The Daffodils’ Riff

Daffodils copyI wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
William Wordsworth 1807


Ever since Wordsworth immortalized the dance of the daffodils in verse, the little flowers have taken their dances seriously. They consider it their responsibility ensure “the bliss of solitude” that fills a poet’s heart with pleasure. So every year, the daffodils hold a contest among themselves for creating the best riff on the original dance of 1807.

As the years have gone by, the riffs have changed to reflect the times; nonetheless, the original movements of the dance viewed by Wordsworth must be included. For the most part, the contestants have adhered to the rules with few exceptions. (There was the scandal of the “petal malfunction” in 2004, but it’s best to leave that in the past.)

In 1940, there was a dispute over the waltz, inspired by the Disney movie Fantasia. Some of the judges felt any waltz steps would make it seem like the daffodils were trying to mimic the flowers in the film. Daffodils, as every knows, never idolize or imitate anyone. In the end, the waltz was abandoned for five years, after which time it was considered free from any comparison to Fantasia.

There are four judges each year. They retain their posts until they die, wilt, are plucked up, mown over, trampled upon, or are eaten by gophers. If a judge gets too crabby (which rarely occurs), it is quietly poisoned, and another judge takes its place. Overall, they are a cheery group.

This is the time of year when the contestants are practicing their riffs for the upcoming spring of 2018. Rumor has it that the movie Hidden Figures has inspired a number of new and unusual moves. It should be an interesting exposition.

Daily Prompt:Riff


Taking a Break


This is my last post for a while. I have lymphoma and have to start chemotherapy. Under its influence, I doubt I will feel much like writing.

I really like the blogging community and will miss my daily interactions. I hope to be back to normal by the first of the new year.

Many blessings to all you fellow bloggers; may you enjoy success in all your endeavors.

I hope during my absence that Rhino will not be forgotten.

S. M. Hart



The crescendo of the music ended abruptly with a loud crash of sound.

“Argh! I’ll never get this right!” he said.

For a five year old, Mr. Turtle can be daunting.

“It’s alright,” I said. “You’ve almost got it. Just take your time.”

My son put his head down on the piano and thought a minute. Then he once more began playing.

Mi, re, do, re, mi, fa, sol, fa, mi, re, mi, re, do. Mi, re, do, re, mi, fa, sol, fa, mi, re, do…

“ARGH! I give up!”
He started crying. I put my arm around him.

“Why don’t you take a break for a while? Mr. Turtle can wait. He knows he will get to where he’s going, if not today, some other day.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, think of the words of the song. Mr. Turtle, see him go, walking there, kind of slow. Going down so carefully, going to the sea. Mr. Turtle is taking his time, but he will get to the sea. You keep on practicing and you’ll eventually play this song. Someday, you’ll look back on Mr. Turtle and think of how easy it is. Every song is a Mr. Turtle song; if you want to master it, you just keep going.”

My son thought a minute and placed his fingers on the keys.

Mi, re, do, re, mi, fa, sol, fa, mi, re, mi, re, do. Mi, re, do, re, mi, fa, sol, fa, mi, re, mi, do.

Perfect. Mr. Turtle made it to the sea.

She remembered Mr. Turtle a few years later sitting in the audience at the Young Musicians Concert. Through the years, Mr. Turtle had encouraged her son through increasingly difficult piano pieces. Beethoven, Mozart, Bach were all mastered under the influence of Mr. Turtle. A crescendo of applause startled her out of her reverie. Her son was making his way to the stage to accept his prize: first place.

Go, Mr. Turtle, she thought.

Daily Prompt:Crescendo

(Note: This prompt reminded me of when my son was learning to play the piano. Mr. Turtle was real.)


Parrish-Pierrots Lanterns

“Once in a while, without rhyme or reason, I am cast in a supporting role in someone else’s drama. I wouldn’t mind so much if they would at least tell me about it and supply me with a script. If I have to improvise, I much prefer a comedy.”

Amalia ~ The Book of Rhino (Between the Lines)

Daily Prompt:Rhyme

Rhino Between the Lines


You are what you create. Or do you create what you are? Or do you become what you create? Malcolm the bard

“That is some picture, Elbert,” said Wilfred admiringly. “I don’t know how you do it.”

The others crowded around the table where Elbert was seated.

“May I?” asked Rhino.

Elbert nodded, and Rhino held the picture aloft.

“This is great,” he said. “It’s like you, and yet it isn’t. There is something different about it—something that is not you.”

“Come on, Elbert, confess,” Skandar teased. “What inspired this picture? Do you have a secret self that none of us know about?”

They all laughed except Rhino.

“What if we could find out?” he asked. “What if we could visit and see for ourselves Elbert’s source of inspiration? Wouldn’t that be interesting?”

There was silence in the room. Elbert looked scandalized.

“I’m serious,” said Rhino. “Wouldn’t it be great if we could communicate with each other through our thoughts and inhabit each other’s inner worlds?”

“NO!” said the others in unison.

