“When we choose a goal and invest ourselves in it to the limits of our concentration, whatever we do will be enjoyable. And once we have tasted this joy, we will redouble our efforts to taste it again.
“This is the way the self grows.”
At first quite nervous, Wil found a surprising level of obscurity behind the words of her story. Her audience helped as well; gasping at Carl’s stupidity, glaring at the incompetent office secretary, leaning forward when she told of reading the internet story, then bursting out in laughter at poor Carl’s panic and intentional pants-dropping.
Even Hope giggled, a sweet chirping noise that Wil suspected Hope rarely voiced.
Not everyone laughed; to her side, Stephen appeared shocked. He almost looked as though he had been the one who spilled chemicals on half his group and then exposed himself in mistake.
Reagan noticed his discomfort. “Relax, Stevie,” she drawled. She wiped at her eyes.
“Stephen,” Stephen mumbled in correction as he glanced down at his chocolate cupcake wrapper.
She laughed a snort. “No shit, Sherlock.”
“Reagan,” Hope said.
The outspoken girl turned to the much smaller, meeker one. Their eyes met before Reagan lowered hers. “Sorry, Stephen.”
Wil nearly choked. Again.
“Thanks, Reagan,” Derek said. “Hope.” He smiled. Wil realized Derek smiled to help others calm down; she wished it had that effect on her.
“So…” Art began. Most shifted to face his direction. “Why’re we meeting today?”
All eyes flitted to Derek. “Welll,” their leader answered, “Stephen and I have been talking more about our group-‘
“And the name, I hope,” Reagan interjected.
“Sure,” Derek acknowledged, blinking. His confusion cleared, and he continued, “Um, so we’ve talked about why we got together as a group anyway….” His voice cracked a bit and he swallowed. His gaze shifted around the group. Reagan made a rude gesture, which startled him into a shocked expression, then a genuine smile. “Ha! Thanks, Reagan. Thing is, I think we ought to actually do something with this group.”
Stephen nodded but the others’ expressions ranged from wary to (in Wil’s case) blank.
“You mean….” his main heckler said, “…like the Girl Scouts?”
This time, even Stephen laughed.
“Actually, Reagan,” Derek said, “That’s not so far off…”
Want to start at the very beginning? It’s a very good place to start.
“I urge you to examine your life. Determine where you are and what you need to do to be the kind of person you want to be. Create inspiring, noble, and righteous goals that fire your imagination and create excitement in your heart. And then keep your eye on them. Work consistently towards achieving them.”
-Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Life’s Lessons Learned,” April 2007
This week I only had four entries. While this made judging a tiny bit easier, I also felt a touch sad that more people couldn’t fulfill their New Year’s Resolutions of writing more terrible poetry in a formal format.
That’s not to say the decision of who to crown wasn’t difficult. In the end, this one took the prize:
I don’t need no resolutions
It ain’t in the constitution
What’s up with that
He said, with the hat
On his head
That he said
He would wear until he died
Resolve to die?
I don’t wanna
He’s gotta wear a hat on his head
Yay, Ruth! You’ve done it again!
Hers and another’s were neck-and-neck for first place. I decided that Ruth’s lack of direction saved the day again. I mean, what is with the hat?
I also love her rhymes that show up when they are supposed to but also when they probably shouldn’t, and her bad meter.
I’m not saying the others didn’t have plenty of awfulness and humor. Here they are, in order of submission:
Are made to be broken.
Like my heart, given to you as a token,
when my love was awoken.
Maybe I can lose some weight
If I send it back to you, wrapped in hate.
Then you can serve it on a plate.
There, that’s one kept.
Without my heart I’d be less bitter,
Although I might not be fitter.
And what a post to put on Twitter.
Half and half on that one then.
Maybe I’ll run it round myself,
Leave it on your windowshelf.
Topped by your stupid Christmas elf.
Yep, that’s exercise done.
