alternately from “verbal” and “gospel”.[25]
Wabe: The characters in the poem suggest it means “The grass plot around a sundial”, called a ‘wa-be’ because it “goes a long way before it, and a long way behind it”.[15] In the original MischMasch text, Carroll states a ‘wabe’ is “the side of a hill (from its being soaked by rain)”.[16]





Wonderful blog by Amanda Earl

24 04 2014

And some fun poetry exercises to try…homosyntaxism!

http://amandaearl.blogspot.ca/2014/04/oulipost-24-homosyntaxism.html

And here’s the originating Oulipost site:

http://www.foundpoetryreview.com/blog/oulipost-24-homosyntaxism/





The utter joy of a secondhand bookstore

9 04 2014

20140409-120252.jpg
The other day I found a treasure at a used bookstore. It is this book, selected Prose and Poetry of Poe, with the introduction by W.H.Auden.
Now, I haven’t started on the Poe part yet, but I am suffused with joy at the introduction. Must say, the more I know Auden, the more I put him at my imaginary dinner table in heaven. I’d like to spend just an hour or so in his company, if he’d let me.
His gentle yet critical view of Poe’s work is filled with a shared amazement at how Poe persisted, his gaps, his utter failures bounded by spectacularly odd successes.
Poe’s development as a critic “never ..to his potential full stature” is compared to Baudelaire’s –

Think of the subjecs that Beaudelaire was granted – Delacroix, Constantin Guys, Wagner- and hen he kind of books Poe was asked to review:
Mephistopheles in England , or the Confessions of a Prime Minister
The Christian Florist…
Dashes at Life with a Free Pencil …

One is astounded that he managed to remain a rational critic at all, let alone such a good one.>

In terms of Poe’s character, which was described as romantically doomed, Auden points out that this is not the case, “it turns out he was only the kid of fellow whom one hesitates to invite to a party because after two drinks he is apt to become tiresome, an unmanly sort of man whose love life seems to have been largely confined to crying in laps and playing house, that his weaknesses were of the unromantic kind for which our age has the least tolerance, perhaps because they are typical of ourselves.”

On second thought, I might be afraid to have Auden at my dinner table. I would be terrified to bore him, to hear this damning with faint praise I’ve dreaded all my life.

On the other hand, he makes me want to read Poe, not the usual Raven or Casks, but Gordon Pym , Ligeia and The Man of the Crowdand his other poetry, in ever knew of the existence of these stories, poor ignorant me. I know I will be richer for the experience of reading them.

So glad I found this book, and so many others, in a serendipitous way. Second hand bookstores are mystical treasure troves, and I hope they never ever cease to be.





Aubade, by Philip Larkin

4 04 2014

Love Larkin’s poetry. This one, an aubade, or a dawn song, usually apparently written by a departing lover looking at a sleeping woman, I’m posting for two reasons – first, to remind me I want to try my hand at this format, which deals with separation, distance, longing; and second; because it is both beautiful and sad. I love the line: “Death is not different whined at than withstood.”

Aubade
BY PHILIP LARKIN
I work all day, and get half-drunk at night.
Waking at four to soundless dark, I stare.
In time the curtain-edges will grow light.
Till then I see what’s really always there:
Unresting death, a whole day nearer now,
Making all thought impossible but how
And where and when I shall myself die.
Arid interrogation: yet the dread
Of dying, and being dead,
Flashes afresh to hold and horrify.

The mind blanks at the glare. Not in remorse
—The good not done, the love not given, time
Torn off unused—nor wretchedly because
An only life can take so long to climb
Clear of its wrong beginnings, and may never;
But at the total emptiness for ever,
The sure extinction that we travel to
And shall be lost in always. Not to be here,
Not to be anywhere,
And soon; nothing more terrible, nothing more true.

This is a special way of being afraid
No trick dispels. Religion used to try,
That vast moth-eaten musical brocade
Created to pretend we never die,
And specious stuff that says No rational being
Can fear a thing it will not feel, not seeing
That this is what we fear—no sight, no sound,
No touch or taste or smell, nothing to think with,
Nothing to love or link with,
The anaesthetic from which none come round.

And so it stays just on the edge of vision,
A small unfocused blur, a standing chill
That slows each impulse down to indecision.
Most things may never happen: this one will,
And realisation of it rages out
In furnace-fear when we are caught without
People or drink. Courage is no good:
It means not scaring others. Being brave
Lets no one off the grave.
Death is no different whined at than withstood.

