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Terry McDermott

November 19, 2007 - Another blog

Posted by Jo Janoski
Check out my other blog!

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November 15, 2007 - The Yellow Blouse

Posted by Jo Janoski
The Yellow Blouse by William Merritt Chase

The Yellow Blouse

Sister dear, why stare you so
with eyes of coal?
Blackest black, deadened by woe
bulleting soul.

Tightened smile, eyes shooting pain,
what makes you sad?
Yellow blouse hides well your strain
to appear glad.

Mother made you wear that rag
despite words bold.
Lovely bodice wrapped in bags
of lace and folds.

The painter, he has your heart.
Love sick pain maze.
Your lips tighten, your eyes dart
under his gaze.

Hiding under yellow folds.
Heart beats denied.
Smothered love, truth never told.
Silent, you cried.

Copyright 2007 JO Janoski

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November 14, 2007 - New Prompt -- Words & Pictures--- 11/14

Posted by Jo Janoski
The Yellow Blouse by William Merritt Chase

Today's prompt is a two-parter again. First a poem to interpret this picture, then a story to accompany the poem. A week-long project. Or if you're inclined, just one or the other.
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November 12, 2007 - Another Side of Epic (part 7)

Posted by hfurness
   I tried to warn them what would happen, so I did
Old Moss readied his home beneath the tree for winter's wind
He lived within the roots as he was anchored to the ground
The tree had lived as long as the thick forest was
Old Moss was a magician to some
And a religious to the others
But as respected as the forest
   Just because there is snow on the roof
   That doesn't mean that all is dead below
He touched his white hair and shook his head
A mouse ran towards the door
   I went to Lord Kyryn and his court and spoke, so I did
Old Moss understood the meaning of the stones
Their lie to the sun and direction to the stars
What hid in the holly and the meaning in the bush
  Just because the locusts come and eat your crops
  No one would invite the vermin in to eat them
  What would be of the hunger they would have next
No one took his meaning or his council
He hunkered down for a long cold winter

The land is good and ripe with taking
Was easy for us to pull our boats ashore
Halkoc sailed the sea to here and the men can grow rich
With plunder
These peasants were easy to pick clean
No real resistance
When the winter winds cease to storm
We'll take are treasures home and
Have taken what we want and go
And live well
Our families will grow strong and right
For now in winter's soft low glow
We'll wait our time and remain warm

Mydaefandynm's hall was ripe with time
Tomorrow's march would be swift and strong
The dragon's ships would burn
This stranger's presence was still some sport
Yes, mead and meat were still on table
His head might join the traitors'
The darkness invited in a tongue to speak
Entertainment for the men and diversion from the death
Of some
This sport would play out soon
   Speak your piece, cloth coat
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November 12, 2007 - Why eat canned soup?

Posted by Jo Janoski
Excuse me while I digress...

Why eat canned soup?

Why do we eat canned soup? The question occurred to me as I bent over my bowl of Campbell's vegetable soup. The discarded can on the sink stared back as I sipped. I studied the condensed soup blobs spilled on top of the ubiquitous Campbell's red and white label. The empty can presented a forlorn picture, much like the mediocre product itself.

Why not make fresh soup? If you cheat and use bouillon, it doesn't take long. Or if you make your own stock, all the better. Cleaning and chopping the veggies is no big deal; or cheater that you are, frozen veggies or dehydrated ones are an option. Or a combination of dried and fresh carrots and potatoes. Left over meat, pasta flung in, the possibilities are endless. And then lunch could be an event instead of a boring bowl of Campbells.

Because of the memories,
that's why. We eat canned soup because of the memories. Enjoying my soup, I can be ten years old again. Ten years old and sitting with my mother, having lunch as we always did. I rushed home from grammar school to eat with her and my brother. We had our soup and all was right with the world.

The fifties housewife did not place an emphasis or fresh like we do today. Canned soup was fine by them, a nice convenience no one ever questioned. But then again, they spent their time shining windows, vacuuming, and ironing all-cotton clothes, being the excellent, not housekeepers, but homemakers, that they were. All that, and they were there to listen at lunch to our problems and stories. To smile and encourage.

Ah, there is the difference! We may eat fresh vegetable soup, but do we eat it at the table together for lunch? No. Each family member grabs it on the fly whenever it fits his schedule. So the soup is good today, the company not so much. Mom may have served canned soup, but it was served with abundant love and attention in good company every day.

