Saturday, May 24, 2014

“Te Amo” Accepted for Publication

I did it!

I had a story accepted in the Florida Writer’s Association annual anthology. The theme for 2014 is “the first step.” The book will be published this fall.

I wrote a very personal story about the day I first met my son—it was in Guatemala, he was five years old, and I was adopting him. 

Every time I think of that story, I mist up. It’s very emotional to me. Maybe that emotion came through to the judges.  

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The anthology is also a contest. A famous author-–this year it is Mary Burton--picks the top ten stories from the 60 stories accepted—and ranks them from one to ten. Last year for the It’s a Crime anthology, my story was ranked second.  Will I be able to top that this year? Will I even make it into the top ten? I will be a couple of more weeks before I know.  

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Haiku Halcyon

by Catherine Giordano

I participated in a haiku contest at the Orlando Fringe Festival last haiku contest. It was wild.
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I thought it would be traditional haiku, 3 distinct lines, 5, 7, 5 syllables , the first two lines setting it up and the third line resolving it. The topics would be about nature or something really ‘deep.”  So that’s what I came prepared to read. 

I was wrong. Most of the haiku’s were bawdy, like limericks which are often “dirty.” And sometimes they just went for 17 syllables (more or less) without bothering about having discrete lines

These contests are meant to be entertaining.  A bar is the usual site for them, not a library or university lecture hall. Of course, they would be bawdy. I just hadn't thought it through.
Each contestant was paired with another contestant by drawing numbers from a hat.  We took turns doing haiku and after each set of two (his and mine) the judges picked a winner.  It was best 3 out of 5. I won twice, but lost the final set to my opponent. I didn’t get to move to the next round, but I heard people in the audience say “beautiful”, and that was win enough for me.   

I thought about coming up with some bawdy ones for next time, but so far I can’t think of any.  I decided instead I’m going to come up with a bunch more really beautiful ones, because I won the two sets with my two most beautiful haikus. It will be the battle of beauty against raunchy.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Fair is Fair (Except When it is Not)

By Catherine Giordano

I’m going to announce that I have a new writing credential, even tho I’m not sure a “letter to the editor" qualifies.

I used to have letters published in the Orlando Sentinel quite frequently, but yesterday was the first time I had sent one in years.

The letter was about Fair Districts, the constitutional amendment Florida voters passed in 2010.  It forbids gerrymandering.  Now Florida courts have to decide if the districts were fairly drawn. (Of course they weren’t--they were done by politicians using voting data to insure that their seat was "safe.")

Here is my “letter to the editor” published in the Orlando Sentinel on May 20, 2014.

Fair Districts, Please

To create fair districts, all we need to do is to put a couple of cartographers into a room with a map of Florida and population statistics. If any politicians, political consultants, or voting data is present, that is prima facie evidence of gerrymandering. Please, can we finally have the fair districts we voted for.
Learn more about the issue at Fair Districts Now

7/11/14: Florida won! A judge has ruled that the Republicans violated the law and gerrymandered districts to favor Republicans. The districts have to be redrawn. Republicans will probably appeal. They should be ashamed.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Fringe Slamming

by Catherine Giordano

I took 3rd place in a poetry slam at the Orlando Fringe Festival. My score was only one point lower than the scores of the winners.

Slam Poetry is high energy performance poetry. Think of a rant, only with poetic technique.  Extra points for bawdiness.  There is a strong emphasis on story-telling, emotion, and rhythm. The poems are often humorous. If rhyme is used, it is manic rhyme. (You may have your own definition—this is my definition based on the slams I have attended.)

I hadn’t planned on entering, but the organizer needed more performers and asked if I could help out.  I hadn’t memorized or rehearsed. I had to read the poems from my book, The Poetry Connection. I had a couple of poems that could (just barely) qualify as slam poetry, so I took the stage.

My first poem was “Embracing My Inner Crone.” It details all the indignities and insults that nature inflicts upon the aging body, but ends on an upbeat note. I made it to the second round and performed “Old Witches Never Die,” a poem where I use witches as a metaphor for negative emotions like hate, shame, and envy. At the end of the poem, I urge everyone to commit witch-a-cide.

The other performers were magnificent; I felt totally outclassed. But for whatever reasons, the judges gave me high scores--scores comparable to the scores of the other performers. Maybe because my poems were more philosophical.  Maybe they just didn’t want to hurt my feelings. Maybe they were a little drunk--we were right next to the bar tent.

After a few of the competitors were disqualified for going over the three-minute time limit, I found myself in the semi-finals.   

It didn’t appear to be a serious contest. The prize was a chocolate Easter bunny. (Often slams offer substantial cash prizes.)  This slam was just for fun. Everyone appeared to be having lots of fun, especially one of the judges, an actress in one of the Fringe Festival plays, who rendered her judgments in character. 

I had a lot of fun. Thank you, judges, for your high scores.  Even with low scores, I would have had fun. But high scores made it a lot more fun.

I can’t wait for the next slam. I’m going to rehearse and memorize and work on a delivery that wows the audience.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Book Review Ballyhoo

The anthology--Not Your Mother's Book: On Being a Mom--which includes my story, "The News Gazette, a newspaper in Illinois.
Accidental Kidnapper," received a favorable review in the

There are 64 stories in the book. The reviewer singled out my story for praise.  My story was the first one mentioned and got about three times more words than the other three stories.  The reviewer seems to have really connected with my story.

I feel so proud.

Read the review by clicking the link below.

CLICK HERE  to look inside on