Thursday, March 31, 2011

Amazements and Simple Pleasures

Nurture awareness and search for three Amazements. 

They might greet in the form of an unexpected card received in snail mail. House finches do provide entertainment while frolicking in the bird bath.

A great blue heron could land on a house roof as you pass. 

Once you have set your sights for Amazements, they will find you. 

Notes from nature will make you smile and help you relinquish the day's concerns.

Watch leaves fall in heart patterns and breathe as roses decant their scents. 

Those you love and greet daily will also provide messages that break the tension of your day.

Collect in threes and then go for fives.

Creative Write: Collate the amazements into a story or poem.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What does it mean to play?

Plato said, "You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation."

Play promotes curiosity, seeks novelty, teaches perseverance, and invites creativity. It even nourishes the immune system. Each person has a unique play personality. When one gets in touch with it, the pleasures and fun abound.

Animals have a lot to teach human beings. If you've ever dangled a string in front of a cat or played ball with a dog, you've seen their playful expressions in action. In his book, THE GENESIS OF ANIMAL PLAY, Gordon Burghardt, a psychology professor at the University of Tennessee, reports playful behavior in lizards, turtles, and birds. Even fish have been known to amuse themselves.

Stuart Brown, one of the authors of PLAY: HOW IT SHAPES THE BRAIN, OPENS THE IMAGINATION AND INVIGORATES THE SOUL, believes in the necessity of play for children and adults. His organization, the National Institute for Play, focuses on making human play a "credentialed discipline in the scientific community."

Children have lost touch with tree climbing and scouting for discoveres in nature. Computer games attract them more than wriggly creatures, birdsong or flying clouds. Nagel Jackson writes, "The truly great advances of this generation will be made by those who can make outrageous connections, and only a mind which knows how to play can do that."

Play in a freewriting exercise reveals attracts ideas that will evolve into stories and poems. Problems find solutions through activities that have no specific goal. They flow in a fun process. In today's fast-paced world, taking time to play - really play - feels frivilous to many.

BECOME PLAYFUL. You may have to work at it.

How will you play in your writing today? Dangle words and images, make connections and search for nuances.

A few play starters:

What would you do with a teapot, a jar of maple syrup, a parakeet and a harmonica?

Create a story about a cardboard box you can crawl into, a blanket, a flashlight, bananas and daisies.

Go for a walk and choose five items. Touch, smell, listen and notice their characteristics. Play and Write.

Make faces at someone and write their reactions.

Teach a mockingbird your school's fight song.

Create a sand castle with a crocodile.

Invite a cheetah on your morning run.

Respond to the above or share a play idea with us.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

How do you spell wisdom?

We fill our lives with knowledge from books and experiences. What does it mean to gain wisdom? Take time to list what each letter means to you. Here's my first run through.

W - Discover Wonders each day.

I - Move beyond a focus on "I" in relationships.

S - Smiles can change us from the inside out. They also connect and turn others' frowns upside down.

D - Decisions require informed choices. Make quality ones today.

O - Opportunities abound. They require listening and understanding others' views.

M - Motivation enhances all activities. Push yourself.

Enrich yourself with different W*I*S*D*O*M words and ideas each day for a week.

Share your first spelling attempt with us.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Truest Feeling

Ernest Hemingway’s dictum: When you don’t know what to write, write the truest thing you know.

What subject could you write about today that involves the "truest feeling"?  Write it without using the word, true.  Make us realize your truth with the use of metaphor and sensory imagery. Avoid abstract words.


Return to a time you experienced a truth or situation that involved feeling "true" as a child.

Recall a conversation with a friend about a truth.

Writing about a memory of winning an argument.

How will true speak to you in your writing today? Or, turn it around and write about a false feeling of  . . .

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Pet Peeves

What are your five pet peeves about the use of the English language, your job, an ongoing concern, or a relationship?  

Here are mine for the English language:

l.    Avoid overusing the verb to be.  Don't be - Do!  Use active verbs.
2.   Adjectives and adverbs clutter sentences when a power verb will energize them. If you must use an adjective, make it astonish the noun.  Use a verb instead.
3.   Use of the word beautiful to describe anything.  How about a description or metaphor? What does "beautiful mean"?  Make the words do the talking.
4.   An abstract word like anger, love, hate, angst in a poem doesn't communicate what those words mean to you.  Show what it looks, sounds and feels like.  What is a taste of love?
5.   Watch the misuse of pronouns. Everyone likes their (correct: his or her) opinion.  She went with him and I  (me is the object, I is always a subject. She and I went with him). She and him are sick (he is the subject).  

