Aug 31, 2010


If you’ve come here looking for the latest instalment of my fairy tale origins series I apologize, I got side-tracked yesterday and didn’t get the post done, and there’s just too much information to wade through to get it finished for today. This is my long-winded way of saying that the Pied Piper instalment has been delayed until next week.

Therefore, for your amusement, I offer up a couple of Fractured Fairy Tales, starting with the Pied Piper. :-)

The Pied Piper

Red’s Riding Hoods

Leaping Beauty

Aug 30, 2010

Mattoid Monday

mattoid ~ person on borderline between sanity and insanity

I read five more volumes in the Sookie Stackhouse series last week.

Worked like a dog on Forever and For Always – it’s getting close to being done.

Really enjoyed the cooler weather.

And then came the weekend. *sigh*

First of all, it decided to get hot again. Saturday I spent the day shopping in Peterborough with the family, and yesterday I spent the day with my day-tripping friend. We drove, we hiked, we took pictures . . . I’m really glad I put a roast in the crock pot before I left or we wouldn’t have had supper last night. I was pretty beat when we got back. The sign we passed on the way home late in the day said it was 27 C (that’s about 80 F to you yanks). No wonder I felt so exhausted – we did a fair amount of walking around Lang Pioneer Village, and that was after visiting a conservation area and going up to the lookout there. At least I didn’t end up with another bad sunburn. Just a mild one. :-)

I did not put the pictures up on Facebook because I was too tired to bother. But I did learn something interesting about my camera – it will not work with cheap batteries. It likes the expensive ones.

This Week’s Goals:

Tuesday: Part XVI of my fairy tale series will be The Pied Piper. If anyone has a favourite fairy tale they’d like me to investigate, drop me a line at carolrward(at)gmail(dot)com and I’ll see what I can dig up.

Wednesday: A new hunk for your viewing pleasure.

Thursday: This week’s Passion for Poetry is the Chinese form of Jue Ju.

Friday: Chapter 53 of the Space Opera. We still don’t know what Nigel did to Nakeisha, and what is the crew going to do out in the middle of the desert?

Elsewhere in my week:

I have a Scribes meeting tonight, and I think that’s pretty much the only outside activity I have planned. Oh, wait, I have a business meeting Wednesday afternoon.

On Random Writings I’ll be continuing with the 30 Days of Writing Questions and I urge you all to give it a go. Not only is it fun to do, it’s fun to learn about each other’s writing processes as well.

While the whole “limit on the internet” didn’t go so well last week (mainly due to blogging and Facebooking) I did manage to stay away from the games so I made some good progress on Forever and For Always. If you check out my Random Writings blog as well, you’ll notice my progress bar actually moved. My goal is to get this sucker finished ASAP.

I’m on this whole “get yourself back on track” kick this week, which means getting up earlier, getting some exercise in, and just generally being more productive. We’ll see how it goes. The getting up earlier is the one that’s really going to get me – if I can do that, the rest will (hopefully) fall into place.

And that’s pretty much it for me this week. How about you? Are you doing anything special to mark the last week of summer?

Aug 26, 2010



Teluga poetry of southeast India dates back to 10th century and is referred to as Sanskrit meters of "naked poetry". Naani is one of India's most popular Telugu poems and was introduced by Dr. N. Gopi, of the Telugu University, Andhra, Pradesh.

The name means “an expression of one and all”. It consists of four lines, with a total of 20 to 25 syllables. The Naani has no rhyme scheme and there is no set length to each line, nor is the poem is not bound to a particular subject.

I look up into
the blue summer sky
filled with floating thoughts
in the shape of white clouds


While others look beneath
for hidden meanings
I skim the surface
seeking the truth.


I drink from a cup of words
slaking my thirst
until I’m down to the dregs.
Time to lift my pen.

Aug 24, 2010

Fairy Tale Origins - Part XV
Puss In Boots

Puss In Boots, classified as tale type 545B by Aarne-Thompson, is probably the most famous of the animal helper tales. Straparola Piacevole published a story about a trickster cat in 1550, which was believed to have been derived from an oral tale. Giambattista Basile also included such a tale in his collection in 1634.

