May 31, 2011

Seven Wonders of the Medieval World - Part One


While no one can say for sure what the original purpose of the Stonehenge was, there has been a great deal of speculation. Some say it was a temple created for the worship of ancient earth deities. Others believe its purpose to be that of an astronomical observatory. And still others claim it was a sacred burial site.

Its creation has been attributed to many ancient peoples, but the most belief is that it was built by the Druids. Julius Caesar and other Roman writers told of a Celtic priesthood who flourished around the time of their first conquest (55 BC). However, by this time the stones had already been standing for 2,000 years.

The most likely theory is the Stonehenge was begun by the Windmill Hill people of the late Neolithic period (around 3000 BC). These people were semi-nomadic hunter/gatherer tribes with a strong reverence for circles and symmetry. They had collective burials in large stone-encased tombs. These people also built the large circular furrows and mounds near Stonehenge.

In the first phase of construction, Stonehenge was a large earthwork or henge, comprised of a ditch, bank, and the Aubrey holes. It is believed that the ditch was dug with tools made from the antlers of red deer and, possibly, wood. The underlying chalk was loosened with picks and shovelled with the shoulder blades of cattle. It was then loaded into baskets and carried away.

The Aubrey holes are round pits in the chalk, about one metre wide and deep, with steep sides and flat bottoms. They form a circle about 284 feet in diameter. Excavations have revealed cremated human bones in some of the chalk filling, but the holes themselves were probably made, not for the purpose of graves, but as part of the religious ceremony. Shortly after this stage Stonehenge was abandoned, left untouched for over 1000 years.

The second stage of Stonehenge started around 2150 BC by the Beaker Folk, who were thought to have migrated from Spain. Their name comes from their tradition of burying beakers, or clay drinking cups, with their dead. They showed more reverence for death by placing their dead in small round graves instead of mass graves, and included weapons in the graves. The Beaker Folk were highly organised and industrious, using sophisticated mathematical concepts, and they managed their society by using a chieftain system.

The first stone circle (which is now the inner circle) was comprised of some 82 bluestones from the Preseli mountains, in south-west. It is thought these stones, some weighing 4 tonnes each were dragged on rollers and sledges to the headwaters on Milford Haven and then loaded onto rafts. They were carried by water along the south coast of Wales and up the rivers Avon and Frome, before being dragged overland again to near Warminster in Wiltshire. The final stage of the journey was mainly by water, down the river Wylye to Salisbury, then the Salisbury Avon to west Amesbury.

Once at the site, these stones were set up in the centre to form an incomplete double circle. Also during this time the original entrance of the circular earthwork was widened and a pair of Heel Stones were erected. The nearer part of the Avenue was also built, aligned with the midsummer sunrise.

The third, and final, group considered to have worked on the Stonehenge were the Wessex. They arrived around 1500 B.C. at the height of the Bronze Age. They were among the most advanced cultures outside the Mediterranean during this period. Since their tribal bases were located where ridgeways, or ancient roads, met, it can be assumed they became skillful and well-organised traders, controlling trade routes throughout southern Britain.

The third stage of construction saw the arrival of the Sarsen stones, which were believed to have been brought from the Marlborough Downs near Avebury, in north Wiltshire, about 25 miles north of Stonehenge. The largest of the Sarsen stones transported to Stonehenge weigh 50 tonnes and transportation by water would have been impossible, the stones could only have been moved using sledges and ropes. Modern calculations show that it would have taken 500 men using leather ropes to pull one stone, with an extra 100 men needed to lay the huge rollers in front of the sledge.

Once on site, a sarsen stone was prepared to accommodate stone lintels along its top surface. It was then dragged until the end was over the opening of the hole. Great levers were inserted under the stone and it was raised until gravity made it slide into the hole. At this point, the stone stood on about a 30° angle from the ground. Ropes were attached to the top and teams of men pulled from the other side to raise it into the full upright position. It was secured by filling the hole at its base with small, round packing stones. At this point, the lintels were lowered into place and secured vertically.

The final stage took place soon after 1500 BC when the bluestones were rearranged in the horseshoe and circle that we see today. The original number of stones in the bluestone circle was probably around 60, these have long since been removed or broken up. Some remain only as stumps below ground level.

