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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/932976
by Joy
Rated: 13+ · Book · Writing · #932976
Impromptu writing, whatever comes...on writing or whatever the question of the day is.
Free clipart from About.comKathleen-613's creation for my blogFree clipart from About.com

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Blog City image small

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Marci's gift sig
Thank you Marci Missing Everyone *Heart* for this lovely sig.

I've been blogging all through my days without knowing that it was blogging; although, this isn't necessarily the only thing I do without knowing what I'm doing.

Since I write on anything that's available around me, my life has been full of pieces of scribbled paper flying about like confetti. I'm so happy to finally have a permanent place to chew the fat. *Smile*

So far my chewing the fat is on and off. *Laugh* Maybe, I lack teeth.

Feel free to comment, if you wish. *Smile*

Given by Blainecindy, the mayor of Blog City
Thank you very much, Cindy, for this honor and the beautiful graphic.

*Pencil* This Blog Continues in "Everyday Canvas *Pencil*

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April 15, 2014 at 12:19am
April 15, 2014 at 12:19am
Some people insist that Mark Twain is misquoted in “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” Well, Mr. Twain, you are not the only one. Not only you are misquoted, but also, I am not dead...yet.

Now, why would anyone want me to write a eulogy for myself? Don’t I have any friends left to do that for me? My friends can be detached, careless, selfish and self-interested, and they may have unresolved feelings toward me, but believe me, none of them would pass the chance to say a few words after me in a variety of contexts, and I mean a rich variety that could cover all the writing genres, especially the horror genre.

Besides, if I give my own eulogy, I can’t get a front-row seat, can I?

Then, suppose I do, what shall I say? “Let’s celebrate my passing.” Or shall I say, “Yay, Freedom! I’m outa here!” Or maybe I shall write. “That’s it for me, guys. You stick around and suffer. There!”

Maybe I’ll start with something serious like: ““What I want my God, my husband, my children, people of my belief system to say about me --I’m being diplomatic here. In case one system's heaven is closed, the other could be open--that I was…” What? Just wait a minute! Am I telling God how to talk here? Now, I’ll never make it inside the pearly gates. Do you see what you made me think and almost write?

Nope, no way! This woman is never going to write her own eulogy. And just to spite you, I am donating my old body to science, which means there won’t be a corpse to cry over or eulogize.

Again, as Mark Twain has said or rumored to have said: “Because when it comes down to preference, it comes down to preference.”

Now, who’d know Yogi Berra was Mark Twain reincarnated!

And to answer the prompt question directly: They should eulogize nothing. Actually I wish for everyone to get ice-cream and cake, and party, party!


Prompt: What should they eulogize? Write the perfect funeral speech for your own funeral.
April 15, 2014 at 12:19am
April 15, 2014 at 12:19am
Some people insist that Mark Twain is misquoted in “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” Well, Mr. Twain, you are not the only one. Not only you are misquoted, but also, I am not dead...yet.

Now, why would anyone want me write a eulogy for myself? Don’t I have any friends left to do that for me? My friends can be detached, careless, selfish and self-interested, and they may have unresolved feelings toward me, but believe me, none of them would pass the chance to say a few words after me in a variety of contexts, and I mean a rich variety that could cover all the writing genres, especially the horror genre.

Besides, if I give my own eulogy, I can’t get a front-row seat, can I?

Then, suppose I do, what shall I say? “Let’s celebrate my passing.” Or shall I say, “Yay, Freedom! I’m outa here!” Or maybe I shall write. “That’s it for me, guys. You stick around and suffer. There!”

Maybe I’ll start with something serious like: ““What I want my God, my husband, my children, people of my belief system, --I’m being diplomatic here. In case one heaven is closed, the other could be open-- to say about me…” What? Just wait a minute! Am I telling God how to talk here? Now, I’ll never make it inside the pearly gates. Do you see what you made me think and almost write?

Nope, no way! This woman is never going to write her own eulogy. And just to spite you, I am donating my old body to science, which means there won’t be a corpse to cry over or eulogize.

Again, as Mark Twain has said or rumored to have said: “Because when it comes down to preference, it comes down to preference.”

Now, who’d know Yogi Berra was Mark Twain reincarnated!

And to answer the prompt question directly: They should eulogize nothing. Actually I wish for everyone to get ice-cream and cake, and party, party!


Prompt: What should they eulogize? Write the perfect funeral speech for your own funeral.
April 14, 2014 at 1:05pm
April 14, 2014 at 1:05pm
Whichever form knowing of the future--in other words fortune telling—takes, similarity in processes is the same, as people seek meanings in random patterns and phenomena. I believe it is the human brain that creates meaning out of nothing. This doesn't say much about our brains and thinking, but us having faulty brains is a fact for me.

I think, assuming to know the future is a ridiculous and hilarious concept, since what the fortune-tellers, even those using the same methods, say varies, or their predictions are, most of the time, totally opposite. My question is: If any of the methods really worked in the past, why are there so many methods, such as phrenology, palm reading, tea leaves, numerology, astrology, etc? And what about all the doomsayers and Cassandras? Why do they want us to jump into a dismal future?

Most of us seek to know the future even though we sense we are chasing after false hope or false titillation. And heaven forbid, if one of the so-called prophetic predictions hit the mark. Then, we think, all of the rest are legitimate. Like I said earlier, this is one of the idiosyncrasies of the human brain.

In addition, there are the futurists who try to predict the future by basing their studies on past and current events or trends. As scientific as they think they are, they, too, fail most of the time. Those who invest in the stock market and heed the trend readers also lose, and sometimes, they lose big. I am sure most of us who came into a little money still feel that bitter taste on our tongues.

Thus, even if knowing the future were to be possible, I’d opt not to know it. For one thing, any indication of negativity in my future would ruin the present for me. It took me a long time to learn how to live in the now, and I am not giving that up, after so much work I put in it.

Still all this serious talk I’ve laid on you doesn’t prevent me from making a prediction myself.

I am predicting, or rather, I know for certain that I’ll die one day, and our planet and the solar system, and even our galaxy, the Milky Way, will end…at one unknown time. Just that my oracles did not let me know when… *Wink*

Prompt: If you were given a chance to know what happens in your future, would you take it?
April 12, 2014 at 1:49am
April 12, 2014 at 1:49am
Since I acquired a taste for reading very early in life, earlier than most children, I have always read as much as my time permitted it. As multitasking is a way of life for me, this translates into my reading, too.

