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Five misconceptions about poetry


Misconception Number 1 – Poetry must be written in eloquent language

Poetry can be gritty and raw, it does not have to be eloquent. Some examples would be poetic writings by rap artists like Tupac Shakur in his book “The Rose that Grew from Concrete.” After all, RAP is an acronym for Rhythm And Poetry. On a lighter side of things, Dr. Seuss, a genius in his own right, certainly did not use “the Queen’s English” if you will.

Misconception Number 2 – Poetry has to rhyme

Some types of poetry rhyme, some do not. There are a number of styles that rarely rhyme including modern free verse.

Misconception Number 3 – Poetry is always short

While the majority of poems do tend to be short, there is no rule requiring them to be so. In fact, some of the longest books, yes i said books, are considered to be works of “epic poetry.” One good example is “The Odyssey” by Homer. This work is more than 500 pages!

Misconception Number 4 – Poetry is for wussies

People sometimes associate poetry with over-sensitivity and wussieness if you will. However, quiet a few poets have been anything but wussies. Many wrote about social injustices and thus dared to challenge authority figures. I would say that takes some guts. On another note, Poe was an inspiration to the masters of the horror genre. There’s nothing wussie about that.

Misconception Number 5 – There is no money in writing poetry

While poetry is a very specific literary genre which does make it challenging, it is possible to make the art into a reasonable side job or even a modest career. A lot of poets sell their work to greeting card companies and get a fair rate for their work. Others  are able to format them in such a way that they work well as song lyrics and can thus be sold in the music industry. Those are just a few options.

Five things your English teacher (may) have gotten wrong

mean teacher

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

Actually, you can use and for this purpose. Just for good measure, here are a few examples from literature:

“And even Mary could assure her family that she had no disinclination for it.” – Jane Austin from “Pride and Prejudice”

“And to seek to make the blacksmith a scholar is almost as silly as the more modern scheme of making the scholar a blacksmith.” – W.E.B. Du Bois from “The Souls of Black Folk”

“And let every other power know that this hemisphere intends to remain the master of its own house.” – John F. Kennedy from his Inaugural Address on January 20, 1961

You always use commas after each item in a series

Commas are necessary after each of the items in a series, except the last one. For example, someone might suggest that this is correct: red, white, and blue. However, that’s not the case. Using the comma after “and” is actually redundant. It’s like saying “and” twice. So, the correct method would be to write it as follows: red, white and blue.

Over and under

They do it in commercials and advertisements all the time. I suppose it is for brevity sake but that doesn’t make in any less incorrect. I’m talking about when people use the words “over” or “under” to indicate anything other than height. For example, cars are not on sale of under $20,000. Nor are there over 7 billion people in the world. The correct phrasing for each of these would be: Cars are on sale for less than $20,000 and there are more than 7 billion people in the world.

It’s not a real word if it’s not in the dictionary

First off, this implies that there is only one official dictionary when in fact there are many. On another note, there are many words that have simply been removed from dictionaries based on infrequent or rare use in modern language and conversation. I bet you wouldn’t find a lot of terms used in the Renaissance era in today’s dictionaries but that does not make them any less relevant.

Improper grammar is never acceptable

Generally speaking, improper grammar is a bad thing. However, there are a few exceptions. One of the first that comes to mind is with the use of direct quotations. Whether the quote is from a real person or a character in a book, language and grammar allowances can be made for such things as accents, education level, etc.  A quick example is the phrase frequently spoken by the character Aibileen Clark in the film “The Help” in which she says, “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”

Bigfoot, literature and humor – the perfect combination

If you are anything like me, you appreciate good literature. However, you also enjoy a good laugh once in a while. The book “In Me Own Words” The Autobiography of Bigfoot,” readers get a little bit of the best from both worlds.

While the book is anything but grammatically correct, the errors are intentional and designed for the purpose of comedy and entertainment. Check it out today.

Bigfoot book

Challenge to all the smart literature fans out there

So, just for fun…

with a little bit of an incentive for participation, I thought that I would propose a challenge to the readers of this blog as well as all literature fans everywhere.

Whether you’re an avid reader or like to write or both, this might just be right up your alley.

Think of one book or literary work from any genre, perhaps your favorite book. It can be poetry, fantasy, sci-fi, horror, a play or really anything else you choose. Now, once you’ve made your pick, here’s your chance to let your creativity flow.

Summarize your pick in the comments section of this post. Sounds easy right, we’ll not so fast. The summary can only be five lines long! The more interesting and accurate the better. Do you think you can handle it?

stack of books

While this isn’t a contest per se, as an incentive we are offering:

For best comment (as chosen by me) – Free promotion on at least 10 different social media platforms, a free links to your blog from this one and one year of a free graphic ad on the right sidebar of this blog.

For the runner up –  Free promotion on at least 10 different social media platforms and Free promotion on at least 10 different social media platforms and a free link to your blog from this one.

For third place (up to 10 winners) – A free link to your blog from this one.

Only comments posted over the next 30 days will be counted and please be original.


The book (and now movie)  “Divergent” – “Young woman in weird future leaves her family for exciting life, learns it’s hard, and ruins villain’s plan to destroy government.”

Come on now, show us what you’ve got!





The most beloved character type in modern literature

Anyone who writes or enjoys reading stories has at least a general idea of the various character types that make up the basics of virtually any story, novel, play or movie.

Of course, there are the villains, as more technically refereed to as the antagonists.  And just as obviously there are the heroes, technically termed the protagonists. Just perhaps the most beloved character type that is in use more now than ever is the figure known as the anti-hero.

Some people may be familiar with this type of character but in the event that you are not one of them, an anti-hero is essentially a protagonist that is anything but perfect.

Gone are the days with squeaky clean heroes who always make the right decisions and never cross any moral lines. Writers and readers have come to embrace protagonists with faults, personal struggles and other serious and not so serious issues that they must face.

So why is the anti-hero so popular? I would venture to guess that it’s because he or she is a character to which people can more accurately relate. Quite frankly, they are more realistic. Even the most shinning examples of humanity struggle with their own issues from  time to time. Nobody does everything right or always makes the right call pertaining to a moral or ethical situation.

Some famous examples of anti-heroes include:

Books –

Holden Caulfield – “Catcher in the Rye”

Scarlett O’Hara – “Gone with the Wind”

Movies –

John McClain – “Die Hard” series

Frank Martin – “Transporter” series

Television –

Patrick Jane – “The Mentalist”

Emily Thorne – “Revenge”

Plays –

Lady Macbeth  – “Macbeth”

Comics –



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”

Finding out about fan fiction

Fan fiction

has been around for several years now. And while I had a basic idea of what the concept was all about, I never really bothered to look into it until recently. A friend of the family gave me a few more specific details of what is involved in this fan-driven form of literature.

Imagine reading your favorite science fiction book, or watching a classic super hero movie and having some actual control over the thoughts, actions and just about everything to do with the characters. This is the essence of fan fiction.

The control over one’s favorite characters combined with the ability to express one’s own creativity has made this form of writing a rapidly growing success.  Essentially, everything is possible!

Personally, as a fan of the television series “Revolution,” I am looking forward to checking out what people have written about this futuristic and somewhat post-apocalyptic show. Who knows, maybe someday I’ll even write some for myself.

Revolution show

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