100 Words #374 - 10 Delicious Poetry Readings

Continuing in the celebration of National Poetry Month 2014, enjoy these 10 readings or spoken word performances. From famous British dudes born to read poetry, to a 12 year old Bronx prodigy, to emerging poets, to Poet Laureates, and more. In no particular order.


Benedict Cumberbatch is a natural at reading Shakespeare with his resonant baritone, the refined British accent, his impeccable pacing and enunciation. 

Actually, Cumberbatch is just a natural at reading period. Here he is reading "Ode to a Nightingale" by John Keats.

The following is a book trailer for A Tongue in the Mouth of the Dying by Laurie Ann Guerrero, who was just named Poet Laureate of San Antonio, TX. I've seen Laurie read several times (she's a friend), and it's always powerful. I couldn't find a video of a live reading, but she does read, "My Mother Woke a Rooster" at the beginning of the video.

Meet Kioni "Popcorn" Marshall, a young Bronx poet who at the time of this video was 12 years old. A force of words and cadence and brevity. 

This one is just beautiful and inspiring. 

Anthony Hopkins. Is there anything more to be said? Perhaps only that the fellow introducing the poem is also perfectly delightful to listen to in all his buttoned-up splendor.

"Patrick Stewart Recites A Poem In His Native Huddersfield." Could also be titled, "Patrick Stewart Recites A Poem You Can't Understand And We Can't Tell What's More Delightful: The Sound Of It Or His Childlike Joy". 

James Earl Jones reading Edgar Allen Poe. 

Kay Ryan, 16th U.S. Poet Laureate, introduced by Garrison Keillor. 

To close, Josephine Hart and Jeremy Irons on poetry reading. Hart expresses the "compressed power" of poetry, and Irons says of poetry, "it's only when you read it aloud that it starts to sing". 

Bonus: Stephen Fry reading The Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde. Not a poem. A bonus.


 

For this week's 100 Words writing challenge, I've pulled a word from Why I Read: The Serious Pleasure of Books by Wendy Lesser: 

RECOGNIZE

100 Words #373 - National Poetry Month

"Instructions to live a life; pay attention, be astonished, tell about it." ~Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver Quote

These words from the poet Mary Oliver work equally as well as instructions for writing, but then, we are all of us storytellers, and perhaps that is what she means. Writer or not, let life astonish you, and then tell about it. 

April is National Poetry Month. It was established in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets, and is meant to celebrate the importance of poetry in our culture. 

Aside from writing poetry, reading poetry, and attending local reading events, here are a few other ways to be involved.

 

Poem in Your Pocket: Thursday, April 24th, is a day to carry a poem in your pocket and share it with others in person and on Twitter with the hashtag #pocketpoem. More here.

 

Get free poetry archive issues from poetryfoundation.org for your book reading group or other related organization. Sign up here

 

 

 

30 more ideas to celebrate and share poetry from Poets.org. My favorites: "Write a letter to a poet", "put a poem on pavement", and "watch a poetry movie". Find the rest here.

And follow these 38 talented poets on Twitter as curated by Social Media giant Mashable. 

Share in comments anything else you're participating in to celebrate NPM! 


On another note: 

CONGRATULATIONS!! 

Dawn of Lingering Visions won the drawing from last week to receive a literary gift box! 


 

 

This week's prompt for 100 Words is from Mary Oliver's poem, The Journey

BURN

 


100 Words #372 - This Week In Literary Lifestyle

Welcome to another 100 Words challenge, and a smattering of interesting Literary Lifestyle findings from around the Web, or my own back yard. Be prepared to lose yourself for a couple of hours. Perhaps more.

On Your Tablet - For those of you who like to cuddle up with your tablet for some Flipboard browsing, I created a Literary Lifestyle collection. Here's a preview of the cover. 

