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The New Contest EDITED

Blog Posted:4/23/2019 6:18:00 PM

Do you ever wonder about the title, the muse of a contest, especially if it is distinctive and, therefore, google it to see what comes up? "The Smile at the Foot of a Ladder"--try it and look behind the curtain and after you see what it's about - even read it. What prompted Authur Miller to write it and what could it draw out of you...not to tell or interpret the story but to inspire your own thoughts in some parallel universe of originality?

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Amidst millions of words of autobiographical writing, stands this lonely book, or rather a novella, The Smile at the Foot of the Ladder, Miller's one and only composition that drew inspiration "from the blue", as Miller himself put it. However, do not be mistaken...this novella shines with brilliance. Apart from the exceptional writing Miller's readers are accustomed to, this story is far more complicated than any other novella I had read, ever. Auguste, the centerpiece in this intricate work, is the embodiment of human suffering, a man who carries out his duty until the last breath. His duty being to bring a lasting joy to his audience. For Auguste, there is nothing easier than to make his audience smile, for he is a clown, but the brief moment when he on stage, is not what he is after. His aim is far superior -- Auguste's desire is to unite people with endless joy, the kind that comes only through God himself. But this task, this task bigger than any one human, was a difficult one. When Auguste takes his "trick" to a new level, the audience, as humans tend to do when faced with something they do not comprehend, went up against him. Auguste abandoned the circus and took to wandering. Nevertheless, a man can escape his surroundings, but a man cannot escape himself. For Auguste, his shadow was always with him, in him, unsatisfied, longing. And so, after a nightmare where Auguste was faced with end of his life, he stumbles upon a circus on the edge of the town. His past, his shadow, catches up with him and Auguste is given a new chance to fulfill his task -- one of the clowns fell ill and the circus needs a replacement. Auguste agrees, partly because he wants to relieve his old life, partly because he wants to kill his old life off by making his "persona" more famous than he ever was as himself. With great success, Auguste is back in his element, until the clown, whom he replaced, suddenly dies. It is then, that August discovers reality. The reality of himself, the world, the humankind. The reality that joy is much more than the limited experience he allows his audiences within the boundaries of the circus. Auguste dives deep into himself, into the darkness of the world and he finds the light he was searching for all his life, becoming one with it.
The intricacy of this story, the world in which we live, filled with suffering and joy, the two primary contradicting emotions, is so wonderfully portrayed here. Auguste, complicated like life itself...a man, strong and weak, but above all, vulnerable for he is too human.
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Date: 4/29/2019 7:26:00 PM
craig, so many variations on the theme.. i always go off-tangent and sorta break rules... not for me?.. huggs
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craig cornish
Date: 4/30/2019 6:25:00 AM
Hi Nette, off tangent is what I like and what makes you a great poet - I look for peoples creative interpretation of the prompt and not for their synopsis of it. The only rules I'm concerned about are not centered and approx. 20 line max.
Date: 4/28/2019 6:34:00 AM
I can't read the blog in its entirety, it won't let me scroll past "becoming one with it". Intriguing theme!
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Becca Teagan
Date: 5/9/2019 3:00:00 PM
me too, Agnes
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craig cornish
Date: 4/28/2019 7:58:00 AM
Hi Agnes, I think there is enough to get the idea here and remember it is just an inspiration---an oft told story about being yourself/overcoming doubts etc.
Date: 4/27/2019 12:38:00 PM
Your blog is making me happier with Authur Miller than I was ever before. Now I want to read this missive in her entirety. Do you happen to know the full name? I have no idea whether or not my muse will allow me to take on this contest; it sounds deep.
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craig cornish
Date: 4/27/2019 12:51:00 PM
Hi Caren, that is the name of the book (only 50 pages total) The Smile at the Foot of a Ladder----I ordered one on amazon prime for $8.00--Now, I wonder if your feelings about Miller echo mine, because I always thought him to be a downer but this was very hopeful and, well, until the final page when I declared to my wife, wow a happy ending (until the final paragraph WHY) and it sort of was in a Cool Hand Luke kind of way but, still, it is worth the journey I think--let me know---and please write to it--I'll extend the contest if I feel it need to be
Date: 4/26/2019 8:18:00 AM
Craig, that's a wonderful story, wish you would have shared it a bit earlier though. My poem entered is way off, but still I believe a beautiful story of deep love with a hint of amusement. Will I do another, not sure ? Time is not on my side these days. Best of luck with your contest.
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craig cornish
Date: 4/26/2019 1:15:00 PM
That's okay, because I prefer the poems not to echo the actual write anyway. It is, after all, about life and our journey through it - our experiences and how they affect both expectations and accomplishments and how, in the end, it all matters to each of us.
Date: 4/24/2019 11:45:00 PM
At the bottom of your blog (after the really long paragraph), another paragraph begins with "The intricacy of this story...." and I can see another line is beneath it but I can view only the top 1/4 part of the letters in the next sentence. Was that the end of your blog? Or was there another longer paragraph to see beneath the long one?
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craig cornish
Date: 4/25/2019 7:13:00 AM
Arrg--It won't let me do it but I think there's enough here to get the idea but like you said and I alluded, I don't want a recreation of the story anyway but a poetic interpretation of concepts that affect us all in life. In the end it is universal to us all in some/many ways.
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craig cornish
Date: 4/25/2019 7:03:00 AM
Okay, I can't see it but now I know what you mean - I'll try to fix - but still, it's only for inspiration or an idea - I wrote my newest poem as a quick write to the prompt. Poets can take it anywhere they please but most should know that I reward the creative approach. Thanks Andrea
Date: 4/24/2019 7:25:00 PM
Craig, I can't get past the paragraph that begins with : The intricacy of this story..... (after that line, I can't see more) I am sure this is a wonderful story, but I hope you don't expect us to write on a similar topic if we thought of something else, do you?
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craig cornish
Date: 4/24/2019 7:56:00 PM
I can't see where you are referring to, but no, you can take it where you wish--I did.
Date: 4/24/2019 6:46:00 AM
Hey Craig, about 50% of the time the muse takes off .... the writing begins and then.....I read the I often get two or three varied interpretations and several poems.
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craig cornish
Date: 4/24/2019 7:37:00 AM
Same here John, but there is something so deep about this from so many angles that it is almost inescapable relative to its intended inspirations (clown related). Robin Williams comes to mind...ourselves comes to mind... the angles are infinite.
Date: 4/23/2019 7:47:00 PM
So far, Craig, that is the first contest title of yours I have found inspiring all year. I hope I can be inspired anyway, when comes time to write it! I am afraid to google it and see that my interpretation is way off! I'm sure you are going to get some amazing poems from people with that theme, whether they see this blog or not.
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craig cornish
Date: 4/24/2019 9:18:00 AM
AD - please read my addition above
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craig cornish
Date: 4/23/2019 8:59:00 PM
I always do AD - there are fine poets here--hope you give it a go!

