Haiku Friday: Arrogance

It’s Haiku Friday again. For the past twenty years or so, it has been my practice to write one haiku every day. Every Friday I share a haiku here, about whatever topic I happen to choose. I invite you to write a haiku on this topic too, and share it with me and the readers of this blog. Just write it in the Comments below. The only rules are: 1) your haiku must be about the named topic; 2) you must follow the 5-7-5 syllable format; 3) no obscenities or hate (I will delete those). That’s it.

At the end of each month I’ll gather up the haikus in the “Haiku Comments” that meet the criteria and pick one at random in a drawing, and send the winner of the drawing one of my e-books: your choice of “Haiku for the Seasons I”, or “Haiku for the Seasons II.”

Today’s topic is “ARROGANCE.” Here is my haiku:

you regret nothing?
either you are arrogant
or you are lying


Technorati Tags: haiku, writing, syllable, topic, arrogance, regret, lying

Sharing History: Firsts

If you read the Technology and Science timeline in my book Making History, you will note how many times the word “first” is stated during the 1930s, 40s and 50s, especially for inventions that changed people’s daily lives. Frozen foods, synthetic rubber, air conditioning, screw-on bottle caps, nylon, water fluoridation, masking tape, weather satellites, microwave ovens, radar, scuba gear, tape recorders, Xerox copiers, the Univac computer, contact lens, electric blankets, transistor radios, burglar alarms, DDT and plastic are just a few of the new-fangled products introduced to Americans during these decades.

A participant in one of my classes, “Josie,” shared about introducing microwave ovens to the public in the early 1950s. Josie worked as a secretary, not a scientist, but she was an attractive young blond so she was asked to help demonstrate the easiness and efficiency of the microwave oven at a Home Show. At first she was delighted – it was a welcome break from typing and filing, and seemed quite glamorous to the 22-year-old. “But it became old fast,” Josie read. “My job was to boil water in a glass, alternating with cooking a hot dog, over and over again – I must have cooked hundreds of hot dogs and boiled hundreds of glasses of water – all the while smiling and repeating my patter, which was only one line: “The microwave makes cooking so easy anyone can do it!” The only real direction I got was to “look pretty” and I guess I did because they kept me there three days.”

How about you? Whatever your work, what technological advancements helped you to do it better? Compare your daily life in 1937, or 1967, or 1997, with your daily work today. What has changed? How are you more efficient? What inventions or new ideas came along during your working life that improved the quality of your work, or made it easier?

If you’d care to share a story about this topic, please leave a comment here. At the end of each month I’ll gather up the Sharing History comments and pick one at random from a drawing, and send the winner of the drawing my e-book: your choice of a Making History Workbook.

Technorati Tags: writing, read, making history, first, timeline, technology, science

Compost: My Daughter’s Birthday

On the night of July 27th, 2005, when my daughter C was pregnant with my first grandchild, I had a dream. Because I can (this is my blog, after all), I am sharing my dream:

I am on a sailboat with my two daughters, H and C. We are sailing around Puget Sound on one of those sunny days that let you know you live in Paradise. C is hugely pregnant and I am giving her a baby shower. Except for myself and H, the other attendees at the sailboat shower are, in reality, dead. They include my Aunt V, who died in 1992, and my Aunt R, who died in 1986, and my Aunt T, who died in 1990. Also present are both my grandmothers, one dead in 1964 and the other in 2002. Plus two great-aunts, who died when I was a teenager. The aunts and grannies are having a great time, relishing the sunshine sparks on the blue water and the feel of the wind on their transparent faces. Their laughter floats on the waves.

Instead of shower gifts, we are passing around a basket. The aunts and grannies are putting money in the basket. Wads of crumpled money appear in their hands like magic, and they stuff and poke the bills into the basket until it is overflowing.

Suddenly C moans and clutches her abdomen. Labor is starting! H takes C down into the hold of the sailboat so she can have privacy to give birth. The aunts and grannies think this is the best party game yet. Their laughter gets louder and even happier. Auntie R falls off her seat because she is giggling so hard. Grandmother M tells a dirty joke and everyone whoops.

