Monday, August 18, 2014

Death as Metaphor 12: Dreams and the Grave

Poetry can help individuals sort through their traumas and losses. It can help share and express their deepest thoughts.

Feelings of loss may be represented with symbols of ash or dust in a dream. When one loses an important person through death, they must deal with the departure. Dreams help create metaphorical symbols to explain the pain. Sometimes, dreams that revolve around death may be about the dreamer’s own mortality, at other times, the dreams are not about death but about the future, life changes, fear of the inevitable circumstances such as retirement or divorce.

W.S. Merwin wrote in his poem, “Some Last Questions” (http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poem/19077) that ash and body parts represent how we put them to good use in life and our eventual death. Violence in dreams may end in death and can symbolize the person’s inner turmoil between good and evil, a failure or judgment of character, including guilt.

Symbols for death vary and may be used to associate the coming of death, going back to death, rebirth, an accidental death, the afterlife, and may even mean life.

The personal grave is another symbol for death and dying. The grave or tombstone in a cemetery is the symbolic representation of the deceased and helps transform our attitude toward death. It leads to a connection between present and future unknown. For example, the person visiting the grave site of the deceased recalls certain events and characteristics of the dead. Graves and things associated with cemeteries are used as metaphors to symbolize different forms of loss and pain. Through memories, one connects the past with the present and learns to make meaning from the future without the presence of the dead.

 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Quote 9

He who waits to do a great deal of good at once, will never do anything.
-         Samuel Johnson

The first time I read this quote, I had to stop and reread it again. It got me thinking about the people I know who leave a dozen things to do in one day.

Then, I started thinking about why was that a bad thing. I know people who procrastinate and end up doing a good job.

Then again, I don’t think Mr. Johnson was talking about little projects. He might have had the idea of being kind and respectful with others. If so, we should try to understand each other a little more rather than fight.

If not, we might just end up not doing anything when something catastrophic happens. Our sympathy and aid goes a long way. I guess that’s why it’s been said: ‘a little goes a long way.’

 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Pet News 9: Finding the Right Trainer

Finding a trainer for your puppy is like finding a veterinarian that matches your personality as well as your pet. Of course, there are things you can look for such as credentials, years of training, customer reviews, what type of training techniques are used, and if they had experience with your pet’s breed.

The trainer should be using positive training. They should not hit or force a dog to do anything. A happy dog is a good dog.

Also, the pet guardian should be present during the classes to learn how to handle their pet and the commands. I mean, if you didn’t take your puppy to training, wouldn’t you be doing the same at home?

Remember, your dog might make mistakes, but that’s okay. Just like we learn from our mistakes, so will your dog. Good luck!
 

Here are a few websites to get started (but don’t limit your search to these):





check PetSmart and Petco stores

Monday, July 28, 2014

Why I Write 7: Time = Practice

Writing takes time.

The more you write, the more you realize it takes time away from doing other things.

So, why do I do it?

For one thing, writing is part of that creative spark in my brain that pulls on my dendrites until it comes out as a story. It’s a very nagging feeling.

Second, writing is work. I like to stay busy and writing is one way I can accomplish that.

Third, any aspirations to become a well-known author begin with sitting down and writing. Again, letting those creative sparks flow out of my fingers and onto the keyboard, are what’s needed to get better. Reading lots also helps.

Giving up is not an option (though considering it doesn’t make you a bad person, just make sure to get off this ride).

Finding time to write is important. Whether it is thirty minutes or an hour, it’s all worth it at the end.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Short Stories & Such 12: Celebrity Fender Bender

I always wanted two particular actors to come together and do a fun skit on screen. So, when Writer’s Digest added the writing prompt about choosing your favorite actor in a car accident with you, I decided to write a short story with Nathan Fillon and Bruce Campbell. It’s actually a fun exercise.

 
Celebrity Fender Bender


Lulu had just pulled out of the building she attended traffic school for the second time in two years. One full day of attendance and the ticket would be cleared off her record… again. If only the responsibility of driving weren’t such a chore, she wouldn’t have to enroll in any more.

She drove a beat up Volkswagen beetle with the top almost chewed to bits. A job at Coffee Express wasn’t going to enter her in the best dressed hostess contest, but like her dear Daddy always said, “Lulu, you’ve gotta save, save, save, ‘cuz nothin’s free in life.” Except Daddy didn’t know about the new purse she spent her paycheck on or the new smartphone she eyed at the mall and now had stuffed in her back pocket.

Those were the thoughts that staggered her mind the minute her car was hit by the rear bumper of a black Cadillac up front- a light fender bender which caused their trunk to pop open. The tinted windows spelled out R-I-C-H and she knew this would not bode well on her car insurance.

Lulu clutched the steering wheel and bit her lip, “Get a grip.” She turned off the engine and unbuckled her seatbelt, “Emergency lights.” She reminded herself to press the button and told herself, “Make sure and assess the damage.” She stepped out of her car and at the same time, a tall man came out of the Cadillac.

Lulu covered her mouth, “Oh, man, oh man oh man.” She lifted her finger from her free hand, “You’re… you’re…”

The tall man sprinted over to her and lowered her hand, “Shh, young lady. Don’t you know it’s not polite to point?” He looked around as drivers glanced through their windows at the accident. He waved them away with a smile.

“But… but you’re Nathan Fillon from Firefly… and Castle!”