The stones we see today represent Stonehenge in ruin, although it is still an impressive ruin. Many of the original stones have fallen or been removed by previous generations for home construction or road repair. There has been serious damage to some of the smaller bluestones resulting from close visitor contact (prohibited since 1978) and the prehistoric carvings on the larger sarsen stones show signs of significant wear. There is a major highway running no more than 100 yards away from the stones, and a commercial circus has sprung up around it, complete with parking lots, gift shops and ice cream stands.

Some people see Stonehenge as a place steeped in magic and mystery, some as a place where their imaginations can be fired and others believe it to be a sacred place. Despite its dilapidated state and the advance of the modern world, Stonehenge is still an awe-inspiring sight, truly a wonder of the world.

May 30, 2011

Mithridatism Monday

mithridatism ~ immunity to poison by taking increasingly large doses

Happy Memorial Day to all my U.S. friends!

Last week was kind of up and down for me (more down than up, unfortunately). However, all my posts made it up, although I was a tad late with the chapter for Fire. I blame Sookie Stackhouse. I started reading Dead Reckoning late Thursday afternoon and couldn’t put it down until I was done (which was about 3 a.m.).

Got a lot of other reading done, and even managed to update my Goodreads list.

This Week’s Schedule:

Tuesday: This week we start a new series of wonders, the Seven Wonders of the Medieval World.

Wednesday: A new hunk for your viewing pleasure.

Thursday: This week I will be exploring the Korean form of Hyangga.

Friday: Chapter 26 of Fire. So now that Pyre and Rayne have things worked out are sparks going to fly?

Random Thoughts

Today: Rant about the blogger commenting crisis and talking about e-book lending.

Wednesday: Chapter 3 of my on-line serial Shades of Errol Flynn

Saturday: Grappling With Grammar – Then and Than

Elsewhere in my week:

I woke up yesterday morning and I had a scene from a novel I haven’t even started stuck in my head. So, I sat down and wrote it out (in long hand no less) before I even had my shower. What a great way to start the day. I hope the rest of the week goes like that.

I get to look after grand-puppy-son today and, provided I don’t forget my camera, I’ll be taking pictures to post on my Facebook later.

Last week I tried out various methods for playing back the recorded interviews for the Living History project (for the local archives) and I’ve found a method I can live with without having to resort to renting a Dictaphone. Which means, of course, I can start transcribing the interviews this week.

I’ll be continuing with the edits for An Elemental Wind, and the edits on the real book for the real writer. ;-)

I keep forgetting about the new pictures taken for my website last week, so that’s on this week’s list (again) as well. And while I’m at it, maybe I’ll get back to working on my website, I’ve been slacking off where it’s concerned.

And that’s pretty much my week. What about you? What will you be up to?

May 27, 2011

Rain Delay

There's going to be a slight delay in Chapter 25 of my on-line serial Fire today. Yes, it's raining here, but that's not why it's late. :-)

Check back around noon - early afternoon by the latest. And in the meantime, you can catch up on my other serial, Shades of Errol Flynn.

May 26, 2011

List Poem

Basically, a list poem (also known as a catalog poem) is a poem that lists things, whether names, places, actions, thoughts, images, etc. It's a very flexible and fun form to work with.

It’s one of the easiest kinds of poems to write because it requires neither rhythm nor rhyme. But that doesn't mean you should write things down in a haphazard fashion. There are a few elements that make a list poem a poem instead of just a list:

The writer is telling you something or pointing something out
There's a beginning and an end to it, like in a story
Each item in the list is written the same way

Several members of my poetry group shared a list poem at our last meeting. The subjects included things found in the den, food names that don’t sound like food, titles of love poems, and mine:

Cell Phone

Slide it open
Turn it on
Nothing happens
Try again.

Charge it up
Slide it open
Turn it on
Nothing happens
Try again.

Have it activated
Charge it up
Slide it open
Turn it on
Nothing happens
Try again.

Buy a pre-paid service card
Have it activated
Charge it up
Slide it open
Turn it on
Nothing happens
Try again.

Remember pay phones are fifty cents now

Go to the bank
Buy a roll of quarters
Put some in a pocket
Put some in a purse
Don’t leave home
Without them.

May 25, 2011

May 24, 2011

Seven Wonders of the Ancient World - Part Seven

The Colossus of Rhodes

The island of Rhodes was an important economic centre in the ancient world. In 357 B.C. it was conquered by Mausolus of Halicarnassus, fell into Persian hands in 340 B.C., and was finally captured by Alexander the Great in 332 B.C.

