Thursday, May 31, 2012

rock hard!

Happy Friday, Toads! I received a request for a music prompt that might satisfy the Seventies Girls amongst us. Embracing that label for myself as well, I have been considering this request all month. After all, we have been inspired by Patti Smith! And Joan Armatrading! Nonetheless, I understood the spirit of this request and decided to pull out the big guns. I mean, the Serious Big Guns:

Today, we are taking what I hope will be significant inspiration from rock pioneer Suzi Quatro.

Suzi Quatro was the first female bass player to become a major rock star, at a time when rock music was almost entirely dominated by men. Suzi Quatro came before Joan Jett, before Lita Ford, before Tina Weymouth (of the Talking Heads), before them all. An American artist living in England, Suzi Quatro enjoyed success in Europe and Australia throughout the 1970's before her duet with Chris Norman, "Stumblin' In," topped the US charts.

Suzi Quatro was also known to American audiences as Leather Tuscadero on the sitcom Happy Days. Her song "Rock Hard," our prompt today, was featured in the cult film Times Square, featuring Tim Curry and Trini Alvadaro. (All of the above made a major impact on Your Faithful Editor. Just saying. --Ed.)

Suzi Quatro continues to release new music and tour to this day. Most recently, in fall 2011, she released a fantastic cover of Goldfrapp's "Strict Machine."


Let's Rock and Write Hard, Toads! 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Kerry's Wednesday Challenge ~ Steampunk

“Steampunk is...a joyous fantasy of the past, allowing us to revel in a nostalgia for what never was. It is a literary playground for adventure, spectacle, drama, escapism and exploration. But most of all it is fun!” George Mann

For this challenge, we will examine the fascinating world of Steampunk.  Wikipedia defines the term as:

"A sub-genre of fantasy and speculative fiction that came into prominence in the 1980s and early 1990s. The term denotes works set in an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually the 19th century, and often set in Victorian era England—but with prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy, such as fictional technological inventions like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or real technological developments like the computer occurring at an earlier date. Other examples of steampunk contain alternate history-style presentations of "the path not taken" of such technology as dirigibles or analog computers; these frequently are presented in an idealized light, or a presumption of functionality."

Steampunk is nothing new and has been translated into art, novels, movies, jewelery, design, sculpture and computer games. Within this genre, you may expect to see fictional inventions, people dressed in pseudo-Victorian fashion and current day technologies reinvented to look like a 19th century design.

In researching the language of Steampunk, I found the following bit of advice for writers:
In general, steampunk uses extremely ornate, superfluous words in place of simple nouns and verbs that describe an item. For example, a washing machine might have a Steampunk name as "Miss Pennyfarthing's Hydro-electric Frock Osculating Mechanism." The longer, more ornate and weirder the name is, the more steampunk it is.
Steampunk scientists or inventors usually add the title of "Doctor" or "Professor" to precede their name, which gives them an air of authority on the topics they extemporize upon. (

There are many amazing images to be found while conducting a 'Steampunk' search.  I have been lost for days in this alternate world, which I hope others will find just as inspiring.

My challenge for the Reinvented Amphibians of the Hypothetical Arboretum is to join the League of Extraordinary Versifiers...

Original Comic Cover
... and discover the land of tomorrow that never was.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Open Link Monday

Calling all amphibians...

It's Monday in the garden, and Memorial Day for our friends in the United States, and a reminder to all of us that our fallen soldiers should not be forgotten - they died for the peace we have inherited.  Perhaps you would like to link up a poem which could loosely fall under the theme of memories, commemoration, memorial or remembrance.  Alternately, this open link allows us to feature a poem that has been forgotten, and buried somewhere in our archives.  Why not give it a second chance today?  Remember to share the love around, visit the sites of your fellow poets and spread goodwill among all friends and followers of Real Toads.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Sunday Challenge ~ Featuring Daryl Edelstein Part 2

It was way back in January when we first made acquaintance with the photography of  Daryl Edelstein, and today she has kindly agreed to share her images of the mosaic artist, Isaiah Zagar.  So this is a two artists for the price of one deal, one time only offer!