“Rhino, you can’t be serious,” said Skandar, laughing. “Imagine what a disaster that would be. Wilfred would probably break something.”

(“Hey, I heard that.”)

“Trevor would wander off, never to be heard from again, and I would find any and all accidents waiting to happen.”

“And what about Rhino?” Wilfred asked.

Skandar thought for a moment.

“Rhino? Hmm…I think that Rhino would find whatever is wrong and would fix it—make it perfect.”

“I don’t want Elbert to be perfect,” Wilfred protested. “I love him the way he is.”

Elbert leaned over and patted Wilfred on the shoulder.

“Thank you, brother,” he said. “Your point, however insulting, is well put.”

He then addressed the others.

“Wilfred is right. Even if we could acquire the ability to walk in the inner worlds, that doesn’t mean that we should. If there is a mystery about myself, I prefer to let my artwork reveal what it is.”

“Right,” said Trevor. “Whoever I am is expressed in my music; I am content to keep it that way.”

At first, Rhino made no answer. It was apparent to him that his brothers did not share his desire. For now, it didn’t matter. He would eventually persuade them to his way of thinking. That Rhino did not know himself what he thought was no deterrent.

“Of course,” he said. “So true. I don’t know what I was thinking.”

Daily Prompt:Inhabit


Unique Blogger Award


I have been nominated for the Unique Blogger Award by noneuclideansofa, whose blog is exemplary for its uniqueness. That NES should include me in his list of unique bloggers is an honor. I am very appreciative of this recognition and will do my best to abide by its social compact. (Note: I am currently reading Foundation’s Edge in which one of the characters uses abbreviations as a sign of friendliness and respect. It is in this spirit that I am using the initials NES for noneuclideansofa.)

The rules of the Unique Blogger Award are:

  • Share the link of the blogger who has shown love to you by nominating you.
  • Answer the questions.
  • In the spirit of sharing love and solidarity with our blogging family, nominate eight to ten people for the same award.
  • Ask them three questions.

Here are my answer the three questions I was asked.

  1. What is something you’d show from a rooftop on a Sunday night during a rainstorm? Also, explain why at your leisure.

If I were on a rooftop on a Sunday night during a rainstorm, I would show passersby why it is not a good idea to be on a rooftop on a Sunday night during a rainstorm because of what happened the last time I went “perching.” It was a Saturday night, it was not raining, and the hotel upon which I sat with my sister and my cousin was only three stories tall. Nevertheless, it was dangerous. On the way up, we interrupted some guys on the stairwell preparing to…well, never mind. They barked at us and told us to move along. I was worried that they might push us off the roof.

  1. What is something you could enjoy complaining a lot about?

I could very much enjoy complaining about the excellence of our government. Imagine if that was the case—think of what wonderful rants equity, economy, effectiveness, and efficiency could inspire! The E-ticket!

  1. What is something you think about that keeps you awake?

Thinking about projects keeps me awake. I don’t know why it is that 2:00 in the morning is the time to think about writing, reading, sewing, cooking, shopping, and keeping the bats out of the patio. You would think I had nothing better to do.

I hope the answers to these questions are sufficient. I enjoyed thinking about them (but not at night.)

Here are my nominees for the Unique Blogger Award:


Here are my three questions for these unique bloggers

  1. What is the most recent book you have read?
  2. What literary character do you think would enjoy reading that book?
  3. Why do you think that character would enjoy reading it?

Thank you for your participation. I hope you enjoy it. Looking forward to reading your answers.

Curious Hart






Every person’s life is a journey toward himself, the attempt at a journey, the intimation of a path. No person has ever been completely himself, but each one strives to become so, some gropingly, others more lucidly, according to his abilities. 

Hermann Hesse ~ Demian

Daily Prompt:Grit


Waterhouse-Knight Lady

“And I shall marry a nice steady man if I find one?” I asked demurely.

Harry came close to me.

“My God! Anne, if you ever marry any one else but me, I’ll wring his neck. And as for you—“

“Yes,” I said, pleasurably excited.

“I shall carry you away and beat you black and blue.”

Agatha Christie ~ The Man in the Brown Suit

Agatha Christie and Mary Stewart are my favorite mystery writers. I love reading their books, except when the narrative strays into a dominant-submissive, male-female relationship. That sort of thing ruins an otherwise good novel. Why on earth they do that is beyond me.

Ayn Rand, that champion of extreme individualism, is also guilty of subtle misogyny. In her novel Atlas Shrugged, there is a scene where the strong-willed heroine Dagny Taggart wears a chain-link metal bracelet to a party. Rand notes that the bracelet gives Dagny the feminine characteristic of being chained. Chained? Are you kidding me? ARGHH!

When Christie’s character Harry threatens to beat Anne “black and blue,” the latter does not run away from him, as any rational woman would; instead, she marries him, where she lives happily submissive forever after.

