Friday, November 18, 2016

Day 12 - November

Today is Day 12 of the Writer's Digest November PAD Chapbook Challenge.  I've been kind of hopping around, because not all of this month's challenges have inspired me yet, but I hope they will.  I am still trying.  I'm still in the game.  Let me know what you think!  I really do want to know!


The crunch of leaves under my tall black boots on a lunchtime walk.
The smell of wood smoke in the air,
and the buzz of a chainsaw in the far distance.

Memories rise of fall mornings,
preparing wood to be saved and stacked so we would be warm for winter.
Dressed in flannel and thermal and denim,
boots on our feet and gloves on our hands,
sent out by our mother to
help our father prepare for winter storms.

Although we protested at first,
our work quickly evolved into play.
I don’t know who started it first,
but every log we threw was thrown with a word,
whether it was a
Star Wars character, or
things of a certain color, or a
popular song, or an
“and then” story.
We kept it going until we couldn’t go any farther and then we started it again.

Warming ourselves next to the wood stove,
cups of steaming hot chocolate topped with melting marshmallows.
Mom in the kitchen making lunch-
peanut butter and jelly or tuna fish sandwiches,
maybe some soup.
Rosy cheeks and runny noses, bright eyes and yawns.

My sweet November.

Oh, how I miss it…

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Twitter:  @jennifermcann06

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Play It Cool

Today's prompt?  It's "Play", so I decided to "Play it Cool".  Hope you like it.  You can find the challenge here at Writer's Digest.  

Play It Cool

I try to play it cool, really I do.
My motto is "live and let live".
Not so much the people around me
and sometimes I get so frustrated
I just want to make them realize that
their agenda
down my throat
is not the way to do things
so I fire back in
and blast them.

And then I step back,
rub my face,
lean into the corner and shrug.

That’s how I play.

Saturday, November 5, 2016


Day 5 - Write a "wire" poem.  So here it is!  Check out the challenge here at Writer's Digest.


Your frantic eyes search out my face then turn away just as quickly.
You run circles around the table and get intertwined in the computer’s cables.
As soon as we disentangle you from your own trap you are back to circling. 
Bark at the other dogs, wag your tail, come push my hand to pet you, incessant whining.
I scratch your head and feel you burning up.
Your wires are crossed, again.
We talk to you softly until you calm down and your head cools.
The electricians re-routing your energy so you can run correctly again.

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Twitter:  @jennifermcann06

Friday, November 4, 2016

A Kept Woman

Day 4 of the Writer's Digest November challenge: write a poem of a life imagined.

A Kept Woman

A kept woman has an apartment with a view of the city.
She has beautiful clothes and a neat kitchen with a wine rack and a bar.
She sleeps in silk negligees and her makeup is perfect.
Her furniture is top of the line, and everything is paid for, even her.

He visits, but rarely stays.
She listens and nods; murmurs now and then and sympathizes.
She is a haven, a stress-relief, a port in a storm.
She straddles him and does what he (and she) desire.
When he travels he takes her and they pretend they are all they have.
She belongs to him.
She loves him.
And she tells herself he loves her, too.

And when he’s gone,
home to his lovely wife and 2.5 children,
she curls up in the overstuffed chair and cashmere blanket
with a cup of tea and a romance novel,
and she imagines him across from her.

It would be different for them.
He would love her totally,
and she would make sure their home was welcoming and calm.
She would make him dinner every night and
he would make love to her after the children were put to bed.
When he headed out the door
to go back to the office to finish up some forgotten work
she would smile and think
what a great provider he is.

She sighs as she opens her book.

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Twitter:  @jennifermcann06

If I'd Only Followed Directions (DRAFT)

Yesterday was Day 3 of the Writer's Digest November Challenge.  The prompt was "If I'd Only ________".  Here is my interpretation:

If I’d Only Followed Directions

The directions my parents gave me always seemed so stuffy,
so grown up and
unbelievable to me.
Get an education,
get a job,
meet someone,
fall in love,
get married,
buy a house,
have some kids,
grow old together.
Add in the standard don’t smoke,
drink in moderation,
don’t do drugs.
Mix it up with treat others as you would have done unto you,
turn the other cheek,
always be kind.

