Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place


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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.

 

 

Point-of-View

“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.”

“Okay…..”

“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.”

“Thanks.”

“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    

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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.


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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.

ljg

 


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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.

A

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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?

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Would they hold back the rain but let the snowfall?

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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)

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/city/

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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

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/open/