Men also write about the dominant-submissive relationship. Consider the violent aspects of that relationship in the following songs:

“Down by the river, I shot my baby. Dead. I shot her dead.” Neil Young

“Hey, Joe, where you goin’ with that gun in your hand? I’m goin’ down to shoot my old lady. I caught her messin’ round with another man.” Jimi Hendrix

“You better run for your life, if you can, little girl. I’d rather see you dead, little girl, than to see you with another man.” John Lennon

What was always weird to me about these songs is that Neil Young, Jimi Hendrix, and John Lennon appeared to be peace-loving guys, possibly even feminists. Yet they wrote songs about killing a woman.

I recently read a novel where the heroine extricated herself from one dominant-submissive relationship only to get involved in another. The only difference between the two men, as far as I could tell, is that one was the villain and the other was the hero. However, both were just as bossy, ordering the woman around and telling her what do to. It made me crazy.

Come on, ladies. Is the siren call of dominant-submissive relationships that hard to resist? As Junior once wrote: “Flea for your life! FLEA!” To which I would add, “FLEE!”

Sneaking Snacks

Millais-Children's Tea

“You brought a snack?” he asked, his expression incredulous as he took an involuntary step forward.

Edward snarled even more ferociously, harshly, his lip curling high above his glistening, bared teeth. Laurent stepped back again.

Stephenie Meyer ~ Twlight

In the novel, The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis, the demon Screwtape goes on a rant about God to his nephew.

“He’s vulgar, Wormword. He has a bourgeois mind. He has filled His world full of pleasures. There are things for humans to do all day long without His minding in the least—sleeping, washing, eating, drinking, making love, playing, praying, working.”

I include snacking in that list of pleasures. There is something so innocent, so inconsequential in snack time, that although God might allow it, most authors do not. Snacking in the literary world is rare. It’s one of those things that happen between the lines in a character’s life; it is typically excluded from a story, except to advance the plot, as in the example from Twilight. In that scene, the suggestion of a snack is used to increase tension and build drama. But there is no actual snack.

Snacking is sadly lacking in fiction, (love that alliteration!) and I have a theory why. If more people took time out of their day to snack, they would not be half so grouchy, and there would go all the conflict. I sometimes think that all that villains need to distract them from world domination is bag of chips. Imagine Sauron rummaging through the cupboards in the Dark Tower for some Lays and having found them, sitting in his favorite chair with a good book for an hour. His having a little snack everyday might have saved Frodo a lot of trouble.

By the way, teatime doesn’t count. In the literary world of writers such as Jane Austen, Anthony Trollope, Agatha Christie, and Edith Wharton, teatime was always fraught with drama. Mr. Darcy retained every bit of his pride over a cup of cup.

In her book Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions, Gloria Steinem wrote a great essay on the politics of food, in which she analyzed the social compacts different cultures have adopted concerning food and the ritual of eating. There are similar compacts in novels. Food and eating rituals, whether it’s breakfast, brunch, lunch, tea, dinner, or supper, are all part of the plot. There is no unauthorized eating in fiction. Every time someone eats, it serves a purpose. I think that is why there is such a dearth of snacks in novels. Snacks are just to “snacky” to be taken seriously.

(Note to self: I think that sometimes characters sneak off to have a snack when their writers aren’t looking—they are called “snucks.”)

Daily Prompt: Snack

Brain Loops


(Excerpt from Rhino’s journal)

Recently in Sunday school class, the teacher began the lesson with a music video of “Do You Hear What I Hear?” It was sung a cappella by a group of five young men who call themselves Home Free. The song was beautifully sung, and the video was beautifully filmed. There was just one tiny distraction–one of the singers looked like Sirius Black (Harry Potter’s godfather.)

I could have dismissed this silly thought except another one crept in. I remembered that Harry read an article about Sirius Black in a wizard gossip magazine called The Quibbler. The news article claimed that Sirius Black was actually Stubby Boatman, the lead singer of a group called The Hobgoblins. All this is going through my head while I am sitting in Sunday school watching a music video of “Do You Hear What I Hear?”

This is an example of what it’s like living with my brain. My brain has a mind of its own and insists on thinking its own thoughts. It is so self-willed that it wakes me up during the night–when I would rather be sleeping–and wanders about, poking its nose into all sorts of things. What does one do with an untamed brain!

The sad irony is I have made my brain this way. I have carefully nurtured it, fed it, exposed it to life’s experiences, and have allowed it to grow up unfettered by hidebound thinking. I could not bear to shackle its free-range curiosity and encouraged its loops around a Mobius strip. Now I wonder…have I created a monster?

If so, I am responsible for it. I must embrace my brain and love it for what it is and allow it to love me in its own unique way, even it that means I am inundated with strange thoughts during Sunday school or at three o’clock in the morning.

Therefore, despite my occasional grousing, I am thankful that my brain has developed into the thinker that it is. I would not have it any other way. And what do I get in return? Just this: I can sit down at any time and write; all I have to do is draw from the reservoir of ideas that my brain keeps so thoughtfully filled.

Daily Prompt: Loop