NaBloPoMo: When is a Tweet Not a Tweet or a Cormorant Not a Cormorant? When One is the Number of Syllables in an Elizabethan Sonnet and the Other is an Anhinga. (A 420 CHARACTER, 9-LINE POEM)

When is a Tweet Not a Tweet or a Cormorant Not a Cormorant? When One is the Number of Syllables in an Elizabethan Sonnet and the Other is an Anhinga. (A 420 CHARACTER, 9-LINE POEM BY PATTY)

Double-crested Cormorant

Names don’t matter as much as what things ARE:

So, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,”

a Tweet is also the # of syllables in a sonnet*–or IS a sonnet–

and a cormorant is really an anhinga

who tosses & juggles fish so as to swallow it headfirst,

which is what I do when I juxtapose disparate ideas within 420 characters,

a # that USED to be the limit on Facebook “Updates”

but now I them call poems.

Names.

PATTY

* THIS IS BILLY COLLINS commenting on himself and SOCIAL MEDIA (it’s a quote I caught in the NYT and reminded me of the equality of numbers twixt the sonnet syllable count and the Tweet.): “I can proudly say that I’ve never tweeted, but I am struck by the apparent coincidence of the 140 characters — sounds like a Balzac novel — and the 140 syllables in the Elizabethan sonnet. Instead of tweeting that you had great pizza tonight, why not read some haiku byBuson? Doesn’t poetry seem just right for our ever shrinking attention spans?”

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AT THE TABLE ~ FIVE WOMEN AND A MOUNTAIN OF WORDS

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My neighborhood hotspot has small plates and long tables. Upbeat, hassle-free, welcoming. It’s where my writing group meets.

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Throughout the winter months, those ferociously l-o-n-g winter months,

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when the wind blows and the snow falls and there’s not a hint of spring in the air, picture windows draw in even the palest slant of light ~ the next best thing to being outside.

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So bask in the magic, here’s how life is lived around the communal table ~

IN THE SEATS

Mary, Patty, Sandy, Ency, Ronnie, Sue and Toni in spiritu

WHY THEY CAME

To talk about writing, chuckle, chortle, and guffaw

ON THE PLATES

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… and lots and lots of …

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WHAT THEY TALKED ABOUT

Droll well-informed discourse about almost drowning in a brook to save a dog, traveling with zip lock bags for underwear and barfing, migranes, bagels with peanut butter, Owl by Ellen Bryant Voigt, the word obligato*, Gertrude Stein who made a fetish of repetition, the word obligato*, (interlude ~ a swoosh of nostalgia), visual pixels, Medicine Wheel, Facebook, working at home, deadlines, lyrical responses to readings, the word obligato*, a writing course, sestinas, Isabel’s first chapter, Ted Kooser, poetry and porcelain thrones.

*At some point in the conversation, it’s appears that the group became fixated on this word. Anyone wish to contest this? My best guess ~ it probably happened.

Toni 3/13/13

 *obbligato |ˌäbləˈgätō|(also obligato )noun ( pl. obbligatos or obbligati |-ˈgätē| ) [ usu. with or as modifier ]an instrumental part, typically distinctive in effect, that is integral to a piece of music and should not be omitted in performance.ORIGIN Italian, literally ‘obligatory,’ from Latin obligatus, past participle of obligare (see oblige)

WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: GEOMETRY

Gehry’s Sphere (Esfera) Sculpture and Mapfre Tower Building at Port Olimpic, Barcelona, Catalonia (Spain)

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Frank Gehry is one of the world’s most influential architects. He’ s edgy, astonishing, and the antithesis of ordinary. Take a look at some of his work ~ the  Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in LA.

Ephraim Goldberg’s ( aka Frank Gehry) grandmother was his earliest influence. Together they built imaginary cities with woodshavings scavenged from his grandfather’s hardware store.

The Goldberg’s had a carp that swam around in the bathtub on Friday nights. And they always had gefilte fish for Sabbath dinner. Seems like the humble architect never lost his taste for fish. Gehry used fish motifs in many of his designs. “I never intended to build fish,” Gehry says, “In my mind, I say ‘Enough with the fish.’ But it has a life of its own.”Frank Gehry

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Gehry has a fondness for the aquatic. In the yacht harbor in Barcelona, I saw a Gehry-designed leviathan ~  a  bronze whale sculpture at the port’s entrance. It’s made out of stone, steel and glass and is a whimsical eye-catcher with its shiny metal plates that change color depending on the sun.

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Frank Gehry designed Fossil Watch

    Gehry works on the smaller stuff, too ~

 Fossil watches….

                ……and SuperLight chairs made from    aluminum. Can you say 6 pounds?gehry chair.jpg..

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Gehry’s latest project? Two words ~  Facebook Headquarters.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Gehry is Mark Zuckerberg’s go-to guy, the one who will create the largest open floor plan in the world.

FB is awash with trailblazers and pioneers.  The starchitect should feel right at home.

Toni 11/3/12

THE SECRET LIFE OF WORDS

I  love, love, love words. Unusual ones.  Obscure ones.  Exotic ones.  And the stories behind them. Like the invaluable phrase ~ as mad as a hatter.  Don’t you wonder why a good honest hatter is regarded as more prone to lunacy than, say, a tailor? I do.

