Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place


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The Haiku of Intentional Living

Today’s Daily Post prompt:  “Tell us about a book you can read again and again without getting bored — what is it that speaks to you?”

I have not blogged for about a month because I have been caught up with living life.  Most of this “living life” has been dealing with work issues, annoying car problems, family obligations, practices to bolster my inner life and spirituality, reading, and cooking.   It is this latter activity that dovetails with today’s prompt.

You might expect me to tell you about a novel that has changed my life or a book of poetry that inspires me.  No, I am going to answer today’s question with telling you about a single essay, the introduction of a 40-year-old cookbook.

I cannot find the essay online or I would share it with you.  And, unfortunately, the revised edition of this book does not have this particular essay.  But if you are a vegetarian cook of a certain age you will know this book.

Laurel’s Kitchen: A Handbook of Vegetarian Cookery and Nutrition

by  Laurel Robertson, Carol Flinders, and Bronwen Godfrey.  (This is not to be confused with The NEW Laurel’s Kitchen which has a different introduction. )

l kitchen

The essay to which I refer is the introduction to the book.  Its author, Carol Flinders, describes her shift from being a person who subsisted on the standard American diet (at least in the 1970’s) of meat, over-refined grains, over-cooked vegetables and junk food (AKA “S.A.D.”) to a person of deep spirituality, committed to cooking vegetarian, and focusing her life to caring for her family.

I am not a vegetarian and 40 years later, I find the recipes in this book too labor-intensive and time-consuming.  What appeals to me is not her views on vegetarianism or even her particular spirituality.  No, it is that one essay at the beginning of this book that has made me see that it is the ordinary things in life — like cooking and caring for one’s family– that should be done intentionally, with great mindfulness and deliberateness.

vermeerThe author of the introduction describes this mindful living in lovely, vibrant detail.  Images of  haiku quality abound:  a dusting of bread flour on a black cat, the color a wool coat likened to a San Francisco sunset, egg salad spiked with red and green peppers, and the visual image of Laurel cooking akin to a Vermeer painting.  She describes the intentional acts of the simple life with such grace and luminosity that I feel drawn to want to live that life too.    When I feel like I am racing through life and not giving heed to the simpler things, I find myself drawn back to this book.  It is like being drawn into a haiku or a Vermeer painting.   So often have I read this essay that my 1970’s paperback copy of this book has disintegrated.  It is being held together with clear packing tape.

This original issue of Laurel’s Kitchen is out of print, but if you have it on your shelves, I encourage you to read the introduction.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/second-time-around/

ljg (c) 2016


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Waiting for My Mojo to Come Back

I haven’t posted anything here for about three weeks.  In fact, I haven’t done any creative writing for even longer.     I have a half-written story just hanging there waiting for a conclusion.  It will never be finished at this point, I fear.

I tried doing some written journaling to see if I could get my writing mojo back.  That has dwindled.   My fear is that my creative self has become like a cold bowl of soup — no steam and a bland savor.

I tried some arting and photography.  That’s not working either.    I even tried one of those self-help art books that offer suggestions like drawing your dirty beach towel draped over a chair or painting a picture of your sleeping cat.

Nothing inspires me anymore.

However, lately I have been almost obsessed with physical journals and planners.  I put together a new day planner which I will junk in a few weeks to set up another one for 2016.  Besides that,  I have been spending huge amounts of time disassembling a four-year journal and commonplace book I just finished and redacting it into thematic sections and adding visual elements.

What is that all about?

I think I have an idea.  Perhaps focusing on placing creative elements into a book form is a way of containing and controlling expressions that I may fear to let out to the world with the hope that these elements will morph into something I can let go to the world.    Perhaps it is the physicality of the paper and the ink and the act of coloring, cutting, and gluing that make the act of creation a more real thing to me than just sitting at a computer monitor dealing with the ethereality of bytes and pixels.

Maybe I just need to walk away from it all for a while.  Or maybe I need to plunge into it more to thoroughly explore the explosive elements that think they need to be contained in a hard cover book.

When I get my creative mojo back, I’ll let you know.

A page from the current art journal

A page from the current art journal

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/an-odd-trio/

An Odd Trio


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By the Dots– or should I say Dashes (and Parentheses)

keyboard
Todays’s Daily Post prompt:  “By the Dots:  We all have strange relationships with punctuation — do you overuse exclamation marks? Do you avoid semicolons like the plague? What type of punctuation could you never live without? Tell us all about your punctuation quirks!”