Daryl Edelstein
Isaiah Zagar (Wiki source)

Daryl has lived her whole life in NYC .. afflicted with a serious case of wanderlust Daryl travels as often as she can .. ususally armed with her Nikon D90 and beloved 28-300mm neckbreaker of a lens .. the photos taken are shared online in two photo blogs .. Out & About in New York City is 99.99% devoted to pix taken in NYC ... Through My Eyes is where the photos taken traveling are shared ...

Isaiah Zagar (born 1939) is a Philadelphia mosaic artist. He is notable for his murals which are primarily in or around Philadelphia's South Street. (wiki)  

© Daryl Edelstein

© Daryl Edelstein

© Daryl Edelstein

© Daryl Edelstein

© Daryl Edelstein

© Daryl Edelstein

Please note that as we are sharing Daryl's photography of Zagar's work, which is on public display, copyright of his work has not been infringed.  
Visit Philadelphia's Magic Garden to learn more about Isaiah Zagar and view Daryl's gallery HERE
If you add an image to your post, please acknowledge the names of both artists.

The Sunday Challenge is posted on Saturday at noon CST to allow extra time for the creative process, so please do not link up old work which kind of fits the image. Members will only respond to poetry written specifically for this prompt: this is in the spirit of our Real Toads project to create opportunities for poets to be newly inspired. Management reserves the right to remove unrelated links.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Snap, Baby!

Hey! It's time for Fireblossom Friday once again. I know this because my life got crazy and I freaking missed it (almost)! So let's talk about stress, pressure, the stuff that sends people around the bend and over the edge. 

Let's talk about (and write about!) the sort of stuff that makes ya snap.

There are days and then there are days. You know the ones. The days when you feel like you should be wearing a big warning sign.

The stuff that makes ya say, "I'm gonna need a bigger boat!"

Lots of things can push a person too far. A screaming child,

A boss from hell,

You name it! In fact, that's just what I want you to do. Write about things that make you or your fictional character lose it or come close.



 Oh, and by the way. Everyone have a nice relaxing weekend!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Interview Series

Interview with Shanyn Silinski

Hello fellow Toads, it’s Hannah here and today we’re going on an adventure to the Smilin Coyote Ranch in sunny south eastern Manitoba, Canada to visit with Shanyn (aka Mystic Mom) her beautiful family and amazing animals!!!

Hannah: Hi, Shanyn, thank you SO much for inviting us to your home, do you mind if we walk down to the barn and chat for a while? I LOVE animals!! 

Shanyn: Thanks for coming Hannah, excuse the dogs, the four of them are VERY friendly!  You’ll love the barn, and we can walk on the ridge to visit the cows and horses.  We have highland cows and riding horses.  Abby, Anna, Feathers and Sarah are our dogs, Buddy over there just comes to visit from who knows where!

Feathers, intent on a squirrel because the cows, cats and swallows were not available.

Aurora and Lazarus

Hannah: Oh, they're wonderful, I love their names! Tell us about your family if you would be so kind, Shanyn? Do you have any children? Does he/she enjoy living on a farm? What are his/her hobbies?

Shanyn: We are blessed to have our son Luke, who is going to be 7 soon, and he loves farming, riding horses, doing jiu jitsu, reading and playing games with his Dad.
Winter Farm Fun:

Hannah: He is so handsome, what a cute lil' man! Did you grow up on a farm, Shanyn? I love your name, it’s interesting, I don’t think I’ve ever heard it before. Do you have a story behind it? Are there any special memories you’d like to share with us about your childhood? 

Shanyn: I grew up on a ranch in Alberta, which is a bit different from a farm because we didn’t grow crops except for hay.  When I was young I changed the spelling of my name to a way I liked better.  I remember always   having animals to play with, horses to ride and other strange pets like salamanders!  My best friends were almost always animals and books – probably why I have so many of both as a grown up.