We may have good, fresh veggies in our soup, but Mom's canned was still better. Hers made memories.
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November 11, 2007 - Night Terrors...part 2...the story

Posted by Jo Janoski
The second part, story part, of a Musecrafters Challenge

Night Terrors  

I stretched on my bed, alone, as the clock ticked. Radiant moonlight drenched me in its glow, like icy murmurs of ghosts outside swishing in the snow. I don't know why I imagined them as playful, "swishing" in the snow. Everyone knows ghosts are fearsome creatures. But really, what interest have I in ghosts?

I closed my eyes and prayed for slumber. But the flickering moonlight transformed to a strobe racing in frantic bolts across my body, fueled by a windy concert master who made tree limbs outside the window tremble in the moonlight. And tremble, so did I.

The murmurs again. This time they lingered in my ears, cementing their presence...here in my room.

I bolted up, eyes wide, jaw dropped, my own heavy breathing then the only sounds. Gazing about, I saw nothing.

I laid back down and closed my eyes. The strobes took center stage again, pulsating like wacky electrical charges across my prone torso. My heart picked up on their rhythm, pounding in unison to the light strikes.

The murmurs again, this time louder, roaring like a train in the distance. And the lights pounded,  pounded across my body. Lights, pounding vibration, whispers and gentle squeals, lights...my body joined in the raucous. I felt it give way to the demands of the moment, vibrating in a frenetic display; but it wasn't my torso that moved...it was my soul. My soul pounded, demanding to be let go. It quivered in my chest, then dissatisfied, thumped harder, until finally it screamed against my pleas to stay put. And then I felt it escape. With a tug and a screech, it pulled free of my desperate demands and with new life shot up to the ceiling. To my alarm, I traveled along  in a whispery stream, my consciousness contained in its vapors, content and free from bodily concerns, free from worldly worry. I floated. I don't know for how long, but I recall looking down to see myself, my bodily self that is, still lying on the bed. I think I may have been centuries floating up there, but only one physical moment in earthly time.

The murmurs returned. Only this time they were angry screeches. I was an unwelcome guest. I knew it. They wanted me to go, to return to my proper plane and be a good human.

A crack of thunder outside the window sent my ghostly presence tumbling down in a blast like the big bang. I slammed into my physical body with a horrific jolt that shook the bed. My eyes flew open at the sound of my trumpeting heart. I was back. 

Exhausted, I rolled over and succumbed to restless sleep that at least offered an avenue to practice my necessary denial. My "trip" was lovely, but "they" didn't want me. I was unwelcome among them, at least for now. It's a good thing. Because, really, what interest have I in ghosts?

Copyright 2007 JO Janoski
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November 10, 2007 - Night Terrors

Posted by Jo Janoski
The assignment poem, a Jozzonet
Night Terrors

Alone as the clock ticks
I stretch on my bed
drenched by full moon radiance
frigid as icy murmurs
as ghosts go swishing in snow.
But what interest have I in ghosts?
As ghosts go swishing in snow
frigid as icy murmurs
drenched by full moon radiance
I stretch on my bed
alone as the clock ticks.

Copyright 2007 JO Janoski
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November 8, 2007 - Another Side of Epic (part 6)

Posted by hfurness
Kyryrn was lord of some lands below the Forth
These were rich areas of calm and trade
These were towns using the law of land
And Kyryn was even and respected rather than feared
The first attacks from the dragon boats had come at
They had looted and burned
Killing subjects at random without conscience
When the second slaughter came during reaping time
Lord Kyryn collected men owing fealty and sent the sun-beards back
To the sea
But at a great cost in lives and autumn crops for the winter
This third landing was too much for the lands of Kyryn
And they stayed this time to winter on these shores
Merchants and landholders came to Kyryn to hold court
This court sent negotiators to the sun-beards
Their heads came back on pikes
There'd be no peace as long as they ruled the coast
The fearsomeness of Mydaefandynm and his men were known in
The world
It was decided to send emissaries to his court and pay him with
Trading rights, lands, and suzerainty
Mydaefandynm's lands had not been attacked by the dragon ships
Since he had sent them back into the sea burning
All men knew of his reign and champion Aethelrodmyd
To rid themselves of a frightful attacker they needed someone
Whose legend was more powerful
Homage was paid and accepted
There would be a force sent down from above the Forth
On winter's worn
The day the winter turned toward spring
This was good news to men in the lands of Kyryn
Mydaefandynm knew he could extent his rule
And give his men something to fight over besides each others' owns
Time to kill someone else besides lowland or highland lords
And he knew he brooked no prisoners
There was no ransom handsome enough for him
It would be a good fight
He was ready
Kill or die
He called his men to him
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November 7, 2007 - New Prompt 11/7 Words and Pic--A Dual Challenge

