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How do you know what to write?

At a Christmas party a young man asked me, ‘How do you know what to write?’

My quick reply was, ‘I write book reviews’. Another friend said, ‘She writes poetry too.’

Round the turn of the year I ran out of book reviews and haven’t any poems I wish to share at present. My two most recent posts have been summaries or roundups. This one is attempting to answer the question I was asked.

Scrolling through Twitter, questions sometimes appear. Someone was asking for book recommendations about the Lake District. I realised that I have read and reviewed dozens of books either about the Lake District or written by authors living in the area.

I decided that a page collecting all these together might be useful. Pages on blogs do not appear in the WordPress reader, so this post is to introduce you to my pages. They appear in the menu for this blog, but that is more easily spotted on a computer than on a mobile device.

Here are links to my pages (and some more information below the links):

My A to Z Challenge 2013 used alliteration and linked to passages in the Bible. In 2021 I picked important words from the Bible for each letter. (Space did not permit longer titles in my menu.) I already have an idea for some very short posts for the 2023 A to Z Challenge.

I have recently overhauled my pages, checking that all the books I have reviewed appear in the Author Indexes, and editing a post, which had broken links. It is possible I have missed a few posts from my contents list. If you do find anything not quite right, please let me know. One or two authors appeared in the wrong place alphabetically!

I enjoyed reminding myself about some books I had read, but not thought about recently.

If you are a blogger, do you use pages? In my opinion every blog should have an About and a Contact page. Any other pages are at the discretion of the blogger.

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Paint chip villanelle

This week’s prompt from Linda Kruschke is for a villanelle.

The definition in the poetry dictionary Linda is using for these prompts is very long. Do read her post for the definition, colours and the poem she has written as well as links to other villanelles.

She writes:

‘My challenge to you today is to write a villanelle with octosyllabics. I’m a big fan of the eight-syllable line. You may, as John Drury mentions later in the definition, alter the exact wording of your refrains if you choose. I think the original theme of country people has long since been left by the wayside, so I don’t expect you to follow that part of the definition, but you can if you want to. Just remember that you had better really like your first and third lines because you’ll be repeating them.

‘My tip for you, as you write a poem in this interesting form, is to write the following rhyme/refrain scheme down the margin of your paper to help you keep track. A1/b/A2, a/b/A1, a/b/A2, a/b/A1, a/b/A2, a/b/A1/A2.

‘The paint chip words and phrases you have to work with in crafting your villanelle are marigold, ice cap, deep-sea vent, Earl Grey, porcelain, elephant, and euphoria.

‘I would like you to use at least three of these paint chips in your poem. You can also use your own descriptive words for the colors of the paint chips. For example, you might think marigold looks more like day lily or summer sun. I mean, what fun is it to have colors as part of the chips and not get to play with those too?’

How to be Well-versed in Poetry
How to be Well-versed in Poetry

For this challenge I have written my second poem about Earl Grey. My first poem was dramatic monologue.

I found an entertaining villanelle consisting of instructions for writing one in the book, How to be well-versed in poetry, which I mentioned previously.

Tea-drinking villanelle

Bergamot in tea pleased Earl Grey
When the weather was ice-cap cold
(Tea’s best from fired porcelain clay)

Or on a glorious summer’s day
When the sun set like marigold
Bergamot in tea pleased Earl Grey.

Some add milk or sugar; say
Whether you drink it hot or cold!
(Tea’s best from fired porcelain clay)

Others add lemon or ice – hey!
Not the fashion in days of old.
Bergamot in tea pleased Earl Grey,

Remembered for it to this day,
But how he drank it we’re not told –
Tea’s best from fired porcelain clay.

I take my tea decaffeina-
ted sooner than it might go cold.
Bergamot in tea pleased Earl Grey;
Tea’s best from fired porcelain clay.

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Reflections on the A to Z Challenge 2021

This post includes

Introduction

I have been taking part in the A to Z Challenge every year since 2013 and can honestly say I have enjoyed this one the most so far.

The official A to Z Blog began by setting a challenge to find certain words in participating blogs. I copied the alphabet scavenger hunt and that became the basis for the first part of this post. I have added links to posts where I found the words. Thanks to the team for the photo of the challenge and particularly to Jeremy for the badges.

A to Z scavenger hunt

The Alphabet scavenger hunt was introduced on the official A to Z blog a the beginning of April.

Scavenger Hunt words

A is for — Apple

The blog of J Lenni Dorner
Bob’s Home for Writing
What Rhymes with Stanza?
The Great Raven

B is for — Bear
Crackerberries

E is for — Evil
PsalterMark

F is for — Flowers
auntyamo

G is for — Game
Blogging from A to Z April Challenge
Blogging from A to Z Challenge (simulcast on WordPress)
auntyamo

Q is for — Questions ❓
More than Writers
Jemima Pett, Author
Jazmin Ruiz
Blogging from A to Z April Challenge
(and simulcast on WordPress)

X is for — X-ray
Curious as a Cathy

Y is for — Yellow
Tossing it out

Z is for — Zipper
Blogging from A to Z April Challenge
(and simulcast on WordPress)

More blogs I visited

Over the years I have added a number of A to Z participants to the blogs I follow in my WordPress Reader. I have added some more this year.

Although (or perhaps because) there were fewer participants this year than in previous years, the spirit of community seemed stronger.

Blogs I already followed or was aware of:

Tossing it out (The blog of A to Z founder, Arlee Bird)
The Quiet Writer
On my Way Home
A Multitude of Musings
Curious as a Cathy
Bob’s Home for Writing
PsalterMark
Are we nearly there yet?
auntyamo
Curious Daydreams
Jemima Pett, Author
Janet’s Smiles
HSD
Quilting Patchwork and Appliqué
The Multicoloured Diary
The Old Shelter WWI

New blogs I visited and/or followed (Some of these I have visited regularly, others I hope to revisit later.)

Second thoughts First poetry blog
My Ordinary Moments writing and photos
The Squirrel Nutwork
How would you know…
More Than Words book reviews
Crackerberries
Dena’s Ramblings
Jazmin Ruiz Visual impairment awareness
Musings of a Middle Aged Mom recipes
Chapters From My Life cancer awareness
whole 180
Facing the Mountain
Molly’s Canopy
worddreams…
uniquely maladjusted but fun YA story
Iain Kelly Writing
KIM L HINE

More than Writers is the blog of the Association of Christian Writers. Only one A to Z post appeared there as the blog was not a participant, but one of the contributing bloggers was! The link to the post is in the Scavenger Hunt section above.

This is perhaps the most comprehensive reflections post I have ever written. Even so, I apologise for any errors or omissions. If we have made contact during the A to Z Challenge and I have not mentioned your blog, please remind me in the comments!

My A to Z 2021

This year I began my preparations for A to Z a bit later than in 2020. We were in lockdown here in England in the early part of the year. By the beginning of February I had decided on most of the words for the letters and began to write the posts. I had all the writing finished in the middle of April, but continued to add finishing touches to my unpublished posts and embedded a video link in my J post after its initial publication!

While I was preparing my posts I learned how to use the Block Editor on WordPress and how to create a point to jump to in a blog post. I shall be making use of this knowledge in future as well as in this post!

I have had more traffic to my blog this April than in recent years. This year on Sundays I published either a post for a poetry challenge or a book review. I gained 26 new followers between the Theme reveal and the end of April. Thank you everyone for your support. I appreciate your visits and comments.

The official Blogging from A to Z April Challenge Reflections post and sign-up list are here.

Future plans

I intend to take part in the Road Trip this time. Some of the blogs mentioned above and others on the master list have caught my attention.

Which post should I link to the Road Trip list? I am interested in your thoughts, but reserve the right to choose!

I shall be blogging about books and occasionally more generally here on Sue’s Trifles as well as continuing with the paint chip poetry challenge. Over on Sue’s words and pictures I intend to continue with some photo challenge posts. When life is less restricted Sue’s words and pictures may begin to have posts about visitor attractions and places I have visited, which was its original purpose.

I have no plans for adding material to my first blog, Sue’s considered trifles.