Archive for the ‘Games’ Tag

Strong Verse   Leave a comment

CREAM OF WHEAT, BOYS PLAYING FOOTBALL

Image by George Eastman House via Flickr

Strong Verse is an online journal founded by Orson Scott Card, which makes it just that much more awesome that the accepted a piece of mine this year. Ender’s Game was huge for me, many moons ago.

This poem, “Sending the Boys Out to Play”, reflects not on my own childhood, but that of my two sons. There’s eight years between the two of them, the products of two separate marriages, but the age difference has only rarely caused a problem, with the younger toddling after the older, deleting saved files on the Wii, limiting what the older can watch and play when the younger is up. My oldest is, however, extremely patient, and I have the benefit  of an extra pair of hands, another set of eyes, that I can trust. Single motherhood is never easy, you take your blessings where you can.

This doesn’t mean, however, that you don’t still worry a bit when sending them out to play.

All three of my children, my sons and my daughter, have enhanced my life, and my writing, in ways I could have never fathomed. I am always pleased to share a poem or two with the world influenced by these amazing little people. Thanks guys. You are my sun, moon, and star shine.

 

To read the poem, click here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Snow Monkey   1 comment

Photograph of Edna St. Vincent Millay

Image via Wikipedia

http://snowmonkeyjournal.blogspot.com/2010/05/helen-peterson.html

This May, Snow Monkey published my poem, “Funny, You Don’t Look Like a Grandmother“. Giving credit where credit is due, the title came from a book I once bought my mother-in-law for her birthday. This was a running joke with us, since she was in her mid thirties when I had my oldest son. Her husband, my ex-husband’s step-dad, was twenty seven, but it’s funny, I never did find a Funny, You Don’t Look Like a Grandfather book. Freud would have something to say about that, I’m sure.

Anyway, the title may have come from a funny little book, but the body of the poem came from the life of Edna St. Vincent Millay, one of my favorite poets. According to Nancy Millford’s excellent biography, Savage Beauty, when Millay’s mother thought her daughter might be pregnant, she forced her to take multiple scalding hot baths, and ride her horse bareback up and down the valleys and meadows near their home. It was such a crazy contrast to how my own parents and in-laws reacted, it stuck with me, more than anything else in the book, and it was a very good book, worth the read if you have the time and wish to do so.

You may notice, though, that I don’t use Millay’s name in the poem. In earlier drafts I did, added more details specific to her own life. In workshopping, others found the specificity distracting, and so I applied a name I had used before, in Baby Girl poems, the fragile and distracted Sweet Baby. It added another slant to the idea of a mother manipulating her daughter’s body, even after the girl is grown into her own sexuality.

This is just one example of how I sometimes get inspired by the lives of real people, and by what I read in books. Take something you’ve read, that has stuck with you, and use it as a writing prompt this evening. When you’re done, pick up a book you’ve been dying to read.  Begin to read it with an eye for inspiration, as well as for leisure. Taste the words and stories within, mull it around your tongue with the spices from your own life. Begin to read like a writer.

Tales of the Zombie War   Leave a comment

Fallen angels in Hell

Image via Wikipedia

http://www.talesofworldwarz.com/stories/2010/08/10/little-surfle-grrrrrl-by-helen-r-peterson/
Today’s poem is called Little Surfle Grrrrl, a poem about zombies. A poem about surfing over a wave of zombies as they march forward in their quest for brains. No, really.
I didn’t start out to write a zombie poem, though I’d written a few before. I’ve been working on a project using unusual words, inspired initially by David Foster Wallace‘s dictionary. For more information on that list you can click  here:http://www.slate.com/id/2250784/. The word surfle, however, came from Weeb Heinrich of http://writingraw.com , who posts daily words of the day on his Facebook page. The word surfle means to wash, as the face, with a cosmetic supposed to have been prepared from sulphur or mercury, called surphuling water. When I think of cosmetics, I think of women, mostly teenaged women who typically experiment with weird concoctions to put on their face to remove acne. I myself slathered my face with mayonnaise, eggs, lemon juice and toothpaste between the ages of 13 and 18. When I think sulphur, I think of Hell, so I imagined a teenager in Hell, how she would try to have fun in that environment. Then a certain Beach Boys song came on the radio, and the rest, as they say, is history. The zombie slant was added in revision, as I tried, and failed, to explain how someone in Hell would be able to find a surfboard. A teenage zombie became much more believable. No, really.
I hope you click the link and enjoy everything zombie poetry has to offer. Afterwards, write down some of your favorite words from the Wallace list, look up their definitions, and weave your own poems and stories around them. Feel free to share them here. See you tomorrow!