All of this would guarantee me a

Except somewhere along the way I messed up
and following directions got screwed around and not for me. 
I was unique and I marched to a different drummer.
I did everything backwards and upside down.

I still look for that picket fence and those children
with the dad that takes care of everyone.
I wonder if he would have made a difference in our lives,
made my life easier,
made it so that I wouldn’t have had to make so many decisions.

Oh, if only I’d listened!

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Twitter:  @jennifermcann06

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Feline Queen (Draft)

Today's poetic challenge through Writer's Digest - channel my spirit animal.  Even though I love dogs, I am a cat at heart.

Feline Queen 

I come to you on my terms only.
Soft and sweet I can turn and draw blood in a moment.
Don’t doubt that.

You can touch, when I choose
and you will be happy and possibly angry ,
because you can’t do anything about it.
Spend too much time, or get too loud and
I will turn away and efficiently block you.

You envy me, enjoying my own spot in the sun,
my windowsill,
my perspective.
You hate me for the very same thing.

Just one purr,
one brush of me against you,
and all is forgiven.

My girl, AJ - she taught me well!

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Song That Ended (DRAFT)

So today I learned about Trimeric poetry.  I don’t know if I did it right but I like how it turned out and am presenting it here for your opinion.  It’s about a real kid and a real song and a real love we share.  I get such a kick out of him, and I think he does with me too.

Headed out to trick-or-treat tonight, but figured I’d leave you with this little gem. 


The Song That Ended

There was a song I sang with him
That had no end
We’d sing on and on
And our voices would blend.

There was no end and it made us sing all the harder
If it bothered someone
We were none the wiser.

It was our song and we sang it non-stop with glee
My part, then his
We sang joyfully.

Blending our voices with joy, then, but the seeds were still sown
He’ll sing no more with me,
Now that he’s grown.

Let me know what you think!
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Twitter:  @jennifermcann06

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Dressing For It

A friend of mine recently posted on Facebook about men saying that a girl asked for “It”, meaning to be raped, by dressing provocatively.  (He does not believe this sentiment, but made a remark about it) His friends, not all, but some, suggested that women did dress for it, by wearing low-cut tops and short skirts and spandex leggings.  We are all sex maniacs and looking for it everywhere from anyone.

And seriously guys, I’m sick of it.  You ask why we dress this way if we don’t want to get sexed up.  Well here is my reason.

Confidence.  From the time I was old enough to go clubbing I would dress provocatively.  In this area, in the 90’s, a crop top and jeans was sexy.    It wasn’t low cut.  I wore my “uniform” with a flannel shirt, leather jacket, and yes, combat boots.  I know you’re thinking that the outfit definitely isn’t sexy.  Well, apparently it was because I got plenty of offers.  Not just one-night-stand offers, but guys who really wanted to forge a relationship.  At the time I only had eyes for one guy and he knew it and all the other guys were out of luck.  My outfit made me feel good about myself.  Feeling good about myself apparently made me attractive to the opposite sex.  Therefore, I was sexy.

When I worked at a golf course I dressed in shorts and tank tops.  Less is more when you work as a golf cart girl.  Tips are good, even when you are sporting a small B cup.  When the dress code changed and I had to wear longer shorts and a polo shirt, the tips went down.  As much as men want to say we’re asking for sex, we are trying to get ahead in a dick driven economy.  I was trying to make my way through school.  The tips supplemented my hourly wage.  Tips dip, my pocket empties faster.  It’s a man's world, no matter how far women have come.  We still have a long way to go, baby.

Twenty years later I work in an office.  I wear a dress to work.  I wear skirts and tank tops.  I wear tall boots and I wear heels.  I wear a push-up bra.  I’m learning to dress for success.  The clothes I wear are sexy. I don’t look like someone’s over-worked, underpaid mother.  I look like someone that wants to be looked at.  And most days I do.  I want to be noticed because once you aren’t then people think you’re replaceable.  I want to be noticed because isn’t the basest part of us sexual?  I certainly am not planning on jumping anyone’s bones and when I dress for work I do not expect to be raped on my way home.

