Have you ever taken part in a blogging challenge? I did. Once. In 2014.
The A to Z Blogging Challenge 2014
April Fool’s Day marked the beginning of the 2014 A to Z blogging challenge. Over 1500 bloggers took part in the month-long challenge by posting on the allocated days using the corresponding “letter of the day.” I did, too.
This post is a summary of the poems I wrote that year, which were originally published on Poetry Perfected. I had never been a part of a challenge like this.
Origins of the A to Z Challenge
Arlee Bird founded the A to Z Blogging Challenge in 2010 after reaching 200 followers on his blog. This idea developed into one which many bloggers love, and his post that discusses the intricacies of the challenge received over 125 comments!
Arlee Bird started a revolution with this idea and, since 2010, bloggers everywhere have participated in this challenge and have grown their blogs drastically!
The 2014 A to Z Challenge Hosts
Damyanti Biswas at Amlokiblogs
Jeremy Hawkins at Being Retro
Nicole at The Madlab Post
Ajay at Naturally Sweet
Pam at An Unconventional Librarian
Have fun discovering new, talented people to read and follow!
NOTE: Ab Ovo means “from the beginning”… in case you were wondering (which I know you were).
When I first started blogging, I created a free blog called Lorraine Reguly’s Life. Eventually, that site was deleted and my business site, Wording Well, was born. I imported most of my posts, and that is why Wording Well contains those old posts. I’ll eventually get around to moving those posts over here…
Anyways, this poem was written about my very first website/blog.
Initially, I created this blog
just to see if, indeed, I could.
I wanted to share my experiences with everyone in the entire world.
I know most of you will not care
about anything I have to say
But I wanted to try a few things out,
and document my life day by day.
Yet I found I couldn’t do that
because I didn’t have that much time
Life’s too short, and people get bored,
So, instead, I wrote this rhyme.
I am in a stage of life right now
Where I am confused and lost.
I am striving to be a better person,
I am succeeding, too,
But I don’t know at what cost.
I may be here for just a short time,
I may be here for a while,
I may hit “delete site” one day,
I may stay if you make me smile.
Yes, I like to write poetry,
But I like to write other stuff, too.
For now, I am going to share
some of my experiences with YOU.
You can stay, or you can go;
I am just glad that you dropped by!
I will never force you into anything,
although I may plead for help or cry.
I offer nothing of value
and so will not ask for a dime;
I am just glad you’re here with me right now,
even if only for a short time.
Please feel free to look around,
and learn along with me;
Everything you find on this site
Is completely me, and 100% free.
I’ll write about many things,
and will help you if I am able.
I’ll offer you free advice, never holding back,
I’ll put all cards upon the table.
So join me on my journey
— if you like, if you dare —
as I evolve, investigate and explore…
—Welcome to my lair! —
A is for Asinine!
Asinine. That’s the only word that comes to mind when I think about my participation in this challenge! I want to create more time for myself, not less, these days, as I have some writing projects that I need to work on if I am going to attain my goals. However, I think that having to do certain challenges will help discipline me, so maybe there is going to be an upside to this challenge after all.?
Actually what I
Am doing is
Accelerating this process.
A good thing.?
Aspire to be great!
Writing poetry with a lettered theme is tough. I’ll give it a go, though.
I think writing Haiku poetry might be the best way to tackle this challenge.
I doubt that I will be able to do this for every letter of the alphabet, but here is my
abasing and abhorring
While this is not a traditional Haiku, it does highlight the letter “A” and was difficult to write! I challenge you to write a Haiku poem using letters beginning with A and share it in the comments!
If you are having trouble getting started with your challenge, here are some words to get you started. A few of my favourites are:
B is for Bazinga!
Here is my first attempt at a Haiku poem using words beginning with the letter “B”:
bogus, baffling blunders
Here is another attempt:
beautiful bloggers bestow
This darn challenge is hard when it’s related to poetry!
I’m really thinking I was right when I said that this challenge was an asinine one for me to partake in.?
. . . Bazinga!
C is for Caracal, Cats, and Challenge
What is a caracal? Do you know?
Until recently, I didn’t know what a caracal was. It took my five-year-old nephew to teach me!