At The Movies - Kill Your Darlings, a movie about the early Libertine Circle of the Beat Poets, featuring Allen Ginsburg, Lucien Carr, Jack Kerouac, and William Burroughs...and a murder. Based on a true story, the facts of which are still in debate. If you can stand the insufferable narcissistic rebelliousness of the Beat Poets, this is a stellar movie starring Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame, who not only strikes a handsome young Allen Ginsburg sporting literary sweaters and jackets, but firmly sheds the legacy of Harry Potter and steps fully into a radically different role. (Ok yes, he's still off to school sporting glasses, but all other similarities stop there.)

From the Writers - While you're in video watching mode, Jonathan Fields interviews Dani Shapiro, author of Still Writing (more here), on Writing as a Spiritual Path. A gentle gem full of insights and philosophical musings on writing and publishing. 

The essay she wrote about Twitter hashtag #amwriting is here

More food for the writer in this interview of E.B. White, The Art of the Essay No. 1, by George Plimptom and Frank H. Crowther for the Paris Review. 

At the Illustration Board - I couldn't find any evidence that Kathleen Lolley is illustrating for books, but she should be. Covers, spines, and pages. For now, her work is available on Etsy.

Kathleen Lolley - Wild Flowers

Kathleen Lolley - Wild Flowers

Writing Toolkit - A couple of new tools I came across for writing. 

  • Freedom App - Dani Shapiro mentions this desktop app in the #amwriting essay (linked above). It keeps you away from the attention-sucking Internet for as long as you tell it to so you can get down to the business of writing (or reading, or working, or whatever). It's $10, and as the website says, "If online distractions kill your productivity, Freedom could be the best $10 you'll ever spend." 
  • Hi - Why yes, another writing app-slash-community. With a twist. Designer Craig Mod (former Flipboard designer) has launched hi.co as an iterative and collaborative writing app that takes you from initial inspiration through drafting, sharing, feedback, polish, and sharing. It all starts with gathering snippets with your smartphone.  

Out and About - If you're in Anaheim, CA, or plan to pass through anytime soon, do check out the new Ink and Bean Coffee Saloon and Wordshop. Let me repeat. Coffee saloon and wordshop. They sell coffee and writing supplies. Why has no one thought of this before? I've reached out to the owners for an interview. 

Our City Lights Blog

Our City Lights Blog

In the Post - Lance Burson won a copy of Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott, but I decided to send more than the book and put together a literary gift box. These will soon be available in the upcoming store, but while I'm testing, I'm giving away another (different book, different content). Your entry is automatic by participating in this week's 100 Words challenge, but you can add your name up to three times. Details below the picture. 

Velvet Verbosity Gift Box

Get a Velvet Verbosity Literary Gift Box. Here's how: 

  1. Join this week's 100 Word Challenge. See below for the prompt and to enter your link. If this is your first time, find the guidelines here. I'm going to be a stickler about entries on this. No spam, must be a genuine effort weighing in at exactly 100 words (not including title), must be linked via LinkyTools below, and your post must link back here. This is all to avoid any lazy entries just looking for free swag. 
  2. You can add two more entries with the following (1 per), but only if you participated in the challenge and your link is added: 
    • Tweet, Facebook, Pin, whatever - pick your Social Media tool and share this post OR Velvet Verbosity generally. Be sure to mention me so I see the post, and if the medium you chose won't notify me, let me know in comments. 
    • Leave a comment and share one or some of your favorite reading rituals - what's your drink of choice? Do you have a favorite spot? Do you prefer electronic books over physical books? Really, whatever you want to tell me. I want to hear how you read.

Your entries will be added to an online random selector (or to a basket from which I'll let the cat choose). **Due to prohibitive costs of shipping, I can only offer this to my U.S. readers. And now, without further ado...


100 Word Challenge 372

 

Your word this week, from my current reading material - The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz: 

SMACK




100 Words #371 - Meet Me at the Montague Book Mill

Welcome to the Montague Book Mill - "Books you don't need, in a place you can't find". One of my favorite spots in Western Massachusetts. One of my favorite spots period.

The Lady Killigrew is the resident café. They have the best tangerine-ginger tea and a chicken curry sandwich you'll dream about for months. I hear the other dishes are equally delicious. Micro-brew beer and wine too, and tables overlooking the river.