Someone referred to us as peacocks.  Except in the wild side of peacock land it is the male that presents for the female.  The male that is beautiful while the females are plain.  It’s the male that puts on the show with his pretty feathers – all for sex.  As women, many of us are putting on that pretty show to get ahead, not in bed.  Most of us like pretty, even enjoy it. 

Men scoff and say she was wearing spandex, skin tight, she wants us to look!  Maybe, but I like my pretty spandex.  I look forward to wearing it to work out.  It’s an incentive, an alternative to my baggy, raggy gray shorts.  It hugs my skin, wicks moisture away, and contrary to popular belief – it’s not tight. 

In short, guys, we’re not dressing to get laid.  We dress this way to feel better about ourselves in a world where we are told to be thin, young, smart, ageless, blemish free, carefree, successful, forgiving, motherly, sexy, and anything else you might be able to throw on us.  We do this for us, and occasionally for you.  Sometimes we do go out looking for sex.  We’re human.  It doesn’t mean we want it with you, and it doesn’t mean that just because we are out there you have the right to take it from us. 

It’s funny.  I was raped in my own bed by a friend’s boyfriend.  I had been out that night, came home, closed my bedroom door while they were sleeping in the living room.  I had on a t-shirt and underwear.  I had a blanket over me. 

Considering how I was dressed, I must’ve been asking for it.  

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Urban Renewal (DRAFT)

The old buildings disappeared,
for want of something new,
something modern.

Throwing away the old brick and stone,
molded woodwork
and plaster,
yesteryears’ buildings

The race to forget the old ways,
 to shed histories and to begin anew 
            with better technology and materials
was the all-important goal.
Now there is a city, 
best forgotten by the way it looks and feels.
Concrete vaults that house offices,
sprawling empty malls and
cratered            parking               lots.

Gone is the character,
the individuality of the buildings,
only available 
                    in washed out, 
                                  grainy photos 
of which we stare longingly---
for the good old days.

Urban renewal? 
More like urban sepsis.

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Twitter:  @jennifermcann06

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Music & Memories

I was listening to the radio as I was driving home from a hair appointment the other day.  After going back and forth between talk radio and modern pop, I settled on the 80’s music station.  Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” came on.  I turned the radio up and sang along (off-key) at the top of my lungs.  It brought me back to junior high/high school in an instant. 

Instantly images of big hair, leg warmers, day-glo accessories, scrunchies, walkmans and high-tops popped into my head.  I have always had super fine hair so I was never able to get my hair to stand as high as some of my friends did.  Jealous, much?  I was!  We wore our collars up, preppy style.  Dress shirts under cowl neck sweaters.  Tight jeans with slouch socks.  Love’s baby soft. 

Not me, but I would have worn this, sans stockings
That song brought all of that back.  This got me thinking about music, songs, and their connection with our memories.  There are definitely songs that will bring a long buried memory to the forefront of my brain.  Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer”, Bryan Adams’ “Heaven”, REO Speedwagon’s “Take it on the Run”.  All involve boys/men that made a difference in who I am today.  Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out for a Hero” was the theme song to the Voyagers TV show.  At least in my head it was which brings back memories of Jon-Eric Hexum.  No one knows who I’m talking about when I mention him, but he would have been a star had he not had that unfortunate accident. 

So handsome...

Star power....
 The theme music to Star Wars always brings me back to the first time I sat in a darkened theater and watched the star filled space start scrolling “Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away…”

I’m asking you now, what music touched your life?  What song brings back memories so strong you have to sit a moment and savor them before you move on with your day?  I am seriously interested. If you don’t feel comfortable commenting, please email me at .

Thursday, March 10, 2016

April Contests

     Hey- I grabbed this list off of Publishing...and Other Forms of Insanity .  I apologize for the funky look - I can't change it for some reason.  Probably because I copied/pasted it.  This website is tres cool.  Good luck! 

APRIL 2016

Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest. Now in its 15th year, this contest seeks today's best humor poems, published and unpublished. Please enter one poem only, 250 lines max. Prize: $2,250 in prizes, including a top prize of $1,000, and publication on Winning Writers. Deadline: April 1, 2016. Submission form HERE.

The Marguerite and Lamar Smith Fellowship for Writers. Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians awards fellowships for writers to spend time in McCullers' childhood home in Columbus, Georgia. The fellowships are intended to afford the writers in residence uninterrupted time to dedicate to their work, free from the distractions of daily life and other professional responsibilities. Award: Stipend of $5000 to cover costs of transportation, food and other incidentals. Fellowship recipients will be required to introduce or advance their work through reading or workshop/forum presentations. The Fellow will work with the McCullers Center Director to plan a presentation near the end of the residency. Deadline: April 1, 2016. More details are HERE.

The Great American Think-OffGenre: Essay on the theme: “Income Inequality Threatens Democracy.” Entrants should take a strong stand agreeing or disagreeing with this topic, basing their arguments on personal experience and observations rather than philosophical abstraction. Essay should be no more than 750 words. Prize: One of four $500 cash prizes. Deadline: April 1, 2016. Submission details are HERE.

Stony Brook Short Fiction PrizeRestrictions: Only undergraduates enrolled full time in United States and Canadian universities and colleges for the academic year 2015-16 are eligible. Genre: Fiction of no more than 7,500 words Prize: $1,000. Deadline: April 15, 2016. See submission details HERE.

The Waterman Fund Essay ContestGenre: Essay. "The dual mission of the NPS is to conserve the resources and provide visitor enjoyment of uniquely wild and beautiful places around the country. However, with these high and growing levels of use, how can the NPS achieve these ideals? Is the spirit of wilderness alive and well in our National Parks? What do we gain or lose by protecting these areas over others? What relationships between stewardship and National Parks stand out as significant in preserving both our landscapes and our ideals of wilderness? Emerging writers are encouraged to address these questions and their own in well-crafted essays, drawing on personal wilderness experiences—in or out of Parks—as concrete examples for their arguments." Prizes: The winning essayist will be awarded $1500 and publication in Appalachia Journal. The Honorable Mention essay will receive $500. Deadline: April 15, 2016.  Submission details are HERE.

Toronto Book AwardsGenres: All genres accepted. Restrictions: Submission "must evoke the city itself, that is, contain some clear Toronto content (this may be reflected in the themes, settings, subjects, etc.). Authors do not necessarily have to reside in Toronto. Ebooks, textbooks and self-published works are not eligible. Prize: A total of $15,000 CD will be awarded. Each shortlisted author (usually 4-6) receives C$1,000 and the winning author is awarded the remainder. Deadline: April 30, 2016. Submission guidelines are HERE.

Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry FellowshipsRestrictions: Applicants must reside in the U.S. or be U.S. citizens. Applicants must be at least 21 years of age and no older than 31 years of age as of April 30, 2016Genre: Poetry. Prize: $25,800.  Deadline: April 30, 2016. Submission guidelines are HERE.
- See more at:

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Mid-February Update

            I apologize for not being around much these last few weeks (months).  I have been busy rehearsing and writing and opening myself up to new opportunities.  

Let me start at the beginning.  I am in an acting group.  They convinced me after the last play I was in to sit on their Board and once you’re in you get a part in every play whether you want one or not.  I didn’t, but I was told at one of the meetings that I just had to audition and I would be given a short part, something easy to remember.  As I’ve said in previous posts, I like the camaraderie.  I like the feeling of belonging, of family.  Acting is not my strong suit.  I picked up the play and read it.  It was written locally by members of the group, about the poorhouse that used to exist on the banks of the river just out of town.  It was about the people that had lived there.  It was extremely depressing and I had a seriously hard time reading it.  It took me several days and I had to force myself to sit down and read it through. 

