Monday, June 30, 2014

Death as Metaphor 11: Speaking with the Dead through Symbolic Play

Dealing with loss is a form of meaning-making; of making the unfamiliar familiar; of nourishing the future to be less frightening. Writers make use of this phenomenon in poetry and their writing.

As children, we construct meaning as we use symbolic play to make sense of our world: the past, the present, and the future. We learn to appreciate things and recreate others. Through this ‘pretend play’, our imagination plays a key role in our development and formation of ideas about the world.

For instance, children engage in dialogue with inanimate objects. Picture a child pretending to talk to a doll. Can adults pretend to speak with the dead?

It’s possible some adults create dialogues with the deceased. Inanimate objects such as the grave, or skull, or ash function in the same way as the doll.

Through this literal context, real life situations and the dead are being emotionally dealt with non-literally.

According to Ingrid E. Josephs*, the formation of ideas assist in our anticipation of our own death since we shape our imagination, we construct our world by building metaphors, building fantasy, and transforming the self in relation to the world throughout our life time

Therefore, the metaphors and symbolic play help us build meaning of our world.


source * Josephs, Ingrid E. “Constructing One’s Self in the City of the Silent: Dialogue, Symbols, and the Role of ‘As-If’ in Self-Development.” Human Development 41.3 May-June 1998; 180-195. Academic Search Premier. Web. 2 November 2010.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Quote 8

“Success isn’t just about what you accomplish in your life,
it’s about what you inspire others to do.”

When I read this quote, I stopped to consider the many times I asked myself whether what I’m doing in life is worth it. Then, I realized that if I could change or inspire or affect someone in a positive way, it was.

This goes for our many roles. Some parents feel success when their children grow up to be wonderful citizens. Some teachers feel success when they see students utilizing what they have learned in their life. Some dog trainers feel success when they find pet guardians adopting the techniques they taught. Some dentists feel success when patients return to their offices with a better hygiene routine. Some writers feel success when readers come up to them and say the book helped them deal with an aspect of their life.

Whatever the accomplishment, you know there’s someone who’s inspired by what we do and say. And it has nothing to do with money or material things. The best things in life have to do with what we build, communicate, and share with others.

It’s important to take the time to think about the good things we have done and how others have used it to better themselves. Success is that feeling you get when you wake up and know your actions have touched someone’s heart and soul.

Now, that’s something worth accomplishing.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Pet News 8: Emergency Kits

If you have pets, it would be a good idea to have an Emergency Kit available for your loved one/s.

Some of the things we need can be used for your cat or dog such as water and food. If you have two or three gallons of water for yourself, then, your pet does too.

Also to keep in mind are snacks, nail clippers, combs/brushes, toys, portable water bowl, medication, health records, veterinarian phone numbers, eye wash, pet license information, Benadryl, sweaters, blankets, flashlights, doggy bags, styptic powder, leash/harness, catnip, gauze, Neosporin, and pet carrier.

I’ve listed a few things to get you started, but there are a lot of other things to take into consideration for your pet based on their needs and the area you live in.

There are pet emergency kits sold at pet and online stores.

Here are a few of the many websites that have Preventive and Disaster Preparedness information:


Monday, June 9, 2014

Why I Write 6: Discovering the Writer in Me

Lately, I have spent time revising stories.

The novel about father and son has gone through three revisions and some editing, but I still don’t think it’s ready to send off to agents yet. I have put this novel aside and started revising the novel I had stashed away about a woman stuck on some island with her children. It’s fun making up words for the fictional islanders.

I’m sure this novel will undergo various revisions and edits until it’s ready for submission. However, I don’t stop there. Writing is a daily activity. It’s okay to work on different things as long as you keep honing that craft.

The more I write, the more I find out about what kind of a writer I am. Am I the kind that wakes up at three in the morning to write or am I the night owl? Am I the kind that outlines or a pantsy (just sit down and write kind of person)?

What kind of writer are you? 



The San Gabriel Valley Poetry Quarterly has published my poem “Milk” in Issue 62, Spring 2014. You can view it on their website at


Monday, June 2, 2014

Short Stories & Such 11: What Happened to your Pants?

The following short story comes from a writing prompt I did a while back. Since graduations, end of the school year, and reunions loom around the corner (or passed completely), I thought this would show what a few too many drinks would do during this time of year.

What Happened to your Pants?

“I hadn’t had a drink in nearly 10 years.”

“Wow,” Lucy’s hand caressed the side of his arm, “it still amazes me, Angel.”

“There goes the party.” Will raised his glass and gulped down his scotch. “Aahh.”

“So much for the high school reunion of my dreams,” Isaiah chimed in.

“Come on guys, it’s not like I can’t have a drink for old time’s sakes.”

“I don’t know, Angel…”

“Don’t worry, Lucy, I’m as sober as a cat without its catnip.”

“It’s what?” Will burst out laughing, “You’d better take at least one drink before the speeches.” He handed Angel a glass of wine from the center of the small table they sat at.

“I hear that old jackrabbit, Mr. Hobbs is still alive.”

“You don’t kid?”

“Nah,” Isaiah sipped his drink and suddenly spilled some on Angel’s shoes.

“Hey.” Angel shook his foot.

“Why don’t we do a 3-4 for all time’s sakes?” Isaiah poured some more liquor into his glass.

“Yeah,” Will placed his glass down.

“What’s a ‘3-4’?” Lucy raised an eyebrow.

“You should have raised both.” Will covered the grin on his lips with the glass.

Angel took one long gulp of his drink. “I don’t know, guys,” he wiped his forehead with the back of his hand and pulled on his tie, “That got us in a heap of trouble.”

“They can’t suspend us… we’re like immune now.” Isaiah belched.

Lucy frowned and placed her hands on her hips. “Would someone let me in on this little joke?”

But before Lucy could finish her question, the three men walked over to the end of the table bar and hogged down a few too many drinks. They talked about pulling the stunt of the century right after old Hobbs finished his speech ‘for all time’s sakes.’

All Lucy could do was watch from a distance and cross her fingers that whatever they were up to would not reflect on her or cause Angel to regress.

Once the music lowered and Mr. Hobbs began his speech to welcome and congratulate the class, the three men snuck backstage. They ran into an old buddy and paid him to pull the curtains open the minute the ‘jackrabbit’ finished.

After a long applause, Mr. Hobbs congratulated the class again and asked them to enjoy the rest of the evening. With an accompanying ka-ching from the band, the curtains rolled open. The three men lowered their pants and underwear, and performed a moon dance.

Mr. Hobbs and faculty were stupefied and Lucy was horrified, but the crowd loved it. They roared for more. Some women graduates jumped onstage with the dancers and removed their pants completely. Then, they pushed them off the stage while the band played another song.

Others threw their gowns in the air and joined the dancing onstage.

The commotion was too much for Lucy that she ran toward the exit. She paced the block for two hours, anticipating the police to arrive soon. However, none came. A few minutes later, she noticed people leaving the building with a smile on their faces as if they were spray painted.

Lucy marched toward the entrance and made her way inside. Confetti and balloons showered the scene.  She stepped on multiple tassels and climbed over a pile of chairs. She walked around shoes until she found Angel and his friends resting in front of the stage.

With drink in hand, Angel said, “If only I could remember where I left my pants.”



If you’d like to see the original at Writer’s Digest for the January 19, 2013 writing prompt go to: