Liked the Inauguration Poem? Missed Robert Frost/Maya Angelou?

Not to mention Carl Sandburg . . . and any number of other American Poets Laureate who would have done it differently? (Langston Hughes! Now THERE would have been my choice!)

NEW CONTEST: The Inauguration Poem We Should’ve Had

Over at the Absolute Write water cooler.

I want to enter. I can’t pull a Carl Sandburg, let alone a Robert Frost or Maya Angelou. But seriously, how high is the bar set to beat the one we heard? I didn’t get it at all, and I was disappointed that we didn’t get something soaring and inspirational.

Maybe you liked the poem. But you can still enter this contest! There’s going to be some type of prize.

For me, the glory of being the one chosen as the winner would be prize enough. *WINK* But they’re going to give a poetry book or something.

Let’s see . . . haiku won’t do.

Speaking of haiku
The consummate poet al-
-ways has one or two.

No. I’ll have to ponder on this. . . .

Samples from the work of ~James Mercer Langston Hughes (February 1, 1902 – May 22, 1967) ~

I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the
flow of human blood in human veins.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.


What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?

**No! I know!**

A New Song
Let all others keep silent a moment
I have this word to bring,
This thing to say,
This song to sing:

Bitter was the day
When I bowed my back
Beneath the slaver’s whip.

That day is past.

Bitter was the day
When I saw my children unschooled,
My young men without a voice in the world,
My women taken as the body-toys
Of a thieving people.

That day is past.

OoooOooOooOo. That would have been IT.

Unfortunately . . . that wasn’t what we got this time. But let’s write one that SHOULD have happened!



I didn’t know he cared . . . “my” boat!

I was just sayin’ to someone the other day that I was surprised to see so many Shalannas (all the rest of them around 24 years old or thereabouts, as far as I can tell–and it was around 1983-1984 when I started on CompuServe and FidoNet as “Shalanna” screen name, hmm) on the ‘net, as Mama and I thought we had invented the name by mashing up “Sheila” and “Lana.” But this was REALLY cool–a trawler in Scotland. And he even spells it MY way! (Some of the women on the ‘net don’t double the “n,” and that was a matter for debate here as well. We went with the emphasis.)

Doesn’t it mean, when a guy names his boat after you, that he’s in . . . luuuuurve?? **grin**

Port Registry: Banff
Name: Shalanna BF843
Type of Gear: Twin Rig Trawl
Main Target Species: Prawns
Date: 27th August 2007
Where Seen: Fraserburgh Harbour, Scotland

Goodbye to another of the greats–born on MY birthday, to boot

But he did get born on March 18th first, so he’d probably say I was born on HIS birthday, and Grover Cleveland’s, to boot (the only Prez with two non-consecutive terms!)

Words of wisdom from John Updike (March 18, 1932 – January 27, 2009):

“Looking foolish does the spirit good. The need not to look foolish is one
of youth’s many burdens; as we get older we are exempted from more and
more, and float upward in our heedlessness, singing Gratia Dei sum quod

Old lady agrees and says yay.

I enjoyed his books. I really did. No kidding. I know they were kinda literary, kinda not. Read _Roger’s Version_ if you get a chance; it features an unreliable narrator who is a real twerp/jackass, a cheating preacher, but you like him despite it all. My novel _Starla’s Version_ was titled after it. Of course it’s his other books that made it really big.

Let me ask: now that Donald Westlake, Tony Hillerman, and several others have recently gone to God, isn’t there room in publishing for another mystery writer with a new voice? Surely there is an opening, a need to fill. I can’t imagine anyone who could replace those writers, but we’ve got to have something to read. I’m all out of cereal boxes and already finished the Texas Driver’s Handbook. . . .

Communication reversals or difficulties going on

Mercury is in retrograde through the end of this month, so bear that in mind whenever you get communications that are confusing or messed up. That may be part of the reason that the Huge Cultural Appropriation Dust-Up has been happening across LJ.

Don’t worry–I am taking pains to be sure I can properly portray my Arabic/Lebanese woman character in the new mystery. If I decide I can’t, I’ll just make her Midwestern . . . that’s foreign enough. *GRIN* Or Canadian! Really, I don’t want this character to be a stereotype or whatever, and I certainly don’t know what it’s like to BE Arabic in our society–although I wasn’t trying to portray that, as I’m not writing from her POV at all. I’m showing other characters’ reactions to her and the difficulties she encounters after the murder in chapter three and the “profiling” that goes on that leads to her becoming a suspect. If it doesn’t work out as a good misdirection for the mystery, it goes poof.

Also, I have a cold or something. Sore throat, constant post-nasal drip down the back of the throat, earache. Phooey.

