Posted in #atozchallenge, Blog Hops and Fests, Parenting, poetry, Unschooling

Xavier and the Xylophonists: #atozchallenge for April 28, 2017

 Slices of An Unschooling Life Theme Reveal Post

  Today’s Poetry Type:

X: Sometimes there is a rhyme (but no reason!)


Xavier and the Xylophonists

Xavier and the Xylophonists were a band of zenophobics –

No, I didn’t misspell that!

They were afraid to relax and just let themselves play –

they didn’t want to fall flat!

So they spent twelve years in rehearsals for the show ahead –

but never beat the high hat!

When all the years of study were done, they found their passion gone –

And all their dreams went splat!

Apprentices for the Saratoga Shakespeare Company - enough of rehearsals - they're playing! =D
Apprentices for the Saratoga Shakespeare Company – enough of rehearsals – they’re playing! =D

I thought this poem wasn’t going to rhyme, when I first wrote it. I also just had Xavier and the Xylophonists pop into my head as a title, and, of course, X is one of the Dreaded Letters on the journey from A to Z.

But it turns out that there is in fact a rhyme there, and even a reason…yes, the band’s story is an allegory of sorts. They’re not unlike school children, spending a dozen years, and sometimes more, practicing and preparing for life in the “real world.”

Miah enjoys Renaissance music ...not in a classroom, but in person, at the Sterling Renaissance Festival, age  8.
Miah enjoys Renaissance music …not in a classroom, but in person, at the Sterling Renaissance Festival, age  8.

And meanwhile, the “real world” is out there, all around, the whole time, beyond the walls of the school building. It’s all but invisible from inside, but, if you’re not contained in that reality, it’s just….life. Readily available, in every breath.

Xavier and the Xylophonists are endlessly preparing and rehearsing…they never make it to the big time, because they’ve worn themselves out with all their practice. They’ve burned out, and come to the big show passionless and uninspired.

Too often, this is the reality for young adults coming out of school. They began at age 5, or sometimes younger, and spent more than a decade going through the lessons and lectures, doing the homework, taking the tests, being graded and assessed. If they were passionate about something they learned there, it might be only a day or two of their year, before they’re required to move on to other things, because the curriculum demands it.

Maybe there’s a benefit to that…for sure, there’s a tidiness in being able to look at a diagram of all that has been or will be covered, and point to the precise place where one’s child is in the process.

My own children have something that isn’t tidy, but which I feel is invaluable. They still have their passion. It hasn’t been trampled or trammeled in the quest to get them properly rehearsed for the real world they’ll someday inhabit. Instead, they’re living in the real world, every day, on their own terms.

Maybe they wouldn’t fit in with Xavier and the Xylophonists, but that’s all right with me.

Have you ever spent so much time preparing for something, that you were exhausted by the time the prepared-for something arrived?

What happened?

X marks the spot for more X posts by clicking here, or the icon below – exit onto the Blogging From A-Z April Highway Highway!

Y’all come back tomorrow, when you never know exactly what will happen….

A moment of silliness: Lise and I share a snack before going to see The Phantom of the Opera - her first grown up theater experience, at age 9.
A moment of silliness: Lise and I share a snack before going to see The Phantom of the Opera – her first grown up theater experience, at age 9.
Posted in Just for Fun!, Life Writing, Reblogs

Photo Notes: Digital Infrared Photography Testing

Something lovely and evocative for your Thursday, from Errin Zarro! #Lovely #shadows

Weaver of Words

So, I finally got around to doing more digital infrared tests! I took some pictures outside in front of my Mom’s house and on the street. The sunlight was absolutely PERFECT for infrared, so I went for it.

These photos actually turn out red in the camera, and I convert them to b&w in post-processing. I’m getting the hang of it. See what looks like snow on the grass? It isn’t snow. It’s the GRASS. B&W infrared turns everything with chlorophyll white, the sky dark like it’s night, and stuff glows. Human skin glows, too.

It’s really neat. I’ve loved it ever since I was taught in college.

(Stay tuned for actual b&w infrared on film. That is also a plan of mine!)

Here they are!

DSC_9497bw-RS Digital infrared, Mom’s house (and the house where I grew up), pic taken 4/16/16.

DSC_9498bw-RS Digital infrared, my street, pic taken 4/16/16.

DSC_9499bw copy-RS Digital infrared, my…

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Posted in Challenges and Contests, Flash Fiction Pieces, Marketing my Writing, Story a Day May Challenge, Writers' Resources, Writing in Freedom, Writing Samples

Screaming Dali Clocks: #StaD Kifo Project for May 18

Welcome, friends! Come in, and let me tell you a Story A Day, all May long…

In June and July, I’ll be drafting two new Kifo Island novels. I know something about 5 of the 6 point of view characters, and I’ve got a sketchy idea of the plots – but I need to learn more about these people and their stories.