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I’m also curious about the link between language and culture.  The Meaning of Tingo by Adam Jacot de Bound is a kind of dictionary that list words from languages all over the world.  The words have very specific and unusual meanings. Take the word in the title ~ tingo. It’s from the Pascuense language of Easter Island, meaning “to borrow objects from a friend’s house, one by one, until there’s nothing left”. Or how about this word, one bandied about in the Netherlands ~ plimpplampplettere? Say it, and listen to yourself.  Doesn’t it sound just like stones skimming on water?

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Are you a rasorial searcher, always after words?  The English poet W. H. Auden was once asked to teach a poetry class for 20 students. Two hundred applied to study with him. When asked how he chose his students, he said he picked the ones who actually loved words. (I’m sure I would have been one of the chosen, and if you’re still reading this, you would have too.)

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There are tons of field guides to words. Two of my new favorites are Better Than Great by Art Plotnik and Wordcatcher by Phil Cousineau. Want more wit and wisdom? William Safire’s NYT columns “On Language”  are collected in his book, The Right Word in the Right Place at the Right Time.

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Prefer your wordy gems in a microburst?  Read Erin McKean’s column at the Wall Street Journal. McKean, the most interesting lexicographer of our time, is the founder of Wordnik.com and the author of Weird and Wonderful Words, More Weird and Wonderful Words, Totally Weird and Wonderful Words, and That’s Amore (also about words). Her first novel, The Secret Lives of Dresses, was published by GrandCentral/5Spot in February 2011. She says it’s her first book where the words are arranged in something other than alphabetical order. See why I turn to her column first in the Weekend Journal.   Week in Words – Wsj.com

Oh, and did I mention that she has A Dress a Day Blog?

Listen here to Erin speak at Google. She’s smart, playful and So Not Erinaceous.

Note to Readers ~I suggest you make note of these links on your digital thumbscall  (think post-it).  Many were used in the writing of this post ~ including one for the swell www.wordswewomenwrite.wordpress.com page itself.

Breaking News:  WWWW has a Facebook page ~ https://www.facebook.com/wordswewomenwrite  Come like us.   :)

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I find words to be addictively interesting, especially when people like Plotnik, Cousineau, Jacot de Bound, Safire and McKean dig up tantalizing tidbits from obscurity. Scratch around on their word turf. I promise ~ you’ll winnick, snorkel and, quite probably, cachinnate in spite of yourself.

Toni 5/1/12


#BeMyGuest

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E.B. White said, “Use the smallest word that does the job.” Tweeters do just that. Here are some of the most-used words in the Twitosphere ~ you, please, post, blog, social, free, help, thanks, time, work, home, retweet.

Small words that do the job.  In addition to the minimal letter count they share, popular tweet words show that we are keen to reach out, talk, invite, connect, and participate in the larger community.

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And the same is true of the 420 character piece.  My writing group is smitten with Lou Beach.  Here’s the author note in his book, 420 CHARACTERS, drawn from his early days on FaceBook.

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THE STORIES you are about to encounter were written as “status updates” on a large social networking site. These updates are limited to 420 characters, which include letters, spaces, and punctuation. They provided a daily exercise in fiction writing for the author, who hopes you enjoy them and return to read more. They will be regularly updated.

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And proceed we did.
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Below are two of Beach’s stories and two of ours. We’re thinking it’s time we wrote our own book.  Want to give this genre a try?
You’ll find a character counter here ~   http://www.lettercount.com/
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GRANDMA spoke to the back of my head. ‘Never make no eye contact with nobody, hear? It’s a challenge or invite, insult for sure.’ I wore sunglasses, the darkest I could find, from that day on. Folks thought I was a celebrity or musician or blind or stuck up. I didn’t care. I met a girl with sunglasses and we got married. We don’t go out much at night, never take our shades off, even in bed, but we see eye to eye.

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Rumor is the six children are home schooled.  But I think that house is empty, save for the driver of a red diesel truck who feeds one operatic rooster and one wheezing mule. Kids play outdoors. They yell and laugh and call to each other and climb across stone walls. But there have been no other raucous notes, no snowmen, no bicycles on the long driveway, no little beggars of treats or threats or tricks.
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THERE IS A PLACE I visit, where no one else goes. The rocks are slippery and sharp, the drop to the dark sea below makes me dizzy. The sun never muscles its way through the gang of clouds that hover overhead shedding a mist that plasters my thin hair to my head, makes me turn up my collar. No, you can’t go with me, I don’t want a sandwich to take, thermos of hot chocolate, though your asking may keep me home.
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I LEFT my husband at the back porch of the house, the old family homestead buried in layers of paint and secrets.  He’s there to help his sister whose husband has left her for a woman named Honor.  And I am driving in to town, to sit in the dark and watch Leonardo di Caprio, in old-age makeup, nose into private lives.  Life is hard, I think to myself, and drive further into the darkness, the headlights only going so far.

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We also love the sketchbook/journal genre.  Here are a few of ours.

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And we especially like the marriage of the two.   See Patty’s post, Halva!
So, be our guest and bang out some small words.  Leave them in the comment box, there’s plenty of room for all your characters.  
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Twitterati would say, That’ s Twitter-ific!
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BFN
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Toni 2/6/12