My Past Blog Posts

Date Posted: 10/16/2019 9:37:00 AM
Something I Am Not Winners
Date Posted: 9/2/2019 3:53:00 PM
Contest Rules
Date Posted: 7/13/2019 7:12:00 AM
The Cancer Contest
Date Posted: 6/23/2019 4:32:00 PM
Contest Advice
Date Posted: 5/31/2019 1:30:00 PM
The New Contest EDITED
Date Posted: 4/23/2019 6:18:00 PM
Bougainvillia Praises
Date Posted: 4/20/2019 12:15:00 PM
Andrea & Jan
Date Posted: 4/14/2019 2:53:00 PM
Bougainvillea Contest
Date Posted: 3/17/2019 11:56:00 AM
Song Lyrics Contest
Date Posted: 2/17/2019 3:56:00 PM
Sapphic Contest Judged
Date Posted: 2/13/2019 9:43:00 AM
A Thousand Words
Date Posted: 2/1/2019 4:03:00 PM
Sapphic Perfection
Date Posted: 1/28/2019 11:54:00 AM
Sapphic Stanza Contest
Date Posted: 1/26/2019 5:22:00 PM
Tontoism and other thoughts
Date Posted: 1/23/2019 10:05:00 AM
Sapphic Stanza with a JUX
Date Posted: 1/13/2019 12:36:00 PM
Are You Blue
Date Posted: 1/11/2019 2:14:00 PM
Writing Quality Poetry
Date Posted: 1/7/2019 5:12:00 PM
Raindrop Contest Judged
Date Posted: 11/25/2018 4:31:00 PM
Just a Reminder Every Year
Date Posted: 11/13/2018 11:02:00 AM
Thomas Wolfe
Date Posted: 10/7/2018 11:38:00 PM
Date Posted: 8/16/2018 8:21:00 AM
Follow Up on the Poet Doctor's Blog
Date Posted: 7/14/2018 7:58:00 AM
Date Posted: 6/30/2018 3:50:00 PM
Date Posted: 6/29/2018 1:50:00 PM

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