Hannah: How cool that you changed the spelling of your name, Shanyn, and such a fun sounding childhood! Do you hold a memory of the first time someone told you, “good job,” who was it and what had you accomplished, how did you feel? 

Shanyn: That is an interesting question Hannah, I remember a lot of times being told I could do better or to try harder.  I’m an encourager by nature, so I remember encouraging more than I remember encouragement! I do remember feeling good when people admitted that they underestimated me and that I had impressed them, or surprised them.  I like doing that.

Hannah: I've noticed that you're great at encouraging, thank you!! What’re your most favorite things to do, Shanyn? Do you have any hobbies? I notice you take gorgeous pictures; would you like to tell us about this? 

Shanyn: I am a voracious reader, I always have a few books on the go, so reading is maybe more of an obsession than a hobby?  I love scrapbooking and gardening.  And yes, I do so love photography!  I’ve been taking pictures since I was very young, even won some awards, and love seeing different ways I can take a photo.  Some days I will take 100 photos, so picking a favorite can be tricky.  My favorite of today is this one though.

Hannah: That is such a wonderful capture, Shanyn.  I’ve really been enjoying your pictures and poetry, Shanyn! How would you describe your writing? Do you have a particular poem that you feel best represents you as a writer? Do you have any others that you feel speak specifically from your heart? 

Shanyn: My writing is very much from the heart.  My poems come to me almost fully formed, just waiting for me to type them or write them out.  If you want to know me, you can find out lots by reading my poetry.  I have been writing since I was very young.  Most recently the poems that have become personal favorites are:

There be wolves

It is good and right to fear the predator,
those who are made of tasty meat.
Stay on the path and out of the wood.
Keep your head down, eyes narrow’d.

Shuffle, shuffle, stay hunched over
Ready like rabbits to dive into cover.
It is good and right to fear the wolves,
and lions and bears and shadows and night.

Stay close to the houses, don’t wander off.
You could be gone like the smoke, poof.
Keep your arms pulled in really tight
Stay tense and afraid, ready for flight!

Foolish little sheep, staring at the woods,
not knowing the dangers are closer to home.
Your keepers are scavengers, they prowl.
Blaming the darkness on us who howl.

Watching them would be wise, you know,
they have no loyalty, no code to show.
Silly little sheep, staying on the paths
not seeing the monsters shadowing behind.

Wearing mansuits, singing woman songs,
looking ever so much like here they belong.
Your tender meat to your own kind too,
they know you are sheep as well as I do.

Ghosting along through your dreams and tales
the wolves and their shadows cast darkly, long.
Fear the woodcutter, witch, merchant and king.
Our howls make you tremble, what a thing!

When their soothing voices are more deadly still,
and their soft hands sharply diving for the kill.
There be wolves, it is true, and you know it so
don’t be afraid of the dark woods at night.

There are greater innocence eaters than we
they surround you every day, you hardly see.
Telling lies and tales to keep you close by
“Stay out of the woods” be wise, wonder why.

Faerie tales are warnings, from the wildness
for the tame ones, like them, like you and you.
Listen closely, for the daemons you fear the most
are those who live, breath, eat and touch closest.

Dance in the moonlight, fear the darkness not
unless of course you are their sheep and get caught.

2011 Copyright Shanyn Silinski

Written @ Kerry's Wednesday Challenge
A slight tongue in cheek response from a wolfish poet to this challenge.  Remember, the predators are always stalking but you sweet tender sheep are always looking at the wolf when the slaughter man comes.  Watch carefully little sheep, keep your Shepherd close, and trust those dogs. Don’t listen to the stories that lead you astray.

Links to some favorites:

Once Upon a Time-(my ideas on fairy tales)

Talk This Way- (how people think of how I think and talk) 

Chasing Windmills- (what if Quixote wasn’t mad?  What if I’m not? ) 

How Many Stand Silent-
(a poem I wrote speaking out against animal abuse and it became a poem that spoke to all survivors of abuse) 

Get Out of the Boat-
(a poem of faith) 

Hannah: Shanyn, those are all stunning, thank you. I notice that you seem to have a beautiful faith and a strong connection with nature. Would you tell us how this influences your writing and what other possible elements influence your writing? 

