“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, January 31, 2024

This is What I Have to Say Today, When I Didn’t Have Anything to Say Yesterday


How do we wake up spiritually, and what does that mean anyway? As writers or bloggers, what can we say that hasn't been said?


There is a lot to say, for we live on the leading edge, but there is a drop-off in front of us, and we don't know how to handle it. 


Is there an invisible stone bridge across the abyss that blends into the surroundings that we can’t see? Remember Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade? (Perhaps that is my favorite of the Jones series—or a close tie with the first. Who can forget the snakes or that incredible ride on the black horse where Indiana forces a rock into the enemy tank's exhaust?)


In times of trouble, we can rely on the arts to give us a moment of reprieve or a thought that no amount of preaching or expose' can do. It's the stories we love. We usually want the good guy to win, and happy endings work better than sad ones.


See, we are really dreamers and romantics at heart.


That is something we have forgotten.


Tomorrow is Ground Hog's Day. I will always remember the date, which is also my grandson's birthday. It's time to watch that movie again. Bill Murray, who begins as a pompous jerk, must relive the same day over and over until he is transformed into a nice guy and wins his lady love.


Is that what we do with our lives? Must we keep living it until we get it?


It tickled me when I read that author Mark Manson said he would like to be a barista at Starbucks and write a note on everyone's cup. It was dismal stuff about the meaninglessness of life, but then how can we send them off with "Have a nice day" when so much depression abounds?


"Depression," Manson says, "is a crisis of Hope."


"Hope is what we believe to be greater than ourselves. Without it we believe we are nothing."—Mark Manson. 


I mentioned Thailand in an earlier blog after watching a documentary on Happiness. The Thai people were listed as among the happiest because they believed in HOPE.


"Getting it" is different for everybody. However, I think a few characteristics could apply—take care of yourself, the people, and the earth, be kind, and don't hurt things-living or otherwise. Have a spiritual understanding without beating other people over the head with it. Continue to grow. Believe in hope.


We are only here briefly, so we should make it count for something. 



P.S. I was depressed until I wrote something. That’s a lesson on putting the pen to page and begin.

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

That was Totally Weird

 A few days ago, Hubby and I watched The Last Stand, an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie that began with a narration of the landscape—do you know where I’m going with this? Well, we didn’t. 


The narrator described the opening scene. He described the characters as if reading the movie script. All this while we were also watching the action and hearing the dialog. There was no background music, just the narration. “She downcast her eyes,” yep, he described that action right on cue.


I said, “Hey, we can see that; why are you telling us?” 


The narrator continued. It was annoying as we could see that the bad guy had his legs wrapped around Arnold’s neck, that was until all that reading became funny.  I thought it was schtick, a ploy of the film, for there wasn’t much dialogue. Soon, I wasn’t paying much attention to the guy reading. But he wouldn't shut up. Okay, the move ended, but the guy kept talking. 


He read the credits—like ALL the credits, Castle Rock Film Co. Columbia Pictures, to the extreme of describing the lady holding the torch. He read ALL the actors and their parts. I skipped through that long list but wondered where in the heck this was going. Then the narrator called his wife, got her message machine, and said he missed her and wanted her back. He ranted for awhile, the message ran out, but began another and he continued where he had left off. The message ended, but he wasn’t finished talking.


Another message came on with a continuation of his one-sided conversation and apologizing. I thought it was similar to a cookie at the end of a movie. Way to go Arnold, you must have chosen this script because of this device. Then the guy, who should have needed a drink of water by now, started describing the following movie, The Morgans. We turned off the TV and laughed. “That was awesome. How weird. How clever.”


The next day, Daughter Dear said it was a setting on our television that got clicked on somehow. It was probably for the sight-impaired--maybe it was an open mike.




But I’m still laughing.


More than you wanted to know?

I completed my 27 hours of real estate Continuing Education and then another 3 of Laws, so I’m set with a Real Estate Broker license for the next 2 years. The first year only lasted from the time we took your exam until our birthday month. 

I am study and tested out.

