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Alone (A Poem)

Compulsions and fear

Please leave me along

Knock on someone else’s door

And pretend that I’m not home

 

On second thought

Please do not

Don’t burden someone else

But flee from here altogether, away from every house

 

This is the newest piece by Jason Greiner, the author of two poetry books and more.

Top Ten Things Your English Teacher Got Wrong

Many of the things we learn in school or in another educational setting we tend to instantly accept as fact. But no matter how reasonable something might seem, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s true. This is certainly the case when it comes to some of the “rules” that govern the English language as you may heave been taught to understand them. From the simplest notions of proper grammar to the more complex idea of citing sources in research documents, chances are you have been taught to abide by several of these so-called facts that are either only partially true or downright false.

10. You should always have one or more rough drafts

Perhaps you’ve heard it said that usually one’s first instinct is the most accurate one. This notion of not second guessing ourselves has been around for quite a long time. And recently, scientific study has weighed in on this matter.

In my opinion, this filters over into the practice of writing. While it is necessary to go over your work to correct errors and possibly make some wording and stylistic adjustments here and there, that by no means suggests an entire rewrite. And it certainly does not ensure that multiple revisions will be necessary.

9. Shakespeare wrote in proper English

There is no doubt that William Shakespeare was a brilliant writer with a masterful grasp of the English language. However, the man also “made up” more than 1,700 words. Some of these include the terms “arouse,” “fixture,” “majestic” and “negotiate.”

Imagine if we just randomly began to create our own words for letters, essays, research papers and more. Perhaps we’d even incorporate a bit of modern slang. This certainly wouldn’t be considered proper grammar or writing today and thus it wouldn’t have been in Shakespeare’s day either.

8. You must double space after a period

While in ages gone by when everything had to be hand-written, this was a non-issue. Only since the institution of typing machines (first typewriters and now computers) has this one even come into play.

When it comes to conventional typewriters, the sizes of the letters are slightly different. To compensate for this problem, it became common practice to add a second space after the period at the end of each sentence. But in this computer age, proportional font spacing has all but eliminated the need for double-spacing.

7. You should always use proper grammar

In most case, it is very important to use proper grammar. However, there are some instances in which a writer can bend or even break traditional grammatical rules for any number of purposes.

The famed twentieth-century poet E.E. Cummings provides a perfect example. In his work, Cummings frequently and intentionally used bad grammar to create a more dynamic effect while establishing his own personal style.

In other instances, writers sometimes use poor grammar in the speech of their characters. This is especially true when the author is trying to bring out cultural and ethnic traits such as the use of slang in an urban environment or the feeling of a Southern drawl.

6. You need a comma to separate every instance in a series

Separating small lists of items in a series does not necessarily require the use of a comma after each item. For example, according to many experts and style guides, the use of a comma before words like “and” or “or” to close out the series is actually quite redundant.

For instance, let’s take the list “red, white and blue.” Notice how there is no comma prior to the word “and.” The reasoning is that if we use a comma after the word “white” it essentially amounts to using the word “and” twice.

5. Paragraphs have to have more than one sentence

This is a long-held myth that can be easily disproved. All one has to do is look to the work of legendary author Charles Dickens. His famous novel entitled “A Tale of Two Cities” begins with a single paragraph that is also only one sentence long.

The truth is, as long as it meets the criteria to make a paragraph, there is no set number of sentences the writer must use. It can be as few or as many as her or she wants.

4. There is only one proper way to cite sources

While your teacher may have preferred the use of a particular style in his or her classes, there are actually several ways to cite sources in research papers and the like. Often this varies depending upon the discipline you are researching or studying.

A few of the more common style guides include MLA (Modern Language Association), APA (American Psychological Association), CMS (Chicago Manual of Style) and AP Style used by many journalistic outlets. There are several others out there as well.

3. Always use a comma after the greeting in a letter

While using a comma after statements like ”Dear Ted” or “Hello Maggie” at the start of a letter is generally correct and seen as good grammar, this is not always the case.

