32. The Problem with Poetry

 

Celery raw develops the jaw

But celery stewed is more quietly chewed

  • “Celery” My favorite poem

Poetry Image for blog

I’ll never forget my 7th grade poetry class. I remember immersing myself in the world of rhymes, fascinated by the numberless similarities that pattern our words.

 

Look at my puppy all sweet and shy

If it were dead I’m sure I’d cry

And Look how it licks my hand so sweet

Wagging its tail and patting its feet

Why so innocent? How so small?

When his spirit dances above them all

And when I think of him before falling asleep

I like to drink orange juice and sit on the couch.

 

This is the only issue I have with poetry: When it doesn’t rhyme, it sounds HORRIBLE!

During the past two weeks, I studied poetry in my college English class. And as I examined the poems, I nearly fainted…

Because nothing rhymed!

Consider the following poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins:

Glory be to God for dappled things – 

   For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow; 

      For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim; 

Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings; 

   Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough; 

      

And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim. 

All things counter, original, spare, strange; 

   Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?) 

      With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim; 

He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: 

                                Praise him.

 

WHERE’S THE RHYMING? The greatest element of poetry?

Obviously “cow”, “plough” and “how” rhyme, but look how far apart the words are! The gaps are too big for anything to sound cool!

Obviously there are elements of poetry other than rhyming, but the rhymes are what make or break the poem; and in my opinion, there are too many poems that lack this basic element.  

 

To me, Hopkin’s poem sounds equivalent to:

 

Roses are red; violets are blue

I poop, you poop

Which means our digestive systems probably work

 

Do humans really consider this art? Is it just me? Or is my brain incapable of comprehending such complicated word structures?

In my misery (and confusion), I wrote the following:

 

What is happening to my mind?

Will it surely fade

Away from all existence?

Or stored inside my brain?

Without the rhyme it is a crime

To write away the line

That brings about the harsher reads

And slowly fades my mind

– 

There is a larger difference

It will always be

From minds, brains and other things

For minds you cannot see

I haven’t rhymed in some time

I’m sure you figured that

But what’s the prob? I have a blog

Which fosters that for me

 

Seriously… I wrote all this in like ten minutes.

So what do you guys think?

 

Is poetry defined by the rhyme?

Or is it something else?

That takes our breath away

And surely makes the count?

 

Comments are welcomed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

29. Three Ways to Improve Your Blog

blog 14 image

Blogging is hard.

There. I said it.

Although simple in theory, blogging can be quite challenging. Sometimes it drives me insane, yet other times it clothes me with a blanket of satisfaction.

When I began the Lingering Lamb in October, I assumed blogging would be easy, quick to fill the desire I had for writing.

I can’t say I was completely wrong… or completely right.

The Lingering Lamb is still young; its wool is cushioned with almost 30 articles and nearly 1,500 hits. I never imagined it would do this well in only five months. Of course the success is attributed to my awesome subscribers (both in and out of WordPress); without you guys, my job would NOT be fun.

I know there’s still lots to learn, so I’ve uncovered three aspects I need to improve on as a blogger:

ONE) Consistency

My heavenly Father, family, and school are my number one priorities; blogging/free time come second (or fourth… however you want to interpret it).

Of all my priorities, school drains my time the most. It burns away hours that could be well spent blogging, reading, or playing video games.

With all my homework deadlines, it’s difficult to meet my personal goal of posting every Saturday and Tuesday. But if I push myself to be consistent, I can make my blogging goal work.

TWO) Relaxation

I have this twitching urge to constantly check this blog’s stats. On average, each post gets 50 to 100 views, and I’m always wanting to see if a current post breaks the record for the most views.

If I can somehow learn to prevent from clicking the stats button, I think my focus would be geared more toward the writing than the progress.

THREE) Inspiration

Inspiration is something bloggers yearn for more than anything.

It is also a lie…

Although important, inspiration is not what sustains a blog or book (or anything for that matter). It is a lie because inspiration is not the energy that propels a work forward, rather it is the spark that ignites possibility.

Unless I fuel my inspiration with habit and practice, my blogging/writing dreams will never be realized.

It is habit that gets things done, not inspiration.

I suppose number three can tie in with number one. After all, a great way to develop habit is to be consistent… That is… If you don’t worry about it (hehe…see what I did there?).

