Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place

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Third-Rate Romances

vintage image

Today’s Daily Post prompt: “Tell us your funniest relationship disaster story.”


You might think I am going to talk about some third rate romantic escapade, some titillating romp with a partner. Well, I will — in a way.

You see, I have this “on-again-off-again” romance with writing, arting, and photographing.

Right now, I totally hate my journal and my paints and my camera. They all sit there mocking me, telling me that I have been a neglectful, unfaithful lover.   They confront me with allegations that I have been two-timing them — er, rather, “three-timing” them. They say I would rather paint than write, journal with a pen rather than with a camera. All three accuse me of being some tart who likes to flirt with other past-times like bill-paying work, social media, entertainment, books, and, the most appalling: with REAL PEOPLE.

They would be correct. I have been. I am remorseful. I have failed them all.

So here is what I propose: I am on my winter holiday break for the next three weeks and I vow to engage with one of my lovers each day during this period.   Behavior experts say that habits are made or broken in about three weeks.   My hope is that by the end of this period, I will be back on track and not stray again from their loving embrace.   I may even settle on one of them and enter into a “forever” relationship.

We will see. Something may arise to derail this plan. I may fall in love with skydiving, rock-climbing or gourmet Nepalese cooking.

I am not to be trusted.




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


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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).



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.


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.



The Sucking Vortex

I have heard it said that social media is the playground of the truly crazy where you will see many pathologies played out in a public arena. As true as that may be, I have also met many sane and wonderful people online who have actually become friends in the real sense. I know people from all over the world who have given generously of their time and wisdom to encourage me in my creative endeavors and to give me sound advice in many personal situations.

Additionally, my creative works would have no way of reaching an audience without social media. I would just be another writer whose works would never leave the confines of a computer hard drive.

Thank goodness for social media, yes?

However, we who are on social media for any length time will eventually discover that there are some terrible drawbacks to playing on this ball field.

Aside from the obvious – dealing with those faceless unknown people whom we will never see with any real clarity and who display their worst behavior – if we play with it long enough, social media will eventually become a soul-sucking addiction.

How much time do we waste reading cat memes and watching the current viral videos instead of actually creating? It is perfectly fine to set aside a few minutes for some entertainment, but for me, this “entertainment” has often gone on for hours, well into the night. (How many of you check for Facebook notifications when you get up at 2 am to pee?)

What does it do to one’s writing skills to have thoughts conveyed in only 150 words at a time?

Dealing with difficult posters can be so emotionally debilitating that one might not have the energy to lift a pen or a paintbrush to create.

We need real-life fodder to fuel our creative endeavors which we will not get if we don’t move our butts away from our computer desks or from our devices to get outside and live a real life.

Recently, I engaged in a spiritual fast which included not only giving up food but also giving up social media for a day. Just a day!   The food was easy. Not signing on to social media for 24 hours was dreadful.  Can we say that I am a tad addicted?   Yes, yes we can.

All this being said, you will see less of me on Facebook. I have simply had enough. Am I gone completely? No, absolutely not. I won’t forsake the exchange of ideas with my cadre of fellow creatives.   I will check frequently but I won’t be on all the time. I am moving my FaceBook and Twitter app icons to the last screen of my device so I don’t see that I have notifications every time I pick up my device. I am turning off the notification alert function on my settings. I will not carry my device around with me wherever I go.

I need to start swimming away from that spinning vortex. My life depends upon it.


Thoughts on Self-Doubt

kickin back smallI have spent the last couple of weeks writing a short story. I enjoyed writing it,  I conveyed through the characters what I wanted to communicate, and I found myself thinking of sequels I could derive from it.  Additionally, in my less-than-humble opinion, I thought it was a well-crafted story.

Now I’m not so sure.   The wretched beast of self-doubt is rearing its massive head and showing its snapping teeth. It is saying to me in a voice dripping with scorn, “Who are you trying to kid? You’re no writer.. At least not one that anyone wants to read.  Did anyone actually read your last story? Your work is laughable, embarrassing,trivial….”  The descriptors vary according to the depth of my of my self-doubt.