When Alexander died his vast kingdom was divided between three of his generals: Ptolemy, Seleucus, and Antigous. The Rhodians supported Ptolemy (who wound up ruling Egypt) in this struggle which angered Antigous. He sent his son Demetrius to capture and punish the city of Rhodes.

The war was long, and ended when a fleet of ships from Egypt arrived to aid the city. To celebrate their victory and freedom, the people of Rhodes decided to build a giant statue of their patron god Helios. They melted down bronze from the many war machines Demetrius left behind for the exterior of the figure, and the siege tower he left behind became the scaffolding for the project.

The statue was one hundred and ten feet high and stood on a fifty-foot pedestal near the harbour mouth. Although the statue has been popularly depicted with its legs spanning the harbour entrance so that ships could pass beneath, it was actually posed in a more traditional Greek manner: nude, wearing a spiked crown, shading its eyes from the rising sun with its right hand, while holding a cloak over its left.

The architect of this great construction was Chares of Lindos, a Rhodian sculptor. The statue was constructed of bronze plates over an iron framework. Ancient accounts tell us that inside the statue were several stone columns which acted as the main support. Iron beams were driven into the stone and connected with the bronze outer skin. Each bronze plate had to be carefully cast then hammered into the right shape for its location in the figure, then hoisted into position and riveted to the surrounding plates and the iron frame.

The Colossus stood at the harbour entrance for some fifty-six years. Then an earthquake hit Rhodes and the statue collapsed. Huge pieces of the figure lay along the harbour for centuries.

"Even as it lies," wrote Pliny, "it excites our wonder and admiration. Few men can clasp the thumb in their arms, and its fingers are larger than most statues. Where the limbs are broken asunder, vast caverns are seen yawning in the interior. Within it, too, are to be seen large masses of rock, by the weight of which the artist steadied it while erecting it."

It is said that an Egyptian king offered to pay for its reconstruction, but the Rhodians refused. They feared that somehow the statue had offended the god Helios, who used the earthquake to throw it down.

In the seventh century A.D. the Arabs conquered Rhodes and broke the remains of the Colossus up into smaller pieces and sold it as scrap metal. Legend says it took 900 camels to carry away the statue. A sad end for such a Wonder of the Ancient World.

May 23, 2011

Mammer Monday

mammer ~ to stammer; to waver; to be undecided

Happy Victoria Day to my fellow Canadians. The first long weekend of the season, the one where gardening gets done, cottages get opened, and Trekkies with cable can enjoy the Star Trek movie marathon. :-)

Last week was pretty grey and miserable, which of course meant I was pretty grey and miserable too. I was also really tired and head-achy, and did I mention cranky? By the end of the week I didn’t even feel like reading, let alone writing, but at least I got all my blog posts up, and on time too.

Did not get the new pictures done for my website, but did get a goodly amount of editing done. :-)

This Week’s Schedule:

Tuesday: This week we have the final wonder of the ancient world, the Colossus of Rhodes. Next week we’ll start a whole new list of wonders.

Wednesday: A new hunk for your viewing pleasure.

Thursday: I’m killing two birds with one stone here. At my last poetry group meeting our “poemwork” was to write a list poem. So this week’s form is the List Poem and I will be using the poem I created for my group as an example.

Friday: Chapter 25 of Fire. So, Pyre knows Rayne’s secret. Now what?

Random Thoughts

Today: Ranting about the end of the world.

Wednesday: Chapter 2 of my on-line serial Shades of Errol Flynn

Saturday: Grappling With Grammar – the Comma, Part II

Elsewhere in my week:

Since it’s a holiday today I’m slacking off and going out for coffee with a friend. Weather permitting, we may end up down on the pier.

Tuesday is my meeting with the Cobourg Poetry Workshop and it’s always a good time. And not just because the pub we meet at is licensed. ;-)

I’ll be continuing with the edits for An Elemental Wind, and the edits on the real book for the real writer. :-)

I didn’t get the new pictures taken for my website last week, so that’s on this week’s list as well.

And that’s my week. What about you? What will you be up to?

May 19, 2011

Trijan Refrain

The Trijan Refrain is an invented form created by Jan Turner. It consists of three 9-line stanzas, for a total of 27 lines. Line 1 is the same in all three stanzas, although there is a variation of the form that allows a different line at the beginning of each stanza. This form has both a syllable count and a rhyme scheme. As well, the first four syllables of line five in each stanza are repeated as a double-refrain for lines seven and eight.