At the moment, on my computer, with the Nook App, I am reading Drama by John Lithgow (his memoirs), and with the Kindle App, How Dogs Love Us: A Neuroscientist and his Adopted Dog Decode the Canine Brain by Gregory Berns.

On my Nook Device, I have started reading Brava Valentine by Adriana Trigiani.

On my first Kindle, which has text to speech, I am about to finish Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich, and I have somewhat started The Edge of Lies by Debra Burroughs. This is my bedroom Kindle, as I listen to some of the books on it at night in the dark.

My other Kindle, Kindle White, travels with me everywhere, and most of the e-books I have read and also the ones I finish the earliest are on that one, because it has an inner adjustable light. I also use this Kindle for borrowing books from Amazon Prime, too. Right now, I am deeply into Daughters of the River Huong by Uyen Nicole Duong.

In addition, I have a flash drive filling up with Gutenberg Editions. Someday, I’ll get to those, but at the moment I use the books inside the flash drive for skimming through or as reference.

Don’t think that I have given up on print books, either. I am very slowly reading Thomas C. Foster’s How to Read Literature Like a Professor. Slowly because I have eyesight troubles with print books, although I like the handling of them better. In fact, any decent reference book I have is a print book.

Before e-books entered the scene and my eyesight was strong, I used to average two to three print books a week. Before e-books, I had never let any book go unfinished. The e-book era has changed that for me.

The initiation of the e-book era has been both a delight and a disappointment. Earlier, I was disappointed with the publishing business for their love of the Bimbo writers and disdain of hard-working, serious authors. Now, there is an enormous amount of publications on the market, and I find a good number of them to be unedited and with faulty construction. This makes me miss the few serious print publishers who cared about the quality rather than the quantity.

Yet, if there is something endearing about an e-book written by a novice writer, I do read it to the end, thinking the writer is new with the craft and he or she deserves some respect for daring to write. I can look the other way, too, if there is a typo or two or maybe a badly constructed sentence, though not too much of those. I mostly stop reading books, specifically fiction, if the author keeps interrupting the story with an agenda, such as to advertise for a belief system, or if the reasoning behind the events are off or a character’s actions are suddenly out of character without a good reason. Another of my pet peeves is the novels in series, in which a novel stops in the middle of a story or leaves ends untied where the main action is concerned. Some writers who do series are phenomenal and their each book is complete in itself; however, a few writers have a misunderstanding about how books in a series should be written.

I have stopped and will stop reading several self-published and e-book-publisher-published books, since I suspect some e-book publishers have lousy editors. Also, I deleted those books I couldn’t read from my devices and will continue doing so because I’d rather spend my time with better books.

In general, however, I like the idea of self-publishing and the easy availability of e-books greatly. I think it is a big help to writing as art, and it rescues serious authors out of bondage. Still, the writers, too, in the throes of excitement for having a published book, should not ignore their responsibility to the craft.


Prompt: Do you feel obligated to finish all the books you start reading? Why?
April 11, 2014 at 12:21am
April 11, 2014 at 12:21am
About half an hour ago, I did Buzzfeed.com's personality test, Which Muppet Are You? Well, according to this, I ended up being Miss Piggy. The explanation for the Miss Piggy character was: "No matter where you are, you always let your diva flag fly. You're all about glamor and glitter and all that good stuff. You're not afraid to speak your mind and you always get what you want."

I wish, I wish, I wish! But I don't like glitter. I am a bit on the frumpy side, not so bad that you'd put a coin in my hand if you saw me on the street because I outfit me enough so I don't gross people out. And I don't always get what I want. I try with passion, but trying hardly works, does it or doesn't it? Hmmm...

So, not being convinced about me being Miss Piggy, I took another personality test from UK:

Lo and Behold! I am Miss Piggy, again. No wonder I eat the whoooole thing! But to tell the truth, probably for being Miss Piggy, I have a thing for Kermit. I've always had a thing for Kermit. Even though my older five-year old carried the Cookie Monster on his trike's handlebar, and my younger one loved Bernie, and Bert, and Big bird all at the same time. But that was way back when, only a few years after the Sesame Street first came to life on Channel 13 in New York.

Even though some shows photocopied Kermit later, there was only one Kermit, who was brought to life by (RIP) Jim Henson himself with all the glottal affectations and everything else. The froggies after the initial Kermit who became Kermit, I felt, were only bad copies. Jim Henson was a phenomenon. In fact, after him, I stayed away from the Muppets. Why shouldn't I? My kids were grown already.

What made Kermit great was his sense of humor, and his heart was in the right place. I choke when I think about Kermit. No wonder, I am Miss Piggy...as they tell me.

But one more thing I must confess before the clock strikes midnight and I lose both my slippers. I like Buzzfeed's far out personality tests. According to them, I am:

*Bullet* More fit to live in Texas or Denmark

*Bullet* Dorothy from the Golden Girls

*Bullet* Would be most comfortable living in Imperial China

*Bullet* Sleeping Beauty of the fairy tale princesses

*Bullet* Ronald Reagan of the presidents

*Bullet* Obi wan Kenobi of Star Wars

*Bullet* Shakespeare from the writers

*Bullet* Mr. Edmund Bertram of the Jane Austen Heroes.

*Bullet* A dragon from among the fantasy characters

If I am all those things, what the heck, I might as well be Kermit and Miss Piggy, and Big Bird and the entire nation of Muppets, all at the same time, so I can flaunt my team spirit, after all! Just like Miss Piggy's pearls...

Prompt: Which Muppet character do you most identify with? Kermit? Oscar? Gonzo? Statler? Waldorf? Beaker? Elmo? Zoe? Miss Piggy?
April 10, 2014 at 12:19am
April 10, 2014 at 12:19am
As I wrote earlier, I started to blog in 2005. What my inspiration was then is just about impossible to recall, but l can guess it has a lot to do with my love of writing and the written word, with which I have a long emotional history, covering almost all of my life. Blogging, therefore, could very well be my way of serenading the writing life.

