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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Poem A Day for Days 27, 28 and 29

Charles Simic

This is quotation Thursday, so here is my quote for Pomposh Dhar.

"Poems are other people's snapshots in which we see our own lives."
Charles Simic

Somehow I've fallen behind in both blogging and in writing my poems. I think the temperature being so high the last couple of days, (It was in the 90's in April!) and my own procrastination did it.:) But here I am back again ready to finish this marathon of posting my poetry.:)

I'll be posting all three poems here for Days 27, 28 and 29. I'm not that happy with all of them, but posting them anyway. Please let me know what you think. I've been getting some great comments from new friends and it warms me all over to think that you like my poems.:)

Meanwhile, before I post them I want to let everyone know the winner of the drawing for John Wayne Cargile's, my last guest author, "From Mount Olive" the eBook he is giving away to the lucky winner. The winner is:

harvey chapman

Harvey we will be contacting you to let you know if you aren't already reading your name here.:) Your eBook will be sent to you by email by John Wayne Cargile. I am thrilled that someone won and I can assure you that it was a totally unbiased drawing. If we can't get in touch with you we will give your prize to someone else. So hope we can get to you soon.:)

I don't want to think about the news, especially about the "swine flu" which has been changed to another name. I have gone through a few flu epidemics and when I was a teacher in Buffalo during the last flu scare they vaccinated every child and made us get vaccinations also.

I remember the last bad flu our family went through was when we all went up to Glens Falls to keep my older daughter company when she had her nose done. We figured we would combine it with a vacation, since it was Christmas vacation and we loved the idea of spending it in the country together. We had a great time the night before and saw "Dumb and Dumber". This should give you an idea of the time period. My younger daughter kept coughing all night, but we didn't worry. We figured she was just dry or having an allergic reaction. Well the next day we had to meet the plastic surgeon and that didn't go well at all. My daughter, who was fifteen had mono that fall and when she was examined the doctor found she still had some swollen glands. He wouldn't do the operation and then on the way out I noticed that my younger daughter didn't look well at all. She felt feverish and so we took her to a pediatrician recommended by the plastic surgeon. He told us she had the flu. So that afternoon, my husband stayed with her in our room and my older daughter and I went shopping in the quaint mall they had there. We had a great time and thought we might have salvaged our vacation when I felt awful and had a fever the next day. So my younger daughter and I were pretty much out of commission. My husband stayed with my older daughter, but the next day she had it too. There we were in Glens Falls with three of us sick with the flu. I mean so sick I couldn't pick up my head. But my younger daughter was sicker. On Christmas Day we tried to have a little fun. We didn't have a tree, but I hung their stockings and gave each a gift. That is another story, but since we are Jewish we didn't have a tree. However, we had a tradition of the stockings and gift. But my younger daughter had a fever that spiked to 104.5 degrees and no matter that I was so sick she only wanted me to bathe her. Think the feeling of someone stepping on your head and you have what I felt then. But mothers forget how they feel when their children need them. I rose to the occasion and got her fever down. Then I collapsed. Fantastic Christmas!

It can't have been fun for my husband, but he was the only healthy one so he went out for stuff and occupied us with fun anecdotes about the area from his travels. When my younger daughter felt better we came home. I was still coughing and yes, my husband got it just as we got home. He wound up having it the worst of all of us with a fever and stayed in bed for a few days. You could say that this flu pillaged our family.

That's why I feel like I should stay in my house and not tempt the fates.:) We all got a little bottle of hand sanitizer and I am starting to use it whenever I go into a store. When I was teaching I used to sanitize my hands constantly. So I'm familiar with that. Anyway, you should do that too. It's the only way to be sure you can keep your hands clean even if you're not near water to wash them.:) Of course, this may all blow over. It's all from Cancoon where kids went for Spring Break and in New York anyway, it's from one school in Queens and it has spread to the school where the siblings of the kids who went are going. So they have closed these schools. This cautionary approach might stop the spread if they can contain it. Meanwhile, stay out of places where there are too many people. I'm not even sure I want to go to the movies.:)

Okay, I've gone on too long, so it's time to post my poems.:)

Here is the prompt for Day 27:
Write a poem about longing. (from Poetic Asides with Robert Brewer)

Longing for New Love

Bring me back to new love
enrobing me in a bouquet
of fresh wants
ordered by the mirrored
desires of my beloved
Two existing as one
in all ways
as if each body
opened and engulfed
the other. Love so greedy
it demanded emotions too
new to examine. Wearing
each need as an experiment
as the lovers sleep walk
between reality in
a cloud of fulfillment

It’s a giving time when neither
lover wishes the other to know
the real person who lies beneath
the robe of dreams
placed on the other.
It’s a magical time unlike anything
envisioned in previous thoughts

You crave your lover as
a rich piece of chocolate
Devouring each other as if
there were no tomorrow.
Relinquishing the other
for a second is devastating
to both. Magnetized you cling
for minutes. Lips and tongue explore
until you can barely breathe. Taking a
gulp of air and plunging back into the
cotton candy of this feeling.

Sensitized - even the touch of his finger
draws you to his body to devour each
new plane and crevice and your days
are spent with this tender exploration
of which the two of you never tire. No
bed is too rough for you have the
comfort of each other and that mad
passion that uncontrollable urge
to pounce each time he is near
propels you whether the blanket
be velvet green grass whose
new mown aroma intoxicates you
Or the gravel beneath the hedges
where you fall in passionate
embrace hidden from the world
In your own dimension unaware
of the rough surface as the
smooth skin of your lover takes
you to another plane.
copyright 2009 by Barbara Ehrentreu

The prompt for Day 28 was to write a sestina. A sestina is a poem that uses six words that end the first six lines of the poem. You then use the words in a set way to create your poem. Writing a sestina takes practice and I'm not sure this is quite right. I followed the form, but it might be a little too stiff.:) Here is the form of a sestina and how to write one. Look at my sestina:


It’s not hard to pick a road
when you’re wide-eyed and young
The one that speaks to you the most
is the one you will choose
whether it is good for you or not
this is the path you want

Life is full of promise and you want
to savor it . So you pick a road
for the needs you have now and not
the ones you will have when you are no longer young
The path you choose
should give you happiness to the most.

What happens when happiness to the most
though the thing you want
you realize you didn’t choose
and the right path and this road
were fine for you when you were young
But now it is more of a not.

Traveling along this path has not
given you satisfaction to the most
though you reveled in its contours when young
you are halfway through and it is not what you want
Now you must find a road
that at this period you would choose.

You would like to choose
the straighter less jagged path you did not
desire when you had the choice to pick a road.
The one carved with the footsteps of most
who found the path they wanted
carving deep footsteps onto it when they were young

They knew when they were young
For them it was easy to choose
They thought ahead of what they would want
and found the way clear and not
blocked by obstacles as most
have found as they navigated their road.