Antique Easter books on display in the literature section downstairs.

A section for everything. 

Treasure found everywhere.

An abundance of nooks and sunlight. 

The big room upstairs is a favorite place to study, gather, read, work, and write. 

If two stories of books and a café aren't enough, there's a local artisan gallery and a used CD/DVD store as well. It's a rustic, mini-cluster of culture and you may never want to leave.

If you ever find yourself traveling through Massachusetts, drop me a line. I'll meet you there.


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Your word this week, dear word-nerds, is: 

MILL





100 Words #370 - Virginia Woolf On Being Ill

Having a little cold, and romanticizing it the way I do, I discovered Virginia Woolf's essay, "On Being Ill". It first appeared in January 1926 in T.S. Eliot's The Criteriona British literary magazine. It has since been republished in book form. The essay opens:

Virginia Woolf.jpg

Considering how common illness is, how tremendous the spiritual change that it brings, how astonishing, when the lights of health go down, the undiscovered countries that are then disclosed, what wastes and deserts of the soul a slight attack of influenza brings to view, what precipices and lawns sprinkled with bright flowers a little rise of temperature reveals, what ancient and obdurate oaks are uprooted in us by the act of sickness, how we go down into the pit of death and feel the waters of annihilation close above our heads and wake thinking to find ourselves in the presence of the angels and the harpers when we have a tooth out and come to the surface in the dentist's arm-chair and confuse his "Rinse the mouth--rinse the mouth" with the greeting of the Deity stooping from the floor of Heaven to welcome us--when we think of this, as we are so frequently forced to think of it, it becomes strange indeed that illness has not taken its place with love and battle and jealousy among the prime themes of literature. Novels, one would have thought, would have been devoted to influenza; epic poems to typhoid; odes to pneumonia; lyrics to toothache.

One can't help chuckle at the apparent mockery, while nodding at the truth. Only a touch of illness is required for large, albeit temporary, shifts in perception. Woolf continues to cheerfully lament a lack of literature, and what's more, a lack of language to describe the experience of the common illnesses the whole of humanity is afflicted with at one time or another. She scolds ignorance of the body in its influence over the mind, and waxes poetic on the notion of sympathy. Then she describes the relief from the daily grind of civil humanity: 

Here we go alone, and like it better so. Always to have sympathy, always to be accompanied, always to be understood would be intolerable. But in health the genial pretense must be kept up and the effort renewed--to communicate, to civilise, to share, to cultivate the desert, educate the native, to work together by day and by night to sport. In illness the make-believe ceases. Directly the bed is called for, or, sunk deep among pillows in one chair, we raise our feet even an inch above the ground on another, we cease to be soldiers in the army of the upright; we become deserters. They march to battle. We float with the sticks on the stream; helter-skelter with the dead leaves on the lawn, irresponsible and disinterested and able, perhaps for the first time for years, to look round, to look up--to look, for example, at the sky.

Vermont Sky.jpg

Woolf's subsequent description of the activities of the sky is so exuberant you want to rush out and look at the sky that instant, yet without a virus slowing down the cogs of the mind, it cannot be experienced so innocently and steadfastly. This is the very point Woolf is making throughout the essay. 

"Directly the bed is called for," when sick is so very different from the bed being called for in fatigue, or routine, or laziness, or any other reason. The accompaniment of a virus or other minor plague slows the body and mind in just that peculiar way so that things seem innocent and new and simultaneously out of our reach from our purgatory of illness, making them all the more precious.

Woolf then moves on to contemplate proper reading material for the sick bed, and again describes the romantic peculiarity of the "ill" experience: 

In health meaning has encroached upon sound. Our intelligence domineers over our senses. But in illness, with the police off duty, we creep beneath some obscure poems by Mallarmé or Donne, some phrase in Latin or Greek, and the words give out their scent and distill their flavour, and then, if at last we grasp the meaning, it is all the richer for having come to us sensually first, by way of the palate and the nostrils, like some queer odor.