Nathan wiped his forehead. His eyes shifted left and right, “Okay, tell you what, I’ll let this slide -”

“What?” The shock of standing in front of her favorite actor began to wade, “This was not my fault…” she gulped saliva down her throat, “You backed up into me during a green light.”

“I know, but we don’t have to call the police… Here,” he handed her a card with his name and contact information, “Why don’t you swing by and we can talk this over, hmm?”

Lulu got hold of the card and stared at it blankly, almost melting. Was this an invitation to his next television episode? She felt dizzy from being this close to Nathan Fillon and she let the card slip.

Nathan caught her before she collapsed.

“Are you okay?”

“Yes, yes, it’s just…” and that’s when she saw it. “What’s that?”

“What’s what?” Nathan put his hands in his side pockets.

It being the body lying inside the trunk of your car,” she pointed.

Nathan smoothed out her blouse’s shoulder ruffles, “What?”

“That!” Lulu pointed to his trunk.

“Oh, that that.”

She leaned closer and yelped, “That’s Bruce Campbell from Army of Darkness… and Burn Notice!

Nathan nodded nonstop, “Yes, yes he is... let me explain.”

“You killed him?”

“No, but let’s get this straight,” he placed his hand on the top of the Cadillac, “I’ll let this slide, hey, why not?” He shrugged his shoulders, “But on one condition,” he raised his finger.

Lulu’s eyes widened, “What?”

“You forget about this thing and I’ll pay for any damage to your car.”

Lulu noticed Bruce’s famous profile and dark hair, and he seemed to be without ropes. "I always thought he was great."

“Oookay,” Nathan closed the trunk door, “Bruce’s last wish before his heart attack was to take him in the trunk of my car to the hospital.”

“Really?”

“Yes, we’re on our way… you know… gonna pay my respects there.”

Believe me when I tell you that Lulu was confused. “Why would anyone make a dying wish like that?”

“Ahh, Bruce was kind of… hmm… eccentric.”

Lulu caught sight of Nathan’s fingers tapping the trunk. Was she on some sort of show already or was she daydreaming this? But if she could avoid the penalty from the car insurance…

“Well, in that case, you have nothing to worry from me.”

“I knew you’d understand. I knew the minute I saw you.” He brought his fingers to his lips.

“Yeah, well…”

“Here,” he handed her four hundred dollar bills. “This should be enough to cover any expenses. If not, give me a call… um?”

“Lulu.”

“Lulu. Thank you.” He smiled, picked up the card on the floor and handed it to her, then, walked back in to his car and revved up the engine. He waved goodbye as he drove off.

Lulu stood with mouth gaping. She still held the card with Nathan Fillon’s personal number. “Wow.”
 

“So, did she buy it?” Bruce stuck out his head by pushing the seat cushions open from inside the trunk.

“I think so.”

“Maybe you went a little overboard with the whole dying wish thing.” Bruce crawled out of the trunk.

“She would have freaked out if I told her I killed you.”

Bruce nodded. “But the cash?”

“We did hit her car.”

Bruce placed his hand on his chin. “You think next time I should grumble?”

“Nah, we’re not doing the zombie thing.”

“Maybe you should be the dead one.”

Nathan chuckled and turned on the GPS, “Where to now?”

  

You can see the original draft posted on Writer’s Digest Daily prompts under November 27 (or 28), 2012 at http://www.writersdigest.com/prompts/celebrity-fender-bender

Monday, July 14, 2014

Books I’m Reading 9

Puertos Abiertos: Antología de Cuentos Centroamericano (2011), edited by Sergio Ramírez. This is a collection of Spanish stories from Central America.

Dear America: the Diary of Anetka Kaminska, A Coal Miner’s Bride by Susan Campbell Bartoletti. This is a fictional story about a Polish thirteen year-old girl whose fate is to emigrate to America and become the bride of a coal miner.

The Boss by Victoria Chang is a poetry collection with the themes of ‘boss’ in terms of having a boss, being a boss, and wanting to be a boss. It is an interesting style of poetry, too.

The Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars is a coming of age story about a girl named Sarah. She has a brother with a disability who gets lost and she starts to see things differently. Great book.

 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Writer’s Workshop 9: In a town in the Old West

In a town in the Old West
 
Here was a fun writing prompt. You choose a person and a place. Include a problem, story events, and resolution.

The person could be an astronaut, cowboy, captain, veterinarian, doctor, teacher, or sales manager.

The place could be a state, house, office, or vehicle. For example, the veterinarian could work on a mobile clinic or the teacher is at the circus. Maybe you can write about a boat captain going down the Mississippi River.

There are many possibilities you can mix up, too.
 

I chose the cowboy and a saloon. Here’s my attempt:
 

Cowboy Leroy walked into the saloon, tipped his hat at the young waitress, and waltzed over to the bar. His eyes scanned the room. He recollected the last time he entered this town he was framed for the murder of the trusted sheriff. Even though, he was cleared, most folks held a grudge against him.

He lifted his finger to order the only drink necessary: whiskey with lemon. His other hand strayed to his gun belt. He unfastened the holster and cocked his gun. He didn’t want to take any chances with his back turned the way it was.

Leroy downed his drink and a tall man behind him said, “You ain’t welcome here.” The man raised his gun, pointed it at Leroy. The other men moved back against the wall. Leroy set his glass down and turned. He fell on one knee and pulled the trigger. The tall man fell. Leroy had shot him as swiftly as he spit.

“I ain’t never liked bullies,” Leroy said.