To me, a blog means owning up to my life by offering my experiences, my thoughts and my opinions. It also means recognizing the strengths and weaknesses in myself, as to imagination, humor, general knowledge and the memories that go with it.

Furthermore, I am inspired by other bloggers. What is going on inside other heads fascinate me as much as the people-watching I do in real life. Through blogging in a group, I am fortunate to become familiar with the several sides of blogger friends through their words, and these sides of them are offered freely. What can be more agreeable that that?

What is also favorable is, blogging doesn’t have to be a professional act bound by strict rules where content and style are in question. As bloggers we hold subjective views, and we are our own editors within the limits of accepted decorum but without a serious accountability to a superior, like a newspaper publisher.

Our blogs are what we want them to be, even when writing from prompts. Our blogs are personal and informal, and we all own the platform because, through blogging, amateurs and professionals both have their say, which is the right thing to do, as it is acknowledged by the freedom of speech clause in any free society’s constitution.

This brings to my mind what Isaac Asimov wrote as a fan mail to then young Carl Sagan: "You are my idea of a good writer because you have an unmannered style, and when I read what you write, I hear you talking."

The same rings true of the blogging in Writing.com. I hear myself and my blogging friends talking through our own, very personal writing styles.


Prompt: What inspired you to Blog?
April 9, 2014 at 12:13am
April 9, 2014 at 12:13am
I took my first breath on earth only a couple of years before the baby boomers. But then, this has to be my karma. Any house I have ever lived in, including the present one, has been situated in between two counties. No kidding. I always lived on the dividing line.

The generation just before the baby boomers is called either the silent generation or the lucky few. I resent both monikers. We were neither silent nor lucky. The people who were born in the same year as me, in no way, should be included with the silent generation. My peers and I, especially the females, took the flak from the earlier generations while opening the doors to boomers to do what they did for the world.

After grade school, I attended an all girls’ school, during my junior high and high school years. From my class, 88% went on to higher education, whereas earlier generations either had quit high school or married right after graduation and most, at best, had gotten married in the first year of college. When I was in high school, we would sit around and discuss literature, philosophy, and our place in the world and what we could do for the society in the future. Surely, there were other groups of girls in my classes whose major worries were centered about clothes, boys, prom dates, actors or whether Elvis was a more charming heartthrob than Pat Boone, but even those gals had their serious sides, as we had our fun sides, too.

My generation of people --women or men-- agreed that the ruling crown had to be worn equally, and economic freedom and freedom of thought should apply to both genders and all races. I have always appreciated my peers and the baby boomers for their courage and drive to make a better, fairer society for every human being. This took a lot of courage and fighting.

During those years, only nursing and teaching was seen to be fit for a woman as a profession. Surely, there were families with keener foresight who encouraged their female offspring to reach higher, but I am talking about the general consensus. Even after I was married, I received disapproval and sometimes hostility from the earlier generations, as a second-class citizen female. “Of course, dear, you’ll do everything in your power to keep a decent house and make your husband happy. Why bother going into the men’s business?” Most people who said this or something like this to me were mostly other females of the earlier generations. Men didn’t even bother to address those issues. I am not talking about a far away in the boondocks understanding. This was Long Island, NY, during the mid-sixties. It was a time when Betty Friedan and women like her were considered to be freaks, trying to break up the sacred family structure. The earlier generations didn’t realize that this short-sighted, one-sided structure had to be destined to change for the better.

In short, this is what I loved the most about my generation: we dared to think and to talk among ourselves so we could eventually push a positive change on a society that had enclosed itself inside a steel-walled box of stale thought.

Prompt: What did you love most about your generation growing up?
April 8, 2014 at 12:12am
April 8, 2014 at 12:12am
According to a BBC news, we will be able to live to a 1000 years of age.


Living to 1000? Not me, even if someone turned me into a knockout beauty.

Although there is some talk going on about people being able to live to a 1000 years of age, I think the idea sprung from a few warped heads of sci-fi enthusiasts. Give it up, people, I don’t want to be included in a dominant galactic force, ready to take over the cosmos, just because I have been forced to live too long.

Anyhow, it isn’t possible. Will it ever be? I doubt it, although there are studies for prolonging life. Such as, in the pursuit of anti-aging pills, current studies use mice or yeast cells, but a true study on a human could take 75 or 80 years, and if it is at all successful, probably the great, great grandchildren of Blog City bloggers may eke some benefit from those.

Coming back to that magical number, let us just suppose, for argument’s sake, I did live to be a 1000, ugly, beautiful, on all fours with a tail, having sprouted two heads, etc. No matter how becoming or unbecoming, I wouldn’t want that. For starters, even today, I can’t wrap my mind around the recent music. I want the fifties, sixties, or seventies music. Okay maybe some from the eighties, too, and a few select pieces from the rest. And it isn’t even a hundred years yet. Imagine nine hundred plus additional years. I would be so miserable with the music alone.

Then, what about the language? Some people have already started to talk in code. I try to imitate the youngsters with an occasional OMG, TTY, L&H, and thanks to WdC's ML and emoticons, I can maneuver around few expressive human faces, but it takes me forever to send a text message to my sons. One of them even asked me to write everything long hand. “Mom, you’re mixing up everything. Send me an e-mail instead.” *Laugh* If I mix up communicating in this century, how am I going to hack it at 999 years of age? Anyhow, by then, I bet no one will understand what anyone is saying, screaming, beeping, or writing; that is, if writing and speech survives by then. And if writing doesn’t survive, forget it, I’m outa here.

And what if the friends and family I have now wouldn’t be around in a few hundred years? I have enough problems grasping the reasoning of my adult children. I can’t even begin to comprehend the generational gap at my 1000 years of age.

And Heaven forbid, what if I --like each one of my friends, if they were to live that long-- become frail and decrepit and dependent? As a result, what if some people in some congress decide they should do away with us 1000 year olds for draining the world’s wealth? The possibilities of our misery would be endless.

Living to a 1000? I could accept this as a challenge only if science gives me a super brain, and that brain should never be based upon the one idling inside my skull now. I could give you more than a thousand good reasons for wanting a totally new contraption as a brain, but that’s another story. *Wink*


Prompt: Would you be willing to become extremely ugly physically if it meant you would live for 1,000 years at any physical age you chose?
April 7, 2014 at 12:03am
April 7, 2014 at 12:03am
I am weightless, careless, giddy, feeling on top of the world, swinging free.

