Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Wordplay Wednesday™ January 18, 2017 – Cento

Are You One of a Kind? Write Like It.

There is often a fine line between plagiarism and tribute … medley and mad music … words of intellect and words of nonsense …  

CENTO (senʹtō) n. – 1) a literary or musical work made up of passages from other works; 2) anything made up of badly matched parts. [WW #95] 

I once knew an investor who bought into a small press publishing company. As president/CEO, he purportedly desired to learn the business—of which he knew nothing—from the inside out. In an effort to impress the staff and a stable of authors, he “wrote” and published a book.

It was at first thought a good sign that his interest in the company was genuine and its future secure. You feel a “but” coming on here don’t you? Yep …

But, he gathered quotes from others’ works, stuck his name on it, and gave it a title. Lack of real effort foretold the ultimate result of his faux sincerity with a cento, and the company’s dubious future.

Don’t get me wrong—please don’t start a Twitter storm about my perceived deplorable POV 😉—I applaud anyone who spends the time to cull inventive writings to share.

Time is our most important asset. Creating a cento to make a point and honor those creative, wise, and often humorous folks, who conceived them, is certainly time-consuming.

Kudos also to anyone who goes through the publishing process, traditional, independent, or self-publishing. It is not for the faint of heart.

There is no question, however, that writing a book, either fiction or nonfiction, in your words, is a long and laborious project, far removed from a cento arranged in an attractive format.

This person’s effort to impress in a company of authors, was the proverbial slap in the face at worst, and a feeble attempt, at best. He may have meant well at the outset—and again, there is a place for a collective book—but a cento did not bode well in this context.

Moral of the story: As an author—know your readers—since you obviously feel you have something important or enjoyable to share with them, do it in your words.

If you discover incredible quotes, lines, or passages that simply deserve a book assemblage, set them off with your narrative, comments, or exploration that are relevant to your reader. (Mindful of fair use and copyright laws, of course.)

Readers are waiting for your sparkling wit and charming inspiration—give it to them!

Word Challenge: CENTO. Mashups may be funny, interesting, or exciting in images and music, but in writing, originality is usually best. Enjoy the inspiration of your own muse as you fit cento into your week of imaginative writings.


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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Wordplay Wednesday™ January 11, 2017 – Moggy

Purrrrrr, Meow, Lick, Lick … 

Sound and feel familiar? Aha! You’re a “cat person.”

While dogs are man’s best friend (in the general term; many women count them as their besties, too), cats tend to gravitate to independent thinkers, or those who wish they were.
We’ve heard many stories of how they often choose you, rather than the other way around, and it matters not whether you opt for purebred, or a …

MOGGY or MOGGIE (mägʹē) n. (Brit. Informal) – a domestic cat, esp. one of a common or mixed breed.  [WW #94] 

Kinda the feline form of a mongrel dog, British style.

We tend to think our pets need us, which fulfills a basic human requisite. It’s wonderful to be needed, but for my liking, dogs are a little too high maintenance.

Yes, I’ve had both dogs and moggies—and once, a glutton for punishment—both at the same time. The unconditional love of a dog is heartwarming, but the very conditional love of a moggy is so rewarding to earn.

My favorite handsome man sported the traditional tabby* striping, soft gold, with burnished streaks. He came to me on the 2nd of January many moons ago.

Peering through the sliding glass deck door, his fur caught the rays of the early morning sun—I was hooked—as if I had a choice. His insistent meowing made it clear he would not be ignored. Sunny stayed for more than a decade.

However, I still had to earn my moggy’s affection. He stuck around for the food and a cozy bed to snooze in during inclement weather, and soft stroking when he was in the mood.

But we didn’t truly bond until a few months later when he arrived at the door, literally caterwauling. His back legs and haunches covered in motor oil, Sunny wailed in frustration and mortification.

Normally an impeccable moggy, the filth of it all obviously distressed him, as he tried futilely to clean himself.

After a frantic call to the vet, I filled up the kitchen sink with warm, lightly soapy water. His big green eyes grew even larger when he realized I was easing him in to the water.

I swear I heard him growl, “You’re not serious!” Lowering him ever-so-slowly, the fright on his little face was clear; but he allowed me to stroke him and gently wash the oil down his legs, as best I could.

Though terrified, at one point, Sunny leaned his head against me and I knew he finally trusted me completely. We were best buds.

There was no way to make that outdoor moggy an indoor kitty—in fact, you didn’t “make” Sunny do anything—as long as I knew that, he was happy.

*Tabby is any domestic cat, esp female, but be careful how you use the term, as you might be calling the woman next to you an old maid, or a spiteful gossip (Old Brit. Informal). Talk about someone who’ll scratch your eyes out!

Word Challenge: MOGGY. Put a little sunshine in your life, with a sweet moggy of your own—or a dashing doggy—as you fit moggy into your week of independent writings.


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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Wordplay Wednesday™ January 04, 2017 – Mew

Life is so big … don’t limit yourself.
Fly like a bird every chance you get … even if it’s only in your mind. 

Inspirational writings go hand-in-hand with 2017’s cheery baby New Year, as 2016’s battered Father Time hobbles into his role of the past year’s troubled memory. 

Most of us think of life and time as steps backward or forward. This year, I am adopting the Ladder Attitude. I’m taking a step UP for a lofty view to analyze what was … and with insight, looking UP with hope, stepping on the next rung, to spring into flight. It’s a good year to fly … 

MEW [dictionary entry #3] (myōō) n. – a gull; esp., the common gull (Larus canus) of Eurasia and NW North America. [WW #93]   

This word is oddly contrary to the soft whimper of a kitten we generally envision with it (dictionary entry #2), don’t you think? And mew as a place of confinement (dictionary entry #1) simply never comes to mind. However, its vision of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, it excites the mind.  

With the metaphor in place, 2017’s world society is, without doubt, more like a mew rising shakily into a loud storm of transformation. In a kaleidoscope of emotions, we’ll watch the mix of challenges and changes swirl around it, and can only hope for a smooth landing by 2018.
When it comes to your year, however, YOU are in control. With faith in yourself, guide 2017 gently but firmly into the New Year’s Golden Horizon, on the wings of your inner mew! 
A few practical tips for your bright New Year:
* Begin your flight with a plan or list, or better yet, a dream.
* Keep looking ahead to the next sunny horizon.
* Adjust your wingspan with the quarter (every three months), for optimum navigation.
* Don’t hesitate to change direction altogether; it isn’t failure, only intelligent course conversion.
* Know when to stop for a short rest, with time to play.
* Fly with a flock for frequent altitude refreshment.
* When you know it’s right, stay your course.
* Never say you can’t do it—you absolutely can. 

Word Challenge: MEW. Though a mew is a gull, thinking metaphorically in terms of your New Year, any bird of flight will do. Perhaps you’ll “… Fly Like an Eagle* as you fit mew into your week of flying high writings.  

'Til next time ... cheers to a wonderful "wordful" week
* This is a true Flower Power rendition of Steve Miller Band’s “Fly Like an Eagle” on the Midnight Special show, circa 1977. “Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ | Into the future …” Enjoy!
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