Make your list of five, then how you might avoid the peeve or turn it into a Positive when it arrives again.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Flavor Your Writing

To flavor and spice up writing, add tastes, scents. textures and sounds.  This will draw the reader into the world you're creating.

Make a list of your five favorites in each category.


Tastes: sweet pepper sauce on chicken, dill pickles, cinnamon toast, tapioca pudding, pineapple slices

Scents: lavender, tuberose, peppermint, wet earth,  smoke

Textures:  silk, corduroy,  wood grain,  pebbled shore,  bubbled bath water

Sounds: Shrieks and shouts, mellow saxophone, piano chords, birdsong, waltzes

Sights:  apricot ribbon of sunset,   rain splatters on leaves,  silhouettes on pavement,  smiles of strangers,  cumulous clouds

After you've listed five for each category, use one of each and flow into the next list. Create sentences. Let the words trigger ideas and attract others.

From my list:

Sweet pepper sauce delights lavender while silk shrieks as rain splatters on leaves.  Dill pickles invite tuberoses to tea.  The silk of a mellow saxophone mimics smiles of strangers.  Oh the tapioca pudding has spilled on the wet earth.  The pebbled shore sounds like piano chords dancing in cumulous clouds.

Keep going and let your mind make connections and contrasts.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Ten Things I Cannot Do Without

Make a list of ten things you need in your life and could not do without. 

If you go beyond ten, that's great. See where the words take you in a freewrite after making the list.

Just a few I cannot do without. . .

l.     Twilight time.  I love the way light creeps and seeps from the darkness each morning and how, in an eye blink light sneaks away at night.
2.    A sense of humor and life of wonder.
3.    Love, Hugs and Smiles.
4.    The unexpected moment. Another and then another. Just one more.
5.    Water: A long drink of cold, Oregon water. A hot shower that blasts and lasts.
6.    Hoodies of all types: T-shirts, sweatshirts, Hoody dresses. I LOVE HOODIES
7.    Foods with taste and texture: Carrot cake with raisins and vanilla icing, broiled salmon, doubly vanilla yogurt, multi-grain toast with apricot or boysenberry jam, French toast in souffle form, Brussel sprouts and spinach drenched with vinegar, crisp apples, Peek's coffee, omelettes with cheese and  veggies, calamari sandwiches, cranberry anything.
8.    The opportunity to feel gratitude and a fountain pen to write about it.
9.    Running or hiking in a natural setting: flowers and clouds and . . .
10.  Song birds, sea birds. Birds. Birds. Birds.

Word Practice - An Odyssey

Ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert-in anything. In study after study, of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice skaters, concert pianists, chess players, master criminals, and what have you, this number comes up again and again. Ten thousand hours is equivalent to roughly three hours a day, or twenty hours a week, of practice over ten years. - from the book This Is Your Brain On Music, The Science of a Human Obsession by Daniel J. Levitin

How do you practice writing?  Do you set aside time each day to let words gallop across the page or computer screen?  Must you trick the words and bridle them with "discipline"?  Or, do you let the wild ponies rear and run?

When the writing odyssey begins it races into mysteries and undiscovered realms. If let loose, thoughts and ideas gambol into unknown territory and meet a variety of experiences and creatures along the way.

A writing schedule nurtures the ability to put one word after another. Words teeter, then bounce and balance and whisk you away. When creative instincts take over, a passion for words pushes past tedious times. Thoughts chased might allude but writing practice shuttles them beyond expectations.

At times when the words take over it might not seem like the way you want to go. Stop thinking. Let practice permit experimentation, wildness and humor to enter.

It may take ten years to write about a subject you have searched and pondered.  Sift and sort and disregard its calling.  One day it will jump onto the page and perform its best.

Take your time.  Let the moments unfold and flow into each odyssey of words.