Line 1: xxxxxxxa
Line 2: xxxxxb
Line 3: xxxxxxxa
Line 4: xxxxxb
Line 5: xxxxxxxc
Line 6: xxxxxxxc
Line 7: first four syllables of line 5
Line 8: first four syllables of line 5
Line 9: xxxxxxxc

While I enjoy the rhythm of this poem when reading it, I have to admit it was a bit challenging to write.

Siren’s Song

Within the sea there dwells a maid,
So fair of face and form –
Upon a rock she sits, displayed,
The better to perform.
She sings it well, her siren’s song,
You can’t resist though you are strong,
She sings it well
She sings it well
And beckons you to come along.

While sailors try hard to resist
They cannot help but fail
For once the song a soul has kist
The spirit soon grows pale.
How bitter sweet this song she sings
The sound wafts by on angel wings
How bittersweet
How bittersweet
A dirge for what the future brings.

Can those without a soul regret
Their place in mythic lore?
They do what fate impels them, yet
Perhaps they long for more.
Their time is past, the myths they fade
The legend’s just a masquerade
Their time is past
Their time is past
It’s time to end the serenade.

May 17, 2011

Seven Wonders of the Ancient World - Part Six

Mausoleum of Mausollos at Halicarnassus

The city of Halicarnassus (present Bodrum, Turkey) was the capitol of a small kingdom along the Mediterranean coast of Asia Minor. From 377 B.C. to 350 B.C. it was ruled by Mausolus and his queen. When Mausolus died in 353 B.C., Artemisia, who was not only his wife but his sister, decided to build a tomb to honour him. It became a structure so famous that Mausolus's name is now associated with all stately tombs through the modern word mausoleum.

Artemisia spared no expense in building the tomb. She sent messengers to Greece to find the most talented artists of the time. This included Scopas, the man who had supervised the rebuilding of the temple of Artemis at Ephesus. Other famous sculptors such as Bryaxis, Leochares and Timotheus joined him as well as hundreds of other craftsmen.

The tomb was erected on a hill overlooking the city. The whole structure sat in an enclosed courtyard. At the center of the courtyard was a stone platform on which the tomb itself sat. A staircase, flanked by stone lions, led to the top of this platform. Along the outer wall of this were many statues depicting gods and goddess. At each corner stone warriors, mounted on horseback, guarded the tomb.

At the center of the platform was the tomb itself. Made mostly of marble, the structure rose as a square, tapering block to about one-third of the Mausoleum's 45 metre height. This section was covered with relief sculpture showing action scenes from Greek myth/history. One part showed the battle of the Centaurs with the Lapiths. Another depicted Greeks in combat with the Amazons, a race of warrior women.

On top of this section of the tomb thirty-six slim columns, ten per side, rose for another third of the height. Standing in between each pair of columns was another statue. Behind the columns was a solid cella-like block that carried the weight of the tomb's massive roof.

The roof, which comprised most of the final third of the height, was pyramidal. Perched on the top was a quadriga: four massive horses pulling a chariot in which the images of Mausolus and Artemisia rode.

Artemisa lived for only two years after the death of her husband. Both were buried in the yet unfinished tomb. According to the historian Pliny the Elder, the craftsmen decided to stay and finish the work after their patron died "considering that it was at once a memorial of their own fame and of the sculptor's art."

The Mausoleum remained untouched for centuries, even when the city fell to Alexander the Great in 334 B.C. and was still undamaged after attacks by pirates in 62 and 58 B.C. It stood above the city ruins for some 17 centuries. Then a series of earthquakes shattered the columns and sent the stone chariot crashing to the ground. By 1404 A.D. only the very base of the Mausoleum was still recognizable.

Crusaders, who had occupied the city from the thirteen century onward, recycled the broken stone into their own buildings. In 1522 rumours of a Turkish invasion caused Crusaders to strengthen the castle at Halicarnassus (which was by then known as Bodrum) and much of the remaining portions of the tomb was broken up and used within the castle walls. Sections of polished marble from the tomb can still be seen there today.

May 16, 2011

Minify Monday

minify ~ to diminish, in appearance or reality

I gotta tell you, the reading of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayam that I went to last week was absolutely fabulous! David Calderisi was amazing. He started with a history of Omar Khayam and his life, and then explained how Edward FitzGerald came to translate his poetry. Then David didn’t just recite the verses, he became Omar Khayam and shared the verses. If you live in the Toronto area, you can catch David’s performance at Beit Zatoun. Check out the details HERE.

