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Challenge #2 Tag You're It!

By Dana CrandellPublished 7 months ago Updated 7 months ago 3 min read
Top Story - August 2023
55
Masculine
Photo by Simone Pellegrini on Unsplash

I was tagged in the second challenge of James & Oneg’s Summer Writing Challenge Extravaganza: "Tag, You're it!" Look for the link after the poem.

I had intended to bow out of this challenge, but when Babs challenged me to write something for the MEN community, I gave in, because I'm a sucker. I also chose the same format as Babs, because, you know, an acrostic is easy, right? [Insert eye roll.] Unfortunately, submitting to this community means I have to meet the minimum word count, so I'll have to babble.

Obviously, I'm going to fail the challenge, because: 1) I was working when I saw the challenge post, and put off the writing until this morning, and 2) there's no way I'm going to write all of this in 15 minutes. So, I've disqualified myself, and now I can give up. (Yeah, right.) I'll post this failure anyway, just to "keep the ball rolling."

So, I thought about what might be fitting for this community. I was born in the era of "the man's man." (That really is an odd term, don't you think? It doesn't mean what it sounds like it means.) Anyway, I am a man, although I aspire to be something just outside the stereotype. That has its frustrations, especially when I have no desire to be seen as the modern version.

Meanwhile, there's still the issue of word count and I'm only halfway there. Can I tag it as microfiction? Would that matter? I have no idea. So, here I go, babbling some more. That can't be right, though, because I'm a man. I don't babble, I orate, or pronounce, or declare, or something. But I'm not talking, I'm writing, so what do I have to call it now? English is hard!

Oh, Babs, what hast thou wrought? 15 minutes might as well have been 15 seconds. 600 words might as well be 60,000. "Keep writing. Just keep writing..."

Full disclosure: I knew what I was in for with this, but I actually like acrostics, so I led with that. Calling the result a poem might be a stretch, but whatever. (Don't you hate that phrase? I do.) I also knew the 15-minute goal was never going to be achievable.

Part of the problem is that when it comes to writing habits, I'm a "pantser." I don't journal. I rarely make notes and I never outline unless it's required. You'd think that would be an advantage in this case, right? Not so, at least not for me.

My mind goes where it wants to go and most of my stories and poems write themselves on the fly. Although it's more like crawling than flying. Sometimes it's like crawling through mud. Naked. With hidden bear traps. Under razor wire. In the Klondike.

Ok, my mind made that last part up. (See how that works?) I enjoy the writing process. Most of the time.

It feels like I'm getting close to the word count, so it's probably time to think about wrapping this up. After all, I have a whole day of manly stuff ahead of me. And that was part of the thought process that got us here. See what I mean? Yeah, me neither. I'm totes wingin' it out here. (Did I just subtly combine new and archaic expressions?)

When I sat down this morning, I decided to take a shot at voicing the frustration of striving to meet the old-fashioned principles of manhood, without what's been labeled "toxic." What I ended up with probably doesn't quite get there, but I only had 15 minutes and one cup of coffee.

I did make the deadline with the poem, so maybe It's not a total failure. You be the judge.

Move mountains

Anticipate and act

Suck it up and go on

Courageous

Unbreakable

Laugh in the face of danger

Internalize

Never

Enough

***

Thanks for reading!

Here's Bab's entry, which I really prefer over mine:

Here's that link to the Extravaganza:

MasculinityManhoodIssuesCulture
55

About the Creator

Dana Crandell

Dad, Stedpad, Grandpa, Husband, lover of Nature and dogs.

Poet, Writer, Editor, Photographer, Artist and Tech/Internet nerd. Content writer by trade. Vocal Creator by choice.

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  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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    Original narrative & well developed characters

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    Creative use of language & vocab

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Comments (52)

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  • Naveed 4 months ago

    Sometimes, wingin' it creates the most authentic expressions.

  • ELIAS PULIDO6 months ago

    Informative article! The truth as it is! Well written! Read mine? https://vocal.media/men/gender-and-humanity-breaking-stereotypes

  • L.C. Schäfer6 months ago

    Ooof. Masterfully done, if you'll excuse the phrase.

  • Donna Fox (HKB)7 months ago

    Dana I love the sarcastic narrative/ commentary in the prelude to the poem! I definitely have a great appreciation for your sons elf humour! I laughed so hard at your mud analogy about writing and how the work comes to you! 😂 I enjoyed the poem and the intension behind it, great work Dana!

  • Novel Allen7 months ago

    Great babble, shows your heart and soul. You got SOUL. Well done.

  • JBaz7 months ago

    Love this, you nailed the challenge. Although I personally liked your ramblings at the beginning, I got a good chuckle.

  • Grz Colm7 months ago

    Great job Dana - I enjoyed your little acrostic too, & congrats on your leaderboard placement! 😁

  • Test7 months ago

    Very nice acrostic. Pernoste agrees, that it good.... and that it captures masculinity. You appear to have been wearing the right pants.💙Anneliese

  • Celia in Underland7 months ago

    Congratulations on 'Honourable' mention! Fantastic piece.In spite of your reluctance. Alicia decided to just roll with it...with many, many thanks to you!

  • Mesh Toraskar7 months ago

    Oh this is so well done, congratulations on the Top Story!! Very nuanced, brilliant work :)

  • Kris TheAuthor7 months ago

    Wrote Similar on Masculine, Nice One.

  • Cendrine Marrouat7 months ago

    Congratulations on the Top Story!!

  • Ashley Lima7 months ago

    I really love the last three lines of this acrostic as it can be read a few different ways. Ie. Internalize? Never. or Never enough. I think you did a good job at highlighting the ways in which toxic masculinity can bring men down. Men are expected to do so much and be so stoic when it's not necessary. Being themselves and true to who they are is enough! Lovely work

  • Rob Angeli7 months ago

    Congrats on Top Story! Good work on this, even if crawling instead of flying. Simba laughs in the face of danger too, ha ha ha? ;) very thought provoking.

  • Congrats on the Top Story for your acrostic

  • Gary Ragnarsson7 months ago

    I loved this! congrats on Top Story

  • Clyde7 months ago

    Great job

  • Melissa Ingoldsby7 months ago

    Exceptional piece about how much pressure society puts men under! Very well-deserved top story 👏❤️

  • ThatWriterWoman7 months ago

    I love how you portrayed masculinity as the pressure to be traditionally masculine - I think a lot of men must feel that <3

  • Colleen Millsteed 7 months ago

    Babble away Dana as I enjoyed reading what you have written. Then I got to enjoy your poem too. Congratulations on Top Story.

  • Hannah Moore7 months ago

    I think the end product was pretty good! And the, um, preamble, revealed something more complex!

  • C. H. Richard7 months ago

    I think you got there! Great job and Congratulations on Top Story too! 👏 ❤️

  • Celia in Underland7 months ago

    Love this, funny, insightful. So glad you relented and wrote it!

  • Test7 months ago

    Congrats :) fantastic piece

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