Yup, this is the sensation I’d go for, as I have always wondered about trapeze artists, how they smiled and waved at the crowds and then did the unbelievable.

A movie I watched in my teens was Trapeze with Burt Lancaster, Gina Lollobrigida, and Tony Curtis. It was about a love triangle among three trapeze artists. It became one of my favorite movies, and it inspired me as any other meaningful work of art.

Talking about inspiration, yesterday I ran into this quote on FB: "The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion." -Albert Camus

This brought me to my dinosaur days when I used to worship existentialists. Even though I can’t seem to let go of those olden times, I hope I have matured some, since then. --As an aside, I’ll believe it, if you believe it. *Wink* --Surely, absolute freedom is not possible, and it shouldn’t be. My conviction is, where another person’s freedom starts, mine stops. So I interpret Camus’ idea of freedom as being myself.

Since being myself is being on a trapeze, it is the kind of freedom I’d love to exercise without any fear in the circus of life. Wouldn’t it be something to swing free like a pendulum, hanging with ease, suspended by bent knees? Life is like a series of trapeze swings, too. We climb the ropes up the bumpy ladder, rung by rung, to the top. We hang on a bar or glide across an empty space between trapeze bars. If we are sitting on a bar or holding on to it, we are safe. But then, we see an empty trapeze bar beckoning us…

For me, this empty bar is my next step, my feeling alive. Each time this happens, I panic, but also, deep down, I know I must let go of the old bar and take my chances. It doesn’t matter if I don’t make it. I hope and pray the net closer to the ground will catch me. Whether it does or not, I have at least tried, and I can still climb up the rope ladder, once more. Like everything else, shouldn’t ambition have its perils, too?

By this time, if you really thought I could physically fly in the air between two bars, at my age, I can direct you to a few bridges for sale in this huge, wide circus of a world. *Laugh*


Prompt: If you joined the circus, what act would you most want to perform?
April 5, 2014 at 11:36am
April 5, 2014 at 11:36am
I started this blog on January 28th, 2005, with the idea of posting my thoughts and feelings on topics interesting to me, in a loose form of personal essays. Although I was writing in it frequently in the beginning, my attention to the blog dwindled in time, as I had other journals to keep. One of them was a book item on writing topics. At one point I thought of bringing the writing journal idea into this blog. Although I tried to do that for a long while, my attention to the blog was still periodic, meaning twice a month on the average, and still something was missing.

Now with the Blog City, I find that the interesting prompts--with some ideas and questions I never thought about--are encouraging me to write every day. The result is, writing in my blog has become something to look up to, to look forward to, and even to chase. I don't know how long this excitement will last and if I'll be able to keep up with it all the time. As of the moment, however, my blog is becoming my love song to the world, and my presentation of modest and weak-kneed opinions as they speak from the heart and a sketchy experience.

I think our blogs are helping me and my blogging friends to build a network of support while we grow in our separate ways, to discover and accept life's purposes, to be inspired from one another's entries, to live more consciously, and to feel motivated and energized in our common goal of improving our craft, the craft of writing.

We all understand, I assume, perfection isn't the point and it doesn't matter how old or young we are. The point is to use blogging on the path of practical, positive growth, and I bet, we will all be successful in this endeavor.


Prompt: If one experience or life changes---- from you writing your blog, what would you like it to be?
April 4, 2014 at 1:53pm
April 4, 2014 at 1:53pm
Purple brings to mind the smell of lavender, the beauty of sunsets, the pain of bruises, a hint of mysticism, the last chakra, and what is holy, beautiful, and royal.

Purple is a favorite color for my aunt and me. My aunt is not here anymore. I was very close to her, much closer than I was to my mother. I am wearing purple now, as I have made it a regular habit to wear purple something about three times a week or even more often, to remind me of my aunt and of what is of the highest and the noblest inside me.

Purple is also a souvenir of the bruises that have faded away but should not be forgotten for the times I bruised easily when I wore my heart on my sleeve. Still purple is what I have forgiven and will continue to forgive.

Maroon is the color of cottages and barns, of the frontiers I dared to explore. Maroon is the impulsive, passionate red I used to love, which I have outgrown now. Maroon is the color of blood when aired and aged. Maroon also reminds me of the missing: missing of loved ones who left and those I have left, missing of chances and opportunities, missing of the quiet and the noise, missing what used to be important but is not anymore. Maroon is the color of my tea in the morning, which warms and wakes me up.

Maroon was the color of the table spread on which I wrote my first poems.

Blue is for water, for the oceans, for life, reflecting the skies suspended, upended, drifting, flowing, foaming, bubbling. Blue is the kindness and empathy I feel. Blue is the color hiding inside the shades of my life that make me feel low. It traces the edges of my being and is surely the cause of my love for poetry. Blue is Beethoven; blue is the music I love that penetrates into my soul. Blue is me and what flows from my pen when I ponder on dark and dreary days.

Brown is the dominant color of eyes and hair and some skins. It means all humanity and my love for it. Brown is the earth that I let flow through my fingers when I am planting. Brown is the color of henna decorating hands and feet at weddings. Brown is the coffee and the cinnamon, the furniture inside my house and bookshelves that hold my books. Brown is the color of all my joys, but brown is also mud and the hardening of our insides, for it is what miners bring up from the mines alongside their muddied selves and clogged lungs.

Brown is the color on the wings of the bald eagle. Brown is country. Brown is freedom. Brown is the galactic swirl in the universe. Brown is the milk of life.

Black is what is hidden and what will never be revealed inside me, but it is a gift not a curse. Black is what I like to wear for its slimming effect and when I travel, as black hides the best what has become a stain.

Black is the color of the night and the endless space. Black is my fears and what I see when I close my eyes, as all fears are directed at what lurks in the dark. And who says I can't love the dark as well as the light?


Prompt: What five (5) colors best represent your personality?
April 3, 2014 at 6:28pm
April 3, 2014 at 6:28pm
Memory is always faulty in bringing back the most cherished in its original transparency. The question is, do I remember what is forgotten or do I remember what I keep remembering. In either case, whether what I remember are concrete figures or metaphors, when memory takes me far, far back and childhood appears at the periphery of my recollection, I find that some things I loved as toys were neither the most common nor the most mind blowing.

