Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place


Earl and I: A Conversation on Writers’ Point-of-View

germI wrote and posted this exactly ten years ago today on the Soul Food Cafe website.  (Sychronicity is interesting, isn’t it).  The piece IS weird, I do concede, even for me, but it was an exercise for myself to learn to write from a different point of view.  It gets the point across, I hope, on the importance of perspective and point-of-view in writing.   Enjoy.




“Hey! Hey! Watch it with that disinfectant!”

I paused my cleaning and squinted at the tabletop.

“Yeah, you. I’m talking to you. That stuff burns.”

“Excuse me? Who’s talking to me?”

“Me, Earl.”

“Earl, I don’t see you.”

“Of course not. I’m invisible to the naked eye.”

“Um, okay. What are you Earl?”

“Bacterium–bacillus cereus to be exact.”

“A talking germ?”

“Well, not really. It’s all in your mind.”

“I see.”

“Yeah. I’m supposed to teach your something about writing.”

“Oh really. What exactly am I supposed to learn about writing from a germ?”

“Watch that tone, sweetie, or I’ll smack you with a case of gastroenteritis!”

“Alright, alright, don’t get you shorts in a wad. What did you need to teach me?”

“Perspective. It’s all about perspective—the view we present to the reader when when we write.”


“For instance, have you ever envisioned what it might be like for, let’s say, Picornaviridae Rhinovirus, to enter a nostril?”

“Can’t say that I have, but I would imagine it would be rather like being in a dark forest.”

“Exactly, a dark forest of nose hairs…..”

“So I should put myself in the character’s shoes when I write fiction.”

“You got it.”


“Uh, you’re not still going to squirt me with disinfectant, are you?”

“Well…..sorry…..” I aimed my squirt bottle. “Guess you gotta see it from my point-of-view.”

Ljg (c) June 30, 2006 at the Soul Food Cafe, and reposted June 30, 2016

Inspired by the Letter B at the Soul Food Cafe    



Some Thoughts on the Process of Alchemy

Joseph_Wright_of_Derby_The_AlchemistA lot of us don’t like change.  A lot of us do. I am one who sits in between.  I hate the discomfort that change brings yet I know that a static situation eventually becomes so boring I could scream.

Aristotle once said that “change in all things is sweet.” Well, losing your job or getting sick are changes that would suck. Getting a raise or being able to move into a big house on the beach would be sweet. That being said, I think it is important to note the difference between “change” and “transformation.”   Change can be superficial and not always beneficial; transformation is deeper, complex, and usually can be quite sweet.

The need for transformation is embedded in our psyche. It is portrayed by various metaphors in our history, philosophies, religions, and culture. Medieval philosophers and scientists tried to use alchemical processes to transform ordinary metals into gold, or to develop formulae to give themselves eternal youth, beauty and life. This alchemical philosophy is seen in many cultures across the ages including Egypt, India, the Middle East and China. You can even see a type of alchemy in our contemporary world: young business and technology entrepreneurs create a product that transforms not only their own lives but the lives of everyone in the world. Literature and film are filled with stories of “rags to riches”. We love it when the little guy (or gal) rises to a successful life.

Transformation happens many ways. Sometimes it is a matter of nature. The caterpillar cannot keep the chrysalis effect from changing them into butterflies, or the water-bound tadpole cannot help becoming a toad and walking on dry land. We cannot help growing from children to adults and hopefully becoming wiser in the process.

Sometimes transformation is more deliberate on our part. A good transformation is based how well we deal with the randomness of change. A bad health diagnoses may be the thing that shakes us into embracing a healthier life-style. Breaking with a person who brings us sorrow may transform us into people who make better choices on who we let into our lives. Sometimes Cinderellas do marry their princes.

Transformation can also be on a deeply spiritual level and imposed on us from a spirit Who is transcendent. There are no shortages of accounts where people are transformed by what they perceive as their Higher Power. Ordinary shepherds like David are called by God to slay a Goliath and then become kings. Backwater fisherman are transformed into disciples and change history because the heeded the call of their Master.  How many people do you know who had broken lives yet were transformed by an unseen hand to lives of empowered success?  I know a bunch.

We love change and transformation or we would not spend so much time thinking on it. Transformation: it’s what we’re all about.


ljgloyd (c) 2016

Inspired by the prompt “A is for Alchemy” at the Soul Food Cafe.