I admit it — I use a lot of dashes.  (And parentheses).

I think other punctuation marks, like commas, provide a practical service to readers by directing them to momentarily pause and to mentally group together a number of elements of the sentence.  Commas provide clarity and an easy flow to a sentence.

However, other punctuation might provide more of a service to the writer.  In my case, the use of dashes and parentheses allow me to employ dramatic timing and provide a subtle way (or maybe not-so-subtle) of drawing other points into my text that would not necessarily fit otherwise.  That is, dashes suggest something new is about to be revealed and parentheses provide a place holder for embellishments and explanations.

Like any good thing, dashes and parentheses can be overused.  When there are too many, the flow of the writing may be slowed — even made jerky (like being on a bumpy road) — just like this.

Now’s your chance to chime in — what do you think?  Is there such a thing as too many dashes and parentheses?  (If you are so inclined, put your thoughts in the comments section below).

🙂

ljgloyd (c) 2015

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/by-the-dots/


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Losing the Fire

duendeToday’s Daily Post prompt says: “Express Yourself!  Do you love to dance, sing, write, sculpt, paint, or debate? What’s your favorite way to express yourself, creatively?

I used to express myself through a variety of media.  I used to paint, I used to bellydance, I used to take a lot of photographs, and now I mostly write.  And even writing I have not done much lately.   So easily derailed from my creative path am I by life circumstances  that I wonder if I really do have the passion for any of it anymore.

When I was involved in past creative pursuits, did I do so simply because I was a narcissist who wanted attention?   And when I didn’t get it, I moved on to another medium?

Maybe each expressive genre has a short shelf-life within my attention span.  It is invigorating to work with a new medium, but then after a while when I reach the extent of my ability with a given medium, I get discouraged and move on.

Maybe I am just not an creative person at heart.  It IS a lot of work to write, paint, take pictures, and especially to dance.  (I am not as young as I used to be).  I used to have a firey passion for the arts when the duende* spirit took over.    Maybe the duende spirit has fled to someone more worthy and it has taken its fire with it.

Maybe I just need a good night’s sleep and the passion will be back.  Perhaps I just need to apologize to the duende.

I’ll let you know what happens when I wake up.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

*”Duende or tener duende (“having duende”) loosely means having soul, a heightened state of emotion, expression and authenticity, often connected with flamenco.  The artistic and especially musical term was derived from the duende, a fairy or goblin-like creature in Spanish mythology.” — Wikipedia

Image: “Duende” (manipulated photograph)  by ljgloyd (c) 2006, 2015

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No Cliffhangers Here: “Cindy’s Choice”

Today’s Daily Post prompt says this:  No Cliffhangers:  Write a post about the topic of your choice, in whatever style you want, but make sure to end it with “…and all was well with the world. “

What follows is actually a story I wrote two years ago.  It is a re-telling of the Cinderella story.  Of course, this fairy tale ends with “and they lived happily ever after.”
*****

Cindy’s Choice

Cindy rolled the family’s beat up white minivan into the circular driveway of their sprawling Tudor-style house. When her stepsister married the Prince, the family had been given a home suitable to their new station as “royal in-laws.” The old minivan, though, was kept as an appropriate vehicle for Cindy to do the household errands. She turned off the engine and slid out of the van. She sighed and wiped her forehead as she walked towards the back of the van. It was going to be another scorching July day in the Valley.

Cindy did not dwell on the fact that it should have been SHE who married the Prince. Cindy knew that if she thought too much on the matter, she would spiral down to a dark place of despair, a place she feared she could not escape. Better if she just stayed focused on the life in front of her. She did, after all, get to live in a fine new house, even if it was as her step-family’s chief-cook-and-bottle-washer.

She heard the loud growl of an engine rumbling from the rear of the property. Cindy looked up and saw a tall young man in jeans, sweat-soaked red t-shirt and a white baseball cap. He gripped a leaf-blower and was slowly working his way towards her on the walkway. Cindy did not recognize him and figured her step-mother had one of her hissy fits and fired the old gardener. She noticed that the man had stopped his slow movement across the walkway and was staring at her. Cindy nodded a greeting at him and turned her attention to unloading grocery bags from the back of the van.

