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Short Short Stories August 20, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
Tags: , , , ,
38 comments

A local newspaper solicited short short stories (25 words or less) to run in the paper during the month of August.

At the end of the summer, one story will be chosen as “the winner” and its author will receive a culinary prize from . . . The Lazy Lobster.

I like lobster.  Even lazy lobsters, which are easier to catch.  I also enjoy playing with words, so I submitted a few short shorts:

The Best Thing About Getting Older

Audrey watched her 97-year-old neighbor sail by on a bike: “You’re such an inspiration, Vivian. What’s the best thing about getting older?”

“No peer pressure.”

Goofy-Riding-A-Bike

[We have a 96-year-old neighbor who still rides his bike and NEVER worries about peer pressure.]

Killing Time

Sophia hated waiting.
Killing time.

A woman in purple scrubs passed by, “Sorry, Sophia. Your chemo will start soon.”

Great. More time to kill . . .

Woodstock-&-Snoopy3

[Fiction.  Through and through.  The only Sophia I know is NOT undergoing chemo.  Which is good since she's only 9.]

Busted

Busted light. Sparks flew. Son professed innocence. Mom’s cross-examination shed light. Son came clean.

“I might have hit the hot bulb with a wet towel.”

Zombies

[Fiction.  Sort of.  Borrowed from an anecdote Janna shared with me.]

Where’s the ESC Key?

Memories erased, a hard drive malfunction. A lifetime abased, software keeps crumbling. Circuits and synapses fried, no longer firing. Fumbling thoughts stumble, a graceless nosedive.

Little-Miss-Scatterbrain

[Prompted by watching "creeping senility."  No, not mine!  My parents.]

Following Our Gut Instincts

Ralph leaned over his bike’s handlebars, revealing serious belly bulge.  John pointed, “That’s not a 6-pack . . . it’s a keg!

Ralph laughed, “I’m following my gut!”

Not Ralph

Not Ralph

[Prompted by seeing a guy in tight biker shorts with no shirt.]

Pretty Swift, eh?

Category: 19th Century Authors.

“Jonathan Swift.”
“What?”
“Final Jeopardy answer.”
“Alex hasn’t revealed the clue.”
“I know.”

Cue clue. Contestants stumped.

Answer announced: Jonathan Swift!

abstract-green-n-blue

[True story.  Just one of the amazing Winks, Whispers, and Nudges I've experienced from the Universal Matrix/Web.]

A Secret Made For Sharing

Mom hid dad’s birthday cake. “It’s a secret.” Jamie nodded. Seeing dad, the cork popped and 2-year-old Jamie squealed, “Cake in ‘ere! Cake in ‘ere!”

IMGP1762c

[True story.  For 2-year-old, birthday cake is too exciting to keep secret.]

How Do You Do That?

My husband waved an opaque bag, “Guess what I bought!”
The answer drifted in . . . “PEZ dispensers.”

“How do you do that?!”
“Sometimes I just know.”

Tree-Frog-Percheda

[True story.  Sometimes I just know.  And it always freaks BFF out.]

He’s Five. I’m Three. Do the Math!

Terrified by my older brother’s taunts, I screamed for back-up.  “M~O~M!!! Jamie’s gonna hit me!”

Mom (a clueless only child) replied, “Well, hit him back.”

daffy_duck_boxing

[I am NOT a tattle tale!  Or a cry baby.  Stop saying that . . . or I'm gonna hit you!  And don't go running to mom.  She won't do anything anyway.]

Stay

“Stop rocking the boat!”
“Learn to sway.”
“No. I’m leaving. Today.”
“Where to?”
“Can’t say.”
“Then stay.”
“No way.”
“Come back.”
“I may . . . one day.”

Chinaman-fishing

[Fiction.  Just playing with rhyme time.]

Falling on Deaf Ears

As the Merry-Go-Round slowed to a stop, my 3-year-old niece kicked her wooden carousel horse to urge it forward. “Don’t Stop, Horsie! Don’t Stop!”

Hand-moving-chess-piece

[True story.  The niece in question is now 21 and knows that kicking wooden horses will not make them speed up.]

Aah . . . that’s better!

