Monday, March 30, 2015

Writing Workshop 11: Disaster Masters

During a workshop, the presenter had us write a short story by choosing two to three words/phrases from the board out of a dozen. I chose “this land is your land” and “Baseball.”

You can try this, too. Pick out a dozen random words or phrases from any book, don’t think about it, just jot down any that pop out at you, and then write a story incorporating those words.

 

Disaster Masters

 

“This land is your land. This land is my land. From California, to the Hickory --”

“No!”

“No?”

“You got the lyrics all wrong.” Susie placed her hands on her hips. “I thought you said you memorized this?”

“Well,” I said, bringing my finger to my lips, “that was last week and you know I don’t work well under pressure.”

Susie bonked me on the head with the fan she used for conducting.

“I told you to.”

“Gosh, I’m sorry Sue.” I fell on the sofa.

“You know gramps will be coming to visit and Dad wanted us to sing this to honor his service.”

“I can’t.” I brought my legs up on the sofa and hugged them. “It’s too long. Besides, why can’t we do the baseball thing or talk about Superman?”

“Aagh!” Susie pretended to pull her hair. “You’re hopeless.” She joined me on the sofa.

“It’s not his favorite song anyway.” I shrugged my shoulders. “Yours either.”

“That’s not the point Mel.”

“So what?” I waved my hands. “I missed some lines.”

“Some lines?” She sat up.

“Okay, a few.”

“What are we going to do? Dad’ll be home soon and our rehearsal was a disaster.”

“Why don’t we download the song?”

She covered my mouth with her hands. “Don’t say another word.” She removed her hand. “You know Dad wants us to do this without the need to impress gramps with our digital know-how.”

Honk, honk. Dad’s horn blew.

Susie and I sprang up from the sofa.

“Oh, my God. Oh, my God,” we both said.

Then, the banging of doors sounded and we ran to the front porch.

“Hi,” Mel shouted from the doorway.

Gramps waved as he pushed one leg out of the car and then the other.

Their father opened the wheelchair and helped gramps on it.

Gramps continued waving. His smile wide, eyes faded.

Susie elbowed me. “What’ll we do?”

I just shrugged my shoulders and ran down to kiss father and gramps on the cheek. Susie followed my lead.

After dinnertime, Gramps sat on the wheelchair facing us. I stalled in voice preparation and Susie nervously paced the living room.

When I opened my mouth to sing, Gramps raised his hand. “Why don’t you sing ‘Twinkle, Twinkle’? That’s my favorite,” he beamed.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Pet News 14: Adamantium Bonds

Maybe you’ve heard of the hardest material on the planet from comics: adamantium, specifically Marvel’s X-Men character Wolverine. His skeleton is laced with this material that makes him virtually indestructible with claws that can cut through anything.

I bring this up because it got me thinking about how important it is to form bonds with our pets. And it isn’t that hard to construct them.
Maintaining any bond with family and friends or acquaintances is hard work. With pets, however, it’s a done deal.

Forming a bond with a pet starts the minute you bring that pet home. How you caress and acknowledge your furry friend has a lot to do with how they will respond during training. The more exercise you deploy with your pet will also increase this bond, especially if you’re involved.
I’m not just talking about dogs, cats can form these bonds, too. We might not know whether animals love, but they do feel.

Building a bond with your pet includes patience, understanding, and repetition. Accidents happen and all involved learn from them. The way you react can have an effect on how your pet reacts. Your touch says a lot about how they view the world. Trust is an important part of this relationship and your pet looks for it.
The bonds that are formed between you and your pet are strong like adamantium and nothing equates to it.

Don’t you wish to have an indestructible bond with your pet?

Monday, March 16, 2015

Writing Endeavors 9: The End Isn’t Near

Okay. I began this blog in the hopes to reach out to others and share some of the things which interest me. I also did it to continue writing when I didn’t get a chance.

For the past months, I realized, I have written four novels! I mean, yikes! I haven’t published any of them yet (boo hoo), which isn’t saying I won’t… they’re still drafts. The creative juices keep pouring out of my head. It’s a good feeling.

I need to go back and tighten a lot. That’s another cool thing about writing these stories, I am better at dissecting my work and at recognizing most of the things that I need to change.

For instance, I tend to provide little detail to setting and sometimes I run into the problem of the ‘ping pong’ dialogue. That is, someone asks a question, the other responds, and vice versa. I need to add interruptions and such to make it more realistic.

In the meantime, I am writing another novel, and all I can say is that it’s a supernatural detective story.

I’m having the best time ever.

