Thursday, May 29, 2014

Sam McCartney: Reader / Writer

August 2007
Sam starting 9th grade ~ Ben starting 12th

Sam's generosity in allowing me to share his Mother's Day Character Sketch earlier this month reminded me that I had also saved this essay that he wrote at the beginning of highschool.

Sam McCartney
Period 7
Mrs. Warner
August 2007

As a writer I feel like my writing is very explosive. I always build a picture for the reader to visualize, but often my writing does not flow. I love to use vivid adjectives, but often the subject of my writing is lost. As a student I was continually told that a picture is worth a thousand words, and I fell into the trap of trying to use a thousand words. My real problem, I believe, as a writer is that I think faster than I type, which often fills me with a negative feeling about writing. Although writing and I don’t always get along, the feeling of finishing a paper and reading it, knowing that it is mine makes me feel much fulfilled. My favorite type of writing, and the best type of writing, is definitely persuasive writing. I am a talker and I love to convince, so any chance I get to persuade or debate a topic is a joy. Although persuasive writing is my favorite, the piece of writing that I wrote that makes me feel like a great writer was an analytical paper about Helen Keller. I had really thought about Mr. Keller and his son, and an idea just clicked. I felt great about myself.

Reading is very fulfilling task for me, but I really have to get inside the book. For example, when I read The Most Dangerous Game I really felt like I was in the story. Another hurdle that often makes reading a more difficult task for me than I like is that I have to read in silence. I have to really zone in and capture the essence of the story to understand it. I enjoy fiction more than non-fiction because I really jump into fiction and imagine myself in the made up world of the book, whereas in non-fiction I have trouble putting myself in the characters' shoes because they are real people. My favorite type of book, just like my favorite type of movie, would have to be a mystery book. The rush of excitement I feel when the unknown killer is revealed or the criminal is caught is like no other. The most unproductive assignment, or rather unit, I have ever had in English was my poetry unit in seventh grade. First of all I didn’t like any of the poems and second of all I don’t like poetry. My favorite part of reading is plot and how the plot develops. I never feel complete after reading a poem. However, my favorite assignment in English was definitely in eighth grade when I read the play about Helen Keller. I really learnt a lot about disabled people, as well as the fact that I loved the paper I wrote about that story.

I believe my weakness in English is definitely my writing. This year my main goal/expectation is to become a more fluid writer. Also I would like to become a more well-rounded reader by reading classics, such as Lord of the Flies, Great Expectations, and Animal Farm; I believe this is a very reasonable expectation. Of course I also expect to get an A in this class, but none of these goals/expectations can be accomplished without hard work. As a wise man by the name of Vince Lombardi once said, “The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.”

Monday, May 26, 2014

For Us To Remember

On Memorial Day

Lilies of the Valley, 1916 ~ Marc Chagall

Opening the Envelope of the World
When it is dark, we return
to our young streets; birds
sleep in the branches
of our years; we follow

the road past our house;
the light is on; a dog
sleeps on the porch;
music plays inside us;

we pursue it across
summer and the the long
winter. The road is
there for us to follow,

and the light on
for us to remember.

In the next poem, when I read Price's description
of the escape through air, sun, cloud . . .
on toward the "lost island" and the "prairie sea"
I hear in my mind that tender tune sung by Peter, Paul, and Mary
(listen here, complete with Monet slideshow):

Somos el barco, somos el mar,
Yo navego en ti, tu navegas en mi
We are the boat, we are the sea,
I sail in you, you sail in me

The stream sings it to the river,
the river sings it to the sea
The sea sings it to the boat
that carries you and me


The boat we are sailing in
was built by many hands
And the sea we are sailing on,
it touches every land


So with our hopes we set the sails
And face the winds once more
And with our hearts we chart the waters
never sailed before

Somos el barco, somos el mar,
Yo navego en ti, tu navegas en mi
We are the boat, we are the sea,
I sail in you, you sail in me

Words & music by Lorre Wyatt

A Fable Bursts Free
We return to our house; the Indian
sleeps in his grandfather's cradle;
there is the cadence of rock
rolling over the long hill;

a dog barks beneath the willow.
We unravel into a skein of geese
weaving above the land's parabola
of shore. Without artifice, our words

come, legacies of the South and North,
a construct of our generation.
We escape through a portal of air,
a gate of the sun. We go without

hesitation through brazen clouds
forming seasons; we sail, once
and for all, toward
the lost island and the prairie sea.

"Opening the Envelope" & "Fable" by Alice Price, 1927 - 2009
from her book Our Dismembered Shadow

Charlotte Stewart, Germaine Greer, Alice Price, Susan Hastings
~ eating cake and reading manuscripts ~
at the Tulsa Center for Women's Studies, 1982

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Birthday Present

Tea for the Tillerman
My friend Etta got me this album for my 18th birthday.
(Just wish I could remember what I got her that year!)
We listened to it all summer long, especially this one:

"Father and Son"

Father: It's not time to make a change,
Just relax, take it easy.
You're still young, that's your fault,
There's so much you have to know.
Find a girl, settle down,
If you want you can marry.
Look at me, I am old, but I'm happy.

I was once like you are now, and I know that it's not easy,
To be calm when you've found something going on.
But take your time, think a lot,
Why, think of everything you've got.
For you will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not.

Son: How can I try to explain, when I do he turns away again.
It's always been the same, same old story.
From the moment I could talk I was ordered to listen.
Now there's a way and I know that I have to go away.
I know I have to go.

Father: It's not time to make a change,
Just sit down, take it slowly.
You're still young, that's your fault,
There's so much you have to go through.
Find a girl, settle down,
if you want you can marry.
Look at me, I am old, but I'm happy.

Son: All the times that I cried, keeping all the things I knew inside,
It's hard, but it's harder to ignore it.
If they were right, I'd agree, but it's them you know not me.
Now there's a way and I know that I have to go away.
I know I have to go.

Music & lyrics by Cat Stevens (b 1948)

I know we're supposed to call him Yusuf Islam now, but I'm with Miss Manners on this one. She says that people "are allowed free play with their names, even to the point of changing [them] but they are not allowed to chastise relations and childhood friends for using the old one" (374 - 75).

Recent Wisdom from Yusuf Islam
“Then it dawned on me: Even with the entire world sinking deeper into despair, we can still sing! The spirit of humanity can be subdued, but never vanquished. And nothing brings out that spirit like a good song. As a short film of Nelson Mandela I watched recently showed, he danced and smiled from East to West, saying, 'It is music and dancing that makes me at peace with the world and at peace with myself.' "
~ Cat / Yusuf, quoted in Rolling Stone

I read a line the other day that took me right back to 1975:
". . . in some crevice of our souls, we are always seventeen."
Richard North Patterson

More Cat Stevens on my blogs:
"Super Moon"
"Many, Many Moons"

Birthday present from my friend Marilyn ~ 1975
Photographic Illustrations by Dr. John C. Weaver
Accompanying quotations edited by Ben W. Whitley

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Nightfall: Bronze Goddess

Nightfall: Half Life
Bronze Sculpture by Richard MacDonald
Contemporary figurative artist (b 1946)

We grow accustomed to the Dark -
When light is put away -
As when the Neighbor holds the Lamp
To witness her Goodbye -

A Moment - We uncertain step
For newness of the night -
Then - fit our Vision to the Dark -
And meet the Road - erect -

And so of larger - Darknesses -
Those Evenings of the Brain -
When not a Moon disclose a sign -
Or Star - come out - within -

The Bravest - grope a little -
And sometimes hit a Tree
Directly in the Forehead -
But as they learn to see -

Either the Darkness alters -
Or something in the sight
Adjusts itself to Midnight -
And Life steps almost straight.

Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886)
Reclusive, prolific American poet

Megan and I, posing with our favorites

I've been lucky enough to see this beautiful moon goddess twice recently, once with my friend Megan at the Dawson Cole Gallery in Laguna Beach (thanks Kayla Federline) and again at the Bellagio in Las Vegas with my husband Gerry. See how she is standing on the crescent moon? And the way she balances both the full moon and the dark moon in her two hands?

I'm reminded of one of my favorite typos ever -- the time when I accidentally began a note to my dear friend and pen pal Cate with "He Cate" instead of "Hey Cate." But on second thought, I decided that, instead of an error, it must have been a Freudian slip in reference to "Hecate, the Goddess of the Dark of the Moon".

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Nightfall: The Moon of Late

The Moon of Late

I too beneath your moon, almighty Sex,
Go forth at nightfall crying like a cat,
Leaving the lofty tower I laboured at
For birds to foul and boys and girls to vex
With tittering chalk; and you, and the long necks
Of neighbours sitting where their mothers sat
Are well aware of shadowy this and that
In me, that’s neither noble nor complex.
Such as I am, however, I have brought
To what it is, this tower; it is my own;
Though it was reared To Beauty, it was wrought
From what I had to build with: honest bone
Is there, and anguish; pride; and burning thought;
And lust is there, and nights not spent alone.

Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892–1950)
from Huntsman, What Quarry? 1939

Don't miss Cristina Nehring's excellent article
on the life and work of this favorite poet:
"Last the Night: The Abiding Genius of Edna St. Vincent Millay"

Millay is undoubtedly one of the most-mentioned writers in my literary discussions and always one of my top choices for desert island reading, if I had to pick but one or two. Previously on the Quotidian:

1. Delicate Poison 5/17/14

2. Penelope, Who Really Cried 9/28/12
[more on the Fortnightly]

3. Love However Brief 3/1/12
[more on the Fortnightly]

4. Leap Day 2/29/12

5. The Full Truce Moon 12/10/11

6. Sad September 9/28/11
[more on the Fortnightly]

7. Moonrise, Sunset 9/13/11

8. Recuerdo: Apples and Pears 9/5/11
[more on the Fortnightly]

9. Gone On Ahead 3/10/11

10. Insidious Trauma 3/5/11

11. Philosophy of Fall 12/14/10
[more on the Fortnightly]

12. Scarred But Standing 10/13/10
[more on the Fortnightly]

13. The Little Door 7/28/10
[more on the Fortnightly]

14. Love In The Open Hand 5/28/10
[more on the Fortnightly]

15. Kiss Me 3/1/10

16. Thanksgiving Day Thoughts 11/26/09

17. The Spirit Grieves 10/12/09

18. I Do Not Approve, I Am Not Resigned 9/18/09

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Delicate Poison

Thou art not lovelier than lilacs,—no,
Nor honeysuckle; thou art not more fair
Than small white single poppies,—I can bear
Thy beauty; though I bend before thee, though
From left to right, not knowing where to go,
I turn my troubled eyes, nor here nor there
Find any refuge from thee, yet I swear
So has it been with mist,—with moonlight so.

Like him who day by day unto his draught
Of delicate poison adds him one drop more
Till he may drink unharmed the death of ten,
Even so, inured to beauty, who have quaffed
Each hour more deeply than the hour before,
I drink—and live—what has destroyed some men.

by Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892–1950)
from Renascence and Other Poems, 1917

Wine I & Wine II
acrylics by Starlie Sokol - Hohne


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Post Mother's Day

Some New Love at Lovely Things

Posted previously, but nice to be reminded:

I wish for for you
some new love
at lovely things,
some new forgetfulness
at teasing things,
some higher pride
in the praising things,
some sweeter peace
from the hurrying things,
and some closer fence
from the worrying things."

~ John Ruskin ~

Along with this past Sunday's post "Picture of Home" (scroll down or click)
please enjoy additional selected readings in keeping with Mother's Day
from Billy Collins, Tina Fey, Naomi Shihab Nye,
and others on my

~ Post Mother's Day ~

Thanks for reading
The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker:
A Fortnightly [every 14th & 28th] Literary Blog of
Connection & Coincidence; Custom & Ceremony

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Picture of Home

A Picture of Home: Framed Plant Art
at the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Garden

If there is any other occasion besides Christmas that can fill one's heart with "divine homesickness," I'm guessing that it's Mother's Day. In the following short story, my friend Jan has captured the sensation so well that it brings the tears to my eyes:

Washington Street

You are eight years old and already lonely. You measure your walk home from school by sidewalk squares. Your feet have memorized the path. You are walking to the house on Washington Street where the steps to the porch are steep. Your mother greets you at the door, her face as familiar as wind.

Now, years later, you look at a photograph of her from that time; her brown eyes smile, her dark hair pulled back from her luminous face. You marvel at her beauty, showing the photograph to friends—anyone who will look: “See. See my mother. This is what she looked like then” — as if she is someone different, someone you don’t remember, someone you never saw before.

In the house on Washington Street, that same mother — the one in the photograph — does the dishes by hand. It is 1964. She gives you a towel. “Here. You dry.”

In her 80’s now, her hair gone gray, her shoulders stooped, her loneliness beats in rhythm with your own. You hear her voice over the miles, and you listen to her stories — endless stories of what ifs. You ask, “Do you remember the house on Washington Street?” And she answers, “Of course I do.”

If you go looking, you will find sidewalk squares to measure. You will find steep concrete steps leading to stoops and into houses. They are everywhere. But something about that house on Washington Street calls you, reminds you of something you just cannot name. You see it in her eyes when you look at the photo. You want someone to tell you the story of that house and her in it. You were there, yet you need someone to tell the story.

