30 Things Before I’m 30

I’ve given some thought to the things I’d like to do before I’m 30 years old. These are limited to personal and not professional pursuits. I cannot possibly list the amount of books I would like to read either. Lastly, I have not placed them in order of importance.

1.) Ride a horse.

2.) Travel through Europe.

3.) Fly an airplane.

4.) Fly a helicopter.

5.) Ride inside a submarine.

6.) Go scuba diving and/or snorkeling.

7.) Hug a penguin.

8.) Hug a puffin.

9.) See the Grand Canyon.

10.) Visit Mount Rushmore.

11.) See the American Southwest.

12.) See the Alamo and San Antonio.

13.) Visit San Francisco.

14.) See the Statue of Liberty.

15.) See Niagra Falls.

16.) Visit Boston, MA.

17.) Visit Harry Potter World.

18.) See Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

19.) See New Year’s Eve in Times Square.

20.) Visit Antarctica.

21.) Ride in an airship.

22.) Ride a hot air balloon.

23.) Meet J.K. Rowling.

24.) Climb a tree.

25.) Learn another language.

26.) Kiss in an elevator.

27.) Kiss on the beach.

28.) Kiss in the ocean.

29.) Kiss in Times Square on New Year’s Eve.

30.) Write something that everyone remembers.

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Hedwig and the Owlery Pt. 2

Welcome to the second installment of my fan fiction series, Hedwig and the Owlery. You can find the first episode here. Today Hedwig discovers a new home in the Hogwarts’ owlery.

Hedwig and the Owlery

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Image Source: Flickr

Her time in Surrey proved uneventful. Hedwig wiled away the hours at Privet Drive much as she had at Eyelop’s Owl Emporium. The only difference was the lack of company. She would be grateful to meet the other owls at Hogwarts.

Platform 9 3/4 was terrifying, and the train ride was no better. Hedwig would have liked to fly as any normal owl would. The bumps and groans of the mechanical monster stirred her from sleep. Despite all of it, however she was glad to see the castle. It was a beautiful distraction from what had been a most distressing journey. The turrets stretched up and up until she could no longer see them. Perhaps it was a better home than the nest after all, she thought.

The Hogwarts’ owlery was a dirty but interesting location. During the evening Hedwig and other owls shared various potions they had nicked from their owners. The bottles, often having little effect on humans, were surprisingly potent for birds. Hedwig occasionally imbibed a drink or two before playing stolen gobstones or wizard chess with her claws. It irritated her greatly when the other owls cheated or demeaned her.

“Why play without rules?” Hedwig asked a doughy owl named Francis.

“Why play at all if you bother with rules?” He quipped to general applause. “How about a peck on the beak, sweetie?” She wished the others had not encouraged him..

Hedwig left the owlery. She preferred to fly around the grounds and explore. It was a particularly balmy autumn night, when she saw Hagrid emerge from the Hog’s Head with a suspicious looking package. Hedwig chose to ignore the problem as another distracted her.

Blood glittered in the moonlight but it was far from human judging by its color. Silver reflected from its streams and puddles. “Unicorns are bleeding,” she thought. Hedwig had only heard rumors but felt frightened. Something accursed had reduced itself to hunting unicorns and would therefore live a half-existence….

She continued to investigate, asking centaurs and other creatures in the forest. Firenze appeared to think the culprit was Lord Voldemort. Bane and the other centaurs weren’t so sure. They often saw many possibilities within the stars.

The trail went cold over the next few weeks. Hedwig took up playing wizard chess with Francis once more. His manners had improved considerably since the beginning of the school year. It may have been Hedwig hitting his face, or after one particularly vulgar display, writing home to his mother. It turned out owls could receive howlers as well. Her voice boomed across the owlery: RESPECT WOMEN OR I’LL MAKE SURE YOU HAVE NOTHING TO GIVE THEM BEHIND THE QUIDDITCH PITCH!

“It looks like a check mate,” Hedwig told him near the end of a game.

“Please don’t write my mother.” Francis looked worried.

***

Find the next episode here.

Before We Thaw with “Shake It Out” by Florence and the Machine

For a long time, I’ve wanted to read poetry using Florence and the Machine. They have such powerful passion in their music. Perhaps because of this I feared I could not do them justice. But, I heard their song “Shake It Out” on the radio yesterday and knew I had to record something. Their lyrics had a profound effect on me, as I considered my own heart.

New Format and a Poem

I’ve considered ways to change the format of my blog. I don’t believe it’s broken or unsuccessful, but I’d like to write more about myself. So, let me fill you in: I’m newly 27, I’m currently a substitute teacher looking for a full-time teaching job, I’m a Sagittarius (though I’ve never actually learned to spell it correctly), and I enjoy poetry. Of course, that’s the short version: I also like Harry Potter, Doctor Who, and most nerdy things.

Currently, I am single, but I don’t let it define me. There is a girl I like, but all good things in time. I’ve learned you have to enjoy the journey itself and not worry. I’ve been in relationships where I agonized over every word or detail and it wasn’t worthwhile. And it should be. If you don’t find comfort in each other, or feel amazing, then there’s no need to keep going (unless there are kids involved).

