Untitled Poem

Always Believing,    
     Constantly Deceiving,
        Ever, Forever, Grieving;

Holding Implications,
    Just Knowing Lamentations,
        Making Numerous Odd Provocations;

Questionable Reasons,
    Sovereign Treason,

Understanding Valiance,
    Waning Xistence,

Yet Zealous.

I would love some comments on this one. I’d especially like to know if anyone notices the … shall we say “theme”?

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Don’t Be Happy With Who You Are

“Be happy with who you are!” You’ve probably heard or been told this many times. What I’m going to say will be contrary to this, but try to be open-minded.

First of all, I think it is good to be content with what you have. Constantly striving to get more, make more money, and never happy with having less than others will leave you in a continuously discontented state of mind. I don’t know why someone would choose to live in such an unhappy place, except if they have low self-esteem issues and feel the need to impress others with their possessions or job.

On the other hand, I believe that no matter how “good” a person is, there is always room for improvement. All of us can be kinder, more forgiving, more empathetic toward those who are different from us. No one is perfect, and if you believe that you are able to achieve this level of transcendence, you are simply fooling yourself. If you do not realize and accept your shortfalls, you could be expending a great amount of energy, time and money on a fruitless effort.

Another couple of sayings I have heard often are “If there’s a will, there’s a way” and “You can do anything you put your mind to.” Well, not exactly. I appreciate the sentiment that you should persevere and strive to overcome anything in your way. However, I can be willing and have all the faith in the world that I can jump off the Empire State Building and fly, but I will end up falling to my death. There are obstacles and facts of nature that will prevent me from achieving certain goals.

Although you may have limitations – whether physical, mental, or otherwise – that prevent you from particular actions, there is always something you can do: be a better person. We can always become better than we are. I may catch some “flack” for this next part, but here we go … If you were to see an obese person, should you tell them to be happy the way they are? Are you comfortable with telling them that their health is not important, as long as they are happy? What about someone addicted to drugs? “Be happy getting high, even though it’s killing you.”

I am certainly not condoning shaming them in any way. Quite the opposite, I believe people should be supported and encouraged, but turning a blind eye to their unhealthy lifestyle or their illness is not helping them at all. It is my belief that everyone should be encouraged not to remain “happy” with who they are, but to work for a loftier objective. I believe a person can remain content with their circumstances, and still strive for something better. That way, if the goal is not achieved, they will remain as they were – content.

The problem is that many people want to change everyone around them without looking inward. I have a coworker (who I know will never read this because it has to do with self-improvement) who is constantly complaining about other people and his circumstances. He has now “developed” anxiety and has no compunction about telling everyone he knows about it. He is the ultimate “boy who cried wolf,” so it is difficult to take anything he says seriously. In order to combat his anxiety, he wants to change external factors, take time off from his job, take medication, etc. He is not willing to quit smoking, consuming alcohol, or to see any kind of mental health professional or be open to any type of introspection to try to find where the anxiety is based. He is certainly a narcissist. Dr. Eric Perry writes about the narcissist in some of his articles. You can find one of them here.

If you constantly look outward for the source of your pain, your attitude, your unhealthy lifestyle, you will always be able to find someone or something to blame. It is very easy to point fingers, but much more difficult to turn that finger back at ourselves. Again, I am not trying to cause anyone to feel guilt. There is, however, a term known as “Healthy Shame.” In Psychology Today, Dr. John Amodeo talks about Toxic versus Healthy Shame. You can find his article here.

In closing, we can find no shortage of narcissists, arrogant, and self-serving individuals. Try to perform an introspective inventory, if you will. Examine your motives, your attitudes and feelings toward others. Could any of these things use some alterations? My guess is yes, because I think it is true of everyone. The world says don’t change anything about yourself. I say change, and make it for good.

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Do You Remember the Time…?

When you try to recall an event or you are asked about a time from your past, why are some memories more easily recollected than others? Significant memories are tied to physiological and/or emotional reactions. If you want to make memories that last, you must make as many connections as possible, whether visual, physical/kinesthetic, auditory, but especially emotional.

The emotional connection seems to be the strongest of these responses. If you think back to an event from your past, did you have superficial, surface conversations, or were they more significant, evoking an emotional response?

If you want to make or hold on to memories of certain events or interactions with people, consider engaging in discussions or conversations that are on a deeper level, or perhaps euphoric, prompting laughter. Allow yourself to express feelings that are more significant than what is part of your normal, everyday rhetoric.

Adding your other senses will help to solidify the memory. Take notice of what someone is wearing, the inflections of their voice, the weather, and so on. Be present in the moment.

