The Lake – #TankaTuesday #Haiku #HaikuMadness

adventure blue calm waters climb

Serene, hushed lake
Plants and animals now sleep
Wait for ice to melt

Serene hush
Lake, fish, cat-tails, now
Solid ice

Placid
Now frozen
Iced lake

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This was written for Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday #160, Calm and Present (synonyms are in bold). Recently amongst the blog-o-sphere (or cube? why can’t it be a cube?), there’s been some controversy over how long to make an English haiku. Each of these were intended to be closely related, but they’re obviously not the same.

Which length do you prefer?

Photo by Riccardo Bresciani on Pexels.com

You Carried Me

purple crocus in bloom during daytime

You carried me.
I didn’t ask,
But then again,
I couldn’t speak.

You settled me
On soft, silken,
Pinkest pillow,
Kissed me tender.

My eyes were shut,
But I still knew
You adored me.
I cherished you.

I wanted to
Clean the sad pile
Of tissues at
Your well shod feet.

Did my urges
Disrespect your
Sadness and grief?
I allowed tears.

Upon your exit
Through sanctum’s door,
Someone shut my
Coffin’s wood lid.

When you returned,
You carried me
In my casket
To earthen home.

But my spirit
Carries you now
Until you come
To rest by me.

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This was written for the January 9th Carrot Ranch prompt. Sure, I took a long time getting to it, but it also took a long time to figure out what to write. Also it didn’t turn out to be a flash, but you know, I tried…

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Slow Insanity – #Cinquain #TankaTuesday

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Living
Exhausting days,
Tiring, sleepless darkness,
Elicited madness in her.
Survive.

Slinging
Cruel statements
To hide dishonor
Against her failed ambitions.
Careless.

Reaching
Depressed stages,
Hopelessness inching in,
She concocted a fantasy.
Straining.

Growing
Cucumber dreams,
Night-times of potatoes,
Sublime and pumpkin reveries.
Working.

Never
Sluggish despite
Corrupt voices’ chiding,
Her delusional garden grew
Lifelong.

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This was written for Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday prompt, poet’s choice. I chose the crown cinquain to honor my grandmother, who this poem was written about. She was absolutely, totally insane, but despite this she held so much of the family together and made her garden fantasy a reality.

Because the bleeding heart flowers represented this poem well, I chose to use a picture previously shared by Alexander Eliot for a prompt. Check out his work too – he’s got a load of stories and some really nice photography.

Favorite Books of 2019

Lucky for me, there’s 5 Mondays this December, which allows an excellent chance to look back at the pile of books (36! Huzzah for me!) I’ve had the privilege to read in 2019!  Here’s a few of my favorites from this year:

Favorite Book On First Read

650Without a doubt, my favorite book this year was Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. If you are a fantasy or a history buff, you should read this absolutely exquisite work. It’s so good that I don’t even feel jealous of the author, just ever so grateful I was able to read the book. 100%, totally recommend. If I hadn’t already given away my copy in earnest effort to get someone to read it, I’d give you mine.

Pro tip, though: get an e-book version. The binding on the paperback is a little weird and can make your experience slightly less enjoyable.

If you allow re-reads, I would have to say this book is competitive with Ancillary Justice, which I still think is probably on of the best books I’ve ever read, but perhaps less fun that Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.

Favorite Indie Book

This feels like such a dangerous category to even have! First, let me say that so many of my fellow bloggers have written great books. More so than anything, what I’ve found to be important in finding a great Indie Book is to look at how dedicated the author is to the craft. A good blog/website is HIGHLY indicative of a good book to follow.

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That being said, I think my favorite Indie Book this year was Diane Wallace Peach’s The Melding of Aeris. While many books could boast powerful storylines and well-written prose, what continues to stick out about Aeris is the extraordinarily clever world and detailed magic system. The feel is post-apocalyptic, but it doesn’t go into detail as to why the world is such. I had a lot of fun reading it and would recommend to those looking for a way into the indie book scene.

I feel like if I do runners up, I’d just be listing off a bunch of bloggers’ books!

Favorite Series

One of my goals this year was to read more series, and I’ve read several. However, I’ve got to limit my choice to just one!

And, no doubt in my mind, it was the Robert Remini Andrew Jackson trilogy. This trilogy is a fantastic set of biographical works that incorporates both feelings from back in the day when everyone was racist and ideals from a more modern, critical era. Though Jackson was a lunatic, Remini shows you his charisma, wit, and drive in such a way that he becomes more coherent. I’ve always enjoyed studying Jackson, though, so I’m inevitably a bit biased.

Also I’ve read this series in the past, so I feel like I cheated a bit by choosing them here. A good runner up would be the Imperial Radch trilogy, but I think it suffers from having a weak second entry.