Apart from this, I enjoyed Christmas and only wish the adults had done more together: like board games or Mario Kart. Christmas should be about making children happy, but adults can have fun too. I think my niece and nephew would have understood watching Star Wars instead of Thomas the Tank Engine. Let’s face it, he’s a creepy train with a human face of undetermined origin. And I’m fairly certain at least one horseman in the apocalypse will resemble him.

So, rejoice. Another year has passed and I must dedicate more time to Goodreads. I’m planning a giveaway next month for my collection of poetry, Inhale the Night. But I also want to be a bigger part of the network and post in more groups. Also, I need to get advertising and tweets finalized. There’s a lot to do, but don’t worry, I leave the poem (and fun).

dreaming solid
rocklike highs
never climbed
or sung before

© Ben Ditmars 2014

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Story Time Friday with poet @BenDitty

Rob Zimmermann featured my poetry on Story Time Friday this week. Check it out.

A Life Among The Pages

Story Time Friday Banner

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Poetry by Ben Ditmars

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Deficiency

I crash inside deficiency
near shaded trees,
unclimbable, lifeless
as the grieving blues.

leather bound promises
eclipse an achromatic wilderness of
tenderness and strain.

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Feelings Bleed

these feelings won’t
go away, feelings
can’t go away, feelings
bleed, could go away,
pale death, go away.

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Red Sea Revolt

war was always a red sea,
waiting to revolt, my dear,
and we have felt the burning sky
speak fire as the drones strike hearts.

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About the Author:

meBen is a bestselling author of gnomes, plays, poetry and more.  He was first published in his college publications the Cornfield Review and KAPOW.  Since then he has been featured in several online literary journals including: Flurries of Words, Samizdat Literary Journal, and Shine Journal. You can find his collections of poetry, plays, novel, and short stories for purchase on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.

Ben lives in Marion…

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Book Review: Enlightened by Regina Puckett

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Enlightened

by Regina Puckett

4/5 stars

Regina Puckett writes rhyming poetry but she does it with a lot of heart. I don’t normally enjoy rhyming myself, but I connected with the author. Her last words in particular resonated: “So I’ll crumple the ink filled sheet / And consider my life’s work complete.” There were only small issues with the formatting: the poem titles could be more distinct.

Red Lights

I decided to write a poem inspired by William Carlos Williams’ The Red Wheelbarrow. Natasha Head has also allowed me to use her breathtaking photograph.

Red Lights

red light contradicts
blue sky and so much
depends on makeshift branches
set in stone, and her translucence
glazed with ice.

© Ben Ditmars 2014

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Photograph courtesy of Natasha Head

Hedwig and the Owlery Pt. 1

I wrote my first fan fiction for NaNoWriMo this year. Unfortunately, I only ended up with 5,500 words. The good news is I plan to post it on my blog in serials over the next month. So, enjoy my Harry Potter fan fic about Hedwig the Owl.

Hedwig and the Owlery

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Image Source: Flickr

Hedwig was a beautiful snowy owl and she damn well knew it. Her mother had said it since the day she was hatched. “You’ll go far in this world,” she hooed between preening and regurgitating worms.

Clearly, she had her pick of the best suitors in England. Male owls flew in from as far as Australia to vie for her claw in marriage. Fate however had very different plans.

Owl poachers caught her basking in the glow of admiration one tepid spring morning. The male owls fawning over her ample plumage fled at the first sight of danger. They were first and foremost aristocrats and not prepared to die.

“Leave me!” Hedwig yelled in Owlish as two men shoved her into a cage. They did not understand her pleading and proceeded transporting her to the nearest owlery.

The wall into Diagon Alley had initially filled the young owl with hope. “They’ll never get through the bricks. They’re obviously mental.” It soon became clear as the door appeared her optimism was short lived.

“Magic!” she scoffed as they walked past shops buzzing with cauldrons and the latest broomsticks. “Enough to make an owl sick!”

Eyelops Owl Emporium soon came into view. Hedwig saw the other owls imprisoned in their cages and already longed for freedom. The wizards talked of Azkaban as if it was terrible, but they had no idea what true misery was like. Had an owl ever broke free? Or would she rot behind the iron bars until she perished?

It was several months before young witches and wizards came to buy new owls. Hedwig bided her time, played harmonica, and made trades for owl cigarettes. Owl cigarettes were little more than mice wrapped in paper but they were a fattening vice nonetheless.

She noticed the rat-haired scamp the first time she saw him. He had a lightning scar on his forehead but she wasn’t about to be taken in by all the hype. The boy who lived, indeed: by complete accident… No one really knew the details, but she guessed Voldemort got antsy and bumbled his killing curse at the last moment. Wizards had no grace or subtlety.

Hagrid had already chosen her before she got a good look at Harry. “He would have made a good pet for me,” she thought of the half-giant. Harry however was slight and did not look like much in a fight. Hedwig would be forced to do a good deal of the dueling. She was a rich girl, but knew how to fight dirty. Some of her suitors did not like taking no for an answer back at the nest. One particularly insistent owl named Joffrey insisted he was the Prime Minister of all owls in Britain and demanded a kiss by decree.

***

Find the next episode here.