“Artists are people who are not at all interested in the facts—only in the truth. You get the facts from outside. The truth you get from inside.” --Ursula K. LeGuin

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Now Here’s a Santa You’re Never Seen

It takes gargantuan strength to handle eight flying reindeer.

I revved myself up during my last blog regarding Christmas, and the celebration of it, but then encountered the cold hard facts that many people would prefer to skip Christmas altogether.

One person told me that she would like to go straight from Halloween to New Year’s day.

For her, it’s an endurance test.

What have we done to people?

My daughter says it’s the Norman Rockwell syndrome, of happy families, gathered in thankfulness and joy, although, think of it, if you look at Rockwell’s paintings they incumber angst as well as joy.

I’m wondering if we have forgotten that sometimes life is a roller coaster. It has ups and downs and embraces many facets, not only the pretty pictures.  

If you expect a no-stress life, you will have a poor semblance of one.

I’m not arguing for stress, mind you, I don’t want it, don’t like it, and try to avoid it. However, here, I’m looking at realities. Is stress, as one person put it, another word for fear?

People fear what’s coming up for the holidays. They have had bad experiences in the past and fear having them again. They have lost loved ones over the holiday season. They feel pressure to perform, to give, or perhaps they have no family. Maybe the family doesn’t care.

Chaos creates a fight between the two sides of the nervous system. It’s like driving a car with one foot on the accelerator, and the other on the brake.

We have come to expect Christmas to be magical, and when it isn’t, we are disappointed.

Just think, our grandparents lived through the great depression and a World War, and we stress out over not having enough followers, or thinking we ought to celebrate because the rest of the world is.

We need to rethink our priorities.

Right now, I’m thinking of all the meds I know some people are taking, and still, they have panic attacks, depression, suicidal thoughts, and manic days.

 “If we have poor coping skills,” says Dr. Andrew Weil, “deficient social support, and high stress, then the internal balance of our bodies may be easily upset, and our resistance lowered.

“Illness or disease then occurs more from our vulnerability than from external agents.

“The factors that place us at risk range from our attitudes and appraisal in coping with stress to the kind of food we eat and the genes we inherit. Our mind and behavior, our environment, and our genetic predispositions are the common contributors to disease.”

Have you heard the breakdown of the word disease into Dis-Ease? I guess for some Christmas is a dis-ease.

 “We know that smoking is a risk factor,” says Dr. Weil,” so is a persistent perception of life as hopeless or uncontrollable.”

One way to balance your nervous system is by breathing through your heart.

Research has shown that the heart is composed of neurons, neurotransmitters, proteins and support cells. It has its own nervous system. And we thought it was the brain that controlled our lives. Nope, it has a helper. (Source of information here is Doc Childre & Howard Martin.)

Shift your focus to the area around your heart.

Feel your breath coming in through your heart and out through your solar plexus.
Activate positive feelings and emotions by embodying them while breathing through your heart.

What are some of the funny times of your life?

What are the loving times?

When have you been proud of yourself?

What do you appreciate most in your life right now?

I love Christmas. I’ve had a good many of them, and so I look for new ways to celebrate.  Like take it easy on yourself, make it your day, not what society dictates. Buy presents if you want, send cards if you want, cook if you want, or don’t.  And just for the fun of it, Pay it forward to some stranger.

Isn’t the idea of a baby being born on Christmas day magical? Isn’t the fantasy of Santa Claus magical? Isn’t the dream of a beautiful time worth it? If people can’t see the magic around Christmas, they aren’t looking hard enough. 

Heck, watch the movie, “It's “Wonderful Life,” again, or “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”  You’re not too old. Oh oh, that might make us believe in happy endings.

I’m preparing, I bought Champagne and macadamia nuts. (Homage to Hawaii.)

I appreciate you guys.

I appreciate that you allow me to have this expression and that you read my words.

I appreciate that I have a word processor. The old days of facing a blank page on a typewriter are gone. Who Hoo.

