Haiku Friday: Grocery

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

a grocery list
if read right, is poetry
slurp those yummy words

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.

Writing Tip: Writing for the Unseen

I’ve ghostwritten numerous books for people I have never met in person. (I’m not sure of how many – at least 25.) Until I got Skype, I’d never even seen them, except sometimes in photographs. When I teach other writers to be ghostwriters they often ask me how I get around the challenge of not having the physical reality of the author in front of me.

I tell them that this is actually a benefit, not a detriment. This is because the readers of the book will likely never see the author in person either. And yet you must make the author’s voice and presence real anyway. As the ghostwriter, you are coming from the place of the reader – and the reader is who the book is for, right?

Another benefit is that when you are limited to just the author’s voice, your focus on their words increases, since you will not be distracted by environment, gestures, facial expressions, and so forth. And of course, books are made of words!

Ghostwriting for a Dog: Psychic Abilities

My human gets weirded out when I prove to her I am psychic. She will be pecking peacefully away on her computer for a while, and then she’ll realize she needs to get a little exercise because her back and legs feel stiff. As soon as she thinks this I know. I jump off the couch and head into her office, sit in the doorway, and look at her while transmitting this message: “Go to Dog Park.” She looks up and says, “How did you know?” in an irritated tone. She pecks a little more, but her heart’s not in it because I am still sitting in the doorway, still transmitting and receiving. Finally she closes the computer and gets up out of the chair. Then we go to the dog park.

Any human who lives with a dog knows that we are psychic, whether they admit it or not.

Haiku Friday: Guess

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

no one knows for sure
no matter what you believe
it is just a guess

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.

Sharing History: Dear Abby and Me

Starting from when I was about ten and lasting until I graduated from high school and moved out of the house, my mother liked to clip out Dear Abby columns from the newspaper and stick them in strategic places where I’d be sure to see them. Sometimes they would appear on my pillow, pinned with a safety pin so I couldn’t just brush it off, I’d have to deal with it. Sometimes she’d call us to the dinner table, and there’d be a Dear Abby column instead of a napkin by my plate. Or I’d open my notebook in math class at school and find one glued onto the next blank page. Sometimes she’d hide one inside the book I was currently reading, or inside the jacket of my favorite record album.

As is obvious, my mother admired Dear Abby and believed her brand of morality, wisdom and clean humor to be of great importance to a growing girl. My mother often got flustered when trying to explain what she believed or thought, especially to an antagonistic teenager, but her sneak attacks using Dear Abby as ammunition gave her a way around this weakness.

Of course I hated those Dear Abby columns and my mother’s dated morality. I hated these sneak attacks even more because I suffer from insatiable curiosity so I never had enough moral stamina to tear up my mother’s Dear Abby bullets unread. So I’d always read it to the end, silently steaming with resentment. And to this day even a photograph of Abigail Van Buren sets my teeth on edge. I’m pretty sure this is not what my mother had in mind – but she certainly did make an impression.

Compost: What Age Really Means

Two days before my birthday this year, I happened to be taking care of my 3-year-old grandson Desmond, at his house. This was one of those birthdays that makes you feel that age is not just creeping up on you, it’s already here, staring you in the face. It would be fair to say that I was feeling a little down.

As soon as I came in the door, my grandson runs up to me. Zippy energy is coming off him in waves. He’s wriggling all over.

“Grandma!” he says, trying to lower his voice so his mother, busy getting ready to leave for work, will not hear him betraying the secret she’s told him not to share.

“It’s your birthday!” he says in a thrilled whisper.

I smile and nod because it’s impossible not to. “Yes it is my birthday,” I agree.

He leans in closer, to make sure I hear him. “We’re having dessert! It’s …” (voice lowered even more, but delivered with dramatic punch) chocolate ice cream!”

I’m now giggling. “Oh, I like chocolate ice cream,” I say.

“And with candles on top!” He leans against my knees and his hands grip me with excitement. His grin nearly splits his face in half.

“How fun,” I say, and infected by his enthusiasm, I really mean it. “But Grandma’s pretty old, Des,” I say, without a trace of self-pity. “I don’t know if we can fit all those candles on the ice cream.”

This does not faze him at all. “Then we’ll need LOTS of ice cream!” he shrieks, no longer caring if his mother hears him or not. He spreads his arms wide and his eyes grow huge with delight.

Aged or not, I can still recognize wisdom when I hear it. My mood and my attitude have been healed, which often happens when I’m around my grandson Desmond.

All getting older means is that you get to have more ice cream.

Haiku Friday: Weeds

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

if dandelions
were the only flowers left
they wouldn’t be weeds

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.

Writing Tip: Read These Blogs

If you’re a writer, then you should be a reader too. If you’re a writer who writes a blog, then you should read other blogs too. Here are ten of my favorite blogs about writing:

1. My all time favorite, about writing and editing, by an excellent cast of writers and editors – The Blood Red Pencil. http://bloodredpencil.blogspot.com.

2. Men With Pens – this blog is nearly always funny and helpful and just a little bit weird, I love these guys. http://menwithpens.ca.

3. Straight from Hel – Helen Ginger’s blog, sometimes amusing, sometimes pithy, always wonderful to read. http://straightfromhel.blogspot.com

4. Daily Diversions for Writers by Debbie Ridpath Ohi – another blog writer with a funny bone. Her cartoons alone are worth a look. www.inkygirl.com

5. Carolyn Howard Johnson’s blog with plenty of stories and ideas about writing, editing, publishing, marketing, and all things to do with words. Her books are great too. http://sharingwithwriters.blogspot.com

6. Quips & Tips for Successful Writers – sometimes about writing, sometimes about marketing, sometimes about editing. http://theadventurouswriter.com/blogwriting

7. Daily Writing Tips – just what it says, some good ideas here. www.dailywritingtips.com

8. Indie Author – April Hamilton’s blog about her adventures with self- publishing and trade publishing. http://www.aprillhamilton.com

9. The Savvy Book Marketer Dana Lynn Smiths outstanding website which she updates about once a week, all about book marketing. http://bookmarketingmaven.typepad.com/book_marketing_maven/

10. A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing by J.A. Konrath, just what it says – lots of publishing tips here. http://jakonrath.blogspot.com

Ghostwriting for a Dog: Goody Beagle on Bigotry

My human says I am a bigot just cuz I like beagles best. Many other dogs on Twitter agree with me (especially the beagles.) Some don’t, but they are wrong. Beagles ARE the best.

@xxx says: “My beagle Freddy prefers beagles as well – at his daycare they call him and the 3 other beagles there the “hound gang.” @elliethebeagle says “I like all hounds.” @sushitsa says “Yes you are the best, but we are all lovely in our own way. I live with 5 dogs 2 cats and 2 donkeys and we love each one. @bglemommy says: “Beagles rule!” Finally, @Funkymutha says: “Well then I’m a bigot too cos WE BEAGLES ROCK!!!!” (yes, four exclamation points.)

Just to be fair, for the opposing point of view @wdlndgreasil (a greyhound) says: “Sadly you are wrong. Mama says Greyhounds are the best. Really, just sayin.”

But my favorite Tweet on this subject comes from, of all creatures, a CAT! @jessescat says: “Nonsense! Not a bigot at all, just displaying Breed Loyalty, an admirable trait.”

Who could have guessed a cat would be so wise?

Haiku Friday: Story

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

once long ago, or
maybe only yesterday
a story began

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.