For the Love of Reading—Monday Meanderings


Photo: V.

Photo: V.

Because my mother became a war widow when I was just an infant, we spent the first seven years of my life in the home of my grandparents. My grandmother had congestive heart failure and was unable to do a lot, so my mother assumed responsibility for household chores. This symbiotic relationship had a profound effect on my development, as my sedentary grandmother played a critical role in the five years before she died.


I recall that early mornings, most every day, I would drag a pile of Little Golden Books into her bedroom. There, still in bed, she read to me for hours at a time. She spoke to me using adult vocabulary. I fell in love with words before I could read them, and when it came time to learn to read, it came so easily.

One little vignette I will never forget. I suspect it was in the months or even weeks before her death. Her patience had waned along with her strength. I was playing with a toy plastic Brownie camera as she read Lewis Carroll’s fantasy to me. She asked me to cease and desist…several times. I didn’t and she (apparently very calmly) took the camera from me and hurled the length of the living room where we were sitting, I on her lap. To this day I dislike the classic “Alice in Wonderland.”


That being recounted, I have, over the years, continued to develop my love of reading and have, at any given time, several books of various genres on my current reading list. It’s not a leap, and writers know well, that reading nurtures those of us who write and helps to develop imagination in children and adults.

I worry that so many things are supplanting reading. Back in the 1940’s and 50’s when I was a child, there was no virtual reality and, until I was 5, no television. Life was simple and nurtured simple things. Okay. I confess. I’m sounding my age. The point I want to make, the question I ask—what are we doing to promote reading among children and adults?


An addendum/disclaimer: it’s good to see so many YA books appearing on the various best-seller lists.

Just for the fun of it—what do you like to read? What are you reading now?

Fights of Fancy–dVerse Meeting the Bar

I can’t believe I actually came up with something in response to Gay’s prompt for dVerse Meeting the Bar! She asks that we create our own form. I can’t decide a name for it–maybe you can, but here’s the recipe:

  • Open the poem by stating an indisputable fact–perhaps based in science, as I have, and then let your imagination take over and see where it takes you.
  • Each stanza should have only two lines, each beginning with the word “and…” Think of a child who has discovered some new to her wonder and comes running, breathless, telling you all about it. It should have a tone of excitement.
  • The final line should reflect back on your opening statement.

I have no idea where this came from, but here is my example:




Flights of Fancy

The world is round—


and when I set sail,

I’ll ride the Ferris wheel waves;


and dance with dolphin

in deep blue-green and silver froth;


and follow hummingbirds

as they fly to jungle climes;


and borne upon wind’s breath

touch nebulae above the clouds;


and then set foot upon the land from whence I came

and find that, though unchanged nothing remains the same


in this round world.


And this is my poem for Day 10 of National Poetry Month.

Ars Poetica–dVerse OLN

Art: Finding Winter Judith Clay

Art: Finding Winter
Judith Clay

Ars Poetica

When I tumble into the world of poetry,
I lose myself in a dance of words,
play syllabic arpeggios with the wind
and smother wild flowers in color.

That is when I live again, a child,
weaving wonder from daisies.
I touch angel wings, taste oceans,
and listen to the silence of the moon.

Linked to dVerse Open Link Night where I first learned of the wonderful artist, Judith Clay. Pay her a visit and then stop by the poetry pub to share the art of poetry and good friends.

Wordsmith Wednesday–Cultivating Imagination

Children play

Image via Wikipedia

Growing up when I did–a long, long time ago–I had abundant opportunities to cultivate my imagination. The games we played as children could not depend on media or even toys…with rare exceptions. Kitchen utensils and tin cans, my mom’s broom and a few cardboard boxes were all I needed to play house. I baked mud pies and used small swatches of material to make clothes for my doll. Sticks became arrows and we kicked a can. It was a wonderful childhood that provided plenty of exercise and ample opportunity for developing an active imagination.

Then along came adulthood. No more room for flights of fancy or escapes into other cultures…except perhaps in between the covers of a good book when there was time. Television took over relaxation and it was so easy to slip into modes of passive entertainment.

But for us, as writers, an active imagination is as important as pen and paper or a computer and keyboard. How often are you able to time travel to the Tudor era or the American West or hop a quick flight to Bangalore where your character may be following a lead on the tail of a criminal? Or, what if, you’re writing a scene in the middle of a blizzard while it’s 90 degrees Farenheit outside? We have to be able to mentally, emotionally, and physically transport ourselves to these times and places. We want to be able to think “outside the box.” Those of you who write Sci Fi even have to transcend dimensions.

So for this week’s post, I’m going to offer a few exercises to help flex your imagination muscles and then I want to ask you to either offer up an exercise of your own or share your response to one of the exercises that one of us posts. Or both. Go ahead and get in touch with that inner child and play!

Exercise I.
You are a small dog. How do you experience the world around you? Choose your own setting and characters.
Exercise II.
You are a reporter called upon to interview a great religious or political figure? Choose your own interviewee and describe one or two questions you would like to ask and their response to your question. Include setting and body language if you want.
Exercise III.
You live in (choose a country you have never visited). Describe the scents and tastes of the foods. This may take a bit of research.
Exercise IV.
You are dying and cannot speak. Who is with you and what is said?
Exercise V.
It is the opposite season of wherever you are now. Describe the scene you would see outside.

I’m anxious to see your response and I hope to use one of YOUR exercises to strengthen my own power of imagination. Now, go play.

Monday Morning Writing Prompt–Let Your Imagination Rule!

I find that browsing other blogs sets my imagination in gear. Especially those in which the “About” page is extremely vague. My imagination loves to divine a back story based on the blogger’s post and a physical description if the avatar is something cutesy or a photo.

So for this week’s prompt, choose a blogger friend about whom you really know next to nothing and take it from there. Write a description, or a dialogue, or a short, short story about someone who arouses your curiosity. A poem could work as well. Please, DO NOT identify the other blogger.

Now, I guess I’ll browse some blogs and see where my creative muse takes me. Please leave your link or your story in the comment section. Have a good writing week.