About the image: Full title:  The Alchymist, In Search of the Philosopher’s Stone, Discovers Phosphorus, and prays for the successful Conclusion of his operation, as was the custom of the Ancient Chymical Astrologers, by Joseph Wright of Derby, now in Derby Museum and Art Gallery, Derby, U.K.– Public Domain per Wikipedia.


Deprived, Seriously?

penToday’s Daily Post prompt was simply the word “deprive.”

In all good conscience, I could not bring myself to discuss deprivation.  I have a roof over my head, clean water, plumbing, food, a job and a few luxury items like a car, books, and internet connection.

I am not deprived.

I try to remember all of these things everyday and be thankful for them.  Oh, I do worry about losing them.  Sometimes I even feel guilty about having them at all.  This is as wrong as not expressing gratitude.

This is not the way to enjoy life and the good things in it.

Maybe I am deprived of something more important.

I need to work on that.




The City of the Queen of the Angels

There is a plaque on Olvera Street that names the city wherein I grew up as El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles — The Village of our Lady, Queen of the Angels.

Look at any map and you will see it criss-crossed with streets named after saints: Santa Monica, San Vicente, San Pedro — to name just a few. The names seem to reflect — at least to me– a mystical and transcendent quality of this city.

With Angels Watching

Would it be that all the saints, all the angels, even the Queen of Heaven herself looks down upon this city?

city of angels 2

What would they see? What would they do?

Yes, they would weep over the poverty and crime, over the homeless seeking to make a living.

city of angels 5

And of course they would tremble with us when the ground shakes or the canyons burn.


Would they rejoice with the whales as they peek from the sea or sing with the coyotes in dark sycamore forests?

city of angels 11

city of angels 10

Did they watch over the mammoths in ancient days? Apparently not, it would seem.


Would they be in awe of the edifices we puny humans have built?

city of angelsWould they curse the traffic like I do?

city of angels 8Or would they bless the faithful in prayer?

city of angels 3

Would they hold back the rain but let the snowfall?

city of angels 7

Perhaps they would.

I don’t know what angels think, but I know they are here,

and they watch.


Images and poem by ljgloyd (2016)




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Shut Up and Be Open

screaming-animated-clipart-1“Shut Up and Be Open” may sound like a contradiction.  Not really.  I realized this as I was perusing some blogs at the Daily Post this morning.   When I am considering responding to a prompt from any writers’ group, I like to see what other writers say on a topic, partly to make sure I don’t accidentally repeat what another has already written, but mainly because I like to hear what others say.  Not everyone does this.  I don’t always do this.  A lot of times it is just because I am too busy.  But I have to admit that sometimes I just don’t want to hear anyone else.

How this is in other realms of life:   we don’t want to be open to new or different ideas, yet we want to project to the world our feelings, our ideas, our agenda.   This has become more apparent to me over the last few months — and especially in the last few days — as I watch the news outlets.   You have one screeching politician lambasting another bellicose, pontificating buffoon — who then in turn does the same thing back.   You see panels of pundits on the news shows shouting over each other while the moderators ask absurd questions with the seeming intent of pouring more gasoline on the fire.  No one is listening to each other, no one is open to even the possibility of accepting another point of view.  It is then I start shouting at my television  “Stop it! What is wrong with you people!   Can’t you all just shut up for one minute and be open to what the other is saying?”  It doesn’t make for good ratings, I guess, if everyone is civil to each other.

Now, I cannot do anything about what others do or say, whether they are listening or not.  I can do something about myself.  I am going to make it a daily practice to read or listen with close attention to at least one person who has a different point of view.

I am not going to argue with that person if I disagree.  I don’t have to heed them.  But I will be open.  I am just going to shut up and listen.

ljg 2016



The Natural Process of Handwriting

homegirl cafe angelas green potionAs you can tell from my recent posts, I am big into handwriting notes and plans.   Mind you, when it comes to actually composing an essay or story, I still use a computer (as I am now) for expediency, but when it comes to the organizing, researching, or processing ideas and emotional content into words, I must use pen and paper.

Why is that?  I am not an expert on brain function, but I have enough experience to realize that I retain more when I write.   When I am in a lecture setting, I take copious notes by hand.  However, I rarely keep those notes.  The act of writing forces my brain to remember what I hear.  I see students in the classroom pull out their laptops to take notes.   From what I have heard, their retention of the material is far less than the retention of a student who handwrites notes.