You can do a web search for tips on how to overcome self-doubts as a writer.  I am not going to add anything to those suggestions except to say that for me to overcome my doubts and resulting self-abuse, I need to return to the same question that I ask myself from time-to-time:  Why do I write?     I have several answers to this question, and I change it each time I ask it.  Today’s answer comes from a meme I recently read on my Facebook page:

“I write because if I didn’t, then I would have to kidnap people and force them to act out the stories in my head.  You would get arrested for that, I think.”

An amusing hyperbole, but one with a seed of truth.  See, the bottom line for me is this:   I have all these ideas floating around inside me.  They have to come out.  If not — well, I don’t know what would happen except it won’t be pretty.    And if my work stinks, so let it stink.

And that monster that messes with my self-esteem can just go pound sand.

ljgloyd 2014.


The 100

underwood typewriterI have set another goal for myself:  to write a minimum of 100 words a day.  That’s all.  That’s achievable.  If I write by hand, it takes me less than five minutes.

One hundred words a day is 700 words a week, 2,800 words a month, and over 36,000 words in a year.   Of course, if I am on a roll I will spend more time and write more words.  Frankly, my problem is just getting started, so once I get going I will probably exceed 100 words a day.

So if I keep this reasonable “100” goal in mind, I will write everyday.

The next goal would be to make them quality words expressing significant thoughts.

Postscript:  117 words.  Yes!



A Set Goal

I have started working through some of the exercises in the book Writer With a Day Job by Aine Greany.

The first section of the book deals with setting goals and priorities. I have worked several days on these exercises and have become comfortable enough with my efforts to state my goal. So here goes–ahem–

My goal is to create a volume of powerful short tales written with clarity, simplicity and descriptive vigor.

Okay… Done… It is a bit frightening to put one’s goals out there.  Now I have to be accountable to anyone reading this to accomplish that goal.

Maybe some of you are challenged to set your own goals and we can walk this road together. Just a suggestion.


Spinning Strands at First Light

spinningThe Daily Prompt asks this:  “Remember when you wrote down the first thought you had this morning? Great. Now write a post about it.”

Do a lot of writers really start writing first thing upon waking?  I’m sure some do.  I don’t, but I am amazed and compliment those who can.   My inner critic tells me that my thoughts are not going to be something I want to put to paper.  For example, this morning my first thought was “Oh, crap, I forgot to put the kitchen trash out last night.  I’d better do that before I leave for work or it’s going to smell to high heaven by the time I get home.”

My first thoughts were about stinking garbage.

I suppose a journal entry about garbage could eventually lead to some good polished writing.   Most likely, though, in my case it won’t.   For me, the mundane and ordinary have a different purpose.  They provide the backdrop over which the extraordinary can shine.   When I take the garbage out, will I breathe in the fresh, clean air of a glorious red dawn?    Will I see the raccoon that hangs out by the dumpster?  Will see a beloved friend along the way? What beautiful inspiration will come my way that I can write about?

Looking for the extraordinary things among the mundane is like spinning fine strands out of the tangled fibers of raw wool.  It takes skill and patience, but it can be done.



First Line

200px-OutOfAfricaMy favorite first line is not from my favorite book — but I think the first line of Isak Dinesen’s  Out of Africa is one of the best first lines I know.

“I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills.”

Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen) wrote this novel of her life in Africa originally in English, and to me it sounds like English poetry — not quite iambic and not quite dactyl — maybe something in between and definitely lyrical and lovely.

I had a FARM in AF-ri-ca,  at the FOOT of the NG-ong Hills.

The author’s presence is firmly established with the first word “I” as is the presence of the second major character of the novel, the “farm in Africa”.   One knows from the outset what this story is about.  It declares the entwining of these two characters.   Karen Blixen was in Africa and Africa was in her.

“…at the foot of the Ngong Hills.”   This single phrase for me evokes a place of mystery — as Africa is for a person who has never been there.  I see the colors of Africa in this one line:  green hills, red dirt, blue skies, white clouds, golden sun.   I hear in the name “Ngong” the people of the land, the third set of characters in this novel.   The novel is not really about  Europeans coming to Africa.  It is actually about the people of this land before their paradise was ruined.   This one line offers the suggestion of what life was like in the Garden of Eden before the Fall:  beautiful, perfect, timeless, numinous.

This first line holds a mythological motif that resonates with me.  In a way, I wish I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills.

ljg (c) 2012