Slowly light strengthens, and the room takes shape.
It stands plain as a wardrobe, what we know,
Have always known, know that we can’t escape,
Yet can’t accept. One side will have to go.
Meanwhile telephones crouch, getting ready to ring
In locked-up offices, and all the uncaring
Intricate rented world begins to rouse.
The sky is white as clay, with no sun.
Work has to be done.
Postmen like doctors go from house to house.

 

Philip Larkin, “Aubade” from Collected Poems. Used by permission of The Society of Authors as the Literary Representative of the Estate of Philip Larkin.

Source: Collected Poems (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2001)





Marginalia by Billy Collins

22 03 2014

From the fabulous blog, Brainpickings.

MARGINALIA by BILLY COLLINSmarginalia2

Sometimes the notes are ferocious,
skirmishes against the author
raging along the borders of every page
in tiny black script.
If I could just get my hands on you,
Kierkegaard, or Conor Cruise O’Brien,
they seem to say,
I would bolt the door and beat some logic into your head.

Other comments are more offhand, dismissive –
“Nonsense.” “Please!” “HA!!” –
that kind of thing.
I remember once looking up from my reading,
my thumb as a bookmark,
trying to imagine what the person must look like
who wrote “Don’t be a ninny”
alongside a paragraph in The Life of Emily Dickinson.

Students are more modest
needing to leave only their splayed footprints
along the shore of the page.
One scrawls “Metaphor” next to a stanza of Eliot’s.
Another notes the presence of “Irony”
fifty times outside the paragraphs of A Modest Proposal.

Or they are fans who cheer from the empty bleachers,
Hands cupped around their mouths.
“Absolutely,” they shout
to Duns Scotus and James Baldwin.
“Yes.” “Bull’s-eye.” “My man!”
Check marks, asterisks, and exclamation points
rain down along the sidelines.

And if you have managed to graduate from college
without ever having written “Man vs. Nature”
in a margin, perhaps now
is the time to take one step forward.

We have all seized the white perimeter as our own
and reached for a pen if only to show
we did not just laze in an armchair turning pages;
we pressed a thought into the wayside,
planted an impression along the verge.

Even Irish monks in their cold scriptoria
jotted along the borders of the Gospels
brief asides about the pains of copying,
a bird singing near their window,
or the sunlight that illuminated their page –
anonymous men catching a ride into the future
on a vessel more lasting than themselves.

And you have not read Joshua Reynolds,
they say, until you have read him
enwreathed with Blake’s furious scribbling.

Yet the one I think of most often,
the one that dangles from me like a locket,
was written in the copy of Catcher in the Rye
I borrowed from the local library
one slow, hot summer.
I was just beginning high school then,
reading books on a davenport in my parents’ living room,
and I cannot tell you
how vastly my loneliness was deepened,
how poignant and amplified the world before me seemed,
when I found on one page

A few greasy looking smears
and next to them, written in soft pencil –
by a beautiful girl, I could tell,
whom I would never meet –
“Pardon the egg salad stains, but I’m in love.”





Poetry published on OHForgery…

17 04 2013

Learning againimages-8

Sonnet 

When I was just a tiny girl

I used to want to find my boy

But now that my whole life’s awhirl

I find that men, they do annoy.

They want a gal to fill their tum

And keep them warm and often touched

Unless I cheer them, they are glum

And lay about and scratch and such.

But as I age I feel the ache

Of living lone and sans a mate

It seems I must a big step take

And find a chum before too late

To learn to care again is tough

I only hope to love enough.

 

Post-modern Living in Sinimages-9

Darling super,

Seems my boyfriend

lost some mail

and is so sad

Seems they don’t like

making delivery

if his name

won’t ring the bell.

Darling super

could I ask you

oh most sweetly

to assist him

Could you put

his name

in the list

with my phone number?

Darling super,

could you put him

on a line

all alone, though

He’s got a wife

who truly hates him

perhaps she won’t

get to know me.

Put togethermed_combination_stool_dryer

 

She assembles herself as

she pulls herself out of the dryer.

Shirt, bra, underwear

One sock. Much later, the other.

She finds it nestled in the bed sheets

Tumbled together in the thread eroding cycles

One covered with gym sweat,

the other with night sweat.

A malodorous bundle, now cleansed.

Assembled, she looks around her

Knowing it is just a breath

to disassembly

 

OPEN HEART FORGERY

www.ohForgery.com

Halifax, Nova Scotia








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