Monthly Archives: June 2018

I.L. Wolf #Ten Word Photo Prompt: Sepia

scarecrow

Mistakenly they sought protection in the shadow of the totem.

 

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COLLEEN’S WEEKLY #TANKA TUESDAY #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 90, “Give & Receive,” #SYNONYMSONLY

 

Make a donation.

Your heart torn by emotion

trying to ignore

the bowls thrust out forlornly

expecting to get nothing

 

 

 

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Sue Vincent’s weekly #Writephoto

shadow-wings (1)

Upon a branch a squirrel sat,
when far below he spied a cat
aha he said you can’t catch me
i know you cannot fly you see
but the foolish squirrel didn’t know
while teasing pussy far below,
an owl was hovering overhead,
heard the taunting words he said.
Thinking here’s a tasty snack
he swooped and gripped the squirrel’s back
with beating wings and talons full

that’s the last we’ll see of poor squirrel,

 

 

 

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A Short Analysis of Emily Dickinson’s ‘Safe in their alabaster chambers’

‘Safe in their Alabaster Chambers’ is about one of Emily Dickinson’s favourite themes: death. But, as so often with an Emily Dickinson poem, her treatment of this perennial theme is far from straightforward.

Safe in their Alabaster Chambers –
Untouched by Morning –
And untouched by noon –
Sleep the meek members of the Resurrection –
Rafter of Satin – and Roof of Stone!

Grand go the Years – in the Crescent – above them –
Worlds scoop their Arcs –
And Firmaments – row –
Diadems – drop – and Doges – surrender –
Soundless as dots – on a Disk of Snow –

Above, we’ve reproduced the 1861 edition of ‘Safe in their Alabaster Chambers’; an earlier version, from 1859, had slightly different wording. The poem considers the dead, ‘safe’ in their ‘Alabaster Chambers’ or tombs; nothing can affect the dead, not the coming of morning or the heat of noon, nor the passing of years, the fall of kings or queens (‘Diadems – drop’ neatly suggesting the falling of a royal crown as a dynasty crumbles), or the surrender of ‘Doges’ (rulers of city-states like Venice). These events make as little impact on the sleep of the dead as raindrops falling on snow.

All this makes perfectly good sense, of course. The dead are unconcerned with the passing of the day, or the seasons, or whole dynasties and changes of government. But Emily Dickinson seems to be implying something else by saying that the dead are safe in their alabaster chambers: this idea suggests someone tucked up safely in bed, protected from the ravages of the outside world. The clue is provided in the line ‘Sleep the meek members of the Resurrection’. The dead are ‘safe’ not just because they cannot be physically harmed, but because they are ready for the Resurrection, when – in Christian theology – the dead will rise from their tombs for the Last Judgement. The ‘Alabaster Chambers’, however, also imply wealth: these are the tombs of the rich, not some pauper’s grave.

The words Dickinson uses throughout the poem – ‘Grand’, ‘Diadems’, ‘Doges’ – similarly imply the well-to-do and aristocratic, summoning the idea of the wealthy leaving money in their wills when they die, for chaplains and others to say prayers for them in the afterlife, praying for their souls. In other words, this poem is not just about the dead, but a certain class of dead, we might say. In this context, Dickinson’s word ‘meek’ (‘the meek members of the Resurrection’) is decidedly ironic: Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount that the meek are blessed, because they will inherit the earth; but there is little that is ‘meek’ in the rich dead that inhabit those alabaster chambers.

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Using polarity in literature #amwriting

We all know opposites attract—it seems to be a fundamental law of physics. It is as if the one end of the magnetic spectrum supplies a needed missing element for the other, something they can’t resist.

In literature, polarity gives your theme dimension. Remember, the theme is the backbone of your story, the thread that runs though it and connects the disparate parts. Themes are often polarized: One obvious polarity in literature is good vs. evil. Another is love vs. hate.

