Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

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Archive for the tag “summer”

Vacation quotation summarization

I’m back!

The family enjoyed a nice, relaxing, and predictably short week in York Beach, Maine and returned the weekend before the 4th of July – which meant spending most of this past week catching up on work (voiceovers to be done), writing (another children’s book manuscript  complete and a new one begun), and prepping for the long weekend (aka, cleaning the house).

Once the weekend finally arrived, we managed to find time to pick strawberries, can 10 jars of strawberry-rhubarb preserves, make a big batch of strawberry sauce, bake two pies and a fruit tart, catch the fireworks display Sat. night, and spend Sunday with my folks.

Needless to say, fitting a blog post into all this mayhem was a challenge I simply was not ready to accept! I value my family time – and as important as my blog is, there are other things more important.

Anyway, now that I’m back, I can relate to you my Maine experience. We go up to York Beach each summer, and although it’s just over an hour away, it feels like it’s another world; we live, breathe, and eat the beach, and for someone like me who loves the ocean, it’s hard to not want to stay!

York

This is about mid-tide; The Longsands area has a very low grade, so high tide comes up to the dark line in the middle, but low tide extends beyond what you see here.

With kids, it’s always a new experience. I shared our exploits from our trip last year, but this year was completely different: our 5-year-old son is now old enough to climb up to the loft bed, splash in the water without fear, and walk the shoreline without having to hold my hand. For her part, our 22-month-old daughter can sleep in a regular bed, interact with her world more, and vocalize precisely what she wants – an ability at which she excelled superbly and excessively, as you’ll see.

Rather than just list some of the things we did, though, I thought it might be more fun if I recapped our vacation via quotes. So I made an effort to write down things I heard that I thought captured the essence of our vacation. Here are my top 10!

“At first, I thought he was my friend – but he wasn’t, so I smacked him.” We were barely 5 minutes into our sojourn to the Land of Moxie when my son uttered these words from the back seat. He was responding to a question from my wife about a spider he thought was crawling on his leg. Turned out it was actually a tick, which is why he smacked it. Had it been spider, it would have no doubt found a home on his knee and taken a little nap, to his joy. But ticks are no friends of ours, so I pulled over and removed it – and then resumed our trip.

“I want Anna!!!” While all the world is in love with Queen Elsa of Arendelle from Disney’s “Frozen,” our daughter is a fan of Princess Anna. Granted, she’s only 22 months, but she is already one of the movie’s biggest fans and already has somehow managed to learn that insidious “Let it Go” song. Consequently, everywhere she goes, if she sees Anna, she wants Anna – and tells us, loudly. This was a quote that resurfaced throughout our entire 7 days.

“Eva!” Speaking of Disney, I have to wonder if the person who repeatedly called out this name one day along the beach realized the scene they were re-creating (click the link and jump to 1:07 to hear what I mean). I’m sure whoever it was, was looking for a daughter or wife – but their voice sounded remarkably like Wall-E!

“I just saw a bikini top!” Now, here’s where you have to realize not everything you hear means what you think it means. At a place like the beach, one is bound to see bikini tops. When one is married, it’s probably not a good idea to mention said bikini tops. In this case, I was telling my wife about some of the images our son and I had seen in the clouds – and I did, in fact, see a pair of triangle-shaped clouds connected in such a way that they looked exactly like a bikini top, complete with straps. Clouds or not, however, blurting out this particular phrase to one’s wife is not something I’d suggest anyone do.

140

They love each other, for now.

“I want cweam. I want CWEAM!!!” On a short trek into downtown York (15 minutes walking distance), our Royal Highness Her Majesty overheard her mother and I talking about our plans: we’d stop by the park, then they could play at the little beach area, and maybe we’d get some ice cream before heading home for dinner. As soon as she heard the words “ice cream,” she announced her opinion of our plans in her sweetest yet LOUDEST voice possible.

“Is it dead?” This was the question a woman asked me after I waded into the shallow water to examine something floating like a log in the waves. It was dark brown with white blotches and at first I thought it might be a dog, until I realized it was a dead baby seal. Several people had seen it from the shore, but apparently no one had felt compelled to investigate until I came along. My reply to her question? “Well, it’s missing the upper third of its body, so I’m thinking that would be a “yes.” Don’t mess with sharks, folks.