The Keyboard Awaits August 15, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Humor, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
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45 comments

170px-alice_par_john_tenniel_30What will it be today?

Fiction, Non-Fiction, Novel, Short Story, Essay, Poetry, Humorous Anecdote, Serious Reflection.

The vehicles available to transport our words to the world are as varied as the topics addressed in our musings.

Like a single strand of DNA, reordering the 26 letters at our disposal expands our universe from finite to infinite.

Writing allows us to play with permutations, switch perspectives, and view life through different vantage points and keyholes.

The freedom of orchestrating our thoughts liberates us from the constraining influence of public opinion and even from our own limiting beliefs.

Alone with our thoughts, we step into solitude to carve order out of chaos.  As we edit, we add, delete, expand, contract, and reorder our thoughts until we are satisfied that we said what we meant, and we meant what we said.

220px-PinocchioIf we feel inhibited about sharing our unfiltered thoughts with an audience, we can create a fictional character to act as proxy or puppet.

And we hold the strings.

Everything we taste in life adds to our arsenal, our tool bag of tricks.

The world expands and we expand with it, noticing nuances and using experiences to entertain, persuade, educate, amuse, and spur others to action.

When we share our adventures, readers are inspired to expand their horizons.

The downside to this pleasant pastime of playing with words is that writing is a rabbit-hole.  An endless warren of thought threads distracts me from tackling more mundane tasks.  

Even those essential to survival like eating. And sleeping.

170px-Alice_par_John_Tenniel_02In the Write Zone, the world is put on hold ~ I’ll get to IT (whatever IT is) later.  Or Tomorrow.

Next Tuesday at the latest.

I wonder if I lose track of time because I’m just writing for the fun of it?

At present, I’m not driven by thoughts of fame, fortune, or eventual publication.  I don’t care about “having written” or “making a name for myself” or any other external indicator of success.

For me, it’s the journey of writing that holds appeal.  I just want to be happy as the path unfolds before me.  And writing is the best means I’ve found to that end.

Other than chocolate, of course.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related Posts:  Writing and Writers * The Four Horsemen of Writer’s Block & How to Defeat Them  (Raptitude) * 7 Writing Tips From Real Writers

How To Be A Movie Reviewer June 30, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Humor, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
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38 comments

220px-Poster_-_Tarzan_the_Fearless_01To be a movie reviewer, you need to learn how to say something without saying anything in such a way that people reading the review think you said something worth reading.

Consider these two reviews:

Review #1:  This is a great movie. Everything about it is fantastic.  I am very glad I went to see this movie.  It is the best movie I have ever seen.  Everyone should go see this movie.  This is a must see.

Review #2:  In this delightful comedy, the brilliant director and talented actors work together to create magic on the screen, causing viewers to laugh, cry, and leave the theater in a happier frame of mind than when they arrived.

Assuming you didn’t know the reviewer, which movie would you want to see?

That’s the review you want to write.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Quote to Ponder:  “I like the word indolence . . . it makes my laziness seem classy.”  ~ Bern Williams

The Extrapolation Temptation June 13, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Life Lessons, Mindfulness, People, Writing & Writers.
Tags: , , , ,
50 comments

150px-Carlo_Crivelli_052Many people convince themselves that they are putting their time on the planet to good use by postulating that everyone should do as they do:

* People who read novels may feel that everyone should read novels.

* People who enjoy travel may claim that people who don’t travel are missing out on an essential element of life.

* People who have kids may feel that everyone should have kids.

* People who are married may be convinced that everyone should get married.  (Or, perhaps, that no one should.)

It’s understandable that people want to persuade themselves that they’ve made the “right” choices in life.

That’s to be expected.

But if we give in to the temptation of extrapolating from “right for us” to “right for everyone else,” we are apt to lose our footing.

Or cause others to lose theirs.

As a case in point, I don’t regret destroying dozens of journals and diaries I kept as a child, teen, and young adult.  I found the experience of shredding page after page of compulsive thinking liberating ~> letting go of the past to make room for the present.

In the almost 20 years since I relegated them to the recycling bin, I haven’t missed them once.

Shredding those pages was the right decision for me.