Legos weren’t invented yet in my young years. I wish they had been, but we had alphabet blocks. I am sure they gave me my first lessons on the laws of physics and geometry and helped me psychologically by letting me take out my initial frustrations on them. Also, the letters on the blocks introduced me to written language, to symbolic communication handled between auditory and visual receptive senses, and possibly led the way to devise a coded alphabet to be used between my cousin and me later in our adolescence, unattainable by the adults.

Earlier though, when still unaware of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, I didn’t care for dolls too much, but they were forced on me, for my being a female child, as it was the sign of those times. --Funny isn’t it, I just made a typo and wrote sigh instead of sign in the previous sentence. “A sigh of those times.” Isn’t that something? The mind works in mysterious ways.--

Anyhow, coming back to toys, despite my annoyance for being given so many dolls, I liked one doll I had named Plum-Leaf, for the plum tree in the yard I used to climb on. I was attached to Plum-Leaf for her resistance to breakage and her pretty face, but mostly because my favorite uncle bought it for me from a street vendor when we were going someplace together. Still, I never held that doll or any other doll to my bosom, pretending I were the mommy like other little girls, which worried the adult females in my life. I held Plum Leaf by the arm or the leg, dangling her on my side and made her my teddy bear’s companion.

Now, my teddy bear, named Plush, was something else. Him, I cradled in my arms and sang to. Come to think of it, this behavior is the precursor of my choices in adulthood. No wonder my favorite fairy tale still is The Beauty and the Beast. Unfortunately for Plush though, his reign didn’t last too long because of the mangled fur, due to being given incomplete baths by me and the sour odor he acquired in time.

Later on, during my grade-school years, paper dolls were the craze, and imitating my friends, I played with dressing the dolls with their paper outfits. My favorite pastime was drawing outfits from paper, coloring designs on them, and making my own fashion contraptions.

Yet the most favorite toy of all time for me, ever since I learned how to walk, was a pail and shovel. I remember sitting at the beach and filling the pail with sand and emptying it, like a version of Sisyphus on a flattened surface. For years after my toddler times, I carried a pail and shovel with me to the beach to build sandcastles with, only to watch them taken away by the aggressive waves or another child’s foot. This never stopped me, however, from keeping on building. Once I constructed my make-believe abode with a moat, towers, turrets, and a drawbridge, I stood up to brush the beach grits off my shins and knees, sensing my mind would preserve this kingdom of imagination of the world and its people on an abstract screen, same as my skin kept the indentations of the sand for a very long time afterwards. Arising from the recollection and scattered fragments of senses in my own story, such as the scent of the ocean and the feel of the sand, a smile crosses my lips, still today, when my eyes spot a child with a pail and shovel at the beach.


Prompt: Your Five Favorite Toys As A Child
April 2, 2014 at 1:10am
April 2, 2014 at 1:10am
Spring where I live is a farce. It is the tomfoolery of the clownish calendar frolicking with Florida. As soon as April shows up on the checks we write here, the major one to the IRS, we are roughhoused into summer like a whole ball of wax to melt under the subtropical sun’s ninety-degree rays.

Yet, there is a bright side to this, aside from the too bright sun. A Monty Python song says, “When you're chewing on life's gristle // Don't grumble, give a whistle,” and I whistle to the seagulls on the beach even though I have always refused to chew on any gristle.

Walking by the beach is what I do as my nowadays pastime after April springs in with its scorchers. This is so unlike those years of the past when we lived where there was civilization and I started saplings and dared to put them in the soil ahead of the Farmer’s Almanac’s prescribed time.

Being on the beach, in other words nearness to the ocean, is desirable now because, at my age, I don’t like bending for things popping out of the soil, and also because I don’t want to come face to face with an undesirable snake while bending. No matter how much of that smelly snake repellent I have scattered around the place, snakes--some poisonous--abound here from April to July, which means, I don’t want to stink to a snake or to anyone else either.

Walking on the beach is my choice activity because it is easier to do nothing by the ocean. This isn’t for the romantic waves whispering to me, but rather for the wantonness of the entire experience or my loafing there that is so appealing. Where I usually hang out is not a private beach, and to my knowledge, no one has ever been arrested loitering on that beach, only because everyone loiters there.

The beach I choose to loiter in is neither a nude beach nor it is a place that emits to the mind lofty thoughts, starting with “a grain of sand.” In the first place, on a nude beach, I’d stick out like a sore thumb, with or without clothes. Actually worse, nothing philosophical or poetic ever happens to me by the ocean either, as it has happened to Sylvia Plath in the Bell Jar. “A second wave collapsed over my feet, lipped with white froth, and the chill gripped my ankles with a mortal ache.” Wow wee! Those kinds of words would never meet me half way because I never sit down on the sand to write them. *Wink*

By the beach, I am a straggler, a dawdler, who is always walking, trying to avoid the sand getting into my shoes and in between my toes, however ineptly. Plus, I worry about the seagulls and pelicans, with a taste for malice, leaving gifts from their tail ends on me, as if I am not gifted enough...that way.

Possibly, one day, the beach police may come to their senses and nab me for my aimlessness, but I can always tell them that my loitering is with intent, and this is what spring, which only appears on the calendar, has sprung on me.


Prompt: What is your favorite Spring Activity?
April 1, 2014 at 1:05am
April 1, 2014 at 1:05am
There are so many chilling events in history that it is difficult to pick a specific one. Also, we are not privy to everything that happened from day one, since human history has to be longer, larger, and wider than what our present knowledge covers.

When all of them put together, wars have taken the worst toll on humankind on every area. Next to them are the epidemics. For example Black Death or the Bubonic plague took out 25% of the world's population when approximately 100,000,000 people died in 4 years. Although life doesn't reek with joy when we are threatened with an epidemic, I assume, nowadays, we know enough how to counteract diseases or get our forces together to find new cures.

Related to epidemics of disease is the epidemic of hunger. Just around the corner in the twentieth century, between 1958 and 1962, China experienced a monumental famine that killed at least 45 million people. This hunger problem shows its ugly face every once in a while, but I do trust our humanity that, given the chance, we will overcome it in the future.