“Curious George isn’t a monkey.” My son said this so matter-of-factly, I couldn’t help but be proud of him. We were at York’s Wild Kingdom, a zoo located right in downtown York, and were visiting some of the monkey cages when he told me his revelation. Monkeys, you see, have tails; apes do not. He and I both learned this fact courtesy of the folks at VeggieTales, and thanks to Bob & Larry, we’ll never forget it:
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“I want duck! I want duck! I want duck!” Once again, our daughter exhorting us to help her attain her goals. In this case, it was a seagull she saw along the shore – but telling her it was not a duck did not seem to matter. As far as she was concerned, it was a duck, and she wanted it.

“Is it 6:00 yet?” I can’t recall if it was me or my wife who said this, because we had been living at the cabin for four days already and had yet to get a good night’s sleep – not because of the accommodations, but because the 5-year-old would be in our room, jumping on us, every morning at 6am. On second thought, that’s not entirely true; one morning, it was almost 5:30. Oy…

“That was pretty awesome!” As we were walking along the main road that leads from our cabin to York Center, our son held up a wet, slimy little stone to a woman passing by. It surprised all of us – her, probably most of all – but we quickly learned what it was: his very first baby tooth! We had known his two front bottom teeth were loose, but didn’t realize how loose. We told him we were very proud of him for wiggling it around long enough to pop it out – and that must have given him the impetus to pop the other one out an hour and a half later! That evening at dinner, he sprung this quote on us…and we had to agree. It was pretty awesome.

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Poetry Friday: “Pirate Dreams”

This will be my last blog post of the month, as the family is packing up and heading off to my remote office starting tomorrow:

You can’t see my desk, chair, microphone, or reference books because they’re just out of frame, an hour away.

 

Yes, it’s that time of year again when we head off to York Beach, Maine – just over the border, but a million miles from home. In fact, I wasn’t able to post anything earlier this week because I’ve been so busy trying to get us ready for the trip while wrapping up a big radio commercial project I completed for the New Hampshire Association of Broadcasters and simultaneously writing query letters and a new picture book manuscript.

Believe me, if anyone needs a vacation around here, it’s me!

Cleo - 17 years old

Happy birthday, Cleopatra. You’ve earned your spot on the bed.

But before I get to today’s Poetry Friday offering, first things first: I need to share a photo of the lovely lady about whom I wrote last week. She just turned 17 years old, and I surprised a lot of folks with that last line.

Cleo has enjoyed a long life of mousing, playing, and generally keeping us all in line…and I worry if she’ll make it to 18. If she doesn’t, we’ll probably find her either on the bed or in the bathtub – her two favourite spots. (What is it with cats and bathrooms??)

Now, then, for today’s poem: something I wrote last year, shortly after we got back from our first trip to York Beach. Interestingly, the poem has less to do with York Beach and more to do with my own memories of visiting the local shoreline as a child two or three times each summer.

Pirate Dreams

The first seashell
I ever found
on my own
still whispers to me
when I hold it to my ear.

The pinwheel
Mom bought
at that candy shop
where you could watch them
make salt water taffy
all day, still spins
like a shiny new motor.

And above my head,
atop my bed, The Jolly Roger –
that faded black plastic flag
I won at the arcade
down by the boardwalk –
flies proudly.

…….It’s been a long time
…….since we’ve been to the beach,
…….but Dad says
…….this year might be the year.

…….Already
…….I can taste the salty air,
…….smell seaweed drying
…….under hazy sun,
…….and feel hot sand
.. ….slipping between toes.

Until then,
I’ll let my seashell –
the first one I ever found
on my own –
lull me to sleep
while my pinwheel motor
spins and spins
with The Jolly Roger
flying high.

© 2014, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

poetryfridaybutton-fulllYou’ll find all of today’s Poetry Friday links at A Year of Reading, so be sure to check out Mary Lee’s review of a new farm animal picture book, along with lots and lots of poetry! Enjoy the rest of your June…I’ll be back on Independence Day Eve, July 3rd!

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Poetry Friday: “Early Riser”

poetryfridaybutton-fulllA few weeks ago, poet/author Laura Purdie Salas offered up a photo of a seagull on a statue as a poetry prompt on her “15 Words-or-Less” blog post. I responded with a short free verse poem…and it has been on my mind quite a bit lately.

I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve decided to use it as part of a larger project, if it’s because the family is gearing up for another summer excursion to Maine and I have the Long Sands of York Beach on my brain, or if it’s because I simply like the way it turned out. Probably all three.