As last week progressed, I didn’t feel like I got much accomplished. But looking back I’m pretty happy with the way things went. I got all of my posts done, including the first chapter of a new serial and the first in my grammar series on my other blog. And I also (drum roll please) got some editing done on An Elemental Wind. It’s not as heinous as I thought it would be, but it is time consuming. I’m adding a lot of stuff to it.

I also managed to get quite a bit of reading in. I have 233 books on George right now and I couldn’t tell you how many I’ve read ‘cause I haven’t been keeping track. I also read a book my daughter lent me called the Forgotten Garden, by Kate Morton, which was really, really, long, but a good read. The kid is not impressed with my reading choices, so every once in a while she slips me a “good” book.

This Week’s Schedule:

Tuesday: This week’s wonder of the ancient world is the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus.

Wednesday: This week's hunk has a little something for everyone ;-)

Thursday: The poetry form of the week is the Trijan Refrain.

Friday: Chapter 24 of Fire. Looks like Pyre wants some answers. The question is, is Rayne ready to give them?

Elsewhere in my week:

It’s the third Monday of the month and you know what that means, a meeting of the Northumberland Scribes tonight. Apparently there’s going to be a photographer present to take our pictures for the local paper and wouldn’t you know, I’ve got a big zit on my chin. Doesn’t that just figure? And I can’t remember what the prompt was either. Guess I’m 0 for 2 already. :-)

And this week is also the third Thursday, which means there’s a poetry reading at our favourite local coffee shop.

I’ll be continuing with the edits for An Elemental Wind, and I get to start the edits on a real book for a real writer this week. ;-)

On Random Writings check for a new instalment of Shades of Errol Flynn on Wednesday. I’ll warn you right now, it’s going to be very different from the prologue. And on Saturday, check out my post on Commas.

I didn’t get the new pictures taken for my website last week, so that’s on this week’s list as well.

And that’s what I’ll be up to this week. What about you?

May 12, 2011


A Rictameter is an interesting, and visually beautiful type of poem. When centered it has a diamond shape. It is written in nine unrhymed lines with a specific syllable count.

You start with a line of two syllables, then consecutively increase each syllable number in the next lines by two, until you reach ten syllables in the fifth line. Then, you start decreasing by two syllables, until you reach the same two syllable line you started with.

If you wish to experiment with a rictameter, there are a number of ways to do so, one of which, the simplest, is to not use the same 2 syllable word from line one in line nine. There are also "double rictameters" which is basically one poem, of two rictameters in a row, which again is very visually expressive. There is also the inverted rictameter, in which you start with a ten syllable line, go down to a two syllable, line and then go upwards again to the ten syllable ninth line.

Line 1: xx
Line 2: xxxx
Line 3: xxxxxx
Line 4: xxxxxxxx
Line 5; xxxxxxxxxx
Line 6: xxxxxxxx
Line 7: xxxxxx
Line 8: xxxx
Line 9: xx (same as line 1)

The first time I saw this form was in my highschool creative writing newsletter. I didn’t know what the form was, but I remember thinking it looked really cool and I wondered how they did it. Now I know. :-)

Summer Symphony

Is heard in song
Bullfrogs in the millpond
Accompanied by cricket chirp
The marble fountain tinkling merrily
The warm breeze shushing through the trees
Playing with the wind chimes
A symphonic

Summer Storm

The night is still
The summer wind has died
Dark clouds rush in and sky grows dark
Growling, crashing and then lightning flashing
Fading slowly storm is passing
All we can do is wait
For impending

May 10, 2011

Seven Wonders of the Ancient World - Part Five

The Lighthouse of Alexandria

Ptolemy Soter commissioned the construction of the Lighthouse of Alexandria (also known as Pharos Lighthouse, so named for the island it was built on) for 800 silver talents. Architect Sostratos of Knidos started construction of it in 270 B.C. The lighthouse was not completed until after Soter’s death, when his son, Ptolemy Philadelphus came to power.

Constructed from large blocks of light-coloured stone, the tower was made up of three sections: a lower square section with a central core, a middle octagonal section, and, at the top, a circular section. A statue of Poseidon stood atop the tower during the Roman period. The Pharos' masonry blocks were interlocked, sealed together using molten lead, to withstand the pounding of the waves.

