Tuesday, March 26, 2013

This week's column


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Setting aside the rhyme

When you're not a poet, and don't even have a background in literature, it's amazing what you think makes up a poem. I've been humbled in the past few weeks with some of my stories. But, the enjoyment of writing them, and feeling my brain contract and expand in a new, creative way has been worth it. Now, I'm wondering if I should put in the time to fix the rhyme and meter (which I don't quite understand yet), or if I should plow ahead with my other children's prose. Here's my unmetered Fluster Fiend, which is full of near-rhymes. But, I'm hopeful you'll enjoy it anyway.

The Fluster Fiend by Amy Lorentzen

The Fluster Fiend haunts me nearly each day,
when I'm trying to run, or even quietly play.
He trips up my feet, knocks down my blocks,
turns over my spoon, and slicks up my socks.

He's some kind of ghoul or specter or ghost -
I can't see him, but he attacks kids the most.
When we smash or crash, or lose our grip,
I think I hear him snicker: "Tough break kid."

Trip. Slip. Ouch. Zoom. 
What's that? Is the Fiend up in my room?

I make for the stairs, but he grabs my toes.
That's when the rug folds, and I fall on my nose. 

When I ask my mom "How could this be?"
she says it's something to do with gravi-teeth.
I knew Fiend had hands everywhere, 
but tough chompers too? Children beware!

Parents find Fiend explanations in doubt.
When he breaks the candy dish, WE'RE sent to time out!

Most of the time, he causes slip ups or falls,
like when I plowed into a prickly plant at the mall. 

Ick. Stick. Yikes. Blush.
Did I just hear my superhero get crushed? 

I hurry for the toy bin. What's Fiend do next?
He catches my shirt on the doorknob, now it's stretched.

 Mom scolds me for making a big mess,
especially when she sees my toys in distress.
Was it me, or Fiend, who slammed the lid down?
Now superhero's head is missing its crown.

The Fiend is mean. He'll leave you feeling blue.
Your parents will wonder "What's got into you?"

So, when you're flustered, please just shout:
"Listen up Fiend - I want you OUT!"

Most of the time he'll be on his way, 
but sometimes Fiend'll mess up the whole day.

Manners and care will lessen your hassle,
with a Flustering Fiend, that's how you do battle. 

Ready. Watchful. Wondering. Worried. 
Come on Fiend, be gone in a hurry!

But, oh no, Fiend's favorite time of day, 
is at dinner when there's food to play.

I sit down at the table, say "thank you" and "please."
But, of course, I get flustered and bang my knees.

The fork appears steady ... but just then,
the Fiend wobbles me, and it seems to bend. 

Spit. Drop. Splat. Smile. 
My mashed potatoes plop on the floor in a pile. 
I may not be able to see Fiend's grin, 
but he must be smiling at the trouble I'm in.  

Up to my room, no dessert for me.
My lil' sis savors her ice cream joyfully.
The Fiend seems to have won for today, 
but there's still bath time and I won't be dismayed. 

Dad comes in with pajamas in hand,
"In the tub son, and no Fiend shenanigans!"

I carefully maneuver around the spout,
do my cleaning, and politely ask to get out.

Sad. Sorry. Tired. Stuck.
Dad's worried: "Why no splashing and bubbly muck?" 

'I've made too many messes today.
The Fiend has won, he's had his way."

Dad dresses me and tucks me in tight,
then he stubs his toe when he turns out the light.

"That Fiend," he bellows, "he's a terrible wretch.
But now he's after me son, you don't have to fret." 

"Tomorrow you'll tread without falling down,
you'll play baseball and race cars with no Fiend around."

"And if you do bump, drop, trip or break,
you'll pick yourself up, and know it's just a mistake."

Relieved. Thankful. Hopeful. Joy.
Now I can just rest and dream of toys.

Or maybe I'll run to my desk with a bound,
to plan for Dad's safety if Fiend sticks around. 

 On second thought, I'll walk over so nice,
and put pen to paper and give Dad advice:

"When you're flustered and down, all you need is a friend,
then you'll be the one who wins in the end!"

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

And a new column

A nod to some friendly mommy bloggers.


Dowton Abbey article by yours truly

Here's a link to my latest: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/t/story/todays-casual-decor-meets-downton-abbey-style-18709045

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Not a metered rhyme, but not wasted time

Realizing that my unmetered rhyme won't make it far commercially, but what fun writing it! On to some less poetic, more storytelling endeavors and journalistic pursuits. Downton Abbey Decor backread should be in soon. Upcoming column on self-righteous parents to be written early this week.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Hemingway and Cooking the Octopus

I took the day off from writing yesterday ... just reading. "Sun Also Rises" was my main distraction, and an essay about a friend's challengew with parenting a daughter through troubled years and into their adult relationship. Wow, what a journey. "Vocabularies and Their Subversion: A Reminiscence" by John Domini. You can check it out in his upcoming book of essays "Cooking the Octopus." Need to get my paperwork completed and mailed off for the SCBWI - Iowa Chapter Spring Conference to learn more about children's publishing. Came up with a fabulous idea for a nonfiction adult book ... so many ideas, so little time to write. I think this is one idea you might hear about from me in the future though. Stay tuned ...