Creative Write:  What subject or idea have you chased and attempted to write about for several years?  Try a freewrite today and see if it becomes more friendly.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Living from the inside out

How do we develop our potential to live from the inside out?

An upbeat perspective adds a smile to the heart, cuts the risk of illness, and speeds recovery if sick. It adds pleasure to life and a sense of ease.  You're always ready for the situations life presents!

Striving for Happiness is not the answer. That illusive bluebird will mock you.  A sense of control over every aspect of life is not realistic or easy.  Especially when you try to control others' behavior.

Attempt to achieve harmony in your own life situations. That behavior builds resilience to stress. Self-empowerment becomes a health tool when you focus on actions that provide joy and work toward balance.

In a study of centenarians, people who live to 100 and beyond, researchers discovered several characteristics:

Centenarians complain less about discomfort than younger individuals.

They remain intellectually stimulated and have satisfying relationships.

Hundred-year-olds maintain interests in myriad activities.

They sleep well and take naps often.

They have developed techniques to deal with anxiety and depression.

A belief in a religion or spirituality adds to their life skills.

The centenarians believe in a search for contentment.  They realize
moods bounce around from low to high and they keep the rhythm going.

They smile more than most!

Here are three ideas for daily harmony:

Life requires acceptance and balance. We can feel bombarded by negativity while standing at the grocery store's check out line.  Rows of magazines shriek at us with headlines of absurdity and sensationalism. Use your creativity to turn those headlines into the positive ones. Then, let someone with fewer items go ahead of you and share your smile.

Discover a life based on Gratitude for each moment and revel in  your individual gifts. I find balance and energy in daily runs, walks in nature and focus on my mind-body-spirit and breath during yoga practice.  I slip right into myself and benefit from all the sensations. Even the negative feelings become teachers.

While driving, avoid anxiety when other drivers tailgate or inconvenience you.  How do they drive with their knees while chugging coffee in one hand, cell phone in the other?  At the next Stop, begin a Laughter Exercise.  Start with HO HO HO.  Add HEE HEE HEE.  Move into a wilder HA HA HA.  Repeat adding a tune.  Roll the windows down.  You will infect some cranky person in the car next to you or attract someone walking with his head down.

It wastes energy to feel anger or frustration. When you feel a "tremor of terrible" creeping up your body, acknowledge it!  Then wave it away.  Laugh and use that talent more often.

Live to celebrate 100 years of resilient living from the inside out!

Creative Write:  What skills have you developed to chase the blues away?  Please share three with us.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bird Characters

Corky the seagull

During childhood I had a canary Dippy, named for his love of bathing.  A white bathtub resided in the middle of the cage where he spent most of his time. He'd splish and splash, sending droplets in all directions.  Wet feathers mingled with birdseed husks fragranced my room.

After bathing, fluffing and primping in front of a mirror, his throat shimmied with song. Dippy's repertoire included squawks, shill trills, warbling and a few peeps. His talents only showed up in the bath.

At times, Dippy hopped perches and half-flew to the highest level.  I felt sorry for him. When coaxed out of the cage he could only hop and flutter. I didn't realize the bird shop had clipped his wings.  He'd puff into a ball and seem to roll his eyes as he made a few droppings. Then Dippy returned to his cage and hopped in the bath, flustered.  What did I know of a caged bird's delight?

When my parents moved to a beach front apartment, my mother became a bird whisperer. At twilight, she'd stand on the sea wall and toss bread crumbs.  A feeding frenzy resulted.  Gull sounds and the flap of wings signaled sunset at their apartment complex. Everyone brought injured birds to her door.  She'd treat injuries or take them to a bird shop for evaluation.

Then a cardboard box arrived.  It contained a seagull that had lost most of its left wing.  The wound had partially healed so my parents decided to keep it for further first aid.  Without the ability to fly, the gull would become instant cat food. "We named him Corky," my Dad said. "Because he had energy like a cork popped off a champagne bottle."

My father also had a knack with animals.  He had grown up on a sheep ranch, training dogs and horses.  He could quiet the barking of our troop of Great Danes by tapping a dime on the window.  Instant silence resulted.  Behaviorist, B.F. Skinner would have smiled at his techniques.