Shanyn: God’s creation influences many things in my life, most things probably.  My faith is my foundation, I would be nothing without it.  I have a blog dedicated to my faith journey 
Strawberry Roan.

Being in nature, seeing the wonder of an amazing animal or flower, the magic of a sunset or fog after a rain just inspires me. Sometimes I have more poems flowing than I have the ability to put down.  I think I miss so many because they come to me when I can’t capture them.  
Other influences are the things I care about: family, friends, faith, animals, advocating for those who suffer from abuse, and of course other writers inspire me.

Hannah: I can tell what a strength in faith you have through your words and I can so identify with the feeling of not being able to get down on paper all the poems that flow. So, I noticed on your blog, Sunflower Poetry, that you have a few different blog sites, would you tell us the names and purposes of these blogs, please, Shanyn? Also, do you have any books published?

Shanyn: I do have a few blogs, Sunflower Poetry is for poetry, Mystic-Mom is for some poetry, lots of photos and our ranch life.  Strawberry Roan is my faith blog.  Chore Time is my animal advocate blog and my abuse survivor blog is Scarred-Seeker.  

I did write a book of poetry, and am working on my second (any volunteers to help narrow down the poems to include?). The first was called Rainbows of my Heart.  It is available through me, and it was done a few years ago.  My new book is going to be called Broken Wings & Second Chances.

Hannah: Oh I love the name of your new book, you have beautiful blogs and what great causes you stand for. Do you have any short term/long term goals for your writing or in general that you would like to share with your fellow Toads today, Shanyn?

Shanyn: One big goal is to get my second book of poetry done, and on shelves and in Kindles!  That is a big goal. I’m about ½ to 1/3 of the way through writing my first novel and have some ideas for a collection of short stories.  My life goals are to live life fully, embracing each day and writing, photographing and laughing my way to the end.  I’ve done a lot of things in my life, and while some I wouldn’t want to repeat, they have all made me who I am today.  And I like me.  I love my family and they are such a blessing to me!

Hannah: Wow, Shanyn, your ambition, drive and positive spirit are more than half the battle. The best of wishes on your endeavors! So now this, ha ha!! Now I’m going to ask you a bunch of random questions for fun!! My favorite color is green!! What is your favorite color, gem-stone, animal, flower and sport? What is your favorite season, Shanyn and why?

Shanyn: I love random!
I love the color purple. My favorite gem is an opal.  Love all animals (well 99.9% cannot really love some like horseflies, skeeters and nasty biting fish).  My favorite flower is a black iris or a pansy, or a sunflower. Really love my sunflowers, they mean a lot to me.  My favorite sport – jiu jitsu, rodeo and monster jam!  Favorite season is early spring and late fall.  My favorite thing in the whole world though is being Mama to my son and best friend to my husband!

Hannah: So this has really been such a fulfilling glimpse into your life Shanyn!! We really have enjoyed getting to know you better!! I have one more question for you; I think you’ll like it! If you were to write a message and put it in…hmm, let’s say a bottle to cork tightly and wistfully send out to sea what would be the important message that you would hope to arrive on a distant shore for someone to find and read?

Shanyn: How intriguing – a message in a bottle.  I think my message would be to always live each day fully.  Don’t plan on getting to the end of your life in ‘show room’ condition, get there laughing and worn out from the great ride of LIFE! Don’t lose faith in God because of the actions of people.  Remember faith, hope and love – the greatest is love.

Hannah: I love this, "laughing and worn out from the great ride of LIFE!" and you've picked a gem in your closing line, one of my absolute favorites! Thank you, so much again, Shanyn, it has been such a pleasure to spend this time with you. I shall treasure it always!! 

Fellow Real Toads be sure to hop about the lily padded links for Shanyn poetry and blogs to explore a bit! 

