Friday, October 18, 2013

Carrie Clickard meets Mortimer, Halloween Edition

He's baaaaaaaaack... costume???

HALLOWEEN Beau Bunny Rabbit by TheDecoratedHouse

(Mortimer must think "little ditties" are bunny treats.)

Little Fruity Ditty?
Little Twiggy Ditty?

Sorry, Mortimer, no Happy Frutti or Tasty Twigs...
but have I got a treat for you!

Today Carrie Clickard is here so that you can ask her some questions.

What's that, Mortimer?  Who's Carrie Clickard?

Why she's my good friend, super critique buddy, and an extraordinary children's author and poet! 
Carrie's rollicking debut picture book, Victricia Malicia: Book-Loving Buccaneer, was released last year by Flashlight Press, and she has two more books hopping down the bunny trail: Magic for Sale, scheduled for release next year, and Fu Ling and the Dragon Gate, due out in 2015. 

As legend has it, Carrie's got rhymes coming out her ears (which is impressive considering they aren't nearly as long as yours, Mortimer) and her imagination breeds stories like rabbits!

No, Mortimer, you don't need to worry.  Just ask your questions.

MORTIMER:  Do you remember the first poem you wrote? 

CARRIE:  Absolutely.  Well, let me make that an "almost absolutely." (grin) I may have had to do a few rhyming exercises earlier in school, but the first real stanza-ed poem I wrote was in 6th grade, titled "An Elephant in my Bathtub."  In fact, owing to my Mom's amazing memorabilia keeping abilities, I still have the graded paper.  Thanks Mom!  It's a silly rhyming romp about a girl discovering animals in impossible places throughout the house when, at the end, it turns out they are all in her imagination.  The poem was more than a bit autobiographical as I was quite addicted to imaginary companions in my youngest years.  I'd have adored living in the zoo-mania house the poem describes.  Of course, by 6th grade I was much too old for such silliness in real life, so I expressed my longing for that sense of "anything can happen" in my poetry.

MORTIMER:  What's the strangest thing you've ever written a poem about?

CARRIE:  Hmm.  As my writing critique buddies, and editors, will tell you, I LOVE strange and unexpected characters and imagining what would happen in places that simply don't exist.  Martian cowboys? OK! A bogeyman who's allergic to dust bunnies? Yes sir! To date, I think the oddest I've written in rhyme would be my poem "Danse Macabre," which instead of being a very serious spooky poem, is a silly ditty about a pas de deux performed by a zombie ballerina and her mummy dance partner.  Their brilliant performance is constantly interrupted by the mummy's unraveling wraps and the ballerina losing bits and pieces of herself.  I did manage a happy ending, rather than a gruesome one, as both are re-stitched and go on to great success in the spotlight.  There are one or two other very strange ideas, but they will have to remain a secret until they find a publishing home.

EDITOR'S NOTE: I managed to twist Carrie's arm for permission to post that "silly ditty" here! ...luckily, her arm didn't fall off.

Danse Macabre

Wearing black tie and shrouds     
the audience crowds     
into seats beneath bone candelabra.
They’ve come here to view
a rare pas de deux
known as the real Dance Macabre.

A lone spotlight beams
on the stitches and seams
that adorn the swan’s tutu and face.
She poses demurely
while a mummy securely
encloses her in his embrace.

Their first promenade
is decidedly odd
for his right leg drags stiffly behind.
And each piqué twirl
makes his wrappings unfurl
revealing what’s left of his mind.

On the third fouetté
her right foot flies away 
but she bravely stays up on one toe.                  
And the mummy danseur    
looks rather unsure:
Should he fetch it? Or just let it go?

When she “spots” it’s disturbing
and appetite curbing
for her neck spins the opposite way.
And her partner, I fear,
sheds an eye or an ear
every time he decides to jeté!

As her pirouette travels,
her neck seam unravels,
and a stitch or two more from her knee.
The bird she’s portraying
is clearly decaying
and won’t see the end of Act Three.

Their love is heartbreaking,
Her death scene’s breathtaking
and the audience cries out “Encore!”
Still despite the hooray-ing
she won’t be bourrée-ing
until she is stitched up once more.

The critic’s appalled
but the crowd is enthralled.
People line up for tickets in streams.
So now every night
in a brilliant spotlight,
they are falling apart at the seams.
© 2011 C.L. Clickard.  All rights reserved.

MORTIMER:  Why do you write in rhyme, when so much of the book world prefers blank/free verse?