She had forgotten to take her canvas bags when she left for the market.  Instead she had to use the flimsy brown paper ones provided by the store. She struggled to get a grip around the bags since she did not not trust that their handles would hold. Finally, with two bags in each arm pressed close to her chest, Cindy skillfully slammed the van’s door shut with her foot and started down the walkway towards the kitchen door. The gardener stepped aside to let her pass. Cindy was aware of his gaze on her as she walked past him.

As she struggled to insert a key into the back door, she felt the bags in her arms shift. Before she could compensate she heard the sound of paper ripping. “No!” she cried out. Canned peaches, bananas, and a number of other items spilled out onto the back steps. The lid of a quart of Rocky Road ice cream popped off and rolled into the shrubbery.

“Shnuzbuckett!” Cindy swore as she set the rest of the bags down. She stooped to pick up the grocery items. She heard a chuckle.

“Shnuzbuckett?  Better watch that salty language.” The gardener approached her, holding the lid from the ice cream container.

Cindy glared at him but did not respond.

“Let me help you.” The gardener picked up a can of tuna and a bunch of radishes.

“Thanks.”

“My name is Larry. What’s yours?”

She hesitated but then replied, “Cindy.”

“Pleased to meet you, Cindy”.

“You’re new,” she said

“Yep, the temp agency sent me over this morning. Seems like the old gardener wasn’t working out.”

“That’s what I thought.”

“Are you part of the staff?”

Cindy laughed. “You could say so. I’m Mrs. Chesley’s step-daughter but I sort of run the household.”

“So you’re a family member. I’m sorry if I was too forward.”

“That’s okay. I won’t tell.” Cindy smiled and motioned Larry into the kitchen. They both plopped the displaced groceries on the counter. Larry went back out the door, picked up the rest of the grocery bags, and brought them in.

“Thank you again.  You want some iced tea? I’m getting some for myself. It’s so hot!”

“Well, since I’ve already overstepped myself I might as well go all the way and have a drink with the boss’s daughter.”

“Step-daughter. I’m not exactly royalty around here.”

“Yes, I heard this place had a royal connection. Is that true?”

“Yes, indeedy….” Cindy looked into Larry’s dark eyes. There was something familiar about him that made her feel so at ease. After a few minutes more of chit-chat, she couldn’t help herself. She found herself telling him the whole story: her circumstances, the Prince, the Ball, and those blasted Italian clear plastic pumps.

As she spilled out the story, Larry stopped her at one point. “‘Fairy God-Mother?’ Seriously?”

“Well, that’s what I call her. Her name’s actually Loretta. She’s the hair dresser who lived next door to us in the old neighborhood. I went to her house whenever things got tough at home. She would always listen to me. And she was always trying to fix me up with boys. She’s the one who convinced me to go to the Ball. Got me all dolled up and everything. She even arranged the limo — icky shade of orange — but a really sweet ride. Anyway.. where was I? Oh, yeah..” Cindy continued with the rest of the tale.

“Finally, when the Prince came around with the plastic shoe looking for me, I was at the dry-cleaners picking up some stuff for my step-mother. By the time I got home, the Prince had already tried the shoe on my step-sister Tiffany and taken her off to the Palace. They got married right away. Who knew we wore the exact same size shoe? ”

“Didn’t you say something? You had the other shoe, didn’t you?”

“My step-mother had already thought of that and hid the other shoe from me. So I had nothing to prove anything.”

“Why would she do that?”

“She claimed that I should not have gone to the Ball in the first place and that I was trying to steal the Prince from Tiffany.”

Larry took a sip of tea. “Well…. If you ask me, it sounds like you dodged a bullet.”

“What?”

“Let’s look at this: The Prince throws a ball to meet chicks and decides right then that you would be the right girl for him.”

“Yeah, pretty silly of him to pick me….” Cindy responded.

“Don’t get me wrong — I can see why he would fall head-over-heels for you. You’re sweet and cute and all that, but you deserve to be courted just like any lady. A long, slow and romantic courtship.”

Cindy’s felt an odd twinge in her stomach. “That’s sweet. Thank you.”

“AND didn’t he even bother to look at her face? He couldn’t see that your step-sister wasn’t you.?

“Yeah, you’re right. Some guys just can’t….” Cindy flushed, “well, some can’t see above the chest… Sorry.”

“S’okay. I can’t argue with that, though.”

Suddenly a voice screeched from upstairs. “Cindy, is that you? Who are you talking to?”

“Yes, Mother Chesley, it’s me. I’m talking to the new gardener.”