Perhaps I’ll no longer drink red wine,
There’ll be no need, I’ll be just fine
You made me drink it, your taste not mine.
Hey, another one ticked.
But now here’s one I won’t stick to
I must stop really wanting you.
It’s New Year’s Day so what do you say?
Is it time to make a resolution?
Nothing radical. Nothing tragical.
After all it’s not a revolution
Eating more vegetables and fruit
Is now an action for dispute.
E. coli! Holy Moly!
Can I get into shape, wriggle and rock?
Stop pushing snooze on the alarm clock?
How about stashing cash and accruing fortitude
By driving fast past fast food?
But officer, I can explain.
I was merely a passenger
On the self-improvement train.
Choo! Choo! Boo! Hoo!
A ticket for driving at breakneck speed
While I was merely trying not to overfeed?
I’m suing McDonald’s for this misdeed,
And I’ve got a terrific chance to succeed.
Don’t lecture me about eating no fat,
Do you think I’m related to joyless Jack Sprat?
I’m out of time for idle chitchat.
Yes, of course, I want fries with that!
Choo! Choo! Chew! Chew!
The megapixel race
is a disgrace.
Photographs may have been getting clearer
but the megapixel camera phones seem to be getting dearer.
Let’s hope that in 2019 camera resolutions will peak
and we’ll all get cheaper photos, so to speak.
In the meantime I’m going to eat lots of chocolait
while I wait
and hope that my resolve
like it did last year
when I decided to wear
nothing but outrageous wraps
in order to look gorgeous in high resolution snaps.
Many who entered slipped back into the ‘too pretty’ area of verse. Let go your meter, your patterns, your main topics, and your artistic sensibilities. Then, enter tomorrow for next week’s competition.
Word is there’s an event what’s been going ’round. I can’t but turn a corner and I finds myself smack-dab against words like ‘resolutions’ an’ ‘goals’ an’ ‘exercise.’ I tell ya what: them’s fighting words and I’ll have no truck with ’em.
Accordingly and characteristically, I have been pondering on a different weighty subject: obscure talents.
Everyone has talents. Many have useful talents. Still more have talents that don’t come up in regular conversation because they just might get said ‘talented’ person ostracized.
Take me, for example. One of my many less-mainstream gifts is the ability to bark like a dog. Specifically, I bark similar to a German Shepherd. How do I know which canine I sound like? I learned as a child when our pet was that breed. In case you are not sure why I don’t bring this up often, just think where I would possibly apply it. …yeah… I can’t think of a place, either. Mostly I startle people my children brag to, but that’s not happening as much since my kids are getting embarrassed solely by the fact that I’m alive.
Another talent I have is possessing somewhat apelike toes on my long, narrow feet. I cannot hang by them, unfortunately, but I did practice writing with them when younger. I reasoned that the skill would come in handy when I was captured by government agents bent on imprisoning me because of my X-Men-like abilities.
The third of my most-interesting gifts is ear-wiggling. …Maybe more of ear-shifting. They move, anyway. I literally practiced in front of a mirror as a child to first achieve movement, and have since honed and isolated ear wigglingness whenever I’m bored during a conversation or business meeting.
Last for now is hiccups on-demand. A related and less-ladylike talent is erm… on-demand burping -which is another one that doesn’t come up in polite conversation. I discovered, quite early on and in church, that I could give myself the hiccups if I burped (silently) long enough. I’ve used a hiccuping spell to get out of meetings since, and …to accidentally attract my husband on our first date. The good news is that I am extremely good at ridding myself of them as well.
If ever I meet any of you in person, now, I’ll have to ask you not to mention these. Otherwise, I’ll not have any material for that two truths/one lie party game.
Enough about me anyway. What about you? Surely you have a talent of two up your sleeve? In what unusual area are you an expert?
Yay! A really long week to review!
Monday, December 24: Nothing! Absolutely nothing!
Tuesday, December 25: Dude; that was Christmas.