If you want to make memories that last, be more aware.

This post was inspired by a prompt on Of Progress and Purpose.

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Crowded

Everyone shifted uncomfortably in their seats. Each one tried to think of something to talk about besides the obvious. Why was Karl invited, anyway? They were all thinking it, but no one was willing to express it. Christian tried to cross his legs, but when there wasn’t room to do so, he put his foot back on the floor and drummed his fingers on his legs. Glenys looked at him and nodded as she rolled her eyes.

“I heard Piggly Wiggly closed last week,” Robert said.

“I’m sorry?” Patricia said from across the room.

“The Piggly Wiggly closed,” Robert said in a slightly louder voice.

“Oh,” Patricia responded.

There was a shift of weight and Justin had to move quickly before his foot was crushed. He looked like he wanted to say something and then clamped his mouth shut. You could see his face turning red, which was only exacerbated by the lack of hair on his head.

“I need to use the ladies’ room,” Caroline said quietly to Cam, who was sitting beside her. He attempted to help her maneuver through the room. She had to squeeze along the wall and was hit in the face by a tail before she finally made it to the doorway with a sigh of relief.

The party guests were just about at their wits’ end when Morgan stood up to get a drink. After much effort, she made her way to the punch bowl and refilled her glass, and then she turned around to return to her seat. Just then, the trunk swung and hit the glass out of her hand, spilling punch all down the front of her dress.

There was a sharp intake of breath and then she shouted, “Just look what you did, Karl!”

There were a couple of gasps and then everyone in the room fell silent. 

They all had wanted to say something, but Morgan was the only one who dared to address the elephant in the room.

Copyright © 2020 Brandon Ellrich

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Simply 6 Minutes—Welcome To The Challenge: 01/05/2021 — Reblogged from Stine Writing

Happy New Year!! Welcome to the 6 minute challenge! Today’s prompt is: *****For any participants that do NOT like restrictions, please feel free to participate in any way you would like. It is great to read the contributions!**** Set up a timer or sit near a clock so you can keep track of the six […]

Simply 6 Minutes—Welcome To The Challenge: 01/05/2021 — Stine Writing

It seemed innocent enough. The squirrel was friendly, wasn’t it? She was holding the berry in a way that would allow the furry creature to pluck it out of her mouth so he would only get the small fruit. But she was wrong. The squirrel wasn’t quite as “friendly” as he seemed, and was overly-aggressive when it came to getting at the berry. Little did she know that the reasoning was that he was sick; it wasn’t his fault. The dizziness he experienced affected his depth perception, which caused him to inadvertently catch her bottom lip. She jumped back immediately, let out a scream, and clamped her hand to her now-bleeding mouth. “Are you okay?” her husband asked. “Yeah, I’m fine,” she replied as she looked at the blood on her hand. A couple days later, she started experiencing the symptoms. It would not be labelled COVID-19 until a few months later.
152 Words

Learning to Write Poetry

After sharing a recent poem, I was asked “Where did you get your inspiration for that?” My immediate answer was, “I don’t know; it just . . . came to me.” In a way, I felt this was true, but every action first begins with a thought, so I decided to break it down. It didn’t just come out of nowhere, did it? It wasn’t ingrained in my DNA. I thought about the question of whether or not creativity can be learned or if it is simply innate. I believe that some people are more creative or artistic by nature, but I also believe that it can be taught–at least, to some degree.

In this article, I will break down my process of writing a poem. If you have an interest in pursuing poetry writing, but don’t feel you have the skills or the artistic proclivity, perhaps these steps will help. This is a simple rhyming poem, so hopefully you won’t find the methods to be too challenging. I prefer to write rhyming poems because that’s what I prefer to read. I am not disparaging those who choose to write free verse poetry, but I think rhyming requires a more thought-out effort of creativity. I also like the sing-song type of rhythm that goes along with couplets, quatrains, limericks, and other rhyming poetry. To me, it is more pleasing to the ear. I have read and been told by greeting card companies and online publishers that rhyming poetry is less desirable, and yet if you look at almost all lyrical music, what song can you think of that doesn’t rhyme? It seems contradictory, doesn’t it? Well, I’ll get off that soapbox and return to the task at hand.

First, I choose a subject. We have come to the end of another year, so my inclination is to write about starting a new chapter, so to speak. My first line is simple, basic:

“Starting over, a brand-new year”

Ending with the word “year” is pretty safe, because there are a lot of words that can be rhymed with it. I then go through the alphabet, rhyming words with year – beer, cheer, dear, fear, gear, here, near . . . You get the idea. So, what’s the next concept after starting over? I decide to take a look back. 