But I wouldn’t extrapolate from my experience to encourage others to do the same.  Because I have no idea what’s in their journals.

Maybe their journals include eloquent and elegant memories that are worth saving, whereas mine contained a litany of complaints written when I was unhappy with the state of my world.  I didn’t record wonderful moments filled with joy and delight, because I was too busy having fun at those times.

Mickey-OKOnce I realized that slogging through the pages of my past (as recorded in my now defunct journals) would be a dismal exercise in futility, removed from the uplifting journey that represents the totality of my life, I let them go and breathed a great sigh of relief!

Aah . . . that’s better!

When you know WHO you are, you know HOW to live.

Related posts:  Philip Hensher (Carol Balawyder) * I Destroyed My Best Friend (Life Penned) * 3 Things I Learned This Week * Room To Express Oneself (BB’s Blog) * Where The Flow Leads (SuziCate)

Ayn Rand & Objectivism June 12, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Mindfulness, Synchronicity & Mystery, Writing & Writers.
Tags: , , , , ,
63 comments

Last week, we watched a fascinating documentary about Ayn Rand ~ the author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.

Here’s her philosophy in a nutshell:

And in a slightly larger shell:

To learn more:  Discover Ayn Rand

While I think that Ayn Rand makes some good points, I’m not convinced that Reason is all we have or all we need to make our way in the world.

At times, I’ve known the unknowable, convincing me that there is a vast cosmic web of connection that we tap into with our intuition rather than our intellect.

I also am persuaded that there is more to Reality than meets the eye.

Frankly, I’m surprised Ayn didn’t ever wonder at the unique synchronicity that brought her together with her husband of 50 years ~ Frank O’Connor.

From Ayn Rand ~ A Sense of Life:

* Ayn first saw Frank on a bus and “knew” it was “him.”

* He got off at the same stop and they ended up on the same set location for the filming of “King of Kings.”

* The next day, Ayn positioned herself during filming so that Frank would step on her foot and have to apologize.

* Being a gentleman, he did.

* That was his last day on the set. They hadn’t exchanged numbers and Central Casting wouldn’t give her his number.

* Nevertheless, Ayn “knew” their paths would cross again . . . and they did.

* Early for a meeting in a department store at Hollywood and Vine, Ayn wandered around the corner to the public library, walked in, and saw Frank reading a magazine.  When he saw her, he got up, and they went outside to “start their courtship.”

If Objective Reason and Reality are all we have at our disposal, we must of necessity conclude that her “knowing” and their serendipitous meeting were mere coincidence.

Nothing more than dumb luck.

I don’t believe that.

Do you?

Aah . . . that’s better!

Have you read Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead?  What did you think?

Related posts: Winks, Whispers, and Nudges *  The Gift of Synchronicity * Synchronicity & Mystery * A Beacon in the Dark * Way of the Peaceful Warrior * I Don’t Know Where I’m Going * Divine Inspiration in Unlikely Place

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary June 10, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in People, Poetry, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
Tags: , , ,
46 comments

220px-TaleofPeterRabbit8Mary, Mary, quite contrary
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockleshells
And pretty maids all in a row

Sounds idyllic, doesn’t it?

According to some scholars, there is a tremendous variance between the actual history that forged these lines and the images I had in my head when I heard them.

To see the rather gruesome history of this nursery rhyme:

Nursery Rhyme Origins & History

At times, we read more into a poem than, perhaps, the poet had in mind.

Other times, the poet had more in mind than we’re able to discern from the words standing alone.

Does the truth lie in what the poet said/meant/intended?

Or in what we take away?

Related posts:  Rosies and Posies (Patricia’s Place) * Seeing Behind The Words (Candid Impressions) * Being Misunderstood (Candid Impressions) * An Imbroglio of Briars & Quicksand (SLTW)

Nobody But Yourself June 1, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Life Lessons, Mindfulness, People, Writing & Writers.
Tags: , , , ,
29 comments

RWS_Tarot_01_MagicianAll my life I had been looking for something, and everywhere I turned someone tried to tell me what it was.

I accepted their answers too, though they were often in contradiction and even self-contradictory.

I was naïve.