The circle of life explores birth, growth, degeneration, and death. Young vs. oldis a common polarity—many times we find opportunities for conflict within the family. Both sides of this age-old conflict tend to be arrogant and sure of their position in each skirmish.

Wealth vs. poverty offers the opportunity to delve into social issues and inequities.

But looking beyond the obvious are the subtle polarities we can instill into our work, the small subliminal conflicts that support the theme and add texture to the narrative.

Consider justice. Without injustice, there is no need for justice. Justice only exists because of injustice.

Or pain–the absence of pain, emotional or physical, is only understood when someone has suffered pain. Until we have felt severe pain, we don’t even think about the lack of it. In literature, emotional pain can be a thread adding dimension to an otherwise stale relationship.

Truth and falsehood (reality/unreality) go a long way toward adding drama to a plot and provide a logical way to underscore the larger theme.

Ease should be framed with difficulty.

Many commonly used words have opposites, such as the word attractive, the opposite of which is repulsive. When you really want to add texture to your narrative, look at how you could apply the ideas generated by your list of antonyms, words with the opposite meanings.

Think about how some of the concepts of the more common “D” words with opposites could be used to good effect:

  • dangerous – safe
  • dark – light
  • decline – accept
  • deep – shallow
  • definite – indefinite
  • demand – supply
  • despair – hope
  • discourage – encourage
  • dreary – cheerful
  • dull – bright, shiny
  • dusk – dawn

I love and regularly use the Oxford Dictionary of Synonyms and Antonyms to spur my creativity. It can be purchased in paperback, so it’s not too spendy. Often you can find these sorts of reference books second hand.

The internet is also your friend. A large, comprehensive list of common antonyms can be found at Enchanted Learning. If you don’t have the Oxford Dictionary of Synonyms and Antonyms and are feeling the financial pinch most authors feel, this is a free resource.

Applied with a deft hand, opposites add dimension and rhythm to our work. Polarity is an essential tool of world building, as small polarities in the interactions your characters have with each other add to the atmosphere and serve to show their world in subtle ways.

  • courage – cowardice
  • create – destroy
  • crooked – straight/honorable
  • cruel – kind

What polarities can you use to your advantage in your current work in progress? When inserted unobtrusively they become invisible, an organic part of the larger picture. Yet, each small polarity will create a little conflict, push your characters a bit further, and underscore your larger theme.

These are just a few ideas and thoughts to help you jump start your work, if you’re a little stranded. Happy writing!

It may seem obvious but this topic remains in the background and is dragged from the shadows very well here

Re-blogged from Life in the Realm of Fantasy 

Connie J Jasperson

Life in the Realm of Fantasy

We all know opposites attract—it seems to be a fundamental law of physics. It is as if the one end of the magnetic spectrum supplies a needed missing element for the other, something they can’t resist.

In literature, polarity gives your theme dimension. Remember, the theme is the backbone of your story, the thread that runs though it and connects the disparate parts. Themes are often polarized: One obvious polarity in literature is good vs. evil. Another is love vs. hate.

The circle of life explores birth, growth, degeneration, and death. Young vs. old is a common polarity—many times we find opportunities for conflict within the family. Both sides of this age-old conflict tend to be arrogant and sure of their position in each skirmish.

Wealth vs. poverty offers the opportunity to delve into social issues and inequities.

But looking beyond the obvious are the subtle polarities we…

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Ronovan Writes Weekly #Haiku: 207 25th June

ronovan-writes-haiku-poertry-challenge-image-20161

The mind of a child

will know no concept of safe

guidance essential

 

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Weekend writing #60 #Weave

Challenging  Gods in all their glory

Remember poor Arachne’s story

compelled to weave eternally

threads on the loom of humanity

as a consequence of her vanity

 

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Filed under Factual, History, Inspired by fable, Old knowledge, Self compositions

Another submission call from the pages of ShortStops

The Aleph Writing Prize

THE ALEPH WRITING PRIZE 2018

About The Aleph Writing Prize

The Aleph Writing Prize is an annual writing competition. The prize awards a limited publication to the best piece of writing. There are no barriers to this competition, anybody of any age can enter regardless if they are published or unpublished.

