Tag Archives: Anonomz

Having Fun Like Squirrels Chasing Each Other Up and Down Trees on a Sunday Morning: Similes and Metaphors Exercise

23 Sep

If a person wants to be a body builder, it’s necessary to not only exercise but to eat healthy and to train properly when it comes to lifting weights.  If you to be a pro at any sport, you need to practice not just playing the game but different techniques and strategies that are going to play a significant role in how well you play the game.  Writing is definitely not an exception to the rule.  One of the exercises my practicum professor suggested that I do is to come up with similes and metaphors.  Even though it was fun, I must admit that I flexed some muscles I have not been using as frequently as I should.  I came up with thirty different similes and metaphors, and would like to share ten of them with you.  They may not all be the best, but it’s all in fun.

  1. Your love is a 366-day-old lottery ticket.
  2. You are the plucked gray hair no one will ever know about.
  3. Caught in your speed trap with an expired license.
  4. His words cut like a knife made out of play dough
  5. Cumbersome like Shaquille O’Neal walking a tightrope backwards in six-inch heels.
  6. I rise like a congratulations balloon escaping the grasp of a proud mother.
  7. Relieved like a rose escaping the snip leading to its wilting death.
  8. Count on me like an abacus.
  9. Hard as thirteen year old gum under high school desks
  10. Sorted out thoughts like a recycling center

If you have a fun simile or metaphor, please feel free to share.

 

All the best,

 

Tanya H. Franklin

 

 

The Ultimate Workshop: Discovering Me!

15 Sep

Tanya Harris Franklin aka AnonomzI just started an MFA program in Creative Writing for poetry, and a main component of one of the courses I am taking is participating in workshops where I provide feedback (I prefer the word feedback to criticism) on the work of my classmates, and they provide feedback, which I try not to take as harsh criticism, on my work.  Having someone look at my work, my heartfelt, overflowing-with-emotions work, has proven to be even more difficult than I expected.  I’ve always struggled with confrontation, shying away from it whenever possible, and in some weird way, I am being confronted about poems on which I have worked so diligently and hard to produce.  Last week, I submitted my first set of poems, and I am pleased to say the feedback was not as severe as I thought it would be; nevertheless, the differing opinions and suggestions and the picking apart of my poems line by line is a lot to process.  It has left me mentally depleted pondering over what feedback I should accept and which ideas I should discard.  Having a support system is wonderful, but how do I not lose my voice as a writer and not simply conform to what others think is best for my work or my writing style?

What’s interesting is that this dilemma has got me thinking about an ultimate workshop: discovering me.  An internal conflict I still struggle with in my everyday life is wanting the approval of others and upholding an image others deem appropriate or noteworthy.  My poems cannot and will not be everything to everybody.  Some people will be quite fond of them, and some people will loathe them.  Therefore, trying to figure out how I should revise my poems or if I should even revise them at all is a pinnacle moment leading to a huge turning point for me.  I am being forced to make decisions on my work, and there is no way around it.  As a result, I am discovering more about me and what I think is best based on other people’s insight.  This line of thinking extends well beyond my poetry, and with each passing day I am finding out a little more about myself, what I like and dislike and trying to figure out how to filter through the beneficial thoughts of others without getting caught up in what they think is best for me.  It will be a lifelong workshop, but I can already sense some growth occurring.

All the best,

Tanya

The Tale of Too Many Goals

8 Sep

Tanya H. FranklinIs there such a thing as having too many goals?  Every year, I contemplate over what I would like to accomplish and what steps I will take to get there, but most recently I’ve started wondering if I have too much on my plate.  Is it best to focus on one goal exclusively or to have a few going on simultaneously that could potentially coincide with one another.  Last year, I found this wonderful app “Habit Factor,” and it focuses on how in order to reach goals in life, you must develop good habits that are in alignment with those goals.