When you choose the right road
the one you want and love the most
it will matter not if you chose when you were old or young.
copyright 2009 by Barbara Ehrentreu

The prompt for Day 29 is to write a poem with the word "never" in the title. "Never ______"
Mine is again, not what I wanted to write, but here it is:

Never have a baby in the winter

Don’t be lulled by the warm breezes
bringing easy-going nights
Flowers bloom, you wade through
dreaming of your lover’s caresses
Lay there at night wrapped in his arms

Then you know there is a new life
rising within you and you percolate
the bubbles of happiness rising to the
surface though your life is not empty
There is another young one waiting for
your attention, craving your affection
You sail along on heated waves
in summer’s warmth the new life buds
Moving into fall your bulk increases
And the cool days bring comfort for
Your burgeoning form

The unformed life inside you doesn’t
know the weather has turned cool
or that snow will fall and curtail travel
creating blizzard-like conditions
on the day its new life will come
into the world. The sidewalks covered
while most stayed inside away from the
ice and snow piling up on dirty streets
You look out your window to this disaster
for no visitors will navigate this terrain.

At last you carry the new baby home
covered like a mummy in blankets
Forced to spend too many days indoors
as the weather grows colder.
But along comes a sunny day and you
bundle the newborn in more covers
Trundle it out in its carriage only to have
the wind blow allowing only a moment outside.

And as the baby grows each birthday canceled
for snow or sickness
Becoming the norm to postpone

Never have a baby in January, for the snow
will ice their emotions as well.
Capricorns can be as cold as ice.
copyright 2009 by Barbara Ehrentreu

Until the next time I want to thank all of the people who have been dropping by to read this. I have enjoyed meeting all of you. Tomorrow is Thursday and I will be highlighting another blog. It is also the last day of Poem A Day. It will be my last posting of the poems for this experience, but I will be posting my writing after this. I might start posting some of my stories here.:)

Stay healthy. Remember to wash your hands and take your vitamins. You know how I am a big fan of those. When I got the flu as I described I had forgotten to take my vitamins on one day. I never forgot again.:)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Poem A Day for Day 26

Today wraps up our guest author John Wayne Cargile with his book, The Cry of the Cuckoos, and again many thanks to him for participating in the discussion we had in the comments section.:) Also thank you to everyone who commented. You are all in the drawing for the free eBook, and the name of the winner will be announced later this week. I have included a book cover of the eBook the lucky winner will receive.

My schedule for guest authors is filling up for both May and June and right now I have at least three more for May and June.:) If you are interested in being a guest author here, please contact me on Facebook and let me know. Or leave a comment here. I'll get back to you as soon as I can.:)

My daughters are worried still about swine flu. From what I could see there are only twenty people in the United States who have it. Please take precautions though. Washing your hands is really important as suggested by the CDC website. Also I suggest taking extra vitamin C and a very strong multivitamin. I don't care what doctors say, but I've been taking a very strong one for almost twenty years and it really works.:) I take Maxine Vitamins from Country Life. They are great for women and they do make one for men too. :)

Here is the poem for Day 26. The prompt was to write about a misunderstanding. Here is one that actually happened to me. If there is anything that is a little bit odd it has happened to me. The towing yesterday also happened to me and there is a postscript about that at the end of this post.

The Misunderstanding

We came in separate cars
The first mistake
You gave me your member
card to buy the tickets and
I bought two handing one to
the ticket taker and describing
you to her as that heavy guy
with a beard

I took my seat and saved
the seat next to me. Warding
off movie goers who looked
over at me with disdain as the
theater began to fill and mine,
a coveted front row seat was
next to an empty one on the
aisle I saved for you.
I waited, craning my neck to
see the back of the theater
Hoping you’d appear each
moment as the lights dimmed
and you still weren’t there.

When the movie ended and we
streamed into the lobby there
you were coming from the
theater next to mine
“Where were you”” I said after
a peck on your lips.
“I saw the movie.”
“But I left your ticket for you
with the ticket taker.”
“You did?”
“Yes, how did you not get it?”
“I went up to the ticket taker
and there was no ticket there.”
“What,” I said, “ where was it?”
“I just got another ticket and
saw the other movie.”

We walked up to the ticket taker
Eager to solve this mystery.
“Don’t you remember I said to give the
ticket to a man who looked like this one?”
I pointed to my husband. She said, “Oh
no, a man who fitted that description
came by and I gave him the ticket.”
"You mean there's another man who
looks like him?" We all laughed and
accepted the free tickets for next time
from the manager who told us this
was a first for him.
copyright 2009 by Barbara Ehrentreu
Here is the postscript to "Towing Our Car" poem. Yes, the AAA called us at 3AM and deposited the car at the right service station. My husband went to check on the car and our usual mechanic is looking at it. If you are interested in knowing more I will probably have some information on the next post.:)

Until the next time, this week I will be highlighting a new blog instead of interviewing a guest author on Thursday. It could be yours, if you have one. I have a few people in mind, but no winner yet.:)

Poem A Day for Days 24 and 25

I seem to be playing catch up with posting these poems. The poem for Day 24 is very short, so I'm posting both of them here.

First, though, thank you to all who left a comment or question for John Wayne Cargile. This was a very lively discussion and I'm hoping that all of you will buy his book and when he comes back later on we can have a really good discussion about the book.:)

Today I went to Kids Comic Con for a few reasons. The first one was to meet up with a friend online with whom I've been trying to meet for a year.:) The second was to check out all the graphic novels there are for kids. I met the author of a picture book about a hamster with super powers and he may be a guest author soon.:) I also met the creator of a series of dolls that portray Africans in an elegant way. The woman says that kids aren't playing with them, because they are too beautiful.

I met the creator and the people who draw and color the pictures for the new Archie series and had three souvenir comics autographed by Dan Parent. I was going to write about going to Kids Comic Con, but it wouldn't come the way I wanted it. It's written, but I'm not posting it.:)

There has been some talk about swine flu and how it is becoming a pandemic, but up here in Westchester I'm not getting too nervous until they tell us to put on masks. I know they're wearing masks in Mexico City where it originated. One way to prevent getting sick is to wash your hands every time you have contact with anyone or with any surface. You can keep the bottles in your pocket or handbag for when you aren't near water. I used to do that when I was going from house to house selling insurance. I had a bottle of disinfectant soap in my car and used it between visits. Also taking a lot more vitamin C is a good idea. It can't hurt.:)

Prompt for Day 24: Write about travel - a trip of any kind. I have another poem that is much longer, but will save it for another time.:)

Road Temptation

On the road there is no time
As the pavement passes, you
concentrate on your needs
Hunger gnaws and tempts
At the rest stops where chips
wink and candy begs
you shove
bags of it into the car –
Forbidden snacks like Hostess Twinkies
appear in your hand, You grasp the
wheel and a Twinkie thinking could life
be any better?
copyright 2009 by Barbara Ehrentreu

