Thursday, April 30, 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.


Salvadore Dali, "Sleep"

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.


William Powell Frith, "Asleep while Reading"


Nighty night.


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

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:

  1. Yes to increasing your vocabulary
  2. Yes to widening your ways of expressing yourself through that vocabulary
  3. Yes to expression of the affirmative
  4. Yes 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! or just a plain old yes. What are you accepting, inviting, nurturing and allowing to take form and shape in your life in the spring of 2015 that is different from 2014?

Interesting concept, yes?





Also "Y"? Yay me. Today is my 200th blog post.


Notes on my Theme:

This post is written for the 2015 A to Z Challenge. During this challenge, participating bloggers post once a day, in alphabetical order. This is done 6 days per week. Sundays are off. My theme presents words that are exciting. These words serve as thematic motifs in my writing. My theme also revolves around exclamation points. The words I've chosen to explore can replace or stand alone from the dreaded exclamation point, which writers are urged to avoid.

Monday, April 27, 2015

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, impossible to tap through memoir. Now I am working on my second novel, called “Out of the Blue." Both novels have protagonists whose lives are set back in time, living in rural areas (similar to mine) from underprivileged and limiting backgrounds.
My protagonists are both teenagers dealing with issues of identity; sorting it out for themselves in relation to those around them. They are challenged by superimposed limits, which are broken during the course of the novel.
My writing features marginalized and down-trodden main characters that go through extensive transformation during the course of the books. I've found fertile ground where I explore themes and motifs of interest in the genres of Young Adult Paranormal Literary Fantasy.
The realm of my characters contains a hefty helping of mythology, folklore and magic. Placing the stories back in time allows the presentation of cultural information and little known aspects of our history—histories shared by all, regardless of where the reader lives or from which country they hail.

It is my intention to create fiction that enlightens and stretches boundaries. I want my readers to understand: no matter where they come from or what challenges they face, transformation and healing is within reach.


So my question for you dear visitor to my blog, what do you like to write or read about? Have you ever had to write an artistic statement? Did you learn from it or was it a great big pain in the butt?  Looking forward to hearing from you.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

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 awkwardly off their tongues too.

Thumbing through the English Oxford Dictionary to the "V" section, you'll see the second definition of a vixen is a spiteful or quarrelsome woman. Merriam Webster calls a vixen a sexually attractive woman. Kyane was that and so much more. All you'd have to do is to listen to what her father had to say to be sure.


Friday, April 24, 2015

Understated

Claude Monet, Haystacks at Sunset, 1890-91, Oil on Canvas


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, immediately you'll discover how understated he is in his life and work. Here is a video of him teaching a young seeker:






Notice how quietly and gently he speaks. There is much talk and celebration around the breakthroughs possible through understanding The Power of Now but I remain very partial to A New Earth, which attempts to help us transcend the loud chatter presented by a busy ego-centered life.

Another understated thinker, spiritual guide and writer is don Miguel Ruiz. His thin book, The Four Agreements shows that we don't have to write massive tomes to touch the lives of many. His book is massive in its Toltec Wisdom but spare and understated in style and form. Its contents reverberate and resonate rather than resorting to shouting. I wrote about the transformative impact his and other works were having on me last fall in the post Welcoming Change.

Going to art museums or if worse comes to worse, looking through art books, is also a peaceful endeavor, particularly when looking at older work. There are some understated paintings that I have gone to repeatedly for contemplation dispersed through this post. Relax and enjoy!


                                          Andrew Wyeth, Braids, 1977, Tempera c. Andrew Wyeth

Portrait of a Lady, Rogier van der Weyden 1460, oil. Photo credit: Google Art Project



Notes on my Theme:

This post is written for the 2015 A to Z Challenge. During this challenge, participating bloggers post once a day, in alphabetical order. This is done 6 days per week. Sundays are off. My theme presents words that are exciting. These words serve as thematic motifs in my writing. My theme also revolves around exclamation points. The words I've chosen to explore can replace or stand alone from the dreaded exclamation point, which writers are urged to avoid.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

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 followers are saying, you've got to be kidding me. You like that stuff? I would never! But we all do. Sure, you might not say BFF but you'll use it to describe your alma mater, take UCLA for example, who has time to say all those words? They also flourish with utility and other companies, cable and television networks--HBO any one? There are plenty of other common uses. Ok/okay?

So when I learned to text from receiving my kids' texts I was quite amused or shall I say befuddled because I love words. What's happening to the English language I asked myself and moreover, what does all this scribble scrabble mean?




