Smoke Again

again this smoky haze
the incense of
an unwanted cleansing

Forest Fire

A thick blue haze has settled on the fields again today. We’ve shut all the windows, as the smoky air is hard to breathe. I hope you’ll pardon me if I’m boring you with all my versifying about forest fire —I find it hard not to think about it whenever I step outside.

On a positive note, two bright but very timid orioles have been snitching from our hummingbird feeder today.

The Sounds of Silence?

The Word of the Day prompt this morning is CACOPHONY

Living with two hearing aids as I do, I could write a fair bit about the cacophony I hear when I’m in a crowd and everybody’s chatting. 🙂

Sometimes when a word pops up as a prompt and nothing special comes to mind, I go to Goodreads and look it up in the Quotes section, to see how other writers have used this word. which I did this morning and found this rather profound quote to share with you:

“Out of the cacophony of random suffering and chaos that can mark human life, the life artist sees or creates a symphony of meaning and order. A life of wholeness does not depend on what we experience. Wholeness depends on how we experience our lives.”
— Bishop Desmond Tutu

Mashed Up Musings

Rambling Thoughts on Genre Mashups

Puzzling.jpgYesterday over at The Write Practice, the subject was genre mashups, something I’d never hear of before — at least not by that name. The concept of taking a story and retelling it in another genre is familiar. For example, telling the story of Cinderella as a news report.

In this Write Practice post “The Magic Violinist” is suggesting mixing genres like fairy tale + sci-fi, romance + thriller, classic + contemporary. Oliver Twist meets his Mafia Godfather. That type of thing.

I read a book recently where one of the main characters is an author and in her novel Jane Austen is captured by space aliens. The title of the book will give a clue as to how successful she was at getting it launched. The Rejected Writers Book Club (Southlea Bay) by Suzanne Kelman is a funny, though none-too-believable, tale with a mixture of zany and normal characters. I found it delightful.

Mixing genres is an intriguing thought. Even in straight fiction, there are some tales I think would benefit from a dash of something else thrown in. For example, Wuthering Heights — one book I disliked extremely. I read the thing all the way through, hoping poor Heathcliff would get a grip, but there was just no improvement.

It’s billed as a romance — but I saw no actual love anywhere in its pages. Jealousy, greed, snobbery, obsession, fury, cruelty, revenge, yes. Love, no. I think Healthcliff might have benefited immensely by a visit from those three Spirits of Christmas who brought Ebenezer Scrooge to his senses in A Christmas Carol.

I think a lot of mashups of the old classics have already been done a zillion times. There are many contemporary, sci-fi, fantasy, and western versions of Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Pride + Prejudice, Romeo & Juliet, and Hamlet floating around.

Just for the fun of it, here are a few mashups I came up with:

Lord Peter Wimsey is sent to investigate the assassination of the King of Scotland and the murder of Banquo. He deduces from various clues that MacBeth is the guilty party…
or
Miss Marple, a good friend of Banquo’s widow, does some snooping and uncovers Lady Macbeth’s duplicity in the assassination of the king.

The Three Musketeers could be three university roommates who join together to prove their favorite professor, accused of being a spy, is innocent.

I’ve never read The Great Gatsby, and the synopsis doesn’t at all inspire me to start. However, one of the three male characters could meet up with the three spirits of Christmas and come to see the error of his ways, improving the sad outcome of that story.

On the humorous side, Bertie Wooster could meet up with Ebenezer Scrooge’s three Christmas ghosts and resolve to atone for his former self-indulgent lifestyle. He tries in his inept way to donate time + talent to some worthy cause, but Jeeves has to sort things out when they go awry.

Notes:

Cinderella, an old fairy tale, was recorded by French writer Charles Perrault
Oliver Twist is a classic novel by Charles Dickens
The Little Mermaid was a Hans Christian Anderson tale
Wuthering Heights was Emily Bronte’s only novel
Ebeneezer Scrooge is Charles Dicken’s notorious curmudgeon and tightwad
Pride & Prejudice was penned by Jane Austen
Romeo + Juliet, Hamlet and MacBeth were written by William Shakespeare
Lord Peter Wimsey was Dorothy Sayers’ famous detective
Miss Marple was Agatha Christie’s very successful sleuth
The Three Musketeers was written by Alexandre Dumas
The Great Gatsby was an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel
Bertie Wooster + his valet, Jeeves, were created by P. G. Wodehouse

Molly From Cork

“Molly O’Haggerty Rourke
my colleen from county o’ Cork,
oh, I’ll soon be sailing—
now don’t you go wailing!—
My fortune I seek in New York.”