I appreciate that I have a warm house.

I appreciate that I have access to good food and that I am shortly going Christmas shopping. And that I have an abundant supply of goods from which to choose.
I appreciate that wars are few and far between.

I appreciate that most people have awakened to accept all sorts of people with various skin pigmentation, and beliefs.

I appreciate that I have the freedom to have all the above things I mentioned.


Remember that Aloha, besides meaning Hello, Goodbye and I love you, is a way of life. It is giving without expecting anything in return.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

What Do You Wonder About?

My stolen manifesto, "Find something to wonder about, and invite others to wonder with you," is from Auston Kleon’s book, Steal Like an Artist, 10 things nobody told you about being creative.

That man is brilliant.

I came across his small book, free yesterday on Amazon Prime, and I read it before lunch.

 “You don’t need to be a genius, you just need to be yourself,” he wrote.
I slapped my head and declared, “Thank you, God,”

(Thank you Auston Kleon. I don’t know if God had anything to do with that statement.)

Here, on this blog I am more focused, for I am addressing the subject of writing. I know not everyone will be interested. It's only for a select few. However, I am surprised at how many people write. Blogs are popping up all over the place. 

There I have bounced all over the place with subjects—metaphysics, the spiritual path, life blog, travel, writing about writing, writing about blogging, chickens, animals, horses, home life, family, story, Hawaii, Oregon, and California, I’ll even throw in sea life if that strikes me. And then I hear the voice of the blogging gurus who say to find your niche and stick with it. 

I scream, “WHAT’S MY NICHE!”

Kleon says, ”You can cut off a couple of passions and only focus on one, but after awhile, you’ll start to feel phantom limb pain.”

I love that man.

“Do not leave your longings unattended.”

Right on.

Yesterday I began the day deciding that I would write something about writing for I saw that I have readers on this blog.
You show up--I'll write. 

I don’t know how you found me, for nine chances out of ten I can’t find this blog myself. (Maybe it’s the damn in the title, or my firewall, or  the http: screws it up, something.)  You found me though. Thank you.

However, yesterday I had nothing to say.

Blogs are supposed to add something of value. So, where did that leave me?

With Zilch. Nada.

Kleon to the rescue, “If you try to devour the history of your discipline all at once, you’ll choke.” 

Okay, back to the beginning of the day. I figured Hemingway was a good place to start. However, Hemingway was reluctant to talk of writing for he felt that saying too much might inhabit his muse.

And although Hemingway was known for his adventurous spirit, first and foremost he was a writer. He might have been reluctant to talk of writing, but over the years at different times, to different people, in varied parts of the world, he commented about it in letters and stories.

Along came Larry W. Phillips who ferreted out Hemingway's comments regarding writing and placed them in a book called Ernest Hemingway on Writing.

“All good books are alike,” wrote Hemingway, “in that they are truer than if they had really happened, and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterward all belongs to you; the good and the bad, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was.” –By-Line Earnest Hemingway pg 184.

This quote explains why my eyes cross when I hear people say, “I only read non-fiction.” As though fiction is frivolous and they are into “serious” learning. 

Quite the opposite is true. Good fiction writers can hit you with a truth when you don’t even know you’ve been hit.

There’s a place for both, hey, for all my touting of fiction, I have a non-fiction book coming out May 17, 2019. 

I am grateful to my publisher Regal House, and my exquisite editor Jaynie Royal for giving me this opportunity.

And lest I get too excited about the birthing of my baby, today I was slapped on the side of the face, for I received three, not one, not two, but THREE rejection letters. I had figured if it takes two years for a book to come out I better get cracking.

Back to the drawing board.

And write whatever’s itching to come out.