For instance, I want to become fluent in Spanish, so I have been completing Rosetta Stone lessons, listening and repeating the audio on my drive to work or wherever, playing the games, even reading “Love Poems” by Pablo Neruda which has the Spanish on one side and the English on the other along with watching a few shows or movies in Spanish and conversing in Spanish when possible.

Learning Spanish is just one of my goals.  In improving my writing skills I have enrolled in an MFA Creative Writing Program which I just started, and it is certainly intense to say the least.  However, I know I will reap the benefits of blossoming as a writer by the end of the program.  Staying in shape is always at the forefront which involves more than just exercising but eating healthy, meditating regularly and channeling positive energy.

I’ve been married for a year now, and my husband and I moved into our new home a few months ago, and there are several DIY projects I want to tackle.  Starting a family is one of those projects.

Is this all too much while I am in my fifth and last year on the tenure track at my college preparing my portfolio and letter to be presented to the board?  Some people say, “I don’t know how you do it” or “When do you relax?”  I’m not sure if I am taking on too many goals, but I do it all not just for me but my family too, and I am excited about where these goals will take me in life.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

All the best,

Tanya

The Journey Continues

1 Sep

Tanya Harris FranklinIt’s been a while since I’ve written a post, and I feel so guilty.  Even though I haven’t lost sight of my goals, I have allowed life to consume me.  The purpose of this blog is simply to share my musings, journey and whatever else strikes my fancy and to be able to possibly inspire others, and lately, I’ve had a lot of ideas, so I need to make more time to get them all down.   I’ll keep this post short, but I am eager to take you on my continued journey.

All the best,

Anonomz

Profound Hip Hop Quote #48: A Blue Sky is “Common” Where I’m From

21 Jan

“Day light beams, night light schemes
This is my Inception, I’m writing my dreams
Immortal view of a star doing what I’m born to do
I see the blue sky, say the Lord’s coming through “

—“Blue Sky” by Common (Featuring Makeba on vocals)

Common Blue Sky

Most people are happy to hear the meteorologist say, “Today is going to be sunshine and blue skies” when they check the weather forecast, and the reason is obvious.  People tend to associate blue skies with good weather or even beautiful weather for that matter because it usually means that there will be no clouds, rain, snow or any storm brewing on the horizon.  With blue skies, it is very seldom necessary to cancel outdoor plans such as picnics in the park, a sporting event or just simply sitting outside and enjoying some fresh air.

Figuratively speaking, there is something awe inspiring about the blue sky.  I correlate it with a higher power,  hope and dreams, as does Common in his song entitled “Blue Sky” off of his ninth studio album, “The Dreamer/The Believer.”  Have you ever thought about how some areas of the world have blue skies a minimum of ninety percent of the time while others are lucky if they experience a blue sky with no precipitation ten percent of the time?  Common presents this juxtaposition of worlds, “daylight beams, night light schemes” which can be interpreted on multiple levels.  Someone else’s daylight is another person’s night light.  Also, to beam is to radiate and reflect the light.  Whereas schemes can be underhanded actions covertly done with the intention of accomplishing something in an unscrupulous way.  Furthermore, we all have our moments when the “blue sky” is shrouded in darkness, but it is pertinent to remember that the blue sky is still present, and we can still scheme through the night, in a positive way, to reach our goals by day light.

Have you ever been so busy or consumed with your daily routines that you don’t stop to admire the beauty of the blue sky and breathe in the fresh air of the day?  I love to just daydream and look up at the sky as I think about all of my aspirations as I reach for the sky.  In wonderment, I reflect about life and if I’m on the right path and if I’m doing what I’ve been called to do.  “This is my Inception, I’m writing my dreams,” Common proclaims.  Looking up to the sky is just the initial step; it is when we come to the realization that we write our own dreams, and each day, with the blue sky above us, from the inception of those dreams, we must think about what we have done, are doing or plan to do make them a reality.