Did I mention the potty in the half-bath (Mama’s neck of the woods, attached to the playroom where she has her bedroom/lair–pretty appropriate, after all) decided to barf the other day and I ended up having to call a plumber who said that when they rebuilt this house after the 1986 fire they didn’t install the proper size of flange under the potty, and therefore there is now a crack/hole in the flange area, and roots are getting into this pipe, and that means water is coming in, and that means moisture is getting under the new Pergo . . . and could cause black mold as well as ruin the Pergo? He quoted $1800 to weld that and “fix” it. I was having to charge his $360 for that day’s work on a credit card, so I told him maybe later. We had the Pergo put in so that Mama would have a nice new floor; the rest of the house has the carpet from Ickland. Now that Pergo is going to be ruined. *sob* I think I caught a germ when that guy had the potty taken apart and rolled that “snake” into the house through my living room in order to run it down the line. (They don’t get on top of your house or use the outdoor cleanouts any more because of liability, he said.) Is it any wonder I wanna go on another trip? A LONG trip to, say, coastal California.

The ice IS melting, but it is supposed to re-freeze tonight as black ice on the roads. Whee!

AAACK–marketing disaster averted (?!)

Wow. I just got an e-mail response from a very cool agent I queried on Friday morning . . . but what it says is, “I couldn’t read most of your query. Could you re-send it in a readable font?”


Of course the first thing I did was re-send it and thank her for not dismissing me out of hand as an idiot. I couldn’t imagine why the e-mail program would send it magnified or reduced, though.

I looked at the stooopid e-mail and it looks normal to me. However, the other day I got a complaint from another correspondent* saying that my message had arrived in 30-point Courier. And I have occasionally gotten messages in Flyspeck 3 (which is TINY). So . . . anything could happen.

All I could do was take the text to Word, “normalize” it, copy that to the notepad, copy that back to Eudora, and hope that it would send OK. I do have large fonts turned on here, because of that visual infirmity I have, but that shouldn’t matter.

I also sent a BCC: to myself at Gmail and to Dennis. The Gmail copy looks all right. So far, so good.

But good gravy–if anything can go wrong, it will. And something weird, to boot. At least I found out about this and could fix it.

To think she was reading queries while I was watching “Witness for the Prosecution” on TCM! I should be working on the new mystery. (Although that was a Camille query; I still feel SO strongly that Camille would find herself a following.)

The wonder is that I keep bashing my head against this wall, innit?

* Sounds much more sophisticated than “my cousin”

She was a king’s daughter, and most beautiful

My mother is the ONLY person in the country who didn’t like the First Lady’s dress. Or her inauguration ballgown.

But then my mother is a VERY tailored personality. Nancy Reagan she admired. Let alone the fact that Nancy has never been larger than a size six! And Jackie Kennedy met with her approval, of course. Even the well-tailored Hillary Clinton. But frills–no. Bows–never. And as for Aretha’s hat . . . well, let’s not even Go There. (Although I thought it was righteous. I can’t wear hats because I have a fat square face and wear glasses. People in stores have actually burst into laughter when I have tried on hats. No lie. I look like a hobbit who got squashed in a car compactor. However, I admire people who CAN carry off such a hat.)

Back in the day, Gunne Sax were *The* Dresses to wear to school dances. Gunne Sax, despite the homonym (gunnysacks!), were the early designs of Jessica McClintock. They were flowy and printed-cottony, with princess seams and flounces, all gauzy and old-timey, and they were The Thing to wear in the 1970s. I remember for one of my first school dances I had finally gotten away with a somewhat “in” dress: it was a spaghetti-strapped ankle-length cotton dress printed with big red cabbage roses and leaves on black, and the top was held up by the smocking–it was a tube of smocking with a long dirndl skirt that ended just above the feet with a flounce. (My grandmother sewed on the plain black silk cord straps because she was so afraid my dress would move South over the evening.) And at the waist was a wide, wide black silk ribbon (four inches wide!) tied in a big honkin’ bow.

Yeah, I know–I looked fat. Even though back then I was a size 10/12 (12 on top because of the ta-tas that helped hold up that dress.) However, THAT WAS THE DRESS FOR ME. And after much crying, begging, and whining, I managed to get my mother to buy it and let me take it home to wear. When Tim showed up at the door with the gardenia corsage, he broke into smiles, probably because he had figured I’d end up wearing something very plain . . . or because that dress showed quite a bit of cleavage. Anyway, I was really proud in that dress, no matter how I looked (or how I might’ve looked better in a simple black sheath, yadda yadda).

If I still had the dress and could fit into it, I would wear it. It was that rockin’. The way it makes you feel–that counts, too. It shows.

And that’s why I said, “I think her dress is just fine.”

Sure . . . someone tall and skinny like that could wear all kinds of elegant stuff. Little tailored suits. But what if that doesn’t fit her personality?!

All the channels say that she’s gonna be the stylesetter for the next four years, so watch out. This means that I will be able to find nothing that flatters me in the stores, but no matter . . . I’ve got too much stuff already. Here’s hoping that the new styles flatter at least some of y’all, though. Because I can already see ’em coming!