What we may not be able to handle are the holocausts as the worst things to happen to people, and I am not only talking about the mid 20th century Holocaust alone. Holocausts happen when military systems go haywire, wars start, and genocide begins.

This has been happening from the early dawns of history to our day. For example destruction of the city of Carthage and genocide of the people by the Romans ending in 146 BC comes to mind.

Einstein said: ""This topic [democracy v.s. autocracy] brings me to that worst outcrop of herd life, the military system, which I abhor... This plague-spot of civilization ought to be abolished with all possible speed. Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism -- how passionately I hate them!"

When central control in a country is not there, it is very easy for corruption, crime, and anarchy to surface, and tyrants become powerful in a time of chaos. Then religion or any fanatical participation in any one cause or belief, together with its perverse interpretation, provides a strong motive to masses to participate in oppressive behaviors because they believe what they are doing is for a greater cause. This is what Einstein meant by "herd life."

In my lifetime, during the early 1940s, 6 million Jews were wiped off the face of the earth. Adolf Hitler had tried to impose what was called the "final solution," which was the systematic extermination of all the Jews in Europe.

Just when we thought we would not allow anything like that to happen again, in less than three decades, the world faced the Cambodian Genocide. During the Khmer Rouge's reign of terror, Cambodia was destroyed in every fashion and area imaginable. Since records weren't kept, the death toll probably equaled to three million, a quarter of the Cambodian population.
Haing Ngor, a doctor, writes about this in his memoirs Survival in the Killing Fields. This book traumatizes the reader, the same as the Nazi atrocities. Reading it disturbed me greatly, in regard to my conviction that we wouldn't let such things happen again after the World War II Holocaust.

Then, right after that, in the twenty-first century, Darfur killings began in 2003. As of today, according to news, over 480,000 people have been killed, and over 2.8 million people are displaced.

For the first Holocaust in my lifetime, yes, Adolf Hitler is to blame, together with the "herd" who followed him, but I'm afraid there will be many other Hitlers, unless we find a way, globally, to stop them. One way is to be educated on the beginnings of all the holocausts. There are many themes in these horrific events, themes of prejudice--racial, religious, and gender-based--, and the acceptance of the herd mentality of normal people doing bad things that are socially approved.

Why couldn't we do anything against them? Why we still can't? Will another holocaust happen again? It keeps happening, doesn't it?

Prompt: April 1, 2014: In your opinion, what is the worst event in history to have ever taken place? Could something like this possibly happen again?
March 31, 2014 at 1:15am
March 31, 2014 at 1:15am
The movies can provoke so many feelings, so many tears, but I think, for this, the actors are to blame to a large degree for their great performances that create such empathy in the cola-drunk and popcorn-fed audiences. To counteract the actors, I wish we could have Siri, the voice-command girl, whispering in our ears during a movie, "Get a hold of yourself. This story is not relevant to your life."

Are we so masochistic that we willingly subject ourselves to crushing dramas? A daughter who is secretly dying, the doggie that lost his life while saving a child, sinking ship, cancer, people in slavery or imprisonment...Just a few topics that inspire tears, and those tears we love in a matchlessly sick way.

Do we cry at the movies because we find the subject matter close to our hearts, or is it the opening of our feelings to the darkness inside the theater? It beats me, but I think darkness has something to do with it. Just think of the end of the movie when the reel stops and they turn on the bright lights. What an ambiance killer are those lights! Right away, everyone gathers their stuff and trudges out like zombies with a herd mentality, trying to hide red eyes and left-over sniffling.

I am not a crying person. Crying in front of everybody feels like emotional hemorrhaging to me. Even though I don't suffer from a tear-duct blockage disease, rarely- if ever, can I shed tears in serious, critical life situations. Yet, there have been times when I had tears at the movies.

Looking back all the way to my childhood, I can honestly say, Disney traumatized me. I feared Disney movies. Cinderella's ugly step-mother and sisters, Sleeping Beauty's biting the apple and those poor dwarfs' basketball-sized tears, Old Yeller's ending, Bambi searching frantically for his dead mother...What a shock for a kid!

Even in later years, when I was quite grown up--a woman with children high-school age, no less--Disney did it again with The Lion King. Just look, not only does Simba's dad get trampled to death by a herd of wildebeests, but Simba innocently blames himself for the tragedy. That movie finally did it for me. I swore out Disney.

I can't remember the title of the movie for which I felt emotion the most, however. I think it was a French movie with Alain Delon and Romy Schneider, a tragic love story happening somewhere in Europe, a couple of centuries ago, in which Alain Delon dies at the end. Oh, that poor romance! Maybe excusable, since I was fourteen then, a bit off my rocker, and I saw the movie with my pretty cousin who was lovesick and romance-crazy, and in hindsight, maybe I imitated her. The two of us were bawling so hard even after we came home that the adult chaperon felt terribly guilty for taking us.

But it is not just the awkward adolescents who sob and blubber for failed romances. Most females I know stalk tearjerker chick-flicks the way black bears get drenched while trying to catch salmon.

Not me, I may be like a bear and mentally hibernate at times, but you won't see me drenched at the movies. I refuse to watch chick flicks with women friends alone. That day with my cousin did it.

Anyhow, I never got teary eyed or even had a lump in my throat watching Steel Magnolias, Terms of Endearment, or American Beauty. The English Patient annoyed me, and Life is Beautiful made me angry, not sad. I wanted a Hollywood ending for that one.

What I had a lump in the throat for, even a sniffle or two, is the last scene in Casablanca. My sadness, though, unlike other viewers, was not for Rick's sacrifice, but for Elsa's courage to go with a man she loved less. Among some movies that truly moved me are Schindler's List and Dead Poet's Society.

"Crying is the refuge of plain women but the ruin of pretty ones," said Oscar Wilde. Crying in front of everyone can be my worst nightmare, but I think I am not alone in this. I have a hunch that men who hate chick flicks are also afraid of their own sigh-filled crying and looking un-macho and un-pretty—okay, un-handsome—, as if having a breakdown.

Probably, those men--and women like me--may be afraid of facing our own drama-queen personalities, but I wonder more about those people who search tears in their movie experience. What makes them feel compelled to pursue such experiences? I don't know the exact answers, but I suspect those are the nicer people who like to watch and remember that compassion exists and empathy is alive and well on our otherwise conflicted planet.