I am distracted, running between the party on deck and the drama in the hold, where C pants through contractions and H holds her hand and whispers strengthening words into her ear. I don't want to miss the birth, but I don't want to leave my guests either. During one of my trips up on deck, I count the money in the basket. "There's SEVENTY FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS in here!" I shriek. From below, I hear C yell, "Yippee!"

Well, you tell me … does this dream mean I am the carrier, the go-between, of the old family stories? I think so. Maybe this is why I do what I do.

Technorati Tags: writing, blog, daughter, pregnant, dream, sailboat, shower, money, magic

Haiku Friday: Change

It’s Haiku Friday again. For the past twenty years or so, it has been my practice to write one haiku every day. Every Friday I share a haiku here, about whatever topic I happen to choose. I invite you to write a haiku on this topic too, and share it with me and the readers of this blog. Just write it in the Comments below. The only rules are: 1) your haiku must be about the named topic; 2) you must follow the 5-7-5 syllable format; 3) no obscenities or hate (I will delete those). That’s it.

At the end of each month I’ll gather up the haikus in the “Haiku Comments” that meet the criteria and pick one at random in a drawing, and send the winner of the drawing one of my e-books: your choice of “Haiku for the Seasons I”, or “Haiku for the Seasons II.”

Today’s topic is “CHANGE” Here is my haiku:

for five billion years
the earth’s been remodeling
and its not done yet


Technorati Tags: haiku, writing, syllable, topic, change, earth, remodeling

Writing Tip: Make Your Readers Real

I recommend that you make your ideal readers as real to you as possible. You might want to browse through magazines and cut out pictures which represent who you are writing for, and put those pictures right by your computer, where you’ll see them. Or you can write about your readers – just a paragraph or two about who they are, what they care about, and what you want them to “get” from your writing, and why they would want to “get” it. Anything that helps you visualize these people will help you write for them.

I sometimes have dialogues (imaginary) with my hoped-for readers. I talk to them as if they are sitting right in front of me. Even if my book is written in the narrative style, I’ll pretend that it isn’t, and address my reader as “you.” This makes them real to me.

Sometimes I even give them names, but don’t tell anybody.

I sometimes share writing tips that have worked for me or my clients/students. Do you have a writing tip you’d like to share? If so, leave a comment here. You might win something! At the end of each month I’ll gather up the “Writing Tip” comments from the month and pick one at random from a drawing, and send the winner of the drawing one of my e-books: your choice of “How to WOW Your Readers” or “You Can Be An Author, Even If You’re Not a Writer.”

Technorati Tags: writing tip, reader, real, pictures, you, dialogue

Compost: Laura the Wise

More from my Muse, Laura:

You know that Laura is a Witch, the name once given to a woman wise in all the arts. She is strong and beautiful, but terrible for the guilty to behold. She speaks the truth of the land and she sings the truth of the air and she dreams the dreams of water. She wears the fire on her back, and when she dies, her hair burns. And a great beacon of light streaks the black sky red.
©2000, Eating Mythos Soup: poemstories for Laura

Technorati Tags: writing, muse, Laura, wise, witch, strong, beautiful, fire, truth, dreams, poemstories, Eating Mythos Soup

Haiku Friday: Shrug

It’s Haiku Friday again. For the past twenty years or so, it has been my practice to write one haiku every day. Every Friday I share a haiku here, about whatever topic I happen to choose. I invite you to write a haiku on this topic too, and share it with me and the readers of this blog. Just write it in the Comments below. The only rules are: 1) your haiku must be about the named topic; 2) you must follow the 5-7-5 syllable format; 3) no obscenities or hate (I will delete those). That’s it.

At the end of each month I’ll gather up the haikus in the “Haiku Comments” that meet the criteria and pick one at random in a drawing, and send the winner of the drawing one of my e-books: your choice of “Haiku for the Seasons I”, or “Haiku for the Seasons II.”