We are all immortal views of stars.  Our actions today will have a impression on the people of tomorrow.   The problem is that many of us are to searching for what we were born to do.  What’s wonderful about the figurative blue sky is connects us to God.  When we are unsure, when our faith begins to waver, when we just need our hope and determination in our dreams restored, we can look up to the blue sky and be reminded that life is beautiful and that we are not alone.

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya H. Franklin

Bonus English Lesson:
When it comes to figurative language, Common is as adept as they come.  To select one example, Common using an allusion when he says, “This is my Inception.”  He is making a reference to the movie Inception and employs an extended metaphor where the blue sky represents God.

Profound Hip Hop Quote #47: A “Rek” in the 25th Hour

31 Dec

“We are in the 25th hour it’s now or never
We got to get .. forever remember
Time waits for no man
what’s your plan? “

—“25th Hour” by Reks (Produced by DJ Premier)

ReksWith less than 24 hours left in the new year, I pondered, “what would be a profound rap song to close out 2011?”  Then I thought about the song 25th hour by Reks (Rhythmatic Eternal King Supreme).  Now if you’re scratching your head trying to figure out who or what in the world REKS is, I was in the same position of wonderment about a half a year ago.  My husband actually put me on to the Boston native who has a butter, quick witted flow but has, for the most part, remained in the underground circuit.

On his third studio, he paired up with DJ Premier to deliver the “25th Hour.”  Most people, at some point, are guilty of saying, “I’ll get around to it tomorrow,” “I’ll start my goal in the new year,” or “I’ve still got time.”  Nevertheless, there are moments when the sense of urgency is building, and “it’s now or never.”   Think about all of the goals, hopes and dreams that you might have deferred thinking you have more time to get around to achieving them.

It’s necessary to have that passion and determination to get to your destination in life.  On countless occasions, people have asked for more time or wished that they had just one more hour in the day to get tasks accomplished.  Let’s say there was a 25th hour….how many people would use it effectively, and how many would use it to get an extra hour of sleep?  Remember, as Reks says, “Time waits for no man…what’s your plan?”

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya H. Franklin

Bonus English Lesson:
Reks not  uses a hyperbole. “We are in the 25th hour”  is an exaggeration utilized to stress the importance of time or lack thereof.  Also, Reks utilizes personification.    “Time waits for no man”  Many people have uttered this adage; however, time is given a human characteristic as though we can negotiate with it.


Profound Hip Hop Quote #46: It’s Like a Jungle Sometimes, So Listen for the Message

3 Dec

“Don’t push me ‘cuz I’m close to the edge
I’m trying not to lose my head
It’s like a jungle sometimes
It makes me wonder how I keep from goin’ under
It’s like a jungle sometimes
It makes me wonder how I keep from goin’ under “

—“The Message” by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five

The MessageWho hasn’t heard the statement “It’s like a jungle sometimes?”  Released over a three decades ago, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s  rap song, “The Message” still reigns true today and is a timeless classic; why would it not be profound?  Of course, some of the references made in the song may not apply today or may have evolved into other issues, but most people who grew up in the 80s or even the 90s are familiar with the hook and sing along passionately as they swing on vines and vines of problems and truck through the muck and the mire of life.

There is a sense of urgency and intense emotion expressed in the hook.  “Don’t push me ‘cuz I’m close to the edge.”  How do people really know when they are “close to the edge?” Most use their intuition and draw conclusions based on how they are feeling, what they can see, how their current circumstances look and sometimes what others tell them?  Why do some people invite the “edge” and view it as an opportunity to improve their survival instincts rather than a frightening ordeal where they will not survive should they be “pushed” over the edge?

If you agree with the statement, “It’s like a jungle sometimes,” then why not plan accordingly?  If you see the “edge” coming or know that its approach is imminent, why not strategize how you will handle it?  Will you jump to the nearest vine, try to back pedal in hopes of preventing the inevitable, jump clear over the edge because you just can’t take it anymore or do nothing and pretend that the edge does not exist, resulting in your eventual downfall?