Posted by Jo Janoski

I find this painting inspiring--it's moody, full of potential for storytelling. This is a dual challenge to write  not only a poem, but a story, interpreting this painting. Fill the week with this challenge, posting your poem and story as separate entities.  The title is Working Late, but use another theme.  If you'd rather, just do one or the other, a poem or a story. But have fun!
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November 5, 2007 - Another Side of Epic (part 5)

Posted by hfurness
Rex Mydaefandynm mac Mydaefand from Firth upon Forth
Had only one lesson to learn while young
Kill or die
At five winters he was given a sword by his father
And set upon a dog with a bone
The dog died at his hands
By seven summers he was an accomplished hunter
Mastering bow and blade
He never knew too well his mother
She was a singer of songs and sat at his father's feet
Her being from the highlands and he being lord of the lows
Mydaefand a most fearsome warrior married his children well
And interlaced his conquests with holdings by blood
Mydaefand took no prisoners and had no use for ransoms
When he showed up on the fields or in the halls
There was no parlaying to be done
As his first born son he learned the hand was for two reasons
To hold a weapon and crush an opponent
By his eleventh summer he fought by his father's side
He learned the advantage of fear
Many ghosts circled his feet
He had drank from their skulls at their fires
When the father fell in Mydaefandynm's fifteenth fall
He stepped into his stead without a nod
And routed the enemy without leaving a single one standing
Destroyed the village and burnt down the fields
Those hiding went hungry that winter
And tales of this young lord grew long with the shadows
Around cold hearths of his cold heart
The winds whispered death at his coming
By his eighteenth spring he called his family to him
And told them to tell others of the coming storm
Because of his birth and place he laid claim to both high and low
Lands within
The call went out and homage was paid
The two places where it was not, laid smoldering by the fall
Raiders came to his coasts and ships were sent back to sea
On fire
The most feared harriers of his time came to him
They followed his every command
The only sound one heard at disagreement was the hum of his
Long sword
Before it stuck you down dead
There was no breach of confidence
There were no questions to be raised
He brooked no excuses and took nothing that he didn't want
But what he wanted was his
He could be cruel or kind, it stood at his pleasure
As he stood over other men by a head
He built halls and protected his lands against non-clans
There was but one rule of law
Kill or die
Not many challenged this court
Those who did, had their heads on a pike
He was king
Legends would soften his edges
Sing praises that were never there
Future generations make him seem as though fair
But those around his life knew that he was as fiery and as
Wild as his red burning hair
And the serpent with teeth that he wore on his arm

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November 5, 2007 - Powdered Sugar Donuts

Posted by Jo Janoski
A write for the Musecrafters Writing Workshop:

(Okay, so I'm still searching for my "inner Bob"--here is my first attempt, not intellectual enough, I know)

Powdered Sugar Donuts

"I promise no new taxes and we'll have a balanced budget!" His words, sailing out over the crowd, catapulted to the ground in lumps of dead black rhetoric before the sound even dissipated in the air. Not well received. The chunky politician in a blue suit felt his face flush as red as his tie. The blush rushed all the way to his balding head, up, up, up like a flooding river running in the wrong direction. A man can never feel more vulnerable than when his bald head is unprotected and exposed.

You stinkin' Republican! You just want to get richer!

You're saying you won't tax us, but you will!

You bastards are all alike!

Bill Brandy leaned down to talk to his second-in-command. That fine fellow sat in the first row, hunched down in his seat under the barrage of angry voices. Bill mouthed the words at him.

"Who the hell let these people in here? I thought you screened the audience!"

Jim Jenson got up and went to his boss. "We did. Looks like the Demmies pulled a fast one on us!"

"Filthy Bastards!" Bill loosened his tie and glared out at the mob. "What'll I do?"

"You can't cut and run. It'll look bad."

Brandy wiped beads of sweat from his forehead with a clean white handkerchief. He took a deep breath. "Okay, but my blood sugar is low. You gotta go get me some donuts. I need donuts, powdered ones. I need them now or I can't go on."

