A to Z Challenge – Halfway!

So, we’ve reached the halfway mark of the A to Z Challenge, and already there have been a lot of tips and advice on my chosen theme of surviving the zombie apocalypse… Here’s a quick recap! (I’ve been posting these on my blog directly, rather than on here – follow the link in the top-right of your screen if you’re at a laptop 🙂 )

Apocalypse comes: a zombie flavour.
Achieve survival – life’s to savour!

Pack a bag, be ready to go,
Life is beautiful, don’t you know.

No more commuting, that’s all out,
No chance of a cure, I have no doubt.

Build up defences, walls and bricks,
Death isn’t life, but still plays tricks.

Beware the evil that men do;
Don’t slip on entrails ‘neath your shoe.

Fish for food and find some friends.
Don’t know first aid? Make amends.

Growing food; guns and more.
Playing golf… guts and gore.

Knowing when to hide, or seek.
The humour skills you need to tweak.

Imitation, insects, immortality.
Imagine no Internet! Insanity!

Joggers’ justice in the park
Jam and jelly after dark.

Killing zombies, armoured knights,
Kayak, knife and knitting fights.

Living, loving on the land,
Laugh at lawyers getting canned.

Making music, marry right,
Military lost the fight.

So much advice, so many more…
Who knows what other tips in store?

What’s been your favourite tip so far? Any topics that you’re dying to hear covered? Let me know in the comments!
















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A to Z Blog Challenge – Reflections

During the month of April, I took part in three separate challenges – RhyPiBoMo, NaPoWriMo, and the A to Z Blog Challenge (see links in the sidebar). Apologies to anyone who tires of these endless, silly acronyms always ending in “-mo”, but they serve a purpose, and give budding poets/bloggers such as myself a challenge to rise to, and community to engage with, for a whole month (and hopefully beyond). As part of the A to Z Challenge, they invite you to post a blog reflecting on the month (http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/2015/05/wait-to-z-is-not-over-not-quite.html), hence this post.

I combined NaPoWriMo and the A to Z Challenge into one, setting myself the task of writing a new poem each day on each successive letter of the alphabet. I only stumbled across both challenges at the end of March, so had no time to stockpile any poems or content. Everything would have to be done “on the day”. Now, the alphabet being what it is, some days were significantly harder than others. What sadistic idiot designed the alphabet anyway? Who really needs the letter X? Or Z?

(If you’ve ever read a kids ABC book, these letters have always proved problematic… and I have a real bugbear about Dr Seuss and his “zizzer-zazzer-zuzz” effort)

On the other hand, I guess that’s where the “challenge” element comes into it!

So, what are my reflections on the month as a whole?

– I know now that I can write pretty much a poem a day, if I make the time for it. (Having enough of that time is a different matter!)

– My creativity is at its most… err… creative when backed into a corner. (For example, I was really struggling with J until I came up with this: https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/11/j-is-for-poem/ – the poem is pretty autobiographical of this moment)

– I’ve tried a few different styles and themes, but my default is always rhyming (comic) verse. I would like to spend some time trying other poetic styles, just for my own entertainment and development, but I can’t help but think that more complicated structures are just not “for me”. (I always start with the idea, and shape the poem around that, rather than starting with a poetic form in mind and making an idea fit around it – this is why I couldn’t engage with the NaPoWriMo prompts, although have great respect for those that did.)

– I don’t like talking about number of visitors to my blog (more from embarrassment about the low numbers than through modesty, sadly), but I was hoping for a bigger spike in visitors than occurred. In the first half of the month, I did see an increase, and gained some new followers, but my visitor numbers at the end of the month are the same as for March. Perhaps this was because people found, as I did, that there are just so many blogs out there, that (a) finding the ones that fit my particular tastes and interests, and then (b) engaging with them, just takes time… more hours than are in the day, sadly!

– Numbers may not have changed much, but those that did come to visit have been amazing! One of them even wrote a poem in reply to one of my poems (see https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/27/w-is-for-why-poem/ – and Jesi’s awesome reply at http://lunaticpoet.com/because-i-can-and-it-is-fun/). Others have taken the time to leave warm/ supportive/appreciative comments on a regular basis – thank you everyone! I dedicated my final themed post to all of these: https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/30/z-is-for-poem/

Would I do it again?

