Compost: Latte Bones

Goody Beagle here. After me and my human go to the dog park we go to the drive through coffee place. We pull up to a window and a human arm comes out and gives my human something called a latte. It smells like perfume, which is one of the world’s worst smells.

However, the human arm also gives me a milk bone. This is better. My human says we should call it a “latte bone”, except if we did it would probably cost more.

I don’t care what we call it, and I really don’t care what it costs. I just like to smell it and eat it. Humans don’t understand what is important and what isn’t.

Technorati Tags: compost, Goody Beagle, latte, bones, dog park, coffee, milk bone, perfume, smell

Haiku Friday: Weeds

Here’s my haiku for today, on the topic of Weeds:

weeds jump the fences
murder in their greedy hearts
anarchy at last

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.

Technorati Tags: haiku, writing, syllable, weeds, jump, fences, greedy, hearts, murder, anarchy

Compost: Word Morph

I love words. I love history. Therefore, you’re probably not surprised to hear that I especially love the history of words. Many modern English words have gone through some strange morphing over the years, sometimes changing their meanings 180 degrees. Here are some interesting ones:

“awful” used to mean wondrous, as in “deserving of awe.”
“brave” used to mean cowardly (really!) That’s where the word “bravado” comes from.
“buxom” used to mean obedient.
“cute” used to mean bow-legged. I bet you’ll now think twice before you use this as a compliment, won’t you?
“nice” used to mean foolish.
“sophisticated” used to mean corrupted.
“silly” meant blessed and happy.

So if you went back in time to eleventh or twelfth century England, you would have a difficult time making yourself understood. You’d probably offend a great many people – or they would offend you.

Words are not set in stone, no matter what Moses said. They change. They mean only what we say they mean. This may make some people uncomfortable, but get used to it.

Technorati Tags: compost, words, history, love, morph, English, meaning, change

Haiku Friday: Crippled

Here’s my haiku for today, on the topic of Crippled:

hobble down the road
swollen feet and crippled knees
squawk if you have to

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.

Technorati Tags: haiku, writing, syllable, crippled, hobble, road, swollen feet, knees, squawk

Sharing History: First Times

Are you writing memoir? If you are, a juicy storehouse of memory can be found in “first times.” We never forget the first time we did something, saw something, heard something, felt something. First times have long shelf lives; they often stay fresh forever. Sit down to write about one of your first times. Start with “I remember …” Here’s one of my memories, of a first love.

I remember an old twelve string guitar, its polish scratched by the long fingernails of my first love, a marijuana-clouded musician dressed in tattered jeans and a tie-dyed shirt. His hair fell over his eyes and down his back in cascades of disgust for the establishment, while he played the guitar with single-minded concentration. His eyes were dark and intense despite the numbing effects of the joint hanging out of his mouth.

I remember what it was to be young and tempestuous, passionate about the truth and furious about the lies we were told by those we had trusted not to betray us. My favorite songs were heavy with E-flat and A-flat, minor chords which echoed the sadness and betrayal of those times, the great late-sixties.

First loves may betray you too. I wish he hadn’t. I wish his hair had stayed black and lustrous forever, but I know, even though he is long gone from my life, that now it is gray. I know his face is now lined with his own failures and his own lies.

I wish we could wipe the surface of the guitar clean of scratches and rings where beer cans once stood, and someone would again play songs that no one had ever heard before. I wish we could once more strum the anthems of hope and despair. I wish we did not live to see both the dawn and dusk of the Age of Aquarius.

Technorati Tags: history, memoir, first time, memory, long shelf life, I remember, first love

Compost: Celebrity Beagles

Goody Beagle here. I am moderately famous (I wrote a book, and I have nearly two thousand Twitter followers!) but not yet a celebrity. I don’t care. Being famous isn’t quite as important to us dogs as it is to you humans. Don’t get me wrong; we like attention, it’s just that we just don’t think everyone has to love us, as long as someone does. Don’t you think that’s more healthy?

For some reason, famous beagles abound in cartoons and comic strips. For instance, everyone knows Snoopy, from the comic strip Peanuts. Snoopy is so famous he is a whole industry all by himself – when he makes special appearances at theme parks, he actually bills himself as “The World’s Most Famous Beagle.” I like Snoopy’s attitude. He knows he is cool.