Today’s topic is “SHRUG” Here is my haiku:

after me, the flood
said the King of France, shrugging
let’s not copy him


Technorati Tags: haiku, writing, syllable, topic, shrug, flood, King of France

Sharing History: Gender Roles

The birth control pill went on the market in the sixties, and was one of the most potent forces changing the status of women. Control over their own reproductive functions liberated millions, allowing them freedom and choice. The new Women’s Movement started in the sixties and took off in the 1970s. NOW, the National Organization of Women, was formed in 1966, to improve the status of women and strive for equal pay for equal work, and other important rights. MS Magazine began in 1972. Names such as Gloria Steinem, Bella Abzug, and Betty Freidan became famous, and now are legendary. Women’s “consciousness raising” groups spread across America, and millions of women started paying attention to the inequities visited upon them. Some burned their bras as a symbol of their commitment to the Cause. Sexual discrimination was named, defined and legislated against. “Sex object” became a popular term, referring to the degradation of women. “Male Chauvinist,” or even more descriptive, “male chauvinist pig” were terms applied to men who could not admit that women were equal to them. The Equal Rights Amendment was hotly debated until it was defeated in 1978.

Several of the female participants in my classes have written about the difficulties in breaking the glass ceiling in the business world. Typical is the story of “Patricia,” who graduated from college in 1967 with a cum laude degree in electrical engineering (the only woman in her graduating class), and watched her male classmates find good jobs while she looked and looked and was always passed over. Finally she was hired by a prestigious firm – but only upon the condition that she pass the typing test.

If you are a woman who came of age in the 70s, how did your role change during the women’s movement? Were you inspired by women such as Gloria Steinem or Jackie Kennedy? Did you have a female hero? Did you work outside the home? Did you have aspirations for a career that was traditionally “male”? What barriers hampered you in achieving your goals, and how did you overcome those barriers? Did you go to consciousness raising meetings or groups? Did you read MS Magazine? Were you for the ERA? How did you feel when it was not ratified? Did you vote for a female political candidate? What did the men in your life think of the women’s movement? Did you identify yourself as a feminist?

If you are a man, what were your beliefs during the sixties and seventies about women’s roles? Were you ever called a “male chauvinist pig?” Did you support the women’s movement, or did you not understand what all the fuss was about? Did you help or mentor your female co-workers?

And if you were born after the 1970s, what about your mother, grandmother, father, grandfather? How did the women’s movement change their lives? Because when it changed theirs, it changed yours too.

If you’d care to share a story about this topic, please leave a comment here. At the end of each month I’ll gather up the Sharing History comments and pick one at random from a drawing, and send the winner of the drawing my e-book: your choice of a Making History Workbook.

Technorati Tags: writing, history, birth control pill, liberating, freedom, choice, sex object, male chauvinist, women's movement

Compost: People Who Can’t Write Well

We all think we can write, or we should be able to. After all, we learned how in first grade. A big part of what makes us “civilized” is our ability to write.

But not everyone is talented at writing. I’m not talking about writing clearly enough to communicate some semblance of your thoughts. Most people can manage to do that.

But words are so much more. The written word can change the world – it has a long and distinguished history of doing just that. Words cause emotion, and emotion is what moves people to action. Writing that sings – compelling, moving, dramatic– is often an inborn talent, or an one acquired through lots of time and hard work. Not everyone is born with this talent, or has the time or desire to acquire it.

We can’t be everything. There are plenty of writers who bore the pants off people when they try to give speeches. Writers who can’t hit a home run to save their soul. Writers who can’t draw a stick figure that people could recognize as such. Writers who haven’t the first clue how to sell something. Writers whose thumbs are black, not green, and who kill every plant they try to grow. But boy can they write! We are all different. We have different talents and have learned to use different tools.

It is okay not to write well. If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t have a job.

Technorati Tags: writing, ability, talent, communication, thoughts, words, emotion, work

Haiku Friday: Dogs

It’s Haiku Friday again. For the past twenty years or so, it has been my practice to write one haiku every day. Every Friday I share a haiku here, about whatever topic I happen to choose. I invite you to write a haiku on this topic too, and share it with me and the readers of this blog. Just write it in the Comments below. The only rules are: 1) your haiku must be about the named topic; 2) you must follow the 5-7-5 syllable format; 3) no obscenities or hate (I will delete those). That’s it.

At the end of each month I’ll gather up the haikus in the “Haiku Comments” that meet the criteria and pick one at random in a drawing, and send the winner of the drawing one of my e-books: your choice of “Haiku for the Seasons I”, or “Haiku for the Seasons II.”

Today’s topic is “DOGS.” Here is my haiku:

wear a black sweater
a hairy dog will find you
that’s the way it is


Technorati Tags: haiku, writing, syllable, topic, dogs, sweater, hairy