Prompt for Day 25: Write about an event. This was pretty hard to do. I wrote three of them, but chose to post only this one. This poem is based on a real event that happened to us on Saturday. :)

Towing Our Car

On our way to the usual place
Where we always got our coffee
Hot and tired, thirsty from denying
Ourselves even water and living on
Tic Tacs.
We heard this squeak and crunch
In a place where no sounds ever came
When you put your foot on the brake
We thought it a flat tire and in half a block
Found a service station as if a guardian
Angel had been following us.
“You have no brakes,” the owner not a
mechanic told us corroborating with his
cashier – the mechanic gone home.
He drove the green Mitsubishii into a spot
We called AAA the brakes no longer working
We needed a tow. When AAA told us the tow
Truck would be there in an hour we called Hal
Angry to be bothered after his own journey in
Eighty degree weather on the busy highways.
Only one space in the tow truck
We’d need a ride home and Hal, father, husband
Retriever, would come to our rescue.
Visions of food and computer swam before our
Eyes, but first the thirst which overpowered all
Other thoughts must be quenched with the drink
For warm weather – light frappaccinnos – to soothe
Our tempers and moisten our mouths.
Hal, the ever obedient, never docile arrived on time.
We waited for the tow truck in air conditioned comfort
Reading comics we had gotten at Kids Comic Con
And my eyelids drooped from the heat and the hour.
No tow truck for two hours and we decided on a plan.
He’d be there within a couple of hours
Leave the key in the unlocked car and go.
Sure the car would follow us we departed to dinner
And still no car at the place we specified.
No car and the time crept ever onward
Then at last the sounds of Hal’s cell phone
And the AAA on the phone. At three AM they
Delivered the towed auto – eleven hours later
copyright 2009 by Barbara Ehrentreu

More about everything tomorrow. Sunday, April 26th will be the last day for comments on the guest author blog for John Wayne Cargile. The drawing will be held Sunday night. So if you were planning to leave a comment or question to get into the drawing do it today:)

Hope it's a great day for you. Until the next time, thank you to all of my readers.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Poem A Day for Days 22 and 23

Even though this is guest author day it is still April and time to post my poem. I am a day behind, but I will post two poems to make up for this.:)

Before I do that, though, here is my quote for Pompash Dar who is holding a Quotation Thursday on her blog!

"I am not only a pacifist but a militant pacifist. I am willing to fight for peace."
Albert Einstein, physicist, Nobel laureate (1879-1955)

It's not about writing, but it expresses how I feel.:)

Today's prompt was to write a poem about work of any kind. Here is the Poem A Day for Day 22:

About Work

I remember those days
when the alarm awoke
me like a hammer slamming
onto my dreamless sleep
Demanding I begin the day
Pushing me into the vortex
of the rushing traffic as I
put on lipstick and turned
onto the highway – sometimes
the sun hadn’t risen yet.

The smell of chalk dust and
remnants of half-eaten
sandwiches left in lunch boxes
returns as I think back to
those days when my life
was ruled by the rules of
others. The feel of worn
wood under my fingers
The vomit green paint on
the walls I strived to hide
with children’s drawings and
writing, but it peeked through

The little nonsense each day
Culminating in time wasted
So much time spent worrying
Not enough given to the lost
and unfettered – the ones who
floundered in dark waters – who
would never be with their peers
Who would always have to crane
their necks to see the top step
they would never reach. Those who
dropped off - gave up the climb.

As I have given up the fight to change
what refuses to change – Too much
energy wasted when my young soul
could have been flying and writing
Instead of standing on hard wood trying
to cram the sum of knowledge into
inattentive minds washed clean of thought
while closed heads incapable of the
ability to dream set up thrones in judgement
It wouldn’t have been work without them.
copyright 2009 by Barbara Ehrentreu

As if you couldn't figure it out, the above poem was about how I felt about teaching. But it could pretty much sum up how I feel about work.:) Going according to other people's rules isn't my idea of fun.

Here is the prompt for today. Write about a regret you have. Here is mine:

What If

What if instead of ignoring the twinge
of desire I felt when I heard your name

we’d met before the years erased all
possibility and formed a bond from the

bits and pieces of shared experiences
and side by side friendship of friends’ children?

What if you’d come to my door with flowers
and we’d been wined and dined for the

triumph our mothers would have felt at our union
And maybe then we might have the passion

that came to the surface the day we met
years later like an unformed boil that needed

to come to a head. Instead of me sitting on your
lap with someone else’s baby and you flustered

by this sign of affection so long desired?
But the timing was wrong

I was a young new mother adrift in the life of
Sesame Street and diapers and you were living

the upper east side dream complete with modernized
four poster bed and significant other.

My childhood friend who cajoled and teased me
Your presence lost to me when we parted

Took separate paths and forged our own ways
Until the day your mother’s furniture crossed my door

The need to see you pushed me to call and your
excited voice to see me after all those years.

As if I were around the corner and we could meet
immediately and live out our childhood's fantasies

That coffee table with the delft tiles is gone now, but the
tiles remain a little worse for wear, the sofa sold before we left Kew Gardens

But I will always remember the look you gave me when we
were inches from a kiss and the cry of my child

reminded me that maybe it was too late
Maybe it was time to put away childish joys.
copyright 2009 by Barbara Ehrentreu

Until the next time thank you to my readers and the new people who are stopping by. I hope you'll return.:) Remember to read my Guest Author interview with John Wayne Cargile and leave a comment or question to be in the drawing for the free e-Book!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Welcome Guest Author John Wayne Cargile

If it's Thursday it must be Guest Author day. Our guest today is the award winning journalist John Wayne Cargile whose new novel The Cry of the Cuckoos is generating a great deal of discussion and excellent reviews.:)

Here is a bit about the life of this unusual author:

He holds two doctoral degrees in religion and philosophy. He is a retired journalist, and his new novel, The Cry of the Cuckoos, is available at, Barnes & Nobel, Books A Million. Publisher: Eloquent Books, New York. He writes weekly columns for two newspapers in Alabama titled, "Integral Life." John Wayne Cargile is married with three adult children, and five grandchildren.

Also, he told me his father was a big John Wayne fan and he was named after him.:) Actually that was the first question I asked him when we met.:) My own husband is a big John Wayne fan too!