If you happen to have or know a child who is interested in Wild Kratts, you might know that a caracal is an animal. More specifically, it is a type of a cat.
I’ll elaborate further in a moment, but first let me tell you that I learned about caracals from my five-year-old nephew, Alistair, who visited one day and was trying to tell me something. I had no idea what he was talking about (he is a bit hard to understand sometimes), but when he told me to go to PBS.kids.com, I realized quite quickly what he was trying to say when he pointed to the game called Caracal Leap. He’s played it before, and was trying to tell me something about “creature power.” (I think this has to do with Wild Kratts.)
Anyways, I learned a few facts about Caracals from my nephew, and we watched a few videos about crocodiles (and how to tell the difference between a crocodile and an alligator), too.
Here are the basics, which I’ll relate to you in the form of a poem:
Caracals are African wildcats that can leap ten feet high.
Caracals use their jumping ability to catch birds and other prey.
Caracals are found where cheetahs are found, too.
Caracals might even be found in a zoo!
Okay, so the first two lines of the poem don’t rhyme exactly, but the last two do, so I am giving myself a pass on this one.?
A Personal Poetry Challenge
Yesterday, in the comments, Rebeccah asked me if I was going to attempt tautograms for each letter. I hadn’t planned on it, but now that the challenge has presented itself to me, I figured I would give it a go, so here is a Haiku featuring the letter C:
Calmly coaxing cats
Crazy, clamping claws
Noticed how I kept the whole cat theme going here?? (I think I’ll give myself a pat on the back for this one!)
Hang onto your hats. I’m not done with the poems yet, either!
Caracals are cats
Because caracals are cats, I thought I’d mention that my parents recently adopted two cats the other day. (My dad is a cat lover. Some of you may recall this when I showed you pics of the cat collage I made him. FYI, I also tell you how I made this poster!)
The two cats – Veronica and Midge – were adopted via Kitty Kare, an organization that operates on donations. There were no adoption fees, but Kitty Kare asks that you give a donation (it can be any amount) when you adopt from them. My sister is the one who told me about this organization, as my niece recently adopted her second cat from them.
Midge and Veronica are both black and white cats who were abandoned. Midge is about 8 or 9 months old, is small, and has a fluffy black tail. Veronica is about 14 months and has short hair. She’s the talkative one, while Midge is the shy one. Midge is my favourite. She’s a little cutie!
She is also my “tilted” kitty!
I’m allergic to cats, but I still love them. So does my writer friend, Raani York, who writes about her three cats, from the cats’ point of view!
Here is a poem I wrote, called “Cat Love”:
Cats provide companionship,
semi-conditional love and joy;
Purring when happy,
growling when annoyed.
They each have personalities
and unique characteristics.
They have an amazing ability to heal
using their purrs and licks.
Cats are just like little children,
and will eat wet food on command.
They’ll ask to go outside
so they can roam and play.
They’ll bring home mice as presents,
whether cats are orange, black, white or grey.
Cats are adorable little creatures
– I think this is something we all know –
For all the reasons listed here,
this is why we love them so!
D is for Disease
Disease, decay, death
Drugs delay dexterity
Here is another D tautogram
Depressing, yes, but life is not always delightful.
Don’t you agree?
E is for Editing and Ebooks
E is for editing. Editing is something I do on the side. Yes, I am a freelance editor! I’m also a freelance writer, and my first writing gig involved me regularly contributing (paid) blog posts to a site called Dear Blogger, where multiple blogging tips are freely given by Greg Narayan.
I’ve guest posted on multiple sites during the past year, and even wrote a post called How to Help Readers “Get” Your Blog Posts for a blogger friend of mine, which provides strategies you can employ to edit your own work. However, if you ever need some editing done, you can contact me via my other site, Wording Well. (See my inexpensive editing rates here.) If you join my subscriber list, you can get a FREE copy of my e-book, 20 Blog Post Must-Haves, too!
Here is my Haiku featuring the letter E:
Yes! What can I say? I know I’m good! ?
Others do, too! I’ve received exuberant testimonials, so I know my skills are awesome.
Have you ever needed an editor or a writer? Employ me when you do!
