Writing Exercises

Mission Complete

A sweet melody joined by an equally captivating harmony fought together, a small army, lifting their battle cry in an effort to break through the roar which filled the sky surrounding their safe house. Each one singing as though their note, line, was the headliner meant to steal the show. Together they formed a formidable force to be reckoned with and yet, unheard by all, save two. These two having honed the magical power of tuning out all sound that dare combat the notes high and low – on key and off – which began no more than a whisper and grew no greater than a gentle breeze – this was all their ears could hear. Soaring through the wind above, around and under tree branches. Diving low to the soft soil turned and watered in hopes seedlings would take root and nourishment would spring forth. Ears pricked by sound, their mission cut short, they retreated. The volume increased by intensity as the tiny army overtaken by impatience heightened by the need for sustenance hit a crescendo. Beaks open wide – a gaping hole exposing the need coming from the very pit of their stomachs. Satisfied, filled, as warm juicy sustenance was lovingly passed from mama and papa to babes. The nest grew still as the sweet sound of silence gave way to the hub-bub once again filling the air around their home.

Writing Exercises

Thoughts on Common Metaphors, Similes & Idioms (Not to be confused with common idiots.)

I should be more specific. These are in fact, my thoughts, on common metaphors. In an effort to filter my at times unrequested thoughts and opinions on matters at hand, I have grown accustomed to having conversations with myself. First, I have a thought and then, I respond to my thought. Typically in agreement with my original thought, but at times I debate the alternative, or play the devil’s advocate as they say.

The Devil’s advocate? Why is it that an opposing view to the original point of view is so easily associated with the Devil himself (or herself, however you choose to see it)?

In out lining potential chapters for a book that I am writing, I sat thinking of catchy titles for each chapter. Wanting to not only use phrases that would fit the subject matter that would fill the pages but would also resonate with the reader and draw them in. One that kept sticking out to me was, The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree. Quite frankly, it often does. Literally and figuratively speaking. When an apple falls out of a tree it is prone to roll or bounce on the ground in any direction, which could potentially take it far from the tree. Figuratively as the metaphor is truly meant for, I can think of multiple instances in my life alone where I would say the apples fell far, very far from the tree. I have known children raised in day-to-day dysfunction who grew up and found a way to not only be successful, but organized, on time, and high functioning in almost every aspect of life. I have also known first hand, individuals that had wonderful and only slightly dysfunctional (because let’s be honest we all have some degree of dysfunction in our family) upbringings who have turned out to be abusive, narcissistic, dictators unlike anyone in their family. They are more like the rotten apple that grew on a kumquat tree. All of the kumquat are sitting back wondering how in the heck that apple began to grow on their tree. I could go on, and name names, personal and celebrity to prove my point, but I won’t. You know who you are.

A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down? Other than Mary Poppins I don’t know anyone whose mother or care giver handed them a spoonful of sugar when forcing them to take castor oil, cough syrup, or any other prescribed meds that we were forced to take when we were sick. Have you tasted fish oil? Just a tablespoon a day helps reduce your chance of cancer, reduce anxiety, depression and increase brain and heart function. No amount of sugar is helping the gawd-awful stench and taste of fish oil leave your mouth, not before and not after. Mix it into your morning yogurt or smoothie. What? And destroy my love of perfectly delicious foods that will hereafter taste like fish oil when I have them for breakfast. By the way, none of the claims for the benefits fish oil have actually been verified.

You made your bed, lay in it? First of all who lays in their bed after they have just made it? You take the time and effort to get the sheets smooth and straight, then you fold the corners at just the right angle like mom taught you to do. The last thing you are going to do after completing that is jump in and mess it up! What people are actually saying is that you created this mess, now  you get to live through it. What they should say is, You wet your bed, now go lay in it. Wouldn’t that be more accurate?

A stitch in time, saves nine. I imagine if I google that I will find the meaning. I think a cliché, or saying should stand for itself. If I am going to use it on the regular then when I say it, I and the recipient should be able to make sense out of the meaning straight away. A penny spent from a dime, saves nine. Now that I would understand. If I spend less than what I have then I am actually saving more than I am spending.

Slippery as a snake. Anyone who says this has never touched a snake. Now mind you, I have not touched all breeds of snakes in the world and thus may be mistaken, but the snakes I have touched are anything but slippery. Snake skin is smooth or scaly, rough more so than soft and typically dry. I suppose snakes that live in the rain forest or tropics are at times wet. I have not, as of yet, felt a slippery or slimy snake. Sneaky as a snake, now that would make more sense to me, as I believe snakes tend to slither upon the ground quietly in an effort to not be heard nor seen. That way they are able to sneak up on their prey and take them quite literally by surprise and then swallow them whole.

Like taking candy from a baby. Okay, who made that up? Taking candy from a baby is anything but easy. And yet, when used the speaker is referring to how easily something was done. Not only is taking candy from a baby not easy it also isn’t enjoyable. No sooner have you taken the candy and said baby erupts in a loud fit which includes, wailing, shreeking and other annoying vocalizations of their displeasure. If you find it fun, well than you my friend are sick.

