Weather and Words

I see that our prompt words today are FALLING, given us by Ragtag Daily Prompt, and NAIVE, from Word of the Day.

I’ve no problem responding to these, as snow started falling Sunday about 8pm — within a few hours we had a white blanket over our land — and I’m not naive enough to think this will soon disappear.

At first the snow was coming down more evenly, but later Sunday evening the wind picked up and we had near-blizzard conditions at times. We haven’t had much more snow, but yesterday’s and this morning’s weather continues with icy wind.

Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day is LACKADAISICAL, an interesting word for sure. At least I always thought it meant something like HAPHAZARD, or lacking plan, order, or direction. Like my approach to cleaning: do a bit here, a bit there, a bit now, a bit then. It’s what this weather makes me feel like being. 

However, reading the definition I see that lackadaisical has come down from an old English expression, “Alack a day.” A “Woe is me!” type phrase. More like when you haven’t got the heart to start some project. Or when ice, snow, and wind rob you of the spirit or zest to go strolling or frolicking outdoors.

Speaking of spirit and zest, are you aware that NaNoWriMo starts in only three days? At 11:59 on October 31 writers all over the world will be taking their place at their computer to zealously power out their first session. The more laid-back writers will wait until first thing in the morning to begin the month-long writing jag.

Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? Are you gathering facts, working on your outline, plot and resolution? I always get enthused and enjoy the challenge of Nanowrimo, but this year I’ve decided to rather do my own marathon in November. I’m calling it ATCUSS: A Total Clean-Up of my Sewing Space. “Mend it, sew it, finish it, or out with it” will be my motto this month.

Unlike Nano participants, I set my own rules for ATCUSS and can start today. My sewing room tends to be a catch-all —“just until I can take care of this.” You know how that goes, right? Well, I’ve learned that having a cluttered work space is depressing and contributes to a lackadaisical approach to any project, so yesterday I took care of the clean laundry and ironing the sewing room been catching for the last two weeks.

If you’re doing NanoWriMo or some other special project this coming month, I do wish you the Passion, Fervor, Ardor, Enthusiasm and Zeal to establish and carry out your game plan. According to Merriam-Webster, these words ” mean intense emotion compelling action.” You can wish me the same as I begin my project.

Book: Love of Finished Years

When I read a good book, I like to tell people about it. This story reminds me of something British writer D E Stevenson, another excellent author, would write.

Love of Finished Years
by Gregory Erich Phillips

This moving debut novel by Gregory Erich Phillips won the Grand Prize for best book of the year in the Chanticleer Reviews International writing Competition.

From the first paragraph to the last, this compelling story illustrates the desperate poverty of one immigrant family from Germany who landed at Ellis Island in 1905. After struggling to earn a living for several years, their dejected father abandons the family, so the mother and two daughters work in sweatshops, determined to survive.

The heroine of our story, Elsa, finds a friend at work who teaches her English. Later she manages to find work as a secretary, ostensibly a German-English translator for an American businessman, but Esla basically becomes the companion of his daughter Dafne and is introduced to the world of the privileged.

This story is so realistic it could have been a biography. I felt along with Elsa and her family as they faced a new life in an alien world. I believe this reflects the lot of many immigrants. Slowly the three immigrant women manage to pull their way out of desperate poverty, maintaining close ties. Then comes World War I and they must cope with anti-German hostilities and the tragedy that results.

While she is companion to Dafne, the debutante is engaged to Glenn and when war comes he’s eager to go and serve his country, do his part to deliver the world from the evil aggressor. Glenn’s war experience and his enlightenment was very realistic. I have to agree with the writer’s take on the idea of a “just” war: all the “save the world” idealism is a thin veneer covering various hidden agenda.

I thought the writer portrayed Dafne with fairness, too. An immature, spoiled debutante carried away by adult dreams too big for her to really comprehend, she really needed more parental guidance than she got. Thankfully, through their years together Elsa filled the place of a big sister and guided her in many ways.

It really is an engaging, well written tale.

On Breaking & Replacing

Lego + quote

ONE BROKEN DREAM
by Edgar Guest

One broken dream is not the end of dreaming,
One shattered hope is not the end of all,
Beyond the storm and tempest stars are gleaming,
Still build your castles, though your castles fall.

Though many dreams come tumbling in disaster,
And pain and heartache meet us down the years,
Still keep your faith, your dreams and hopes to master
And seek to find the lesson of your tears.

Not all is as it should be! See how littered
With sorry wreckage is life’s restless stream.
Some dreams are vain, but be you not embittered
And never cry that you have ceased to dream!

From the book, Collected Verse of Edgar A. Guest,
©1934 by the Reilly & Lee Company

pick up pieces quote

The Ragtag Daily Prompt word this morning was BROKEN.

Dreams & Designs

A NEW DAY

Crest of a wave on the eastern horizon
a barely discernible glow at first
seeps over to inundate the heavens
driving night to the west end of time.

As it travels across the sky it washes
away the pain and sorrows of yesterday
prompts pardon for past wrongs
effects forgiveness in its undercurrent.

The sun arrives to shake the sleepyheads
insisting on new designs and dreams.
People open their eyes to grumble, moan,
or thank God for a new day!

— Christine Goodnough

Gettin’ Old

by Edgar Guest

Gettin old’s not hard, I say,
if it’s done the proper way;
when you’re finding’ out how much
joy is in the common touch,
learnin’ from experience
and the book of common sense
that a man, whoe’er he be,
richly dressed or poor to see,
really’s tryin’ hard to do
just about the same as you;
when you’ve found the worth of gold,
then you’re glad you’re gettin’ old.

When you’ve come along the years
with their smiles and bitter tears,
and have seen through clearer eyes
many things you used to prize
lose their value, and you know
much you didn’t long ago;
when you’ve learned that creed and birth
are not real stamps of worth,
and you’ve scraped through the veneer
of the sham and pomp down here
to tell the truth you want to hold,
then you’re glad you’re gettin’ old.

When you’ve come at last to find
joy is born of bein’ kind;
when you’re learned to disbelieve
tales which make another grieve
and to them you shut your ear;
when you are not quick to sneer
and have turned from selfish strife
to the gentler ways of life,
in your wisdom finding out
things you never dreamed about
in your youthful way days and bold —
then you’re glad you’re getting old.

Gettin’ old’s not hard, I say,
if it’s done the proper way,
youth is made with haste and blind
to the peace which old men find,
but when you have traveled far,
come to know men as they are,
when you’ve learned through hurts and aches
all the errors hot youth makes
and have found the lasting worth
of the simpler joys of earth;
when life’s purposes unfold,
then you’re glad you’re gettin’ old.

Summer Verse

Image by Jill Wellington — Pixabay

SUMMER

by Edgar Guest

Bees are in the blossoms,
birds are on the wing,
roses climb, and summertime
is kissing every thing.
Little pansy faces
wink and smile at me,
and far and near there’s not a tear
that human eye can see.

There’s beauty in the garden,
there’s beauty in the sky,
the stately phlox and hollyhocks
have put their sorrows by.
The gentle breath of summer
has blown the cares away;
all nature sings, for morning brings
another lovely day.

Yet some are blind to beauty
and some are deaf to song;
the troubled brow is heard to vow
that all the world is wrong.
And some display their sorrow,
and some bewail their woe
and some men sigh that love must die
and summertime must go.

From the book, Collected Verse of Edgar A. Guest
© 1934 by The Reilly & Lee Company