The story has been found in all parts of Europe, across Siberia, India, Indonesia, and the Philippines. It traveled with colonists and travelers from Europe to Africa and the Americas.

In 1695 Charles Perrault published Le Maistre Chat, or Le Chat Botté, (literally the “Master Cat” or "The Booted Cat"). This was a handwritten and illustrated manuscript about a cat who uses trickery and deceit to gain power, wealth, and the hand of a princess in marriage for his penniless and low-born master.

Le Maistre Chat first was translated into English by Robert Samber in 1729. This translation has been described as "faithful and straightforward, conveying attractively the concision, liveliness and gently ironic tone of Perrault's prose, which itself emulated the direct approach of oral narrative in its elegant simplicity."

The tale's immorality has provoked some concern about its influence on young minds. Perrault, a retired civil servant, composed his tales mainly to reinforce standards of civilized conduct in the upper-class French society, rather than to provide amusement for children.

The story is unusual in that the hero doesn’t really seem to deserve his good fortune. As well, although Puss is a king of con artists, he doesn’t appear to have a reason for helping the boy, neither is any reason given for his demand for the boots.

Bruno Bettelheim remarks that "the more simple and straightforward a good character in a fairy tale, the easier it is for a child to identify with it and to reject the bad other."

Amoral tales such as "Puss in Boots" build character, not by offering choices between good and bad, but by giving the child hope that even the meekest can survive.

Children can do little on their own, however fairy tales show them that ordinary events (such as befriending an animal) can lead to great things. It encourages children to believe and trust that even though it may not be recognized at the time, even small achievements can be important.

In the story of Puss In Boots, it is the cat who is brave, ambitious, and intelligent and it is only through his intervention that the hero is able to work up the social ladder. The cat has enough wit and manners to impress the king, the intelligence to defeat the ogre, and the skill to arrange a royal marriage for his low-born master.

George Cruikshank, illustrator of Dickens' novels and stories, was shocked that parents would allow their children to read Puss in Boots. He declared: "As it stood the tale was a succession of successful falsehoods—a clever lesson in lying!—a system of imposture rewarded with the greatest worldly advantages."

Critic Maria Tatar suggests that if the tale has any redeeming quality, "it has something to do with inspiring respect for those domestic creatures that hunt mice and look out for their masters."

The Story of Puss In Boots
Constantino Fortunato by Straparola Piacevole
The Poor Miller’s Boy and the Cat by the Brothers Grimm

Aug 23, 2010

Maskirovka Monday

maskirovka ~ use of deception or camouflage as military stratagem

Last week was a very strange week. The lunch my friend and I had in Brighton on Monday turned into a whole day affair as we ended up at Presqu’ile Park. Despite the fact I grew up in this area, I’d never been to Presqu’ile so it was a nice little adventure. We saw the lighthouse and one of the beaches (there’s four I believe) and then went on the Marsh Boardwalk where we saw no marsh creatures but I did receive one hell of a sunburn on my shoulders. If you’re one of my Facebook friends, I have a photo album of a few of the pictures I took, and if you’re not a friend, then why not? Friend me already!

If you visit my Random Writings blog on a regular basis, you may have already noticed that I solved the problem of what I’m going to do with it – at least for the near future. I’m participating in the 30 Days of Writing Questions meme, where you answer a question a day for 30 days and post your answers on your blog. The beauty of it is that you can start any time – if you’d like to participate, I have a list of the questions HERE.

I’m pleased to say that my poetry reading went very well on Thursday night. I did not hyperventilate until I passed out, and people neither heckled me nor threw things at me. I received a lot of compliments afterwards and one person even asked if I had a book to sell (I’m working on it!).

I got to chapter 16 (about page 110), breaking my WIP into chapters and suddenly discovered a gap in the action. I wrote this during Nano, remember, and you just don’t stop when you’re stuck during Nano, so I left myself a note as to what I wanted to have happen and moved on. *sigh* So far I’ve added another couple of thousand words to it.