The lowest part was square and almost 200 feet high. It is believed this section had 364 rooms measuring from ten to twenty cubits square. The rooms were designed with vents and windows in order to absorb gusts of wind against the Lighthouse reducing the risk of collapse. These rooms were covered with beams of teakwood and an arch of stones, cemented and decorated. There were also a series of 72 wide ramps creating access to the top of the Lighthouse. Viewing galleries were constructed on the second and third levels of the structure where visitors could experience a view from nearly 400 feet high.

The interior of the upper two sections had a shaft with a dumbwaiter that was used to transport fuel up to the fire. Staircases allowed visitors and the keepers to climb to the beacon chamber. There, according to reports, a large curved mirror, perhaps made of polished metal, was used to project the fire's light into a beam.

The Pharos Lighthouse was fitted with every scientific improvement known to the age. The mirror could reflect the light more than 35 miles off-shore. Theories conflict on how the mirror was made, some say it was made from a highly polished metal while others believe it was made from silver-backed glass.

There are many legends and myths surrounding the mirror. Some say that the mirror was used as a weapon to concentrate the rays of the sun to set enemy ships on fire as they approached the harbour. Other myths refer to the use of a powerful telescope which was located at the top of the Lighthouse which used refracting mirrors to magnify objects.

The Lighthouse stood for 1,500 years. A happened to so many ancient buildings, earthquakes eventually brought it down. The first one, in 1303, shook up the entire area; the second one, 20 years later, did significant structural damage. By this time, the Lighthouse had fallen into disrepair. In 1480, Sultan Qaitbay used the stone and marble that had once made up the Lighthouse to build a fort on the very spot where the Lighthouse once stood.

In 1994 archaeologists found large blocks underwater that they believe to have been part of the Pharos Lighthouse. Some of these blocks were brought up and put on. There are rumours that are plans to turn this site into an archaeological park with a lighthouse museum. In a few years visitors may be able to rent scuba gear and dive in the bay among the remains of the great Pharos Lighthouse.

May 9, 2011

Mythomania Monday

mythomania ~ lying or exaggerating to an abnormal extent

Another Monday and another confession. I didn’t get a lot done outside of my regular posts last week. But I have a good excuse reason. Actually, I have two reasons. First, I got bogged down in html coding. Yes, I know there are programs out there that will create my website for me, and yes there are people out there who can do it for me (I even have a couple who’ve generously offered their help) but it’s becoming a matter of pride with me. I want to do it myself, by hand, so I can understand what I’m doing. I’m actually quite please with my progress. I’d be even more pleased if I didn’t keep changing my mind about colours and fonts and then screwing up the code when I go back and change things. *sigh*

My other reason for not getting more done is my scorching love affair with George. George is the name I gave to my brand new Kindle (remember the Looney Tunes cartoon where the Abominable Snowman tries to adopt Bugs Bunny? "I'm gonna love him, and hug him, and pet him, and call him George!").

George has a bit of a story behind him and I’d like to take a moment to share it with you. I was having a bad week last week, compounded by the dismally grey weather we’d been having. I was moping around, feeling sorry for myself, when there was a knock on the door. It was a UPS man who had a package for me from Amazon. Imagine my surprise when I opened the box and there lay a much coveted Kindle. After picking my jaw up off the floor I read the note with it and discovered it was from my insanely generous friend Jamie. Anyway, before I get all gushy again, I spent considerable time over the last few days feeding George a bunch of free books from Amazon, Baen Books, and Project Gutenberg.

This Week’s Schedule:

Tuesday: This week’s wonder of the ancient world is the Lighthouse at Alexandria.

Wednesday: Another Hunk for your view pleasure.

Thursday: The poetry form of the week is the Rictameter.

Friday: Chapter 23 of Fire. Things are heating up, literally. However will Rayne help Pyre contain his fire??

Elsewhere in my week:

Tuesday I have a business seminar in the morning and in the evening there’s a poet performance of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayam that I’d like to attend.

I actually made progress on my website last week and I’d like to keep up the momentum. So, working on the website is one of my priorities.

I have a three day a week posting schedule worked out for my other blog finally. Mondays will be completely random – rants, info, whatever tickles my fancy; Wednesdays will be a brand new serial that will not be set in space; and Saturdays will be Grappling With Grammar. Don’t forget to check it out from time to time.