Here is the interview:

1. Please tell us a little bit about your book, The Cry of the Cuckoos.
The cuckoo bird is a master of deception, fooling other species in their race to copy their chirping begging call. Donald Drummond and his wife, Anne, chase after the killer of his father, Henry Drummond, but find themselves up against a radical right wing supremacist organization called the Society of Southron Patriots and, like the cuckoo bird, deception is the Society’s mission. The couple unravels a terrorist plot aimed to kill Washington dignitaries at the Super Bowl and delegates at the United Nations. Donald, a retired news reporter, and Anne, a retired school teacher, unfold the mystery leading them on a wild chase from Alabama to Texas. And one of the many murder suspects is Donald’s biological mother, Betty Jo Duke, who he only just met after his father’s death. Donald and Anne are hired as informants by the FBI to unravel the mysterious case and they get a lot more than they bargained for.

Barbara: Wow!!! I'm sorry you ran out of books. Now I'm going to have to go and buy it immediately. What a whirlwind plot.:)

2. How did you get the idea for the plot of this book?
As a former newspaper reporter and FBI clerk, I interviewed the president of a local Neo-Confederate organization many years ago. I visited with him in his home, and I attended several of his meetings. They are right wingers, but they are not terrorists. They follow an ideology much like what you saw at the "Tea Parties" recently. Our government is not the same government intended by the framers of our Constitution. It's not an Obama thing, it's big government, which Orwell described years ago of Big Brother. Donald Drummond and his wife are retired, but with his father's death, the couple is recruited by the FBI and Homeland Security to unravel the death of his father, who is actually murdered by someone. His father was the founder of the Society of Southron Patriots, and for the first few chapters the novel is basically a whodunit with everyone pointing their fingers at one another. There are actually two storylines in the novel: 1) The murder mystery, 2) an identity crisis when Donald, the main character, learns he has a real mother living in Texas, who becomes a suspect in his father's murder. She had a motive. Learning about his real mother sends him into a state of anxiety, depression and panic attacks. Once he realizes his real identity he finds himself on the verge of suicide, and the anger and resentment from his family who have deceived him all 61 years of his life become the themes of deception and forgiveness.

Barbara: You keep talking about this mother and this is another reason I need to read your book.:)

3. When you are starting a new story which do you think of first, the characters or the plot? Why?
The characters first. I frame the characters first and once I've identified their idiosyncrasies, and place the characters in dialogue, the plot begins to evolve. In my novel, Henry Drummond is dead, but through the characters he has touched throughout his life, one can get a good idea of how much one dead man leaves behind in his wake. One reviewer notes I have a good sense of flawed characters. That can be attributed to my background in psychology, philosophy and religion.

4. You mention in your bio that you were a clerk in the FBI for a year. How did this experience help when you were writing this book?
Tremendously. When I was a junior in college I went to work as an FBI clerk in Birmingham, Alabama. The FBI agent, who recruited me as a meat clerk with A&P Tea Company, was the head agent in charge of the KKK. My one year at the Bureau was spent studying KKK files. Also, at the same time Martin Luther King, Jr, had been assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. Our office was thrown into the mix since James Earl Ray purchased the gun in Birmingham, Naturally, I got to read all the FBI reports about the assassination. I got a sense of how the FBI worked, and once thought about joining them once I graduated from college, but I was recruited as a newpaper reporter while taking a creative writing class taught by the City Editor of The Birmingham News. His thoughts were if I was with the FBI then I could be of help as a cub police reporter. I was more adept, however, at writing features about people. I love writing about other people. All of the awards I received were about people. Every person has a story to tell about themselves, and I like to pull it out of them.

5. Please share with our readers your experiences in trying to get your book published.
I have been a book producer, and worked a year as a regional sales manager for Bantam Books. I am 64 and I know how tough it is to break in with a traditional publisher, especially a new author. I had another book I wrote when I was in my 20's, and I received the usual rejection slips. My age had something to do with going with the publisher I am with now. I guess my mortality intuited it (ha). I simply don't have many years left to write what I need to write, so I found AEG Publishing Group through my agent. It's not for everyone, but I entered a joint venture contract with them where I share 50-50 in publishing and royalties. They have all the services of a traditional publisher, and if you choose you can use them for a price. I am only using one service from them and that is a great PR person who contracts with them. She has an awesome literary resume.

6. Did you need to do a lot of research for The Cry of the Cuckoos? What kinds of research did you do?
Oh, yes, lots of research. I had already written my book, Decoration Day, when the editor said it was too generic. I began to research the cuckoo bird. I found it to be exactly like that of the right wing supremacist group I describe in the book. Without giving too much away, there was a poison from China that the organization purchased on the black market. I had to research it. There was also research done in the medical field since my main character had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. There's qute a bit of medical information in the novel, especially as the main character ends up in a pyschiatric ward.

7. I noticed you have been a newspaper writer for forty years. What made you decide to write a fiction novel? Has your newspaper experience helped or hindered your writing of fiction?
It's been difficult. The first thing I learned was to show not tell. That has been the most difficult. But I grew up in newspaper writing within the New Journalism style, which is the way many journalists worth their mettle write today. I guess it started with Tom Wolfe of the New York Times. Someone said he started the New Journalism with his Esquire Magazine about "The Last American Hero is Junior Johnson." It was a fascinating magazine article and journalists began to copy Wolfe's style. Journalism is akin to novel writing I've learned. If you cannot capture your audience within the first three paragraphs you've lost them for good. The same goes for novel writing. You'll notice, for those who have read an excerpt, that I leave no holds barred with my opening paragraph, using a dream scene. It's an action within an action.

8. Do you have a critique group? What are your thoughts about critique groups?
I belonged to Internet Writers Workshop for a long time. Some of you may be members, but it got to be a little much. You'd post a chapter, and, if you were lucky, someone would jump in with a critique. I wondered some time whether they were just trying to reach their numbers at IWW, or they really cared about what you were writing. I finally gave up on them. I was told by a wise ol' soul, that you can have 10 editors in a room reading your material and you will come out with 13 interpretations. It's best to have one person critique it and use what you find useful and purposeful.

9. Do you have an agent? Do you think new authors need an agent? Why?
I stumbled onto an agency, and it worked out for me. If you want to make it into big-time publishing, you'll need an agent, and it's also a must to join the Writer's Guild. If you just want to publish a book so your family and friends can call you an author, that is a totally different story. But I want my novel to sell, be read, and be popular. A reviewer likened the emotion and plotting of my novel to William Faulkner's books. I was really very flattered. If you can find an agent it will be well worth your while. You want to write, then let others more in the know do some of the sales and marketing for you. I am as aggressive in sales and marketing as I was in the writing of the book. But some people just want to write and let their publisher do all the leg work. That will not happen, believe me! You've got to market your book and take advantage of every opportunity to let people know you are out there with hundreds of thousands of other authors wanting to be recognized. These blog interviews are tremendous opportunities. Becoming a member of the Red River Writers is also beneficial in that you become part of a community of readers and writers whose sole purpose is entertainment and education.

