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Samantha Dunaway Bryant
Dangerous when bored.
Dangerous when bored.

Samantha Dunaway Bryant's posts

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Sometimes it really is about just getting yourself past the discomfort or case of the "Idon'twannas." These are a few good ideas about how to do that. One that works for me is to start by doing a little journalling about why I don't wanna. Get the complaining out. What works for you? 

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I fell for Federico Garcia Lorca when I was an undergrad. I can't remember if I encountered him first in translation or in Spanish, but I do remember the bilingual edition of his poems I carried around for the months before my first trip to Spain, my gaze bouncing back and forth between the two languages and trying to understand the grammar of translation (extra tricky in poetry).

What I loved then and still love is the air of mysterious romance surrounding his words, a feeling of sexual energy intermixed with danger. His work felt troubled and serene in turns, tortured in a Byronesque capital R Romantic sort of way, the more so when I struggled to understand it in the original Spanish.

This poem, I don't recognize, so that was a thrill. New (to me) Lorca.

It's a common enough theme for a love poem: what you give up or do for signs of love from your chosen love. What he offers makes up the interesting part: dawns of rainbow garnet, blinded by stars, raw rose crystal. Like a lot of Lorca's work, it feels symbolic and earthy all at the same time.

(If you read any Spanish, try the original . . . this is an excellent translation, but it's still a translation. It's fascinating to a word/language nerd like me, the differences).

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I ran across this page today, trying to choose a poem to read and talk about: Lifesaving Poems. ( ) I liked the phrase and read several of Anthony Wilson's posts. When you find a poem that articulates your experience, reflects or echoes something of you, it does feel like being saved. I think I will explore several of Mr. Wilson's lifesaving poems over the next few days and see if they save my life, too.

One of the poems from his list was "Coming Home" by Carol Rumens.

I've heard of Carol Rumens, but I couldn't bring one of her poems to mind, so she must not have saved my life up until now. The home she is coming back to in these lines is not my home. But I know the feels all the same. I understand what she means when she talks about people "growing drunk at the thought of home."

The lines that stopped me, and made me read them twice to linger on their beauty and evocative accuracy:

a language lumpy as a ploughed field. (describing English)

The sea patiently knits its wide grey sleeve.

the long white skirts of land drifting/sadly through mist,

Probably a full half of why I read poetry is for lines like those, that make me gasp from their gorgeous vision and unusual direction, lines that do something magic with the language, something beyond communicating information.

That first one: all those L's, and the choice of "ploughed" which is one of those words that stymie the foreigner trying to comprehend the language by making no sense by an pronunciation rules. And the clothing imagery for the sea and the land, making me picture that whole part of the world as a giant woman dressed in voluminous clothes of eras long gone.

Then, the humdinger of it all, the ending stanza:

We chug towards our own front door
anxiously, seeing as if for the first time
how tight the plot that locks us in,
how small our parts, how unchosen.

Ouch. The poem can see the beauty in home and long for it, and be comforted by it, and still see how failing to leave home is a limitation, a locking in tightly.

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Hey, I already do most of this. Must mean I'm a natural, huh? #promotion #writerslife

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Today is the last day of my mountain writing retreat and I woke early. Now I sit at my "usual" spot (we all picked our writing area right away) on the upper decking, facing out towards the lake with the mountain view out beyond. The upper third of the mountain is not visible today, having been enveloped by fog and clouds. The air, this early, still smells damp and earthy and carries a bit of the night chill that cools the mountains even when the flatlands never seem to get a break from summer heat. I'm wrapped in my Scottish shawl and drinking coffee and it is lovely.

Only one other writer is awake and we are not talking, both listening instead to the wind through the trees and the morning conversation of the birds.

Green Mountain by Li Bai captures the peace and inner contentment that solitude in nature has always brought me. I love it here, in this "world apart that is not among men." 

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I'm at a writing retreat, my second time in this particular rental house in the mountains. So, I'm thinking about revisiting places, and ran across this Thomas Hardy I had not read before: "The Voice of Things."

I recognize this narrative. That feeling you get when you return to a place after some years and it is changed, or you are changed, or both.

Forty years ago, it felt as if the waves cheered for him, and he felt the joy without hesitation. Life has not been all kind since then. Twenty years ago he came back. Thwarts have flung their tolls at him (great phrase!) and now it seems the waves are laughing ironically at the lot of men. And now, he's back a third time, after another twenty years, and he feels outside. The waves murmur Confession, they beg for something, but he doesn't share the prayer.

I recently went home for a family party, the Fourth of July shindig in the family woods, and felt outside of it a great deal. Most of my family lives within an hour's wide circle of these woods, but not me. Since I became an adult, I've only spent two of my years residing within that circle. The rest have been as far flung as Alaska. North Carolina (a nine hour road trip) is the nearest I've lived.

The sound of the chatter of the group could have been Hardy's waves, so changed did I find it. 

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Yay! I finished my story. It even has a title now. For #saturdayscenes #samanthascenes , here's an excerpt from "Flygirl's Second Chance," a side story for Jessica Roark of the Menopausal Superheroes. You'll be able to read the rest in an anthology later this year. Hope you enjoy!

All of them froze when a loud metallic groan washed over the scene. A man in a blue jumpsuit, an agent Jessica didn’t recognize, ran up and yelled at everyone to hurry; the structure couldn’t take the weight and the truck had shifted nearer the edge.

Flygirl gripped Fuerte’s hand. “There are children in that car,” she said. The two of them took off, Fuerte running along the path established as the most stable while Flygirl rushed ahead through the air. More than once, Fuerte had to leap over holes in the ground as he ran.

