04 April, 2014

#atozchallenge: Giving Up Stress or How the Grinch Stole My A to Z Challenge

Every blogger online liked A to Z a lot...
But the Grinch, who lived just north of the web, did NOT!
The Grinch hated the Challenge! The whole blogging season!
Now, please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason.
It could be his head wasn't screwed on just right.
It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight.
But I think that the most likely reason of all,
May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.
Whatever the reason, his heart or his shoes,
He stood there during the Challenge, hating the news.
Staring down from his cave with a sour, Grinchy frown,
At the warm lighted blogs below in their web-town.
For he knew every blogger doing A to Z this day,
Was busy now writing what they wanted to say.
"And they'll be posting those blogs!" he snarled with a sneer,
"Tomorrow another day of the Challenge will be here!"
Then he growled with his Grinch fingers nervously drumming,
"I MUST find some way to stop the Challenge from coming!"
       (Poem borrowed heavily from Dr. Seuss' "How the Grinch Stole Christmas")

So you know what he did? The Grinch stole all my letters! And now the A to Z Challenge will have to be completed my someone better.

That's what happened. Cross my heart.


Sometimes life strikes and we just have to plow through it. At other times, the worst thing we can do to ourselves is force more stress on an already taut tightrope. The latter is me.

My husband and I had the most unexpected blessing fall into place this week and are now planning a move into our first house. While this is cause for much thankfulness and excitement, it has also brought a mountain of stress into our lives. It didn't take long for my stress level to rise beyond what is healthy for me. In an effort to relieve the pressure and make this a pleasant time, I have been eliminating unnecessary obligations from my schedule. The A to Z Challenge is one of them.

I looked forward to sharing my love of all things Seuss with you all and regret having to stop so close to the beginning. But this is a good and important step in our lives, one that I am so thrilled to take. Putting my online writing on hold is worth that step.

Thank you all for your support and comments over the last few days. I'll still try to stop by and read your ongoing entries, even though I may be somewhat ghostlike in my presence.

And, please, if you liked the idea of Dr. Seuss-inspired entries and stories, sign up to receive updates from this blog. I still want to do it - it's just been delayed by a couple of months. Maybe summer Seuss will be just as exciting.

To all the A to Z participants: good luck and keep going!

02 April, 2014

#atozchallenge: Birds of Fantasy

It's the second day of the A to Z Blogging Challenge and I've already flubbed it. Non-technologically minded writer that I am, I accidentally scheduled this post for the wrong day.


So, here it is, 9 minutes before midnight, getting put back where it ought to be. So sorry, folks and Seuss fans!

Now, where were we? Ah, yes. Birds. Day one of the Thinks....

Oh the Thinks You Can Think! by Dr. Seuss

I thought about a lot of birds for this entry (and, yes, some yellow and some blue). I even considered writing a story off the birds flying through my imagination. But what I couldn't stop thinking about most of all were all the birds I had already encountered through some of my favorite fantasy books, movies, and our own mythology. That's what I decided to share with you all today.

First and foremost are the Great Eagles in J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth. How can you not love these intelligent characters? I first read about them in The Hobbit but my love for them has only grown as I've delved into Tolkien's history. For example, did you know that the Eagles were sent to Middle-earth to keep an eye on the Noldor elves and their enemy, Morgoth? That alone explains so much of their actions.

In poetry, there is Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven." I made sure to read this poem for the first time in the middle of a very stormy wintery night. It sent chills up my spine and forever rooted itself as a favorite in my imagination. (For a not-so-serious pun on The Raven, check out Terry Pratchett's talking raven, Quoth.)

Then there was Lieutenant Puffin in the Swan Princess. Does anyone remember that cartoon? I was still a kid when it came out and I was in love with it from day one. It ranks right up there with The Little Mermaid, Peter Pan, and Beauty and the Beast. Puffin not only got things done but was that reliably hilarious character that nearly every children's cartoon is now known for.