And of Shakespeare: 

With all this buzz of criticism about, one may hazard one's conjectures privately, make one's notes in the margin; but knowing that someone has said it before, or said it better, the zest is gone. Illness, in its kingly sublimity, sweeps all that aside and leaves nothing but Shakespeare and oneself. What with his overweening power and our overweening arrogance, the barriers go down, the knots run smooth, the brain rings and resounds with Lear or Macbeth, and even Coleridge himself squeaks like a distant mouse.


 

 

Your prompt this week, Velveteers, is: 

Illness



100 Words #369 - A Good Book Room

"In a good book room you feel in some mysterious way that you are absorbing the wisdom contained in all the books through your skin, without even opening them." ~Mark Twain. 

Via Tumblr.

Found here

The smell of leather chairs and old books, warm wood, a window to gaze out, a place to set your tea or coffee or brandy, and stacks and stacks of books.


Velvet-Verbosity-100-Words-Challenge.jpg

 

Your word prompt this week for the 100 Word Challenge, inspired by good book rooms, is: 

LEATHER CHAIR

Just 98 more to go... 

 

100 Words #367 - More on Trains and Writing

Over the weekend I overheard (on the Internet) that Amtrak is putting together a plan to give away onboard writers' residencies. You can read all the details of how this came about here

Given my recent frequent train travel aboard Amtrak's Vermonter train, and writing about it here, and live tweeting it here (see Feb 21 tweets), I couldn't help but interpret this as a sign from the Universe that #100words is meant to be taken on the road - or rather, tracks. What that might look like, if Amtrak were to even pick this up, is still wide open, but I imagine many different scenarios from a solo writer's residency where I live tweet the travel in 100 words prose (10 x 10) and create challenges from on board, all the way up to the wild idea of a group retreat where a guest writer (I have some wonderful ones in mind) accompanies us to conduct workshops, writing sprints, and do readings. Or perhaps a tour of some famous writing spots. 

The possibilities feel excitingly endless. 

So I'm recruiting you, Velveteers, to help me get the attention of Amtrak. They are looking for social media influence, particularly on Twitter. Let's see where we can make this go. If you're on Twitter, tweet out to @Amtrak and/or use the hashtag #AmtrakResidency along with #100words and @velvetverbosity.

Since Amtrak is still figuring out how to make this work for them without simply throwing money out the train window, we have no idea what they would be up for. So in a way, we're helping to give them some ideas. What I want to do is simply create the opportunity for a dialogue with them.

In the meantime, I'll be traveling back to Vermont by Amtrak on Wednesday, so watch for more live tweeting of 100 Words that evening.

On the trip down, I was reading Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott.

2014-02-21 11.02.56.jpg

It is quite good. Humorous and practical, insightful and vulnerable, and inspiring. In the chapter, School Lunches, she re-emphasizes a common theme - just write. Something, anything. Yes, get that "shitty" draft down on paper, because a) if you don't start, you have nothing, and b) you have no idea what will emerge if you simply sit down and start somewhere. Her treatment of the topic in this chapter is worth the entire book. She makes you laugh, gives you a concrete exercise to get started, inspires you, and clearly illustrates exactly how the writing process works, and the inherent mystery within that you just have to trust.

And just now it occurs to me that I want you all to have this book, so much so that because I've asked you to help me get the attention of Amtrak, I'd like to give away a copy of this book to one of you. So if you tweet out to Amtrak and use all the appropriate @'s and #'s, I'll throw your name into a hat for each time you do, and on March 10th I'll draw a name to win a copy of the book! 

Your word, Velveteers, from the book, and the chapter, is...(you probably already guessed)

LUNCH





100 Words #366 - Romancing Life

There's a lot of talk on the Internet lately about how fake we are on social media. There was the recent "An Honest Facebook Movie", a mock version of the "a look back" movies Facebook offered users to highlight their lives to celebrate Facebook's 10th anniversary.

