Friday, January 30, 2009

If you could pick any famous person to live next door to you, who would it be?


Well, my first choice would be Emeril Lagasse..Of course he would NEVER live next door to me. I would have to live next door to HIM. I don't think he would like living in the 'hood. But I have always said I wished I lived next door to him, because I would be over to his house everyday watching him cook and sampling all his goodies. (LOL. No, not those goodies, you perverts.)
He always makes cooking look like such fun. When I do it, it is tedious and I can't wait to get done. I would just "pop in" with some wine and see what he has cookin' or maybe just sit around and listen to some music and talk about the weather. I just think he would be a nice person to know. Of course my negative friends say he is a womanizer and an asshole, but do they know him? UH, NO!!??!!.. They just want to ruin my little fantasy daydream.
I just want somebody to feed ME and entertain ME. It seems like I am the only one who feeds anybody. How do I sign up for that train?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Darkling Thrush, by Thomas Hardy


I have been reading some poetry this week and happened upon this jewel that I had forgotten about. It rustles something primitive in me. To read it today, of all days, so cold and gray outside gave it extra punch. Today I looked at the distant barren trees and wanted to describe them, no words came to mind, but when I read this, "The tangled bine-stems scored the sky like strings of broken lyres." I knew he had seen the same thing..........

Enjoy!



The Darkling Thrush


I leant upon a coppice gate
Where Frost was spectre-gray,
And Winter's dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.

The land's sharp features seemed to be
The Century's corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon the earth
Seemed fervourless as I.

At once a voice arose among
The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
Of joy illimited;
And aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
Upon the growing gloom.

So little cause for carolings
Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
And I was unaware.
Thomas Hardy (1901)

Monday, January 26, 2009

If you have tattoos, describe one of them. If you don't, what would your tattoo look like if you ever got one?


It has spreading blue edges and fading colors. It perches upon my shoulder, my companion these 35 years since the day my friend, Ellen, and I wandered into that little shop in Cotati, California. The wait was about one hour, so to stoke up some courage, we went to a little dark bar across the street for a beer or two. As a testament to our lack of observation skills and total self immersion, it was only as we were leaving that we noticed we were the only girls in that bar. We finally noticed we were very much out of place in there, as the men danced together and sat close together, whispering and stealing worried glances at us.
Giggling, we paid our tab and stumbled back out into the summer sunshine, so it had to be in the afternoon, since the sun didn't blaze until it had burned off the day's blanket of fog.
The burly artist was waiting for us to make a choice of design, we both settled on a free flying flutterby. (We had an imaginary friend named Emerson who looked alot like the one he would apply as a skin illustration. We were 70's kids, OK??)
I bravely went first, and had the image of Emerson etched into my right shoulder. He was beautiful and very colorful and I barely felt it (except when he went over my bone) and slapped down my 20 dollars.
She was next, wanted her flutterby on her hip bone. She exposed the skin canvas for her inking and waited anxiously for the first touch of the tattoo needle to her skin. He dipped his pen in the ink, poised it over the tracing, and touched her with the tip at the same time she was leaping out of the chair. To this day, she carries the tattoo that almost was. One big blue dot on her hip bone.
She actually shows it to people proudly, "see MY tattoo?"

I have actually thought I would get a cover up for my old faded flutterby, but I am rather attached to the memory of that day. I don't believe I ever will.

Friday, January 23, 2009

2nd creative writing ensemble....even better than the first


Ok, I have to tell you, that last week, I was sort of uncomfortable with the beginning of the session, because I am not used to "relaxing" especially in a group of people I don't know. This week I knew what to expect, so when our leader hit the little gong to signal us to focus on our insides, I was ready. I felt like I was relaxing, however, I couldn't make the sound aloud she asked for, upon exhalation, because I am still very self concious. I guess I have some hang ups...
But I digress, the point is, I felt as though I was ready to write some serious stuff. I always FEEL ready. But I always end up writing goofy stuff with no poetic-ness. I believe it has merit, It is my morbid, off kilter humor at work, as usual. But sometimes I want to write something beautiful and flowing and poetic. Why does everything have to be satire-ish and sardonic? I don't know. So, It probably sounds like I did not have a good time, au contraire.
It was revealing and I unpeeled a layer of conciousness or something. I struggled with the prompt for about 5 of my 15 minutes...then just let my hand go. Of course it ended up making my mates laugh, which is what it was supposed to do. But I wanted to try my three words given to me in a serious tone.

See? The exercise was this: Tear off a scrap of paper and write 3 words. Any words. Then pass it to your neighbor on the left. Write for 15 minutes, using these three words, as if you were a piece of the furniture in the room. Any piece. Choose one.

My words were Vulgar, Vulva, Endometriosis.

Well, i wont go into details, but I will tell you It had to do with bad smells, non hygiene and a sofa.
I wonder what other writers or aspiring writers would have written. If any one wants to take a shot at it......please feel free. I would love to see what others would come up with. It does not have to be 15 minutes...just use the words.