Barbara: Yes, I agree that Red River Writers has been a big plus for both authors and bloggers who are writers. It's a great way for all kinds of writers to network. After all I write YA and have hosted authors from various genres. This is all thanks to April Robins who started it. Kudos to April!

10. Which do you enjoy writing more; your newspaper column or fiction?
I love both. My newspaper column is about living an Integral Life in Mind-Body-Spirit. I have incorporated my philosophy into the novel in certain instances, but it is not flagrantly realized. One reviewer captured my philosophy in his review. He said I was using it as my platform, but it is not a preachy sort of thing. It's just there for the taking. I also write features for the newspapers, and I love that part about as much as anything. I like writing about people.

11. The Cry of the Cuckoos deals with a murder possibly involved with a right wing fundamentalist group. a) How close to the truth are the events in the book? b) The Department of Homeland Security recently announced that we were in danger from these right wing groups and labeled them terrorist. How do you feel about this?
Well, unfortunately for my right wing supremacist group, Homeland Security would confirm their own report. Homeland Security plays a role in my novel. But in real life, some of the organizations listed as terrorists have been unkindly singled out. Veterans make up many of these right wing organizations, but their intent is not terrorism. It is an ideology. My group still thinks the South was right to go to war with the North and Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War. They are against big government, and the recent report by Homeland Security brought many of them out of the closet. There will be a lot more stirring among groups like I describe in my novel. The average citizen will begin to see this ideology and I wouldn't be surprised to see another Civil War in my lifetime. This time it will not be a North-South war, but one where the middle class finally decides they are tired of being taxed to the gills, and they will become a militant group. Right behind them will be the organizations who already have structure. More middle class people will be joining these extremist groups.

Barbara: This is a subject to which I could probably devote an entire blog. I'd love to have you come back and discuss this at a later time.:)

12. What is your writing process?
That's hard to put a finger on. I sit down with my characters and talk to them. I put them together in my mind, sometimes I'll put ideas into a special folder on my computer. If, say, one of my characters has a histrionic personality disorder, I try to find other characters in real life and in fiction who match that personality and I watch them grow into their role. One of my characters has this personality disorder, and it is what some psychiatrists say was Scarlett O'Hara's in "Gone With The Wind." I've studied her personality for quite some time, and I am thinking about writing a sequel with the main character being a Scarlett O' Hara type, but maybe with some redeeming qualities.

13. Will you be doing any book signings? Do you have a schedule for our readers?
I am doing local signings right now. My PR person is setting up a regional schedule. I have set up the local ones. A weekly newspaper is doing a full page spread on me this week. It involves an interview much like this one, a review, and a press release along with a value added incentive for those who buy my novel. I am offering an eBook valued at $9.95 of My Metaphysical Musings, newspaper columns I have written on Integral Life the past three years. It is only offered at my website, however. The publisher doesn't know I am doing this, and wouldn't care. You won't be able to get the eBook except at my website. An autograph copy of the book is only available at my website. Only those who come to an autograph signing will be able to get a handwritten autograph. and I will be signing books at Arts Night in Northport, Alabama on May 7th. I will also be in Homewood, Alabama on June 13th for an autograph signing. So catch a plane and come on down. You might want to watch out for Homeland Security, however, because if you were at a "Tea Party," chances are you are a terrorist (ha)!

Barbara: Well, I didn't attend any of those "Tea Parties" because my political philosophy is nowhere near that of the people you mentioned. Though I understand how they feel, they are not looking at the facts. Taxes will be going down for the middle class. I think everyone should be concentrating on the credit card companies.:)

Thank you so much for giving us a peek into your life and your writing. Now here is the special treat I mentioned earlier in the week. John is giving away the same e-Book he gives to those who buy his book to the winner of the drawing here. All you need to do to be eligible to win is to leave a question or comment here for John Wayne Cargile. This has been such a great interview I have a lot of questions myself.:)

Poem A Day for Day 21

I am posting the poems I wrote today. The prompt was to write a Haiku. So I wrote more than one. I'm posting all of them. They are mostly about nature, but some of them aren't.:) But before that I want to remind you that if you have a post about Earth Day please join this group:

Read all the posts here. Mine will be there too.:)

Here are the Haikus:


Haiku #1
Delicate blossoms
gathering on tree branches
Decorate the roads

Haiku #2
Joy resides not in
thinking about what you will do
But in the job done.

Haiku #3
Green covers the ground
Grass sweet smelling and fresh grows
Allergies arise

Haiku #4
Wild violets bloom
in hidden places away
from stomping feet

Haiku #5
Why can’t I ever
find a shoe I’d swoon about
that also fits me?

Haiku #6
We set aside this
day to remember Jewish
copyright 2009 by Barbara Ehrentreu


Don't forget that Thursday, April 23rd I will be hosting our guest author, John Wayne Cargile, who is an award winning journalist whose first novel, The Cry of the Cuckoos, is generating quite a bit of discussion. Please stop by to see the interview and post a comment or question. When you post a comment or question you will be enrolled in the drawing for a free e-Book from the author.

Earth Day - 2009 - Bloggers Unite- Living a "Green" Life!


Today is Earth Day and as a way to commemorate this I have joined with others in the blogging community in a group called Bloggers Unite. This means that we are concentrating on Earth Day issues. For me this means, putting a stop to global warming, helping to feed the hungry all over the world, controlling disease worldwide, bringing these issues to the attention of everyone in the world!!!

If you look at the Earth from space you see a beautiful blue planet with patches of green and brown. It's like looking at a baby sleeping. You want to pick it up and hold it, but you know that is impossible. We have to care for the Earth as if it were our baby. We must think of ourselves as caretakers, because we will be handing it over to the coming generation and we need to keep it in good shape for them. We need to control the activities of people who don't feel this way. They are selfishly using it for their own greedy ends and they care little about how they leave it. I'm thinking about the ones who have raped the mountains of Appalachia or the companies who have come into the rain forests and stripped them of their resources, the trees. Or how about the companies who use pesticides to fight destruction of crops instead of using organic methods. They don't care about the health of the people who will eat their crops or about what using these chemicals is doing to the Earth.

We must fight these attitudes by becoming models of doing the right thing. Every time you see a company or an individual is destroying the land for their own ends you need to act. Sometimes it is as easy as signing a petition online.