In the beginning, I had a flip phone and then a slide phone. Can anyone say awkward? Those earlier models of cell phones made me gravitate towards acronyms, initialisms and text speak. Whatever could get the job done and get me off the damn phone. Short cuts made the whole blasted thing easier on my fingers and eyes.



It didn't take long for me to get called out. My faux pas was in accepting an invitation by text to a party using this strange, some would say excuse, for language. No one said anything to me directly. It was to my husband, "Did your wife learn to text from your children?" Cheeks hot, I thought, yes--and?!

It's no secret. People of my generation are thought of as analog dinosaurs when it comes to the newer technologies, and ways of toying with the language for that matter. If it wasn't for my kids, I'd probably still have dial up rather than a cable modem. I'd be faxing (okay, you caught me, sometimes I still do) instead of scanning. Much to the chagrin of my overused wrists and fingers, I would look upon initialisms and text speak with disdain. Had the reviewer of my text ever heard of writer's cramp? What about how busy writers multitasking on various social media platforms all while returning texts feel? This mom wasn't in a good mood after that swipe.

Okay. Lest I turn into Erma Bombeck (if only) let me sign off.

GTG.
TTYL (minus the exclamation point of course).



Notes on my Theme:

This post is written for the 2015 A to Z Challenge. During this challenge, participating bloggers post once a day, in alphabetical order. This is done 6 days per week. Sundays are off. My theme presents words that are exciting. These words serve as thematic motifs in my writing. My theme also revolves around exclamation points. The words I've chosen to explore can replace or stand alone from the dreaded exclamation point, which writers are urged to avoid.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

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 are showing their stuff this month. Here are the original bloggers A to Z Challenge Participants for 2015.




We're winding down the alphabet but not in energy level. Take time and give thanks to the helpers and enjoy what participants have to offer. There's something self-less about blogging at our level. Little if any money is made. Participants are trying to build community so that we know you're there by gaining new members, readers and followers.

A round of applause to all!

"S" is for stick-to-it-ive-ness, and yes its a colloquial word that is believed to have come into use in 1909.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

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. Poor Stimpy is almost constantly being called an idiot by the Idiot-in-Chief. Ultimately, Stimpy's antics backfire and Stimpy isn't too badly effected.

In 1993, when I watched this show, I was traveling through Australia with my family. However topsy-turvy our days were, we could depend on Ren and Stimpy for pure escapism in the evening. Ren, with his exclamation point touting self, is my complete opposite. There's always something to be learned from these cartoons, however different they may seem. Love 'em or hate, cartoons reflect our fears, anxieties, joys and wonder in a humorous and light way.

So, I leave you with one of their classics, Don't Whiz on the Electric Fence! featuring Ren, Stimpy and Stimpy's cousin Sven.






Monday, April 20, 2015

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 making them feel even less well than when they walked in but no, that isn't the case.

I crave quiet. I view noise as one more type of pollution that attempts to invade my body and impact its state of health and wellness.




Sometimes, even though I'm at home the noise level is still too high. I can't control my parrot or other animals when they want to make a ruckus. At these times, I head off to our public library because there is a room so quiet you can actually hear yourself swallow, breathe and think. Hooray for quiet!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

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 closely connected to my relationship to the Goddess, thus she is painted with glistening paints, to suggest the glow that comes from realizing the deeply spiritual state possible through a meaningful connection to the divine.

Friday, April 17, 2015

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 her but she was intriguing and also had a wonderful after school club. It was Yoga Club. It was all the way back then, that I was first exposed to what our teacher described as the sound of the universe, OM. She said, if you could compress every sound in the universe into one the sound would be OM.



Now, when I chant OM with the group of local yogis during restorative practice, a sense of community washes over me. The feeling fills and comforts my soul. OM is relaxing. It takes my mind away from being busy. In that moment of chanting the mantra, the only thing of importance is the beautiful sound escaping my mouth and mingling with the sound of others. That is why I say it can be a meaningful communal practice. It connects like no other sound, letting us vibrate; secure with our place in the universe. Moreover, this morning OM has permeated my mind.




Chanting OM alone without any other words, sounds or even trying to invoke deity, is peaceful. It leads you to a quiet moment of clarity. It is nothingness and everything, together in one precious act.



Learning about OM from my first yoga teacher, retaining that knowledge over the years and putting it into spiritual practice, has been a lesson that continues to resonate. OM, the sound connected to spiritual practice, radiates throughout, many aspects of a fulfilled life.  