Similarly, I think the physicality of writing by hand parlays itself into the inspiration and development of ideas.  By nature we are tactile creatures.  Paper feels real.  Digital bytes on a screen are not real. Writing by hand takes more effort than typing; therefore, it is more intentional.   I think that conscious, intentional, sensory experience in the creative process draws forth ideas and helps to flesh them out.

This might not be the case for everyone.  I know writers whose ideas come so fast and furiously that they NEED a computer to get it all down.  Hey, whatever works.  If that is your nature, embrace it.   I find creating on the computer to be a bit constraining while on a piece of paper and I can cross out, draw lines to new ideas, engage thought-mapping in a graphic way that I can not accomplish with a computer keyboard.   This is my nature, and I embrace it.

For me, I need my Moleskine and Papermate felt tip.

ljg (c) 2016



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Brain Dumps and Bullet Journaling– How I Manage My Time: Part II

journal and pencilYesterday I posted about my need to make and work plans so that I can manage a rather large plate of commitments.  Today, I will give you a brief overview of how I do that.

My time management system is a blending and simplification of the Getting Things Done and  Bullet Journal systems.  Both systems can get quite complicated and since I don’t want to make any more work for myself, I just use a few of their basic tools.

In my system, the key components are the Brain Dump, Organizing, Scheduling, and Execution.

The Brain Dump.  This is simply taking a piece of scrap paper and writing down things you need to do.  Write everything on your mind.  Don’t worry, you’ll be thinking of plenty you need to do.  What makes brain dumping successful is NOT stopping to organize or prioritize.  Just write down one thought after another until you cannot think of anything else.  Everything will be mixed up.  That’s okay.  You’ll straighten it all out soon.   Brain dumping could take 30 seconds or 30 minutes.  Here is a sample of a brain dump on did last Sunday covering what I need to get done this week (Yes, it is supposed to look incoherent):

brain dump

Organizing.  Once the brain dump is completed, then you start organizing it.  When I review my dump, first I decide which of the items I wrote down are actionable.  If any are not, then I cross them off.    Next, I take what is left and divide them into three areas:  Singular tasks, Events and Appointments, and Projects.

Singular tasks are simply that.  I typically group the tasks accordingly:  Household/Administrative, Health/Well-being, Church, Spiritual practice, Reading, Writing, Shopping, Payments, and Long-range tasks.  I look at last week’s pages in my planner and note any tasks I did not complete and move them forward to this week.

Events and Appointments:  I look at my monthly calendar and future log (more on this in another post) and note any appointments or events for this week.  I make a chronological list of them with the date, time, location and tasks needed to prepare for them.  If you are using a pre-printed planner you may have already written your events and appointments down on the appropriate day.

Projects:   Projects are made up of multiple tasks required to accomplish the project.  I break the project down into actionable tasks and write them down.   I look at last week’s pages of my planner to see if there are any uncompleted projects and move the appropriate tasks forward to this week.  I look at my future log and long-range goals for projects that need to be started.  I often use a separate piece of paper or page in my planner to break down a project into tasks.

Scheduling.  Now I divide a page of my planner into seven boxes with the day and date of the week.  (You can use a planner with the dates already printed except you need a planner with enough room to write tasks for each day.)  I write down the appointments first.  Then I write down the tasks needed to prepare for the appointment on the preceding days.  Next I schedule the high priority tasks and note them with a star.    Finally, I schedule simple tasks and project tasks on days when I think I have the time to do them.   If I don’t think I will have time to do a task then I put it in a box called “Long Range”.

Execution. All of this organizing and writing is worthless if you don’t do the tasks.  This means you have to exercise a little discipline and just do the stuff!   Each morning look at the day’s tasks.  As you complete each task, check it off.   One day at a time.     This is Bullet Journaling in action.    Many Bullet Journalers employ complicated codes and colors to manage their bullet lists.  I just use four:  a star to denote a high priority task, a check to show I completed a task, a cross-out for canceled events, a right arrow to denote that a task needs to be moved forward to the next week.

Here is my Bullet List for the week of June 5-11:

bullet journal

Examples:  You can see my categories of tasks on the left and then the days of the week on the right with those tasks written in on the days that work best for getting them done.  For example, I did household tasks on Monday because I did not have any events that evening.   An example of a writing project task list:  I listed that I needed to review prompts, outline a blog post, research the post, write it and then post it. Most of these tasks I scheduled for Sunday.  On Tuesday, I had noted that I had to vote — an event/appointment.  So on Monday, I scheduled time for me to review the ballot in preparation of that event.