I’ve started editing Space Opera (my first on-line serial, for those of you who are new) and that will be moving up on my priority list, as well as new words for a half-finished draft called The Perfect Man.

Oh, and something else I want to do this week is take new pictures for my website.

Looks like I’ve got a busy week ahead of me. How about you? What will you be up to?

May 5, 2011

Found Poem

A Found poem uses words and phrases from another source, generally some kind of everyday written material (e.g. letters, newspapers, headlines, lines from a television program, advertisements) but combines them in new ways.

A pure Found poem consists entirely of outside texts: the words of the poem remain as they were found, with few additions or omissions. Decisions of form, such as where to break a line, are left to the poet.

Many poets have also chosen to incorporate snippets of found texts into larger poems, most significantly Ezra Pound. His Cantos includes letters written by presidents and popes, as well as an array of official documents from governments and banks. The Waste Land, by T. S. Eliot, uses many different texts, including Wagnerian opera, Shakespearian theatre, and Greek mythology.

Writing this type of poetry is like making a collage. You search for interesting scraps of language, then put them together in different ways to see what comes out. In the end you may decide to rewrite the poem and take out all the found language, or to keep the found scraps entirely in their original form. Either way, a Found poem is a great way to jolt your creativity.

Sources for Found poems can include:

•instruction books, recipes
•horoscopes, fortune cookies
•bulletin boards
•science, math, or social science textbooks
•pieces of letters, post cards, phone messages, notes you've written for yourself
•grocery lists, lists of all kinds
•junk mail
•spam e-mails (just watch out for suspicious links!)

I have not been able to discover what the etiquette is regarding citing the source for a Found poem, however I “found” my poem in the introduction of the book, Women Who Run With the Wolves, by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.

The Wild Woman

We may have forgotten her names,
we may not answer when she calls ours,
but in our bones we know her,
we yearn toward her;
we know she belongs to us and we to her.

A sense of her comes through vision;
through sights of great beauty.
I have felt her when I see
what we call in the woodlands
a Jesus-God sunset.
I have felt her move in me
from seeing the fishermen
come up from the lake at dusk
with lanterns lit,
and also from seeing my newborn baby’s toes
all lined up like a row of sweet corn.
We see her where we see her,
which is everywhere.

She comes to us through sound as well;
through music which vibrates the sternum,
excites the heart;
it comes through the drum,
the whistle, the call, and the cry.
It comes through the written and the spoken word;
sometimes a word, a sentence or a poem or a story,
is so resonant, so right,
it causes us to remember,
at least for an instant,
what substance we are really made from,
and where is our true home.

The longing for her comes
when one happens across someone
who has secured this wildish relationship.
The longing comes
when one realizes one has given scant time
to the mystic cookfire
or to the dreamtime,
too little time to one’s own creative life,
one’s life work or one’s true loves.

We eventually must pursue the wildish nature.
Then we leap into that forest
or into the desert
or into the snow
and run hard,
our eyes scanning the ground,
our hearing sharply tuned,
searching under,
searching over,
searching for a clue,
a remnant,
a sign that she still lives,
that we have not lost our chance.

The Wild Woman has no name,
for she is so vast.

May 3, 2011

Seven Wonders of the Ancient World - Part Four

Temple of Artemis at Ephesus

I have seen the walls and Hanging Gardens of ancient Babylon, the statue of Olympian Zeus, the Colossus of Rhodes, the mighty work of the high Pyramids and the tomb of Mausolus. But when I saw the temple at Ephesus rising to the clouds, all these other wonders were put in the shade.
~ Philon of Byzantium

The first shrine to the Goddess Artemis was probably built around 800 B.C. on a marshy strip near the river at Ephesus. The shrine was destroyed and rebuilt several times over the next few hundred years. By 600 B.C., the city of Ephesus had become a major port of trade and an architect named Chersiphron was engaged to build a new large temple.

This temple didn't last long. In 550 B.C. King Croesus of Lydia conquered Ephesus. During the fighting, the temple was destroyed. Croesus proved himself a gracious winner, though, by contributing generously to the building of a new temple.

The new temple was the pride of Ephesus until 356 B.C. when it was burned to the ground by a man named Herostratus, who did this so that his name would go down in history. Shortly after this infamous deed, a new temple was commissioned.