“Looking back, I’m glad it’s here”

After the year we’ve had, I think this is a common sentiment among most people. I decide I want to make it a little more personal, so I focus not on general negative experiences that many of us have dealt with during the pandemic, but on individual actions.

“Many mistakes, wrongs, regrets,

Poor decisions I’d like to forget”

Again, going with a word like “regret” is an easy choice for rhyming purposes. Now that I’ve acknowledged the past, what’s next? Time moves forward, of course, but it is not always easy to keep up.

“Moving on is always tough

Time can heal, but not enough”

These statements are universally true and most people will relate. I don’t want to completely disregard things that have happened in the past. Whether good or bad, they have made me into the person that I am.

“Running away, you’ll never learn”

burn, churn, discern, earn, fern, spurn, turn, yearn . . .

“Embrace your past, be wise, discern”

Now that I’ve decided to accept my past, what steps do I take? I’m ready to move forward.

“Pick up, dust off, you’re on your way

Choose to live another day”

Simply living or existing another day doesn’t seem good enough. I want to do more than that.

“Choose to conquer another day”

This seems like an appropriate ending. It leaves the reader with hope and a promising future. Not only is it personal, there are statements and concepts that are relatable to everyone. 

Going back over the poem, I realize I change perspectives. I start off by using personal pronouns referring to myself, but in the last few lines, I end up using second-person pronouns. I don’t like the inconsistency, so I need to stick with one or the other. I don’t want to make it about myself; instead, I choose to make it more of a call to action, a challenge to the reader.

Starting over, a brand-new year
Looking back, you’re glad it’s here

Many mistakes, wrongs, regrets
Poor decisions you’d like to forget

Moving on is always tough
Time can heal, but not enough

Running away, you’ll never learn
Embrace your past, be wise, discern

Pick up, dust off, you’re on your way
Choose to conquer another day!

As I said, this is a simple poem and a simple message, but I hope it has inspired you to give one a try for yourself! I would like to write more articles that are beneficial in some way to other prospective writers. If you have found this constructive (or even if you haven’t), I would like to hear from you. Please feel free to share a poem that you have written in the comment section below and follow my blog for future posts. I frequently post my own original poems and short stories and always appreciate feedback from others.

If there is at least some interest, I will endeavor to post more articles to help teach creative writing practices in other types of genres as well. If you have suggestions on future “how-to’s” in regard to writing, I’m open to listening to those as well. As always, I appreciate your attentiveness and hope you have found these tips useful. Happy writing!

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“Gift Card”

I don’t normally post a blog on the weekends, and especially when I’ve already posted in the same week, but I was inspired by a writing prompt on MMA Storytime.

When I was younger, I gave my dad T-shirts and underwear for Christmas. He is a farmer and these were practical gifts that he would always need. As I got older, I would give him a tool or something generic like that. Truly, not much thought went into each gift. 

My dad and I never really “clicked.” I was not interested in farming, though I did help raise a few bobby calves and a pig named Wilbur. He tried to teach me to play basketball and I hated it. He was/is not a patient person and therefore does not make a good teacher. He never took an interest in anything that appealed to me and so we never had any common ground.

Now that I am an adult, I have limited conversations with him, but not much else. I give him gift cards at Christmas, partly because he doesn’t truly need anything, and whatever he wants, he just buys himself. Typically, I do not like giving gift cards because they are impersonal, but that is rather the relationship we have, so I guess it is appropriate. This year, it is a card that can be used at various restaurants. Basically, what I’m saying by giving this gift is, “I’m giving you this because I know you like to eat food.”

I see examples in movies and in real life of fathers and sons bonding, hugging, laughing, seemingly best friends. I can’t imagine such a relationship with my own father and when I try, it kind of makes me uncomfortable. I am happy for those who have special loving bonds with their parents and give each other meaningful, heartfelt gifts. But for me, this Christmas will be no different than the ones before:

“Here’s a gift card.”

“Thanks.”

A Poem for Christmas

Angelic messenger addressing the blessed 
Mary, aware of the heir she carries in her
Womb. There’s no room for whom is proven to be our
King. He’ll end dominion of sin and then we’ll sing
Of his glory. We’ll orate the story
Each year, cheering “It’s here!” but we’re
Drifting. Sifting through gifts, not uplifting
His name. It’s Santa’s game, not the reason He came. It’s
Clear that Christmas is here, but this time of year
Remember. Not hindered by vendors of December,
Thriving on buying and piling high, but highlighting
Jesus. He sees us. He loves us and needs us to
Need Him.

Copyright © 2020 Brandon Ellrich

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