Thought Wheel

From the mind of Ann Chiappetta

Annie Shares News Holiday issue 🎁

| Filed under blogging Writing Life

Annie Shares News Volume2 Issue 11.5 November/December 2022

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🌨️  🎍  🦃

Hello and welcome to the last newsletter of 2022. I hope you all have had a good year and moving toward post pandemic activities once more.  The year has been productive, taking a positive direction in terms of writing

 

The biggest piece of news is adding another resource to share  news and writing related happenings. First, if you follow my blog, www.thought-wheel.com, you will receive an email posting my newsletter. I plan to test this new option for sharing the newsletter so don’t be surprised if you receive  something from me via Word Press.

Next, . I am happy to announce I am contributing an advice column to National Braille Press’s quarterly Our Special  variety magazine which  is only   available in braille. It feels good to share the years of counseling experience for the benefit of others. Finding writing gigs that fit my lifestyle and help pay the bills is challenging and I hope to find a few more opportunities like it in the coming year.

 

Thanks to Friends In Art, www.friendsinart.org the monthly Art Parlor podcast has added a few new episodes. Catch my talented colleague and author Chris Kuell in the November 2022 show as well as a collection of other artists from past episodes.

 

Where else have I been? 🐝   Collaborating with the many other authors of Behind Our Eyes, of course. We now have a solid podcast collection for listening, called the Behind Our Eyes Book Launch program, thanks to the passion and cooperation of our members. Each sixty-minute presentation highlights one author and recently released book recorded on the zoom platform.       Go to www.behindoureyes.org to find out more, to join or to listen to recordings of our members reciting their writing and questions from the audience. We already have members scheduled for 2023.

 

I am writing a new book and this time it is nonfiction and will include the healing process  brought about by therapy animals and my experiences working as a clinician.

 

 

 

Here is a fun poem I’ve been working on, I hope you like it.

The Torture of Sonnets

By Ann Chiappetta

 

I don’t know much of Sonnetry

‘tis with rhyme and meter I fail

Concocting strings of symmetry

Commences with pulling out my hair.

 

Pluck and twist  with fingers and fist

ta-dum, ta-dum, ta-dum,

Clumsy, I trip into the Muse’s grip

vexed  by verse, overcome.

 

A scribble a scrabble —  my attempts aren’t pretty

Word    smithing Causes my cranium to throb

and I fear my friends shall not withhold their pity

and with pitchforks, chase me like Frankenstein’s mob.

 

Mayhap soon  I shall toss  up a poetry salad

Once I imbibe in a few pints of ale

Such an endeavor may result in a ballad

When recited will not result in a rain of rotten kale.

 

Undaunted I mentally twerk and type

Until the meter, rhyme and poetic measure is ripe.

Annieand  Jerry smiling at the camera standing in matching holiday colors and Bailey the yellow lab at their feet.

 

 

The Masher’s Last Stand

| Filed under blogging Poem writing

The Masher’s Last Stand

By Ann Chiappetta

I learned to cook prior to food preparation machines and commercial blenders

We used whisks, hand-crank mixers and potato mashers.  I stood on the Romper Room emblazoned stool beside Mom until my little arms tired. I whipped cream, eggs, and sifted flour. I was practicing to be a Suzie Homemaker, don’t you know.

 

After my parents divorced and we moved into an apartment, the budding skills became necessity. At nine I learned to scramble eggs, boil water for macaroni, and help make

meatloaf and meatballs.  The spoon with the little holes and the potato masher made the move with us.

I estimate the utensils are over fifty years old, the spoon is solid stainless riveted to hardwood handle grips. The masher is also riveted and sturdy, not even a bit of rust.

 

Dad’s carpenter’s   measuring stick   given to him by his father

was the final tool

Laid in a reverent place among elderly scrapers, hammers and planers.

Bobby, said a friend, your making mistakes, get rid of that thing.

 

The measuring tape wasn’t as fun to play with

And pinched my tender fingers more than once

Dad would release the stop and we listened to it retract as if by magic and

He would chuckle and say something about

The wonders of modern technology

Then whip out the stubby pencil from behind an ear, mark the wood

clip it back to his waist and return to work with the hand saw.

