It is the last day of April - one of those minor endings within the year. It does not mark the end of anything significant, or draw you to the door of a notable beginning. Could you write an epilogue for April?
Our last piece of writing for April will be an epilogue - the ending to our various plays or stories which wraps them up in boxes and string for the reader's shelf. When Shakespeare wrote epilogues it was a grand affair. The epilogue to "A Midsummer Night's Dream" that RicoChey shared in the week four write-up is one of my favorites. He styled them in such a way that he drew the audience into those last few moments of fantasy, as though they controlled whether the characters could end their story in the final scene or would pressed into further service at the whim of the crowd (or fellow dreamers).
In the last few lines The Tempest's epilogue he wrote:
And my ending is despair,
Unless I be relieved by prayer,
Which pierces so that it assaults
Mercy itself and frees all faults.
As you from crimes would pardon'd be,
Let your indulgence set me free.
Send the month of April a bardic farewell. Pen a few lines below to wrap up the month and send it off properly before May turns up with her sunshine, flowers, and celebrations.
I send you this mostly unrelated song, because I thought of it while I was typing and it's a fav of mine - though she does say, "I'm the last splash." in the first stanza. It's been a wet April.
What reminders do we have today?
It's the last day to share a poem for APAD. Kiss a poet today.
You should be writing and RicoChey wants to hear the Epilogue to your three act April story.
There is a sign-up going on for May's month-long 5k words or less story - the theme for which will be shared on Sunday, May 3rd. You only have until Saturday night to reserve your spot.
I want to talk to you today about something on the internet that I found strange. Something strange...on the internet...try not to be shocked.
I've been spending a fair amount of time on Youtube these days. I'm trying to improve my skills with this über doodling fad called Zentangle®. It seems like everyone who has ever picked up a pen to do it has made a video about it. Sometimes it's just a person drawing with music laid over the recording. Sometimes it's a person giving instructions as they draw. Typically I mute the vid and just watch what they're doing.
So the other day, the mute was off when I came across a video of someone drawing a particular tangle who whispered the whole way through it. I thought maybe she had lost her voice. Out of pure nosiness, I clicked on one of her other videos and found myself in a very uncomfortable place watching this young woman recording her vlog in a whisper and making flirty eyes at the camera. She was describing her upcoming wedding and the stress of planning it, in what struck me as a coy whisper.
All of the videos on her channel were labeled ASMR and by intentionally clicking a non-doodling post, I suddenly had a list of ASMR video suggestions made by tons of other vloggers. "What is ASMR?" I wondered. Do these people have severe asthma and can't talk above a whisper? Is it a society of people offended by loud talkers? Do they share some big secret of which I am not yet privy? I had to know, so I asked my buddy Google.
Wiki chimed in with the answer. "Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) is a neologism for a perceptual phenomenon characterized as a distinct, pleasurable tingling sensation in the head, scalp, back, or peripheral regions of the body in response to visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, or cognitive stimuli." Whispering is one of the many triggers of this response.
Well, I like pleasurable tingling sensations, so I figured I'd dig a little deeper. I went back to Youtube and looked for a different Vlogger. This one had a binaural mic, so if you are wearing headphones you can experience the sound on each side of your head independently (which was always super cool when Pink Floyd did it). She whispered, shook a shaving cream can then smooshed some on her ear mics, dropped gelcaps into a wooden bowl...
I got through about ten minutes of this next video - skipping around and fast forwarding some - until I just couldn't take it anymore. The whispering, the hand gestures, her face so close to the camera and all of the facial language that seemed designed to be alluring and sensual. It was far too intimate. Like I was eavesdropping on some long distance Skype foreplay - but not in a happy voyeuristic way.
This thing is supposed to be relaxing, but I have yet to watch a video that doesn't make me completely uncomfortable. And I'm evidently not the only one. An article I read about the controversial phenomenon of ASMR reiterated multiple times that it is a non-sexual sensation and that it is not associated with sexual arousal. Me thinks they doth reiterate too much. No, I don't think the intent of the vlog caster is to provide sexual stimulation, but if they have to underline the point so much I'm not the only one who feels smarmy watching it.
In preparing for our conversation today, I found a Reddit thread that shares many videos from ASMR connoisseurs with the triggers provided by the video in brackets. Talk to me about how they make you feel.