“Tell him I don’t pay him to talk and to get back to work. Did you get the ice cream like I told you?”

Cindy jumped to her feet and put the softening Rocky Road ice cream into the freezer. “Yes, ma’am, I got it.”

“Lucky for you you didn’t forget it. Humph.”

Cindy sat down across from Larry and sighed.

“Nice,” he said.

“Sorry about that.”

“Why do you put up with that?”

“Because she’s my step-mother. What else can I do?”

“Lot’s of things. You’re an adult. You don’t have to stay here.”

Cindy got back up and began putting the rest of the groceries away. “It’s not that easy. I don’t have any money or skills. Where would I go? What kind of job would I get? At least here, I have a nice roof over my head.”

“Man, they’ve really messed with your head.”

Cindy turned to him. “You don’t know anything about this. You —“

Suddenly, the back door slammed open and a pudgy teen-aged girl stomped in. She had a scowl on her face.

Cindy said, “Hi, Crystal.”

The girl motioned towards Larry. “Who’s he?”

“This is Larry, our gardener. Larry, this is Crystal, one of my sisters.”

“I’m not your real sister.” Crystal moved a disdainful gaze up and down Larry and made a loud snort. She turned and yanked open the refrigerator door. “Did you get some diet soda?”

“Um, no, I don’t think you put it on the shopping list.”

“You know I drink only diet soda.” Crystal took one of the regular sodas out of the refrigerator and slammed the door. “I guess I’ll have to drink a sugared one. If I get fat, it’s your fault, you idiot.” She stomped out of the kitchen.

Larry reached over and touched Cindy’s arm. “Honey, like I said, you don’t have to put up with this abuse.”

“But what can I do?”

“Well, if you’re asking me, may I suggest you go back to school and learn to do something else. I’m going to night school right now, taking business courses. I want to open my own landscaping firm. What are you interested in?”

“Um.. well…. I guess I’m a pretty good cook. Maybe I could learn to be a real chef.”

“There you go! And it doesn’t have to be a trade. Maybe you could be something like a college professor.”

It was Cindy’s turn to snort. “Yeah, right. Anyway, education costs money and I don’t have any.”

“Borrow it.”

“From who? I am completely alone.”

Larry gave her a soft look. “Sweetie, no one is ever really alone. All you have to do is make the choice and the help will come.”

Cindy and Larry gazed at each other for several moments. Something akin to hope stirred in Cindy. The spell was broken when they both heard the slam of a car door and the front door swing open.

“Mom?”

“That’s Tiffany,” she said to Larry, “the one who married the Prince. I wonder what she’s doing here.”

Tiffany stormed into the kitchen. She wore a crisp white linen suit. Her hair was pulled back into a chignon and she had on a pair of huge sun glasses. She stopped and looked towards Larry.

“Who’s he?”

Cindy sighed and introduced him.

“In the palace the gardeners stay outside,” she pointedly said to Larry.

Larry stood and slowly drained his glass. As he set it down on the table, he leaned in to Cindy and whispered, “You’re in control. It’s your choice.” He pulled his cap tightly on his head and nodded towards Tiffany. “Ma’am.” He gave one more glance at Cindy before he walked out the back door.

“Is Mom here?” Tiffany asked.

“Yes, she upstairs. What’s wrong?”

“This is what’s wrong.” Tiffany pulled off her glasses. Her left eye was swollen nearly shut and showed purple and blue bruising around it and down her cheek.

Cindy gasped. “What happened? Were you in an accident?”

“If you call my marriage an accident….”

Mrs. Chesley waddled into the kitchen. “Is that Tiffany? Tiffany what are you doing here?” She let out a small cry when she saw Tiffany’s shiner.

“Did he do that to you?”

Tiffany hung her head.

Mrs. Chesley reached an arm around her daughter. “I knew you two were having trouble but I didn’t realize it was that bad.”

“Dumb-nuts finally figured out that I am not HER.” Tiffany glared at Cindy. “Got himself all worked up and swore up and down that we tried to dupe him. Said he was going get the marriage annulled and take back everything he had given us.”

“Including the house?” Mrs. Chesley eyes were wide with fear.

“Yeah. So I reminded him that his public opinion rating wasn’t too high and a nasty divorce would make him look even more like the jerk he is. That’s when he popped me. I should have called the cops and had him arrested. I don’t care if he is a prince.”

“You will do no such thing,” Mrs. Chesley sternly said. “Things are already bad enough.”

