I took this week off from work. Inspired by my success in the limerick contest, I wanted to try writing full-time. I thought if I could just repeat the focus I’d found for the limericks, I’d be able to accomplish something.

Habit’s a bitch, though. A lifetime of procrastination is not so easily overcome, especially not without the aid of deadline pressure. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday flew by while I goofed off on social media.

By last night, I was furious with myself. I left a note in Scrivener so I’d see it first thing in the morning. It said in giant, bold letters: Put on your headphones. Turn on the music. Write.

It was good advice, and I thought I’d better follow it. So this morning I started writing about how I might take the lessons I’ve learned at work and apply them to personal creative endeavors. I accomplish so much for the sake of my employers. There’s no reason I can’t do the same for myself.

Next, I tackled the issue that’s been holding me up for a while: form. If you’re going to write a rhyme, it’s easiest to start with a form, because then you know exactly how many rhyming words you need and how they will work together. The problem was that I kept looking in books for a form, but I wasn’t finding it. So today I toyed around with different arrangements of rhythm and meter, looking for an interesting arrangement that’s big enough to include a cute visual for each rhyme without being overly long.

I believe I have found a working form. It might be too long. We’ll see. At least it’s a starting point. It gives me a direction in which to proceed. That’s all I wanted, and I’m calling today’s writing a success.

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The Reveal

Here, finally, is the reveal of our renovated great room. Gone are the broken fireplace, the multiple layers of cheap old carpet, the heinous plaster “decoration” that used to mar two walls, and the basement-y smell. All the structural issues have been fixed, and now we have a home theater (here you can see the projector in the upper left corner of the picture and the rolled-up movie screen on the opposite wall). There are speakers in various places, including the one to the left of the fireplace. The sound quality is awesome. The fireplace facade was created from real stone by a real mason. We debated over the carpet color for eons, but finally selected this shade of gray for its combination of neutrality and relaxing coolness, and for the moment the room has that wonderful new carpet smell. One more building inspector has to sign off on the room. Then we have to buy furniture. Eventually, there will be a mantel over the fireplace and shelves to both sides. But, as of now, the room is essentially done and soon to be used!
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Jingle and Jangle

Downstairs Livia is singing and playing “Do Re Me” on the piano. Marshall is strumming chords and playing miscellaneous notes on the guitar. All that jingle and jangle, separate, dissonant, rises up the stairs to my office, where I listen, grateful. They are practicing their musical instruments with no one holding a gun to their heads. It is music to my ears.

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Reading Update

I am slightly behind on my readings goals. To keep up with my goal of 52 books for the year, I ought to have read at least 14 by now, but I’ve only read 11. That’s not too bad, though. A couple of breezy novels would have me caught up in no time.

In order to finish my 30 must-read books by the end of 2019, I ought to have read roughly 9 of them by now. I’ve only read 3. There was a fourth book that I decided to give up on. Should it count toward my goal anyway? Probably. The reason I wanted to read each of those 30 books was to decide if they deserved a place in my library. Though I didn’t finish reading that one, my decision on it has been made (it’s out!), which means that I accomplished my goal, just differently. So I will count it, but that still leaves me lagging by 5. I will have to make up for it over the next couple of months.

I am currently reading 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill and The Teachers & Writers Handbook of Poetic Forms edited by Ron Padgett. Also on my nightstand are two library books (Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson and Poems New and Collected by Wislawa Szymborska), A Velocity of Being: Letters to a Young Reader edited by Maria Popova & Claudia Bedrick, and Jerry Spinelli’s Smiles to Go (which is one of the 30 must-read books).

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A Bunch of Limericks: Part 5

The last bunch of limericks I have to share is actually the first group that I wrote. The subject (the Mandela Effect) was also the most demanding and the most problematic. First, I wasn’t even sure that it quite fit the theme of the contest (events of the last 25 years). Second, in order for a limerick on the subject to make sense, you’d have to know what the Mandela Effect was, so ideally the limerick would directly reference it. But how do you squeeze the three necessary concepts (Mandela’s election, his supposed earlier death, and the phrase “Mandela Effect”) into five short lines? Limericks are simply not meant to hold so much information!