Flygirl got to the car first and peered in through the class. The older child peered back at her, holding the toddler, now out of the car seat and pulled into her lap. Flygirl thought the little girl might be in shock. The man who had been moving earlier now lay back in his seat, maybe unconscious. Just unconscious, she hoped.

“Flygirl!” The voice in her earpiece startled her and she spun around to track Fuerte’s progress while she answered. Instructions came and she flew to the far side of the bridge and took sturdy cables from a man next to a crane, arriving back at the car just as Fuerte ran up. She moved quickly to attach the rappelling cables to his harness, then stepped back to let him work.

Fuerte grabbed the car door at a dented corner and peeled it off the car, sliding it across the pavement gently, careful of the crumbling concrete. “Get the kids!” he shouted, and Flygirl swooped in, pulling the shocked children to her, one in each arm. She didn’t wait to watch Fuerte work, but put on a burst of speed strong enough to make her cheeks ripple with the wind and headed for the nearest ambulance. Flying with the weight of the children in her arms knocked her off balance, but Flygirl didn’t let that stop her.

After handing off the children to the EMTs, she leaped back into the air and flew back to the scene. Fuerte had nudged the cab of the truck back and moved to the front of the car to pull the vehicle slowly away from the edge where it perched. Flygirl held her breath, praying the structure would remain stable long enough to get the car free.

When he had made enough room, Fuerte moved behind the car and shoved. It seemed to take no more effort than it would have taken her to push a stroller. Flygirl darted forward. She reached into the driver’s side over the broken glass and grabbed the steering wheel over the fluttering deflated airbag, flying alongside the car and directing its path as Fuerte provided the power, pushing from behind.

The couple of times she dared to look back, Fuerte was almost entirely obscured in the smoke, but she caught reassuring glimpses of his sunshine yellow mask. The car had just nosed onto the road on the other side of the overpass bridge when Fuerte dropped out of view.

While rescue workers scrambled to see to the parents still strapped into the car, Flygirl flew over the group to peer into the hole where Fuerte had disappeared. He hung there, in his rappelling gear, kicking his feet and rocking, but unable to reach anything helpful. Flygirl squatted and stretched out an arm in to help him reach the edge of the pavement. He was far too heavy for her to pull out, but if she could get him a handhold, he would manage the rest. If not for the safety gear, Fuerte would have fallen through the bridge and onto the road below.

When he had tugged himself back up onto the pavement, the two sat panting for a moment. Fuerte grinned and patted Flygirl on the knee. “Shouldn’t you be working on your wedding vows?”

“You don’t have to practice when you’re speaking from the heart.”

“Are you nervous? Can I help with anything?”

Jessica squinted up into the sun. She thought again about what Suzie had said. The thing she was missing wasn’t a what, but a who: her father. Leonel couldn’t fix that for her. No one could. But she was lucky to have a friend who wanted to help.

Thanks for reading! You can learn more about me and my writing at or follow My Saturday Scenes collection here: There's also a collection for ALL the Saturday Scenes by ALL the participating authors here:


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It's always wonderful to get a review from a reader who sees what you were going for and enjoys it. What a great way to start my weekend!

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I'm leaving on a weekend writing retreat here in a few minutes, so I was looking for poems on the theme of retreat.

It's an interesting word, retreat. As I contemplate it in light of my weekend, I see the "treat" within: a reward, something nice for myself. Re-treat, though, takes on "to address again," as in coming back to a subject or a work. Both of those ring true for me as I pack my socks and charging cables.

This poet though, is talking about that other kind of retreat, the pulling back, running away, stepping back from battle to regroup and maybe take up the fight again another day.

The poem has a lovely ache to it, a desire to reach out and make amends coupled with a desire to brush it off and let it go. That after an argument yuck is very much like "the ache of someone gone-missing."

The last line is a nice one to linger with. Know and no, wordplay. The remaining unsettledness over your refusal, and what it means to both. 

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#bookeveryweek Although this is not my normal preferred reading (I would probably never have picked it up, if not for my book club selecting it), I did enjoy the book, in a light, escapist popcorn sort of way. For me to be able to love it more deeply, it would have to be a deeper book.

In some ways, this read like an outline for a book. Obviously, I'm supposed to feel for Ross Poldark and be cheering for him. And I do, at a certain level. If I list for you the circumstances of his life, there's a lot to elicit interest and sympathy. War veteran returns home to find his father dead and his family home basically in ruins and has to rebuild his fortune while dealing with a broken heart.

Yet, even though the book centers around this man, he's strangely passive in his own life. Things happen around him, and he seems to make choices that earn him praise among the common folk (rare for someone of his more aristocratic birth), but I never feel as though he did anything particularly on purpose, or thought further ahead than the moment in front of him. He doesn't have an interior life or strong opinions. So, instead of the main character, he feels like a guy I hear vague rumors about.

I was put off by the romance with Demelza, even though I did like where it went once they were together. The fact that she comes into his life as a child and basically grows up in his care, then awkwardly seduces him because she doesn't want to go back to her father…well, so MUCH of that gave me the wiggins. I like Demelza a great deal as a character, but the yuck factor in how this romance came about takes the enjoyment out of it for me.

As a writer myself, I was confused by some of Graham's choices as to what to show and what to leave "off screen" to tell us about later. Several times, there was a big, dramatic moment with no conclusion, and the next chapter picked up with something mundane and threw in how that drama ended up as a sort of throwaway: "by the way, folks, she didn't die after all" or "oh yeah--he married her." Huh?

So, it was a nice, light read. And I might watch one of the screen adaptations now. I hear the Demelza is closer to Ross's age on screen and more his equal in a lot of ways. That modernization might help a great deal. 
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