In the past couple of years even when the Bush Administration was allowing companies to destroy our wilderness areas, wildlife groups sent out petitions and I signed as many as I needed to sign to preserve our wilderness areas. Preservation of these areas helps to care for the Earth. The combined power of so many people signing the same petition stopped these companies from being able to destroy our wilderness. The courts took care of them. It was a free, simple, easy way to fight back against the ones who would destroy the land. So if you get one of these petitions to sign don't think they won't work. Sign it and do the wilderness a favor. Become a member of The Sierra Club and Greenpeace. Join the African Wildlife Foundation. Help to keep animals from becoming extinct. Support as many of these kind of organizations that you can. You may get more email, but it's easy to delete the ones you don't want to read when the campaign is over. :)

An easy way to help is to recycle as much as you can. Most towns and cities have recycles added to their sanitation removal. It's so simple to stockpile your recycles and throw them out on garbage day. You can make this part of your life and your children's lives. Buy from companies that have been trying to lower their global footprint. This is a number that takes into account every activity you do to conserve energy. If you own a home consider using a more environmentally friendly insulation and using solar power for energy. Becoming Green means thinking about how what you are doing is affecting the Earth. Work on your own environmental footprint each day. Make it as low as possible. Using products from Green companies helps your footprint too. It can be as simple as changing your dishwashing detergent.

Here are ways that I have tried to lower our footprint and become more Green:

  • Recycle all aluminum cans including canned goods, all glass bottles, aluminum take out tins, aluminum foil.
  • Keep cardboard boxes separate and follow directions from your sanitation company for how to dispose of them.
  • Recycle all magazines, flyers, catalogs, used paper of any kind, in paper bags. When you shred anything recycle the shredded pieces in a separate bag.
  • Turn off any lights you are not using. Unplug appliances that are not being used.
  • Replace usual cleaning products with "Green" products. One easy way is to buy dishwashing detergent actually made by Clorox that is totally natural. It works very well and is good for your hands. It's called: "green works" and comes in various scents.
  • Change your cleaning liquid to one that is "Green". "green works" has products for different uses. See the website to find more. There's another very good product made by a small company called: Bio Green Clean that will clean almost anything and is safe.
  • Buy organic vegetables, fruit, meats and poultry. Not only is this better for you, but these products have been grown in a way that is careful to take care of the Earth.
  • Boycott products from companies that do not take care of the Earth.
  • Protest anything that will destroy the environment either locally, nationally or globally.
  • Take your dry cleaning to a place that uses "green" techniques. You will find that the usual dry cleaning smell is not there. Your clothes will feel and smell much better.:)
If you are using any technique that you would like to share please leave a comment here.

My usual Poem A Day post follows this one. Happy Earth Day!!!! What are you doing for Earth Day?

There's more, but I want to be truthful and show you what we are doing in my family. Becoming more Green is a slow process, but it will be worth it if everyone does it a little. Yes, it would be wonderful if we could get every company to do it. They are after all the worst offenders, but at least we can start with our own family and homes. Until the next time. Hope you try some of these products. They're great! (This is an unpaid endorsement. :))

Monday, April 20, 2009

Poem A Day for Day 20

Here is the prompt for today: rebirth.
"I want you to write a poem of rebirth. There are many different types of rebirth available, including the changing of the seasons, the beginning of the day, religious or spiritual rebirth,....." (from Poetic Asides with Robert Brewer)


The earth lays brown
covered with ice and snow
until the sun’s rays melts them
awakens the sleeping seeds
dormant within the rich
humus to begin the process
a milligram at a time until
the delicate embryo
sprouts a tender green
stem and pushes hard
imagine how strong the
effort to spring forward
free in the sunshine!

The new green shoot
cracks through struggling
toward the lightRushing
from the womb
of Mother Earth to feel the
touch of first sunlight
upon the newborn leaves.
copyright 2009 by Barbara Ehrentreu

I can't believe that April only has ten more days to go! I hope that you have enjoyed reading my poems and I encourage all of you to please write at least one poem and send it to me. I will post any that I receive. If you leave them in the comments I will put them all on the blog on April 30th, which is Poem in Your Pocket Day. You are supposed to bring a poem in your pocket and put it in someone else's pocket without them knowing it. :) It's kind of a surprise for your pocket.:) You print out your favorite poem and give it to someone or many someones during the day. It sounds like so much fun!!!

So I've just decided to have a contest of sorts. By April 30th I'll have posted thirty poems. I would love to know which one is your favorite. I'll send it around Facebook, but please let me know which poem you liked the most. I will post the one that has the most votes too!! More about this later in the week.:)

Our guest author for this week is John Wayne Cargile, who is an award winning newspaper writer and the author of the new novel: The Cry of the Cuckoos. He will be here Thursday, April 23rd and Friday, April 24th to answer your questions and comments. Anyone who posts a question or a comment will be in the drawing to receive Mr. Cargile's e-Book free if you are the winner of the drawing. :) This book is very timely, since it addresses right wing fundamentalist organizations. Save the date and drop by for this very unusual interview.:) On his website he has a few reviews of this book and his bio. It seems to me he has led a very interesting life, since he spent some time in the FBI. ( For the "24" fans) I'm looking forward to his being here.

Until the next time. Welcome to my new reader! Thank you to my older readers. Please start letting me know your favorite poem of all the ones I've posted here. Whoever gets the same poem as I picked will get a prize.:)

Earth Day is coming on Wednesday. I will be posting about it here for that day. Remember to try to observe it in any green way that you can.:) If you click on the badge here you will be taken to the website for Earth Day.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Poem A Day for Days 17, 18 and 19

Because we took a trip up to Albany this weekend to see Kathy Mattea - pictured above - I fell behind in posting this weekend. I wrote the poems and posted them on the Poetic Asides with Robert Weber website, but didn't post on here. So I 'm putting all three of them in this post. :)
Kathy Mattea was amazing. She has a beautiful clear voice and her songs were mostly about growing up in the Appalachians. Her father was a coal miner and she has a brand new CD out titled "Coal". I dare anyone to listen to some of these without a tear in their eyes. She moved away and went to college, but she has kept the experience inside of her. It was a great show and she is the real deal. Marty Stuart, who is also the real deal, produced it and Ms. Mattea who is a two time Grammy winner might be taking home one this year. The album has been nominated.:)

A bit about Hampton Inns. The one we were in had very poor ventilation in the room. No one could sleep. It was too warm with the air conditioning off and when you put it on the fan went off at a certain temperature leaving no air in the room. I have been in this hotel before and didn't have this problem, so it must be a local problem for this particular one in Latham, NY. The rest of the room was fine and the service was great except they advertised wi fi and didn't have it. We hooked up my laptop and couldn't get internet. In order to get it I'd have to take the ethernet cord and put it into the modem. However, they had the cord secured on a plastic hook and it wouldn't come out. So no internet for me last night. However, the good thing was it forced me to concentrate on my own work with no distractions and I wrote Chapter 23 !!! Yay!!! The story is taking an interesting turn that I had never expected, but I'm going with it.:)

Here are the three poems as promised and before I post them, please let me know if you visit the blog. You can either leave a comment here or on my Facebook profile page. I'm interested in knowing your reaction to these. :)

Day 17 - Prompt: "I want you to write a poem with the following title: "All I want is (blank)," where you fill in the blank with a word or phrase of your choosing."