                               Universe Mandala, acrylic on board by Stephanie Rose Bird


Notes on my Theme:

This post is written for the 2015 A to Z Challenge. During this challenge, participating bloggers post once a day, in alphabetical order. This is done 6 days per week. Sundays are off. My theme presents words that are exciting. These words serve as thematic motifs in my writing. My theme also revolves around exclamation points. The words I've chosen to explore can replace or stand alone from the dreaded exclamation point, which writers are urged to avoid.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Nuanced Storytelling

"A Girl Writing; The Pet Goldfinch" by Henrietta Brownne 1829-1901 (Google Art Project)



The craft of writing is the impetus for my A to Z Challenge theme. I've been seemingly railing out against exclamation points but that's only to make a point. Really this is a conversation about nuance.

I am attempting to crystallize thoughts that have arisen during the lengthy process of developing my books. One aspect central to my work, whether it's the nonfiction that has been published, or the fiction I'm working towards publishing, is storytelling. I love storytelling and that is the reason I've gravitated towards mythology and folklore. Universal themes on life and death, and everything delicious in between, can be found by gaining a deeper appreciation of mythic tales.



Holy Fire Daces of Hirucan Tuva by Kent Dorsey 2003             www.centerforshamichealing.com 


My novels take themes I've explored in my other published books - magic, healing, belief, spirituality and transformation, and marries those over-arcing subjects with story. At first, I ventured into this area through memoir. Over the years, I tired of the constraints presented. 
Word- by-word I opted for novel over memoir.

Now, I am balancing a second draft of my first novel, with a work-in-progress, which is also a novel. I also have two nonfiction works in development; one half finished and one newly started. To relax, while sharpening the tools of the craft, I'm reading daily.

Apart from researching, I don't want to read authors too closely connected to my writing. Instead, I'm reading about the process and craft of storytelling. Those books that resonate are the following books:


Stephen King "On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft"


"Making Shapely Fiction" by Jerome Stern


and I'm called to read "Novel Ideas" a second time because of how helpful it has been.

Each of these books helped me tease out nuance and subtlety in the art of storytelling during my daily work on the four books. Through reading and writing I'm finding out more about abilities I didn't know I possessed or needed for effective storytelling; nuance being chief among them.


Notes on my Theme:

This post is written for the 2015 A to Z Challenge. During this challenge, participating bloggers post once a day, in alphabetical order. This is done 6 days per week. Sundays are off. My theme presents words that are exciting. These words serve as thematic motifs in my writing. My theme also revolves around exclamation points. The words I've chosen to explore can replace or stand alone from the dreaded exclamation point, which writers are urged to avoid.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Mistakes!


Manuscript page from James Joyce's Ulysses Photograph: PA

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 my editing and sent it to my editor. I loved the formatting she added, and tense corrections. The grammar corrections because of the dialect I was trying to convey, were a complete nightmare.

Editor: Mistakes!

Author: Mistakes?

No darling. It's called dialect.



I know I'm partially guilty about a break in communications. Whether I like it or not exclamation points of the conceptual type must be made - call them being direct, emphatic or whatever. Still, I almost wanted to pull out my already short hair, when I saw the new state of my revised manuscript.

Over the last few days I've been busy making corrections of my own. Editor-free, I'm working hard at letting what seemed to be 'Mistakes!' stand.

STET

Mistakes are in the eye of the beholder.



Notes on my Theme:
This post is written for the 2015 A to Z Challenge. During this challenge, participating bloggers post once a day, in alphabetical order. This is done 6 days per week. Sundays are off. My theme presents words that are exciting. These words serve as thematic motifs in my writing. My theme also revolves around exclamation points. The words I've chosen to explore can replace or stand alone from the dreaded exclamation point, which writers are urged to avoid.











Tuesday, April 14, 2015

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.



Credits: Peathegee Inc/Getty Images


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 always emphasized (and still do) that it was meant to be used only if you truly laughed out loud." I found this fascinating tidbit in an article in the Huffington Post.

LOL has a checkered past as indicated by just a few of the other phrases it has stood for historically. LOL has positive and negative uses. I wish I had known for example, it stands for Lots of Love and Lots of Luck. I could have saved some time and ink.

All is well. People use it a lot. Others claim to hate it and hold it up as a sign of our disintegrating use of the English language. I don't participate in the public flogging of acronyms, it's just that when LOL is coupled with the exclamation point, that I want to weigh in. Needless to say, LOL! is over the top, after all, you're already holding your belly, keeling over and laughing your guts out. What more can you offer your recipient?

