Compost: What You’ll Miss While You’re Dead

You will miss the strong sharp smell of onions frying in butter, and the sweet smell of lilacs like Victorian Valentines all lace and flowers and smirking cupids, and the acrid smell of cow manure baking in the sunlit fields of summer.

While you are dead you will miss the great dark fir trees silhouetted against the slowly lightening sky at the moment of first dawn. You will miss the infinite varieties of green that saturate the land, and the rivers cutting through craggy mountains, singing their screeing songs to the crisp air and hunting eagles. And the traveling clouds across the moon, gray with orange rims and deep white centers.

While you are dead you will miss the first sip of morning coffee, fixed just right with cream and honey, and served in a thick white mug. You will miss sitting at a seaside café and lazily sipping the day away, just you and a bottle of cheap Retsina.

While you are dead you will miss tending your garden; the dew on the early morning spider webs strung between the rosebushes, the dark smell of earth in your nose, the rough feel of dirt between your fingers, and even the ache in your knees. You will miss the little breezes freshening across your damp forehead, the pull against your hands of the weeds clinging to life, and the dog turds decorating your uncut lawn.

While you are dead you will miss the fierce lifting winds which whirl newspapers into a cloud and force your hair straight back in a thick plank, the winds which carry your joyful shouts away to mysterious lands of strangers and party dust. You will miss stomping through piles of autumn leaves rising in a big cloud of yellow, and flicking their wet skins across your cheeks. While you are dead you will miss strolling through open-air street markets, swirling with movement and color and light, and raucous with the sounds of salesmen and insects. You will miss wandering down old cobblestoned streets and mysterious alleys of ancient European cities. You will miss the discovery of musty libraries tended by wizened librarians whose ivory cheeks are as creased and faded as the pages of their dusty books.

While you are dead you will miss the limpid eyes of kittens and puppies, and the stories of children who know no reality or sniff-seated judgment. You will miss seeing your grandfather lay his parchment cheek against that of his newborn grandson, and you will miss combing the thin white hair of your mother over her tender pink scalp.

While you are dead, all these pleasures you will miss, but if you can name them, they may be waiting for you when you return.

Abridged from Eating Mythos Soup: poemstories for Laura, ©2000 Kim Pearson

Haiku Friday: Moles

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

Push the old dirt out
the moles know that spring is near
let the fresh air in

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.

Technorati Tags:Haiku writing syllable Kim Pearson StoryKim moles push dirt old spring fresh air

Writing Tip: Sensory Detail

Use as much sensory detail in your writing as possible. Einstein said, “God lives in the details,” and he was right. If you always use generalities instead of specifics, if you always tell and never show, don’t be surprised if your readers yawn and move on. Your readers’ emotions are activated if they feel they are “really there.” Don’t write flower, write daffodil. Don’t write that it was amazing, write that your dentures fell out of your mouth. If you are writing about a cross-country car trip, don’t write “we jumped in the car and took off”, write “we jumped in the Jaguar and sped off” or “we piled in the pick-up truck and rattled away.” (These are quite different trips, aren’t they?) And don’t get stuck on how things look – remember you have five senses (maybe more). Include what it smells like, feels like, sounds like, tastes like. Sensory details elicit emotions in the reader. Emotions lead to action or change.

Technorati Tags: writing writing tips tips Kim Pearson StoryKim Einstein God lives in the details generalities specifics details sensory sensory detail emotions feel action change

Goody Beagle Says: More Alex MadMutt

Here are more of my tweets about my new housemate Alex. As you can see, Alex is not growing on me. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for my human – she seems to like him. But why am I surprised? She seems to like The Cat too. You simply cannot account for the strange taste of humans.

  • Saw The Grandpa yesterday. Alex got stuck in the spokes of his wheelchair, but only cuz he wanted to claim The Grandpa as his.
  • At the park today Alex rolled in the mud. Why does my human keep him around?
  • Alex rolled in something real real bad & he had to take a bath — ha ha, glad it wasn't me.
  • My human washed everything that Alex MadMutt touched, cuz of his stinkiness. He smelled fine to me, but she disagreed.
  • The Cat smacked Alex MadMutt on the nose with her claws out. He had blood. He should've known you don't mess w/ The Cat.
  • Alex throws his balls down the stairs & then goes & gets them so he can do it again. What a moron.
  • This morning I saved Alex MadMutt from eating the catfood, by eating it myself. I am pure and selfless – Saint Goody, that's me.
  • My human says Alex MadMutt is my little brother & that is why he is so annoying — she has little brothers too.

Technorati Tags: Goody Beagle ghostwriting dog Kim Pearson StoryKim tweets twitter @dogparkdiary dog park diary dog park diary Alex grandpa mutt BFF saint cat

Haiku Friday: Eggs

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

When you were a child
the streams were clogged with frog eggs
now they run too clear

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.

