Morning Ritual #NaPoWriMo 6

Morning Ritual #NaPoWriMo 6

Morning Ritual

Iced coffee, three sugars.
Barista sees her coming,
Grabs a cup, ice, and pitcher of coffee.
Order is ready when
She reaches the counter.

There is no concern
That she’ll change her mind.
It’s been the same
For three years, even on
The occasional Saturday.

Creatures of habit
Are easy to satisfy
If attention is paid
To their Rituals.


Personal Log 20200414 – supermarket runs

Personal Log 20200414 – daily routine changes in our stay-home world.

persona log 20200414

Work from home really means work from home right now.

Personal Log 20200414

When training classes begin, my introduction includes saying something about New Orleans. While I teach remotely from here at the house, it’s not accurate to say I work from home. That’s because I get out to the coffee shop on most mornings. Well, not now, naturally.

Teaching routine

Teaching via WebEx requires I stay put. I have a “business” internet account. My desk computer connects via wire to the router to the rest of the world. This provides a better quality of service, QoS. While I probably would survive on the PJs or Starbucks wi-fi, the noise of the blenders presents an issue.

Teaching from home isn’t a terrible thing. I still have time to get up, catch the Amtrak Crescent at the PJs, have coffee, and plan the day. By 0830, I hop in the car and head back home.

Writing routine

No class on a given week means no reason to hop back in the car at 0830. I hang out at the coffee shop for a few hours, working down my BuJo’s task list. The people-watching and train-watching is good for me. So’s the fresh air on the coffee shop patio.

Pandemic adjustments

I worked from the coffee shop for three days after the stay-at-home “suggestions” started. The baristas pushed all the seating to the sides, as if they were about to mop the floor. It didn’t discourage the customers. They gathered on the patio. This annoyed me because I don’t like all those people in the first place. Mark Bologna and I grabbed two of the outside tables that first Sunday (how many Sundays ago was that? I’m losing track.). We social-distanced nicely. Still, there were too many people. After that, I surrendered.

Coffee from home is a first world problem

personal log 20200414

I’m not a fan of making my own coffee. I prefer that to being around asymptomatic carriers, though. So, out comes the pot. The cats are amused. I still drink about the same amount of coffee. From a price perspective, I’m sure it’s saving me money. The lack of donuts, on the other hand, makes me sad. Same for the cinnamon rolls at the PJs.


My writing production isn’t what it was prior to the pandemic. Home distracts me. Home means I can work on my other computers here. I don’t do that at the coffee shop, unless something’s wrong with a website.

Actual work-from-home offers the distraction of making network changes. While the network improves, my NaPoWriMo output drops.

General mindset – Personal Log 20200414

I don’t like going to the grocery in the pandemic. Grocery shopping has always been fun for me, going back to when the boys were kids. I cook, so it’s logical I buy the groceries. Planning isn’t as necessary when Zuppardo’s Supermarket is less than a, mile away. So, normal meant 2-3 trips a week. Dinner planning happened two hours before cooking started.

Pandemic conditions changed that. People in #themetrys make me uncomfortable. Way too many of them are Fox News viewers who think this is a hoax. I don’t need them breathing on me. Seriously. My headphones provided escape from racist white people. Turn on, tune out. They continue to breathe, though.

Even a weekly trip to the supermarket increases my stress levels. While Whole Foods is a better (and smaller) group of customers, they don’t have everything we want/need. Trips to the supermarket early in the day provide some respite from stupid people, but all it takes is one. Not good for my general disposition.

Back to the N-scale trains

I need to get the extraneous stuff off the train table and run them again. It’s a distraction that doesn’t involve watching TV. That’s my main goal for the week. I dismantled the layout before the holidays, and never got back to it. Trains fuel the imagination! They mitigate all the stuff I’m fussing about in Personal Log 20200414.

A Novel Approach #NaPoWriMo 5

A Novel Approach #NaPoWriMo 5 of 30

A Novel Approach

In 1940,
The Nazi Blitz ravaged Britain.
Those who guarded the nation,
In the Shadows,
On the Astral,
Among the Trees,
Came together
To defend their homes
And their loved ones.

Can we defend
Against the novel coronavirus
Using similar means?
Not everyone understands
The science,
The medicine,
The care
Needed to heal
Those who get sick.

But surely,
Those who understand the body’s
Connection to the spirit.
The Shamans,
The Witches,
The Mages.
Even the Dabblers
And the “Fluffy Bunnies”
Know the importance of
Deep breathing.

They can visualize
Healthy lungs
Filling up with air
Exhaling steadily
Oxygen providing
That can battle build up
The fortress that is
The human body
To battle back
The viral assault.

An’ It Would Harm None,
To paraphrase the Rede
To share what we have,
Our Energy
Our Strength
Our Desire to help others.
To boost the energy
Of the vulnerable
Helping them push
The intruder out.