Two secrets from Hemingway:

“The secret is that it is poetry written into prose and that is the hardest thing to do.” --From Mary Hemingway

“Then there is the other secret. There isn’t any symbolysm (misspelled). The sea is the sea. The old man is an old man. The boy is a boy, and the fish is a fish. The shark are all sharks no better and no worse. All the symbolism that people say is shit. What goes beyond is what you see beyond when you know.” Hemingway to Bernard Berenson, 1952

I beg to differ. The Old Man and the Sea says a lot about Hemingway—symbolism or not.

Hemingway left a lot unsaid. He wrote simply, quite against the flowery prose of his day. His style was considered the iceberg effect, that is much was beneath the surface. 

Okay, back to Steal Like an Artist:

“We’re talking about practice, not plagiarism. Plagiarism is trying to pass someone’s else’s work off as your own. Copying is about reverse engineering. It’s like a mechanic taking apart a car to see how it works.”

If you steal from one author its plagiarism, but if you copy from many, it’s reverse engineering, Gary Panter says, If you rip off a hundred people will say, “You’re so original.”

One is copying.

One hundred is research.

I believe the following (from Kleon) applies not only to artists but to anyone starting a business:
You will need:

  • Curiosity
  • Kindness
  • Stamina
  • A willingness to look stupid. 

The last of 5 tips on writing by Barbara Kingsolver is: "If you are young and a smoker, quit."

I qualify. I don't smoke, and I'm not young.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Does This Drive You Crazy?

Write as if you'll never be read. That way you'll be sure to tell the truth." --Lori Lansens.
pic from Novelicious@novelicious Oct 25

Does this drive you crazy?

  • You've been blogging for a coon's age, you have a few readers, but people just won't give you their email address.

  • You read that you ought to have a large email list.

  • You read of people making a living blogging and you want to scream, "Why Not Me?"

  • You feel as though you ought to know about SEO's and LYZ's and Social Media and Facebook, and Instagram and Pinterest oh my, and you wonder if everybody's doing that maybe there is another way.

 Join the club.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Write 20 Titles, Choose One

Well, well, I'm having a heck of a time getting my paragraphs correctly formatted here on this blog, so I am typing directly into this page to see if that works. Usually I write in Word then copy and paste it here. But rats, something is amiss.

While the copy looks good in preview, it looks terrible in "publish." Long spaces appear at will.

Hey, you're writers, so I figured you'd understand. I got a new (used) computer and something is screwy. It has Apache Word Processor that I have never used. Do you know about that?

I love you for showing up. I had been neglecting this site, but in seeing you here, I am encouraged. Whoa! Thanks.

I've been focusing on another blog. It has posts on writing, chickens, travel, blogging, and then I found an amazing tidbit I had never heard before. 747 is an angel number.  I was using 747 the number of the Boeing jet, meaning fast, however, I found that it means I am on the right track. Oh joy.

My other webpage is http://www.plottwist747.com

Do a little click. I'll do a little happy dance.

 Here is what I started out to write about on this blog, so here it is.

Do You Need Help With Titles?

God almighty, I can effort, stew, mull-over, change a title fifty million times. I did that with my book that is now being cast in stone. After many title possibilities, I went back to one I used in a journal long ago, The Frog's Song. (The frog calls the rain that settles the dust for our journey.) 

Okay, what do you think of this: I watched #Marie Forleo this morning talking about writing copy. She said to write your title 20-30 times before publishing. Whew!

So I thought about the last post on this blog, "How Do We Change Our Beliefs?"And wondered, is that the best possible title?

Maybe I should have thought of more...some possibilities are...

Who's the Winner Here?
Changing Beliefs
What Makes You Think that?
Believe (Been done) Believe Again.
Believe in the Possibilities
Suddenly_________ (What?)
A Thump on the Head
I Don't Need A Water Purifier, but I Need This...
I Have a Problem.
Have You Ever Done This?
Oh oh, I need five more...

I know blogging is important, and everyone and their dog is doing it, so with all the noise floating around, how can we make our voices heard?

Let's begin with the title. How shall I title this post?