Then there was the Insta-Bullshit slide-show, revealing the empty and lonely life behind the scenes of an average Instagram account. 

Add to that the daily mocking and call-outs across the Internet about the fakery of social media, and the mocking and call-outs of too much honesty, and it seems there's no winning. If you paint a pretty picture it will be interpreted as a sham covering up the black hole that is your actual life, and paint a truer picture and be mocked for acting as an attention whore. 

I was contemplating this as I prepared a cup of tea the other day, deciding to pull a delicate piece of China from the cupboard and do it up proper. The bone-white cup with its flower details contrasted with the dark, steaming tea was an aesthetic feast. I felt inspired to grab my phone and take a couple of shots. There were dirty dishes in the sink, and I was in my pajamas with messy hair. Would posting a photo of the tea mean I was an empty shell trying to make my life more interesting? Or was I doing what I had always done as a contemplative person - noticing. 

I suppose it's possible that many people are simply trying to make their lives look better and more interesting than they are in reality, and in so doing exacerbate feelings of social poverty and overall meaninglessness. I think it's also possible that what we share online - in blogs, on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and so on - is similar to the memoir. We select the stories that we tell because they mean something to us, because they are interesting to others, because these things stand out in the moment and live on in our memories.

I am now, and have always been a contemplative aesthetic. I long ago learned how to romance life despite the realities of the every day mundane, ugly, or tragic. I relish the magic of a simple cup of tea and its accompanying array of pleasing aesthetic components - the aromatic steam, the rich color, the heat on my hands, throat and belly, the feel of the cup handle, the sound of the tea kettle whistle or the cup making contact with the dish.

Cup of Tea.jpg

That I choose to capture and share that even if it exists within an otherwise ordinary day is quite the opposite of fake. It is a moment that brought the present into focus through the senses. It is as real as a dirty dish in the sink, only more pleasing (though washing the dishes can be quite pleasing).

To see the beauty in small things, to appreciate the colors and textures of the day, to spot the unusual, the uncanny, the humorous, and the delightful, is a conscious act of romancing life. 

100-Word-Challenge.jpg

 

Now it's your turn to make something of a cup of tea. Your word for this week's 100 Words writing prompt is:

TEA





100 Words #360 - Happy New Year!

100 Word Challenge writing promptWelcome back Velveteers! I hope 2014 is treating you well so far, and that you're at this very moment cuddled up for warmth, perhaps with a hot and steamy drink. It's pretty cold out there, seems almost no matter where you are in the U.S. tonight.

Do you notice anything different?

{Pause while you look around.}

Yeah, me neither. But behind the scenes I've been brewing some things, cooking up a new recipe for Velvet Verbosity in 2014. 100 Words will stay, of course, but there will be a new design, and a new and expanded theme capturing the Literary Lifestyle.

I was hoping to be ready to launch today, but between fretting about moving from WordPress to SquareSpace (I hate change) and an ice-storm before Christmas that wreaked no small amount of havoc on the VV household, I decided to hold off for just a wee bit longer. But not too much longer since this will also be a personal journey for me in cultivating this lifestyle in 2014.

In the meantime, I've been keeping warm with hot baths and a good book someone got me off my wish-list for Christmas - Still Writing: The Pleasures and Perils of a Creative Life by Dani Shapiro.

Still Writing Dani Shapiro

It's delicious, and I highly recommend it. And though the cover art leans more toward the feminine, it's really not genderized. The advice on writing, or being a creative of any type, is universal. Take this bit about "shimmer":

These traces that live within us often lead us to our stories. Joan Didion called this a shimmer around the edges. Emerson called it a gleam. "A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within," he wrote in his great essay, "On Self Reliance." "Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his." Because it is his. That knowledge, that ping, the hair on our arms standing up, that sudden, electric sense of knowing. We must learn to watch for these moments. To not discount them. To take note: I'll have to write about this. It can happen in a split second, or in a slow dawning. It happens when our histories collide with the present. When it arrives, it's unmistakable, indelible. It comes with the certainty of its own rightness. 

