It is the beginning of another new year! A time when many of us make goals and resolutions, and give ourselves a chance to rewrite the story of our life. While I am not sure if I will make resolutions or goals for this year, given my past performances at working on them, I hope to keep bettering myself each day, and changing my life for the better as well in the process.
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Poetic Sundays: The Harlequin Poem to Rewrite the Story
Carolyn Hastings, a speech pathologist, came up with harlequin poems as a way to tell stories, or rather a framework of a story in 25 syllables! And while this was supposed to be a post for last week (Dec 25th Christmas 2022), the days flew past me as we celebrated the holidays in Vegas! Now we are back home and this form, meant for writing stories, or rather a framework of one, seems perfect to rewrite the story of our life as a new year begins!
A Harlequin Poem’s Characteristics
So, at the very basic, a harlequin poem’s elements are that it
- is short and syllabic: composed in total of 25 syllables
- has a structure/pattern: syllable count of 1/2/3/4/5/4/3/2/1 across 9 lines for the 25 syllables
- does not require rhyming
- has no restrictions on topic but is a narrative poem intended to tell a story
- does not need a title but you can use one; and if you do use a title, avoid repeating that in the poem itself
- is one where avoiding filler words like “is,” “the,” and such is good because they are “syllable gobblers”
- is centered to give it a diamond shape (add images for visual appeal if you can; check out the creator’s post linked below for an idea)
h/t, References, and Further Reading
- The most important: Carolyn Hasting’s (the creator of this form) detailed post on the Harlequin
- Writing.com’s 24-syllables challenge
- The Naani (PoetryMagnumOpus)
- 11 Steps To Rewrite Your Story And Change Your Life In 2023 (TonyRobbins.com)
- Create the Next Chapter of Your Life’s Story (Deepak Chopra)
Tips to Write the Harlequin
(Thanks to Carolyn Hasting)
- Pick your theme, or the story you want to tell, or rewrite
- Brainstorm for short words with minimal syllables related to the theme (remember, it is a total of 25 syllables)
- As you search for words, try to pick words that provide maximum effect or impact (strong nouns and adjectives, verbs always, and similar). Avoid filler words as much as possible
- Now string together the words in a sequential narrative using the suggested syllabic pattern of 1/2/3/4/5/4/3/2/1 to tell your story
- Center it to give it a diamond shape
Have Fun with the Form
(Thanks to Carolyn Hasting)
- Create a harlequin chain! Put together two or more harlequin poems to tell a longer story or a string of short stories
- Use longer (multisyllabic) words or phrases if you wish (as long as they add value to the story and don’t take up too much poem space) and split them across lines
- Create a tessellation of harlequin poems (check out the image at the creator’s how-to page)
My Attempt to Rewrite the Story Using the Harlequin
On My Blog And the Homefront
Here are the posts since my last scribblings:
- Sunday Scribblings #128: A Cumulative Poem is a Great Way to Wish You the Best
- Saying Goodbye to the Teenage Years: For My Firstborn
- Another Wish List of Books I’d Love to See Under the Tree
- Solitaire.org: A Great Site to Explore Free Puzzles
- SmartLabels: A Cool New App that Helps Organize
On My Blog and On the Homefront
Taking part in the UBC again so here is to interacting with old familiars and new faces to the UBC as I attempt to blog everyday. And yes, reading will begin as the round 2 of the Cybils kicks off today. I am a round 2 judge this year for the non-fiction category and looking forward to reading the finalists. Below is the list of elementary non-fiction reads. You can see the complete nonfiction list here and you can check out the complete nonfiction list here)
This Week’s Celebrations
Literary Celebrations (close-to-it also!)
- Literary birthdays this week include: Isaac Asimov on January 2nd; J.R.R. Tolkien and Cicero on January 3rd; Natalie Goldberg, Gao Xingjian, Harlan Coben, and Isaac Newton on the 4th of January; Umberto Eco, W. D. Snodgrass, on the 5th; January 6th celebrates Carl Sandburg, Elizabeth Strout; the 7th of January is for Zora Neale Hurston, Gerald Durrell, and Shobhaa De; Terry Brooks, Wilkie Collins on the 8th of January;
- The 2nd of January is National Science Fiction Day.
- While the 3rd if JRR Tolkien Day
- January 4th is World Braille Day as well as National Trivia Day (Did you know that?!)
- The 5th of January is National Screenwriters Day and National Take a Poet to Lunch Day (hint, hint!)
- World Typing Day is celebrated annually on January 8th and the second Sunday also kicks off the start of Universal Letter Writing Week!
- It is National Cream Puff Day on the 2nd of January
- January 3rd is National Chocolate Covered Cherry Day
- National Spaghetti Day is celebrated on the 4th of January
- followed by National Whipped Cream Day on the 5th
- The 6th of January is National Bean Day and National Shortbread Day
- National Tempura Day is the 7th of January. Have you tried any?
- And then it is National English Toffee Day to end this week on the 8th of January
- The first week of January is Celebration of Life Week, as well as the obvious New Year’s Resolutions Week!
- International Mind-Body Wellness Day is on the 3rd of January
- While the 4th is National CanDo Day, so set your goals for you can do anything!!
- The 5th of January celebrates National Bird Day
- National Technology Day and National Cuddle Up Day are on the 6th of January… but don’t cuddle up with tech!!
- The 7th of January is National Bobblehead Day
- January 8th is Earth’s Rotation Day and also National Bubble Bath Day as well as National Winter Skin Relief Day and National Argyle Day
Month Long Observations
- International Brain Teaser Month: Check out Secret Agent Brainteasers 🙂 My review of this cool book is here.
- Get Organized Month. SmartLabels can certainly help you get organized this month. My post about this is linked in recent posts section above.
- Get a Balanced Life Month
- and so many more!
Wrapping up my Sunday Scribblings
So dear reader, you have reached the end of this Sunday Scribblings! As always, I welcome your thoughts, comments, and suggestions about this post. And do let me know if you plan to celebrate any of these mentioned celebrations this coming week/month?