I tried, though, and it was not a bad thing to start out ambitiously. The effort got my brain working. Here are three of the variations that I came up with.

There’s a theory that Nelson Mandela
Really died in his old prison cell-a
Before his election.
A time-line correction?
Or simply a longer-lived fella?

In the year ’94 was elected
Ol’ Mandela, but now it’s suspected
That he died years before.
Some recall it. They’re sure.
So they say we’re Mandela-Effected.

Have you heard of the “Mandela Effect”?
Nelson died before being elect-
ed. The timeline has changed.
Please don’t call me deranged.
All the proof is on YouTube. I checked!

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A Bunch of Limericks: Part 4

For all my dislike of Donald Trump, I was hesitant to bash him in my contest limericks, for a lot of reasons. Still, I wrote several variations on the subject of Obamacare, all of which compared Obama and Trump. In some variations, I rhymed “bad” with “cad,” and “successor” with “aggressor,” but all of them ended with “caring-impaired” (the punchline). This is the variation I like best.

Obama, as president, dared
To bring healthcare to all, for he cared
About other folks, too,
So unlike You-Know-Who,
His successor, who’s caring-impaired.

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A Bunch of Limericks: Part 3

I could have spent my entire limerick-writing weekend on the Kavanaugh hearing. It was such a comedic goldmine but, because of that, I considered it to be a high-competition area, so I worked on just a couple of variations. The repetition of the word “beer” (made famous by SNL) was an obvious ploy, and some of my variations used phrases such as “besotted with beer,” etc. Here are the two variations I liked best.

As the Dems watched the Kavanaugh hearing,
They thought he was bitter and sneering.
But Republicans saw
Not a notable flaw
And to them he was sweet and endearing.

At the hearing of Brett Kavanaugh
All the Democrats looked on in awe
As he ranted (fermented?)
Like a person demented,
But Republicans saw not a flaw.

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A Bunch of Limericks: Part 2

I wrote one limerick on Nancy Pelosi and the interesting way she applauded Donald Trump at his State of the Union address.

Ms. Pelosi, the Speaker, has snap,
And no fear about causing a flap.
Hypocritical speech
Is an ethical breach
She salutes with a sarcasti-clap.

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A Bunch of Limericks: Part 1

I did well in the contest, but now I’ve got a bunch of limericks kicking around. What should I do with them? I worked so hard on them, and even if they’re not winners (or even very good), they’re all special to me. It would make me sad to leave them in my drafts folder forever. So I’ve decided to publish some of them here.

Fukushima was one of the subjects I chose. I wrote three variations, but the third had a terminally clunky line, which took it out of consideration. Here are the other two.

In Japan they had no way of knowing
Fukushima would be overflowing
From a wave that hit town
And then caused a meltdown
On the bright side our seafood is glowing.

The Japanese could not conceal
Fukushima’s big meltdown ordeal.
Now atomic pollutants
Might generate mutants
Godzilla could one day be real!

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Weekend Rhymes

On Saturday my husband reminded me that there was a limerick contest that I had wanted to enter. The deadline was Sunday. So, as crazy as it may sound, I spent much of my weekend writing limericks.

Busy as I was with that, I did not go shopping or clean my house or pay much attention to the children (sorry, kids!). But, on the bright side, the experience taught me a few things about how to work on rhymes. I’ve never felt quite comfortable doing all my writing on the computer, or doing all of it on paper, but working back and forth was also awkward. This weekend, because I was so determined to meet the contest deadline, I forced myself to find a balance. I used paper for jotting down rough ideas and making lists of words that I might use for rhymes. On the computer, I used Scrivener to turn those jottings into rough drafts and to edit them, and I kept tabs on my web browser open to the dictionary, the thesaurus, a rhyming resource, and a search engine for research, as needed.

I ultimately submitted six limericks. My hubby gave them his stamp of approval and encouraged me to submit them all, even the political ones because, as he reminded me, I had nothing to lose. I don’t know if any of them are good, but I am proud of the last one. I think it’s sweet and upbeat, and who knows? Maybe it will win me a dictionary.

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