I would love to see how you would respond to this.

Go for it.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Writing prompt...What information or skill would you like to teach to others?


I am really behind on my one minute writer series....I pick and choose at random, based on what catches my eye. This one did, even though I don't have a ready answer, I want to tackle it anyway.

The first thing that comes to mind is I would like to teach certain people about stepping outside of themselves for awhile to embrace others and truly care about someone other than "self" and "selfs issues". What is that called? Empathy? Commitment? Love? I know we all have to attend to "self", but how about coming out now and then and seeing about "others"? It's not always about self. Find out how someone is DOING and really LISTEN and don't just wait for them to stop talking so you can tell them YOUR problems. Take some of your precious time out and go visit someone and help them out or just be an ear/shoulder/whining post. Whatever.

People don't live forever, you know. And you are not always right.


Something else I would like to pass on is encouragment in education. So many young people that I know do not see the use of going to school for 4 more years, when they can get this here 10 dollar an hour job. Well, thats fine and dandy if you are living at home with mama, which most of them do. Trouble is trying to LIVE on that out side of the comfort of mama and daddy's house. How come these kids can't see that?

Once again, people don't live forever and your safety net will be gone some day.


Ok, that was easy, I was thinking this would be a difficult topic. But get me started on something and watch out.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Reporting on My First Creative Writing class


Well, I must say that I was a little scared and nervous when I got there, but soon became very comfortable in my new circle of friends. I like the way she established rules of confideniality right away, saying that all of our work was fresh and new and vunerable and not open to critisism. Only positive stroking allowed. That put me at ease at once. We started off with a meditative exercise and opened up our creative channels. As the creative juices flowed, I became aware of just how open I was allowed to be, listening to others read their innermost thoughts. It was like being present in the very private chambers of other peoples mind.

Ok..so I liked it alot. I learned about sonnets and iambic pentameter.

My favorite topic thrown out there was: I am from...

Here is what I wrote...
I am from my past, emerged from chaos and disorder, into the here and now, into chaos and disorder. Damaged? Sure, but intact and whole. I am from fire, air, water, earth and spirit, and I have a center, a warm, beating, pulsating live thing that keeps me here. I am from seasons, from the summer of my youth, thru the spring of my step into motherhood and the fall into the winter of my crone-dom. I am from my ancestors, who watch me from the thin veil of life and death that separates us from them and the DNA that joins us, the stuff of life.

That's it. We had 5 minutes to write it. It just sort of rolled out of me after I got started.

There were several more opportunities to write and we were there for 3 hours so needless to say we got alot done.

Alll in all, it was excellent.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Handsome Devil




Ain't he a handsome devil?

This is my friend Mr. Neelix. He is 13. He loves whatever you are eating, except ketchup. He will not eat anything with ketchup on it. He likes lettuce alot and goes nuts over Pupperoni. Basically he will go for any food group. He is not too fond of his dog food, but will eat it in an emergency. He has to go outside alot these days. He likes to wear his kerchef like a babushka. He's a perty good dog.

I just wanted you to meet Mr. Neelix.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

If you could hire someone full-time to make your life easier, what would their duties be?

Easy one.
Take all this stress away. Does that count?
Or how about doing my laundry? Definately the cooking part and cleaning up afterward. No, wait...the vacuuming, swiffering and lemon pledging. Or maybe chasing the constantly shedding husky around with the dust mop? Maybe reminding my teenager to clean out the cat box and clean her room.
Also, this person would be able to do remodeling and odd jobs to help "fix up" the place.
No, wait, if I could hire somebody full time to do all this......well, my place wouldn't need fixing up. Maybe somebody to take over for me in the worry department.
Yeah, that's it. If I had somebody to worry for me, I would have lots of time.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Writing Prompt: "What are you waiting for?"


I have had a horrible day, starting with a rainy, cold morning funeral, and then I can't even verbalize the rest of the day. I don't think they make words for that level of frustration and disappointment. I wanted to blog and get some stuff off my chest, but I refuse to make this into a wall of whining. I wanted something positive something that I can feel good about something I can look forward to. So I looked to the faithful "One Minute Writer" prompts, going back a few days I instantly found the topic that I wanted to blather on about..."What are you waiting for?"
Of course this will take longer than one minute, as usual...

No matter what happens tommorrow, no matter what drama unfolds, I am going to attend my first Creative Writer meeting tommorrow evening. I don't have any idea what to expect but I am going. I decided in December to do this and I have procrastinated until the week of, to register. The leader has graciously given me permission to come even thought I have not paid for a spot yet. I have waited because I was unsure of myself and my level of committment to myself. I have waited because I'm not sure I have any talent. I have waited because I allow my family to dominate my time and my mind and keep me in a constant state of worry and frustration.
One of my promises to myself was to make sure I take better care of myself. I find my resolve is slipping away. So I am re-commiting to the goal of self care. My children will have to find their own way.
My only New Years resolution this year is one word. F.U.N.