It has felt like a bit of a slog on some days, but I am glad that I’ve done it… and already have a “theme” in mind for next year’s challenge! So that’s a YES! (https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/29/y-is-for-poem/ – which is hopefully right about the secret of success!)

So, how was it for you? What were your thoughts on the month? Any great discoveries, either internal or on others’ blogs?


"Z is for… " (poem)

Before I zoom off to the sunset,
Zigging and zagging away,
I wanted to say a few words,
To those who came to play

I don’t do this for the money,
I do it with joyful zest.
And though I’ve had a great time…
I’ll enjoy a few days’ rest!

I’ve written forty new poems,
Some of them better than others.
Some you can share with your children
Some you should share with your mothers!

One or two are darker:
There’s something for everyone here.
I love to do the whimsical:
A rhyming buccaneer!

I’ve visited a hundred blogs
(And have a thousand still to go)
There’s so much talent out there
And your warmth leaves me aglow

It’s been a long and challenging month,
But we’ve finally got to zed.
Time now to forget the alphabet.
Our interest in that is dead.

So, thank you to you, my zany friends,
For your comments and your likes.
Please zip back and visit again…
When inspiration strikes!


"X is for … (light)" (poem)

Alphabet rhymes lead to alphabet crimes
So a plea to you as a sign of the times:

No reasonable blogging blogger expects
A grown-up man to make a rhyme with X


I’ve written two poems for the letter X – one dark, one light. You can find the darker one here: https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/28/x-is-for-dark-poem/

"X is for… (dark)" (poem)

Anaesthetised skin
Yields to the surgeon’s blade

X marks

Delicate incisions, then
Spreaders force ribs apart

I am open on your table

Deft fingers sew up the life blood arteries.
Forget-Me-Knots staunch the flow

The heart withers,
A blackened hulk,
Starved of oxygen

Tired hands lose their finesse
As the final cuts are made

The heart, lifted clear,
Set aside

Black blood gushes.
Pain fills the void.

New flesh grows, timidly
Rising like a bile-bathed phoenix

Needing fresh anaesthetic


I’ve written two poems for the letter X – one dark, one light. You can find the lighter one here: https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/28/x-is-for-light-poem/

"W is for… Why?" (poem)

“Tell me, Daddy, tell me why!
You’d put an apple in a pie!

“Where do thoughts come from?
Where do dreams go?
How do I know that I know what I know?

“How do clocks know what time it is?
When I have a cold, and I’m streaming with snot
Do I have inside me, a mucus-y pot?

“What does Santa do, the rest of the year?
Why is the moon as big as the sun?
How can battles be lost, and won?

“Where do my socks disappear in the dryer?
What is light made of? What does it do?
Why is my soul on the base of my shoe?

“Come on, Daddy, tell me please!”

“Err… maybe your mother can help you with these”


"W is for… Wilfred" (poem)

Heading to a meeting. I’m going on my bike.
Never met a ‘Wilf’ before. I wonder what he’s like

My granny always said to live life one day at a time
D’you think this is the sort of thing she’d have had in mind?


The A to Z story so far… https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/25/a-to-z-challenge-recap/

This Is My Freedom, Tell Me Yours (poem)

Freedom to fly, on wings made of dreams
Freedom to believe life’s more than it seems

Freedom to walk, toes squelched in the earth
Freedom to rise above our own birth

Freedom to dance, with smiles on our hips
Freedom to write and rewrite life’s script

Freedom to stand and lead the applause
Freedom to choose to heed our heart’s call

Freedom to fail, and flourish, and thrive,
Freedom to do more than simply survive

Freedom is knowing that one day we’ll die,
But living before, with heads held up high


A to Z Challenge… recap

I’ve been combining the A to Z Blog Challenge and NaPoWriMo this month (see links in the sidebar), and have been writing (at least) a poem a day on each letter of the alphabet in turn. I’ve taken in a range of topics…

There was my favourite poet: https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/01/a-is-for-poem/