I also managed to read one whole book last week, the first in the Sookie Stackhouse series. The HBO series, True Blood, takes a lot of liberties with the story but of course the book is always better. :-)

This Week’s Goals:

Tuesday: Part XV of my fairy tale series will be about Puss in Boots. If anyone has a favourite fairy tale they’d like me to investigate, drop me a line at carolrward(at)gmail(dot)com and I’ll see what I can dig up.

Wednesday: A new hunk for your viewing pleasure.

Thursday: This week’s Passion for Poetry is the Naani, which is a Telugu poetry form.

Friday: Chapter 52 of the Space Opera. What did Nigel do to Nakeisha? And what happened to Nigel?

Elsewhere in my week:

Tomorrow night I have a poetry meeting. I was so busy preparing for my reading I forgot all about my “poemwork”, so I’ll have to see if I’m inspired before the meeting or not. Otherwise, I’ll just take a couple of the new forms I’ve been working on lately to read to the group.

On Random Writings I’ll be continuing with the 30 Days of Writing Questions and I urge you all to give it a go. Not only is it fun to do, it’s fun to learn about each other’s writing processes as well.

I didn’t do so hot with the internet avoidance to become more a more productive writer last week, but I blame at least a little of that on my nerves regarding the poetry reading. But that’s all behind me now and this is a new week. So we’re going to give the whole, ‘limit on the internet, no games’ thing another try.

And that’s what I’ve got on the go, more or less, for the week. How about you? Getting lots done these days or has summer seduced you into slacking off?

Aug 19, 2010

Free Verse

Free Verse (from the French vers libre - free line or verse) poetry is written without predetermined rhyme or meter. The flow of natural speech is the most effective tool in the Free Verse. Its use conveys the illusion of spontaneity, and is frequently used to express the unique feeling of personal poems.

It originated in late 19th century France among poets who sought to free poetry from the metrical regularity of the alexandrine. The term has also been applied by literary critics to the King James translation of the Bible, particularly the Song of Solomon and the Psalms. The form is closely associated with English and American poets of the 20th century who sought greater liberty in verse structure.

Some believe Free Verse can be more difficult to create than metered verse – the line length, word choice and placement become an extension of the poet even more so without the rules of predetermined patterns. In moving from line to line, the poet's main consideration is where to insert line breaks. Some ways of doing this include breaking the line where there is a natural pause or at a point of suspense for the reader.

The rhythm or cadence of free verse varies throughout the poem. Though the words don't rhyme, they flow along their own uneven pattern.

The example of Free Verse I came up with was so short that I checked back in my files and found a second, longer one as well. This is a form I have many examples of. :-)

In the heart of chaos
She sits
Wrapped in silence
Ignoring the ebb and flow
Oblivious to the changing currents
An oasis of stillness.

Under the Tree

The dreamer sits on a cushion of grass,
rough bark at her back, the hush
enfolding her like a shroud.
Time passes on a breath of fresh cut summer.
Silence whispers through the trees
while the sun is filtered
through a thousand shades of green.

An eruption of starlings guide
a cat’s passage,
through the wild,
into the green.
The all clear is sounded
by the rusty clothes line screech of a jay.

The shadows dance to the chime of the fountain
as they pull away, away, into the dusk.
A host of minuscule vampires attack,
vanishing in a splinter of moonlight,
fleeing the rose garden perfume
wafting on the deepening dark.
A shooting star,
the descent of a dream’s promise.

Aug 17, 2010

Fairy Tale Origins Part XIV -
Beauty and the Beast, Part Two

Aarne-Thompson lists 179 tales from different countries with a similar theme to Beauty and the Beast. There are usually three daughters, the youngest being the most kind and pure, her sisters displaying some of the undesirable traits of humankind. Beauty often has no name but is referred to as the youngest daughter.

There never seems to be a mother, which omits the possible quarrel a mother would have allowing Beauty to live with the Beast. It also allows the daughter to have a closer relationship with her father, who is in most cases is well-to-do.