So I’ve fleshed it out just a bit and am sharing it with you today! And if you missed it, I’d love for you to check out this past Tuesday’s post about poetry videos and the incredible voiceovers that the poets themselves provided for the videos.

Oh, and since it’s Friday, be sure to visit my friend and fellow Poet’s Garage member Buffy Silverman’s blog for all of today’s Poetry Friday links and hi jinks!

Early riser

Sea mist swirls across the shoreline;
single seagull seizes a current
……..and rides, suspended
in a headwind.

– © 2015, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

 

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Poetry Friday: “Honeybee”

poetryfridaybutton-fulllI didn’t plan on writing a follow-up poem to last Friday’s “Yellow Jacket.”

Then again, I didn’t plan on getting stung a second time, either.

I also didn’t plan on writing three poems about honeybees – but after I wrote the first one, I realized it had potential for Highlights magazine and decided I shouldn’t share it publicly yet. I figured I’d write a second one that I could post here…unfortunately (or rather, fortunately), the second one I felt was very appropriate for the Cricket group of magazines, so that got nixed from my blog, too!

>sigh< Why do I keep making more work for myself??

Honeybee - Image

(click to enlarge)

Getting back to my “inspiration” for these poems, the first sting I got was by a yellow jacket on the fleshy part of the inside of my right arm, between the bicep and triceps. He probably flew off, none the worse for wear, while I went running inside for an ice cube (carrying a 1-yr-old baby, who had been outside with me).

This time around, I was walking barefoot on our lawn – something I rarely do – and stepped on something that shot a searing pain into the second toe of my right foot. It wasn’t as bad a pain as the first time, but painful enough I knew I needed another ice cube! And although I didn’t see what I stepped on, my guess is that it was a honeybee, as many of them are zipping in and around all the clover that covers the yard.

Poor thing probably died, between stinging me and me clobbering it. They’re really not aggressive at all, and only sting when threatened – so it wasn’t the bee’s fault that this giant appendage called my foot came crashing down on his buffet table. I felt I had to write a little something in tribute; little did I know I’d write THREE things in tribute.

All this while I’m trying to finish up a new rhyming picture book manuscript…and live-announcing the Hopkinton State Fair all weekend long (in fact, that’s where I am at this very moment, so I won’t be able to visit many blogs this weekend).  I’m not complaining, mind you – just staggering backwards a bit at the enormity of my workload!

By the way, if you’re looking for more Poetry Friday happenings, check out Jone MacCulloch’s blog, Check It Out! And now, for no particular reason other than because it’s in keeping with the theme of today’s post and is infectiously catchy, I present to you three fellows who started a street-corner group while in college, pretending to be 19th-century singing automatons, and have built it into this…

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Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!

PoetsGarage-badgeTo keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)  Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

 

Poetry Friday: “Yellow Jacket”

Yellow Jacket

Yellow jacketResilient defender,
protector,
aggressor
expertly guards
the paper gate
of his empress’ castle
with speed and toxin
while my right arm
burns.

© 2014, Matt Forrest Esenwine

Why, yes, since you asked…this is based on a true story.  >sigh<  On a happier note, the wonderfully talented Irene Latham is our “substitute” host for Poetry Friday today, so please visit her blog, Live Your Poem, for all of today’s links, info, and of course, POETRY!

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poetryfridaybutton-fulllDid you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!

PoetsGarage-badgeTo keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)  Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

 

Poetry Friday: Summer tanka

Sylvia Vardell is hosting Poetry Friday today at Poetry for Children, with a poem by her friend and publishing partner, Janet Wong, and news about a BRAND-NEW upcoming Poetry Friday anthology!

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Window Box graphic

(click to enlarge)

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poetryfridaybutton-fulllDid you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!

PoetsGarage-badgeTo keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)  Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

 

 

Poetry Friday: “American Discontent”

Happy Independence Day!

celebrations,fireworks,pyrotechnics,special occasions,festivals

My fellow citizens here in the U.S. are celebrating our country’s birthday today. Some might be going on trips to visit relatives, others might be having cookouts at their homes. Still others may be headed to the beach.

poetryfridaybutton-fulllMe? I’m heading out with the family to go pick some strawberries before it gets too late in the morning and they’re all gone! (By the way, if you missed my repost this past Tue. about what you can learn from berries, please check it out!)

Today I’m sharing the type of poem I rarely, if ever, share:  an unpolished one, and a hastily-written one, at that – I only spent about 30 minutes on it, at best.