Grumpy, beardy wildlife: https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/02/b-is-for-bernard-the-bellicose-badger-poem/

An explanation of cats’ laziness: https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/03/c-is-for-cats-lives-poem/

A darker poem – D is for Defeat: https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/04/d-is-for-poem/

An ode to the “special” drawer in the kitchen: https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/05/the-drawer-poem/

A plea to get rid of some colours! : https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/06/e-is-for-ecru-poem/

A teary reminisce of taking my son to school for his first day: https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/07/f-is-for-first-day-of-school-poem/

An observation of how “G” is the poshest letter: https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/08/g-is-for-posh-poem/

An attempt to write a poem purely in homophones… this one was hard! https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/09/h-is-for-homophones-poem/

Some office haiku: https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/09/h-is-for-a-handful-of-haikus/

A simple reminder that nothing is impossible: https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/10/i-is-for-impossible-poem/

Ever wondered where your socks go in the dryer? It’s this fella: https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/10/i-is-for-ignatius-imp-poem/

A reminder that inspiration can come JUST IN TIME! https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/11/j-is-for-poem/

I asked my crit group to give me a “J” word… they suggested Jumping jehosaphat… https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/11/j-is-for-jiminy-jillikers-poem/

This one is self-explanatory – don’t listen to your parents! https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/12/dont-listen-to-your-parents-poem/

A memory of playground football, and desperately hoping not to be the last one picked… https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/13/k-is-for-kick-about-poem/

That sweet, innocent young child with one unusual talent? This one can just lie! https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/14/l-is-for-liar-poem/

There is a little wolf inside us all… https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/14/l-is-for-lycanthrope-poem/

A short lyrical nonsense ballad on the man in the moon: https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/15/m-is-for-the-man-in-the-moon-poem/

Another office poem – meeting minutes: https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/15/m-is-for-meeting-minutes-poem/

A change of tone here, with a poem about a nightmare: https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/16/n-is-for-nightmare-poem/

Watch out for the next poem I write, it’s gonna blow your mind! https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/16/n-is-for-the-next-one-poem/

More office poetry – this one is about an office-based superhero: https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/17/o-is-for-office-guy-superhero-poem/

Hell is not other people. It’s other people’s children: https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/17/o-is-for-other-peoples-children-poem/

A reflection on a reflection: https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/18/p-is-for-the-puddle-poem/

Do you love Spring? I love it! Well, most of it… https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/19/the-joy-of-spring-poem/

A poem on “the moment before the moment”: https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/20/q-is-for-the-quietest-quiet-poem/

A cheeky limerick, which I couldn’t resist! https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/20/q-is-for-quickie-poem/

A comment on how easy poetry is…. all it needs is the right word in the right place, right? https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/21/r-is-for-the-right-word-poem/

A crazy list poem on the rudest word ever thought of! https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/21/r-is-for-rude-poem/

Rhyme, rhythm, and love… the perfect trio https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/21/r-is-for-rhyme-is-the-rhythm-poem/

A parody prayer for the new Star Wars film… please let them be better than the prequels… https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/22/s-is-for-star-wars-prayer-poem/

Advice on getting to sleep: https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/22/s-is-for-sleep-poem/

A parody of Robert Frost – really, which path would you choose? https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/23/t-is-for-the-traveller-poem/

Some wordplay on time and truth: https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/23/t-is-for-time-and-truth-poem/

Back to the office again… there’s a collection for someone you vaguely know… what do you do? https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/23/t-is-for-thrift-poem/

Some comic verse on anyone who might be feeling “under the weather” https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/24/u-is-for-poem/

The hairy, leggy spider on the U-Bend: https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/24/u-is-for-u-bend-poem/

A reflection on all that I’ve lost over the years, and what may have driven that… or is it all made-up? https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/24/u-is-for-used-to-be-poem/

And the latest – how do vampires get themselves to look so smart, if they have no reflection?? https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/04/25/v-is-for-vampire-poem/

Feel free to analyse what this range of topics says about me (other than that I work in an office, and am slightly childish!). Hope you’ve enjoyed reading these. More to come…