Last, but not least, is the Phoenix. I have long loved this fiery bird of ancient myths. There is something so poetic and arresting about a bird who bursts into fire and is reborn from the ashes. Certainly I am not the first person to think this, as it has been featured again and again in books, poems, and movies. My two favorite modern renditions are Fawkes from Harry Potter and the Firebird trilogy by Kathy Tyers.

What are your thinks about birds today?

01 April, 2014

#atozchallenge: Allons-y!

For me, the first of April dawns not with practical jokes and pranks but in a flurry of writing power as the A to Z Blogging Challenge launches its annual voyage across the internet.

But, this morning, I wasn't feeling the inspiration. Words were anathema to my brain as the mere thought of pushing "publish" on a blog entry filled me with palm-sweating agitation. I have a plan, I told myself. There is absolutely nothing to worry about when you have a plan. You know what to do - do it! I couldn't, though, for one simple reason: what if it wasn't good enough? What if you all laughed at my thoughts? Worse, what if you got bored? What if I just jabbered about something meaningless that would then be preserved for the public eye as long as the internet lasts? What if...

The what if's paralyze the best of us. They block inspiration, trap the imagination, and darken the joy we would otherwise experience. Worrying about the worst that could happen doesn't save us from disaster - it only keeps us from living in today's moments.

So, with no genius descending from the clouds to mark my post with the brilliance of deep thought, I decided to share that with you. Because I'm going to push "publish" and you're going to read this. Maybe you'll laugh. Some of you might have already moved on to the next blog. And maybe it is meaningless in all the writing presented to the world in this moment. But I'm still doing it.

This month, if you're participating in the challenge (and even if you're not), don't waste time worrying. Just push "publish." Live life. Go for it. That's what this thing is all about.




Dr. Seuss' "Oh the Thinks You Can Think" begins tomorrow. There are only 20 pages in that book, so I had to space them out over the weekdays. That means Saturdays will be Other Blog days showcasing some of my favorite writers from around the web.  If you have favorites of your own, drop me a line on my Facebook page!

21 March, 2014

A to Z Theme Reveal - Oh the Thinks You Can Think!

The big day is finally here. Or the big day before the truly big day, one might say. I'm a poet (and I know it!).


Today is the day of the A to Z Theme Reveal! Thanks to the wonderful ladies of #TeamDamyanti, all those who await the A to Z Challenge in April can have a little bit of pre-excitement before that harrowing month arrives by showing off what we have planned.

Believe me, we have plans.

My own revolve around some crazy ideas that I hatched roughly about a week ago. I'm nothing if not skilled at procrastination. Some might say that's a bad thing. I do, too. But it happened and it did bring with it some awesomeness that I'm not sure I would have thought of if procrastination had not happened.

Drum roll, please.

Visions of Other Worlds A to Z Blogging Theme

 Celebrate the imagination!
     Yes, that is our goal.
         It cannot be achieved easily
            If one does not roll
               Along with the thinks of great thinking
                  As you will soon see,
                     Traveling worlds of science fiction
                        And bright fantasy.
                           Every day, one Seuss 'spired post
                             Is all you will get.
                          Whether a story, poem, or whim,
                       You'll love it, I bet.
                   Leave all the comments you like -
               I'll read every one,
         And you'll make me so happy if you
     Come back, all and one!

Confused? I was, too, a little. Let me see if I can break it down...

Science fiction. Fantasy. Free stories! Poetry.  Talk about the worlds that SFF fans love. Thoughts on writing said worlds. Other thoughts to be determined (or thought). Posts inspired by pages from Dr. Seuss' Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!

That's better, don't you think? If you say yes (and even if you say no), stop on by April 1st to see where this crazy idea leads me - and you! If you feel so inclined, stop by my Facebook Page or Twitter and say hi.

In the meantime, what are all the thinks YOU can think? Share in the comments!

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