 

I pretended the curled papery shavings  from planing the wood

that fell like

Dogwood petals onto the shop floor were

Secret messages from fairies or a mouse

 

I put them to my nose and inhaled the fragrances

Cedar or pine was the best

 

Pop gardened and gave me the first taste of fresh mint

Strawberries warmed and sweetened by the sun

Pickled cucumbers in jars so big a child’s hands could not

carry or open them

My little fingers squeezed

Lupini beans from their casings as directed

By the little Italian lady visiting

From next-door

and my lips tingled from

a bit of afternoon antipasto

and my confidence was tempered

by losing a few hands of Casino

 

I tried buying lupini beans and couldn’t find them

Though I remember the card game rules and pulpy fragrant

Refinements Of the shop

And how attached I am to a few outdated implements

The telltale products of my youth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Annie Shares News October 2022 V2Issue 10

| Filed under blogging writing

Annie Shares News Volume II Issue 10 October 2022

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Web: www.annchiappetta.com

Blog: www.thought-wheel.com

 

 

🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃

 

This is my favorite time of year. I love the seasonal shift, the influence the winter months have upon my writing. I’ve heard the fall and winter are the best times for writing and crafting because we are inside more and the element of hibernation isn’t quite gone from our instincts. So, here’s to all things pumpkin and fleecy and spiritually motivating.

 

Drop by Plum Tree Tavern for a serving of poetry, including one about my favorite birds:

Blue Jays Aren’t Blue

 

https://theplumtreetavern.blogspot.com/

 

 

I found this sweet little pome written about Fall.:

Autumn Fires

by Robert Louis Stevenson

 

In the other gardens

And all up the vale,

From the autumn bonfires

See the smoke trail!

 

Pleasant summer over

And all the summer flowers,

The red fire blazes,

The gray smoke towers.

 

Sing a song of seasons!

Something bright in all!

Flowers in the summer,

Fires in the fall!”

 

 

Here is a fairy tale written and read by me:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/du7x58xuievthrk/the%20maiden%20and%20the%20prince.m4a?dl=0

 

The warmest of wishes from Dreya the book dragon, too.

Dreya the book dragon is smiling and floating around with her best friends, books and musical notes.

Dreya the red and green book dragon smiles and floats in the air with her best friends, winged books and musical notes.

 

One Dog’s Life 🦮 💖

| Filed under blindness Guide dogs writing

Second place winner! this essay will be in the December 2022 issue of the National Federation of the Blind’s  Writer’s Division Literary magazine, Slate and Style.

 

One Dog’s Life

 

2011

 

Verona and my daughter play in the lake for an hour. the funniest thing is the way Verona blows water from her mouth after dropping the stick. It makes a loud, spitting sound that can be heard from the patio.

 

When the assorted waterfowl horde realizes she is visiting, it waddles   in masse from grass to the lake weeds beside the dock. Labrador nose dilates, a front paw lifts, instincts override even an offer of a cookie. for just a little while she is the retriever, the soft-mouthed hunting companion, not a guide dog.

 

Each and every year we have together is a blessing, a time for me to feel unfettered. I try to think back on the way life was before training with Verona but my mind veers from those dark moments and I let them go. We are here, being warmed by the late afternoon sun. We are dog and woman, partners for however long time and fate permit.

2013

Four humans and two dogs fill the little red sedan. I sit in front, along with Mom, who is driving. In the back seat, Music’s furry butt crushes my sister, who, until now has suffered in silence.

“Thank God it’s a short ride,” I hear her mumble from somewhere behind us.

 

We reach our destination, extract ourselves from the little red sedan. Verona’s excitement is palpable. Once inside the gate, loose dogs run up to us, but I make her ignore them and sit until I’m ready. With a word she’s off. We claim a bench in the warm California sun. moments later Verona lopes by us, a pack of dogs giving chase. I listen for the pack to turn back and run past us again, Verona in the lead.

