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Showing posts from April, 2015

The Zzz's Have Arrived

All good things come to an end.

I've survived the April 2015 A to Z Blogger's Challenge. I don't use a lot of "Z" words so no need to try to force any out now. One aspect of "Z" I thoroughly enjoy is catching my Zzz's and now is as good a time as any to catch them, regarding my blogging.



This challenge, with its request that you blog six days a week, with just one day off, is a blogging marathon alright. A marathon is set up to push you to your maximum.

Maximum reached.

I've never been shy about catching my Zzz's. I love a good rest, call it beauty sleep if you want. Whatever, I know my body and mind well and realize when the Zzz's are needed. My body and mind have requested a rest.

Z Request noted.

So listening to my body, mind and tapped spirit, I'm off for a bit, taking my blogging Zzz's.




Nighty night.


Say Yes

Yes is such an affirming word and it does appear to be helped along in that area by the "!". Last year on this day, I wrote a post about Saying No to Being a Yes Woman. I was in a different place, struggling to let my authentic voice breathe.




This year I'm in a totally different mind frame. I'm contradicting myself, by asking you to say "Yes." It's okay to let the "yes" be; hang it out, in its perfect form and shape as a concept and a word.




Say:

Yes to increasing your vocabularyYes to widening your ways of expressing yourself through that vocabularyYes to expression of the affirmativeYes to the possibilities of language and the many forms of punctuation to frames it
Perhaps all this agreeableness is a result of the fact that I'm writing and blogging more. Through those expressive activities my abilities to embrace, challenge, re-frame, and most of all express, is very affirmative.

So, it's Hump Day. For what reasons would you say Yes! o…

Writing

Writing. When I think of it I'm excited. It deserves an exclamation point right behind it. But I'll restrain myself. After all that is my theme for this month's blogger's A to Z Challenge.

I've going out on a limb lately with my writing, blogging six days a week being but one of the activities. I'm working on those four books I've mentioned as being in the fire and that's a handful. I'm also submitting to writing journals and going out for grants.

Recently, I applied for a grant wherein we had to create an artistic statement. I've done that plenty for my fine art but writing? No. So when I created one I was quite excited by what came out of me. Here's a bit of it, sans exclamation points.



My identity and background color many aspects of my work. I have written the first draft of a novel, which began as a memoir. I moved away from creative nonfiction when I found fiction would allow the exploration of imagined psychological landscapes, impossi…

V is for Vixen

All was going well, as well as it could for an underprivileged Negro living in the deep south during the 1940's. I'm talking about Earnestine's life. I was excited to share tidbits of her story with you, writing about her for the letter "E" of the A to Z Challenge.

As I was saying, all was reasonably well, until Kyane came to town. Earnestine didn't know what to make of her. Was she black or white, rich or poor, human or not--who knew. She seemed around her age but so different from the other girls she knew.

Quickly Kyane inserted herself into Earnestine's family life, cracking it wide open like an ornery walnut. From that time forward, she had her own name for Kyane, as derogatory as it was. This girl, that was part animal, woman and thing, was forever to be known as the Vixen to Earnestine, her mother, aunts, uncles and cousins. Her brother and sister, the twins, were much too young to grasp the full meaning of a vixen. The unpleasant name tripped awkwa…

Understated

When it came to the letter "U" the word understated immediately popped into my mind, in relation to my theme. Utilizing understated writing is a big challenge these days. Our world is noisy--cluttered even. We all want to be heard. When ego comes to the fore the tendency to go big infiltrates many aspects of writing. Nowhere is it bigger than book cover copy and blurbs...well actually there's quite a list.

Being a yogi, I prefer the understated. In yoga there is plenty of time for enjoying quiet and cultivating stillness. People desiring a big bang for their buck, will be sorely disappointed with yoga. The benefits are subtle but powerful if you park your ego at the door.

One of the more subtle thinkers that has attracted my attention is Eckhart Tolle. He is well known for his book The Power of Now. Within its pages, Tolle leads us towards truth and light, through deeply-heartfelt spirituality. If you listen to Tolle, and watch some of the footage of him doing his work,…

TTYL!

TTYL! Now this holds promise when you surgically remove the exclamation point, most often sturdily attached to it. No need for that much excitement, now is there?

I like receiving it in a text because rather than thinking your conversation is permanently suspended, handing out in mid-air, finding TTYL as a salutation is an indication that whatever was being discussed is in the 'to be continued' status, whether it really happens or not is another matter entirely.

I learned to text from my kids and I'm not ashamed of it. I celebrate it even though I'm learning some of it is called text speak, and it is despised by some. You know what I mean; peppering the text with things like U2 and using 4 to stand in for four.




My inclination was to call TTYL, short for talk to you later, an acronym and then I thought, no its an an initialism. Then I thought no, it's a pseudo-blend. As usual, first thought was the right thought, at least according to wikipedia.