I’m excellent, established, and extremely expedient! (I’m also an English teacher. See my credentials.)
F is for Freelancing
Freelancing is not for everyone. Is the freelance life for you? It is for me, and I enjoy both writing and editing. Creating poetry is something I do as a hobby, and this blogging challenge has been enjoyable so far. Since I only recently started freelancing, you could say I am still earning my feathers. I mention feathers because one of the poems I wrote today mentions feathers. If you have been following this A to Z blogging challenge of mine, you’ll know that I’ve been writing tautograms in the form of Haikus, and I’ll continue to do so, as part of this challenge.
Here are two Haikus for you:
G is for Gambling
I am a gambler. I like taking risks. I also like playing bingo. In fact, while I was playing bingo one evening, I got really sick. I nearly died. You can read about my whole ordeal if you want. This true story is even part of an anthology!
In keeping with the theme of writing Haikus in the form of tautograms, here is my poem, featuring the letter G:
great gains, gratification
H is for Haiku
Haiku poetry is easy to write, as it follows the 5-7-5 syllabic pattern. Variations of this type of poem can also be written.
In keeping with the theme of writing Haikus in the form of tautograms, here is my poem, featuring the letter H:
hunky humans hunt
I have written many Haikus. Here is a link to 24 of them.
I is for Innovative
Innovation is key when creating poetry, because you don’t want to create something similar to what’s been created already.
Creating poetry can be tough. Mary Jaksch (from Write to Done) posted How to Write a Poem (and Why This Will Help You Become a Better Writer) and it got me thinking about my own creative process, which varies depending on what I’m writing.
When it comes to poetry, I tend to prefer the method of rhyming words with one another. When creating poems, I also tend to tell a story.
I have written one really good poem in my life. Everyone I have shared it with so far has told me that I should get it published!
Of course, this was before I knew that I could self-publish it!?
You can find this awesome poem right here: In One’s Eyes.
In keeping with the theme of writing Haikus in the form of tautograms, here is my poem of the day, featuring the letter I:
I liked creating this poem so much that I decided to create another. Here it is:
J is for Julian
Julian is my son, and he’s the best thing that ever happened to me. I like to think that he saved my life.
I had Julian when I was 18. He’s now 24. When he was 19, he moved out, and I didn’t see or speak to him for about three years.
I re-connected with him after I nearly died. He continues to impact my life. I love him so much!
Of course, we had our problems, too, mainly when he was a teenager.
In keeping with the theme of writing Haikus in the form of tautograms, here is my poem of the day, featuring the letter J, reminiscent of those horrible times:
All I can say now is that I’m glad he’s not a teenager anymore! He’s a strong, young adult who works out, doesn’t smoke, doesn’t do drugs, and rarely drinks. Yes, he turned out alright!
I wrote a letter to him that you might enjoy. I published it with his permission.
K is for Kindergarten, Kyrielle Sonnets, and Kids
You would think that I would write about kittens today, due to the recent adoption of two into my family last month, but my muse took me in a different direction.?
In fact, I was going to write a Kyrielle Sonnet (excellent instructions are given here, where you can also see a sample of a Kyrielle), but I honestly couldn’t get into it. I’ve been really tired lately, and I am not sure why.
So, in keeping with the theme of writing Haikus in the form of tautograms, here is my poem, featuring the letter K:
keyed-up, kicking kid
klutzy, kissable, keen, kind
I confess that I had my little nephew in mind when I wrote this poem. He can be keyed-up, klutzy, kissable, and kind, and is keen, sometimes kicks, and started kindergarten last fall.
He’s now 5. He’s cute, too.
His name is Alistair (we call him Ali) and he is the star of the following home videos, which I hope you enjoy.
This is Ali getting a kick out of a Mickey Mouse toy:
This is him at his grandma’s house, playing with a toy and using it as a “wrecking ball”:
Ali has always loved water. I have taken him to the neighbourhood pool many times, and was really proud of him when he jumped in, learned to swim, and go down the slide!
L is for Loquacious, Lexicon, and Lexeme
Today’s post is educational in a fun way. Learn a few words, enjoy a few poems, and laugh if you want. I’ll be here listening, loving lightheartedly, and legislating lovely, loose language.