The reason I’m sharing it is because, even though it can be tightened up, I thought it would be appropriate for today, the Fourth of July. It was originally written from a prompt by poet and blogger David L/ Harrison, who asked visitors to write couplets about the sun – or lack thereof. What’s funny about writing poetry is, you never quite know how a poem is going to turn out until it’s done – even if you know the ending, the punch line, the hook, the twist, or anything else. It’s always a bit of a surprise.

So I hope you like it! There’s more to Poetry Friday, of course, so head on over to Heidi Mordhorst’s Juicy Little Universe for all the links and fun!

American Discontent

In winter, we complain it’s cold –
then summer’s heat starts getting old.

As soon as there’s a drop of rain,
we wish to see the sun again.

When life’s too fast, we want a lull.
When life slows down, we say it’s dull.

I wonder if we’ll ever be
content with simply being…free?

© 2014, Matt Forrest Esenwine

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Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!

PoetsGarage-badgeTo keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)  Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

 

You Can Learn a Lot From a Boysenberry

This post was originally published nearly two years ago, on Sept. 18, 2012. With summer here and berry-picking in full-swing (well, blueberries and strawberries, anyway), I thought it would be a good time to dust this off and share again, especially for those of you who have recently started following my blog and may not have had a chance to read it the first time.

Hope you’re enjoying your summer!

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Several weeks ago, I was picking berries around my property when it occurred to me that what I was doing could actually be applied to writing and producing – as well as to life in general.  (What can I say – as a writer of poetry, I’ve developed a sort of radar for metaphor!)

Seriously, though, I started thinking about it and came up with five life lessons I’ve learned from berry picking. Consider these:

Patience

Just because a boysenberry looks ripe, doesn’t mean it is.  The pericarp, or outer wall of the seed, may be nice and indigo-black, but leave it on the branch for another couple of days, and it’ll be practically bursting – plus, there will almost no seed left.  If you can’t wait, go ahead and pick ’em when they’re ready…you’ll definitely enjoy them.  However, in berry-picking, as in life, those of us with a little patience will be rewarded greatly!

Group Effort

Speaking of seeds, have you ever tasted one boysenberry or raspberry seed by itself?  Even if you did, you’d barely be able to tell, because they’re so tiny.  Individually, the flavour is difficult to discern – but when you have en entire berry of bulbous seeds, that’s when you can really taste their true deliciousness.  Although each one might be ripe, full, and perfectly developed, by themselves they would barely be noticed.  But put them all together, and you’re talkin’ some good eating!  A boysenberry truly is greater than the sum of its parts.

Tenacity

Don’t judge a bush by its branches.  The berries you see hanging are likely not the only berries on the bush.  Lift a few leaves, and SURPRISE!  There may very well be a plethora of sweetness waiting for you underneath.

Then again, you might have to just keep looking.  I love the bushes that have big, juicy berries dangling from every branch, but sometimes there just aren’t any.  Sometimes you need to not only lift the leaves and poke around, but go in search of other bushes you may not even know exist.  I’ve discovered plenty of good, healthy boysenberry bushes because I had to.  When what you want can’t be found, it doesn’t mean it’s not there…it just means it hasn’t been found.  Keep looking.

Diversity

When you think of ‘berries,’ what comes to mind?  Raspberries? Blueberries?  Strawberries?  Even if you’re into the more exotic varieties like wolfberries (also known as goji berries) or acai berries, we all tend to think of berries as having a particular ‘look.’  Most people don’t realize how diverse the berry family actually is.

Case in point:  which of the following is, botanically speaking, a berry?

– grape
– persimmon
– tomato
– banana
– pumpkin
– pineapple
– avocado
– watermelon

If you guessed “all of them,” well, congratulations – you obviously studied hard on your Botany 301 exam while your drunk college roomates were having that wet t-shirt contest the night before finals.  Yes, every single one of these is, indeed, a true berry.  I’ll save you the details on why; suffice it to say that it has to do with how they grow and develop.  And you know what?  Boysenberries, raspberries, and strawberries aren’t true berries.

Ain’t that a kick in the head?

Rebirth/Renewal

This final point is not as metaphysical as it sounds; it’s actually a fact of nature.  Boysenberry bushes grow on a two-year cycle – one year, they will produce tons of berries, the next year, hardly anything.  Then the following year, the berries are back!  So in order to try to guarantee berries every year, the bushes need to get cut down to only about a foot high at the end of the season.  Pruning puts the bushes in ‘regrowth’ mode, so to speak, so that the following year will be berry-ful.