The Beast takes on many forms—serpent, wolf, pig, dog, lizard, etc. His appearance is never appealing, although he is usually wealthy and powerful. Beauty is usually separated from the Beast at some point and it’s her remorse over breaking faith with him that saves the Beast and allows him to transform into a handsome man.

It has been observed by psychologists that the men in the story are all passive, the older sisters are never sympathetic characters, and the youngest woman is always pure and virginal. Even the rose that Beauty’s father plucks is questions. To the Greeks and Romans, the rose is a symbol of pleasure, the flower of romance and worldly delight. It is to be wondered if the father is literally dying or is he dying for the love of his Beauty, who now belongs to the Beast.

When Madame Gabrielle de Villeneuve created her version of Beauty and the Beast in 1740, she was influenced by the story of Cupid and Psyche and other animal bridegroom legends, but the story she came up with was uniquely her own. Her intent was to address issues concerning the women of her day, such as a marriage system which gave women few rights. Often the brides were fourteen or fifteen years old, given to men who were decades older. Failed wives risked being locked up in mental institutions or distant convents.

Women fairy tale writers of the 17th & 18th centuries were often sharply critical of such practices, promoting the ideas of love, fidelity, and civility between the sexes. Their tales reflected the realities they lived with, and their dreams of a better way of life. These varying versions are mirrors of the societies in which they were written, reflecting gender roles, stereotypes, repression, and morality.

Beauty comes to see that under the Beast’s physical ugliness there dwells a beautiful soul. The story and its questions regarding human values run deeper than the simple facts and details of the tale and remain timeless. We all have the potential to be beautiful or beastly we just need to learn how to overcome our monsters.

Aug 16, 2010

Macrology Monday

macrology ~ much talk with little to say

First, a treat. Go HERE. The ultra fabulous Jamie DeBree is releasing her first novel, Tempest, and you don’t want to miss the excitement. And then you can go HERE to order your own copy. And if you buy the print copy and have some time to kill while you’re waiting, there are some sample chapters you can read HERE.

* ~ * ~ * ~ *~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Okay, last week . . . what did I do last week? I got most of my blog posts up, although I did miss the flash on Saturday. To be honest, unless a flash piece comes to me on its own, I find I spend way too much time searching for inspiration.

Please note that at long last my reading list has been updated. I have thrown in the towel as far as reviewing goes, and unless the book is really notable I’m only posting the title, author, and blurb. That being said, books number 40 and 41 do have personal comments accompanying them. :-)

I picked out my poems for my reading on Thursday. I decided since my love of poetry forms is what makes me distinctive within my poetry group, that’s what I’ll go with. So I’ve picked out several of my favourite forms and that’s what I’ll be reading. Unless, of course, I let fear get the better of me and just hyperventilate until I pass out. :-)

I started the onerous task of breaking my WIP into chapters. Why wasn’t I doing this as I went along? I have no idea. It must have seemed like a good idea at the time, but I’m paying for it now. I’m having my doubts about the saleability of this novel, but I don’t know if that’s because there’s really a problem with it, or I’m just applying some psychological sabotage.

This Week’s Goals:

Tuesday: Part XIV of my fairy tale series be part two of Beauty and the Beast. If anyone has a favourite fairy tale they’d like me to investigate, drop me a line at carolrward(at)gmail(dot)com and I’ll see what I can dig up.

Wednesday: A new hunk for your viewing pleasure.

Thursday: This week’s Passion for Poetry is the Free Form, also known as Free Verse.

Friday: Chapter 51 of the Space Opera. How much longer can I drag this out? Will they really get away or is the hammer about to fall?

Elsewhere in my week:

The Scribe’s meeting I thought was last week is actually tonight. I lost my notes about what our prompt for tonight is, but I won’t be going empty-handed. I have the first drafts of the pieces I’m submitting for our online literary magazine. I just need to print them before tonight.

Today I’m going to the town of Brighton with a friend for lunch. I’ll need to remember to take both my camera and my notebook. It’s an even smaller town than ours, but I hear the waterfront is nice and you never know when inspiration might strike.