I do want my novels published, don’t get me wrong, but I need to feel they are complete. What good would it be if I published them the way they are? I’d be letting all the readers down.

I did manage to get some poems published! You can check them out:

“Weather” has been published on the San Gabriel Valley Poetry Quarterly, Issue 65 and “Sudden” will be published in the Altadena Poetry Review: Anthology 2015 this April.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Death as Metaphor 16: Death doth Sooth

Death is a metaphor when it is constructed culturally, then reinforced. Death and dying are unknowns and the metaphor provides an understanding beyond what we are capable of understanding.

It is the openness of poetry that allows individuals to speak about death and dying in their writing. It is comforting to have an avenue to discuss the denial, refusal to mourn, and the acceptance of death through poetry (Sexton, James. October 2010). Metaphors allow us to deal with the unknown by linking it to something that is familiar, even calling death different things such as ‘the dark rider’ who comes in the night or ‘the grim reaper.’
 
Metaphors for mortality are so prominent. They evolve and shape our understanding or discomfort with death by forming some control over what we cannot control (Sexton, James. October 2010).

The words ‘lost’ and ‘gone’ are often used to represent death instead of using the actual word itself. When a loved one dies, we tend to avoid the word in hopes of easing our pain. Likewise, the words ‘eternal rest’ and ‘sleep’ are used to denote how the living no longer is breathing or moving but dead. These metaphors may be convenient when it comes to talking or writing about death but the context within its use defines the reasoning for using them.

Death is a change that individuals must deal with and metaphors help in coping with the unfamiliar, mortality, the fear of dying, and to comfort our understanding.

 

Notes:

Sexton, James. “The Semantics of Death and Dying: Metaphor and Mortality.” Etc 54 Fall 1997; 333-345. Academic Search Premier: Wilson Web. Web. 13 October 2010. http://www.freepatentsonline.com/article/ETC-Review-General-Semantics/20390468.html

Monday, March 2, 2015

Books I’m Reading 14

Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious History of the World’s Most Famous Heroine by Tim Hanley deals with what made Wonder Woman and Diana Prince different. It also compares other female lead characters in comics such as Batgirl and Lois Lane with Wonder Woman; he mentions how it all came about and the complications, what stuck, what changed, and what we can take away from this experience.


In Dreams by Erica Orloff is a Young Adult novel about a girl named Iris who is related to the gods… that is, Greek gods. Except, she doesn’t know it until certain events occur in her life that place her family in peril. It’s an interesting take on the gods theme.
 

Chasers of the Light: poems from the typewriter series is by Tyler Knott Greyson. His poems are typed on a typewriter with minimal editing. His photographs and found poems are part of this collection, too. He takes an image and writes about how it feels. He also takes pages from various books and searches for a poem using the words already on the page.

 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Quote 12


Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.

-William James 

When I go substitute teach, I ask myself myriad times why I do what I do, and I come back to this quote.

If I didn’t believe I made a difference, why bother showing up? I mean, where’s the reward? Then, I look into the eyes of that one student whose life I touched, and I know that what I do makes a difference.

What about my writing?
I take the above quote into my writing life, too.

If I didn’t believe anyone was reading my blog posts, why did I continue doing them?
And if I didn’t write to entertain someone somewhere, why bother?

Yes, I write because I like to, but would it make a difference…somewhere or to someone? Good or bad?

When I read books, I take something from them. I believe this is true for all readers. Whether it be a feeling, knowledge, or other; the writing has made a difference in my thinking.

Thank you to all the readers out there for sharing this moment (blog) with me and for helping me make that bit of difference. =)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Pet News 15: Ban the Beast within Us

The book, A Radical New Way of Regarding Animals by Rory Freedman, is about the hard facts of the animals we consume and the sports we make them do. The author provides explicit details about the hard lives animals go through. She also talks about converting to veganism.

This is probably the hardest thing to do, but the least we could do is try to consume less and buy only from reputable farms where animals are treated with respect, and not to participate in sports where animals could get hurt, maimed, and die.

Further, Freedman talks about being proactive to influence change. This includes the way we eat, where we eat and buy our food, and support organizations that are bringing the voice of our animals in need to the public.

The best part of all, Freedman shows us how to be kinder, compassionate, and loving toward the animals we care for. Knowledge well suited for the kind of society we should be driven to.

The book is small, but the content is heavy.

Some websites listed at the back of the book include:


www.greenpaws-products (to treat dogs from fleas and ticks)



www.chooseveg.com (for free vegetarian starter kits)

google: compassionate consumer guide