Another cartoon Beagle is Odie, the nemesis of Garfield the Cat. Odie is supposedly stupid. Now I’m not saying there aren’t stupid beagles, but they are rare, and I don’t think Odie is stupid either. After all, Garfield never really gets the better of him.

Then there’s Gromit from Wallace and Gromit, an educated Beagle with a degree from Dogwarts University. Gromit is so smart he doesn’t even have to talk, and Wallace would be nowhere without him. Likewise, the beagle Mr. Peabody from the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show is educated and intelligent. He gets Sherman out of trouble on every single show.

In the 1960s and 70s, the television cartoon Underdog was a big hit, and Underdog was a Beagle. His voice was done by Wally Cox, a funny human who looked a little like a beagle himself. Then Underdog was made into a movie starring a real beagle. But did you know that this movie gave the beagle NO acting credit? His voice, done by Jason Lee, got it all. Even though it was the dog who had to wear the shirt and cape. I don’t think this is right, do you?

Other real-life famous beagles include Him, Her, and Edgar, who lived in the White House from 1963 to 1968 with President Johnson, also known as LBJ. LBJ caused a scandal when he picked up Him (or Her, I forget which) by his ears, and a photographer took a picture of this sad event. It just goes to show that not even Presidents exercise good judgment all the time.

The most recent famous beagle is Uno, who took the 2008 Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. He was the first beagle to win this most coveted prize, and it’s about time.

Maybe my book will sell millions of copies, and then I too will be famous! That would make my human happy. But I think I’d be just as happy if she would let me catch rabbits. Or eat a whole pot roast.

Technorati Tags: compost, beagles, celebrity, Goody Beagle, dogs, humans, attention, cartoons, comics, Snoopy, Peanuts, Odie, Garfield, Gromit, Mr. Peabody, Underdog, Him, Her, Edgar, President Johnson, Whitehouse, Uno

Haiku Friday: Maytime

Here’s my haiku for today, on the topic of Maytime:

bonfires on the hillsides
couples writhing in the grass
soon red, red poppies

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.

Technorati Tags: haiku, writing, syllable, bonfires, hillsides, couples, writhing, grass, poppies

Writing: Heroes & Leaders

I teach memoir writing and how to see your life in the context of “big history.” A fruitful exercise that I give is about the heroes and leaders you admired or despised. Here are some questions you might ask yourself (or your parents/grandparents) to get the memories flowing:

Who was the first American or World leader you were aware of as a child? Did your parents talk about him/her? What emotions did this person inspire in you – love, admiration, fear, anger, excitement? Write from the point of view of the child you were.

Who did your father or your mother admire? How do you know s/he admired that person? Did s/he talk about him/her at the dinner table? How did this hero affect you? Did you agree with your father or mother, and why or why not?

As a teenager, who were your heroes? Did you model yourself after them? Dress like them? Talk like them? Join a fan club? Write in your diary about them? Hang pictures of them on your bedroom wall? Did your hero have an effect on what you studied in school? Did they affect the kind of adult you became?

Pick a famous person you hated, despised, or feared. Write about how your fear, anger, or hate motivated you. Did you work against this person or his/her message? Did you speak out, write letters, join campaigns, argue with his/her supporters?

Have fun.

Technorati Tags: writing, memoir, feelings, history, facts, stories, truth, exercise, American, leader, mother, father, teen, hero, despise, fear, anger, hatred

Compost: Good Blogs

Here are two blog stops to add to your reading list. I was featured in renowned storyteller Kathy Hanson’s A Storied Career blog last month. I wrote about tweeting as my dog, transformations I’ve seen through storytelling, and whether all good writers can be good ghosts. To read the featured interview go tohttp://astoriedcareer.com/kim_pearson_qa.html. You can read other posts on her blog at http://www.astoriedcareer.com

I’ve recommended this blog before, but it’s such a great blog that I’m doing it again: The Blood Red Pencil (click here to view the blog). I’ve been named their “resident ghost” and am now providing monthly entries here. I am honored!

Technorati Tags: compost, blog, storyteller, Kathy Hanson, A Storied Career, storytelling, writing, writers, ghosts, The Blood Red Pencil

Haiku Friday: Mother

Here’s my haiku for today, on the topic of Mother:

honor your Mother
she is your blood and your bones
she’s the way you came

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.

Technorati Tags: haiku, writing, syllable, mother, blood, bones, birth