What Do You See? — The Balloonman

C8A98519-F9B6-4F1B-9D8A-1E74DDE6B576As soon as I saw this week’s image that Sadje chose for her What Do You See? prompt, the only thing I could think of was a poem I remember from high school written by American poet, painter, essayist, author, and playwright e.e. cummings (1894-1962). In his poem, “in Just,” which was originally published in The Dial, Volume LXVIII, Number 5 (May 1920). New York: The Dial Publishing Company, Inc., Cummings refers to the “lame balloonman,” the “queer old balloonman,” and the “goat-footed balloonman.”

So, in homage to e.e. cummings, here is his poem.

in Just-

spring             when the world is mud-

luscious the little

lame balloonman

whistles         far         and wee

and eddieandbill come

running from marbles and

piracies and it’s

spring

when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer

old balloonman whistles

far         and           wee

and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and

it’s

spring

and

the

goat-footed

balloonman           whistles

far

and

wee


Image credit: Alexey Avdeev.

Rory’s Daily Four More

4 leaf cloverI’m three days late on this one, but despite my tardiness, I’m going to go ahead and post my responses to Rory’s daily four questions from September 8th.

What truly motivates you to write?

I’ve always enjoyed putting my thoughts and stories down in writing, but my busy life raising a family and holding down a demanding job limited my opportunities to sit down and write for fun. (I did have about have a dozen papers I wrote published in several trade journals back in the day.)

Then, in 2005, a friend of mine suggested that if I wanted to exercise my writing chops, I should start a blog, so I did. I have to admit I got a bit of a rush when I read my words published on the internet and to have total strangers read and respond to my words. From that point on, I had found my motivation to write.

What’s cluttering up your life today and what are you doing about it?

As a retiree, I wouldn’t say that my life is particularly cluttered these days, so there’s not much I need to do about uncluttering it.

Did you enjoy a creative childhood?

I used to draw a lot, write stories a little, and invent games to play, both by myself and with friends. I had a pretty vivid imagination, but I don’t know that I’d specifically say that I was creative. Perhaps imaginative would be a more apt word.

Have you ever wanted to write a book? Or if you have written a book, do you feel accomplished for doing so?

Yes, I not only wanted to, but I started at least three or four. But I never finished any of them. I loved inventing characters and writing scenes, but I could never develop a strong enough plot or story arc sufficient to sustain a novel-sized book. That’s one of the reasons I enjoy writing flash fiction. I can  invent characters, construct individual scenes, and create dialogue while telling a short story with a beginning, a middle, and an end in fewer than 500 words, in most cases.

But maybe someday I’ll wake up and write the great American novel. Or not.

SoCS — Beginnings and Endings

720351BE-7122-45EB-98A7-03285D72CD92After my teachers in high school drummed it into my head that you’re never ever supposed to end a sentence with a preposition, I was shocked to find out that most language experts don’t actually abide by this so-called “rule.” Some grammar mavens even call that “rule” a myth.

What are prepositions? Actually, prepositions are some of the most frequently used words in all of English, such as of, to, for, with, on, and at. A preposition is a word or phrase that connects a noun or pronoun to a verb or adjective in a sentence.

On reflection, if the “never end a sentence with a preposition” rule is a myth, what about never starting a sentence with one? Well, it turns out that using a preposition or a prepositional phrase at the beginning of a sentence is both common and grammatically correct.

The word “after,” which is the very first word of this post, is also a preposition. And that’s a good thing because Linda G. Hill challenged us, for this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday, to start our post with a preposition. With that in mind, I started my post with the word “after,” which is a preposition. Yay me!

And while we’re talking about “hard and fast rules” in grammar that I was taught in high school, another was to never start a sentence with a conjunction.

Well, according to Grammar Girl, “It’s fine to start a sentence with a conjunction. And, but, and or are the three most common members of a group of words known as coordinating conjunctions. In fact, a substantial percentage of the sentences in first-rate writing begin with conjunctions.”

And with that, I’m going to end this post right now. It’s time to move on.

In Other Words — Daily Prompts

2E12834B-7223-427A-8FD9-CD66284699EDEach and every day, a handful of bloggers post daily word prompts.

And each and every day I look at the four to eight daily prompt words and try to weave them all into a coherent and cohesive post.

For example, today’s eight daily prompt are resolute, blind, explicate, tag, unrequited, extravaganza, variable, and idle chatter.

It’s not always easy, and sometimes it’s quite challenging, to come up with a post that successfully leverages many or all of those prompts words.

There’s only one way that I can figure out how to fit all eight of today’s daily word prompts into a single post — and that is to improvise.


In other wordsWritten for the In Other Words prompt from Patricia’s Place. The challenge this week is to write a story or poem of five lines or fewer using the picture above and/or the words “improvise.” Image credit: Tumisu from Pixabay. Also for these daily prompts: Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (resolute), The Daily Spur (blind), Your Daily Word Prompt (explicate), Daily Addictions (tag), Word of the Day Challenge (unrequited), Ragtag Daily Prompt (extravaganza), Nova’s Daily Random Word (variable), and Weekly Prompts (idle chatter).

So Many Words

9670BE73-11FD-4242-AD7A-860EA68E3836As many of you who read my blog know, I try to incorporate four or five daily prompt words into a post each day. In addition to my Fandango’s One-Word Challenge, there’s the Word of the Day Challenge, the Ragtag Daily Prompt, the Your Daily Word Prompt, and, more recently, the Daily Spur.

Now two other bloggers have upped the ante. Roger Shipp has resurrected his popular Daily Addictions prompt and Nova has brought back her Nova’s Daily Random Word prompt.

So today we are offered seven daily words: productive, pollution, adversity, drive, puzzle, target, and youthful.

Okay, the gauntlet has been thrown and I’m going to pick it up now.


“Our nation is facing a serious crisis. Pollution of the air we breathe and the water we drink is bringing about a potential environmental catastrophe,” the candidate said.

“It is critical that we, as citizens, come together and target the crisis with productive approaches,” she continued. “This is not a puzzle that is unsolvable. We need to apply your youthful exuberance to drive this country toward cleaner air and water and to overcome the adversity that doing nothing will bring about. It’s your futures that are at stake. Thank you.”

The candidate for student council president received a standing ovation from Miss Brown’s first grade class.