After Corky healed and grew accustomed to his new environment, my parents decided he needed exercise.  Soon, he sported a toy dog's harness for daily walks. Neighbors greeted him by name as he passed.  He spent the afternoons in a baby pen on the porch where he also had an audience of walkers and friends.  In the evenings, he huddled at the foot of their bed and watched television programs.  His head bobbed and eyes seems to follow the action.

At my parents' sleep-time, Corky knew what to do. My mother quoted Lewis Carroll, "Time has come, the Walrus said." When my father whistled, Corky hopped off the bed and ambled down the hall to the bathroom.  My father helped him into the tub.  I think he received a good night song and tidbit.

Early morning squawkings roused the family to his attention once again.

Corky ate meal worms and other delicacies.  When he lounged in his playpen, his seagull friends would call and he'd answer.  He filled a void and provided entertainment and affection for my parents for many years after I'd left for college and marriage.

Creative Write:   Did you have a childhood pet that tickles memories and inspires a story?  Share a character with us.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bringing my father back for his Birthday

My father would celebrate his 121st  birthday on March 23, 2011.  Each year since his passing in 1977, I have written a letter to him about the world and me.  

With his background in broadcasting and passion for international communication, he would be quite a fan of the internet.  He'd revel in the technological gadgets that abound.  A cell phone with all its applications, super digital camera, and a huge screen for sports viewing would attract his attention. 

Inspite of the ease of access to news, he might feel frustrated by the sensationalism and inaccuracies of the media.   I doubt he’d feel surprised at the state of international relations.  Even though the world has war and troubles, he'd have faith in possibilities.   He'd believe in ways to develop ideas and new institutions.  

What fun it would be to bring him back for a day.  

I’d take him to breakfast at my favorite café overlooking the Pacific coast, so he could observe the sea and its creatures.  We’d order a jelly and cheese omelette and have half grapefruits to start. Multi-grain toast and boysenberry jam would top it off.

I’d tour him on my computer and show him how a cell phone works.  His eyes would grow large and he’d want to take over.  I’d advise him - First a walk!  He'd try to convince me otherwise but I've mastered his techniques in assertiveness.  

"Let's go!" I'd lead the way.

He’d remark at the clear air, scents of the flowers and watch the pelicans and seagulls testing the currents.  A pod of dolphins would delight him as they jumped and fished.

"Do they still make coca cola?" he'd ask and, "Wow, cameras without film so you can take shot after shot . . . Really?"

He'd turn, and chuckle, "Petsy, I miss hot dogs and Delaware Punch!"

I'd smell his Old Spice and watch the curling smile at the corner of his mouth.  

"Now, show me that communication net?" he'd ask. "Stock market still around?"

We'd walk to another café where he could go WIFI, play all day and acquaint himself with world politics. Adjusting easily to the keys, within minutes he'd have mastered the world wide web.  

He'd smile across at me, "Did I ever tell you about the time. . ." Then he'd look out at the clouds turning into animals and shapes.  "Nature hasn't changed, has it?" he'd say.  "It's still a marvel."

Just before sunset, we would return to sit on a bench by the sea and watch our “great ball of fire” ease past the horizon.  

"I still haven't caught the green flash," I'd say.  

"We'll get it. Don't give up hope, Petsy.  I'll just have to return next year."

Happy Birthday, Daddy.  Same time, next year.

Creative Write:  Write a letter or develop a scene with someone no longer living. Have him or her return to today's world and show them around.

Billy Collins

Happy Birthday to Billy Collins who wrote this poem for his students:

Introduction To Poetry

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.

Billy Collins wrote his first poem at age seven. While riding in the car with his parents, he wrote about a sailboat on the East River. As a teenager he said, "I responded fully to Kerouac, Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti's 'Coney Island of the Mind' — still a good title — Gregory Corso and others. But mostly I was a Catholic high school boy in the suburbs who fantasized about stealing a car and driving non-stop to Denver. I probably would have done it, but I didn't have access to those special driving pills Neal Cassady had. Plus, there was always a test to study for, or band practice."

In graduate school, he was convinced that writing confusing poems was a sign of greatness. He said, "I wrote very difficult poetry and I was really guilty of not knowing what I was talking about."

Then Collins started writing poetry that was direct and readable. His first published poems were just a few lines long, and they were published in Rolling Stone. He said,  "I thought writing poetry was like blowing out birthday candles — you had to do it in one breath."