Wednesday, December 26: “Inspirational Plagiarism: a Dialogue.” This may have come about after thinking to myself for two days.
Thursday, December 27: “I Finally Donned the Sorting Hat,” If I were a witch, apparently I’d be a know-it-all.
Friday, December 28: Inspirational quote by Mark Twain that I intentionally mis-quoted in “Inspirational Plagiarism.”
Saturday, December 29: Announced the seventh Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. ENTER IT or I’ll only have three entries to judge from.
Sunday, December 30: “Raw Ramblings.” We’ll call it a free-verse poem.
Monday, December 31: A quote to inspire this new year thingie, by James Agate.
Tuesday, January 1: “Wilhelmina Winters, Seventy-Seven.”
Wednesday, January 2: You made it to today!
Happy Christmas to you all and welcome back to our Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest! For those of you keeping track, this here’s #7.
New to the game? Don’t know the definition of terrible? I’ve got your back over at How To Write Terrible Poetry. Review it, read these rules, then enter:
You have till 8:00 a.m. MST next Friday (January 4, 2019) to submit.
I’m trying out this new-fangled submission form. Or, you can always leave your entry or a link to it in the comments.
“I am not a has-been. I’m a will be.”
Today, I hit The Wall.
Not only did I hit it, but I carried it with me for the entire time I spent at the gym. I even felt its musty, bricky presence most of the day.
Maybe you have no idea what I’m talking about and are duly concerned for the safety of my person or my vehicle. Don’t worry; I’m referring to an exercise term. I first learned of The Wall in high school from my track coach. She was good at coming up with power slogans each year, and one of my favorites was Break on Through to the Other Side.
Runners hit this figurative wall when they feel they cannot move any more. Usually, a dedicated athlete can keep going at an easier pace and find his stride again. Some days, however, nothing helps and one has to walk.
Today was one of those days.
I woke up early, put workout clothes on, ate a bit of toast, then drove over to our local gym. I could tell it was going to be a tiring, ho hum, nowhere, very bad run. I could tell because when I climbed the stairs to the track my knees hurt and I felt tired already. And then, when I warmed up, I felt as though I had already run my usual two miles even though I had only done 1/28th of that.
No matter which song I shuffled to or which motivational lie I told myself, I felt exhausted the entire time. My body was not my own; I was dragging it by my (draining) will power alone, at a pace that would shame a sloth.
During my cool down, I recalled another memory from my high school running days: a race in which I hit The Wall. This was during my brief stint on the cross country team, near the end of our season.
Every race, the coach recommended we have a personal goal. Mine was that I would stop and walk one fewer time each race. At this point, I was up to not stopping at all. I hadn’t really set a personal goal, but I was just going to do my best since it was the last race if I didn’t place. Unfortunately, Coach should have recommended that we share goals with people if those goals were going to affect them.
Case in point: one of the girls who was always behind me kept trying to pass. I’m somewhat competitive and knew that she paced slower than I did. Every time she came up on me, I went faster. My logic was more that my pace must be slowing, not that I should keep her back.
Before the midway point, I was toast. She finally passed me, and I had to walk. Coach took a picture of me on that race that I still have. She didn’t do so to humiliate me; she was always snapping good action shots. I was moving slowly enough to capture the moment without much blurring…
I’m the sort to jump to bad conclusions easily. If the husband’s not home from work yet, he must have been in an accident. If a child says he needs to talk to me, he’s committed a felony. If I had to walk a race, then I’m a horrible athlete and should never put my running shoes on again.
Except that running usually feels good.
Except that despite my melancholy, the sun still comes up the next day.
And running in the morning sunlight is one of my favorite things to do. Why would I let a little setback ruin a perfectly good sunrise like that?
I may have hit the wall today. I may be carrying a few bricks in my pockets that may still be there tomorrow. But I’m going to run anyway.
When I was younger, I couldn’t wait to grow up. Among my reasons were: the ability to drive, not doing chores, and having more friends because adults are so much more mature.
At least I get to drive.