I know my wordy fol…

Stick-to-it-ive-ness

A to Z Challenge participants, we've already made it to "S." April is breezing by. Most are showing no signs of fatigue or slowing down. I figured this was a good day to applaud you for your stick-to-it-ive-ness, actually to applaud all of us. This group includes the numerous organizers behind the scenes that tirelessly visit all our blogs, leaving comments, checking in, keeping our FaceBook page alive, tweeting and more.




Please visit Arlee Bird's 2015 A to Z Challenge Ambassador and Helpers List. It would behoove you to stop in to their various social media pages, as they've stopped in and left comments on our blogs. Now is your chance to do the same.




Then there are the 2,342 Participants (give or take) who have demonstrated stick-to-it-ive-ness. Blogging, visiting other blogs, leaving comments and generally helping out. Readers you can visit numerous categorized blogs and those that choose not to list categories, themed and those without a specific theme, who a…

R is for Ren Höek

There have been a few letters that brought to mind, this tasteless character. "I" for example, 'idiot' reverberated around in my mind but I passed on it. Who is this cartoon character that is oft referred to as emotionally unstable? I'm talking about the fanatical Ren Höek. Ren is the very embodiment of the exclamation point. He doesn't speak. He yells or is emphatic at every twist and turn.




A couple of decades ago, Ren and Stimpy, of the Ren and Stimpy Show, took the air waves by storm. Soon enough though, they were dumped from television, after all they were on a children's cable network. They were just too inappropriate.

Ren is a chihuahua who is abusive and somewhat kinky. He is also extremely emphatic, as I mentioned, in everything he says and does. Much like our frienemy the exclamation point, he prefers shouting to speaking. He gets particularly edgy when he is referring to his dopey kitty pal, Stimpson J. Cat, a manx otherwise known as Stimpy. Poo…

Quiet

One of the most disconcerting aspects of teaching children for me is the volume they can reach if unchecked. I teach art and naturally that is a cause for excitement in children. Some feel it's a chance to let their hair down but for me it has this sort of effect:



And I do love kids. Their energy is wonderful and many have a sweet and creative nature. I'm just one of those people who loves quiet. I like to speak quietly and play my music quietly. I get stirred up when sound bombards.





I was at clinic recently when this bombardment occurred. Three flat screen televisions all on different channels, in close proximity to one another made me feel as though I was losing my mind. You'd think at a doctor's office there would be some awareness to the fact that when people aren't feeling well they might not like sound coming from every angle. These unwell people might find it grating on their nerves. They might even want to run out of the clinic because all the loudness is …

Pregnant with Possibilities

I was pleasantly surprised to have this semi-abstract relief sculpture returned to me this week. She has been gone for a few years. She had gotten lost in the shuffle of everyday life. To be honest, I had forgotten about her.
I made her quickly in an hour long workshop. Made from self-hardening clay, and then painted, I call this tiny piece that can fit in the palm of your hand, “Pregnant with Possibilities.”


Her most prominent features are the three yellow orbs, supported by folded, drapery-like structures accompanied by small wings. The main emphasis is the central orb, which is the belly.
The belly, symbolic of the universe, is in a state of constant flux. It holds magick, mystery, power and potential. Prominent, the belly is fully present and of the now.
At the top you find the head. Between the legs there is another orb, crowning and about to be released into the world, with all the magick it holds.

This relief sculpture of my inner-self, is about the power held inside. It is cl…

Finding Peace in OM

I first shared a rendition of this post last year during A to Z on this same day. During the 2014 I didn't have a theme. This year my theme is exclamation points, including words I'm very excited about. I'm presenting this word/sound again because OM is the "O" word I'm most excited about, hence this revision, clarifying and deepening my thoughts. It is the best word I have to offer beginning with O because it popped into my mind this morning and wouldn't leave. It is important and significant for its transformative potential. OM is everything and nothing at once.

Back in high school we had a funky Spanish teacher who always had all sorts of animal hairs stuck in her clothing. She was an older woman, compared to the other teachers. I remember her because she was different and had many surprises up her sleeve.

You could not judge her by outer appearances though the visual clues keyed you into her way of being in the world. I didn't study Spanish with …

Nuanced Storytelling

Mistakes!

Mistakes!  Who likes them? Do we need them to become better at what we do? I'd venture to say Theodore Roosevelt would answer yes, judging from this quote:


"The only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything."
                                                           -Theodore Roosevelt


I've been going in circles about mistakes with my novel writing. As a process-orientated painter I celebrate 'happy accidents'. I wondered, could they serve the same function in my writing?

The editor in me thinks not. The artist disagrees with the editor. We go 'round and 'round.

The issue though is when you try to write in nonstandard English things quickly go haywire. Grammar Check thinks every line contains a mistake. Editors, if not clued in, demolish the draft.

I lived through such a nightmare recently. I'd listened carefully to my character and heard her soft patois coming through. I wrote out what she said as I heard it. Then, I did…

L is for LOL

I must admit, I do like seeing this acronym and using it.






I'm talking about LOL. I know many of the literati aren't fond of it but for simple, day-to-day communications, such as texts or comments left on the internet, it seems to do the trick, particularly in helping interpret the meaning within a message.