Mrs. Chesley swung around to face Cindy. “This is all YOUR fault!”

“MY fault? How?” Cindy felt her cheeks flush and an odd feeling rising up in the pit of her stomach.

“If you hadn’t butted in and gone to the Ball, the Prince would never have met YOU. And his shorts wouldn’t be all in a wad right now. You need to fix this and fix it fast.”

“Me? What can I do?”

“Yeah, what can she do?” said Tiffany.

“Well, it’s obvious that you’re on the way out, Tiff, as far as he’s concerned. We’ll just let him do his quiet little annulment and then Cindy can move on him. Then Cindy can say it was all a big misunderstanding, blah, blah, blah…. ”

Both Cindy and Tiffany cried out “What?”

“Shut up, both of you. Cindy, if you don’t do this, we’ll all be out on our butts. You’d better do this for all of our sakes.”

Something in Cindy shifted. It was as if the air suddenly cleared and everything had fallen into place.

She quietly turned towards the kitchen counter and picked up her purse.

Mrs. Chesley said, “What are you doing?” Cindy walked to the door. “Where are you going?”

“I’m outta here.”

“You can’t leave. We need you.” Cindy was out the door and heading down the driveway. Mrs. Chesley held on to the door frame and screamed, “You useless little ingrate! You’re worthless. Go ahead and get out. You’ll be crawling back before the end of the week. See if I’ll take you then!

Larry’s truck was parked near the service gate. He had just finished loading up his leaf-blower and tying it down. He looked up as Cindy approached and smiled.

Cindy said to him, “I’ve made a choice.”

“Good girl!”

“Can you give me a lift to my friend Loretta’s house?”

“I can do you one better.” He opened the door to his truck’s cab and with a flourish motioned Cindy to climb in. As she stepped on the running board, she saw an older women already in the cab.  The woman smiled at Cindy.

“Loretta!” Cindy flung herself on the woman and hugged her.

“Cindy! It’s so good to see you. I see that you’ve met my grandson, Lawrence.”

“Larry? He’s your grandson?”

“Yes he is and he’s a real prince, isn’t he.”

Cindy laughed and settled into the cab between Loretta and Larry.

And they all drove off and lived happily ever after.

ljgloyd, originally published 2013.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/no-cliffhangers/


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Handwritten: On the Physical Act of Journaling

Today’s Daily Post prompt: “Handwritten:  When was the last time you wrote something by hand? What was it?”

Easy answer:

journal page

I usually brainstorm by hand in this journal, but then I actually do the heavy writing on computer.   To learn a little more about my actual journaling practice, take a look at this video I made a few months ago:

Postscript:  I apologize if I am mispronouncing “Moleskine” and “cahier.”

ljg 2015

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/handwritten/


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Louisa and I

muchaToday’s Daily Post prompt says this: Worlds Colliding — Take two main characters from two different books (either fiction or nonfiction) and introduce them to, or have them meet, each other. What would happen next?

I just could not come up with two characters from different books. I did toy with the idea of having a TV character, James T. Kirk get fresh with Lizzy Bennett from Pride and Prejudice, but I just don’t have the time to develop that story today.  However, the prompt did make me think of a story I wrote about ten years ago where I, in my imagination, get to meet a famous author.   So I am going to deviate from the prompt and re-post that story.

A bit of context regarding this story is necessary:   In 2006 I was involved in an interactive writing project at the Soul Food Cafe. The project was to write a series of stories based in the fictional realm of Christine de Pizan’s City of Ladies situated in the mythical realm of Lemuria.  We posted our short stories on a blog of the same name.   In my stories, I made myself a bartender in a pub that I named the Il Taverna di Muse. What follows is one of several adventures my character had in the City of Ladies. Enjoy.

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A Chance Meeting at the Apothecary in the City of Ladies

It was “Mojito Week” at Il Taverna di Muse, and the Proprietress sent me to the Apothecary Shop to purchase bundles of fresh mint leaves, an essential ingredient for the drink. I was excited to make my first visit to the Shop as I had heard it was an extraordinary sensory experience.

The moment the door chimes announced my entrance into the Shop I was assaulted by the pungent scent of spices, the earthy smell of fresh clipped herbs, bundled and hanging from the rafters, and the warm, inviting aromas of tea and fresh baked pastries.

Besides providing apothecary services to the neighborhood, the Shop was also a place for writers and craftspeople to gather who preferred a quieter, less frenetic environment. There were some tables and chairs near the pastry section and in the back was the Stitching Room were some textile artists were piecing together a quilt.