I was looking for myself and asking everyone except myself questions which I, and only I, could answer.

It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with:

That I am nobody but myself.

Ralph Ellison
Author of Invisible Man

Aah . . . that’s better!

7 Writing Tips From Real Writers May 21, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
Tags: , , ,
60 comments

200px-RealMotherGooseFor those of you who yearn for fame, fortune, and publication, here are 7 sure fire writing tips from real writers:

1.  Walk.  A lot.  Charles Dickens walked 20-30 miles a day.  And we know that he wrote some good stuff that has withstood the test of time.  My guess: he did his best writing after a long nap.  Same with Carl Sandburg who also walked 20 miles a day.

2.  Never leave the house.  Emily Dickinson wrote 1,800 poems holed up in her hidey hole, a white room, while wearing only white.  She commissioned her sister to address her correspondence.

Of course, only seven of her poems were published during her lifetime.  So this tip might work best for those who seek posthumous publication.

3.  Follow writing rituals.  Edgar Allen Poe wrote with a cat on his shoulder and wore all black, quoth the Raven, “nevermore.”   Charles Dickens touched certain objects three times for good luck and placed objects on his desk with exacting precision.  T.S. Eliot preferred writing with a head cold.  E.B. White did not ~ he wore a surgical mask in public to protect himself against contagious diseases.

448px-Alice_05a-1116x14924.  Choose the right writing posture.  Ernest Hemingway and Lewis Carroll wrote standing up.  Mark Twain and Robert Louis Stevenson wrote lying down.  Benjamin Franklin wrote naked in the bath.

5.  Don’t avoid stimulants.  Mark Twain smoked 40 cigars a day.  W.H Auden and Dr. Johnson preferred tea. Johnson consumed 25 cups in a single sitting.  Honoré de Balzac preferred coffee ~ 50 cups a day. Samuel Taylor Coleridge used opium to invoke his muse.

It’s anyone’s guess what Lewis Carroll was on.

6.  Do it on a dare.  Agatha Christie began writing detective mysteries at age thirty after her sister told her that she could not handle the rules governing that genre.  Christie wrote 30 Poirot mysteries to prove a point.

7.  Write.  A lot.  Upton Sinclair wrote 8,000 words every day, including Sunday.  In the 18 months he spent as a full-time grad student at Columbia, he wrote 1,275,000 words.  Some of them quite good.  Anthony Trollope wrote 47 novels in 27 years before dying of a stroke while laughing out loud at a novel.  Jack London wrote 20 hours a day on 4 hours of sleep.  To make sure he didn’t oversleep, he rigged his alarm to drop a weight on his head.  That’s dedication!

Bonus tip:  Don’t read a lot of books with tips from other writers.  They are not you and you are not them.  Just write.  Let the way teach you the way.

Aah . . . that’s better!

“Some people don’t really bother much with remembering; it seems such a useless activity.  But most writers are addicted to it.” ~ Alice Munro

More fun facts:  A Writer’s Book of Days ~ A Spirited Companion & Lively Muse for the Writing Life, Judy Reeves

 

When We Blunder About May 18, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Mindfulness, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
Tags: , ,
31 comments

237px-Kustodiev_Merchants_WifeFinish each day and be done with it.

You have done what you could.

Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can.

Tomorrow is a new day.

Begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Aah . . . that’s better!

Saving Mr. Banks May 13, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Writing & Writers.
Tags: , , ,
40 comments

We enjoyed Saving Mr. Banks, the semi-true account of how Walt Disney obtained the movie rights to Mary Poppins from P.L. Travers.

An arduous journey to say the least.

Travers did NOT want Mary Poppins, her no-nonsense nanny, to do anything as frivolous as singing.

Or dancing.  Or laughing.  Or flirting.

And she didn’t approve of casting Julie Andrews as Ms. Poppins or Dick Van Dyke as Bert.

Travers didn’t like the idea of animated penguins dancing, and she abhorred made up words like  “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” 

Getting Mary Poppins to fly off the pages and onto the big screen was an uphill slog fraught with tension between Travers and Disney Studios.

But it was worth it!

Aah . . . that’s better! 

 

 

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