Have a wonderful day, warm-smiles to everyone!

All of the poetry and photographs are the work of Shanyn Silinski and are copy right protected. Please do not distribute her work without permission. Thank you.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ella's Edge

  I want you to keep an open mind...okay? Maybe I should of said, open mouth.  For me sweets are kind of forbidden, but I love them. I have to work out, burn it off  to avoid high blood sugar.  I love the look of them, the forbidden appeal, the rich, lush, and decadent taste.  I want you to think of a favorite food.  Yes, we are writing a poem selecting a food photo at this site Food Porn.  Pick a category and find a photo, that tantalizes your taste buds. I wonder how many of us will pick the same category?!  You could use one of your own photos, whatever works for you.  I want all of us to read your poems and taste what you selected. Think of us meeting and all dining together. We all get to sample, what you have picked.  Be prepared to get hungry...  Remember this challenge is calorie free! :D

Berries are in season, in my neck of the woods. This one looks pretty tempting!

Maybe you prefer savory!



Have I made you hungry?  Sorry, about that~

Check this site out for the Best Pizza Dough Recipe.

Don't these treats look good!  Yum, Salted Caramel Chocolate Shortbread~

  It is a pretty sweet challenge, okay maybe spicy.  Now, for this to really work and not read like a cook book, we need to attach a memory.  You can use your own photos, but a memory needs to be part of your poem.  It is the secret ingredient, which makes your selection unique!   Bon Appetite or maybe I should say Bon Memoire!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

~Gathering Words~
Shanyn's Personal Challenge Poem

Hi there real toads!! It's me Hannah, I was here two weeks ago with my Personal Challenge and I have chosen someone very near and dear to us to play in the poetical pond next. I've really been drawn to her style and the strong elements of faith and nature in her writing, it is our fellow toad, Shanyn of Sunflower Poetry!

My Challenge to Shayn is this:

There's so MANY words in our worlds today and sometimes finding the right ones to amuse the muse can be tricky. Here's an idea I thought of while I was at the grocery store the other day: We all have our daily routines and our day often will bring us into the public realm of people-hood and our lives are touched by strangers in passing. My challenge to you, Shanyn, is to go out into your world today with your wooden-lidded picnic basket and gather words from strangers in passing for fodder for this poem you'll write.

Her response is so authentic and such a beautiful glimpse into a day with Shanyn!! This is what she said of the challenge, "It was a day of a million questions with my little guy and all our farm work. There were lots of words in the air!"  I love that, I can just hear his little voice asking away!! 

Here it is! 


Gathering Words

My basket is lined with sticky tape.

My hands grip a handle slick with sweat.

Gathering words is dangerous, you know.
Some are poisonous, some are full of thorns.
Some are disguised as one and mean another.
Some are sweetly singing, lingering in my ears.
I’ve gathered as many Mama’s and Love You’s
As I have welcomed gifts from little boy hands.
I’ve gathered Smokin’ Hot Wife and Love You Dear’s.
Gathered in the instructions for the pump and tools.
Gathered words for recipes and for making do for now.
Gathered the words for praising and praying in the Word.

My basket caught words of worry and of fear today.
They found themselves empty in searching for the name
Of a lost dog who is making our yard and family his own.
My basket overflowed with leaf colors and shades of sunset.
We gathered words for Wii games and names for new kittens.
Gathered words for herbs and crops, hopes for the harvest.
Gathered and left silent the ‘grown up words’ by spelling them.
Words, to a poet, are fruit from wild and crazy trees!

It is getting onto night.  The basket is still full.
I need to empty it now.
Prayers to be said.
Hearts to be filled.
Good night.
Good night.

All rights reserved by Shanyn  Silinski Copy Right © 2012

Isn't this just a wonderful gathering of words!? This poem is so full of life and a day well lived! Thank you, for rising to the challenge, Shanyn!

Shanyn offers us these other two poems also that are word-gathering pieces!