The whole discovery got me thinking about those tingling sensations and my own triggers. There is frisson style tingling that is on the border of painful for me. I get that from scratching across a finely grooved surface. Like old LP's when people drag the needle across, or thighs rubbing together in parachute pants. Probably the worst for me is when a guitarist drags his pick up or down the finely coiled metal strings. This reaction (and my complete lack of understanding of music) is the reason I will never play the Cello. (I actually just got a tingle merely thinking about the sound.)
But are there good tingles to be had from sounds? Circling back to Pink Floyd, I remember as a teen feeling a sense near euphoria listening to certain parts of Dark Side of the Moon with headphones on. As an adult, I've felt the same listening to some tracks by Portishead & Massive Attack. There are certain songs in the bodies of work for Tori Amos, Sarah Mclachlan, and even Alanis Morissette that when they hit a certain note I get tingles up the back of my head. And then there are the random things I come across that trigger an emotion that is neither always happy or sad, but make me cry and get choked up. It's just a feeling of intensity that is almost always brought on by empathy whether it is for strangers reported about on the news or characters in a movie. It can be embarrassing at times.
How do you relate to ASMR style triggers and the videos attempting to connect that community? What would your triggers be? There is more to the phenom than just sounds, would you have a stronger chance of reaction from tactile experiences or scents?
Let's chat about this today.
Don't miss Act III - it's due on Sunday.
Have you read Acts I & II? Check out our reading lists here and here to share some comment love.
APAD is nearing a close. Read the poems and add your own. Bardi and Kathy have shared some true gems in there.
Yes, I am still on the Shakespeare kick. The man is like black, he goes with everything.
How many of you out there hate editing your work? How many of you end up rewriting instead of fixing here and there? We all know it's a necessary evil of the writing process, and even if I had an editor, I'd still prefer to use my words (and eyes and brain) to alter a story than have someone else do it for me.
As a person who dreams of publication one day (and hopes the word self does not proceed it). I know the only way I'm going to make it happen is to take the stories I've written and make them as close to perfect as I can manage. For some that's sacrificing chapters and playing with the order a bit. For others, like my favorite work-in-progress “Adrift”, it means treating what I have written in the past as a wire-frame or skeleton and trying to reshape a story around it that comes from a more experienced voice and a goal-oriented structure in the story-telling.
It’s a huge pain, a timesink, a distraction from writing NEW things - but it must be done.
Sometimes I wonder about the big name authors and how perfect their work was when it first left the pen, ribbon, or cursor. Would we want to see the pile of discarded pages lying around Margaret Atwood’s feet? Would we love her any less if we saw that level of human experience on her office floor instead before it made it into her stories? Do the crumpled pages in Stephen King’s wastebasket bleed? Do Neil Gaiman’s strikes-through delete words from our dreaming?
As I was clicking through Shakespeare’s sonnets to pull some inspiration for today’s chatter, I came across an example of Shakespeare editing his work. I found a resource to his entire collected work here and I am hoping what I found is not an error of the people who compiled the site.
Sonnet 153 or (CLIII)
Cupid laid by his brand, and fell asleep:
A maid of Dian's this advantage found,
And his love-kindling fire did quickly steep
In a cold valley-fountain of that ground;
Which borrow'd from this holy fire of Love
A dateless lively heat, still to endure,
And grew a seething bath, which yet men prove
Against strange maladies a sovereign cure.
But at my mistress' eye Love's brand new-fired,
The boy for trial needs would touch my breast;
I, sick withal, the help of bath desired,
And thither hied, a sad distemper'd guest,
But found no cure: the bath for my help lies
Where Cupid got new fire--my mistress' eyes.
As far as sonnets go, it’s fairly straightforward - cupid fell asleep, some sworn to Diana virgin nymphs decide to do away with ardor and thought, we’ll just put this arrow out in some water. But the arrow turned the water into a hot spring. Men discover the healing properties of the springs and flock there for vigor. But water cannot heal a man who is weakened by his lover’s presence. Through her (or him) Cupid’s fire is renewed.