So, in May, I explore. Every day, I’ll follow the prompts in A Month of Writing Prompts 2016. I’ll play while moving through my planning efforts. Some of these stories may become part of the eventual novels, but my goal is to invite these characters to show me who they are and what they want – and how their lives fit together to make a novel.

I’ve been writing my story each day, but I slipped behind in my posting. I’m now only two days behind, and plan to finish the month out on time.

I continue with May 18, following the daily prompt, Tell the Story of a Painting

Week Three is our Rescue Week – some easier prompts that offset the challenges behind and still ahead.

The paintings referenced in this story are The Scream by Edvard Munch:

Public domain image via Wikipedia Commons

And The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali, which is the one with the dripping clocks, and which isn’t in the public domain, so I’m not comfortable sharing more than the link.

Yvette has made a painting for Zeke in this dialogue story.

Screaming Dali Clocks

“This is for me?”

Oui, mon cher. You seem surprised.”

“No one’s ever given me a painting before, let alone painted one just for me.”

“No one has ever inspired me as you do, Zeke.”

“I inspired it? How’d I do that?”

“Open it, and see.”

“What if I’d rather keep the mystery alive?”

“Once you’ve looked, we can explore other mysteries in bed.”

“Well, since you put it that way….whoa! This is….”

“You don’t like it.”

“I don’t know what I feel about it.”

“Most people would lie. I love you for not doing that.”

“It’s a little like looking into my head. Those screaming Dali clocks – wait! This is that nightmare I had! Yvette, you made my nightmare!”

“I thought, if you wanted to destroy it, maybe the dreams would end.”

“You painted me a picture so I could ruin it?”


“What if I want to keep it?”

“Do you?”

Oui, ma chere.”

Pourquoi? Why?

“Because it’s beautiful. The art, and the thought, and the artist. So maybe the nightmare is, too.”

Posted in Blogfest Entries, Just for Fun!, Just Jot it January, Life Writing, NaNoWrimo, Unschooling

JusJoJan Day 13: Dripping Dali Clocks of Time

Just Jottin’ my way through January!


Does the title phrase bring any pictures to your mind? I’ve been fascinated byThe Persistence of Memory” by Salvador Dali, since the first time I saw it, when I was a child.

It’s lived in the back of my mind, dripping and oozing into other parts of my life. It might have something to do with the way my life has evolved, and the way my family lives. We’re an unschooling family, and, most of the time, the only schedule in our lives is my Accomplice’s work schedule.

The children and I tend to sleep when we’re tired, wake when we’re rested, and pass our days as we’re inclined to. I have a Sunday night Write-In with my local NaNoWriMo group, and a Tuesday workout, but those aren’t strict commitments. Mostly, my life flows, something like a melting Dali clock.

Those dripping Dali clocks work their way into my writing, too. Recently, I penned these lines for a character who was attempting to meet a scheduled obligation immediately after ingesting two intoxicating substances that alter perceptions. I wanted to express this in imagery, and the Dali clocks came to the front of my mind, and I wove them into the text. As time becomes more liquid than solid in his mind…

Class. “I must go to class. In – ” But he didn’t know in how many minutes; the grandmother clock had merged with the tide, melted into it, become the tide. Long ago, T’Pol had shown him a Terran painting, by a man named Dali. Clocks dripped into the scenery; this was as that was. “I must go, my Thistle, and yet, I have no desire to do so.”

The Dali clocks have something in common with optical illusions, and, in this next segment, while Spock discusses his obvious lack of attention with his instructor, the effects of absinthe and sugar take on a new aspect, inspired by my son’s early fascination with the lovely Relativity” and mind-twisting bit of illusion art by M.C. Escher...

“Yes, ma’am.” There seemed little point in attempting to deny it. He was feeling decidedly altered, and the hall was becoming something akin to the Dali painting, or something else, that Mother had shown him long ago, a perception and perspective shifting drawing by an artist named Escher…

And later, when he returns to the safe shelter of his room and his lover, those Dali clocks ooze into the story again, claiming the grandmother clock in his mother’s home, and all sense of time’s passage…

And then, for a time beyond measure, as Mother’s clock dripped like a Dali painting into the tide, they were love together….they roused themselves, later, to perform the absinthe ritual.

I’m not sure if there’s a point to this jotting, except that, although we’re often told that life imitates art, sometimes art imitates art. And sometimes there are melting clocks with dripping numbers, and art and ‘rithmetic become one in the fertile ground of my mind, and that twists and oozes into the words I write…

Do you have a favorite piece of artwork? Why do you love it? Does it inspire your creativity? If so, how? Share your story below!

Drip on over to more Jottings!