Over on Random Writings, my Pearl of Wisdom for the week will Dialogue. I’ll probably go ahead a post a picture prompt, but it’ll only be for anyone who’s interested. I’m not making any promises on participating myself. I’m actually thinking of revamping Random Writings yet again.

My focus next week will be on getting organized so that I’ll be more productive with my writing time. I’ve made a good start with weaning myself away from the games, but I still spend too much time checking blogs, emails, and facebook. So, the new rule will be that I’m allowed to check my e-mails in the morning, then no internet until after supper. Yeah. We’ll see how it goes.

So, now you know what I’ll be up to this week, how about you?

Aug 12, 2010


For a fully comprehensive look at the Eintou verse form, please check Shakespearnoir, where much of my information came from.

The Eintou is an African American poetry form consisting seven lines with a total of 32 syllables or words. The term Eintou is West African for "pearl" as in pearls of wisdom, and often the Eintou imparts these pearls in heightened language.

The Eintou developed as a means for African American poetic forms to take their place in the forefront of American poetry. Many African American poetic scholars and critics often attempted to mimic Euro-American forms as a means of demonstrating poetic expertise, or stood by "free-verse" as an African American form. It was rare to see serious examination of African American poetic forms; in fact most critics regarded African American poetry as "formless" or "mimicking."

The 2-4-6-8-6-4-2 structure of the Eintou is crucial in terms of African and African American philosophy. Life is a cycle. Everything returns to that from which it originates. The concept of a pearl, which is a sphere, and the cyclic nature of the Eintou's structure capture this. The life of the Eintou begins with two syllables or words, expands as though growing and then returns to two syllables or words. In this fashion the Eintou never escapes its beginnings or history. It flows from, through, and ultimately returns to that from which it came.


Line 1 - 2 words/syllables
Line 2 - 4 words/syllables
Line 3 - 6 words/syllables
Line 4 - 8 words/syllables
Line 5 - 6 words/syllables
Line 6 - 4 words/syllables
Line 7 - 2 words/syllables

Although I've seen some examples that use a word count instead of a syllable count, I stuck to the syllable count in my examples:

I wish
Upon a star
Like the cricket advised
Pinocchio, Geppetto’s son.
But life’s no fairy tale,
My wishes don’t
Come true.

The words
Escape from me
Spilling onto the page
Where they find a life of their own
Leaving me far behind
Stumbling to
Catch up.

Aug 10, 2010

Fairy Tale Origins - Part XIII
Beauty and the Beast, Part One

Like Cinderella, the tale of Beauty and the Beast is one of the most popular fairy tales in the world. It’s the story of a self-less young woman who agrees to go live with a beast in order to save her father’s life. In time she grows fond of the beast who treats with nothing but kindness. It’s not until she almost loses him that she realizes she loves him, and triggers his transformation into a handsome prince.

It is believed the tale is based on the story of Cupid and Psyche, as told by Lucius Apuleius in the second century C.E. In this myth, Psyche weds a hideous serpent that is actually Cupid who is under a spell. By night, a man makes love to her, but she is forbidden to look. When she does, she loses her beloved husband.

Variants of the tale appear in numerous cultures. Aarne-Thompson classifed the story as "The Search for a Lost Husband" type 425, with "Beauty and the Beast" receiving its own subtype of 425C. This tale type is one of the most extensively studied by scholars which is understandable in part because so many tales fit into the category.

In the Chinese version, The Fairy Serpent, the beast is a serpent. The girl’s father steals a few flowers for his daughters and is only released when he promises that one of his three daughters will return to marry the serpent. The youngest daughter is the one who goes to the serpent and eventually grows to like him despite his appearance. Leaving for a few hours she returns to find the serpent dying of thirst. She plunges him into water to save his life and he is transformed into a strong and handsome young man.