Now read this:
Sonnet 154 (CLIV)
The little Love-god lying once asleep
Laid by his side his heart-inflaming brand,
Whilst many nymphs that vow'd chaste life to keep
Came tripping by; but in her maiden hand
The fairest votary took up that fire
Which many legions of true hearts had warm'd;
And so the general of hot desire
Was sleeping by a virgin hand disarm'd.
This brand she quenched in a cool well by,
Which from Love's fire took heat perpetual,
Growing a bath and healthful remedy
For men diseased; but I, my mistress' thrall,
Came there for cure, and this by that I prove,
Love's fire heats water, water cools not love.
The numbering suggests that this was the second version. To me it looks like he used more poetic words, but obscured the overall meaning some. Cupid is unnamed and the Maid of Dian is expanded upon. The place lost some of it’s geographic description, but the last two lines of 154 have a much stronger impact and show that back and forth play on words Shakespeare liked to do.
So next time you have to pick apart your poem or story or essay, consider that even Shakespeare - after having writ more than 100 sonnets - still had to chuck his parchment ball into the fire and start again.
Have you ever come across an interview piece about a favorite author or filmmaker and discovered that their original story actually went a completely different way before it was offered up to the public? Tell us about them that we might better commune with the Spirit of Revision. (I almost typed Revicious - I’m keeping that one.)
What are you building for Act II? It's due on Sunday. Be the Bard you've always wanted to be and #gowrite
Another brick in the steps to Bardishness - APAD. We are halfway through the month of April go be a poet now and share it with us. It's a known fact that quoting poetry improves your posture - added benefit.
What's that you say? You want to write 10k words or more in the month of April? And you want to do it from a virtual tent? Well go join the campers over at Camp NaNoWriMo - there are fourteen days left in their spring event. Get your words out.
Our writing theme this month was born of Shakespeare and I have a strong desire to chatter in Iambic pentameter. Worry not, I shall refrain.
Over the centuries, there has been much ado made about Shakespeare and his reputation. Some people insist he was not educated enough to have written his plays. They even accuse him of stealing the work of other playwrights. Others will tell you he had some level of familiarity with seven languages and a vocabulary bigger than his eventual fame.
I choose Team Shakespeare. We all know that a formal education is not an indication of intelligence or ability. Being so gifted with words, then he was likely an excellent listener. For someone with the right mind, listening and observing is a kind of hands-on education in itself.
What I have always loved about Shakespeare is the way he plays with words. The sounds they make were just as important to him as the meanings. And if they has more than one meaning - woohoo - those went straight into his bag of tricks to be thrown down like an Ace in the middle of a poker final.
Did you know, that Shakespeare's word play actually created new words that are still a part of our speech today? About 1700 of them, scholars have counted. I found this article yesterday that has a cool grid linking Shakespeare's word to the first play it ever showed up in. He did for language what we still do today, he re-purposed nouns into verbs into adjectives and combined multiple words into a single one. In fact, if Shakespeare hadn't demonstrated that our language was so flexible in this way, we might still be executing a search for a person's published, public references on the internet -instead of just googling them.
Shakespeare was the Bard with googliness.
What's your take on Shakespeare? Have you read his work? Studied his sonnets? Can you quote him on the fly? How many of his plays have you (knowingly) seen on stage or in film adaptations.
I've had the good fortune to see "The Tempest" and "Much Ado About Nothing" acted on stage (in person) and I try to watch all of the film adaptations that follow the plays verbatim. My favorite of all his plays is "Titus Andronicus", but I'm morbid like that, Yo. "Much Ado About Nothing" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream" follow on the favorites list.
Talk to me about The Bard today.
There's still time to get your act together - April's week one prompt is waiting for you.
APAD - soul food - write it while it's hot.
Camp NaNoWriMo - 21 days left. Don't miss it.
I challenge you today to go out and find some interesting poetry and share it with us all.
Recite to us something we may never have heard.
So many people talk of poetry as though it is this foreign or alien thing that they could never fathom, but poetry is all around us. You can find it in:
A rapper's dis
A singer's bliss
A commercial for a Hershey's Kiss
Bad rhymes aside - poetry does not have to come from the long silent pen of a lord. Nor from an overly flowery mind obsessed with birds. Poetry can be fun.
Consider the modern world around you and identify some poetry today. Then come back here and share it with us.
This chatter brought to you by National Poetry Month and APAD pushers extraordinaire.