You stare a long time at the photo. Her beauty startles you.

by Jan Donley (b. 1956)
American artist, novelist, playwright, poet, teacher

Mosaic Floor in the Bellagio Conservatory, Las Vegas


Previous Jan Donley Posts on my blogs:

Lucky Rock
Lost & Found
9 / 11 Retrospective [also on Quotidian Kit]
Dagmar's Birthday [also on Quotidian Kit]
Everyone Loves Stories
There on the Edge of Autumn [also on Quotidian Kit]
"I Seen the Little Lamp" [also on Quotidian Kit]
The House You're Standing In . . . [also on Quotidian Kit]
The Inner World of the Dream Character

Sleight of Hand
The Little Door
Savor September!
Happy Birthday Coyote!
Color Just Invented

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Character Sketch

You just never know when you might see yourself in lights!

As an early Mother's Day present, my son Sam is allowing me to post this essay that he wrote a few years back in 6th grade English. Thanks Sam!

My Mother and How She Affects Me

My mother, Kitti Beth Carriker, was born in Coffeyville, Kansas, on May 24, 1957. She went to college at Northeast Missouri State University and then got her Ph.D. in English from the University of Notre Dame, 1984 - 1990. While at Notre Dame, my mom met my dad, William Gerard McCartney, in 1987, and then they moved to West Lafayette, Indiana, and got married in 1989. My mother worked at the Purdue English Department and at the Episcopal Campus Ministry, and in 1990 had her first child, my brother Ben.

In 1993, my mother had her second child, me, Samuel Jerome McCartney. Right before I was born, my mom, dad, and brother moved to Philadelphia. When my mother had her second child, she retired from working, and became a house mom. Many years went by in Philadelphia, and last year we moved to West Lafayette, where we currently live, and I think she likes it better here than in the highly populated and busy city.

My mother, although she isn't employed, is the keystone of our family. She keeps the whole house clean; this is because she is very neat and she probably passed the neat gene on to me. She is also a great cook, so she makes heart healthy food all the time, which is one of the reasons I am a good cook and very healthy and strong. My mother is very educated, very forgiving (but strict sometimes) and very charitable. What I admire her most for is never falling for any lousy scams on the internet or at the store. My mom's best virtue is perseverance. My mother is a very persevering woman and I am a very persevering boy. I thank my mom for everything she has done to help me become me.

Sam McCartney, age 11
March 9, 2005

This earlier present from Sam to me
is one of my all - time favorites:
posted previously with other examples of
"Ocean City Artwork"

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Bunny Rabbit

In our backyard this morning!
I just hope he stays away from
Farmer ~ Gerry ~ McGregor's Garden!
~ More on Facebook ~

A favorite poem from childhood:

Meeting the Easter Bunny
On Easter morn at early dawn
before the cocks were crowing
I met a bob-tail bunnykin
and asked where he was going
"Tis in the house and out the house
a-tispy, tipsy-toeing,
Tis round the house and 'bout the house
a-lightly I am going."
"But what is that of every hue
you carry in your basket?"
"Tis eggs of gold and eggs of blue;
I wonder that you ask it.

"Tis chocolate eggs and bonbon eggs
and eggs of red and gray,
For every child in every house
on bonny Easter day."
He perked his ears and winked his eye
and twitched his little nose;
He shook his tail - what tail he had -
and stood up on his toes.
"I must be gone before the sun;
the east is growing gray;
Tis almost time for bells to chime." -
So he hippety-hopped away.

by Rowena Bennett, 1930
from her book:

I knew Bennett's poem
from this beautiful Ideals anthology:

Thursday, May 1, 2014

May Day Birthday

Happy May Day to All!
, 1887
Charles Edward Perugini, 1839 - 1918
[Previous Peony Post]


Happy Birthday to Etta!

For my Christmas present this past December, my dear,
life - long friend Marietta gave me a big shopping bag
full of my old letters to her, thinking that I could use
them for my memoirs, and even better -- for blogging!
Thanks Et!


Thanks to my friend Mitzi
for sharing this photo from the Woodland Trust

Ah listen, for silence is not lonely!
Imitate the magnificent trees
That speak no word of their rapture, but only
Breathe largely the luminous breeze.

from the poem -- about the painter -- "Corot"
by D. H. Lawrence

Burnetta writes: "Oh what scene, from my childhood in west Kentucky! I have to share this. I just makes me long for the "olden days" at least in landscape.

Indeed! My friend Vickie and I often reminisce about wandering down a lovely path such as this, gathering wildflowers in a basket as a May Day surprise for our elders!