 

California 2013

Pebbles and shells litter the meandering path to the beach. The air resonates with surf and sea birds. I release Verona and she lopes off, nose to the ground

 

Music, my sister’s Golden Retriever, chases Verona into the water. As she turns to give chase, a huge wave crashes down and for a moment she is engulfed, Sucked away by green sea and foam. my heart skips a beat in arrested panic; The wave spits her out onto the beach and she runs to me, weaves in-between my legs and soaks my pants. I look like incontinence has gotten the best of me.  Thereafter, Verona avoids the waves and prefers a safer splash in the wet sand and tidal pools instead.

 

It’s important that Verona has the opportunity to be a dog; so much responsibility is put upon her when waring the harness, it seems that this is the best way to let her know.   As she digs a hole in the sand and flops down to dry off, my heart is content because she is doing just what she’s supposed to be doing, living a dog’s life.

close up of Black lab with snow sprinkled on her nose and head. She is looking at the camera with large, brown inquisitive eyes.

close up of Black lab with snow on her face

 

 

 

Some Flash for YOu

| Filed under writing

Flash Fiction under 200 words

 

A fortuneteller, skin cream, and a song stuck in someone’s head

 

 

The song’s percussion joined with the eerie chanting.  The crescendo found her own pain and she wailed with the vocals, higher and higher until her voice broke.

 

“Baby, are you okay?”

Lorna sat up, another wail stuck in her throat.

“Easy there, Babe,, I think you had a nightmare,”

She tried to calm her racing heart, taking deep breaths.

“No more psychic fortuneteller shows for you before bed,” Jackie said.

 

Lorna couldn’t tell if she was joking or serious.

Jackie slid over a hand in a reassuring gesture. It was then Lorna noticed the fabric glove on her own hand.

A typically-Jackie   style smirk broke across her face.

“You must have been exhausted. I helped you on with the gloves after you put on your skin cream and you fell asleep before your head hit the pillow,”

Lorna looked into her partner’s steady gaze and felt the rush of color on her own cheeks.

Jackie drew her closer, kissing Lorna’s forehead.

“let’s go back to sleep,” she soothed, settling them both back under the covers.

 

End

 

 

 

 

Annie Shares News Vol. 2 Issue 9

| Filed under blindness blogging novel writing

Annie Shares News Volume 2 Issue 9 September 2022

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🌑 🌓 🌔 🌕 🌙

Wonderful Things Afoot

 

The creative life is often compared to an ebb and flow, like tidal or moon phases. The last two months were a prime example. I barely wrote anything more than email correspondence due to being removed from our home of thirty years no thanks to asbestos contamination in our old floors. During a vacation in temporary housing via an Airbnb to await the asbestos abatement and installation of new floors, no thanks to hurricane Ida, I managed only one poem. I disconnected and it was probably for the best. I read, I soaked in the blessed silence, basked in the sun, brushed Bailey until my arm was tired, took in the evocative smells of country living and scratched my bug bites with complete complacency.

 

The day prior to our return the stress flared and another two weeks of creative cut-off overtook me, but this time it wasn’t attributed to adjusting to the ambiance of country living and black bears eating the tasty apples from the tree in the yard next to us. It was frustration and disappointment that shut me down. Our home was in chaos. Boxes from floor to ceiling, many of them unmarked. It was beyond dirty, our appliances were unplugged and left to leak all over the kitchen floor.  The list goes on but it is behind us now. It was a helpless feeling, for sure.

 

The lifeline appeared when I attended a few writing-related zoom meetings. The first was the regular Friday afternoon Writing Works Wonders  Community Call podcast streamed by the ACB Media Network. It helped me reconnect with my creativity by providing a writing prompt and it resulted in a poem which will be in a sweet little online literary pub called the Plum Tree Tavern. Then, the following week, the WWW hosts Kathy and Cheryl provided a second prompt that resulted in yet another poem, posted below, which was well received by other writers and is looking for a publication home.