LOL, is quite enough.


Notes on my Theme:
This post is written for the 2015 A to Z Challenge. During this challenge, participating bloggers post once a day, in alphabetical order. This is done 6 days per week. Sundays are off. My theme presents words that are exciting. These words serve as thematic motifs in my writing. My theme also revolves around exclamation points. The words I've chosen to explore can replace or stand alone from the dreaded exclamation point, which writers are urged to avoid.


Thursday, April 9, 2015

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.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

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.


Alexander the Great found on Ancient History Encyclopedia online


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 Great c. 849-899, King of Wessex, England
  • Askia Mohammad c. 1442-1538 Ruler of the Songhai Empire
  • Casimir II the Great 1310-1370, King of Poland
  • Catherine the Great 1729 - 1796 Empress of Russia

The list goes on and on, especially when you think of religious figures. People named with the word great is but one elevating use of the word. Things are tagged great too and these things are not too shabby:




Era's such as the Great Depression (1929-39) and events such as The Great Dust Bowl (1934-1937).

Put on your thinking cap people (Image from: livelearnloveeat.com)


Can our measly "Great!" tossed off absentmindedly in a text or FB comment box, come near? Maybe so but most times I'm afraid not.


Notes on my Theme:
This post is written for the 2015 A to Z Challenge. During this challenge, participating bloggers post once a day, in alphabetical order. This is done 6 days per week. Sundays are off. My theme presents words that are exciting. These words serve as thematic motifs in my writing. My theme also revolves around exclamation points. The words I've chosen to explore can replace or stand alone from the dreaded exclamation point, which writers are urged to avoid.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

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.



Pinterest Board of Efrat Melter from digilander.libero.it




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 text before signing on the dotted line.

Fine is one of the words that varies greatly in meaning, depending on the time period, person saying it, honesty and reason for using it. It's all about context.


Happy Baby Sleeping: Image from Davenport Library Blog



"F" is for Fine.

Notes on my Theme:
This post is written for the 2015 A to Z Challenge. During this challenge, participating bloggers post once a day, in alphabetical order. This is done 6 days per week. Sundays are off. My theme presents words that are exciting. These words serve as thematic motifs in my writing. My theme also revolves around exclamation points. The words I've chosen to explore can replace or stand alone from the dreaded exclamation point, which writers are urged to avoid.





Monday, April 6, 2015

"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 elements of the paranormal and a heavy dose of fantasy. The story is relatively dark, though not as dark as my first, I would still call it a dark fairy tale. Earnestine is the pluckiest, self-assured and determined young person of her age that I know.



When she becomes clearer, through revealing herself more to me, count on seeing and hearing more about my dear Earnestine on this blog.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

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.

Time to relax, download about the day, up until that point, connect; and for some, to argue. All this takes place with the backdrop of dinner.

I hear dinnertime is on the down slide. Sports practices, piano lessons, tutoring, late night work. I say,  no.  With or without the unnecessary exclamation point, dinner is still the thing.



Notes on my Theme:
This post is written for the 2015 A to Z Challenge. During this challenge, participating bloggers post once a day, in alphabetical order. This is done 6 days per week. Sundays are off. My theme presents words that are exciting. These words serve as thematic motifs in my writing. My theme also revolves around exclamation points. The words I've chosen to explore can replace or stand alone from the dreaded exclamation point, which writers are urged to avoid.









Friday, April 3, 2015

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. No. His name is Ice-T.

In the blogosphere, whether or not you care or even know about Cool Jazz, West Coast Cool, Hip Hop or rap artists, many are sure to put the word, connoting all things singular and interesting, within their comments on FaceBook, Twitter and elsewhere. Thinking cool alone is not cool enough or that someone won't get how truly cool they are, we whip out the comforting exclamation point to go along with it.

All well intended, "Cool!" is used as a term of support, affirmation or a way of expressing interest in what has been said. I contend 'cool', given its vernacular use and musical history needs to stand alone, leaving it to enjoy the power its use is destined to connote. Let your cool breathe without embellishment or superfluous punctuation. Cool is just...well, cool.


Notes on my Theme:
This post is written for the 2015 A to Z Challenge. During this challenge, participating bloggers post once a day, in alphabetical order. This is done 6 days per week. Sundays are off. My theme presents words that are exciting. These words serve as thematic motifs in my writing. My theme also revolves around exclamation points. The words I've chosen to explore can replace or stand alone from the dreaded exclamation point, which writers are urged to avoid.