The first is a game of gathering words while with friends:

Red Poem with Friends

This one is a virtual scrabble game, you create from the board pictured plus other fun:

Scrabble Poem

Be sure to hop around while you're there, toads, you'll find lots of  treasures!!

Thank you everyone and smiles to you all!!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Open Link Monday

Calling all ....

                                                            ... Geminis, and their friends

It is Monday, 21 May, and the sun has moved into the sign of Gemini. Now you will surely forgive me for deviating from the usual garden/ toad imagery today, when you learn how many of our Toad members were born under this Mercurial sign. Come on, girls! Let's stand up and be counted.  I hasten to add a warm shout out to everyone who has celebrated a birthday this year.

Of course, all non-Geminis are also welcomed most heartily to our Open Link today.  Please share a poem, either old or new, and leave a few words behind.  Mary mentioned on Friday, that it is part of the fun to read and comment on the poems linked alongside your own, and I encourage you to make your interaction here more meaningful in this way.

Here is an old Moody Blues song to groove to, Gemini Dream

Have a very happy day.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Mini-Challenge for Sunday ~ Tetractys

Greek Geometric Art

Tetractys, a poetic form invented by Ray Stebbing, consists of at least 5 lines of 1, 2, 3, 4, 10 syllables (total of 20). Tetractys can be written with more than one verse, but must follow suit with an inverted syllable count.

Double Tetractys: 1, 2, 3, 4, 10, 10, 4, 3, 2, 1

Triple Tetractys: 1, 2, 3, 4, 10, 10, 4, 3, 2, 1, 1, 2, 3, 4, 10

and so on.

Statue of Euclid at Oxford

"Euclid, the mathematician of classical times, considered the number series 1, 2, 3, 4 to have mystical significance because its sum is 10, so he dignified it with a name of its own - Tetractys. The tetractys could be Britain's answer to the haiku. Its challenge is to express a complete thought, profound or comic, witty or wise, within the narrow compass of twenty syllables." - Ray Stebbing


from you
your ego
your blaming me
i am a free spirit who has no past

Copyright © 2001 Terri Anthony

Here follows a small taste of Euclidian geometry:

Bridge of Asses: A=B, C=D

The Bridge of Asses (Pons Asinorum) states that in isosceles triangles, the angles at the base equal one another, and, if the equal straight lines are produced further, then the angles under the base equal one another. Its name may be attributed to its frequent role as the first real test in the Elements of the intelligence of the reader and as a bridge to the harder propositions that followed. It might also be so named because of the geometrical figure's resemblance to a steep bridge that only a sure-footed donkey could cross.

How could I resist the poetic possibilities of this premise? Thus, the challenge provides two possible responses: those who love form may get to grips with the Tetractys, and those who do not, may write in free verse to the "Bridge of Asses" theme, in whatever way you choose to interpret it.  Above all, have fun.

The Sunday Challenge is posted on Saturday at noon CST to allow extra time for the form challenge. Management reserves the right to remove unrelated links, but invites you to share a poem of your choice on Open Link Monday.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Two Sides of the Coin

Two Sides of the Coin

Hi, everyone.  The weeks go so fast.  It is time for another Mary's Mixed Bag here in the Garden.  I thought of a challenge  I hope everyone will enjoy trying.  This week I would like you to write a poem describing something or a situation from two different perspectives or points of view.  Perhaps in alternating verses, or whatever works for you.

 Sometimes two witnesses of an auto accident see different things and recount the accident differently, and each is sure he/she is right.

A conflict between a mother and an adolescent daughter would have two different perspectives.  If they wrote or spoke about it, they would tell different tales.

A friendship between two people ends. Undoubtedly they view the ending differently. What would each say?

There are often different points of views within one person.  (I argue with myself sometime, don't you?)  Express them in poetry form.  Perhaps as a dialogue, or perhaps not.

Anyway, I think you get the idea.  I look forward to reading your new poem on two sides of the coin!  And, if you link your poem, please visit poems of others as well.  We all like visits. That's part of the fun!