Billy Collins said: "As I'm writing, I'm always reader conscious. I have one reader in mind, someone who is in the room with me, and who I'm talking to, and I want to make sure I don't talk too fast, or too glibly."

Creative Write:  Write a poem in "one breath" and take us along for a ride.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Simple in Spring

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn,

a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. 
If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things,
this is the best season of your life. 
                                -Wu Wen 1183-1260

Spring becomes the time of year to think about renewal in life as well as writing. Writers need an opportunity to consider how to prepare for writing rejuvenation.

Keep it SIMPLE:

S:   Savor the growth around you in daisies, daffodils, crocuses, and tulips. Take time to watch nature’s daily progress. See the birds and insects prepare for spring.

I:    Invest in your imagination. Forget the Stock market and the world’s concerns. Imaginate each moment. Make discoveries, connections and write. write. write.

M:   Meditate in your own way. Observing your breath creates awareness and relaxation. Focus on it for one or two intervals during the day. Sit comfortably, breathe in six times and out six times. Gradually extend your exhalations. Try for a fifteen minute period where you erase the jumble from your mind. Let thoughts flow by like clouds.

P:    PLAY. Distract yourself with fun and frolic. 

L:    Let go. Enjoy humor and spread it around.

E:    Eat healthy foods and Exercise.

 YOU!    Believe in yourself and your writing. It will grow stronger when you add your own spring fervor.

Creative Write: Find a word (sycamore, pelican, dandelion, salmon) and create your spring renewal with suggestions for each letter. 

Break Open!

Let's put all our treasures together - the clock, plates, cups carved in gold into a sack and carry them to the sea. There let our possessions smash in the sinister shock of a breaker; let the things that are broken call out like a river and the sea render back to us whole in the might of its crosscurrents all that we held of no worth. The junk no hand has broken, but still goes on breaking.
-from Oda a las Cosas Rotas by Pablo Neruda

Poet, Pablo Neruda makes peace with all things broken; he portrays brokenness as a state as natural as wholeness. When things get broken, it's no one's fault. Items fall apart and wear out. People go away, change, break down and die.

What stories breathe in the crack in the vase?

In personal narratives, we weave fragments back together.

Tromp through the landscape of your mind in search of broken things. Make a list of things that break. Combine animate and inanimate objects and ideas. What tools do individuals use to fix the broken? Some possessions get fixed, others are replaced or abandoned. What should become fixed or salvaged?

Creative Write: Try a new perspective about breakage. Break wide open!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

First Day of Spring!

Spring sports a kaleidoscope of flowers along sidewalks and beach paths. Roses, lavender and daisies scent the air.  In search of "love" connections, mockingbirds trill their stolen notes.  

Pairing at nest sites, seagulls take turns to gather twigs for their April clutches. In hidden spaces, Black Phoebes have started their nests. Squawkings of wild parrots rise above the palm trees.

San Diego March weather changes in an eye blink.  Clouds send spritzes of rain.  A brush of azure erases the gray until sun streaks take over. Then the  scene revolves to a tarnished silver cover.

How would you write about the intensities of love and the weather today?

Saturday, March 19, 2011


The Sea

I need the sea because it teaches me.
I don't know if I learn music of awareness,
if it's a single wave or its vast existence,
or only its harsh voice or its shining
suggestion of fishes and ships.
The fact is that until I fall asleep,
in some magnetic way I move
in the University of the waves.
- Pablo Neruda from On the Blue Shore of Silence

Until thirteen years of age, I spent months at a time living on a variety of steamships. My father attended meetings around the world and ship cabins became our home. Thankfully, we docked at ports of call often because seasickness taunted as my beast to conquer.I spent days dizzy and nauseated.

After a month on board, I usually had gained sea legs and began my discovery of what Neruda calls, "the University of the waves." I studied movements of flying fish and sea creatures we happened upon. The line of the horizon where nothing existed but blue penetrating into green-blue sparked my curiosity.

Sea spray redolent with fishiness accompanied my walks on deck. A mixture of ship oil, paint and wooden deck preservative return in memory. The sea sounded with swishes and thunks depending on its mood. Bells on board signaled activities starting and ending.Evenings spread darkness in velvet until the silver of starlight penetrated.