So there you have the basics of my time management system.  It may seem like a lot of work, but it isn’t really.  It takes a few minutes on Sunday morning to brain dump, organize, and schedule and a few seconds each morning and evening to review the daily tasks.

Again, it’s the only way I can stay on top of things.






Make a Plan, Work the Plan– How I Manage My Time: Part I

neon clockI learn a lot just by listening to snatches of conversation made by complete strangers.  One of the best bits of advice I ever received was from a young woman who passed by me while I was out for a walk.  She was on a cell phone and I heard her say to the person on the other end of the call: “My mom always used to say that the key to success is to make a plan and then work the plan….”   That’s it.  How wonderfully simple and so inspiringly practical.

My life has gotten complicated over the years and as I get older I’m finding that some of my synapses don’t fire in the manner to which I have become accustomed.  (Ahem… I forget stuff.)   Slowly, in an evolutionary process that coincides with the death of my neurons, I have been making and working plans for all of my activities.  It is the only way I can get things done and not drop any balls.

It started with work projects:  I use Outlook to make task lists, prioritize and schedule those tasks, and check them off or move them forward as needed.  Making and working plans in this manner is the only way I can keep it all together.

Not surprisingly, I eventually discovered that my work life was more organized and efficient than my personal life.  At a certain point in my life, I did not have so much going on and I didn’t need to be so organized.  Again, things transform over time.  Now I have family concerns that require action, responsibilities in my faith community that need my attention, my own commitment to a writing practice, the management of certain health and wellness regimes, and the execution of the basics of living:  laundry, shopping, cleaning, bill-paying, and the like.  And once in a while I go out to have fun and even that requires some planning.

Let me just say now that I am not OCD with a compulsion to organize everything.  No, I am just a very busy woman.  Tomorrow, for those of you who are interested, I will briefly show you my time management system and how it is executed.

ljg (c) 2016








After Work One Night….

Dolores had fallen asleep that evening in the same way she had all week long: face down into her sofa the moment she got home from work. She had been on her feet all day at her uncle’s antique store. He was traveling again to secure more inventory and had left her to manage the store and deal with a steady stream of customers. Today none of their part-time clerks were available so Dolores was left on her own to open and close and handle everything else in between. She was completely spent.

Dolores dropped her bag on the living room floor when she walked through the door.   She immediately flopped onto the sofa “for just a couple of minutes” she told herself before she would make supper. Her little chihuahua mix, Rat-Dog, greeted her with a couple of yaps, jumped on the sofa next to her and nestled down. He seemed to sense her exhaustion and did not whine for his supper. Fortunately, her apartment had a doggie-door to  a  small patio off her bedroom so she did not have to worry about taking Rat-Dog on a potty-walk. She just wanted to get off her feet for a few minutes.

Dolores emerged from her sleep when she felt Rat-Dog jump off the sofa. “Hmmmm, I bet you’re hungry,” she mumbled as she swung her feet to the floor. “Time to get us both fed.” She glanced at the time display on her tv’s cable box. “11:30! Oh, sweetie, I’m so sorry. You really must be starving.” She quickly rose to her feet.

As she started towards the kitchen, she saw the tiny dog come to alert, his face trained on her apartment’s front door. His hackles were raised, and a low growl rumbled from his throat.

“What is it?” Usually when Rat-Dog heard a visitor come to the door, he would yip, yap and bark until Dolores scolded him into being quiet. This time was different.

“Is there someone there?” No one would come to visit this late, she thought. Dolores stepped to the window and tipped a slat in the blinds to peek out. She could see no one on her front porch.

“Silly dog.” She let the slat fall back into place. ” I bet you really want your supper now.” Rat-Dog did not respond. He continued to stare at the door.

“Suit yourself.”

Dolores shuffled into the kitchen, pulled a can of dog food out of a cupboard and got out a can opener. As she was scraping the can’s contents into Rat-Dog’s bowl, she heard him whimper. She walked out of the kitchen and found the dog shivering and backing away from the door. Then she heard it: a soft scraping noise on the other side of the door.

“Who’s there?” she called at the door. The noise stopped. Dolores stomped to the front window and yanked the blinds up.