So, in trying to unscramble my brain, I changed the name of my newsletter. It’s on Substack. Here's a glimpse if you are interested: If not, tell me a funny story.




Hi, I'm Joyce


Remember The Twilight Bark?


On a hillside in London, Papa Pongo desperately barked for help in finding his15 stolen puppies. The great Dane heard his cry and set in motion the twilight bark where the message passed from dog to dog until it reached a farm outside town. There, the Colonel heard "Stolen, fifteen spotted puddles," until, with the help of Sargent Tibs (a cat), and a correction in hearing, they led the charge and rescued not 15 but 101 spotted puppies. After misadventures, trickery, skill, and bravery, they defeated that despicable vicious vile old witch, Cruella DeVille. (Disney movie 101 Dalmations.)


Jewell was my dog. Now she is my emissary, a past love heralding in the future, to lay a bark trail, of what you can expect from me.”


My daughter might take offense when I say that Jewell was my dog, for we adopted Jewell to be her dog. However, when my daughter was busy in high school, Jewell and I became inseparable. You know how it is: once a dog stamps her love on your heart, it's there forever.


This stealing of his dog's name worked for Indiana Jones. Isn't Indiana much more fun than Henry Jones Jr. and Raiders of the Lost Ark. It doesn't have a ring to it, does it? And try to say Joyce Davis without it coming out, JoyceStavis.


This newsletter morphed from a blog I've written titled Wish on White Horses. However, as that blog isn't about horses—this newsletter isn't about dogs.


Both animals are our teachers.


Horses teach us not to follow someone else's path but to blaze our own. Dogs teach love.








Tuesday, January 16, 2024

What Is the Shape of Your Eyeballs?


I need to mow my lawn.


I missed a photo-opt yesterday when the sun was out--today it's not.


Yesterday, January 15, the sun came out in honor of  Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. And in the evening the sky was dressed in a gorgeous pink light.


How's Your Weather?


We're iced in. No sunshine either.


The robins continue to arrive in the mornings to feast on the bush outside my window. Yesterday, there were ten; three days ago, there were two, today they are sleeping in.


Glad to supply breakfast, guys. 


The robins are round. (Is this where the term round-robin comes from?) I don't know if they're fat or fluffed out, but typically, robins aren't round birds. These are still playing their game of flying up under a cluster of berries and catching berries on the fly. Cute. (I don’t want to repeat myself if you read Jo’s Newsletter.)


As I have said before, your worldview depends upon which window you are looking through.  


I managed to open the chicken yard gate today by throwing a few loads of hot water on icy snow. 


Then, once I squeezed through the almost ample space for me in the gate opening—and shaved a little off my backside in the process—I scraped the ice away from the gate to open it and replenish their food and water. 


There is a slight incline up to the gate and I have polished the ice by gingerly walking on it. Today one chicken skied down the slope to escape the yard and didn't sound happy with the speed at which she had done it. Luckily, she had wings for balance, or is that Ailerons for roll?  Either way she adjusted her attitude.  Often a difficult feat.


Vision Training Again. 


The following quote motivated me into action:


"We're getting elongated eyeballs from focusing on the computer screen." -- The Internet.



I screamed, "If we can change the shape of our eyeballs by staring at a computer screen, we can change our vision with exercises." 


I blogged about The Bates Method of Vision Training in January of 2021. That post got more comments than any other with folks asking for more.


Well, here’s more.

 I have created a small booklet (58 pages) telling what I remember from 30 years ago when I took vision training using the Bates Method.



I'm a layperson who is using my own experience as data, plus a little research thrown into the mix.



See Jo's Newsletter for more information.




Consider this: The eyes, like other body parts, can heal. 


A testament to the Bates Method of Vision Training was that during my training while sitting in a dimly lighted restaurant, I was the only one of six people at the table who could read the menu.


I entered the one-on-one vision training needing glasses to read the phone book. (Remember phone books?) I left the training with 20/20 vision and could read the phone book.