Here is mine. This was kind of dashed off.

All I want is

my book to be published, family harmony,
world peace, my old thin body,
to be twenty years younger
sunshine every day,
the man I knew at twenty-one
laughter from Sara
global warming to reverse and
the toast not to burn.
copyright 2009 by Barbara Ehrentreu

Day 18 - Prompt: "I want you to write a poem with an interaction of some sort. The interaction does NOT have to be between people, though it can."

I originally wrote one about someone I met in the hospital, but didn't post that one. Instead I posted this one, which is a more usual interaction. Anyone who has health anxiety or knows someone who does will appreciate this one.:)


“Are you sure I didn’t hit my head?”
"Yes," I say to my anxiety - crazed daughter.
“But I’m sure I was close to the wall.”
“No you weren’t. It wouldn’t be possible.”
She feels the phantom spot again where
she swears her head was injured.
Silence happens for awhile, but I know she
is spinning that scene around in her head in
an unending loop.

“I walked by that plant and I thought I ate part
of it,” she says at dinner in the Mexican restaurant.
“You what? You think you ate part of a plant
on your way to the restroom?” My mind tries
to find a way to accept this as she walks over
to the plant and re-enacts the scene.
“It could have happened, “ she says her hazel
eyes trying to make sense of the act.
“No,"Sara and I both say eager to smooth over this
bump in our night out.
“I’m worried it might be poisonous.” She has
continued as we attempt to ignore her.
“We’ll ask the waiter, he must know.” She won’t
rest until she knows. The reel won’t stop spinning.
“That plant, “ he asks pointing to the offending palm
in the clay pot in the back near the tiled wall.
He doesn’t answer. Then he says, “What you don’t
know is there are no real plants here. We had to
replace them years ago. They’re all artificial.”
We laugh and the sound fills the space around us
healing and right. She smiles, a sheepish grin.
Aware she is caught. “Oh, well, but are you sure
I didn’t get any in my mouth?”
I grit my teeth and hold the anger. It would be like
yelling into the wind. I hug her instead.
copyright 2009 by Barbara Ehrentreu

Day 19 - Prompt:"'s prompt is to write an angry poem. That is, a poem about someone or something that gets angry."

Strangely, this poem was the easiest for me to write. Someone I know very well was the model for it this weekend.:)

His Anger

It creeps up on us
Like a tiger hiding in the bushes
One minute it’s peaches and cream
He’s smiling, expounding, joking
And the next exploding
Voice harsh, cold, sarcastic,
mean, drilling its way into our
egos even if we are in the right.

Who made the wrong turn? He can't
accept the mistake. Yet he shuts us
out as if we were in a glass room –
We can’t reach him when he crawls
into his anger coat.
He becomes the fairy tale ogre
The bully, the villain

His voice slaps our faces
Through our armor
of caring and love.
copyright 2009 by Barbara Ehrentreu


Coming on Thursday, April 23, 2009 as part of the blog tour I will be interviewing a new guest author, the award winning, John Wayne Cargile, who is named after the famous actor. His new book,The Cry of the Cuckoos is getting great reviews and I am very pleased that he has consented to be a guest here. I will be giving you more information, but for now, please note this date and come and learn more about him. He has led a very interesting life including working for the FBI. Also this book is very relevant to what is happening in our country today. See the video here.He is giving away an e-Book: My Metaphysical Musings, which is composed of all of his newspaper columns for three years. When you come join us and leave a comment or question you will be in the drawing for this! More tomorrow! Until the next time have a great Monday. :)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Poem A Day - Poem for April 16, 2009

Emergency workers at Northern Westchester Hospital

* Note: I tried to make my post shorter by putting only part of it up, but the link didn't work. So for anyone who came here and couldn't read the rest of the post, here it is:

Today was such a beautiful sunny day so we got out of the house and I wanted to spend the time in the sun. It was in the 60's and it's been a long time since we've had such a day! So we went to pick up my older daughter and found that her headache had gotten worse. She's had a bad headache for over three weeks. So she couldn't get an appointment at the doctor's for today and we wound up taking her to the Emergency Room. I spent the entire afternoon there with her there.

My younger daughter stayed in the car and slept while I waited with my older daughter who needed to have an MRI! We had to wait two hours!! When we got there the hospital was pretty quiet and I figured we'd be out in no time. What a mistake! She had to wait two hours for the MRI and then it was another hour until it was done. We were there almost five hours! The good news is that her MRI was as the doctor said, "unremarkable". So an unremarkable brain is a good thing for MRI's.:) Who knew? I was just happy that we were at Northern Westchester, which is probably the best ER in Westchester and maybe most of the country. They were displaying a banner that said they were in the top 1%. Even the drapes had a scenic painting on them.:)

Now we don't know why she has the headache and wasted five hours finding out she is fine. When she asked the doctor what could be causing them he had no idea. Is that what a doctor is supposed to say? He said to go to her own doctor and find out. Hospital doctors have gotten so noncommittal.:) Also they are very thin skinned. I asked him if he had looked at the film carefully and he was a little testy. Since my husband is a lawyer he always has nightmare stories about doctors not reading MRI's correctly. When I called him to tell him about her being okay he told me this story about a California case where the MRI was supposedly clear, but the man had a grapefruit sized tumor. I was just being careful.:) Anyway, after the whole experience with my husband at Westchester Medical Center, I've gotten used to being treated like that by doctors. I pestered my husband's doctors so much, but you have to or they tend to ignore the patients a little bit on things they don't consider important.

When we got out of the hospital all we wanted was coffee and something to eat. Oh, one more thing about Northern Westchester, when I smelled the cookies in the nurse's station the nurse offered me one. It was a delicious sugar cookie. All the chocolate chip ones were gone.:)

Today the prompt was to write about a color. So I picked my favorite: Red.:)


Some days start out
tangled. Nothing minds.
As if the whole world is
revolting from within and
these days move in
a slow and measured
pace to their conclusion
when the mess inside pours
like blood might onto the space
in front of you over the
person who started it all,
knocks over the innocent
standing in its path
A human explosion issues
forth. Volcanic fury erupting
unexpected. Molten lava
rolling down the contours
of my face only to
cool in your icy glare.
copyright 2009 by Barbara Ehrentreu

Until the next time, there are only thirteen more days left in April and I hope that you are reading and writing poetry. I know that this month has brought back all the joy I used to feel when writing poetry. I 'm going to miss writing a poem a day.:)

Next week we will have a new guest author to be announced and I am going to highlight a new blog too! This week has been hard with all the tzouris (trouble for those who don't know Yiddush!):) Have a great weekend. We're going up to Albany to see Kathy Mattea and I'll be letting you know how it was. Will be back on Sunday. Whoopee!! We're spending the night up there.:)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Poem A Day - Poem for April 15, 2009

Happy Tax Day!!!! We did our taxes early this year. So we could relax today.