The Turkish version is The Princess and the Pig. The father is a king who manages to find the gifts for the elder sisters but fails to find the fruit that his youngest daughter requested. When his carriage is stuck in the mud, he meets the beast, in this case a pig. The pig is the only one able to set him loose, and does so only on the condition that the king gives him his youngest daughter as his bride. During her sleep her surroundings are transformed into incredible luxury and the pig into a handsome young man.

The Beauty in the Indonesian The Lizard Husband has six sisters who are rude to the mother of a lizard who asks that they consider her son for marriage. The youngest, Kapapitoe, takes the lizard as a husband, but her sisters heap abuse upon them both. The lizard and his wife work together to build their own farm and the lizard transforms himself into a handsome man when bathing in the river. It takes his wife awhile to accept this change and the sisters, in jealousy, try to steal him away from her. Then, during the night, a castle arises and Kapapitoe and her husband live happily ever after within it.

From Japan comes The Monkey Son-in Law. The father owes a debt to the monkey for giving him water for his crops. As payment, one of his three daughters must go and live with the monkey. The older two will have nothing to do with such a bargain and again it is the youngest who complies. After a year she tricks the monkey into falling into the river to be carried away. She returns home to a thankful father but two rude sisters who are transformed into rats for their disloyalty to their father.

The earliest French version is an ancient Basque tale where the father was a king and the beast a serpent. The 16th century Italy, Giovanni Francesco told the story of Re Porco (King Pig), a brute who received his name for his swinish behavior, especially toward women. A hundred years later, fellow Italian, Giambattista Basile, included four Beauty and the Beast type tales in his Il Pentamerone (1646).

From Russia, we have The Enchanted Tsarevitch, by Aleksander Nikolaevich Afanas’ev In recompense for picking an exotic flower, the father agrees to send the Beast the first thing he sees on arriving home, which turns out to be his youngest daughter. The Beast is a three headed, winged snake for whom Beauty eventually feels compassion. Her visit home is extended by her greedy sisters so that on her return the snake is almost dead. Upon kissing him he turns into a handsome young man.

In England there is the tale of The Small Tooth Dog. The father is a merchant whose life is saved by a dog when he’s attacked by thieves. As payment, the dog asks for the merchant’s only daughter. The daughter goes with the dog willingly, but is unable to find happiness with him. When he allows her to visit her home, she calls the dog "Sweet-as-a-honeycomb." By saying this in front of her father the enchantment is broken and the dog is transformed into a handsome young man.

A Bunch of Laurel Blooms for a Present, from Appalachia, has the father indebted to a witch from whom he has taken some laurel blooms. In this version he is the one who must stay with the witch, but the youngest daughter takes his place. The witch keeps her in a house with a large, ugly toad, whom she learns to love. One night she awakens to find a handsome young man lying next to her and the toad-skin hanging on a bed post. She takes the skin and burns it in the fire. The next morning the young man is still there and thanks her for saving him from the witch’s curse.

In 1740 by Madame Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Gallon de Villeneuve wrote a version of Beauty and the Beast that was 362 pages long. It was filled with warring fairies and lengthy histories, and contained many criticisms of arranged marriages. In 1756, French aristocrat Madame Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont took this tale and shortened it into the tale we are most familiar with today.

Next week we’ll go a little more in depth in the origins of this fairy tale.

Aug 9, 2010

Mandamus Monday

mandamus ~ writ instructing that an action should be performed

I read no books last week, other than the one I was doing line edits for, and again I have to admit to playing a few computer games and on-line jigsaw puzzles, but I still met all my writing obligations and got my posts up on time (well, except for the flash piece, which was pretty darn late, again!).

I also had to answer some e-mail questions for an interview that you can find HERE, and I had a 13 page application form to fill out and return before my telephone job interview on Thursday. You all did so well at wishing me luck I need you to do it again today – I have a face-to-face interview this afternoon. :-)

This Week’s Goals:

Tuesday: Part XIII of my fairy tale series will be delving into the origins of another favourite, Beauty and the Beast. Judging by the amount of research I’ve already done, this might end up being another two-parter. If anyone has a favourite fairy tale they’d like me to investigate, drop me a line at carolrward(at)gmail(dot)com and I’ll see what I can dig up.