The architect was Scopas of Paros, one of the most famous sculptors of his day. Ephesus was one of the greatest cities in Asia Minor at this point and no expense was spared in the construction. The temple was built in the same marshy place as before. To prepare the ground, Piny recorded that "layers of trodden charcoal were placed beneath, with fleeces covered with wool upon the top of them."

The building is thought to be the first completely constructed with marble and one of its most unusual features were 36 columns whose lower portions were carved with figures in high-relief.

The temple also housed many works of art including four bronze statues of Amazon women. Piny recorded the length of this new temple at 425 feet and the width at 225 feet. Some 127 columns, 60 feet in height, supported the roof. In comparison the Parthenon, the remains of which stand on the acropolis in Athens today, was only 230 feet long, 100 feet wide and had 58 columns. According to Piny, construction took 120 years, though some experts suspect it may have only taken half that time.

This Temple of Artemis was destroyed in A.D. 262 during a raid by the Goths. By this time both the religion of Artemis and the city of Ephesus were in decline. The bay where trading ships docked disappeared as silt from the river filled it. Many of the inhabitants of the city moved away to the surrounding hills; those that remained used the ruins of the temple as a source of building materials.

In 1863 the British Museum sent John Turtle Wood, an architect, to search for the temple. He searched for six years. Each year the British Museum threatened to cut off his funding unless he found something significant, and each year he convinced them to fund him for just one more season.

Finally in 1869, at the bottom of a muddy twenty-foot deep test pit, his crew struck the base of the great temple. Wood then excavated the whole foundation removing 132,000 cubic yards of the swamp to leave a hole some 300 feet wide and 500 feet long. The remains of some of the sculptured portions were found and shipped to the British Museum.

In 1904 another British Museum expedition under the leadership of D.G. Hograth continued the excavation. Hograth found evidence of five temples on the site, each constructed on top of the other.

Today the site of the temple is a marshy field. A single column is erect to remind visitors that once there stood in that place one of the wonders of the ancient world.

May 2, 2011

Macromania Monday

macromania ~ delusion that objects are larger than natural size

I have a confession to make. Yesterday was yet another gloomy day and my head was hurting, but I sat down at my desk to do something constructive like work on my website or edit my novel or write something. I tweaked the fonts for my website, decided to make the whole thing a little cleaner, and then . . . decided to take the day off. So then I went out to the kitchen and made a cup of tea and sat down and read Angela Knight’s Master of Smoke from cover to cover. And I don’t regret one minute of it. Okay, I might feel slightly guilty, but I don’t regret it. That book is smokin’ hot!

I’m finished with the A to Z Challenge, which is a bit of a relief. Well, I still have the wrap-up post to do later today, but then I’ll be officially done. It was definitely a challenge, but I think in the long run it was worth it.

This Week’s Schedule:

Tuesday: This week’s wonder of the ancient world is the Temple of Artemis.

Wednesday: Another Hunk for your view pleasure.

Thursday: The poetry form of the week is the Found Poem.

Friday: Chapter 22 of Fire. On the road again. Hopefully they’ll reach the city soon so the action can start.

Elsewhere in my week:

If you’re a Canadian, don’t forget to go out and vote today. Personally, I don’t like any of the choices – we’re pretty much going to lose no matter who wins.

I did not make as much progress with my website as I would have liked . . . if you want to know the truth, I started to re-do it, ran into one trouble after another, had a meltdown, then realized I was making it much harder than it needed to be. This may be hard for you to understand, but I find it easier to do the html coding by hand than to use a program. So now I’m re-learning everything I used to know about html. The problem is, I can only do it for an hour or two each day before my eyes go buggy, so it’s slow going. However, I am nothing if not persistent.

There’s a Scribe’s meeting tonight and I have no idea what the prompt is. Maybe I’ll suck it up and do the prompt from last time, which was Cakes on a Train.

Now that the A-Z Challenge is over, I want to give my other blog a face lift. Nothing drastic, just a little re-arranging. One of the reason I did the challenge was to do more posting over there and I’d like to keep up the good work by coming up with two or three weekly posts, one of which might be a new on-line serial.

Speaking of serials, it’s time to get serious on the edits for Space Opera. While posting my draft on a weekly basis left me a more complete story than I’m left with from NaNo, writing a serial is a bit different from writing a novel. It comes as no surprise that the editing required is a bit different as well.

Okay, that’s about it for my week, what about you? What have you got going on?