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Thursday, April 18, 2019

Wedding Belle's Booze, an original poem

This is a poem I wrote for Janet Reid's flash fiction contest,
for which the theme was:

"If I'd had pearls, I would have been clutching them."

Wedding Belle's Booze

Wedding guests are rich, old, and boozy.
Marooned with the singles, so I can't be choosy.

A long open bar with a miniscule dinner.
We're all drunk and hungry. We've almost become thinner. 

The best man's toast is more of a roast.
"May your genitalia never fail ya."

My neighbour, a charming elderly lady,
finds one word obscure. It seems almost shady.

"Dear, what's 'genitalia'?" she said, and I want to drop dead.
But I smile and I shrug and feign ignorance instead.

Copyright 2019, Barbara Etlin, all rights reserved

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Shakespeare, SCBWI, and My Mother

First, Happy Fifth Book Anniversary to my book of humorous poetry,


Okay, you're asking what does Shakespeare have to do with SCBWI? To the best of my knowledge he never joined it. He never even applied for a Karen Cushman Late Bloomer Award. (Being over 400 years old, he would have qualified.)

In October 2002, I went to a Toronto SCBWI meeting held in the beautiful art gallery owned by an illustrator who was a member. But the gallery owner and I were the only ones who showed up! Apparently, the date had changed and no one told us.

Before we realized that no one else was coming, I tried to make small talk with Hashem.

"My mother is an artist," I said, filling in the silence.

"Oh, really? She should bring in her portfolio. Maybe I'll show her paintings here."

She didn't have a portfolio. I asked my artist-friend, Angela, how to make an artist's portfolio, and followed her instructions. Then I brought in the portfolio.

In December 2002, my 85-year-old
mother had her first and only solo art gallery show!

The show was named after her painting (shown above), which I named

Imitate the Sun.

I was inspired by this passage from Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part One.

Yet herein will I imitate the sun,
Who doth permit the base contagious clouds
To smother up his beauty from the world,
That, when he please again to be himself,
Being wanted, he may be more wondered at.


Monday, January 21, 2019

Stevie Wonder and MLK Day

Stevie Wonder

played an important role 

in getting

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday

recognized as an

American national holiday. 


Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy 2019!

The best way to start the New Year

is with chocolate!

Happy New Year!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

As the (Upstart) Crow Flies

Upstart Crow is a charming bookstore-cafe in Seaport Village, SanDiego,  where I like to write while drinking coffee.

When I Googled it yesterday I found out that it's closing this year due to redevelopment. I tried to submit a review of it to Trip Advisor, but I was politely told that, although they value my input, my most recent visit was too old to be useful for its site.

So here is an approximation of what I submitted to Trip Advisor.

Books Plus Coffee = Bliss

Since we discovered Seaport Village about 1986, we've visited Upstart Crow whenever we were in San Diego, which is about twenty times. I get a cup of coffee, sit at my favourite table by the window, and work on my novels. If my writing goes well, I treat myself to a slice of chocolate layer cake. 

Besides books and writing notebooks, I've found a delightful range of quirky gifts and cards here. I own two Upstart Crow t-shirts, as well as one that wore out, which read, "Careful or I'll put you in my novel" in black Courier typeface on a white background.

Soon I will visit Upstart Crow for what will be the last time because it is closing.

On my most recent visit, in February 2016, I noticed two crows on the hill outside the window. I like to think that one of those crows is the ghost of Shakespeare, checking on his namesake bookstore.


Saturday, August 11, 2018

Of Cabbages and Kale

If  I'd ever wondered whether I was still intolerant of cabbage, I got my answer
last night.

My favourite restaurant changed its side vegetables for the salmon. Although that pretty, tasty vegetable sitting on top of the lentils looked innocent, alas, it was not.

Intolerance isn't an allergy, but it can make you miserable for hours.

Of Cabbages and Kale

The thought of cabbage makes me quail
And long to drown in Carlsberg Ale.

Repeated stabs of gaseous pain
Make cabbages my diet bane.

Although they've lots of Vitamin K
I'd rather get it some other way. 

From Antique Piano & Other Sour Notes, Deco Owl Press
Copyright Barbara Etlin, 2014, all rights reserved