Says Molly O’Haggerty Rourke,
“Your colleen from county o’ Cork,
sure, you’ll be forgettin’
as soon as you’re settin’
your eyes on the girls of New York.”

I says to her, “Love don’t you frown,
your trust I will never let down.
I’ll send for you, sweetheart;
we’ll both make a new start
and light up the streets of York town.”

My response to Fandango’s FOWC word: ENERGY

First posted April 22, 2016 on Friday Tales

A Carefree Creature

As my response to the Ragtag daily prompt: FREEDOM
with a nod to Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day: NONCHALANT

I offer this poem about this carefree toad:

The Happy Toad

by Edgar Guest

As I was walking down the road
I met an ugly, grinning toad,
who squatted in the shade and said:
“I never wish that I were dead.
Wherever I may chance to stray
I find rich food along the way;
I have no dreams I can’t fulfill;
I owe no other toad a bill.
In slimy places I abide
but with them I am satisfied.
My little children I forsook
as tadpoles in a nearby brook;
I know not where they are, nor care.
I have no burdens I must bear.
At night I never lie awake.
My bitterest enemy is the snake.
I have no taxes, no beliefs,
no cares, ambitions, hopes or griefs;
no clothes to buy, no cash to lose,
no tools that I must learn to use.
I sing no dirges, tell no jokes.
I’m just a jumping toad who croaks;
contented, placid, happy I
shall be until the day I die.”
~~~
Yet as I trudged along the road
I thought, “Who wants to be a toad?”
From his book, Collected Verse of Edgar A. Guest,
©1934 by the Reilly & Lee Co

Toad

Love for Exploring + Zest for Discovery

It hits me every now and then, this urge to go wandering. I check out a blog post, which leads me to another, then another. Hop, hop, hop. Usually leads to the joy of discovery.

Come hop, hop, hop with me now as I comment on the discoveries I’ve made:

Fandango’s One-Word Challenge today is LOVE. A great word, easy to write about. A heartening and wondrous word — but we’ve cheapened it, I fear. I recall some dear old grandmas warning about this. “Love is for living things,” they said. “Not for inanimate objects.”

When one teen was enthusing about something she really liked, saying, I just LOVE this —” a wise old grandma told her:

“Love something that can love you back.”

Love is a serious thing, a precious word not to be tossed around  and tarnished. We don’t really LOVE clothes, a car or a house. We don’t LOVE writing or running exploring. We love PEOPLE. So my title is misleading. But I ENJOY exploring, checking out other bloggers’ work.

Ragtag’s daily prompt word is ZEST. Merriam Webster defines it as:
: a piece of the peel of a citrus fruit (such as an orange or lemon) used as flavoring
2 : an enjoyably exciting quality : piquancy
3 : keen enjoyment : relish, gusto; a zest for living

P.S.: If you find big words enjoyable and exciting, their Word of the Day is ORGULOUS. And if you toss it into casual conversation, people will think you are orgulous.

As I said at the start, once in awhile I get this excitement, this urge, to explore, instead of ABIDING (Word of the Day’s prompt) here at home.

I popped over to one blog and saw a listing of a dozen different blog awards. One of them was ONE LOVELY BLOG AWARD. Curious, I Googled “One Lovely Blog Award.” Up popped ten pages of posts from people who wrote about — usually because they’d received — this award.

I checked out a few for curiosity  and landed on the Fractured Faith blog, done by Stephen & Fionnuala Black, a couple from Northern Ireland. I’ve seen their lovely icon before, as they’ve liked some of my posts. On their Home Page, in the list of their recent posts, I saw this unique Flash Fiction Challenge. An imaginative way to nudge the old muse. I don’t LOVE, but I really LIKE, your idea and am doing a pingback to your challenge. 😉

I’ve found the odd receipt but my imagination was dozing at those moments. I never derived a tale from my find like you did. I did find a wallet once — actually saw it fall out of the man’s pocket as he exited his car. I hurried over, scooped it up and located the man in a nearby store. When he discovered his loss, and saw it in my hands, he gave me a big hug. Definitely worth it. Loved the hug.

I think you can love a hug — even from a complete stranger. 😉

And now back at home, I shall abide awhile by my hallway window to watch the hummers. They may not be able to love us back but I believe they’re as thankful as their tiny brains can be for syrup provided. Then my hands had best abide in meal preparation, as it’s almost dinner time. 🙂