Prompt: What movie always makes you cry? (Or at least makes you emotional.)
March 29, 2014 at 2:10am
March 29, 2014 at 2:10am
*Music2* *Music1* *Music2* *Music1* *Music2* *Music1* *Music2*

First the confession: I am tone deaf, tune deaf, voice poor, and have imperfect pitch. Once I tried to sing in the shower. Even the showerhead was disturbed and tried to choke me with pulsating water. Not good. I suggest, if the showerhead is on full spurt, don't open your mouth.

This lack of musical flair is not my fault, however. At the start of creation, there had to have been an unjust allocation of talents. I am totally convinced that the talent distribution was not democratic, although who can really claim that anything else was democratic then? Democracy wasn't yet invented.

On the other hand, I'm willing to shoulder some of the blame. Chances are, while they were handing out gifts and capabilities, haphazardly I assume, I must have been playing with words and probably missed on grabbing some great traits and talents.

Yet, I love music. I have given every respect to it in my so-called aficionado fashion. Starting at a very young age, too. Those who knew me as a baby used to say, even before I walked, I learned to pick up words from songs and would scream my head off, as if singing: "Love...got...gal...Khalsoo (Short for Kalamazoo). Come to think of it, my mother must have been a Glen Miller fan. By the time I turned four, I bet there were more people with migraines in our house than all the head-achy people put together in the entire neighborhood. Luckily no one got profuse bleeding from their aural cavities.

Enter the era of the piano, at my clumsy age of eight. Let me tell you, a piano is nothing to be trifled with. It possesses foxy qualities that lure a person, but then, it hammers at her self-confidence like a maniac. To top it, my teachers were a father-and-son team, educated in France, which the word France gave bragging rights to my mother while it made me approach the teachers with extreme caution and stealth.

Picture this: Teacher's studio. Metronome ticking and tocking on the piano next to Beethoven's bust, one teacher sitting next to me on the bench, the other one (usually the stricter father) with a long ruler in his hand, also keeping tempo behind me, and I, the total klutz and fraidy cat, fearing the teacher's ruler at the back of me. I am also messing up the notes, missing the tempo, and mixing up the bars inside Czerny's Method for Beginners or Hanon's Exercises. Let's not forget the large erasers on top of my two hands to teach me not to bend my wrists. I think, in that studio, I dropped more erasers on the floor in an hour of piano lesson than a bird drops doodoos in its entire lifetime.

After a few more years of this when I could faultily play a bar or two, started the advanced lessons. Teachers' comments during this era: "Don't play like a lamb; attack like a lion." "Don't be so scared. The keys won't attack you. You have to attack them." "Your left hand is falling behind your right hand." "Watch carefully. The sheet says something else; you are playing something else."

Well, I was something else, all right. I almost, single-handedly, destroyed the art of piano playing. Looking back, I probably could not internalize the fact that my piano was not a weapon of mass destruction, although it had attacked me as a weapon of mass confusion.

Finally, at the end of ten long years of lessons, one of the teachers said---I assume, out of courtesy--that I was playing the piano well "technically," but more was needed. I just didn't have that "more," and without that "more," it was mutually decided that my piano era was over. Phew!

But now, I want to make up for all that, and for the embarrassment that I still sing off-pitch, although I can recall the words to most songs perfectly. I want to make up for the tones I produced, which were so forced and horrific that even decorum didn't prevent the listeners from shrieking and running away. Yes, I truly would love a sudden windfall, a divine gift, of musical talent bestowed upon me even at this late age in life.

If not, I can still bellow, off-key, "I dreamed a dream..." *Music2* *Music1*

Prompt: March 29, 2014: Tell us about a talent you'd love to have but don't.
March 28, 2014 at 12:19am
March 28, 2014 at 12:19am
Sorry, if I don't meet the expectations of a messenger of any amazing news, but my default reaction to sudden anything is doubt. The first thing I'll ask inside my head usually is: "Is this really happening to me?"

Since my self-centeredness requires suspicion, my reaction to good news, especially if it is acute and sensational, won't be all drumbeat and roaring merriment. Before I kick my heels in the air and dance, I'll wonder how much of that incredible, fantastic newsflash is rhetorical bullshit and what its hidden truth is. Maybe I tend to over-intellectualize things and get lost in abstract arguments within my own maze, instead of paying attention to what's going on right in front of me, but this is who I am.

For the same token of being who I am, since I can figure out my reaction will be socially repulsive, I'll probably act pleased or surprised, or if the messenger is someone who really knows me, I'll show her my true colors.

"No, fairy godmother, don't fool around with me. You can't turn a pumpkin into a four-horse fancy carriage for me to go to the ball. You did! You really did? Wow! But what if the ball is boring with uppity uglies? And what about the clock striking midnight? You're sure I'll make it?

"Then, suppose I made it to the ball, or rather gathered the fruits of that good news, what if people I am used to and love do not recognize me? That is a concern, isn't it? After all, I'm the kind, if given a glass slipper, I'll drop the slipper, and it will break. Then what would the prince bring me instead of my glass slipper? Its shards to cut my feet? No, thank you.

"So please, give me that amazing, incredible, fantastic, awesome, marvelous news in increments, fairy godmother, so I can act happy, feeling truly happy. Who knows, maybe at the end of it all, I'll be chirping for you on cloud nine."


Prompt:You get some incredibly, amazingly, wonderfully fantastic news. Whats the first thing you do?
March 27, 2014 at 12:18am
March 27, 2014 at 12:18am
Virginia Woolf says, in order to write a woman must have "a room of her own." Other writers all have their own ideas about an ideal writing space. For me, it is not the room or the studio or any other place or space outside of the writer, but it is the writer's inner space. So, of all writerly advice for a writing place, the most sensible one for me is Ernest Hemingway's. "The best place to write is in your head."

A writer works in a the mix of imagination, ideas, and craft, and usually becomes so engrossed in what he is doing that he is unaware of his actual surroundings, although some writers may need external motivations such as music, a certain view, special kind of furniture, the purrs of their kitten, etc.