If it isn't fun, Im not doin' it.

I Know there is more I can say, but I won't because it would cease to be fun.

Thanks for listening..................

Friday, January 2, 2009

New years day




My granddaughter and I spent the day together making cookies and photographing horses and bufflo and canadian geese napping and floating...
It was quite a relaxing and nice day...By the way, these are the first pictures with my new camera.......Not too bad, but I still don't know what I'm doing 100%...LOL

New year, Old year.


Years have a way of slipping away when you are not looking, or rather, while you are living in them. I will be happily anticipating spring when suddenly Christmas is looming. All kinds of things emerge in the interim. The thing I have noticed the most is my own reisistance to change. And while change is occuring, it seems as though some things stay the same. Such irony and double standards are nothing new for me. I have become a spectator in my life.
I think many middle aged women can relate to some of this, maybe even understand it but some are thinking..."what the heck is that nut talking about?"

I want to embrace this part of my life but its a little like hugging a rosebush. Im not really fond of this phase. It is prickly and draws little specks of blood and tears my flesh and heart.

I have had much happiness this year, and some disappointment, some grief and alot of unsure-ness. Im not sure where I stand in the big picture anymore. When my children were small, I knew my place exactly. Is this part of the "empty nest syndrome"?
Except my nest isn't empty..LOL.

The new year has lots of promise. And also alot of uncharted territory, "The final frontier", you know, kind of like space.

All I know Is I exist, therefore I am.

Feel free to chip in here...........

Graham Masterson's guidelines for writing.

I found this treasure on the internet somewhere, and I am a rabid fan of Graham Masterson. I wanted to post them here so I can study them closer every day...Hope any aspiring writers find these helpful.



LESSON ONE: Don't write, talk, and use your natural voice, as if you were telling the story out loud to a group of friends. If there is a knack to writing it is to tell a story without consciously 'writing' about it. So many amateur writers have a good tale to tell, but are too concerned about making an impression on the page. Forget the fancy similes and the impressive metaphors, just tell it like it is. But do learn your grammar, syntax, spelling, etc, otherwise your amateur status will really show. Just like a motor mechanic's amateur status would show if he or she didn't know how to fix an alternator.

LESSON TWO: Don't describe, be there. Create a virtual world inside your head with weather, wind, noises, background music, smells and tastes. Forget about your PC ... let it melt and walk through it.

LESSON THREE: Never use cliches (except in dialogue where a character might reasonably be expected to talk in cliches). I recently read a new horror novel by quite a respected writer (well, bits of it, anyway) and he described total darkness by saying 'not even my hand in front of my face ... only darkness in its inky totality.' I mean, please. That's like saying night 'was like a coal-cellar ... only night in its nighty nightness.' Later he says 'a mental alarm bell jangled faintly deep inside my head.' Where else does a mental alarm bell ring except inside your head?

LESSON FOUR: Be surprising. Use metaphors and similes that nobody has ever thought of before. This requires thought, observation, and a sense of poetic rhythm and above all simpicity. Don't make the metaphor or simile so complicated that the reader is brought to a halt trying to work out what you're saying. I described a pretty but dumb girl as 'a small-town beauty queen who looked as if she had been hit in the head by half a brick.'

LESSON FIVE: Be rhythmic, and sensitive to the balance of your sentences. That's why the study of good poetry is so important. It teaches you how to rearrange a sentence so that it reads more easily and yet emphasizes the words that you want the reader to pick up on. Read some Rupert Brooke:
'In your arms was still delight,
Quiet as a street at night;
And thoughts of you, I do remember,
Were green leaves in a darkened chamber,
Were dark clouds in a moonless sky...'
Hear that brilliant repetition of 'Were'? And at the end of the poem:
'O infinite deep I never knew,
I would come back, come back to you,
Find you, as a pool unstirred,
Kneel down by you and never a word,
Lay down my head, and nothing said,
In your hands, ungarlanded;
And a long watch you would keep;
And I should sleep, and I should sleep!'
Do you see how much emotion is conveyed by those repetitions and re-statements?

LESSON SIX: Do your research and then throw it away. Unless your readership is of the Tom Clancy/Clive Cussler type, who relish reading about 3455 XY-cluster missiles, tell your story secure in the knowledge that you know where it's set and what your characters are like ... give them expertise in what they do ... but then tell the story.

LESSON SEVEN: Give your characters complete consistency. Don't twist their motivations to suit your plot. Even if it gives you a headache, try to think what they would actually do. Writing fiction is acting out a play on your own. As Ivor Cutler said in Turkish Bath Play ... 'You're going to do a play with just yourself?' 'Yes, there are 345 parts and I take all of them.'
I write with only the loosest of outlines since characters take on their own personalities and carry the story into all kinds of unexpected directions. With thrillers like Condor and Ikon I deliberately started writing several disparate plot-lines in order to set myself the challenge of tying them all up at the end. With Outrage, which I finished earlier this year (2003), I had absolutely no idea how it was going to end until the last 25 pages.