In instances in which you are writing a business letter, the comma should actually be replaced by a colon.

 Commas should be reserved for more informal communication.

When it comes to the use of email, it is generally accepted that either of these two forms of punctuation can be used to fit the bill.

2. You should not shift tenses

Sure, shifting tense for no real reason is poor grammar and makes for poor writing. However, there are some instances in which a shift in tense is appropriate and even required to make things work.

If the time frame of something taking place in your writing moves from past to present, you have to change the tense for both correctness and to avoid reader confusion. The following two sentences provide a simple example. “I was so afraid to get on that bicycle as a young child. Reflecting back on that point in my life, I think it was more about the possible embarrassment of falling rather than getting hurt.”

As you can see, the first sentence focuses on the past and uses the past tense while the second one is amount my reflections in the present.

1. You can’t use “and” to start a sentence

Those who use “and” to start off a sentence have long been ostracized by those entrusted with teaching us the English language. However, this isn’t a criticism that is based in the reality of proper grammar.

While the use of “and” as the first word of a sentence can come across as rather informal and has the potential to make your wording a bit choppy and awkward, it’s not technically wrong. In fact, some language experts suggest that it can actually work better in some case that using more traditional terms like “however,” “therefore” and “furthermore”

Awaken Anew (a poem)

I’ve decided to share

a new poem I was recently inspired to write. I hope you enjoy it.

Awaken Anew

For more of my work, please feel free to check out my poetry books and other publications.

Three non-technical keys to writing your best poetry

What makes good poetry?

If someone was to ask this question to a crowd of people, that person would probably receive any number of different answers. But in my personal opinion as the author of poetry books, considering the fact that poetry is an art, who is to say what makes one piece good as opposed to another not? Like any art form, it is highly subjective.

writing poems

But with that being the case, I do believe that there are a few things any poet can do in order to make the best of their own work.

1. Be inspired -

If you don’t have some sort of inspiration behind your work, the result won’t be as satisfying as if you do. While in other forms of writing you can simply just jump into it, this is not the case with poetry.

2. Express emotion -

Letting your emotion pour out onto a page is very important in this particular form of literature.

3. Let if flow -

The flow of the words in your poetry is also very important. The more natural and compelling the flow of the words, the better your writing will end up.

Fun factoid about rap music

Rap music is often known

for it’s hard edge and abrasive content. The themes routinely reflect the struggles of youth living in impoverished communities and the challenges of urban life.  You might very well have any number of words or terms you may use to describe this style of music but “poetry” probably isn’t even close to the first thing to come to mind.

But, if we trace back the history of this genre, which is commonly said to have officially begun with the song “Rapper’s Delight” by The Sugarhill Gang back in 1979, the acronym that is RAP might surprise you.

RAP stands for Rhythm And Poetry!

The Sugarhill Gang

The Sugarhill Gang

Everyday Beautiful (A Poem)

As mentioned in my last post Unobtainable (A Poem), I have also written a piece that sort of goes along with that work. This is that poem, by me, Jason Greiner for your reading pleasure. I hope you enjoy it.

beautiful woman

Unnoticed walking among the crowds

Capturing the gaze of just a few

Simple in their presence

And yet inviting all the same

—————————————————-

Not spotless on the surface

Nor even deep beneath

But affable always

And never less than sweet

——————————————————

While the superficial may allude her

True depth is a great friend

And the essence she exudes

Is not easy to forget

—————————————————–

Her appeal is far from ordinary

So much more than what we see

Her nature is alluring

Everyday beautiful and free

Unobtainable (A Poem)

I was inspired to write this poem, as well as what I am calling its sister piece entitled “Everyday Beautiful,”  which will appear in another post in the not to distant future, based on life-long experiences that have recently come into play once again. Perhaps I’ll include it in my next poetry book. Please enjoy.

beautiful woman

More surreal than real

And like a dream

The essence of flawlessness

At least in visual symmetry and form

—————————————————————-

Skin unblemished

Like a fresh, unpolluted snowfall

And eyes so mystical

With an enchanting lustrous glow

—————————————————————-

Sweet flowing lines

From head to toe

Like the many muses

Of Newton and Unwerth

—————————————————————-

Who is this man to her

But a speck of sand upon a beach?