The winning piece will be published in a limited number of handmade booklets and all copies/proceeds will go to the winner.

The competition is free to enter.

The judges will be looking for innovative and creative writing that explores and expand the possibilities of the book. We encourage submissions from all literary genres, and there are no restrictions on theme or subject matter.

*

SUBMISSION DEADLINE:

– The prize opens to submissions on 1 July 2018.

– Submissions will close on 1 September 2018. No entries will be considered if submitted after 1 September 2018 (12 noon GMT).

WINNERS ANNOUNCED:

1st November 2018

*

Terms and Conditions

Please read these eligibility and entry rules carefully before beginning the online entry process. Submission of an entry is taken as acceptance of the entry rules. For any queries not covered below, please email thealephstore@gmail.com

1) The competition is open to unpublished and published writers residing anywhere.

2) Only submissions receivedby 12 noon September 1st (GMT)

will be considered.

3) The entry must be the entrant’s own original creation and must not infringe upon the right or copyright of any person or entity.

4) There is no minimum word count, but the maximum word count is 10,000.

5) Writers may submit one piece of work each. Illustrations accepted.

6) The story must be written in English (Translations accepted).

7) Submissions must be made by the author of the short story.

8) There are no age restrictions.

9) When submitting, please include a short covering letter including your contact details, your name and the title of your story.

10) The first page should include the title of the story and the number of words.

11) All submissions should include page numbers.

12) Entries will accepted via email thealpehstore@gmail.com . Please put SUBMISSION in the subject. Submissions must be in one of the following formats: .pdf.

13) Unsuccessful entrants will not be contacted.

14) No editorial feedback will be provided.

15) Only submissions which meet all Terms and Conditions will be considered.

 

More details here: http://thealeph.limitedrun.com/

 

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MlMM’s #First Line Friday 22 June

The strangers with her on the rooftop paused in unison. They seemed confused, unsure what to do next. They had got her this far and so far no hint of what their intentions for her were.

Her mind raced. Looking about her wildly she couldn’t, in fact refused to believe that twenty  minutes  ago she had been walking through the cobbled streets of the finely preserved National Trust show village.

There had been no sign that there was some form of medieval pageant but  she had found herself grabbed bu a pair  of swarthy, dark-skinned men in what looked  like authentic peasant’s smocks. If the dirt was anything to go by.

Despite her protests the two men had grabbed her and speaking in a strange accent, at least it sounded like an accent but the words weren’t even recognisable, had put a rope round her waist and started to lead her towards the public house she had just passed, “The vine.”

It had seemed empty before but now she found it to be full of the costumed townsfolk. Baleful eyes were cast in her direction as she was roughly dragged through the door.

Still unable to make her captors understand what she was saying and in total confusion, tears started to form; they pulled her through an archway at the side of the old wooden bar.  Despite her situation she found herself marvelling  at  the authenticity of the bar. It really was like stepping back in time as she noted the two large oak barrels standing on the dark brown, knotted, roughly sawn plank that doubled as a bar counter. Behind which there were a range of earthenware pots with unknown contents. There wasn’t even a price list. Then they started to ascend a granite staircase between two rough whitewashed walls.

The people had formed a procession behind them, there were giggles and shrieks of laughter but it was more at her than with her and there was no humour  in their loud clamour. From the dark staircase they  burst out into the light  and she saw that they were on a wooden balcony that overlooked the  street at least two storeys below. A rough shaped beam was crudely attached to the handrail and looking up she saw the rope that hung from it over the edge. It was knotted at the bottom with a noose.

Only then did she start to scream.

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Filed under Alternative history, Flash fiction, Self compositions

G haiku

 

With a lazy twitch

thin lace gently taps the glass

cooling Summer breeze

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Filed under Haiku, Seasons, Temperatures rising