In truth, where I am writing is not my problem, but the conditions are. I like absolute quiet and I can only get it after midnight, which cuts into my sleep cycle. So it is a Catch 22 situation. Can I write elsewhere? I can, but the work I produce, or rather my enjoyment of it, does not measure up to what I can do in absolute quite. And yes, I have written in the library, the mall, the airport, an airplane, the beach, Barnes&Noble's, Starbucks, hotels, parks, playground, the bathroom, so on and so forth. Most of what I write in any noisy place or in public ends up becoming jotted down, disconnected ideas or lists, or at best, prewriting for some future piece.

My writing space now is part of the family room, close to the kitchen, which allows me to keep an eye on the cooking. When I take my eyes off the computer's screen, I can see the sixth hole of a golf course, and this pleases me because, as well as the large green space, there are palms and other trees in my view. Around my desk in the family room, I have bookshelves that hold all my reference books, as well as a few other things I may need.

Yet, in the same room is the TV across from where I sit and my hubby's small workspace, his laptop, and his boom-box. He has a study room in the house, and there is another room, supposedly mine, which holds the most of my books, another desk, and a bed. That room serves as a guestroom, too. In truth, my husband could stick to his study for whatever it is he is doing, and I could go write in the guest room, which was originally designed as my study, but with mutual consent, we decided to do our work and entertainment together in the family room. That togetherness thing, you know.

If I have to design an ideal room for my writing, however, that room has to be in a quiet place, but close to a big city. I'd prefer Manhattan, but that is not possible, because having lived there for half of my life and in the suburbs of it, too, I know no such quiet exists there. So, let's say, I found an imaginary Manhattan, and off from it, an absolutely quiet spot with a fantastic view of either the mountains with lots of trees or a quiet beach. I would like the room to have glass walls facing the view. I would like a tall ceiling, tiled floor with plush area rugs, and bookshelves on the three other walls. A large desk and another large table are also necessary and, since this is a figment of my imagination, a computer and printer, both totally unbreakable and fuss-free, are my requirements, too. A state of the art reading nook and professional lighting would complete the room.

Now, if I had all that would my writing get any better? I don't think so. The only thing that would get better would be the sale value of the house. So, as is, where I write is perfectly fine, if I could only apply a few conditions to it, at least during a few hours of the day...


Prompt: Describe your ideal writing space - it does not have to be in your house, library, or anywhere familiar. You've been given a huge sum of money and can go anywhere you choose to set up your writing space - describe it!
March 26, 2014 at 12:54am
March 26, 2014 at 12:54am
People are wonderful. Friends and family are great, and I have to have them.

On the other hand, I am my own best friend, no question about it. Being alone is not sad or pitiable; it is enjoying my own company, especially if I choose to do so. I was an only child to a slew of adults while growing up. This may be part of the reason for the fact that I learned to be alone and embraced my aloneness so well.

There are places, cities, situations where being alone without a partner or friends and family can be a problem. This problem sometimes leads to the fear of being alone. We all experience this fear at one time or another, but this fear, when it is taken to its extremes, can be a cause for great misery.

Yet, a human is like a heart that contracts and expands incessantly as it pumps the blood through the body. I can contract for a time, but to be alive, I must also expand. I can be alone and happy, but I can be with people and be happy, too. Thoreau said, "I never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude." I can totally understand this stance, although I couldn't, wouldn't go live in the wilderness like he did. For one thing, I like my creature comforts. Second, as much as I like my solitude, I like to be around people, too.

Anyhow, if a person can accept himself and can look at who he is closely, then being alone should not be a problem for that person. Being alone does not mean being lonely, either. Loneliness has desperation and sadness in it. Loneliness has to do with feelings of abandonment. Being alone, however, is being solitary and doing it well.

While alone, I can do many things that I know will absorb my attention and make my time worthwhile, which is much better than being in the company of people who may be boring for me. But I am not only talking about doing things that I like to do when alone. I am also talking about sitting quietly and turning inward. This turning inward is about freeing me and growing, while I get to know myself.

Thus, being alone is empowering. It is taking care of my own emotional needs myself and gaining confidence and self-sufficiency. In short, being alone is feeling my own strength.


Prompt: Can you be alone with yourself?

March 25, 2014 at 1:01am
March 25, 2014 at 1:01am
I like to wash dishes by hand, even though I own a dishwasher.

This must have to do with washing things, with water and soap. Maybe it has its basis in baptism, ablutions, or whatever...It is inside each religion, this cleansing with water, getting dunked in water, and all other rituals in water. It possibly has something to do with cleansing from primal fears or releasing the soul from some unnamed chains that hold it down.

While I do the washing, I begin developing a whole new relationship with my thoughts. They aren't changed at all, but they are just thoughts put on hold. I don't have to judge them, act on them, or do anything about them. I let them come and go like fluffy white clouds in the sky that are there, which I let pass or ignore.

This is so different from my everyday multitasking life, imploding with bottlenecked to-do lists. Those won't change, but doing one thing only by really concentrating on every step of it releases the tension, and I find the solutions to most things suddenly surfacing inside my mind, just as soon as I start drying my hands afterwards.

Washing the dishes by hand is my ritual of sorts. For this ritual, I pick up one dish first and take an extra second to brush it, while feeling the motions of my arm from side to side, then I rinse the crud off. Next, I reach for my small sponge to soap the dish in circular motions. After that, I hold it under running water, feeling the water's warmth, feeling the suds leave, feeling the squeaky cleanness of the dish as if I and the dish were one and the same. I gently place the dish on the drying rack, thinking only of the storyline of dishwashing, and how I let all other thoughts sail away.

After my introductory dish, I start with the rest, treating the entire load as one dish. Every item in the load is brushed and scrubbed of leftovers, then they're soaped and set aside. Afterwards, they are rinsed one by one and placed on the rack.

Washing dishes by hand takes me far away from any nagging thoughts, replacing them with casual reflections. I don't talk at all while I am so engrossed, while I am much slower and much more grounded.

When I am deeply absorbed in washing dishes, all I hear is the silence within me. The silence that keeps my approach to life flexible, lets me embrace its imperfection and chaos, and encourages me to achieve a perfect flow. I feel I have become truly present in that silence, as that silence has now become my ahh-haa moment.


Prompt: Tell us about your favorite way to get lost in a single activity - running, chopping veggies, folding laundry etc.
What's it like when you are in the zone?

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