Favorite Classic

Surprisingly enough, I didn’t read too many true classics. For that reason, I’m including somewhat recent science fiction and fantasy classics.

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Even so, I’d have to go with Dracula by Bram Stoker. I didn’t go in expecting much from this book, but I was pleasantly surprised by the tension, the depth of character, and creativity with the subject matter. I think it’s a great read for anyone interested in expanding their experience with fantasy and classics. Don’t be afraid of it just because of the Twilight craze!

A Couple I Explicitly Didn’t Like

I don’t want to talk about Indie books I didn’t like. If you want to see me rip Indie books, you’ll have to go to my Reviews Page and find them yourself. Part of this is my belief that Indie Books, if done right, should explore niches traditional publishers are afraid to go down – niches that might not be for every reader.

I was sad that I didn’t like Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse. I thought the premise looked really cool, and I very much enjoyed some of the short stories she’d published in other places. I thought the book didn’t explain itself well, and I could never root for the main character. It also came off as tone-deaf in a post 2016 world. 100% worst thing I’ve read this year.

Without anything coming close to Trail of Lightning in terms of sheer dislike, I moved on to thinking about disappointments. Though I enjoyed the book by the end, I was disappointed with The Warrior’s Apprentice. After having read two other novels by McMasters-Bujold, I expected more from this book. I also got more from the books following The Warrior’s Apprentice in the series. I think she tried to fit too much in the novel, and it ended up being an overwhelming tapestry of exciting stuff. It was also her first publication, so that inexperience probably didn’t help.

 

 

Salvation – #Shadorma #Tanka Tuesday

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Salvation
From infernos and
Damnation;
Sacrifice
Self for love, commutation
Of darling’s penance.

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This was written for Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday #158, a photoprompt based on the given image. If I’m remembering correctly from my knowledge of the scientific world, the image is supposed to be an aerogel (a very light gel material with aqueous material inside the crosslinks) that is lifted by the hot air blowing beneath it. The flower is protected by the water in the gel, which is where I came up with the salvation theme of my shadorma.

Crystal Prison Guards – #Haiku #TankaTuesday

Crystal Christmas Landscape

Icebound sentinels
Overlooking valleys grim
Sun holds prison keys

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This was written for Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday Challenge #156, poet’s choice of words.

I took this picture something like a decade ago, during a winter storm that coated every branch, leaf, and needle with a thin, exacting layer of crystal ice. You couldn’t drive anywhere, the electricity was down, and the phones were all useless. The mountains felt like a prison.

Arise – #Haiku #TankaTuesday

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Squeaks of sunset haze
Cue the start of night’s forays;
Bats on insects graze.

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This was written for the photo prompt challenge in Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday #154!

I’m pretty sure this picture is of those epic bat caves in Arizona. Because of the natural elements in the picture, I felt it best to write a haiku. It rhymes, though, which I’m not sure is supposed to be ok or not.

Image by enriquelopezgarre from Pixabay

Mama Grace – #Etheree #Tanka Tuesday

Pink Lemonade

She
Lived
With aplomb
Despite trouble
With her sister’s son.
Her sister was deaf, dumb,
And didn’t want pregnancy.
But poor thing didn’t have a choice,
So barren sister Grace took in the boy.
She raised him with joy, with love, with honor.
But he lived in the vein of his father,
Took the mantle of rapist himself,
Then was carted off to prison.
“You spoilt him,” cried folks at church.
“It’s your fault,” they accused.
She couldn’t fight back.
She made some pink
Lemonade,
Sipped,
Cried.

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This poem was written for Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday #153, Grace and Style (synonyms in bold). When I saw the word “grace,” I instantly thought of that inimitable character I’ve spoken of so many times on this blog – Mama Grace – and how she seemed the absolute definition of grace to me growing up. I learned about her deep struggles after she died, but I remember sipping pink lemonade with her in a neat-as-a-pin house after her husband died.

I don’t know what happened to the sister.

Photo by jousi osorio on Unsplash

Christmas Comes Too Early

Jingle Bells

Christmas is celebrated
By buying all the bargains.
Put them in packages, bags.
Enjoy with Zuzu’s petals.

Why?

One of the wise men brought gold
To the babe in a manger.
From that moment cold, hard cash
Was God’s sign of approval.

So,

Since sweet Jesus invented
The American dollar,
What’s wrong with you, customer?
Do you hate your own children?

Oh.

You’re poor, have nothing to spend.
Don’t fret! Usury is friend!
Borrow emergency cash,
And spend, spend, spend, spend, spend, spend!

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This was written for Chelsea Owens’s Terrible Poetry Contest #46. I haven’t participated in a while, but this prompt was just too good to let go by.