1. Ramblings
2. Titles
3.Writing Titles
4. Help
5. Blog Titles
6. Getting Heard
7. One Among the Crowd

I'm getting desperate.
8. Everyone and Their Dog is Blogging 
9.Writing Copy
10. One Among Many
Now I'm wondering, What do people want?
11. Writing Titles
12. Help with Titles
13. How-to Write a Title
14.Why Are Titles So Damn Important?
15.Why Do We Swear When We Are Frustrated?
16. How Do You Choose Title?
17. Do You Have a Secret Title Formula?
18. The Secret Title Formula
19. Write 20 Titles, Choose One
20. Are You A Good Title Writer?

How about a follow?
A comment?


Tuesday, August 28, 2018

"How Do We Change Our Beliefs?

Last Saturday as my youngest daughter and I were driving away from Chevy's Mexican Restaurant in Portland Oregon I asked, How do we change our beliefs?"

I have a problem believing my book will sell, “ I continued, maneuvering the Prius onto an already full freeway. “We have a guardian at the door of our subconscious, and when we say something like, “I’m going to sell a million books,” the guardian throws it out.

The voice in our head says, ‘What makes you think that? You’ve never sold many before.’

 “Every time we try to get past the guardian, he counters our request.

You can’t do that. You don’t have a great following. Your platform sucks, people don’t need and don’t want another book. Besides people don’t read books anymore. And they have better things to do with their money.”

What an obnoxious guardian.

I know the first line of receiving is believing that it’s possible. But, we ask, “How do we believe in the face of conflicting evidence?”
Wise daughter countered: “Maybe you should treat the Guardian like a water purifying system salesman.

“’I don’t want a water purifier,’ you say.”

Just let me show you this one.”

I don’t need a purifying system. “

“’Oh, you’ll like this one, and I need the experience explaining it. It’s only take a minute.’”,

I don’t have a minute.’”

“’Okay, half a minute.’”

Don't take no for an answer,” she says.

Wow, what a concept, that just might work.”

Beat the Guardian at his own game.

We started laughing and remembering another time at a Chevy’s restaurant. We were in Rancho Santa Fe, California.

Yes, I know much is accomplished with a glad heart, and not having a charge on a request makes it easy to receive. When we  really really really want something, the Guardian comes out dressed in full battle regalia.

That day in Rancho Santa Fe, having completed our meal, and with glad hearts, we sat looking out a restaurant window talking about manifesting. Daughter dear had been testing the concept of manifesting, that is putting out a request, meditating on it, then waiting for it to show up. She had asked to see a purple bear.

Within a day she saw a purple bear sticker on the bumper of a car.

Chances are,” I said, (I sound like the Guardian here), “we couldn’t manifest a train here for there are no tracks.

Not a minute later, a big truck stopped for a traffic light and was sitting right outside our window. A huge tan tarp covered the back portion of the truck. The tarp was taunt, and neatly ratcheted.

 On the side of that tarp written in big capital letters was one word: TRANE.”

That bowled us over, and it has given us a glad heart and a giggle every time we think of it.

Believe in Possibilities.

P.S. Regarding Salespeople:

The ones that attempt to sell you inferior merchandise, at an exorbitant price, something you don’t need and didn’t want are con-artists.

A  true salesperson will assist you in the purchase of something you do want, or maybe give you reasons why you ought to have it, and push you a little for as a buyer we can always put off a purchase.  “Tomorrow,” we say, and we leave without the very thing we were looking for. We lost, and so did the salesperson.

Think of it this way: You want a car, you need a car, and you are looking for a car. The salesperson wants you to buy from him—since he is in a competitive market, and relying on commissions to pay the bills.

You trust him or her. She is nice; she negotiates a good deal for you, so you buy.

A year later you are still driving your car, it’s in good condition, and you’ve had no trouble with it, but the salesperson, who depended on your commissions to pay the bills, has spent the money and has nothing from your deal to show for it—except still being alive.

Who’s the winner here?