Shimmer. What an excellent word to start off the new year, don't you think?

Shimmer

See you next week!

Happy Holidays from VV

I love Christmas. As a tactile, visual, nostalgic, romantic, how could I not?

2013-12-18 16.35.02

Boxwood and cedar.

Antique Dictionary Page Giftwrap

This was a Secret Santa present sent to one of the Velveteers.

Cinnamon and Clove GarlandCinnamon dough ornaments are one of my favorite hand-made gifts. These stars are ready for stringing into garland.

Cinnamon Mittens GarlandCinnamon and clove mitten mini-garland.

Peppermint SnowballsLast year I made these (in their traditional shape) for our family Christmas party and they were gone in an instant.  This year I packaged them up for a local Winter Market and for gifting. The recipe is incredibly easy (and oh so bad for you), but be prepared to spend a lot of time rolling. Also, they're not at all green, that's a reflection off the labels. 

**Reminder, the 100 Word Challenge is off for the holidays. Look for it January 6th (along with some other surprises). In the meantime, enjoy this Christmas greeting from E.B. White (found here):

E. B. White's Christmas -1952

 From this high midtown hall, undecked with boughs, unfortified
with mistletoe, we send forth our tinselled greetings as of
old, to friends, to readers, to strangers of many conditions
in many places.

Merry Christmas to uncertified accountants, to tellers who have
made a mistake in addition, to girls who have made a mistake in
judgment, to grounded airline passengers, and to all those who
can't eat clams! We greet with particular warmth people who
wake and smell smoke. To captains of river boats on snowy
mornings we send an answering toot at this holiday time.

Merry Christmas to intellectuals and other despised minorities!

Merry Christmas to the musicians of Muzak and men whose shoes
don't fit! Greetings of the season to unemployed actors and the
blacklisted everywhere who suffer for sins uncommitted; a holly
thorn in the thumb of compilers of lists!

Greetings to wives who can't find their glasses and to poets who
can't find their rhymes!

Merry Christmas to the unloved, the misunderstood, the overweight.
Joy to the authors of books whose titles begin with the word "How"
(as though they knew!). Greetings to people with a ringing in
their ears; greetings to growers of gourds, to shearers of sheep,
and to makers of change in the lonely underground booths!

Merry Christmas to old men asleep in libraries! Merry Christmas to
people who can't stay in the same room with a cat! We greet, too,
the boarders in boarding hoses on 25 December, the duennas in
Central Park in fair weather and foul, and young lovers who got
nothing in the mail.

Merry Christmas to people who plant trees in city streets; Merry
Christmas to people who save prairie chickens from extinction!
Greetings of a purely mechanical sort to machines that think--
plus a sprig of artificial holly. Joyous Yule to Cadillac owners
whose conduct is unworthy of their car!

Merry Christmas to the defeated, the forgotten, the inept; Joy
to all dandiprats and bunglers! We send, most particularly and
most hopefully, our greetings and our prayers  to soldiers and
guardsmen on land and sea and in the air-- the young men doing
the hardest things at the hardest time of life. To all such,
Merry Christmas, blessings, and good luck! We greet the
Secretaries-designate, the President-elect; Merry Christmas to our
new leaders, peace on earth, good will, and good management!

Merry Christmas to couples unhappy in doorways! Merry Christmas
to  all who think they are in love but aren't sure!

Greetings to people waiting for trains that will take them in the
wrong direction, to people doing up a bundle and the string is
too short, to children with sleds and no snow! We greet ministers
who can't think of a moral, gagmen who can't think of a joke.

Greetings, too, to the inhabitants of other planets; see you soon!

And last, we greet all skaters on small natural ponds at the edge
of woods toward the end of afternoon. Merry Christmas, skaters!
Ring, steel! Grow red, sky! Die down, wind!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good morrow!

E.B. White, 12/20/52

100 Words #359

100 Word Challenge writing promptA couple of days ago, a Facebook friend posted about how much she struggles to like Christmas. I always find it a bit shocking that people don't like Christmas, and at the risk of sounding like a Hallmark Channel movie quip, I think they've lost touch with the spirit of Christmas.