It took me so long to write this poem. I'm just going to post it and this will be a very short post. I have to go to sleep sometimes.:) When I start working I'll have to go to sleep earlier. That will probably be next week.

Here is the prompt for today: Use the title of a poem you like and change it. Write your poem to the title you chose and either follow the form of the original or write your own. Here is the original prompt from Poetic Asides with Robert Brewer.

"I want you to take the title of a poem you especially like (by another poet) and change it. Then, with this new altered title, I want you to write a poem. An example would be to take William Carlos Williams' "The Red Wheelbarrow" and change it to "The Red Volkswagon." Or take Frank O'Hara's "Why I Am Not a Painter" and change it to "Why I Am Not a Penguin." You get the idea, right? (Note: Your altered poem does NOT have to follow the same style as the original poet, though you can try if you wish.)"

Here's mine:

Two Men Diverged in a Band of Gold

Two men diverged in a band of gold

And sorry I could not handle both

My being one woman, so long I pondered

Looking from one to the other

Far into the underneath of their natures

To where the future met in untrod paths

Then took the other, not as fair of face

Having a better claim for being the worse for wear

The needier one, a little unkempt, chubbier, raw

Not entitled as the other.

And both that summer gleamed for me

Their futures pristine stones lay unblackened

Oh, I said goodbye to one that day

Kept the memory of the other at bay

Knowing this would probably be the end

I am telling this with a sigh

As the years have come and gone

Two men diverged in a band of gold, and

I took the one less entitled, more truthful

And what has come of that difference?

(Original poem: The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost)


by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

We're halfway through the Poem A Day prompts and I am having so much fun writing. I hope that all of you are joining in and either writing or reading a poem a day. I am getting poems from in my email and I'm saving all of them and will put them in their own folder so I will have all these great poems at my fingertips. Remember too that Poem in a Pocket Day is April 30th. I will remind you, but on that day you need to carry a favorite poem and put it in someone's pocket without them knowing you did it.:) It's kind of like Secret Santa with poetry.:) On that day I will point you to a great website where you can find any poem you want. Until then have a great day!!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Poem A Day - Poem for April 14, 2009

Passover is finally ended and we celebrated by going to Crumbs bakery and getting cupcakes. If you have a Crumbs near you, you have to go and sample at least one cupcake. I know you won't be able to resist when you see things like S'Mores and Hostess cupcakes all delicious and made from natural ingredients. Check out the website to see for yourself.

Sorry to be posting so late for yesterday, but it was too late to post and I had too much to do today. It was my day to call a few places. First I called Electrolux. We bought a stick vacuum from them and it works on a 9.5 volt battery. So Electrolux sent us a letter stating that certain serial numbers were being recalled. The battery causes a fire!! So I checked and of course we had one of these disastrous models. So Electrolux, a company which has always meant quality to me, was super nice. Of course, they have to be. They probably had some very irate customers when that happened to them. They are sending me a box to send them back just the handheld part and they are going to replace it for me.:) I'm just glad they are, since this vacuum has never been great when you use it with the stick. When you use only the hand held part it works much better. But isn't that a Dust Buster? I liked the stick because you didn't have to bend down. We'll see how it works with the new model. :)

The second thing I had to do was call the furniture store where we bought our sofa about seven or eight years ago. The sofa cushions due to my overweight husband sitting on them have become ridiculously low and uncomfortable. So I had to tell them and they're getting back to me with an estimate. If it is too high I'm going to go to one of those hobby stores and stuff them myself.:)

Enough about my domestic woes. But I do want to update you on the mattress situation. I didn't want to post about this until it had come to an end and I think today with the third and last mattress shipment it has finally ended and my daughter will not need to exchange it again. Here is the history for anyone who doesn't know about this. I spent a lot of time describing this experience. In the past two weeks we had another mattress delivered, which had another imperfection and it was taken today and replaced with the third and last mattress. So my daughter let the delivery guys go after she has inspected the mattress and then she finds a tiny part of the binding is a little uneven. But she's not exchanging it for that! Thank goodness. :) So I can safely say that the Sleepy's mattress saga is over!!! Yay!!! I now feel like a mattress expert.:)

Here is my poem for April 14, 2009, yesterday, Tuesday. The prompt was to write a Love poem and an anti-Love poem. Go to Poetic Asides with Robert Brewer to see the prompts and post your own. Here are both of them. I gave them to my husband, but since they can't be eaten or used as money he had very little to say about them.:( I'm actually pretty happy with them. Please let me know what you think.


The moment I fell in love

No one prepared me for
The moment when all reason
flew away and logic dissolved
A wanton unknown girl
emerged as your lips touched mine
and your mouth formed an allegiance
as mine surrendered engulfed by
those two soft soldiers who
pressed their flesh onto my soul

I knew when you held me close
and I wanted to melt into you,
this was destiny
planting its mark on my lips.

anti - Love

Do you still love me?

We’re older, larger,
Not babies floundering in the
throes of love
But you have forgotten why
we chose to spend this life

You rail at me and expect another person
Someone who you’ve never seen or met
in this familiar body
A woman who is not the me you wanted
When we were in our twenties
exploring the magic thread we found
between us

Your tirades rip apart that thread little by little
Until there is only a skein connecting us
Yet you persist with a dour look
Thinking enough anger will break it entirely
then you will be free
Untethered from the unwanted
desires you can no longer fulfill
and you won’t need to look in
my face and see the years
you refuse to accept in your own

You bellow trying to destroy it
entirely hoping the pain of lost
virility will ease and we will be
back to the couple we once were
clinging to each other safe in our
interlocked arms.

I go through the motions
Hoping the boy I knew might
return in a glance for a few minutes
Knowing the man I knew lays
dormant inside the monster
you want me to believe you’ve
become and peeps out every
now and then for strangers and clients.

It is very hard to keep pretending
And each day your voice reminding
me of my lack of work and your dwindling
bank balance drive us further apart
until ignoring me becomes a gift
Freedom from your microscopic gaze

I’ve told you I miss the we of us
You’ve used that to wrench open
my heart as if my words were light
snow falling upon your ears
as you trod upon my feelings hoping to
stamp out the last flames of my lifelong
love for you that transcends illness and
goes beyond your bloated body filled with
Illness and marked with scars.

Go ahead and pull the threads apart
Sever the connection we’ve treasured
for so long as you concentrate on
the disgust you feel for me
Remember once you break the magic
circle the demons can rush in and
I will fly away
Floating in the sorrow of broken love.
copyright 2009 by Barbara Ehrentreu

I will be posting my poem for today on a separate post. In the interest of keeping my posts a little shorter.:) Please leave a comment. They are like my applause.:) Thank you to my readers. Until the next time, hope you all have a great day!

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