Perhaps a fleeting thought gone by

But surely nothing more

—————————————————————-

Far off in the distance

Ever out of reach

Never to be held

Unobtainable is she

Untitled poem

When it comes to the genetics of art

I have often though that I got my photographic and visual artistic talents from my mother and my writing talent from my father. However, once in a while they each impress me with the skill set I often associate with the other. This poem, written by my mother during a road trip to visit my brother living three states away, is one such example.

While it is a raw version without any edits or separation of stanzas, I thought it was quite good, especially in terms of the vivid imagery. Check it out and enjoy.

mountain highway

Untitled – A Poem by Lisa Greiner

I was in a dream one morn’

As a passenger through someone’s life.

In the distance,

through the waves of green

rose puffs of white mist to the heavens

like smoke signals from Mother Nature to the divine

a blanket of soft grays moved overhead

that gave no more mention of warmth or light

and my face was bathed in nature’s shower.

What a journey someone else’s life can be.

The day will bring perhaps more gray

more dew to my thirsting skin.

A life bursting with the newness of spring

warmth and light

a dream to end.

Tomorrow I will journey again

but not in a dream.

How to overcome writer’s block

No matter what professional or recreational activities we may engage in, at some point, we’re all going to be off of our game. A surgeon may struggle with shaky hands, a public speaker may slip into a bit of a stutter, or any other number of samples can apply. But in many cases, these problems are more mental than they are physical.

One of the most notorious examples in the world of literature is that pesky little condition known as writers block.

writer's block

Photo courtesy of Marya Jan

First off, make no mistake, it happens to everyone.

But as I can suggest by personal experience, there is really only one reliable way to deal with it and overcome this problem – writing through it.

Whether you are a sports fan or not, the easiest way to explain what I mean is through the world or athletics. Let’s take baseball. Even the best and most productive hitters in the game fall into a slump from time to time. During those slumps a pitch that they might normally knock right out of the park might send them to the bench as a victim of a strikeout. And worse yet, it keeps happening over and over again. But how does the hitter finally break out of the slump? He keeps hacking away until he succeeds and gets back into his typical rhythm.

The same approach should and must be taken when you find yourself in a state of writer’s block.

Here are two practical ways to do so:

1. Write for the sake or writing during a case of block. Just keep going despite the quality. This is essentially exercise and nobody ever even has to see what you write.

2. Use the condition as inspiration. Yes, write something, anything, about writer’s block. A few yea’s back I had a poetry assignment I had to write for a class and just couldn’t get going. So, I decided to write the poem about the need to be inspired. In the end, I got an A.

In the end, when you take the time to work through the frustration, things will work out just fine.

New book and another one coming

So as you may or may not know, my educational background is in the literary arts. And in 2006, a few years after graduating from college, I wrote my first book. Since then, I have added three more to that list. However, the newest isn’t a literary work but rather a visual showcase of artistic photography. And the next one will be an SEO guide.

I’d like to that this posting opportunity to provide a little detail on each of my books, starting with the most recent.

My books

Coming soon:

A yet untitled SEO guide for simple and effective website promotion.

Currently available:

“Attirance”

This is a visual piece focused on my work with model photography and showcasing several creative images built around the art.

Attirance photography book

“Making Beautiful Photography:  A Guide for the Novice and the Enthusiast”

This  publication (available in e-book format only) seeks to help those who have a passion for digital photography by offering basic photography tips and tricks that are sure to improve anyone’s understanding of this visual art.

Making Beautiful Photography e-book

“Shadows and Shade”

This book centers on the emotions and circumstances that we all come to experience at some point in  our lives.

Shadows and Shade book cover

“Wishing Wells”

In the amalgamation of three sections, the reader will be taken on a journey through the stages of life, the daily challenges of our world and the mysteries of our very own minds.

Wishing Wells book cover

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