Poetry Monday was conjured up by Diane, who was then joined by Delores (at Mumblings). If you go to either of their blogs, you will find other people who have joined in as well.
So today: BOGO - buy one post, get one free (and don't think you aren't "buying" because you're spending precious time to read this stuff, so it's anything but free ...)
I think many people hear the word "poem" and either roll their eyes or run screaming for the hills.
But there are so many kinds of poems; it's just a matter of finding some that fit the reader's likes and preferences.
Personally I enjoy a wide variety of poetry - everything from sonnets to limericks to free verse to cat haiku. And I've written many kinds, although I'll admit some of them were for a project in high school. But occasionally since then, too. Sometimes a few lines will pop into my head and - just like having a mouse in the house - I can't rest until it's out of there.
What is cat haiku? If you haven't run into this concept before, here's an example:
I leap into the window.
I meant to do that.
(Like me, you may have learned in school that a haiku is a Japanese form of poetry consisting of three lines, with a certain number of syllables in each line - five, then seven, then five. Actual REAL haiku counts Japanese characters, not syllables, but in English we have to use syllables instead.)
On this Poetry Monday I feel like writing cat haiku, so here goes. This one is inspired by our finicky male cat, who maintains his svelte figure by never eating, except sometimes when we least expect it.
Dinner time so soon?
That bowl of food revolts me.
Take it away, slave.
What is this I see -
Yesterday's forgotten bowl?
Leave it! I must eat.
* * *
And now the other half of the "buy one, get one free" post.
And this one really hurts me. Don't be alarmed. It only hurts in the literary way.
I am about to embark on an experiment. It involves giving up something very dear to me. Something I use every day, in every way, to express my feelings of joy! excitement!! disbelief!!! rage!!!!
Yes, it's the exclamation mark, also known as the exclamation point. And according to every grammar site I've checked, people are using too many of them. I know this particular person is.
As an aside, Wikipedia says that the exclamation mark is thought to have derived from the Latin exclamation for joy (oi) and that the modern representation started in the Middle Ages, when medieval copyists wrote it at the end of their sentences to indicate joy. (If I were a medieval copyist I'm pretty sure I'd be using it at the end of my painstakingly handwritten sentences, too.) And then it evolved into its present day form over time.
I love that punctuation mark. Until emoticons came into widespread use, it was my only means of expressing emotion in the written word. When I look at the letters I wrote to my parents from university (which my mother kindly saved for me, I know not why) I am embarrassed - embarrassed, I tell you - by the number of them I used.
I admire writers who can get across their joy, excitement, disbelief and rage without the use of flagrant punctuation. I want to become one of them.
So I'm giving up exclamation marks for a whole week. In my posts, in my comments, in my replies to comments here. It's going to be a rough week, but I did want to warn you. Nothing has happened to me - I'm not sad, I'm not depressed, I'm not bored with life. None of those. I'm trying to progress as a writer, and I'm hoping that one week will turn into longer.
I have to admit I am not optimistic about this experiment. But I'm going to give it a try.
Who knows? If this is successful, maybe I'll try living without my next-most-favourite crutch, the smiley face :)
"I narrow my eyes at your lack of optimism, Slave. Signed, Finicky Male Cat"
Make that twelve, now ...