Archive for the ‘vocabulary’ Tag

NaNoWriMo- Let the Madness Begin!   Leave a comment

Short Story

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There are two months that make the American writer quiver with fear and anticipation, April and November. April is National Poetry Month, and most poets, and not a few people insisting that they are NOT poets, attempt to write a poem a day for all thirty days, scouring the internet for lists of prompts, fellow poets to workshop with, encouraging one another to write just. One. More!!!!!!!!!!

November, as National Novel Writing (Write, Writers?) Month,  or NaNoWriMo to its friends, opens up the floodgates a tad further. In November, the sky is the limit. Not excluding the muse to poetry, many writers use November as the push to get that novel they’ve been dying to write started, or finished, or, (as in my case), started again somewhere in the middle of the beginning. Short stores, flash, and yes, even poetry, are typed, scrawled, scribbled,  or elegantly handwritten in overwrought cursive loops. It doesn’t matter the hows or whys or what, just as long as something, ANYTHING! gets down on paper or drive, one day at a time.

I usually take November off. There’s enough to do with Thanksgiving, Christmas looming. But this year has been pretty productive, publishing wise, and I’ve got a lot of new ideas bottled up, just begging for release. NaWRiMo seems as good an excuse as any.

I’m also studying up for the GRE. If you’ve ever taken it, you know that vocabulary plays a huge part on the verbal section. And so, in the spirit of my Three Dollar Word series, I’m going to take a word a day from the “Hit Parade” lists found in the Princeton Review‘s Cracking the GRE book, and at least write one poem around it. If I’m feeling up to it, I might also incorporate it into a short story, or a work already in progress. At some point during the day, I will post the word I’m using for that day, to help along any other writer out there eager to get something written, but needing a place to start.

Today, the word is Misanthrope. I wrote a poem about a Mr. Misanthrope, and threw the adjective misanthropic into a fresh page of Cain. Go me!

A misanthrope is someone who hates other people. I am not a misanthrope, but I know misanthropes. Oi do I know misanthropes.

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Concelebratory Shoehorn Review   Leave a comment

http://www.cshoe.blogspot.com/

The Concelebratory Shoehorn Review is a blogazine that publishes by invitation only, and I have had the privilege to be asked twice.  The most recent time, they published four more of the poems inspired by David Foster Wallace’s dictionary, a collection I fondly call my 3 dollar word poems. In this issue you will find “You Obtund Me”, “Myopic Stipple”, “Such a Nannicock”, and “Lay Offs Induce Catalepsy”.

The nickname 3.00 word came from my poetry professor in college, Dr. Daniel Donaghy, who once told me during an independent study that I should never use a 3 dollar word in my poetry when a 2.00 one would do the same job in half the time. At the time, I was shoving as many heavy words as I could into the lines of my verse, something I was guilty of doing in my every day conversation as well. These days, since most of the people I converse with on a regular basis are under the age of sixteen, I tend to keep the words over 2 syllables to a minimum, otherwise I have to send my children and students running to the dictionary every five minutes.  I have taken Dr. D’s advice to heart, on these matters as well as others, and have become a better poet for it. As you’ll notice in these poems in particular, I keep the big words in the title, and then use the body of the poem to paint a picture of the big word’s meaning.

Do you know what obtund, myopic, nannicock, and catalepsy mean? Spend some time looking them up, and writing out your own definitions.

Tales of the Zombie War   Leave a comment

Fallen angels in Hell

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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!