©2020 Edward J. Branley

Hermosa Beach Pier #NaPoWriMo 4

Hermosa Beach Pier – A Haiku

Hermosa Beach Pier by Eric Johnson

Hermosa Beach Pier

Blankets on the sand
Wine and talk between like minds
Ocean strengthens bonds

©2020 Edward J. Branley

Baseball #NaPoWriMo 3

Baseball #NaPoWriMo 3 – a Haiku


Grass, dirt, white chalk lines
Play is worship on the field
Ball field as chapel


©2020 Edward J. Branley


Quarter Call – #NaPoWriMo 2-April-2020

Quarter Call – #NaPoWriMo 2-April-2020

Quarter Call

quarter call

“The Spirit of the North Wind,” By M.Maiden, Elemental Otherworld

Quarter Call

I’d been thinking
About that nod of the head
All day.
I’ve heard others
Call the Quarters
In Circle
For years, but now,
It was my turn
To invoke the Guardians.

Miss Lydia watched me
After nodding, indicating
I was to begin.
Two steps forward,
And a turn to the East.
I took a deep breath,
And raised my arms.

“All Honor to the East Wind,
Bringer of the morning breeze
That shakes the dew from the
Grass underfoot!
Hear me, O East Wind, and
Bless our Circle.”

A bow to the East
And a turn to the South.

“All Honor to the South Wind,
Blowing up from the Open Sea
Past the coastal marshes,
Cooking the Midday!
Hear me, O South Wind, and
Bless our Circle.”

A bow to the South
A flicker of the candle.
Yes! I’m connecting!
Deep breath,
And a turn to the West.

“All Honor to the West Wind,
Carrying a sense of the unknown,
Through the bayous,
At the end of the day!
Hear me, O West Wind, and
Bless our Circle.”

A bow to the West,
And a mischievous puff
Brushing my toes,
Daring me not to giggle.
Challenge accepted!
As I turn towards a good friend.

Momma let me set alone
On the seawall by the lake
Since I was eight.
Now, at fourteen,
The Wind from the lake
Teased me,
Tested me,
Transformed me,
Into what my momma says
Is a
Handful of a young maiden.
I put on a very-formal face,
As I welcomed my friend.

“All Honor to the North Wind,
Testing us with water from
The lake,
A mix of love and anger!
Hear me, O North Wind, and
Bless our Circle.”

A slight snort, as I bowed,
Knowing the North would
Never be angry with me,
Even in the midst of a storm.
My friend responded,
Rustling my skirt,
Frizzing my hair,
As it circled me,
Finally settling in its Quarter.

A final turn, back to the
East, noticing the smile on,
Miss Lydia’s face,
While Momma beamed with pride.

©2020 Edward J. Branley

Duck Gangs #NaPoWriMo 2020

Duck Gangs #NaPoWriMo 2020

Duck Gangs

duck gangs

Duck Gangs

One would not expect
The ecosystem of the
Suburban park
To be a hotbed
Of gang activity.

As one passes near the
Outlet waterway that
Connects to the park’s
Large lagoon, however,
One finds a rough crowd.

No, it’s not the Muscovy Ducks,
Flown up from Mexico.
They’ve settled into life in
The ‘burbs.
But rather, it’s the
Pekins and Mallards,
Quacking for control.

They squawk,
They snap,
They posture.
When the Mallards
Waddle away,
The Pekins follow,
Staking their claim
To the turf.

The confrontations do not seem
To escalate into real fights,
Just squawking
Just snapping,
Just posturing.
The Pekins waddle away,
And the Mallards follow,
The turf.

It all seems choreographed,
To pass the time.
Maybe they just enjoy
The dance,
As if they’re acting out
The Sharks and the Jets.

Perhaps they aren’t
Rival gangs,
But like so many of us,
They are,
Bernstein fans.

©2020, Edward J. Branley

#NaPoWriMo Minus One – Ready to do this

#NaPoWriMo Minus One – Ready to do this

#NaPoWriMo Minus One – ready to write

#napowrimo minus one

#NaPoWriMo Minus One

I grew up with the Space Race. So, some of my fondest memories are NASA mission countdowns. T-minus one hour. T-minus fifteen minutes, where there was often a programmed hold. Launch Control could take one final check. The countdown at ten seconds. Then Liftoff!  While National Poetry Writing Month isn’t a space launch (like the Falcon Heavy in the image above), a countdown is appropriate.

Poetry thinking

I wrote down a couple of basic areas for writing. Baseball inspires me. Our reaction to the novel coronavirus slows that down, though. Additionally, it’s been a long time since the boys played at the playground. Still, memories. Thoughts. Maybe a pickup game for the Trio? Eleni might not comprehend the game.