I like to talk. Sometimes I ramble. I might even be considered loquacious.?
I just happen to be an English teacher, too, who likes learning, and believes learning is lifelong.
I like adding words to my lexicon. I even get the “Word of the Day” emailed to me from Merriam-Webster’s site! (You can, too!)
I also love the letter L. I think having a name like Lorraine influences this love.
In case you don’t know, a lexicon consists of all of the words you know. It has a couple of definitions, but is basically the vocabulary of a language, an individual speaker or group of speakers, or a subject. Think of your lexicon as your brain’s dictionary. Each person’s lexicon is different, depending on the words you know. Easy ones are found in almost everyone’s lexicon, but it’s neat to learn new words from one another, right?
(What is a interesting – and a bit surprising to me – is how opportunities for learning are all around us. Remember, my five-year-old nephew taught me a new word this past month:caracal.)
Adding words to your lexicon is something most writers do on an ongoing basis. Whenever I read a book and I encounter a word that I have never heard of, I make a note of it. I look up the meaning of it and try to use it in a sentence. (Recall doing this in school, anyone?)
I find that learning related words is easier to do than learning and remembering unrelated words. Our understanding is greater when things are made simpler. For this reason, I wanted to teach you two words you may not have hear of before today: lexeme and lemma.
Lexemes and Lemmas
A lexeme is best thought of as a basic unit of meaning. For example, in the English language, wrote, writing, writes, and written are forms of the same lexeme, conventionally written as write. Lemmas are related to lexemes.
In the example I have provided, write is both a lemma and a lexeme. Writing is a lemma.Written is a lemma. (Yes, there will be a test on this later!)
In keeping with the theme of writing Haikus in the form of tautograms, here is my poem of the day, featuring the letter L, following the 5-7-5 pattern:
lemmas languish lucidly
love lasting learning
I don’t think that one was very good.
The next one is a bit better. It follows the 7-5-5 pattern. Here it is:
leprous long left leg
luxuriant living’s lost
Here is another. This might be the best one yet. It follows the 5-5-7 pattern:
loathesome local loiterer
Ha. You thought I was kidding! Laughable!
It’s easy, though, so don’t worry.
I just want to know if, given four words, you can pick out the one that doesn’t belong. Here are the words:
lexeme, loquacious, lemma, lexicon
Did you guess correctly?? I hope so! If not, maybe you should read this section again.?
M is for Midge’s Mouse
Midge is one of the cats my parents adopted, but she is more mine than theirs, I think, and today’s Haikus tautograms are about her, sort of . . .
my majestic Midge
murmurs magnificent meows
Midge’s mechanical mice
N is for Needles
Have you ever watched someone inject themselves with an illegal drug? I have. It’s not a nice scene. Trust me on that if you haven’t. I have, in fact seen this done on more than one occasion, even though I have NEVER done something like that to myself (not even during my drug days). I have, however, memories of walking in back lanes in my city and seeing dirty, used needles lying on the ground.
Drugs of all kinds – not just narcotics – it seems, are everywhere, nowadays, and people are less likely to hide the fact that they use them and, in keeping with the theme of writing Haikus in the form of tautograms, here is my poem of the day (which is a bit negative), featuring the letter N:
new nasty needles
nourish nature’s neighbourhoods
O is for Ocean and Orgy
occupants: oysters, odors,
P is for Prostitution
Prostitution is something I am familiar with. I used to be a prostitute. Most people think lowly of prostitutes, and I am no exception. Of course, what most of us fail to realize is that every prostitute is a person, and some of them have talents the world will never be aware of.
Take me, for instance. I am a teacher, a skilled writer and editor, and a caring person. I am not your typical strung-out (former) hooker! I also got involved in prostitution accidentally.
Prostitution and pain often go hand-in-hand. I was raped when I was a virgin and ended up with twisted sexual views. I turned to drugs to cope with the pain I felt. Years later, I prostituted myself. I liked the money, but I didn’t like the blows to my self-esteem or the way I was perceived by others. I still have flashbacks, bad memories, and sometimes hate myself.