When I merge these three weaknesses together, I believe my blogging journey will be much more fulfilling (and your reading experience more enjoyable). If I write on a consistent basis, develop writing habits, and just be “worry free” everything will work out for the better.

So what do you guys think? Are there other things that would make my blogging experience better? And bloggers, are there areas where you need to improve?

^Comments Welcomed  

 

 

 

 

 

 

23. What is Good Writing? …

BLOG 23 image

Good writing is essential for everyone. Whether news columns, blogs, or fictional stories, authors should always abide by three basic rules to convey vibrant messages.

Rule One: Understand Grammar Concepts.

Regardless of writing style, authors must use correct grammar. Sentences — even entire paragraphs — can easily be misinterpreted when the writer does not execute proper grammar. Commas, semicolons, and periods are critical for separating thoughts and even for emphasizing key points.

Rule Two: Less is More

Many write to impress rather than to accurately inform. Instead of writing a clear, straight forward message, they try to impress readers with long sentences and “fancy” vocabulary. These writers don’t realize that the best way to convey anything is to explain it simply, using few words if possible.

Rule Three: Appeal to the Senses

This rule mostly applies to creative writing. When someone is reading a creative story, he wants to feel involved. It’s the writer’s job to interpret the scene as if he is actually seeing, smelling, and hearing everything.

According to the historical fiction writer, E. L. Doctorow, “good writing should provoke sensation in the reader — not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon.”

A beautiful example of appealing to the senses is found in The Great Gatsby, one of America’s most famous novels.

“Gatsby asked me to wait until he was free and I lingered in the garden until the inevitable swimming party had run up, chilled and exalted, from the black beach, until the lights were extinguished in the guest rooms overhead.”

In this passage, Fitzgerald identifies what his protagonist is seeing (gardens/guest rooms) and feeling (chilled). Such writing brings the reader deeper into the story, convincing him of another reality.

To summarize, good writing consists of three main rules: proper grammar, simplicity, and appeal to the senses. Without a firm grip on these basic concepts, writers will struggle to tell their story effectively.

What do you guys think? How important are these rules? How can writers effectively execute them?

I encourage comments below.

4. Essential Readings Before Spring

One of my favorite things to do during break is to read; nothing soothes my weary soul more than a good book (romance novel *cough cough). Ever since starting college, my time has been spent reading boring textbooks :P. I’ve been drooling to dive into the various unread books on my shelf.

I have two 3 credit hour classes out of the way, and now I’m ready to enjoy the rest of my semester with less homework.

Since two huge classes are done, I will be substituting that extra time with these:

ONE: 100 Cupboards series

Cupboards

Honestly, I only bought these books because they were cheap. The covers looked fancy, and I’ve heard positive reviews from the internet and friends.

TWO: The Books of Elsewhere series

BOE

I walked into my favorite bookstore, and this caught my eye. The cover clearly depicts a young female stepping into an unknown world. And like her, I want to explore. :0

THREE: Magic the Gathering: Lorwyn book 1

Lorwyn

I’ve seen the cards EVERYWHERE! Other than Pokémon, Magic: The Gathering seems to be the best. Honestly, I know anything about Magic: The Gathering, but since my friend suggested it, I feel obligated (but excited).

FOUR: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

LOTR

A friend of mine (whose fantastic artistry is the logo for this blog) said that until I read LOTR, then I didn’t deserve the title of fantasy lover. As this statement brought me to tears, I contemplated her reasoning. She was right. The Lord of the Rings is what shaped modern fantasy, and without reading the trilogy, my title of fantasy lover would be quite hollow :’(.

FIVE: A Song of Ice and Fire: A Game of Thrones

GOT

Before I bought the series, I quickly read the prologue from A Game of Thrones. It made me want to hurry and read the rest. George R. R. Martin blew me away with his intense writing ability, making even the blandest of scenes feel real and exciting.

There is one problem, however… I’ve asked fans about the series, and they’ve said that the books are nothing short of EXPLICIT. So with enthusiasm—and caution—I will inch my way through the first book.

THE END

There are a few other books I plan on reading before the Spring Semester. But for starters, I think I’ll get going on these.

Until my next post, I want to know what books you guys are reading (or want to be reading). HEHE!

Leave comments below…