Wednesday: A new hunk for your viewing pleasure.

Thursday: This week’s Passion for Poetry is the African American form of Eintou.

Friday: Chapter 50 of the Space Opera. Nakeisha’s wind versus the stone tavern. Who’s going to come out on top?

Elsewhere in my week:

I really need to focus on the final decisions for the poetry for my reading. The 19th is moving up fast and I need to be ready. I’ll probably stick with my poetry forms – it’s the thing that sets me apart from the rest of the group, my love of different forms.

I believe I have a Scribe’s meeting tonight. I’d better check to make sure and maybe check to see what our prompt was. We’re putting out an on-line literary magazine this fall and I need to print the pieces I’ll be submitting for review.

Over on Random Writings, my Pearl of Wisdom for the week will be Showing versus Telling. There’s also a picture prompt posted there today, and I challenge you to come up with a flash piece by Saturday using this prompt.

I’ve been seriously lacking in writerly mojo the last couple of weeks . . . yes, I’ve been getting my blog posts done, but I haven’t really done anything above and beyond the call of duty. I haven’t even been all that inspired by my own picture prompts.

Thankfully, I’m getting my mojo back. Saturday night I started working on Forever and For Always again, and yesterday I got my weekly flash piece done. I don’t know if I was just starting to get sick of computer games, or if I was being lead by example (thanks Jamie!), but it’s nice to have a little more focus.

So, now you know what I’ll be up to this week, how about you?

Aug 5, 2010


The Dodoitsu is a form of Japanese poetry developed towards the end of the Edo Period. The subject of the Dodoitsu is usually work or love and they’re often written with a touch of humour.

The name literally means "quickly, city to city" probably so named for its rapid rise in popularity in the 1600s which was the beginning of Japan's "Modern Period". Like most Japanese poetry, the dodoitsu draws the emotion from the image.

It is syllabic, written in 26 onji (sound syllables), normally 4 lines of 7-7-7-5 syllables respectively. There is no rhyme or metre to the Dodoitsu.

Usually when I have such a short form I like to write more than one example. However, the Muse was not cooperating. I kept coming up with 6 syllable lines or 8 syllable lines – 7 did not seem to be my lucky number. However, I did manage to get one written, and I’ve supplemented it with two splendid examples I found on the web.

Storm clouds swiftly gathering
Lightning strikes and splits the sky
Sharp echoes fill me up with


I gaze at crystal water
and bright, mother-of-pearl gleam.
Stepping nearer, I skate on
unseen, green algae.
By Linda Visman


Starlit Dreams
Memories stoked by twilight
have power to warm a chilled heart.
Dreams long buried, forgotten,
still breathe 'neath the stars.
By Susan Sonnen

Aug 3, 2010

Fairy Tale Origins, Part XII
Jack and the Beanstalk

In many cultures, references to ladders and trees that provide passage to the upper world can be found. The Old Testament has tales of the Tower of Babel and Jacob’s Ladder reaching to heaven. The legends of several Northwest Native American tribes have a rope of arrows connecting the earth and sun.

The World Tree of ancient England held up the sky. Yggdrasil, from Nordic legend, is a gigantic ash tree whose branches reach to heaven, while Buddhism has a giant bodhi tree.
The Mayans, Aztecs, and the Olmec believed in a tree that had its roots in the underworld, its trunk in our world, and its branches in the upper world.

Legends of giants, as well, are found in many cultures. Both the Bible and Qur’an have several references to giants who once walked among men. Jewish mythology includes the story of Og, an enormous Amorite king, who was supposedly slain by Moses and his men at the battle of Edrei. In Hinduism the Daityas were a race of giants who defied the gods.

There are the Gigants of ancient Greece, who were the children of Gaia, Mother Earth; the Bagadjimbiri brothers, of Aboriginal Australia, who made mankind; and Kenya’s Mwooka, the creator of mountains and rivers. Chinese mythology includes Pan Gu, who hatched from an egg and became the creator of the universe.