I found data regarding The Bates Method of Vision Training in The Art of Seeing by Aldous Huxley. Huxley was virtually blind from a severe eye infection when he was 16. He functioned as a sighted person by using strong glasses, which exhausted him. When he discovered a trainer who knew of the Bathes Method and after applying the exercises, he said, "I gained sight that was better than when I was using spectacles." 


click on image



Well well, weather: I just went into the house to make toasted cheese sandwiches and whap! The power went off. Rats. How many of you have power? The world is doing a number on us isn’t it? I discovered that our propane range does light with a match, so we have a cook top, and hubby and I had toasted cheese sandwiches for lunch.


I came back to my office while I still have battery power on my computer, and where Sweetpea asked me what happened to the heater? I figured I would finish this blog, and when the Wi-Fi is on, I will send it.


Keep the faith.


Thanks for reading. You are my special people. Whoa, my fingers are getting cold.


Aloha, (Sending warm thoughts.)




Sunday, January 14, 2024

Touched by Angels


Last night, as I was driving down the street, a little voice in my head said, “Buy a lottery ticket.” Listen to those voices, I told myself, and pull into the drive-by window lane at a Dari Mart where I know my daughter has bought lottery tickets.

I didn’t know what to ask for or what to order, and the kid at the window didn’t know how to advise me. I said, “I know, it has a Power Ball on it. I’ll take two.” (The second one was for my daughter; hey, we could both win.) 

He left, and when he came back, I offered him my credit card.

“They only take cash,” he said.

"Oh, I only have a dollar. Well later.” I prepared to leave. 

“Wait a minute,” he said and left. When he returned, he handed me two $2.00 tickets.

“You’re giving them to me?!” I exclaimed.

“I paid for them,” he said.

Well, I raved and thanked him. I told him he was an amazing young man and said, it’s strange; I was just thinking of something I had read today about a man standing in line at the bank ahead of a girl with a mason jar half filled with coins.

He said to her, “I thought that needed to be filled.”

She explained that she was short of cash and needed to turn them in now. 

He told the teller to add $50.00 to her account when she arrived at the window.

Within one week, he got a $50.00 tip, exactly what he had paid the girl, and presented a screenshot to prove it.

 “I got a $50.00 tip,” said the young man at the window.

“You did?!” 

 “I bought a new phone with it, as I had broken the other.” 

“Good for you. That’s amazing. Thanks for telling me.” I drove away with a smile and lightness in my heart.

That light heart erased the troubled one I had left home with.
It wasn’t about winning the lottery. I didn’t win, and I did verify it online last night. It was about an exchange with that sweet young man. You can bet I will tip that clerk the next time I see him. Today, I made sure I had a five-dollar bill in my wallet so when I stopped by I wold have change.

A few days ago, on a gray overcast Saturday, Husband Dear and I had breakfast at the Viking Inn in Junction City. The lady waitress said, “It’s going to brighten up today, but it doesn’t matter what the weather is, it’s going to be a good day.” 

Yes, I agreed with her, the weather will do whatever it needs to do. 

"Hey," she said, we live in Oregon, we expect it to rain."

I commented on how good the food looked today, and she said that now, on Saturdays the restaurant will have all women cooks and waitresses. Yea, breakfast at the Inn should be a regular occurrence. And the bright and cheerful lady was right; the sun came out before we left.

Touched by angels.

This afternoon, on the road to the park, I saw a man in an electric wheelchair going about 20 miles an hour down the road. It turned out we were going to the same place, a park. Before he disappeared from my sight, I saw that little dog was sitting at his feet on the chair. 

Soon, he came bounding around the cement walkway surrounding the park with the dog running beside him. And I thought about how elderly people should have pets as they will do for their animals what they won’t do for themselves. I don’t know about that man, but he was giving his dog a fun run.

If you read Jo’s Newsletter, you will see that I am still working on my continued Real Estate continued education course and writing Money Shout Outs. 

As I work through the money info and clear myself, I will Shout Out what I have found. If you taste something exquisite, don’t you want to share it? And I figure that money is a hot spot for most people. Attitudes explode around it. So, I guess it’s our attitudes that we need to work on.