Probably a case of too much commercial radio and television, too many shopping malls, and not enough hot chocolate and Christmas stories.

My favorite this year has been A Child's Christmas In Wales by Dylan Thomas. I added the 1952 audio recording to my Christmas wish list. It is a wondrous and mischievous short piece of prose work, based on Thomas' own childhood memories of Christmas. Every sentence (and some of them run on) is stuffed with antics and descriptions that transport you instantly back to a childhood you never actually lived.

It was on the afternoon of the Christmas Eve, and I was in Mrs. Prothero's garden, waiting for cats, with her son Jim. It was snowing. It was always snowing at Christmas. December, in my memory, is white as Lapland, though there were no reindeers. But there were cats. Patient, cold and callous, our hands wrapped in socks, we waited to snowball the cats. Sleek and long as jaguars and horrible-whiskered, spitting and snarling, they would slink and sidle over the white back-garden walls, and the lynx-eyed hunters, Jim and I, fur-capped and moccasined trappers from Hudson Bay, off Mumbles Road, would hurl our deadly snowballs at the green of their eyes. The wise cats never appeared.

Cats 1, cruel boys 0.

Years and years ago, when I was a boy, when there were wolves in Wales, and birds the color of red-flannel petticoats whisked past the harp-shaped hills, when we sang and wallowed all night and day in caves that smelt like Sunday afternoons in damp front farmhouse parlors, and we chased, with the jawbones of deacons, the English and the bears, before the motor car, before the wheel, before the duchess-faced horse, when we rode the daft and happy hills bareback, it snowed and it snowed. But here a small boy says: "It snowed last year, too. I made a snowman and my brother knocked it down and I knocked my brother down and then we had tea."

And then there is this explosion of Christmas...more lists than sentences, of all the things a child found incomprehensibly wondrous (even if some was also hideous)...

"Bags of moist and many-colored jelly babies and a folded flag and a false nose and a tram-conductor's cap and a machine that punched tickets and rang a bell; never a catapult; once, by mistake that no one could explain, a little hatchet; and a celluloid duck that made, when you pressed it, a most unducklike sound, a mewing moo that an ambitious cat might make who wished to be a cow; and a painting book in which I could make the grass, the trees, the sea and the animals any colour I pleased, and still the dazzling sky-blue sheep are grazing in the red field under the rainbow-billed and pea-green birds. Hardboileds, toffee, fudge and allsorts, crunches, cracknels, humbugs, glaciers, marzipan, and butterwelsh for the Welsh. And troops of bright tin soldiers who, if they could not fight, could always run. And Snakes-and-Families and Happy Ladders. And Easy Hobbi-Games for Little Engineers, complete with instructions. Oh, easy for Leonardo! And a whistle to make the dogs bark to wake up the old man next door to make him beat on the wall with his stick to shake our picture off the wall. And a packet of cigarettes: you put one in your mouth and you stood at the corner of the street and you waited for hours, in vain, for an old lady to scold you for smoking a cigarette, and then with a smirk you ate it. And then it was breakfast under the balloons."

You can read the full version here, and see the Etsy treasury inspired by the poem here (I've got to get my hands on the Lebkuchen Perfume Honey).

I looked for definitions and recipes of the food items, and found Cracknels and Glaciers and Butterwelsh, though I'm not sure the glaciers I found are the same as what would have been made in Wales. I fancied that I would try to recreate some of the recipes over Christmas, but I may do nothing more than simply enjoy my family.

**Woah, where did Monday go? Oh yeah, it was in the negative degrees - so cold that I was getting frostbite walking from the house to the car, WITH GLOVES ON. So I got into bed early yesterday, pulled the covers over my head, and pretended the day didn't exist.

That's what happened to Monday.

So Velveteers, gather yourselves up. This is the last 100 word challenge and post between now and the New Year! Your word is:

Catapult

See you on January 6th, with some surprises. ;)