Posted in Challenges and Contests, Just for Fun!, Life Writing, My Poetry, OctPoWriMo Challenge, Parenting, Unschooling, Writing in Freedom, Writing Samples

OctPoWriMo Day 23: I Forget to Write a Poem

Want to write or read with us? Click the icon!

Hello, and welcome to OctPoWriMo, Day Twenty-Three!

What’s OctPoWriMo, you ask? Well, it’s a whole month of poetic creation – 31 poems in 31 days. It’s the creative baby of Morgan Dragonwillow and Julie Jordan Scott.

This year, I intend to follow all the prompts, and get the joy of discovery…

I hope you’ll stop by, settle in, and find a little bit of magic here!

Today’s prompt is “Another chapter begins”. There is a list of phrase prompts:

  • Another chapter begins…

  • Turn the page….

  • And then there was….

  • I begin again….

  • And then there was….

  • Now it is time to write….

I had an idea. But then something happened.

I forgot to write a poem.

It’s not that I meant to forget. A few times, I remembered. While I was in the middle of plotting a scene. When I was in the middle of untangling a revision passage. Just as my daughter came in to tell me that her tadpole, who recently sprouted four functional legs, wasn’t in her tank (a plastic bin with no lid, which was fine for a legless tadpole…but not a froglet who just learned how to hop…

She thought her new little friend was gone forever, and was so happy when I found one frightened looking wee amphibian behind the tank. So there was a slightly hurried preparation of the frog habitat, and now PomPom the frog has a new, bigger, safer home…

And I was writing – getting my gestating novel outline ready for NaNoWriMo, rvising a short story I will be submitting this week, answering blog comments….

And forgetting, again and again, to write a poem – until I looked at the clock, and it was almost 9pm.

And I remembered…

And found that maybe I hadn’t forgotten, after all.

So here is my rather tongue-in-cheek poem for today…

Image credit: Julie Jordan Scott.

And I Forget to Write a Poem

Another chapter begins…

And I move through my novel outline,

And forget to write a poem

Because other words and images

Dance through my head

Plots and subplots

Complex conundrums

Setting up for the third act

And I forget to write a poem

Turn the page….

I move through my short story revision

And forget to write a poem

Piecing together a world

Of stooping hawks and child selves

Each word polished

Seeking gleaming truth

Beauty brought forth

From ugly memory

The climax nearing

And I forget to write a poem

And then there was….

The memory card

Filled with pictures

And I forget to write a poem

Nightmare Fairy and Chica

Leaves a frost painted

Blanket on chilling ground

Edit to bring out the

Magic in each one

A thousand words

To describe them

And I forget to write a poem

I begin again….

Blog comments like a leaf pile

And I forget to write a poem

Conversations long and deep

With friends a world away

New folks stop by and

Spread new joy

I engage

And I forget to write a poem

And then there are….

Son and daughter who love me

And I forget to write a poem

Hugs and chatting

The tadpole turned into a frog

Horses killed by a were- cat

“Can I help you with anything?

I feel helpful today”

Bigger now than yesterday

And I forget to write a poem

Now it is time to write….

Yes, time to write a poem

Of plotting and revising and

Editing and connecting

And marveling at

My babies grown big

Now is the time to write

And I find I’ve written a poem

You mean you don’t have a Nightmare Fairy at your house? It’s OK, I’ll share mine! =D

Who else remembered to OctPoWriMo today?

Posted in Challenges and Contests, Just for Fun!, Life Writing, My Poetry, OctPoWriMo Challenge, Unschooling, Writing Samples

OctPoWriMo Day 6: Perfection kills possibility

Learn more about OctPoWriMo – click the icon! =D

Hello, and welcome to OctPoWriMo, Day Six!

What’s OctPoWriMo, you ask? Well, it’s a whole month of poetic creation – 31 poems in 31 days. It’s the creative baby of Morgan Dragonwillow and Julie Jordan Scott.

This year, I intend to follow all the prompts, and get the joy of discovery…

I hope you’ll stop by, settle in, and find a little bit of magic here!

Today’s suggested poetry form is Naani, and the word prompt list is:

  • perfect

  • perfection

  • perfectionism

  • imperfection

  • imperfect

This is another poem that came to me more or less whole. I believe it’s exactly 25 syllables, revised, which puts it at the upper limit for its form – although, if it had gone over, that would have been a poetic bit of imperfection, too!

Writing very short poems might seem simple – but, like in flash fiction, fewer words to play with means that each must do its job and earn its place…a very different challenge than writing an epic poem would be, and definitely a mental exercise for someone as verbose as I am!

Perfection kills possibility

Perfection kills possibility

disallows the lovely chaos

of perfectly

imperfect life

Need Mo OctPoWriMo?


Imperfectly perfect selfie – the eyes have it! Photo credit; Annalise S. Burton