Jim Jenson stared back, his jaw dropped. Donuts! At a time like this he wants donuts!

He headed for the lobby. If you saw the middle-aged clerk, you wouldn't think he would be campaign manager for a big time politician. He stood only 5'7" tall, thin light brown hair, a face overrun by huge brown shell glasses, and a sheepish demeanor with a nervous little mouth and tiny evasive blue eyes. But when it came to politics, he grew horns. He was a Party animal to be reckoned with.

Finally, he spied a coffee shop. A colorful array of donuts were stacked on the counter under a glass dome. As he rushed in, the scent of sugar lined his nostrils with its sickening stench. Donuts! Yuck! Even as a child he hated their heavy grease and tons of lightweight sugar powder and gooey icing. He'd rather have a nice thick satisfying Snickers any day. Donuts were for wimps.

"Can I help you?" The tiny clerk tapped her finger on the counter as she waited. The noise, along with her face with its crooked lines and her big hair fighting to free itself from a hair net, spun off an overall feeling of a war in progress.

"I need two powdered sugar donuts."

"We're out of powdered sugar. How about glazed?"

BAM! The plan had slammed into a brick wall.

"I don't know! Do you have anything like powdered sugar?"


"You know, something that looks or tastes like it?"

"What? Donuts are donuts. They're all good!"

"No. I want powdered sugar. If you don't have powdered sugar, perhaps I should look elsewhere." That should do it. Whenever you threaten to shop elsewhere, the stubborn clerk always finds what you want underneath. They always have one of the good stuff stashed underneath that they're holding for someone else.

"I told you! I don't have any!"

"Yes, you do. Now pony up with the donuts, sister!"

"Are you crazy? ...SECURITY!"

For such a tiny woman, she had a loud voice. Short people are like that, voices shrieky  like little Chihuahua dogs. Her cry thrashed out into the lobby like a banshee on the run. Security guards ran  in from all directions. In a matter of minutes, they had Jim Jenson cuffed and transported to the office for questioning.

Back at the lecture hall, Bill Brandy sat on the edge of the stage, bawling like a baby. "Where are my donuts? Powdered sugar ones? W-a-a-a-a-ah!" He didn't win the election.

Copyright 2007 JO Janoski
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November 4, 2007 - New Prompt 11/4 - The Write like Bob Challenge

Posted by Jo Janoski
New Prompt 11/4  - The Write like Bob Challenge

I am an avid fan of our own Bob Church, and so today's challenge is to emulate his style. In order to understand his writing, here is an excellent article he wrote himself. Be sure to read the last two paragraphs. Then come back prepared to push the real world to its limits.

The assignment is to take a character and write a story, or if poetry is your forte, then a poem, and help the reader understand that character's dreams, or if you will, nightmares. Bring them to the fore of life, making us speak about the unspeakable and see the heretofore unseen...all this without writing a horror story...but by keeping it close to reality but dancing on the edge of eccentricity. If you've read Bob's writing, you know what I mean. Take your time; this isn't the kind of work you should grind out like meatballs.

Choose one of these three characters to write your story/poem on:

1. A librarian.

2. A grandfather on an outing with his grandson.

3. A politician giving a speech.

Good luck and good creativity!
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November 4, 2007 - Unwelcome Guest

Posted by Jo Janoski
She's out there peeking...

The Red Cape by Claude Monet

Unwelcome Guest

Eyes questioning, wrapped in red
Barricade of black with lace
Glass still lets me see her face
Peeking as I dread.

Copyright 2007 JO Janoski
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November 4, 2007 - Oh no - the end

Posted by hfurness
It's over, I'm done - stick a fork into me
Dylan has made a Cadillac ad
And compact discs are done as a medium
I thought it was over ten years ago now
When I last rid myself of hundreds of lps
And Bobby boy did an ad for Victoria and her secrets
At least that was funny and we all were just jealous
But this latest blow is too much for my head
Driving off to the desert in his caddy?
And what will I do with 3000 cds
I still have 500 tapes of the past
I've traded in enough for technology
I've done this before
Time to sit in my chair and rock to what I have
If a new sound comes along
I'll just spin the discs that I have
And tell all that I liked it the first time
Years ago, while I can remember when...
I'm an old non-downloading guy and cheap at that
I don't even want the chip implant any more
It's time I dealt with the truth
Move on world - I'm staying put
With a smile and a song of my own
Bob, do what you do and I'll watch as the parade
Passes by
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November 4, 2007 - Another Side of Epic (part 4)