On audition day, I figured I would show up and tell them I wanted to do chorus only.  They wouldn’t go for it.  I read with everyone else and was called at the end of the next week with a part.  I was to play Sarah, a simple woman whose father sexually abused her and lived over half her life at the home once her mother found out.  All that ran through my mind was that this girl was pitiful and there was no way I could have the kids come see me in the play now.  Then I started practicing.  I heard her voice in my heart.  She spoke to me.  I came to love this girl.  I can picture her in my mind, not as the older woman I portrayed, but as the girl she must have been when she entered the home.  I felt honored to be her.  Several times during rehearsal I nearly cried playing her, and now that it’s over I miss her.  On my way home from work last night I recited my lines.  I don’t want to forget her.

            However, because of this play, because it was written locally and because I volunteered to be on the publicity committee, I was able to interview the playwrights and have said interview published in the local newspaper.  It was great seeing my name in actual print (although they misspelled it) and knowing that a lot of people would read it!  So far, even though we receive the paper at work, no one has actually read it or if they did they haven’t mentioned it.  Some people just don’t appreciate art.

            I was approached after the play was over to possibly help write a play for later in the summer, possibly a vignette.  I’m excited to hear more about this project.  I didn’t know that there was a writing opportunity on the horizon through this group.  I’m a very junior member.  I worked with them years ago but then dropped out of sight.  I’m guessing that the playwrights liked the interview and my style. 

            The town historian also reached out to me on closing night and asked me if I would be interested in transcribing some historical texts related to the poorhouse.  Would I ever!  I believe that these people and this part of our local history needs to be preserved and available to as many people as possible, and right now it just isn’t due to it being on aged paper in a very old binding.  Romantic? Yes.  User-friendly?  No.  Plus, because there is so little known about these people, I get a very basic profile of them.  I think if someone stands out I may get some help with my own character development if I ever get back to writing.  I’m excited with this new direction!

            I feel like I have made my bones, in some small way, and now it’s time to take charge of something.

            Yes, it’s been crazy busy, but crazy good, and at this point I would like to apologize to a few of my friends for not being there and reading their posts.  Your writing inspires me and makes me want to be, and do, more.  You know who you are; at least I hope you do.  I will troll the blogs and be there when I can.  I can’t go without reading you!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 42 Writing Contests in February - No entry fees

Good morning!  I thought I would share this with all of the one person following me!  Feeling a little lonely this morning, don't think anything of it.  Looking forward to the weekend and possibly some down time, although there is none on the horizon, at least in the direction I'm looking in right now.

If you are looking to submit work, here's a place to start:

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 42 Writing Contests in February - No entry fees

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Winner Anyway...

Today I checked the Writer’s Digest April 2015 PAD page to see if my Day 12 poem had made it on the list.  I knew it hadn’t because a list of names had gone up earlier and I wasn’t on it, but I was hoping they had just forgotten to add it.  My wishful thinking is what gets me through.  It also comes crashing down on me when all is said and done.

Here I was, feeling sorry for myself, but then I thought, I really love this poem.  I can submit it somewhere else for sure.  Plus, there are people out there that have no idea that it exists.  Because of that, I am sharing it again. 

This is about a little boy, who at the time had no idea who I was.  He had no idea that I didn’t want him to be in my daughter’s life because I knew she would never leave his father if he and his sister stayed.  This was the day I met him, for the first time.

The minute he wrapped his skinny little arms around my neck and kissed me, a stranger to him, well, it was all over for me.  Five years later he still loves me most of the time, thinks I’m pretty funny, and tries to listen for the most part.  He still likes spending time with me – watching TV, scrapbooking, and jumping in elevators to see if it will stop. 


Beautiful Damage

Too trusting, arms outstretched
I love you as I walk away
You made me yours before I knew you and it wasn’t fair
Circumstances shaped you
A mother who didn’t care
Looked for her next hook-up, her next fix
A father who was as cold as an ice box
And you, still trusting
Still loving
Opening your heart to me
Love and hope on your face
I couldn’t walk far
I turned around and you hugged me,
Damaged goods, but good enough for you.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

3,000 - What A Number!

