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Michele Harber

Interesting or Boring? by LisaMay

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This was certainly an interesting, not boring, idea, Lisa May. I agree with you that what makes something interesting or boring is the way it's presented, more than the thing itself. Snowflakes are interesting in the fact that each one is unique but, if you present them as "They're all white, and they're all cold, and they all fall from the sky, and they usually disappear as soon as they hit the ground, so what does it matter anyway," you can certainly make snowflakes boring.

The show "Seinfeld" in the US, based on the comedy of stand-up comedian Jerry Seinfeld, was billed as "a show about nothing," where they basically took an inane topic and built an entire episode around it. I didn't like the show myself, but I was definitely in the vast minority.

I believe anything can be made interesting if told in an interesting way, and you certainly have the ability to do that.

As to your request for boring topics to turn into interesting stories, there's always the old cliche "A watched pot never boils." FYI, I have watched water go from stagnant to boiling, and I find it fascinating watching the tiny bubbles form, group together and then expand into larger bubbles that overtake the pot - but I also didn't like "Seinfeld," so you can't always judge by my opinion. ???
Comment Written by Michele Harber on 15-Jan-2021

Mean Streets by nancy_e_davis

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I admire your compassion, Nancy. The first step is to see them, the second to recognize their plight, and the third to do something to help. You've already done the first two steps. Let's hope someone reading this is in a position to do the third.

The only thing that bothers me (and I can point this out because I learned from the best - you!) is that, in the first verse, the beats of the second and fourth line don't match. The second line stresses the odd-numbered syllables and the fourth line the evens. All other lines seem to fall into the proper rhythm, which made the fourth line of the first verse stand out for me. I had to reread it putting stresses where they didn't naturally fall to make it flow. Otherwise, very well done.
Comment Written by Michele Harber on 15-Jan-2021

Emptiness Re-filled by LisaMay

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Oh my goodness, what a sad and beautiful detailing of loss and grief, covering several of the stages of grief, including depression, anger and acceptance. I found several of your phrases particularly strong, such as "dammed tears, fat with grief, spill over 'til emptied," "grabs handfuls of memories out of thin air," "Silence shouts in empty rooms," and "Hangers rattle like skeletal ribs in the impartial darkness." I was taken by the opposite nature of "Silence shouts," which is so apt whenever a source of noise or conversation is suddenly removed.

I immediately associated your last line with apples not falling far from the tree, for exactly the reason you suggested. This is a powerful and meaningful poem, and I hope you do well in the contest.
Comment Written by Michele Harber on 14-Jan-2021

It happened today. by nancy_e_davis

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"Chin" and "grinned" is barely even tweaking a rhyme, they're so close. If it does bother you, though, all you need to do is put the poem in the present tense. It does absolutely nothing to the poem's meaning, syllable count or rhyme scheme. It just lets "grinned" become "grin." As I said, though, the sound is so similar that the poem is perfectly fine as it is.

The poem made me feel good because it comes from the perspective of someone who's happy, content and thankful. As such, it has an enjoyably soothing effect.

Why is it when I cough something up, it sounds like "Aack" and, when you do, it sounds like a beautifully-written triolet?
Comment Written by Michele Harber on 14-Jan-2021

Lily, The Big Game Hunter by LisaMay

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I got a good laugh out of your last line about the refrigerator, but I'm putting the cart before the horse (or the wildebeest, as the case may be).

I can clearly see, from your description, the hunter showing in your cat's eyes, and the intensity with which she watches what's on the screen. My daughter will occasionally put bird videos on for our cat, and she'll watch with rapt attention. Annie's hunting instincts really come out when she hears the sparrows in the tree right outside our window, or the pigeons that sometimes land on the air conditioner. She particularly likes watching the occasional gray dove that lights on our windowsill. She'll often run across the floor and jump on the internal sill. I'd swear I'd seen a napkin around her neck and a knife and fork in her hand.

I enjoy reading your stories about your cat. You seem to read her well, and understand her feelings. What makes the stories more enjoyable, though, is the obvious kick you get out of observing her and seeing how she reacts to things. You see the world through Lily's eyes the way a parent sees the world through their child's eyes, and that's a really nice perspective to offer the reader.
Comment Written by Michele Harber on 14-Jan-2021

Life In Different Fish Tanks by LisaMay

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This is so cute, Lisa May. I love the varying perspectives, although I have to say, as a fish owner, my baby fish never drifted lazily; they darted place to place. I'm fairly sure they thought they were in a schoolyard playing tag.

I enjoyed that the fish had differing personalities at the different stages, and that you could see their understanding (and fear) of the world around them grow as they did.

Although you scaled them down, I did catch each of your fish- and water-related puns.
Comment Written by Michele Harber on 14-Jan-2021

Winter Time Begins by Roxanna Andrews

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That's quite the top hat your snowman is wearing. You did a great job of putting the snowman together with words that not just created the snowman shape but painted a picture of winter and all the fun of playing in the snow. I like that you touch on different senses, i.e., touch ("cold air biting at cheek"), sight ("shimmer in the moon's pale light") and sound ("squeals of delight"). Your choice of verbs, in particular ("bluster," "whip," "shimmer," "glower"), really works well in making the poem so vivid. Very nice job, Rox.
Comment Written by Michele Harber on 10-Jan-2021

My Friend, Dusty by LisaMay

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You are too funny. Yes, I'd heard "Get a long little doggie" before, but "Anna 1, Anna 2" was pure genius. I love your sense of humor and, after all the election drama going on, it's nice to see something just light and funny. I could absolutely hear the "buh dum bum" drum beat after "No, this is her husband." I hope you were implying that this was the first in a "strange friends" series.
Comment Written by Michele Harber on 06-Jan-2021

Is This A New Strain? by LisaMay

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Hi, Lisa May. The picture is very cute and, not surprisingly, you interpreted it with your usual punny wit. I have no idea how you managed to get that many puns into only 13 words but, if anyone can accomplish that, it's you. Thank you for a much needed smile. I hope this wins. If nothing else, it's likely to be the most original and unusual entry.
Comment Written by Michele Harber on 04-Jan-2021

This Traveler's Song by Mrs. KT

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What a lovely, spiritual and uplifting poem. The lines flow very smoothly, and your rhymes work beautifully. I appreciated the way your poem went full circle, with the last verse essentially updating two lines from the first. The pictures you chose top and bottom reflect nicely the change in mood and tone from the beginning of the poem to the end. Good luck in the contest.
Comment Written by Michele Harber on 04-Jan-2021


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