Don't forget to work on your art for this week's mini contest.
Participate in APAD - your soul will thank you.
Our topic this week is nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat, suspenseful thrill writing in the form of "The Devil I Have Not Met". (I probably blew up the comma rules on that sentence. Forgive?)
I absolutely love a good thriller. Though I prefer psychological thrillers to the gore and mayhem kind - Elizabeth George is a good writer for that. One of my favorite books of hers is in the Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley series and is called "In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner".
I enjoy that moment when you get to the last line of a chapter and you slowly turn the page wondering through all of the possible outcomes - those Sherlock brain cells firing off theories mere nanoseconds before you find out What Happened. It's almost as much fun as the ratcheting haul up the roller coaster just before gravity swoops you down the other side.
Have you read any good thrillers lately? Share please?
Be sure to join in the writing fun for this week's topic.
Congrats to cedar and bluegerl on making it to week four. Don't forget that JFF entries are still welcome - if the devil gives you a reason to write.
The prompt this week is "Live To Tell The Tale" and our host has indicated that she wants to hear the tales of what you have experienced that has steeled you -- what has made you into the person you are today.
I'd like something else. ;)
When I first read the prompt, I heard Professor McGonagall admonishing Harry and the gang in a girls' lavatory over the body of a fully grown mountain troll. Then my brain flipped around the emphasis a little and I found myself thinking, "What if we lived in a manner befitting the main character in a book?"
Most of us go through our lives doing mundane things like school, work, and caring for our families. We live most days like they are lists of chores and appointments. Consider with me, today, what it would take to step out of that routine and be larger than life for a bit? Maybe larger than life isn't for you. Would you try 'kinder than most' or 'funny as hell'?
If your life were being aired as a reality show - the good kind, not that slice of the worst of humanity bs - what kind of wonderful things could you do to make your followers love you more?
Also, just for fun, what would be your best possible meal assignment on Cutthroat Kitchen?
#gowrite for the week three prompt mentioned above - deadline is Sunday.
Cedar has asked me to remind you guys that there is a NaNo event coming next month - Camp NaNoWriMo. Unfortunately, this link doesn't have much info on what it is. I watched a couple of youtube videos and it seems like a more loosely structured NaNo event running through the month of April. There are cabins, but I think they are virtual, so you don't have to worry bout someone putting your hand in a warm bowl of water while you are sleeping.
Congrats to bluegerl whose story earned the most votes for week two. There are no writers eliminated going into week three.
I’m wondering today how far you’ve gotten in your planning or writing for the topic of “What Worlds May Come”? What kind of world has come to you?
Whenever I see a new prompt, I find multiple and varied possibilities pinging my brain. This one, in particular, sounds to me like a vow an Astronaut might utter. “I will go through this life with you - what worlds may come.”
Then there’s the part of my memory that’s been tickled lately to log my personal non-fiction moments. What worlds does that bring me to? The ones in the books I’ve read, but also (and more so) the comic books. What is it about comics that each series feels so otherworldly? I’m not even talking about the obvious ones like The Sandman, which is a glimpse of many worlds and eras through the eyes of a god. Consider Gotham. It is designed as a city - just a metropolitan place in the world like New York City, London, Hong Kong - but through the addition of madmen and nearly impossible technology it feels like it could never exist on this planet.
The world of mutants in the X-men series has familiar governments, political undertones, even weaves its characters into the history of our world by showing them as soldiers in known wars and victims of some of our worst atrocities. Yet when I’m in those shiny pages I don’t feel like I’m on this Earth. It’s more of an alternate universe with a similar track that deviated before I was born.
These are just two examples of worlds the creators made that were distinctly Earth-like, but there are more that described to us actual other worlds - like the territories of The Green Lantern and the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Do you think this excess of uncanny or transcendental situations and settings is due more to the target audience or the addition of pictures where words would be?
Whatever the cause, there is a freedom in science fiction and fantasy to imagine anything, and it seems to me the freedom is even greater with comics - despite there being far fewer pages.
Talk to me about comics today. Do you love or hate them? What are some of your favorites and why? Are there any you have always wanted to read, but never dove into? How do you think comics or graphic novels compare to pulp fiction? Have you ever tried or wanted to create a comic of your own?
