Sunday, January 31, 2016

Stormy Haiku!

Giant ocean swells
 Off the coast of Hawaii.
I wanna surf, Not!

There’s a place called Haiku on the Island of Maui, where surfers have named the area Jaws. This week, some of them were falling over 40 feet from the top of a wave! Here’s a 46 sec. YouTube video if you’d like to see some of the incredible footage or maybe you’d like to plan one last surfing getaway. May I suggest packing light and leaving your affairs in order? 

 I’ve never visited Maui but the name Haiku sounds inviting, as well as inspiring. Take a walk through our U.S. El Nino winter with some of my stormy Haiku.

The end of a drought
scene; quenching a thirsty state,
With giant mud-flows.
The cliffs dissolved--
Multi-million dollar homes
Crashed into the sea.
How high is the snow?
It’s a blizzard in the east
Everywhere you go.
Our car is buried.
Someone will have to shovel.
Stop looking at me!
 I’m so glad winter
Wants to finish its business--
So we can move on.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Blogophobia-The Fear that No-one Will Read My Post Unless I Add a Picture of a Cat

Fears—writers love them. They fuel the fire, creating high drama in our stories.
We may not admit it but most of us have some version of anxiety or dread, even if it’s only a nominal, society induced, family-related habit called worry. For many unfortunate people, fear keeps them from leaving home. You’ve probably heard of agoraphobia or the common fear of heights called acrophobia. Screenwriters use some of these fears and create an entire plot based on a particular fear. Remember Die Hard or the super funny High Anxiety? I never saw it but imagine Friday the 13th plays on triskaidekaphobia or the fear of the number thirteen. When you come right down to it, even Gone with the Wind is about our fear of loss and I can’t imagine anything scarier than Snakes on a Plane-(Haven’t seen it). A fear of ants is myrmecophobia, and I’ve woven some not so frightening horror scenes based on it into my work in progress.

 Many of us giggle at some of the strange sounding phobias such as the fear of chickens (alektorophobia) or the common fear the school principal might have known about, called didaskaleinophobia, which is another way of saying you’re afraid of going to school. (I may have suffered from that during finals week.) The funniest one I can relate to (only because I never learned to use them) is the fear of chopsticks. Consecotaleophobia. But seriously, can you imagine there are people actually terrorized by the thought of chopsticks? Don’t you want to hug them and offer them a fork? Could you work a fear like that into your manuscript?

 Once we rule out the fear of chopsticks, the fear of chickens might manifest itself in different ways depending on the person. Is it a fear of chickens walking across the road or the one diced and tossed with peanuts and fired up peppers in the Kung Pao sauce? Or maybe, in the end, it’s those wicked peppers after all, and the chickens get the blame?

While I’m no expert, I think certain fears are “normal.” There’s the fear of tornadoes and hurricanes (lilapsophobia) or the fear of Hell, (hadephobia) and my personal fear of cats, called gatophobia. Sorry, my cat loving friends but those little critters freak me out. (Wait, come back—I think they’re cute—it’s the way they lock eyes with me. All right, maybe it’s not normal but I don’t plan to get over it by absorbing myself in online cat therapy.)
Scary cat?

As a writer, I probably suffer from dysgrammatophobia or the fear of bad grammar and ortographobia which is the fear of making spelling errors. Can you imagine spelling these phobias for a spelling bee? Even the lottery people are trying to convince us we had better lose our fear of wealth (plutophobia) (this sounds curable) and start playing the Powerball numbers before it’s too late.

Last night, we discussed our real fears and mine is losing my eyesight, (scotomaphobia) but my husband had one that wasn’t even on the list. He presumes it’s a deep-rooted fear that comes through from his cave-man roots. (I knew it!) Though we laughed about it and I Googled it, it seemed strange there isn’t a fancy sounding phobia listed for his secret anxiety. He said the scariest thing he can think of is: being eaten alive by a bear or any large animal and we haven’t even seen The Revenant. I wonder if seeing the movie will help overcome this fear or make it worse. Aren’t we supposed to face our fears? Is seeing a movie a form of therapy? Did you swim in the ocean more or less, after seeing Jaws?

Are you afraid of something and have you tried overcoming your fears? If you're a writer, have you worked a phobia into your plot?

(This post is supposed to be humorous and not intended for anything other than rapport among my followers, most of whom are writers and artists. I realize the serious nature of phobias and my compassionate heart recommends counseling or medical intervention for anyone who cannot cope with these psychological issues.) 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Setting Writing Goals

Happy January

Words don’t stop at the end of the year--
they tumble out--
stumbling forward,
one syllable at a time.
They can stop like a train hitting snow--
when it’s cold--
In flurries of excuses,
dropping snow-like blizzards onto our hearts.
A blanket over the nose--
we shiver from something called writer’s block.
But hey,
it’s January and the tracks can be cleared.
Rum in our tea,
a cozy sweater?
It’s time to thaw the ink in our veins.
Eastern Standard? Pacific Mountain?
Daylight Savings? Greenwich Mean Time?
Who cares?
It’s YOUR time!  
A month of endless possibilities.
Grab your slippers,
pull back the covers!
Release those swirling plot-lines,
Unleash the hounds circling inside your head.
There’s a story,
probably a book,
to fill with poetic words,
waiting to happen.
Dare I say, waiting for submission?
Lure readers into your
creative web,
keep them entertained,
make them run for tissues,
have them laughing and begging for more!
January is a great month for planning
and you have thirty-one days
to prepare,
and warm up
to a brand new year of potential.

Well? Cozy yet?

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Happy New Year Troglodytes!

Rock collectors know about the other side. They pick up a smooth looking rock only to find a rough and dirty side underneath. Sometimes they get lucky and both sides are smooth, perhaps gleaming from eons spent rolling around in a river somewhere. The rock collector is always searching for the perfect rock and yet loves coming across unusual imperfections. Those natural flaws make the collection unique. 
Likewise with humans searching for the perfect soul mate, candidate or best friends, are facing  a gravel-strewn driveway along the path of life. Rarely is someone the same on all sides. Divorce lawyers know this. Congress knows this and we know it too but in our quest for smooth perfection, we forget about how imperfections create the most amazing and memorable collections. How many days are we going to waste looking for something that isn’t valuable, interesting or exciting anyway? Do we really want cookie-cutter friends, Stepford wives and Teflon-coated candidates? Are we looking for humans or blowup dolls made in a factory? Sadly, some folks would rather opt out completely rather than experience any discomfort or heartbreak.
My personal feeling is that once we see our own faults, it’s easier to accept the complimentary blemishes of others. Think prehistoric and yet highly civilized--like a mortar and pestle—two rocks—forged out of stone to work together. Cavemen merged with other tribes and ensured our survival by showing them new skills. Here in 2016 when war, anger and frustration still continue to rock the world with violence, it might be a good time to remember the things that brought us this far. The progress that creates workmanship, teamwork and amazing technological wonders began and begins one simple step at a time.
My New Year’s wish for everyone is hoping that before selecting our friends and leaders, we can remember to accept differences and vagaries with the understanding that reality has many multiple and fascinating dimensions-like a rock!