I never had a pimp. I worked for myself. I degraded myself willingly, for money. Nope, I am not proud of it, but I am proud that I got out of it. Yay for me.
There are many “P” words associated with writing: paper, publication, precision, publishing, pencil, poetry, poem, poetic, poetically, pen, perfection, and private. For me, some of my writing is VERY private. No one sees it. Ever. Unless I want them to. It’s been 28 years since I was raped. I still suffer the effects, sad to say.
Prostitution, sex, and drugs are all issues I have had to deal with in my life. I am not embarrassed to speak of these things. I am honest and open, and wish more people were this way. But, enough about me. If you want to hear more of my story, you can read it here.
Let’s get back to this blogging challenge, shall we?
In keeping with the theme of writing Haikus in the form of tautograms, here is my poem, featuring the letter P:
precious, private parts
pristine, pleasant, poised,
pretty pink penis
probably pointing proudly
Perhaps potentially prays
Personal poor plight
What are your views when it come to prostitution and/or rape?
Do you know anyone who has been raped (other than me)? Do you know any prostitutes?
Do you treat them differently?
Q is for Quote
quizzical quaint quotes
qualitative quick questions
R is for Rat and Recliner
I once had two pet rats, Miffy and Sniffy. Most people think I am weird, but that’s okay. In fact, most people, when they think about rats, think about dirty, infested, run-down apartments or back alleys with tons of Dumpsters. Some people might think of the Pied Piper, too.?
In keeping with the theme of writing Haikus in the form of tautograms, here is my poem of the day, featuring the letter R, that follows the 5-5-7 pattern:
ravage rank rubbish
reaping righteous rat rewards
Another type of rat that some people might think of is a person who tells on someone. To “rat someone out” means to reveal something to someone else about another person. Obviously, this type of rat is not the type I am referring to in the poem, but I wanted to mention that “rat” has alternate meanings here.
I wrote another poem for you today, about an old chair, as most of us, at one time or another, has probably sat in one. I don’t know what shape yours was in, but hopefully it was in a better condition than the one in the following poem:
repeating raspy rhythms
What do you think of when you hear the word “rat”?
Which poem painted a vivid picture in your head?
Do you have a favorite chair that you like to relax or read in?
S is for Sucking, Sex, and Slut
I am getting a bit risqué lately, don’t you think? I’ve talked about needles, orgies, and prostitution, so it shouldn’t surprise you that today I am going to write about sex!
Hey, all of these things are a part of many people’s lives, including my old life, so I don’t see a problem with speaking the truth. Much of my poetry is based on my experiences or observations, so I hope you don’t find things too offensive.?
In keeping with the theme of writing Haikus in the form of tautograms, here are two poems, featuring the letter S:
That one wasn’t too bad, was it? Good. Prepare yourself for the next one.
slow sensual sucks
swallowing sticky semen
sweet, salty, sloppy
Did you like this one? (Ha. I thought not!)
T is for Toddlers and Triolets
Two things to talk about today: toddlers and triolets. Toddlers because my sister has a two-year-old who was born with cancer (but is inspirational, as she participates in fundraisers such as the Relay for Life), and triolets because this is a poetry blog, after all.?
Toddlers, as you know, usually go through a phase called “the terrible twos,” which actually last from ages two-and-a-half to three-and-a-half. Sammi turned two on March the first, and now she is learning how to talk. Her favorite word is “no.”?
So, in keeping with the theme of writing Haikus in the form of tautograms, here is my poem, featuring the letter T:
taking ten temper tantrums
trying, taxing times
Sammi also just happens to be cancer-free at the moment! It’s been six months now, and our family is thrilled at these results.
Triolets are a form of poetry. You can read more about them here:
U is for Ugly Underwear
Underwear. We all wear them. We all need them. And I’m willing to bet we have all owned a pair like the kind described in the poem at some point in our lives! (Well, okay, maybe not quite like them…)
In keeping with the theme of writing Haikus in the form of tautograms, here is my poem, featuring the letter U (a tough letter, by the way):
unloved, unwanted, urine-stained
V is for Vixen and Views
virile, velvet vested valets
vanquishing virgins (or maybe this should be visiting virgins?)
veiled vast vistas
W is for Waterfall
Some people like water. Others are afraid of it – like my brother, who has never learned how to swim due to an incident he experienced in the bathtub when we were young children. Apparently, I tried to drown him! I don’t recall that, but he sure does!