And if you’re afraid that an abundance of money will make you a selfish blowhard like some of the people who stay at the Plaza in New York and behave like spoiled brats. Some jerk the butlers around, cry over spilled blueberries, want condoms delivered to their room, and live lobsters in their bath. These people give rich people a bad name. You won’t become like them unless you are a selfish blowhard already. And I know you aren’t—those people don’t read my blog.

Be of service, share what you know, up your attitude, and you will have a happy life. 

Challenges, previously called problems, will come. They are thrown in your path to help you grow. And think of it this way: don’t you feel great when you have taken on a challenge and handled it with aplomb?

 (The tears? Oh, they were part of the process—you didn’t think it was all sweetness and light, did you?)






Monday, January 1, 2024

Traditional Publishing? Or chuck It, and Go with Self-Publishing?


I don't know how many of you are writers, but probably some are.

So, folks consider this:

If you want to publish your work with a big reputable Publishing Company (and can get one to accept you) unless you are an established author or have a big platform—(ie. have big numbers on your website), you probably won't get an advance for your book.

An advance is a prepayment against any royalties. Until your advance is paid off, you will not receive any royalties for your work. And if you don't make the advance amount, you are dead meat to that Publishing House.

Some publishing houses only take manuscripts from literary agents, and getting an agent is about as complicated as getting a publisher.

I once attended a seminar from an agent who said the way slush piles work is you get a few English Major college students, herd them into a room with a pile of manuscripts, throw in a pizza, and lock the door.

And their "no's" are easier for them than a "yes."

A Publishing House will set the price, re-title your book, choose the cover, and edit it if you are lucky. The fixed price is usually high, like $24.99, $14.99, or $12.99. They want to charge enough to make money for themselves and have some left over for you.

Even if you have a Kindle version, they will set that price, too, which is usually high. So, again, unless people know you and want to read what you have written, they are reluctant to plunk down money to read your work.

That is if you can get a Publisher.


You can Self-Publish.

Self-publishing is gaining a better reputation than in earlier years when it was considered "Vanity Publishing." In other words, the writer was stroking his/her ego.

You can publish for a free Kindle manuscript on Amazon, where you format your manuscript and choose a title and cover. First, your Kindle must sell for $2.99, or $1.99 minimum. Amazon likes to make a buck.

For a printed book, you pay for it.

Eventually, you might get on the Free Kindle for people who have Kindle Unlimited (For which they pay about $14.99/mo.)

Once self-published, however, some Publishing houses don't want you, for the book has been out in the airways. You have locked yourself out.

However, the opposite has also been true—look to the bottom of this content. Some writers who self-published sold a ton of books and went on to become best sellers for Publishing Houses.

So, what would you do?

I know writers want to be published. Writing teachers have commented that while discussing the difficulties of writing or publishing, a student will raise their hand and ask, "How do I get published?" like they haven't heard what the teacher has been saying.

However, think of it this way: art not seen or read is just a painting stuck in a closet.


Famous writers who have self-published:

1.                 Andy Weir – The Martian (fascinating here, he began with a blog and asked for Scientific help to insure his information was accurate, published it as an eBook, moved onto traditional Publishing then a Movie)

2.                 Beatrix Potter – The Tale of Peter Rabbit

3.                 Mark Twain – The Adventures of Huckelberry Finn

4.                 El James – Fifty Shades of Gray

5.                 Christopher Paolini – Eragon

6.                 William Strunk Jr. – The Elements of Style

7.                 Margaret Atwood – Double Persephone (poems)

8.                 Robert Kiyosaki – Rich Dad, Poor Dad

9.                 Wayne Dyer – Your Erroneous Zones (First self pub., he promoted it, then traditional)

10.             Steven King (at 15) People, Places & Things. (His own Publishing Co.)



And here I am reluctant to charge for my work, when all around me other people are not afraid to charge, and are asking me for money—even the big hitters. I need to get over that.  

 Check out the process with Money Shout Outs.