No one. She strained to see the threshold, but the shadows cast by foliage prevented her from detecting any animal or object brushing against the door. She let the blinds fall down. “It’s probably a raccoon…. I just hope it’s not a skunk.” Her mind immediately went to the doggie-door leading out to her bedroom patio. That’s all she needed:  one of the wretched little beasts getting into her apartment. She rushed into her bedroom and snapped the latch on the doggie-door. She could see the quivering little lump that was Rat-Dog hiding under her bedspread.

“My hero….” Dolores shook her head. “C’mon, let’s go eat dinner. I’ll keep you safe from the big bad racc–”

A loud bang on the front door made Dolores jump back against her bedroom wall. Rat-Dog began to bark and thrash his way from under the tangle of the bedspread. Dolores pulled herself together and rushed back into the living room. Keeping her eyes on the door, she grabbed her handbag. She rummaged through it until she found her cell phone. She pressed the side button and saw a tiny sliver of red pop up on the display and the words “Battery Empty. Please recharge.”

“No, no, no….” She punched the face of the phone. The display momentarily flashed and then went black.

Another loud bang rattled the front window and shook the door on its frame. Dolores tossed away the phone and crouched on the floor between the sofa and the coffee table. Rat-Dog went berserk. Foam and saliva flew from his mouth as he barked.

There was no point in yelling for help: Dolores knew that the couple upstairs were on vacation and the old man in the adjacent unit never heard anything at night when he turned off his hearing aid.

Her eyes darted to the top of her curio cabinet in the corner of the living room. Atop it was a katana, a pre-World War II Japanese sword that she had acquired from her uncle. The cold curve of its steel blade and its elegant black-lacquered sheath glinted under the display lights above the cabinet.

Another bang startled Dolores and she glanced back to the door. Then she saw the deadbolt latch. It was vertical. She had forgotten to turn it to locked position when she came home. Dolores started towards the door to turn the latch but jumped back when the door knob jiggled.

Dolores raced to the curio cabinet and pulled the katana off the display holder. She gripped the sword and held it out in front of her.

Truth be told, the real reason she had acquired the sword was not for its aesthetic qualities or historical significance. Rather, she got it to silence her gun-toting friends who insisted that she needed protection if she chose to live alone. Dolores hated guns and would not have one in her home. Her concession, laughable as it was, was to get the sword and buy a dog.

Dolores shifted her grip on the sword. Her breathing was quick and shallow, and sweat beaded on her forehead and face. Rat-Dog had stopped barking and stood whimpering behind the coffee table.

Could she defend herself? She had been taught all her life to “turn the other cheek”, “do unto others,” and “love your enemy.”

Dolores sighed and gently laid down the weapon on the coffee table. She had envisioned in her mind when she got the sword that IF she ever found herself in this situation, she only had to wave the sword around and frighten off her intruders. Here she was now– living out her own fantasy. Or was she? She knew that if someone came through the door, no amount of blade-wielding bravado would help her. Could she actually hurt someone?  Could she draw blood to save herself?  Would she?

Everything had gone silent except for the ticking clock on the dining room wall. Dolores counted the seconds and after a couple of minutes, she let out a huge breath of relief. She would not need to be tested after all.

Then, the door knob turned. The door swung open and hit the wall, leaving a crack in the plaster.

Dolores’ gaze returned to the sword resting on the coffee table.

The End.


ljgloyd (c) 2016




It’s Greek Week!


Opa!   As part of my plan to eat in a more healthful way, I am going to devote this coming week to cooking and eating a Mediterranean diet. It’s going to be Greek Week in my kitchen.

To prepare, I bought a huge bag of good things: cauliflower, green and red peppers, cucumber, green beans, onions, lemons, figs, dried plums, apples, whole wheat orzo pasta, sprouted whole grain bread, thick creamy Greek yogurt, feta cheese, eggs, and lean chicken. I already have on hand olive oil, garbanzo beans, a variety of nuts, honey, fresh herbs, and lots of dried oregano.  Oh, and red wine. Can’t forget the wine.

Sound yummy?   You bet.

I will be cooking chicken kozanipoached chicken with onions, prunes, and  paprika– plus a hearty salad of green beans, orzo and garbanzos, and mashed cauliflower with garlic.  These three dishes, plus all the veggies, will take care of lunches and dinners all week. Breakfasts, snacks, and desserts will incorporate the eggs, bread, yogurt, nuts, and fruit.

Not a bit o’junk.  Real food, mostly plants, carbs and fat in moderation, animal protein used sparingly.  Greek Week may turn into a lifestyle.