After I made my purchase and was heading toward the door with the wrapped bundle of mint under my arm, I noticed a middle-aged woman in a Victorian-style dress, black silk with starched white lace around the collar. Her hair was pulled high and she balanced a pair of wire glasses on her nose. She was busy reading a book. I stopped and stared for a moment. She was so familiar. Then I knew—it was her!

The woman became aware of me and looked up. “May I be of assistance?” she said with a prim clip.

“Oh, excuse me, I didn’t mean to stare… you look just like…. I mean…. Oh what am I trying to say….Ma,am, are you Miss Alcott? Louisa May Alcott?”

“I am she.”

“Oh, this is such an honor, Miss Alcott! I’ve enjoyed your work so much.”

“Thank you, my dear. I am gratified that my little women mean so much to you.”

“Ma’am, I wasn’t referring to Little Women—I mean, don’t misunderstand me, Little Women was wonderful, but I was referring to your…your…..”

“Potboilers? Blood and Thunder stories?”

“Well, yeah.” I sheepishly smiled.

“Please, have a seat, my dear.” She smiled. “Most of my readers don’t know about those stories.”

“And it’s a shame—Pauline’s Passion and Punishment, A Long, Fatal Love Chase, and my favorite, A Modern Mephistopheles—they were innovative, way ahead of their time.”

“Their time?”

“Oh, yes, well, you see, I’m from your future. It’s a little strange, I know.”

“Strange? My dear, this is Lemuria. Everything is strange in Lemuria.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“So you read my potboilers?”

“Yes, ma’am, as part of a research project.”

“My works will be researched? “

“Yes, indeed. You were, er, ARE, one of the first feminists. Your women’s suffrage work is well documented and your literary works reflect this as well.”

“Feminist?”

“Yes, a person who supports women’s rights and strives for justice and social equality.”

“I see. And you see this in my writings?”

“Yes. Your female characters are fiery, independent women, most particularly in your potboilers, but even in Little Women—Jo for example.”

Miss Alcott chuckled. “May I share a secret with you, uh…..”

“Lori.”

“Lori, the fact of the matter is….” She leaned forward and lowered her voice. “I wasn’t very eager to write Little Women.

I suppressed a smile. I already knew that her publisher pushed her to write this simple moral tale for children. “Really!” I said.

“No, I didn’t really want to write it. Very dull and ordinary.” Her voice lowered to a whisper. “I very much enjoyed writing my potboilers. They are so …lurid.” I believe Miss Alcott was beginning to blush. She continued, “The women in those stories were far more interesting and….and….” She struggled for a word.

“…More real?” I said.

“Yes, indeed. More real.”

I glanced at the clock on the wall. “Is that the time?! Miss Alcott, I don’t want to be rude but I really need to get back to the Taverna.”

“Of course, dear. It was a pleasure making your acquaintance.”

“Likewise, Miss Alcott.” I headed towards the door.

“Miss Lori.”

“Yes, ma’am?”

“Did women ever get the right to vote, in the future, I mean?”

“Yes, ma’am, we did.”

Miss Alcott picked up her book and resumed her reading.

“Outstanding” she muttered with a smile.

Lori Gloyd © 2006, 2015. Original post for this story: https://cityofladies.wordpress.com/2006/08/21/a-chance-meeting-at-the-apothecary-shop/

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Word-Smithing

Today’s Daily Post prompt:  “If you could permanently ban a word from general usage, which one would it be? Why?”
******

When I read this prompt early this morning, I started mulling it over.  I could not come up with one particular word that I would want banned.  However, I have to say that I don’t like it when people create new words because they don’t want to take the time to select the correct words to make their thoughts known   For example,  I don’t like that nouns and adjectives are turned into verbs when they are not meant to be verbs.   For example, the adjective “onboard’ has been turned to “onboarding” meaning that a person has gone through the hiring process in a business organization.  Why not just say “Mr. Smith has been hired,” not “Mr. Smith has been on-boarded.”  It sounds like Mr. Smith has been kidnapped by pirates.    Or worse:  turning a company name into a verb.  For example, “googling”.   It sounds too much like “ogling”.    “I googled Mr. Smith.”   Well, how flirty of you!