Trains. All aspects of trains inspire verse. Trains have rhythm. They are focused. The rails open the tap of words. Freight trains? Passenger trains? Flatcars carrying military vehicles. Travelers, even in this time of lockdown. Passing cars offer sound cues as well as visual. Yeah, there will be trains.

Dragons. Verse provides a medium for new Dragons ideas. Air Dragons appear unexpectedly. Elemental Air is important in a port city.  Earth deserves more exploration. There’s always Water and Fire. (I better not let Eleni hear me take the Red Tribe’s name in vain!)

Dystopia. Dystopian ideas pop up regularly. So, less zombies, more other directions. We’ll see.

Write then type

My Noodler’s Ink and trusty BuJo stand ready. So, there’s something more, I don’t know, concrete, to putting verse to paper before putting it here. Writing flashback poems before they become bytes works for me. So, I’ll take that route.  While a handwritten manuscript for even a short story sounds cumbersome, a page or two or three of verse is just right. While it’s arguably double work, typing it up is essentially a second draft.

All these random thoughts, and I don’t have a clue what the first attempt will be!


#NaPoWriMo staying at home

#NaPoWriMo staying at home

#NaPoWriMo for 2020 while staying at home



I haven’t done National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) in a few years. I’ll be the first to admit that I suck at National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). That’s November, and is a much bigger project. I don’t really relate to it because I don’t binge-write, then revise.

30 poems in 30 days

Now, this is something my short attention span can handle. I can write a few poems in a sitting, revise, then pick a couple for posting. When I traveled more, I sat at the bar in restaurants for dinner. I always carry my Bullet Journal or a pocket-sized notebook. Perfect for jotting down anything from quick notes to story ideas to verse.

Short verse

I prefer a simple style when writing verse. Something that’s visually evocative. Keep it simple, give the reader visual cues. Maybe even sound cues as well. I challenge myself this year to carry that a bit further. Maybe not dark-night-of-the-soul stuff, but longer treatments. If I start on a couple of ideas early in the month, they’ll be ready by the end of the project.


the NaPoWriMo website offers participants the opportunity to register their sites, so others can read. I plan to do that, as soon as this article goes live. I need to get away from “political twitter” for a bit, and this helps.

Social Media for #NaPoWriMo

I share this blog with my @EdwardBranley account on Da Twittah. I tweet from several accounts that reflect my multiple personalities. While a lot of what I write fits both the “professional/writer” account and @NOLAHistoryGuy, I like starting the fiction and verse here. So, if you don’t follow me on @EdwardBranley, feel free to add that one. I tweet anything from computer stuff to Star Trek to pop culture there.

Additionally, if you decide to do #NaPoWriMo, let me know, so I can cheer you on.


I use a plugin for SEO on WordPress, YOAST. NaPoWriMo posts will use that keyword and the date. So, that makes things look boring, but it keeps the search terms unique.

Two days to go! I’ll post preparation thoughts tomorrow.

Noodler’s Ink and Social Distancing

Noodler’s Ink and Social Distancing

Noodler’s Ink is my latest fountain pen dalliance.

noodler's ink

Noodler’s Ink

I enjoy writing with fountain pens. I like to keep three with me, one filled with black or blue ink, one with red, and a third with green or purple. Waterman ink works fine for me. A few weeks back, though, my friend Jeff mentioned buying some older pens at a show in Los Angeles. He also bought ink from a company I’d not heard of, Noodler’s. One of the inks he bought was “54th Massachusetts” blue.

My ears perked up, because Union uniforms at the time of the Southern Rebellion were a nice shade of blue. So, I bought a bottle.

noodler's ink

“54th Massachusetts” blue ink from Noodler’s.

The shade of blue is indeed nice!

The 54th Massachusetts

This regiment is the focus of the movie, “Glory.” The 1989 movie tells the story of the formation of the regiment, up through the Battle of Fort Wagner, one of the fortifications protecting the harbor at Charleston, SC. The 54th Massachusetts lost 270 of its approximately 600 members that day. So, I like the notion of thinking back on the sacrifices made by these men. I also think to the times I’ve stopped at the monument plaque on the wall of Boston Common that honors the regiment.

Social Distancing

noodler's ink

As a concept, working to flatten the curve on COVID-19 isn’t all that tough for me. Most of my teaching these days is via remote. So, I’m able to train up enterprise storage professionals without breathing on or touching them. My writing is usually a solo endeavor, with the exception of back-and-forth texting with Lady Duchess of the Red Pen. While I wouldn’t mind sharing a table with Lady Duchess, distance keeps me from breathing on her as well.

So, I’m doing my part here. I’ve never been big on crowds. Since I appreciate how much y’all will miss FQF, I’ll survive. Let’s hope keeping some distance between ourselves keeps us out of that overall two percent fatalities for this thing.