While we hope the sender is taking on this posture and emotion--you know, head titled back and a full belly laugh (shown in the photograph) we realize that many are simply LI (Laughing Inside) CL (Chuckling Lightly) or using LOL's of different types: Lying Out Loud or a Liar of Lies. Hopefully its not used nefariously, whatever; the acronym sticks. It has been used in letters for quite a while.

A man has taken credit for this widely used acronym. His name is Wayne Pearson. He says that during the time he was a student (during the 80's) he used it on a basic electronic bulletin board in a type of chat room of that time called Viewline. Pearson goes on to state "I…

Away Message

Just when I was getting into the A to Z Challenge I've been called to another challenge, so I'm on pause.







I'll jump back into this space and into the challenge, as soon as I return.

Just Great

Great is one of those words with all the right stuff, in its old fashioned way, without further adornment. Think of the ruler, Alexander the Great. This dude was a big time mover and shaker in his time, highly regarded for his military tactics still.




I mean, he was tutored by Aristotle for god's sake. Born to King Philip II and Queen Olympia, only after an oracle saw signs of his future greatness and possible relationship to the gods and goddesses.



After the death of his father, he whipped the Macedonian Army into shape, crushing enemies who dared step forward, eventually becoming king and ruler of the Corinthian League. He conquered Persia and Egypt, establishing a kingdom that spread from the Mediterranean to the border of India.

He is thought of as one of the most brilliant military leaders and one of the world's most powerful rulers. No exclamation point needed with that great. Then too, there are so many others with great adding a bit of shine to their names.


Alfred the Gr…

Fine

Back in the day, hearing "You look fine," was just the type of cat call you either loved or hated (perhaps a mix of the two). Still, it was a funky affirmation. Your bell bottoms and platforms were working. You were looking good.







Fine has run the gamut as a colloquialism. Now, seeing "Fine!" in a text could mean someone is pretty pissed off with you. This is fine + hissy fit.

I like fine without the exclamation point. It is a way of saying all is good and right in the world. Question: "How are you? Response: "Fine." Four letters can be used to say so much. All pretty positive, unless you're using it as a cover, which many of us do. Question: "How are you? Response: "Fine," (the bottom has fallen out of my world) she said with a peevish smile.

It's also not so positive when you're asked to "read the fine print" in which case, you know you'd better slap on those readers or use a magnifying glass to examine the te…

"E" is for Earnestine

Earnestine is the main character and protagonist of my second novel, which is a W.I.P. I am very excited about Earnestine. I have spent many hours developing and refining her character. I would be the one guilty of wanting to put an exclamation point behind her name.




With about a third of the first draft written, she is a character very much in development. Some days she is a blur and others, she's crystal clear. Recently, I had a breakthrough, wherein I could finally hear how she speaks. Her's is a difficult voice for me to hear and capture. She speaks quietly. The fact that her story takes place in 1947, in Mobile, Alabama and one of the Greek Islands, makes her all the more mysterious. Her diction, colloquialisms, and tone are not all familiar. I enjoy the process of seeing how her voice will come through as the novel develops. I am eager to see her show and tell me how to write her story.

As is true of my first work of fiction No Barren Life the novel Out of the Blue, has …

Dinner

We don't pine away for home cooked breakfast or lunch. It's dinner that's the object of our desire. Ditto, when dating. Breakfast or lunch date? Hmm. Remember this Seinfeld sketch?




 Whether it's repaying someone's kindness, date night, dating or a blind date--dinner's the hot ticket.




When my family's scattered throughout the house, I'm guilty of sending a text like this, "Dinner!" That says it all. Dinner, plus exclamation point, translates, I've labored over this meal. Get your butt in here to the table. Time for dinner.

Whether indoors or out:




Of all the meals, dinner's the heavy weight, in so many ways. Sometimes it comes along with the setting sun. Inevitably, after work is done we eat dinner. I try to block out 5 pm until 7 pm. Keeping that time period free from interviews or appointments if possible...and then, what the heck; with my belly and soul filled, the rest of the evening is awash from those types of activities as well.

Cool

Cool

This word is used as a term to say so much. It has been with us for decades.





It's interesting how its use in music has developed. Cool Jazz for an example, arose after World War II and responds to bebop but with a mellow groove. It features relaxed tempos and a lighter beat. Then too, there's West Coast Jazz, equally cool...chill music.




From the 80's onward, cool has been incorporated into the names of Hip Hop and Rap artists, such as LL Cool J (see sexy picture above), which sounds a heck of a lot cooler than his given name, James Todd Smith. His wife says LL Cool J stands for Ladies Love Cool James.




The concept of 'cool' is magnified when paired with something we use to beat the heat or just for a beat down in general...





as in the artist and actor pictured above, O'Shea Jackson, Sr, better known as Ice Cube and then there's:





Tracey Lauren Marrow. Oh but you've probably only heard him referred to as:






Not to be spelled the boring old regular way. N…