Reminders again, but just two.
A quick congratulations to missflyer who came out ahead on votes for the week one topic "Local Color". There were no eliminations, so all are contestants are free to #gowrite for us about "What Worlds May Come"
Add a line to our growing tale from Monday's game.
#brigitsflame #flamechatter #writinggroup
Darlinleo's topic post has had me thinking all week about the sounds, sights, and scents of my hometown. And the fact that my hometown is not a town, but a soulless sprawling suburb with ineffective public transportation and no central area where people just chill together and have conversations on which I can eavesdrop.
Where do you go to find the "color" for your characters when it's not happening naturally? What kind of memories do you pull from?
In addition to having trouble finding a jumping off point for this week's topic, I have a concern of sounding inauthentic or appropriating someone else's culture. I also don't want to appear to be making fun of or mocking my neighbors. I love the diversity of the cultural make-up of home. In the office where I'm working, just in the accounting areas, there are people from seven different South American countries, three Carribean Islands, five Central American countries, and a smattering of people from India. The woman who shares my workspace was born in India, but grew up in Nigeria and then South Africa. Her voice alone could keep me writing for a week. I love the way she says. "Here." It's very crisp and has a distinct 'y' in it. I told her this and immediately worried that she would think I was making fun of her - I wasn't.
So I'm trying to find some balance to describe, in a fiction format, what it is like being in the minority nationality while living in the nation of your birth. And to pass on how flavorful that experience can feel, while at the same time always feeling like the outsider who has to have things like food explained to them.
Talk to me
Go vote. This is your last chance. The final week of drabble is waiting for you. #govoteflames #goread #commentlove
Go write. You've got a few days still, but why wait. Go write some "Local Color" today. #gowrite
We are now taking application for guest chatter hosts. Apply within.
Good Morning Flamelings!
Let’s talk about life’s little distractions.
I am a creature of habit. I love making lists, checkmarking them off and having a routine on which I do these things. Part of the reason I do this is because I have a terrible memory so it helps things run smoothly in my life and the other part of why I do it is that I’m inherently lazy. There, I said it. I don’t like the fact that I am lazy but I am. I find shortcuts to everything that I can. Unfortunately that only truly gives me joy when I’m at work, playing in Excel.
This coming weekend I am going to visit my mother so it was doubly important that I stick to my weekend routine last week because I essentially had to do two weekends worth of stuff in one weekend and introduce some of the to-do list into the week work, which I hate doing. List was made, plans were set and then, bam. I fell sick with a sinus infection; not one of those piddly little bounceback ones, but make me fall to my knees, don’t want to get out of bed, someone chop off my head so I’d feel better ones.
I didn’t do anything on my list. I simply didn’t have the energy. Now my whole routine is down the drain and I’m all willy nilly about everything. It increases my stress and my memory loss. I’ve also suffered from not knowing what day it is and what I still need to do to prepare for my visit to my mother’s to making sure my cats are okay while I’m gone.
One little distraction in life has burst my bubble. Do you ever put yourself into these situations where one tiny little bump throws off everything? Is it worse when it’s a big distraction or a little one? On the other hand, do you sail through everything that life throws at you?
Voting deadline for week 3 heart-shaped paper is Thursday, February 26th 11:45pm EST (tonight). Show some love to the Flamelings that got inspired.
Submission deadline for the mini contest for week 4 ‘Ha!—would a madman have been so wise as this?’ is Sunday, March 1st 11:45pm EST.Workshops are still ongoing; click here to find both the dialogue and drabble ones!
Good Morning Flamelings!
Let’s talk about making your characters flawed.
I’ve mentioned my terrible, undeniable, years-long friendship with writer’s block before. What I didn’t mention is that I actively roleplay in an online video game (MMORPG). I have a steady partner in which we tell each other stories about our characters for a couple of years now. While our particular characters have been established for most of those years, we do occasionally make up new characters to start new adventures with that may last a night or two or they may stick around.
One of the first things I think about is how this character can be flawed. It’s way too easy to make someone perfect especially with video game character creations to be limited and those options to be perfect - unrealistic body types, scandalous clothing/armor, perfect hair, perfect skin and no real way besides imagination to insert anything beyond the ‘norm.’ I have to say that this is the typical case of the video games I play but I have come across where you can have scars, imperfect skin tone and various other little flaws.
Once I find my character flaw, I work around that flaw to build parts of a character but mostly letting my interactions in role playing to help shape the character like life often shapes us.
How do you make your characters flawed or seem more real, less perfect? Does it happen naturally or do you find yourself inserting little character quirks to make them appear more realistic? Do you have ones that you tend to assign to characters over and over in different pieces or are they all individually unique?
Voting deadline for week 2 PBJ is Thursday, February 19th 11:45pm EST (tonight). Show some love to the Flamelings that got inspired.
Submission deadline for the mini contest for week 3 heart-shaped paper is Sunday, February 22nd 11:45pm EST.
Workshops are still ongoing; click the link to find both the dialogue and drabble ones!
Good Morning Flamelings!
Let’s talk about how you interject drama into your stories.
I live a low key kind of life and keeping to myself. If I had decided to try something new and adventurous, it would be along the lines of going to a new museum or exploring somewhere without my GPS on or a destination in mind. Saying this, my brain insists on keeping the drama involved somehow. A visit to my mother is a cause for weeks of planning, lists, far-fetched incidents that may occur and she only lives two hours away. A phone call regarding something simple as a utility switched into my name turns into battle plans, ready to defend my right to what I want.
In my own writings, I tend to go towards fantasy so drama in a story involves magic spells going awry or angry dragons, vampires or the newest werewolf threatens to destroy everyone’s happiness. I wonder since my creative mind turns my mundane day to day tasks into something larger, what would it do if I turned it loose on to fiction that isn’t so fantastical?
Where does your fiction take you typically? Is drama created by over the top events like fantasy or some hero action packed film? Or is your drama created more around everyday events like a lost toothbrush?
Voting deadline for Curiouser & Curiouser is Thursday, February 12th 11:45pm EST (tonight). Show some love to the Flamelings that got inspired.
Submission deadline for the mini contest for week 2 PBJ is Sunday, February 15th 11:45pm EST.
Workshops are still ongoing; click the link to find both the dialogue and drabble ones!
Good Morning Flamelings!
This time of year always makes me homesick. I’ve lived in my current area for 8.5 years and it’s considerably more south than where I grew up. While my home state gets snow, my new state is currently hovering around 50 F. I get homesick this time of year because this is when I start remembering it’s now halfway through winter and I haven’t seen snow yet. I yearn for a cold sweater-wearing, hot chocolate-sipping, snow-has-cancelled-life kind of day.
This homesickness starts showing up in my writings. Characters suddenly starting to yearn for something of their past, even when it isn’t very typical of them. How often does your real life start peeking through the barrier and bleed into your characters’ lives? Is there something that happens regularly that makes the barrier thin more such as my love for winter?
Voting deadline for Utopia: Search for Meaning is Thursday, February 5th 11:45pm EST (tonight). Show some love to the Flamelings that got inspired.
Submission deadline for the mini contest Curiouser & Curiouser is Sunday, February 8th 11:45pm EST.
Workshops are still ongoing; click the link to find both the dialogue and drabble ones!
Good Morning Flamelings!
Let’s talk about being an adult.
I was in a multi-car accident this week. Thankfully everyone was okay. Unfortunately I was the car in the middle. I got hit from behind and then I got shoved forward into the car in front of me. Everyone involved knows what happened but in these situations there’s always anxiety about whether everyone will do the right thing.
I’m 40 years old and I’ve only owned a car for 6 years. Before that, I took public transportation, walked or rode my bike. Having a car introduces a lot of experiences that I would consider new and overwhelming such as being in a wreck and having to deal with insurance and repairs.
While I am trying to remember to be thankful that I am okay, my inner self is whining because I have to be an adult. It is situations like this that makes me want to stick my fingers in my ears and yell ‘la la la I can’t hear you’ until it goes away magically.
What are some of your ‘everyday’ kind of experiences that make you want to stick your fingers in your ears until it goes away?
Voting deadline for Utopia:Tradition & Ritual is Thursday, January 29th 11:45pm EST (tonight). Show some love to the Flamelings that got inspired.
Submission deadline for Utopia: Search for Meaning is Sunday, February 1st 11:45pm EST.