     Incredibly, in the last 24-48 hours, I have made it to 3,000 views on my blog!  I’m amazed!  I know to some that 3,000 is a low number, but I really didn’t think I’d get 100 so this is a big deal.  If I had published something I would be hosting a giveaway right now, but I haven’t, so I won’t.  Smile, it may happen someday.  Maybe at 15,000 page views.  Who knows? 

     My goal this year is to get something published.  Maybe a couple o’ somethings.  That would be so awesome!  Doing research on publishing venues and guidelines the last several days has opened my eyes to a lot of what I can and cannot share, but I hope to continue writing here and on the sly and then sharing what I get in print!  What an adventure!

     Anyhoo, just wanted to share my page views with someone.  Thanks for reading, and come back for more…

Thursday, January 7, 2016

A New Dilemma

Once I started reading the list, checking out websites, seeing what was considered, I realized that I am not to publish anymore of my poetry on-line.  Several poems, that I believe are worthy of publication, cannot be submitted to the publications I’m looking at due to the fact that they’ve been shared with my reader(s).

I love the feedback, but folks, I would really love to see my work on paper, in a book or magazine, that I can thumb through and reference from time to time. 

Is there any place out there that I can send a couple pieces of poetry without being dinged because they were on my website?

Let me know…

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Bird Watching

This morning I stopped getting ready for work for a moment and looked out the kitchen window.  I watched the goldfinches (not gold right now) as they got their fill on our feeder.  They have been hitting it hard, and even though we filled it two days ago it is nearly empty now.

 As I watched I was amazed to see one goldfinch, slightly larger than the other, place seed in the mouth of a smaller one.  I know the small ones can’t be babies; it’s too late in the season, so I’m assuming it was a male providing for a female.

I was wondering where my dark-eyed juncos were when one finally flew in to feed off of the seed on the ground.  I love these little birds and I’m not even sure why.  I just find them very cute and round little birds!  

Have a great day!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Old(er) Dogs

The dogs are behaving badly.  I’m not sure why, except that maybe as the weather has been getting colder and they have been in the house more, they are probably stir-crazy.  It’s a bad time for our dogs.  They are getting older and crankier.  It’s hard to reason with them. 

Toby has decided that he can do just about anything he wants (which he can – he’s my boy).  He jumps up on the couch with every opportunity.  He hasn’t yet learned that it’s only couch time with me once in a while and only after Daddy’s gone to bed, so we don’t get in trouble.  He’s the only one I let up, because he’s the only one that I trust not to have an accident.

Sky has gotten crotchety.  She hurts.  Her legs hurt, and her back hurts and we think she gets headaches.  We probably should have put her down over the summer but neither of us can bear it and we hope she goes in her sleep.  She growls at the other two dogs and plays too rough with the cat, and she emits a sense of panic if she gets too excited.  She’s almost like a kid that’s had too much sugar and we have to calm her down.  But she’s a good old girl, and she loves us (mainly him) so much.

Bella, our baby now 10, is still very active.  She’s getting more vocal as Sky’s health declines.  The German shepherd in her is making its appearance and it’s loud and annoying.  I tell her to change her barks up a bit, but no; she chooses the same monotone bark over and over and over…  But she’s still a baby.  She’s the one that needs to be cuddled during thunderstorms or after the fire alarm erupts from the ceiling.

Yes, they are all turning into the epitome of the “classic senior citizen”, and that’s okay.  Where else would we feel unconditional love?  With people there are always conditions, but with dogs it seems there are none.  Sure you have to feed them, but even if you didn’t they would probably find something on their own.  It might not smell great and they would probably roll in it first, but they would persevere. 

I’ve come home to books ripped up on the floor and yelled and swatted their furry butts and sent them outside until I cooled off and the minute I let them in they still loved me.  There was no cold shoulder.  No hateful sideways glances, just pure joy that I was there.  Oh, if we could all be like that, what a world it would be!

So I guess I will cuddle my senior dogs and love them up and get covered with hair and slobbery dog kisses.  No matter how badly they’re behaving, I know I’ve done worse, and they always pardon me.  It makes their “bad” attitude totally forgivable.