Posted by hfurness
Cykles nee Gryffred from Holyrood byrn
Dark boyhood memories of an ending of time
Burning pyres of flesh and smoke filled with death
The violent dragon ship raiders laid waste to everything
Living but the children
They left them alone on the coast with ash filled air
All the valuables burning or gone
He had seen his father struck down then beheaded
His mother raped and gutted
Violence too graphic for a five year old
He was gathered together with the other four children on the bluff
As everything was torched
When the ship pulled out, he weeped with the others
Cykles was saved from sure death of starvation, exposure
Gryffred, a traveler, a naturalist, a mystic had seen the smoke
He placed the others with farmers inland
And taught Cykles about the world
Why the stones faced the sun and how to read the night sky
The service of the Oak
The meaning of the seas and water
The chanting of the Holly
Like Gryffred, Cykles did not wish to join the service of magic
But stay in the world of nature and men
   It's time boy for me to teach another and for you to use what
   You know
   You've grown true and peace shines through you
   It's time for you to take an orb and a robe
Cykles remained in the highlands for three cycles of nature
Until he'd seen the signs of war and gathering clouds around
He knew this was more than the usual clan on clan
The violence would be great and widespread
Commoners would be laid to waste as well as land
This was another ending time of grief and death
It was time for him to try and not see little ones left to nature
He would walk through the doors on this low gray night
It was time to tell the tale of the twine
And show a light from the crystal
To remove a hate from eyes
And a singing of steel from ears
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November 3, 2007 - Daybreak

Posted by Jo Janoski
A Musecrafters Writing Workshop Challenge

Daybreak by Tashami Acura


Blushing hues
Mumble shy beauty
Steeped in morning's groggy hymn
Blessed stillness before sun intrudes
Rays shouting, bumping, staring
Quietude banished
By fury.

Copyright 2007 JO Janoski

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November 3, 2007 - Anyone out there? New Prompt 11/4 Words & Picture Challenge

Posted by Jo Janoski
Today's prompt, a septet to interpret this picture:

Daybreak by Tashami Acura

*A septet is a seven-line poem with the following number of syllables per line, no rhyme. 3, 5, 7, 9,7, 5, 3.
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November 3, 2007 - More Chain Fiction

Posted by Jo Janoski
More good reading at Chain Fiction, a collaboration between me and another writer. What a story!
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November 1, 2007 - An Interview and a Great Magazine

Posted by Jo Janoski
It isn't often I am interviewed and the finished product expresses exactly what I meant to say. Many thanks to Harry Furness for accomplishing that  amazing feat for Word Catalyst magazine. I highly recommend the column. In fact, I urge  you to read the entire magazine. It is chock full of entertaining offerings from a gathering of the best creative people I know. Satire, humor, photos, art, poetry, stories--all available for you, presented proudly and at no charge.  Word Catalyst Magazine
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November 1, 2007 - Another Side of Epic (part 3)

Posted by hfurness
The skin and leather clad harriers pounded on the table
Only two men wore cloth, Mydaefandynm and
The stranger
Neither flax nor hemp, just animal and steel
This was not the refined times of legend
These were not the warrior princes of tales yet to be told
Each man was testament to his violence
After hacking their enemies they would rape and kill the other's
And pike the children that were left
Hate and mother's milk the same fed diet for the victor's young
From birth distrust of others anything that was different
A lock of hair on the other side of the head or hair at all
Skin signs on the arm instead of the back
Or a different design on a scabbard
It took little to make an enemy or foe
And only clan to make them with
Fierceness shone in their eyes
As hate pierced across the table to the other side
There were no friends only clansmen
Those you fought with today may die by your sword tomorrow
   "Each of you have a piece of the crystal"
   "It shines but a small part by itself, but like the sun when together"
Grunts and guttural barking of the groups within groups questioning
Language was not one of their weapons or shields
When the yelling died down
   "Think on this, each of you is like a stand in the rope"
   "Twisted together you have strength"
The boy understood where the men left off
Mydaefandynm invited the stranger to sup as he threw off
A man to his right
He distrusted the cloaked man but wanted him close
Near him and Aethelrodmyd
   "Speak your name and purpose for coming to us"
Names held keys to whys, wheres, and who

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I mainly write structured non-rhyming poetry

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