I learned the constellations from vantage points around the world. Storms provided whitecaps and cloud formations that amazed me from my queasiness. The rain ran salty on my tongue.

Now the sea remains a constant companion on my morning runs. I marvel at the tenacity of waves as they reveal their daily moods.

Creative Write: Share an experience you have had with the sea or another body of water. Bring in sensory imagery.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Communicating Effectively?

In over half a century, we've seen television create movement when radios produced only sound. Our imaginations conjured images of the air-waved voices.  Typewriters have given way to word processors that turned into hyper-speed computers.

Once it took a warehouse to enclose technology that today fits in a digital watch. Even digital watches are running second to cell phones that display the time.

Devices evolve in a whir.   What do you imagine communication technology will offer us in the next five years?  Will we have implants?  If I have a chip in my wrist, will I raise my arm to send and receive messages?

With all our technological progress, do we communicate more effectively?  Will the ease of access to one another through texting and Skype help us resolve our interpersonal issues?

Post your thoughts.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Birds of the Day - Give a Coot!

People comment with the worn phrase, "I'm gonna catch two birds with one stone." I don't like to think about dead birds. "Why not catch two birds with one seed. Then watch their antics?" I reply.

While I'm on my daily running paths, I capture birds, flowers and the unexpected in photos and words. One morning, a woman ran out of her house yelling, "What are you doing in my flower bed?"

Kneeling near a lavendar rose dappled with dew, I had my cellphone camera inches away. I wondered about her observation skills? Did she think I dropped bugs on her roses?

I'm allergic to cranky people and must search for an antidote to avoid a rash. So, I smiled, pointing to the sky, "Sun's almost out. What great care you take of your roses. I just wanted a photo."

With her head down, she had no reply and managed a weak smile.

I loved the movie, "Pay it Forward," and felt certain that philosophy would catch one. It didn't, unfortunately. Maybe we need a "Pay it Forward -2"? What if each day we share a simple kindness with someone? Just place a flower on a car window. Or write a sticky note, "Smile in the sun today."

Try doing something for a friend or spouse without having them ask. Anticipate! Make a habit of generosity without expectation and grin even if nobody notices. You'll feel bouyant.

We're all in this together. Let's create a Positive and pass it forward.

Creative Write: Write about a situation you turned around from negative to positive with word choices.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Feeling the Colors

What color does hurt represent?  Will it frown in the bluish-yellow of a bruise?

Watch joy sparkle in reflections off tinsel.  Notice silliness as it races in plaid, magenta and lime.

How about the aubergine of ennui?   Do you feel a celadon of silence?  Explore the gray flannel of comfort.

Push beyond the obvious and play with color:

What colors shout memories?

Discover Envy & Jealousy in colors away from green.

What are the tinges and tones of anger?

Love feels red but may form and foam into a shade of . . .

Fear begins in_______and ends in___________

Apathy paints itself a strangeness of__________

Friendship  sports a brighter shade of_________

Make a list of feelings and notions and color them with metaphor and surprises!

The Indescribable

Do you have a sensation or situation you just can't describe? Would you like to have a conversation with someone about an issue but haven't discovered the words?

In conversation, you can beat around the bush a bit to start and ease into the heart of the matter.  Or scatter your thoughts in all directions and see where they land.

Raise more questions and explore your uncertainty or frustration, letting one word lead another.  Delve into more mysteries within the flow.

Consider how to paint a word picture.

Write "The Indescribable" at the top of the page and then let your fingers free your feelings and thoughts.  Write to the end of the page without stopping. Let all your senses loose.  Doodle and draw lines and loops.

When you lift your pen from the page or fingers from the keyboard, what thought stays with you?  Turn the page, write that thought at the top and write one more page.

Has the indescribable opened itself to you?  What did you discover?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Writer's Enrichment

"If you stuff yourself full of poems, essays, plays, stories, novels, films, comic strips, magazines, music, you automatically explode every morning like Old Faithful. I have never had a dry spell in my life, mainly because I feed myself well, to the point of bursting. I wake early and hear my morning voices leaping around in my head like jumping beans. I get out of bed to trap them before they escape." - Ray Bradbury.