 

Thanks to a fellow author and editor, Robert Kingett, I signed up for an open mic call and I read five of my more recent poems and was thrilled to receive high praise from the listeners. The facilitator followed up with me resulting in an opportunity to record one of my guide dog poems. It will be added to a poetry project for the  Chicago Public Library.

 

While writing is solitary, the sharing of it is not; the sharing is what pushes me to write, to create and keep a productive mindset.   Being good at something like writing and hearing others say my writing is good gives me a feeling of belonging and purpose. I’d lost those two aspects of self when I became blind and reclaiming them over the years felt like gluing the jagged pieces of my soul back together.

 

Opportunities abound, from online writing prompts given by Writing Works Wonders to focused feedback and email lists to connect like   in the writer’s group, Behind Our Eyes. One never knows where the opportunities and connections will appear but one thing is sure, striving to produce good writing and sharing it with readers is the goal.

I value you all, it is you, the reader, the listener, the literary compatriots, for whom I write. I will keep writing as long as you keep reading and listening.

 

 

Summer’s Book

By Ann Chiappetta ©

 

August is

A perpetual ending

Of wilting haiku blossoms

Of Heat and drought and rain on wind chimes

Of crisp leaflets capturing autumn’s promise and

open fields of earth’s parchment

awaiting to harvest and scribe

richness into Nature’s book with stories of Winter white.

 

2022

 

Dreya sends her fanciful smile your way, what’s better than a book dragon asking her friends to read more books?

This image requires alt text, but the alt text is currently blank. Either add alt text or mark the image as decorative. Dreya the red and green book dragon smiles and floats in the air with her best friends, winged books and musical notes.

 

A Poem for Country Living

| Filed under blogging nonfiction pets and people Poem

Transformation

By Ann Chiappetta

 

My City Dogs become Porch mongrels

Laying  beside the mason jar of sun tea

The basso drone of a honey bee

The snap of a Jay’s call

The aroma of a grill

A whisking breeze   bestows relief

 

It is a call to prayer

 

Soon  we  will rise

Shake free of the   delightful

porch-dog torpor

trade  the carefree for the city

But for now  we are  country hounds.

2022

 

view of field from back of vacation house, mountain can be seen  from a distance through the trees.

 

 

 

Upstate Adventures 🐻🌲

| Filed under blindness pets and people Relationships writing

 

Hello from Windham and Hunter Mountains, Green and Ulster counties, NY, home of the New York Catskills and summer wildlife. Bear and deer and black flies, oh my!

🐻  🦌  🌄

It took us almost as long to pack for the trip Like we were moving out. In a way we were moving out, at least temporarily.

 

Let me explain.  Remember hurricane Ida in the Fall of 2021? We sustained water damage to our entire apartment. In fact, all the apartments on the ground floor and the lobby area took on six inches or more of flood water.  Our lobby was completely under over four feet of it. me we all had to first wait for the insurance and FEMA funding to come through, then wait for a move out date.  Since we own cats and dogs, this meant finding a location for two weeks that was not going to mean living in one room together like in a hotel. and the most important part of it was also packing up everything to be stored in a pod while the work is being done. Oh, and to add a cherry atop this shit show of bad timing, there is also asbestos abatement along with the replacing the floors from the old glue used on the original flooring being removed.  We didn’t know about that one. Now it is a concern and rightly so. It is also bad timing.

 

A powerful wave of flood water slamming open your front door and engulfing your apartment is traumatic enough but the asbestos thing is just, like, really shitty. It will delay things a bit more for the installation of the new floors and moving back in again when we return.

 

We are fortunate to be able to make the bad timing and all the packing work to our advantage.  we deserve some respite after so much upheaval. The stress exhausted us. If Jerry and April weren’t there helping me, guiding me around all the boxes,  extra workers, and taking charge of the packing prior to the work, I’d never manage it alone. This is our family and I am proud of us.

 

View from bridge spanning Windham nountain looking out into the valley below.

The wildlife is active. The variety of animals eating the apple tree in the adjoining yard included rabbits, a wood chuck, and two black bears, we think a mother and older cub based on size and attitude.

 

 

a large black bear and a small black bear beside an apple tree in West Kill NY