CARRIE:  First let me say that I don't write exclusively in rhyme. My third picture book, Fu Ling and the Dragon Gate, due out in 2015, is written in prose.  But when I'm writing poetry, it's all about the rhythm, meter and musicality for me.  The words don't just speak themselves to me, they sing inside my head. As a youngster I fell in love with the rhythmic joy of lyricists like W.S. Gilbert of Gilbert and Sullivan, the hilarious animal songs of Flanders and Swann, and the toe-tapping heart-lifting tunes of the old Broadway and movie musicals.  Add in a serious addiction to Dr. Seuss, and I was simply fated to write in metered verse.

MORTIMER: Can I have my bunny treats now?

Oh, Mortimer.  <sigh>

Thank you so much for being here today, Carrie, and joining in the Children's Poetry Blog Hop!  I may never again see Halloween in the same light.

Jack-o-lantern by Richard Lord

Tamera Will Wissinger is the other wonderful children's author/poet I tagged in my Mortimer Minute last week.  Be sure to stop by her online journal, The Writer's Whimsy, to see what treats she has for Mortimer, and for us all! 

Cathy at Merely Day by Day is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup.


  1. Clever Danse Macabre! "despite the hooray-ing
    she won’t be bourrée-ing
    until she is stitched up once more." :-)
    Thanks for the minute with Carrie, Michelle. I hope Mortimer got his treats!

    1. Oh yes, I gave him his treats. Wouldn't want to chance the tricks he might play if I didn't! Thanks for stopping by bright and early.

    2. Thanks, Tabatha! Who'd have known my few awkward years at the ballet barre would come in so handy? (grin)

  2. That might be the most fun poem I've read in a long time! Thanks for sharing Carrie & her poetry with us, Michelle!

    1. Yes, I'd have to agree, Matt. Fun is Carrie's middle name.

    2. Thanks Matt.... it was a hoot writing it too. Glad it tickled your funny bone. Have a haunting Halloween!

  3. Love Carrie's poem and learning about her. Brava!!
    Very cool rabbit jack-o-lantern BTW. :)

    1. It's amazing what you can find when you google rabbits and Halloween! Enjoy the rest of your Poetry Friday, Jama.

    2. Grazie tante, Jama. I'm delighted you enjoyed it.

  4. Replies
    1. Adore that title "Ultracrepidarian". May your Halloween be just a little more creepy than you're ready for. (grin)

  5. Michelle,
    Carrie's poem takes dance to a whole new level. What a fun - yet tragic - read.


    1. LOL Cathy ... I have a nephew who danced ballet professionally -- and happens to love zombies, so I had plenty of inspiration.

  6. Mortimer looks fine in his beau bunny suit.
    Carrie's poem is even finer--love watching these danseurs unravel, and seeing "what's left of his mind" and the bird that's "clearly decaying." Thanks for the halloween treat!

    1. Thanks Buffy... And a Happy early Halloween to you!

  7. Hi Michelle. Thanks for sharing some of Carrie's hilarious sense of humor with the rest of the world. We in her critique group shouldn't hog it all.

    1. No, I guess not, though we might like to!

    2. Hey Barbara... it's the great crit buddies like you and MIchelle that inspire me. You've got a wicked sense of humor yourself, though you keep it hidden. :D

  8. Hi Michelle! Carrie's poem is masterful! LOVE! I'm glad to hear she's got some rhymers published too( from one rhymer to another)!

    1. Thanks BJ ... we rhymers have to stick together! The world needs more rhyme!

  9. Great to see Mortimer again, and nice to meet Carrie!

  10. Popping in a bit late, though I'm not yet "the late" Carrie Clickard. Thanks for the kind comments everyone. And a special thank you to Michelle for including me in Mortimer's Halloween post. It was a trick-or-treat blast to be here.

    1. You're welcome anytime, Carrie! You sure know how to "liven" things up around here, zombies and mummies notwithstanding. ;)

  11. Hello there Michelle! Thank you for introducing us all to Carrie this week (and hello to you too Mortimer, i'm sorry if that sounded like an afterthought hehehe). :) Danse Macabre is fun! I have an affinity for all things spooky and eerie, and this is just perfect indeed. :)

    1. Hi Myra! Carrie does know how to wield a ghoulish paintbrush, doesn't she? And I don't think you need to worry about insulting Mortimer... he's too busy stuffing his face with "little ditties" right now.

  12. I too am an eerie girl, Myra. And if it has a splash of silly, I'm sold. Thanks for the kind words. Nice to meet you!

  13. Hi, Michelle. I loved hearing about Carrie's books -- thanks for sharing! Danse Macabre has always been a favorite of mine. Those dancing skeletons were always deliciously scary. I can remember listening to them every year in elementary school music class!