There are also certain phrases I don’t like.  For example, consider “I’ll scratch your back; you scratch mine.”     When I think of this, I envision primates sitting in a tree grooming each other.   It also promotes a self-serving sentiment.  How about we do things for others because it is the right thing to do, not for what we can get out of it.

And the phrase “pet-peeve”?  Another one that annoys me.  Overused.

I guess I should lighten up.  English by its nature is an ever-evolving language with new words and idioms constantly coming in.  I probably make up new words and overuse old phrases as much as anyone.

My point is this:  if one is going to be a word-smith, then be good at it.

********

Post-script:  As I write this, I just noted my own title to this post, “Word-Smithing”.  A verb from a noun!   Ha!   My bad.  Oh, another over-used phrase!   I concede.  It can’t be helped.   I withdraw my protestations.  (Hanging my head in shame).

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Break the Silence — Not

underwood typewriterToday’s Daily Post prompt:   Break the Silence: When was the last time you really wanted (or needed) to say something, but kept quiet? Write a post about what you should’ve said.
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Recently, a friend and I had a disagreement.  Okay, actually it was a fight.  My friend said something I did not like, I objected, my friend got angry and spewed all over me.  One of the things my friend said was “You have an 18 gauge wire connecting your brain directly to your mouth.  Whatever you think, you say.”   I suspect it was not meant as a compliment, but I took it as such.  I like to think I say what is on my mind.   The reality is that I usually don’t.  This exchange is a perfect example of why I don’t.  When I say what I think, it usually comes back to bite me in the butt.

Admittedly, in this particular case, I was angry and what I said, even though I stand on it, was probably not stated in the most diplomatic way.  However, in most cases, the atmosphere is not so highly charged.  I will see a situation that I feel needs to be addressed, yet I don’t because I fear the consequences.   I want people to listen, but I don’t want them to react.  How cowardly is that?

I guess it is important that there be an element of emotion involved. If I get fired up enough about something, I will speak.  I remember that happening in a planning meeting I attended.  I quietly sat through the meeting, listening to everyone, when finally someone made a preposterously ill-conceived suggestion.  I saw everyone nodding in agreement with that suggestion.   I became alarmed at that and said to the moderator, “Gimme the microphone.”  I don’t recall exactly what I said, but I was on a roll.  My heart was pounding, my voice was a little higher timbre than normal, and when it was over people were applauding.  Yeah, they went with my suggestion.

Now if I could only get that passionate about the real issues in life —  justice, mercy, love, and the rest — what things I would say.

ljg (c) 2015

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/break-the-silence/


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Being Messy

Today’s Prompt:  Sweeping Motions:  What’s messier right now — your bedroom or you computer’s desktop (or your favorite device’s home screen)? Tell us how and why it got to that state.

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For a variety of reasons, I have not posted for several days.  First, I have been preoccupied with the day job and other life issues.  Second, the prompts for this week were stumbling blocks to me.  This second reason requires some explanation which I will address in a moment.

First things first:  today’s prompt is superficial and requires only a superficial response.   My bedroom serves as a sleeping place, an office, a writing and art studio, and an extension of my clothes closet.  Therefore, it is a mess.  Piles of clothes, papers, artwork, shoes without mates, and other detritus litter every horizontal surface (and some vertical) plus the floor.   No, I am not taking a picture of it.   On the other hand, my desktop computer and my hand-held device are immaculately organized.  There is a folder for everything and everything is in the right folder.  It takes me just minutes, if not seconds, to find whatever I need.  Enough said on this.

Let’s go back to my comments about the prompts being an obstacle to my writing.    The prompts fell into two categories:  those involving writing about other people and those having to do with writing fictional responses.

Writing about other people:  I have made it a point never to write about close friends or relatives unless they have given me permission.  Even with permission, I would not feel free enough to be candid without worrying over stepping on someone’s toes at the least, or destroying a relationship at worst.  So I don’t go that way at all.

Writing fiction:   I have written a number of short stories.  I think some of them are fairly well-crafted.  Many are not.  But almost all of them have to do with a female protagonist who is either an eccentric person trying to navigate the ordinary world, or a “normal” person who meets with “extra-normal” circumstances.    There are only so many ways you can tell the same story.    So when prompted to write fictional accounts this week, I ran into a big block.  It was too much effort and time to come up with something new and different.

I am sitting here trying to figure out how a prompt about being messy made me self-reflect this way.  Maybe it is because my “inner-writer” is in a pretty messy state as well.

That’s all I got today, folks.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/sweeping-motions/