Writers become omnivores of experience through reading, going to movies and plays, listening to music, and appreciating art. We're magnets of discovery while observing and playing. Over the years, we discover stories or poetry, music and art that didn't appeal to us before, take on a new attraction.

Make a list of ten pieces of writing, music, movies, comics or art you return to for enervation. List one or two that you returned to for a second glance.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Minds on Fire

I watch

winter light tease past curtains,
sparking the windows at twilight.

In my home fire, flames
crackle, lick and leap
showing off to the sun,
inviting it inside.

Light plays here as it did
in the caves of Altimira 
where animals frolicked,
their images drawn
by minds on fire.

Imagine the amazement at the first view of fire. Lightning struck a branch and exploded in oranges and reds.   What did the cave people see in the dancing flames?  The shadows and bouncing light inspired someone to take a bit of charcoal to draw images on the walls.  Who tamed the flames for future use?

Do you feel the spark of story from the shadows and shapes?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Cotyledons to Wildflowers

A cotyledon pushes through its seed's shell.  This first shoot twists and turns into greeness that vibrates with life.  A shattering from its case moves the leaf into the world.  It gains momentum with nourishment from the sun, earth and water.

How will you break through barriers, release from inhibitions, and send out a cotyledon in your writing this spring?

Rumble and race past your protective casing. Anticipate a burst into blossoms.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Gratitude for What Works

Consider what works in your world.

The earth shudders, sending shocks through Japan, Hawaii and along the West Coast of the United States, to name only a few places affected. Devastation and heartache will be felt by everyone in some way from lost lives, destroyed homes to far-reaching economic pinches. 

What three things can you do to make a difference to your friends and friends. Send your positive words and extend ripples outward.

We are in this together and can make a difference!

Have a day of Gratitude for what works in your life. Share a few lines with us.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


How do we communicate our Passions and Pangs?

Many use bumper stickers to warble their concerns in words.

Honk if you’re. . . . .

The messages make us smile, engage our curiosity or pique anger. Often we have to get into the meaning: celebrate whirled peas.

Bark Less. Wag More makes us smile.

We engage with,  I heart my …

Am I self-centered or IS IT JUST ME.  My road to success is under construction.  Everyone needs to work on self-issues.

Reminders include: Life is short, play hard.  My karma just ran into your dogma.

I’d rather be  . . .

What bumper sticker do you want to share with our weary world?
Go KRE8!

Post yours

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Song Birds and Love Songs

Did you know Johann Strauss wrote, “Vienna Woods” after riding through a forest? Bird melodies enchanted Strauss until the waltz flew into his head.

Each spring, birds sport their songs to attract mates. Mockingbirds riff for hours tweeting up and down the scale. Song Sparrows and Spotted Towhees (photo above) toss their heads back, open beaks and warble in the name of love. Spring comes alive with insistent songs.

Popular song writer, producer and singer, Lamont Dozier, claims his songs result from observation and eavesdropping. He believes a good songwriter must listen and observe for stories that weave into songs. Restaurants and gathering places nurture his inspiration. He gains material from watching lovers quarrel and make up. Daily soap operas add to his material.

Songbird melodies and counter melodies also inspire Lamont. He listens to each chirp, trill and tweet and claims he has even borrows many of their ideas.

Lamont Dozier has written for the Four Tops, Supremes, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations and others. His musical, The First Wives Club is Broadway-bound.

Take a look at Lamont Dozier’s site:

Birdsong sites:

Stop in the Name of Love! Sugar pie, honey bunch! What songs could you write as a result of observing people and listening to birds? Spring arrives soon and the birds have started acheepin' and achirpin'.

Listen, hum along and add your words.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Strength from Adversity

In the poem, "IF" by Rudyard Kipling,  he advises us to meet triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters the same. While Friedrich Nietzsche's, "What doesn't kill us makes us stronger" might fee like a cliche, recent medical studies indicate its worth.

Adversity in moderation can turn protective when it comes to physical and mental health.

Researchers at the University of Buffalo and University of California, Irvine, found that people with chronic back pain who had experienced some adversity during their lives reported less impairment and disability then counterparts who had suffered either no adverse events or overwhelming amounts.