We all have our own jungles involving work, school, finances, relationships, family, etc. Our survival instincts are what keep us “from goin’ under,” but it is our preparation and intense training for the “jungle” that not only makes life bearable but challenges people so that they cannot only see what they are capable of handling but to help them get to the beautiful aspects of this “jungle.”  Who do you think would be the most industrious and resourceful and manage to fair well in life: the person who has tackled the swamp, quick sand and crocodiles of life head on or the person who constantly complains and is too scared to face the challenges presented, focusing more so on the gooey swamp water rather than how they are going to successfully get to the other side by finding a vine? How are you surviving in this jungle of life?

Please feel free to share your though

~Anonomz aka Tanya H. Franklin

Bonus English Lesson:
The Message uses the simile, “It’s like a jungle sometimes”  to demonstrate how difficult and challenging life can be.  To use a jungle indicates that it is quite likely that only those who have survival instincts will make it through.  Also, the song uses an idiomatic expression which contains a hyperbole.  “Don’t push me ‘cuz I’m close to the edge.  I’m trying not to lose my head…”  Of course, there is not a literal “edge,” but the phrase suggests that he is unable to endure any more of the circumstances of life and that the next issue may result in a nervous breakdown.  Furthermore, a person cannot actually lose his or her head, unless there was a guillotine  or another sharp instrument involved, but a person can lose his or her mental capacities due to being overwhelmed by stressful situations.

Take a look at my rendition of “The Message” for my students.

Profound Hip Hop Quote #45: Ready to Camp Lo for that “Luchini”

26 Nov

“This is it (What?!)
Luchini pourin’ from the sky
Lets get rich (What?!)
The cheeky vines
The sugar dimes
Cant quit (What?!)
Now pop the cork and steam the vega
And get lit (What?! What?! What?!)”
 

—“Luchini” by Camp Lo


Camp LoWhile listening to the funky jazz influenced rap song “Luchini” by Camp Lo the other day, I pondered if it could still get hip-hop heads out of their seats rapping along with the chorus today.   If you were into rap music during the mid to late 90s, you should have definitely had Camp Lo in your rotation.  Both Sonny Cheeba (Salahadeen Wilds) and Geechi Suede (Saladine Wallace) possess lyrical finesse and laid back styles which caused me to be an instant follower of their music.  Actually, just this year, they partnered up with Pete Rock to release “80 Blocks from Tiffany’s,” but these brothers will always be known for  the classic song “Luchini.”

What is it that makes “Luchini” so profound?  It’s the vernacular the duo uses as they get heads grooving to their flow.  Almost every line of their rhymes requires some decoding and translating.  People might know the lyrics and be able to rap along, but if you were to ask them for an interpretation, many would draw blanks or make educated guesses and possibly be wrong.  First off, some might not even know what “luchini” is; however, if forced to conjecture, the assumption would be that it is about money since it’s “pourin’ from the sky.”  Also, the following line says, “Let’s get rich” which indicates that “luchini” is some form of riches.  In the hook alone, references are made to “cheeky vines,” “sugar dimes,” “pop the cork,” “steam the vega” and “get lit.” It’s no wonder the main word to follow the lines is “What!”  However, this is what I love about this song; a hip hop dictionary is in order for anyone who is not or was not up on their slang, vernacular or regionalisms during that time.

This song not only has a catchy, “rap along hook” and mellow yet funky beat, it also demonstrates how simple colloquialisms can be lost in translation; nevertheless, the slang terminology is what gives people their own unique way of communicating and definitely one of the key features that made this song stand out from the rest and stand the test of time.

Please feel free to share your thoughts.

~Anonomz aka Tanya H. Franklin

Bonus English Lesson:
To use the word “What” after most of the lines in the hook is an example of a chant or in this instance and “call and response.”  It has a significant contribution to the song and works as a tool to engage the listeners.

Profound Hip Hop Quote #44: Nobody’s Safe Chumps: Serious As a Heart Attack!