I could care less, this one I have always said wrong, er I mean correctly. If I could care less, than I am quite possibly caring too much about whatever it is I want you to think I do not really care all that much about. And what am I doing caring what you or anyone else thinks about whatever it is in which I do or do not care all that much about? I should simply speak my peace, my mind about whether or not I like, love or hate it and let that be that. You may think whatever you like, I couldn’t care less.

I imagine there are more, but my eyes and my brain are tired. Sleep is calling me and my bed yells all the louder. And so, I say good-night to you and to me.



Writing Exercises

Truth Be Told

I find it difficult to write fiction. I want to. I really do. I have a few children’s stories started. Only one of them is complete but then I started it at least 16 years ago. If all of my stories take that long I will never finish more than 2 or 3 at best. The one that is finished is the first book I ever started. I guess maybe there is something golden in that. I often thought if I could finish it that something would release like a flood gate that would open my mind to the ability of writing more books. That doesn’t seem to be the case.

This may be the reason I am drawn to blogging. It was a natural transition from journaling to blogging for me. I wrote my random thoughts, topics that interested me, places I visited or things that my kids and I experienced. It was more about sharing what had happened than it was creating a story. More than once I thought I would like to be one of those columnist that responds to readers questions. Giving advice or helping them decipher something that was weighing on them. Between telling the truth and helping someone find that light bulb moment I would somehow feel a sense of fulfillment.

And yet, time and time again I find myself thinking of books that I would like to write. One or two would be based on or completely the truth as they would come from my life journey. Their soul purpose being to help others who are living or have lived through something similar. Many other ideas jump around in my brain. A thought here and there, late at night or when I am out walking. An idea for a children’s book, a catchy title, or a glimpse, a small concept that I think would make the start for story. And that is where it ends. I jot the book title or idea down in a sticky note on my phone only to pull it up later and wonder where I would go with it. Nothing comes…..

You know what I think I need? Time. Devoted time with no distractions and only a laptop, notepad, pen, and nature. I envision a cabin in the woods with endless trails. Maybe a small bubbling creek that ripples over small, medium and large rocks a short jaunt from the cabin. Towering trees to the north and the east with the sun shining down on me from the south and the west. Mountains off in the distance standing tall like friendly giants beckoning me to come and explore. Just outside the cabin door there are wild flowers and tall grasses that wave gently in the cool breeze. I can almost hear the call  of the whippoorwills as they hide themselves in the trees just out of sight. If I were there my thoughts would flow freely. My writing would be uninhibited. Nothing would stop me. Every distraction would be but a new idea keeping my fingers moving and the words adding up on the page.

Doesn’t that sound lovely?! I need to write. The truth may come easier at first but in time I think I will be able to conjure up some really great lies, er, I mean fiction if I just keep trying.

Writing Exercises

Lame, I know

Okay, so I will admit that poem was lame. At least by my standards it was. I had to try something different. I have never been a poem writer. I was sitting here thinking one day about what to write and it came to mind that I should write a poem. Lots of people do it so why shouldn’t I? Well, I know why. It’s not my thing.

Last night we had one of our Pastors and his family over for dinner. It was his birthday. Before we ate I said we should pray. Tom elected that I pray. And so I did. Later he told me that it was a great Prayer. He said I was a natural. I accepted the compliment and had a conversation with myself. You know, the ones where you talk to yourself silently and respond to yourself. I think my prayer was so good (at least in my husband’s opinion) because I am a speaker by nature. I have no problem getting up in front of a group small or large and speaking. Of course I prefer to know at least something about the topic that I am to speak about. Speaking in front of people does not rattle me the way it does a good portion of people. I think I write much like I speak. Off the cuff. Off the top of my head. Basically what comes to mind.

I think that is why I have always liked blogging. Writing a blog to me is much like having a conversation with myself. Putting my thoughts onto paper so to speak. It is then that I wonder what could I write that would be more than a blog but would fit with my style of writing. I have yet to figure that one out. Until I do I will lay off of the poem writing. I promise.

Writing Exercises

Content to be

tick tock tick tock
chirp chirp chirp
hummm whirrr

I close my eyes and cannot see the sounds that stir around me
Each one having its own rhythm
Its own purpose
However simple or complex it may be

Is it one bird or is two?
Do they know what they are saying?
If one calls out to the other
Will the other call back or fly away?

The clock ticks away the seconds, minutes and hours of the day
At times it seems to go faster and other times it fades away
An hour becomes a day, the day becomes a month
Will it ever slow so that I may simply be?

The refrigerator hums, the computer whirs
I do believe the phone is ringing
Was that a knock at the door?
Or was it the neighbors car door banging?

My eyes yet closed as I sit and listen
to all the sounds that surround me
I refuse to count the moments
content to be still as they pass