I like water. I love swimming in it. I like drinking it. I like watching my niece and nephew pour it from one container to another.
I also like waterfalls. I’ve never been to Niagra Falls, but I live close to Kakabeka Falls and have stood where the people in this picture are standing! I’ve also seen them in the winter, frozen.
watching warm waterfalls
X is for Xenophobia
Xenophobia is the fear or hatred of strangers or foreigners. I bet many people from the United States developed this fear after the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers in New York!
I actually wrote a poem about terrorism last year, and thought it would be fitting to share it with you today, as xenophobia is the word I selected for X in the blogging challenge.
Here it is:
Conjured images of bombs, of planes hijacked,
of men and women plotting, planning,
of twin towers falling, people scrambling,
of injuries, blood, gore and death.
Smoke, air thick, breathing difficult, impossible.
Evil minds wreak havoc upon the world.
Choice matters not.
Racism ensues, continues.
Attacks on religion, on people, on living beings.
Murderous rage obliterates peace.
Pieces of bodies buried beneath rubble,
beneath other people.
Bodies. Lives wasted, taken.
Psyches scarred for life,
Terrorists incite much more than terror —
Fear and sadness and loss of hope.
Blackness darkens innocent hearts.
Terrorists hide, devils disguised,
My X Tautogram
In keeping with the theme of writing Haikus in the form of tautograms, here is my poem of the day, featuring the letter X:
Hey, I never said this poem would make sense! However, roughly translated, this poem is about a hospitable person who has yellow teeth and sells wood (and might make) a xylophone that looks wooden!
I really tried to write something good! I even used this list of words and their definitions!
Y is for Yappy Youngsters
Yappy youngsters can drive a person crazy, especially those with little or no patience. My niece and nephew can be two yappy children sometimes! I like it when it’s their bedtime, though, and love them best when they are sleeping. They are little angels then!
When they are awake, the noise sometimes gets to me (in my old age…)
Here is my poem, featuring the letter Y:
your yelling youngsters
yabber, yelp, yowl, yammer,
yap; yearning yawns
Z is for Zazzy and Zombie
Zombies are not my favorite types of characters. I don’t like shows or movies that have zombies in them. I’m not scared of them; I just don’t like them. That’s all. Although I sometimes feel like one, especially when I get over-tired (this usually happens when I take on too much, like blogging challenges).?
I’m so happy that I decided to do this challenge, though, but I AM glad it’s come to an end!
In keeping with the theme of writing Haikus in the form of tautograms, here is my FINAL poem, which features the letter Z:
zany, zymotic, zazzy
zesty, zoic zones
I had to include “zazzy” in my poem because I love The Big Bang Theory and Sheldon Cooper, who says “Bazinga!” when he plays pranks. Remember? Plus, his asinine antics make me laugh. And what better way to end this blogging challenge than with a laugh??
I hope you had as much fun reading my poems as I did writing them!
Now I can breathe a sigh of relief, and be proud of myself for completing my first A to Z challenge!
I don’t think I could have completed this challenge without them.?
My A to Z Challenge Reflections
I’m really happy that the A to Z challenge is over. The hosts now want me to say a few things about it, like:
- what I liked
- what I didn’t like
- what worked and what didn’t
- if I would do it again
- any improvements that could be made
I personally wanted to do this challenge because I have never attempted a challenge like this before. I must say that I am proud of myself for doing it – and all in tautogram Haikus, too! This was a challenge in itself!!!
I didn’t like blogging every day. I also didn’t like having to “force” my creativity. I prefer to let things happen naturally.
I didn’t have time to visit a bunch of blogs, either.
I can confidently say that I won’t be doing a challenge like this again. At least, this is how I feel right now!
I think that you get out of blogging what you put into it, and with all of my other responsibilities, I just don’t have the time to put 100% into it.
My Favourite Part
I will say that receiving comments has been one of my favorite parts of blogging (and always has been), so please leave me one!