Technorati Tags: Haiku writing syllable Kim Pearson StoryKim eggs child streams frog frog eggs

Sharing History: The Cuban Missile Crisis

I have teenage nephews and nieces. I wonder sometimes what they make of the world events. When I was their age, in junior high and high school, the events of far away seemed to have no relation to my own life. I knew about them, even had opinions about them, but I didn’t feel personally threatened by what was happening in Vietnam, or Israel, or Russia. Not so, of course, for the adults in my life. I’m reminded of a short episode told me by a student in one of my Making History classes, about her memory of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Here it is:

“Kathy” remembered sitting quietly at her desk during her eighth-grade science class in October of 1962, at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis. For days the teacher hadn’t even tried to teach science. Instead she brought in her radio and she and the children listened to the news. The teacher often listened with her head down on her desk, resting on her arms. “The only time she raised her head,” shared Kathy, “was to yell at some boy who was acting up. But most of us were as scared as she was, although I don’t think any of us really understood what was happening. A lot of us didn’t even know where Cuba was.”

Technorati Tags: writing short stories Kim Pearson Cuban Missile Crisis world events generation age life relation relationship Vietnam Israel Russia 1962 teacher radio news Cuba

Compost: Mbaba Mwana Waresa

Today is Valentine’s Day, supposedly sacred to romantic love. But instead I want to write about passion, which can be different. Not better, just different.

The ancient goddess of the Zulus, Mbaba Mwana Waresa, comes to my mind when I think about passion. Mmm-babba-umm-wanna-wah-raysa. What a good name, you can tell just from those soft liquid sounds that she is great warmth and enormous gusto. Oh, those sounds of satisfaction, of lip-smacking, rhythmic, swaying, head bobbing fullness. It is appropriate that Mbaba Mwana Waresa brought the Zulu people the gift of beer. No wonder they love Her.

And rain, She’s in charge of rain too, that life-bringer to dry climes. She sucks down raindrops and dances in the mud with rainbows shining above her, and through her. And finally, She’s in charge of physical love; is there any end to Mbaba Mwana Waresa’s talents? No, there is no limit to Her. She is the squelching squishing slurping sounds of chugging beer, splashing in puddles, making wet wild messy love.

All the liquids, all the waters, all the goo and the goosh come from Her. When you worship Her, she sweats on you, spits on you, cries on you, pees on you, and licks you all over with her dripping tongue. Mbaba Mwana Waresa is all about flow, uncontrolled flow of unstoppable waters of passion. Do not look for serenity and peace from Her. Do not look for romance, hearts or lace or flowers. She’s a very different kind of Valentine.

Technorati Tags:writing compost Kim Pearson StoryKim Valentine's Day romance romantic sacred love passion ancient goddess goddess of Zulus valentine

Haiku Friday: Passion

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

Your passionate heart
burning ember of desire
smoulders through the night

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.

Technorati Tags: Haiku writing syllable topic Kim Pearson StoryKim passion smouldering heart passionate desire burning

Blog Writing Tip: Be Funny

When writing a blog post, try to be funny. And if you can’t be funny, be wry. Humor sells. It attracts. This doesn’t mean you have to make your readers LOL or hurt their cheek muscles. A chuckle or a snort is enough. A self-deprecating sense of humor, in which you poke a little fun at your own missteps or fumblings, often makes people like you. They’ll want to keep reading just to see what you’ll say next – so they can repeat it to their friends and sound funny themselves. Who doesn’t like to laugh?

Technorati Tags: writing writing tips tips blog blog writing blog writing tips Kim Pearson StoryKim posts blog posts post funny wry humor LOL chuckle snort sense of humor laugh

Goody Beagle Says: Alex MadMutt

If you read my tweets (www.twitter.com/dogparkdiary) you will know that Alex MadMutt moved in with my human and me. (and The Cat, but I try not to mention her.) Alex used to live with The Grandpa, but The Grandpa had a stroke so Alex had to get a new place to live. For some strange reason, my human thought our house would be good. She didn’t ask me. (She didn’t ask The Cat either, but I don’t blame her for that.)

Alex is a Terrier Mix – the Mix part is a great mystery. Maybe Bassett Hound, maybe Corgi, maybe other things too awful to think about. But he’s got a terrier face and some terrier traits, so my human feels safe in calling Alex The Holy Terrier.

Just in case you don’t do Twitter, here are some of my insights on Alex.

  • My BFF Alex MadMutt likes to lick my ears until they are soaked. No one knows why. Alex is strange.
  • When we go on walks, Alex MadMutt wants to go too fast. We miss too many smells that way.
  • My human says my "nose is out of joint" becuz of Alex MadMutt. Huh? My nose is just the same as it ever was.
  • Alex and me were wrestling & we knocked over something that made my human yell. I don't like it when she yells.
  • Alex MadMutt really does go mad when he sees a squirrel. If I were a squirrel I would choose another yard

I know I’ll have more to say about Alex later.

Technorati Tags: Goody Beagle ghostwriting dog Kim Pearson StoryKim tweets twitter @dogparkdiary dog park diary dog park diary Alex grandpa mutt Bassett Hound Corgi BFF