Likewise, in writing, audio production, or even life, sometimes it helps to just stop what we’re doing and start over from where we started having problems, if not from the beginning.  Is there a friend or family member who is constantly causing you grief?  If they are a drain on your emotions, perhaps it’s time to simpy end the relationship and move on.  Are you having trouble reconciling a plot point or fleshing out a character?  Perhaps you need to consider revising your plot – or eliminating or significantly changing the character.  Can’t get the right sound you’re looking for in your audio production?  Yes, you might just need to keep working on it…or it could be that you need to rethink your entire approach.  Quitting and starting over can often be a wonderful thing, if you’re willing to try it.

Love and other metaphors…

Did you know that boysenberries, rasperries, and strawberries are part of the rose family?  For someone like me, who loves berries (even if they’re not true berries!), it makes perfect sense.  Roses have, for centuries, symbolized love or friendship, and being a guy, I’m not much into receiving flowers as a gift; but give me a slice of warm blueberry pie, a chocolate-covered strawberry, or even quart of fresh black raspberries, and I’m in Heaven.

Ah, yes…love is, indeed, a many-splendoured thing, and comes in a variety of shapes, colours, and flavours. And usually pint- and quart-sized containers.

Think I’ll go out to the garden and see how the tomatoes are doing.

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Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!

PoetsGarage-badgeTo keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)  Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: Out of the ocean and straight into “Halcyon”

It was an enjoyable time I had, spending a week on the beach with my wife and kids…but it’s good to be back, because I was just published in the summer issue of Halcyon  Magazine!

poetryfridaybutton-fulllThe irony is that I no sooner left the ocean side, and came home to find my poem was published.   The poem is titled “Oceanside.”

It was one of those poems that I was never sure what to do with…it was too high for a children’s poem, but I wasn’t sure it qualified as an adult poem. So I’m glad Halcyon editor Monique Berry liked it enough to share it with her readers. You can read the poem – and the entire magazine, for that matter – online HERE. Just scroll down a little to the cover with the big blue wave on it (If so moved, you can also purchase a hard copy at the link.)

The thing I like about Halcyon is that it’s bright and colorful, unlike most stuffy, dry adult literary journals. Berry really tries to appeal to the masses in tone and design – and I think she succeeds. I hope you like the poem!

Also, I just received news this week that at least two poems of mine have been selected to appear in a children’s anthology about food and agriculture, being edited by Carol-Ann Hoyte. The title has not yet been disclosed, but the book is due to be out this October. It’s quite an honour to not only have been chosen (along with 33 other poets), but to also be one of only 9 poets who will have more than poem featured in the book!

As we get closer to publication time, I’ll be sure to fill you in on the details. In the meantime, for all of today’s Poetry Friday links and info, please visit my fellow Poet’s Garage member Buffy Silverman (who will also have a poem in that anthology!) at Buffy’s Blog!

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Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!

PoetsGarage-badgeTo keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)  Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

 

 

Poetry Friday: “The Ballad of a Lost Ice Cream Cone”

poetryfridaybutton-fulllAs you may know, I’m spending each day this week at the beach with my wife and kids while she’s on vacation. So in keeping with that theme, I present this summertime story! For all of today’s Poetry Friday links and info, visit my fellow Poet’s Garage member, Buffy Silverman, at Buffy’s Blog!

The Ballad of a Lost Ice Cream Cone

Ice cream cone, ice cream cone,
once in my hand –
what are you doing down there in the sand?
Moments ago, such a fine, tasty treat…
now you’re covered in sprinkles that no one would eat.

Ice cream cone, ice cream cone,
sweet on my tongue –
one lick too many, and suddenly flung
out of my grip and without any sound
landed softly right there, upside-down on the ground.

Ice cream cone, ice cream cone,
I’m on my knees –
let me try rinsing you off, if you please.
Wait, what is this?  Oh, I’ve caused a disaster!
The water is making you melt even faster!

Ice cream cone, ice cream cone,
once in my clutch,
why did you leave me?  I miss you so much!
Into the ocean, so swiftly you slip…
I just hope the fish all like chocolate chip.

© 2011, Matt Forrest Esenwine

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Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!

PoetsGarage-badgeTo keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)  Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

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