19 Nov

“I must stay focused and keep my mind open
The world’s mass confusion, there’s mad guns smoking
For punks trying to get respect and yearning
Mess around and catch a bad one from Erick Sermon”

—“Nobody’s Safe Chump” by EPMD

EPMDEPMD: Erick and Parrish Making Dollars was and still is one of my all-time favorite hip-hop duos.  It is all about the business with these guys who actually have an album scheduled to release in 2012.  However, being all about business often causes people to neglect other areas of their lives and may eventually present problems that “nobody’s safe” from: health issues.  Last Saturday, November 12, it was reported that Erick Sermon, of EPMD suffered from a heart attack.  Even though he is expected to recover, he is only in his early 40s and should not have to worry about having a heart attack.  This news comes shortly after the untimely death of Heavy D.

With these two incidents so close together and with both of them being fully aware of the  risk of being unhealthy, overweight or obese, I thought it would be good to reflect on how nobody’s safe from a heart attack, cancer, diabetes or any other ailment; however, there are so many steps that we can take to either lessen our chances of having a health problem or at least lessen the severity.  I’m no doctor, but it should be obvious that if you eat junk food regularly, do not exercise, smoke and drink excessively and even have toxic relationships, then you are increasing your chances of dying young or experiencing a painful death at the hands of a heart attack due to the decisions you are making.

Of course, it is difficult for many to be health nuts, but “you must stay focused and keep your mind open.”  I’ve never smoked, consumed alcohol or used drugs before; however, I have battled with junk food.  For the past few years, I’ve been on a serious health kick but allow myself to have pizza, a slice of cake or any of my other vices in moderation.  The issue for most is “out of sight out of mind.”  If our skin was translucent and we could see the damage we were doing to our organs and how we were damaging our bodies, I think more people would be more conscientious when it comes to their eating habits and willingness to live sedentary lifestyles with little to no physical activity. I know it certainly does help me when I think in those terms.

Having a heart attack has to cause “mass confusion.”  I do not know what Erick Sermon’s eating habits or lifestyle is, but he, as well as Parrish Smith are one of my favorite rap duos of all time.  I hope he uses this brush with death to promote healthy living so that his loyal fans will be able to enjoy the upcoming album.

Please feel free to share your thoughts.

~Anonomz aka Tanya H. Franklin


Profound Hip Hop Quote #43: Tell Me The Way I Am

12 Nov

“And I am, whatever you say I am
If I wasn’t, then why would I say I am?”
 

—“The Way I Am” by Eminem

Eminem
Who and what dictates who you are?  Is it your actions, what you say, your appearance or what others say about you?  More than likely, it is a combination of all four.  Just because you may believe you are a nice person, does that make it so?  What have you done or said to demonstrate how nice of a person you are?  If others who know you well were asked to describe you, would they say that you are a nice person?

Released over a decade ago, Eminem’s song, “The Way I Am” is quite inflammatory as it addresses the issues that he has with the media’s perspective of him as a rapper and person.  Eminem might have controversial lyrics; however, those very same lyrics are usually quite profound.  In this instance, the actual chorus can be applied to anyone’s life. 

Most people would like others to have kind and positive words to say about who they are.  Nevertheless, is it necessary to care about how other people may perceive us to the point where we live our lives for them?  Do we sometimes allow the perceptions that people have about us to dictate our future behaviors: better known as the self-fulfilling prophecy.  For instance, are those mothers who tell their sons, “You ain’t nothin’ and ain’t never gonna be nothin’ just like your dead beat father” setting them up to actually be nothing because they believe they are what their mom’s say they are?

You are who you say you are, but be mindful of your actions, appearance and how you say what you say because it does play a significant role in how others will perceive you.  Also, do not allow the negative perceptions that people may have of you to dictate your journey in the future.

Please feel free to share your thoughts.

~Anonomz aka Tanya H. Franklin