The first print version of Jack and the Beanstalk appeared in 1734, a short burlesque narrative entitled 'Enchantment demonstrated in the story of Jack Spriggins and the Enchanted Bean'. The tale was meant to be read as a criticism of the presence of the supernatural in literature.

In 1807, Benjamin Tabart published a more moral version of the tale. Jack meets a fairy who explains that the giant’s gold, the hen lays the golden eggs, and the magic harp all rightfully belonged to Jack's father, whom the giant has killed. Jack therefore becomes an avenger of his father's death.

In 1890, Joseph Jacobs recorded a version based on the oral versions he had heard as a child, dismissing Tabart’s version. Jack is a good-for-nothing trickster in Jacobs' version while Tabart provides justification for Jack's destruction of the Giant. Both versions have competed for dominance in literary retellings.

The Brothers Grimm drew analogies between this tale and the German The Devil With the Three Golden Hairs, where the devil's mother or grandmother acted much like the wife in this tale: a female figure protecting the child from the evil male figure.

The English version, Jack and the Beanstalk, is the most popular and best known variation of the tale. The events causing the beanstalk to grow, as well as the motivation for stealing from and killing the giant, vary across versions, but the end result is always the same – Jack becomes rich and the giant ends up dead.

Jacobs version
Andrew Lang’s version, based on Tabart
Grimm’s Devil With the Thee Golden Hairs
Jack and the Beanstalk

Aug 2, 2010

Maffick Monday

maffick ~ to celebrate exuberantly and boisterously

I hope I enjoyed my easy week last week ‘cause this week is looking like it’s going to be busy. Trust me, this is a very good thing. :-)

I read no books last week, but I admit to playing a few computer games. Okay, I did more than a few on-line jigsaw puzzles, but I still met all my writing obligations and got my posts up on time (well, except for the flash piece, which was pretty darn late).

I also had time to catch up on some odds and ends around the house, which is always nice. And notice the links to my serial chapters and passion for poetry posts are also up-to-date. :-)

Oh, and if you’re wondering why I was late with Wednesday’s posts, I have a very good explanation. It wasn’t my fault. LOL I had them both done Tuesday night, but before I could schedule them on their respective blogs, our cable went out. Could have been worse, a lot of the town was without power from about 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. the next day.

This Week’s Goals:

Tuesday: Part XII of my fairy tale series will explore Jack and the Beanstalk. If anyone has a favourite fairy tale they’d like me to investigate, drop me a line at carolrward(at)gmail(dot)com and I’ll see what I can dig up.

Wednesday: A new hunk for your viewing pleasure.

Thursday: This week’s Passion for Poetry is the Japanese folk verse of Dodoitsu.

Friday: Chapter 48 of the Space Opera. Whoa, what’s with Nakeisha speaking directly into Chaney’s mind? Think she’ll do it again or was it just a fluke?

Elsewhere in my week:

First of all, I’m being featured as Poet of the Month by my poetry group. This is an e-mail interview that will be posted on our website and it will include (brace yourselves) a head shot of me, one where I’m not hiding behind a camera. *shudder* I’ll post a link for it when it becomes available.

I’ve gone through my binder of poetry and picked out about a dozen of the least gag-worthy poems I have in preparation of my reading. I’ll have to practice reading them and refine my choices.

Then I have a 13 page application to fill out, scan, and e-mail back to a recruiter who is going to be interviewing me by phone on Thursday. This job is a little different than what I’ve been doing, but it’s a great opportunity. Wish me luck! *no, not yet! Wait until Thursday when so the luck will still be fresh!* :-)

And the bulk of my free time will be taken up by line edits. I love doing line edits, especially when they’re for other people. Does that make me weird? Don’t care, I’ve been really looking forward to this. I’ll be providing a link to this novel when the author’s finished and ready to take your money. ;-)

Over on Random Writings, my Pearl of Wisdom for the week will be writing in the Active voice. There’s also a picture prompt posted there today, and I challenge you to come up with a flash piece by Saturday using this prompt.

So, that’s what’s on my platter for the week, how about you? What are you up to?