Adversity was defined as serious illness or injury to you or a loved one, bereavement, and other major life stresses.  In the second study, the same researchers found people with a moderate amount of adversity in their lifetime reported better mental health and well-being than those who had suffered major adversity or none at all.

Moderation becomes the key!   Severe adversity increases the risk of physical and mental problems seen in post-traumatic stress disorder. Lack of adversity may leave individuals poorly equipped to deal with stress when it does occur.

Overcoming adversity can help develop resilience, psychological resources and coping methods, the researchers concluded.  Plotted on the Bell Curve, those in the middle fare the best.

Creative Write Considerations:

What do you think about adversity in your life?

Have you strengthened from your struggles?

Do you meet situations of stress with strength or courage or do they devastate?

Consider how adversity affects your writing.  How do you meet triumph and disaster?  What techniques work the best for you?

Write on!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Taste Your Writing


What could an apple do for your writing? Pay close attention.

Discover the colors that circulate around an apple: red, yellow, orange, a tinge of green. Does the stem pull out or must you twist it several times? Hold it to your nose and breath in its scent. What memories arise? Feel the skin texture when you take an apple from the refrigerator beaded with moisture.

Bite into the apple and observe the impression your teeth create on the white flesh. Do you see red veins inside? Feel the texture and the squirts of saliva as your cheeks suck inward from reaction to the tart flavor. Observe the change in fragrance as you chew. Notice a liquid release, then the after taste. Let your tongue mingle with the apple's skin bits and succulence. Feel the texture on your teeth. Examine a swallow. Notice the apple until you lose its sensation as it enters the stomach.

Consider a variety of apple experiences. What if you bit into a mushy apple or one with a worm's tunnel? Will you eat around a brown spot? Sprinkle slices with cinnamon and clove. Do you prefer a Delicious, Granny Smith or New Zealand?

What could you combine with the apple to enhance the flavor? Will cheddar cheese raise the taste buds and coat the tongue? Add raisins and cranberries. Describe ways sweet intervenes.

Creative Write: Try an orange or peach. Experience them and write with connections to early memories. Write about discovering how to peel a banana. Imagine the first person to eat pomegranate seeds.

From the Inside Out

Godfrey Reggio said, "To create one's own life is a risky business." Rollo May writes of the courage it takes to create. In our modern world, each day fills with risks we need to embrace in order to develop a healthy sense of self.

Happiness is not a game animal we can hunt and capture for a trophy. Satisfaction involves the effect of doing what needs to be done each moment. Living a life of curiosity spawns creativity. This desire to live from the inside out goes beyond the ordinary. It includes capturing a sense of wonder and reveling in the journey each moment provides.

One must leave a place of familiar and journey into the wilderness prepared to meet unexpected events along the way. Writing pursues an art of sensation, contemplation and devotion to detail.

Dedication to the relationship with yourself achieves the greatest security in life. Living from the inside out provides motivation and momentum. It may feel frightening and lonely at times. Make friends with those feelings. Pursue Aristotle's, "Know Thyself," to gain insights to share with a needy world. Power and strength reside within.

Contemplate your writing life. Step outside the ground rules and launch into an odysssey. Your adventure will become transformed by reality and amazememts around each turn in the road. Attention to detail with all your senses will enable you to bring back what you've experienced and create something new with words. Venture way beyond predictability.

Today, begin a life of discovery in your writing. What would your first line reveal in a life lived from the inside out?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Being Human

William Shakespeare wrote, "What a piece of work is a man."  With technology advancing by the day and defeating us at games, what does it mean to be human?

Computers run much of our daily lives from the clock that provides a wake-up call to the variety of machines we use throughout the day.  As we settle into sleep for the night, a computer even changes the feel of our mattress.

A computer can provide information on Mozart but can it write music that, "entices angels down to earth" as Mozart did?   Programs direct spaceships into the Universe but do they dream of space travel?  Can a computer dwell in the magic of sunrise and sunset?  How about laughing at its own file of jokes? Could it appreciate a floral scent?

Read about the Turing Test, a battle between the most advanced artificial-intelligence programs and ordinary people.  The test is designed to determine if a computer can act "more human" than a person.

Mind Versus Machine, an article in "The Atlantic": 

Today, have fun speculating and writing about what it means to be human.