Sunday, August 28, 2005

Of Penguins and Little People

Yesterday we went to see March of the Penguins. It was a family outing that was greatly anticipated, partly because movies appropriate for 5 and 2 year olds are rare, and partly because I'd been playing the movie's trailer for the girls at least once a day for the past week.

I'm not sure which they liked better - the experience of going to a movie theater, or the movie itself - but it was definitely a hit. Kate, our two year old, was restless through much of the movie, but that wasn't surprising given how low-key the film was. The musical score was gentle and soothing and there wasn't a lot of action, mostly scenes of penguins standing around huddled together against the cold. Kate was quiet, but she was also more interested in the jelly beans and gummy penguins we had bought at the snack counter than in watching penguins waddle from one side of the screen to the other. Her attention waned until the chicks hatched, and then she got pretty excited about what was happening. Maybe she just needed characters (i.e., baby birds) she could identify with.

We knew there would be at least one seal chasing the penguins underwater from having watched the trailer, and when that scene came along, our five year old Emma scrunched up in her seat, squeezed her eyes into slits, and slapped her hands over her ears. Surprisingly, when I asked her after the movie what her favorite part was, she didn't hesitate to say the part when the seal caught the penguin. I wonder if that was the equivalent of a 'thriller' for the kindergarten set?

I think every member of our family would recommend this movie. The photography is amazing, and the story of what these animals do to survive and reproduce in the harshest environment on earth is even more so. If you like nature, animals, or ice and snow, check it out.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A little less serious

Sometimes it's great to let go and just play around. Have a little fun. Write something silly, goofy, or unexpected. Don't take yourself seriously. Go for the smile or the wink instead of the knowing nod. When was the last time you wrote something just for the fun of it, not thinking of polishing or publishing? Feel free to post your own silliness here.

A Folkshine Fable

The old woman was evicted from the shoe for not paying rent
but she had the money. She was waging a protest,
her and her seventeen children, dirty little ragamuffins
in tie-dye and jerusalem cruisers, selling pop-rocks
on the street corner to get the kindergarten set high.
She’d just braided her greying hair, weaving in daisies
from the field behind the coliseum
where the professional wrestlers play death daily,
when they came for her, the king’s men
on their silver and black Harleys, rumbling
up like Ghengis Khan’s horde. Tucking brats
under each arm, they hauled the whole clan
off to the shantytown behind Peter’s pumpkin
patch, where Humpty Dumpty’s decaying carcass
lay as a warning to those who would rather not conform.

Saturday, August 20, 2005


Happiness Makes up in Height for What it Lacks in Length
         - Robert Frost

To balance out my last post, here are a few of the little things that bring me joy:

- an unexpected love letter

- warm sand between my toes

- a cat's purr

- giving someone the right of way in heavy traffic

- sticky kid-kisses

- chocolate

- the languid arc of a heron in flight

- poetry that is profoundly simple and unpretentious

- snow falling

- the tug of discovery when inspiration strikes and a poem or story pours out

- a random smile from a total stranger

I could go on and on, but now it's your turn. What makes you happy?

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Feeling Peevish

Minor things can be so irritating:

- furniture that requires assembly but comes with no instructions

- people who can't go five minutes without talking on their cell phone

- being given a hotel room that smells like a thousand cigarettes when you specifically reserved a non-smoking one

- cheese sticks with no dipping sauce

- junk mail (especially those stupid credit card checks)

- grammatical mistakes on signs and advertisements, such as they're instead of their or apostrophe s for plural (House of Clog's)

- burned toast when it's the last slice of bread

-poetry that uses & instead of writing out the word 'and'

- that sliver of popcorn kernel stuck in your teeth from five days ago

That's my list. What bugs you?

Monday, August 15, 2005

Lit Notes

If you've missed reading any issues of SmokeLong Quarterly this year, now is your chance to catch up. A print collection of all the flash and author interviews from the past year is now available in the SmokeLong Annual 2004-2005.

Drop by Ink Pot for the latest online sampling from this lovely literary journal and get a glimpse of
Beverly Jackson’s beautiful artwork.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Sweet sweet summer

Popsicle Days

Mid-August and I sense it. A slowing.
The way summer shifts towards its end
in freeze-frame moments
as fall crooks a finger to pull us closer.
I feel the planet tilt
till time rolls down the other side.

I will relish these last popsicle
days, press the soles of my feet
against patchy grass worn into crop circles
by the underbelly of a plastic wading pool,
catch the breath of a distant thunderstorm
in my teeth.

I will hold your small butterfly
hands in mine and watch the trees
swim in the grass, the flowers sing
to the sky, the day
slip into night.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Like to Flash?

Night Train is currently running their Fifty-Fifty Fiction Awards competition for excellence in Firebox Fiction (short short stories under 1000 words). This is a great way to support an outstanding magazine since half of the reading fees ($10 for each entry of 2 stories) goes toward publishing Night Train; the other half goes to the top three story writers.

Like to flash? Night Train is the perfect place to do it.