Haiku Friday: TV

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

screw the dumb TV
sun on a winter morning
maybe you can dance

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: Ghosting is Good for You

Most writers have healthy egos, but some of us can have egos that eat too much self-praise and get fat. They fall in love with their words. If you let your ego get too big your words will suffer. This is one of the many reasons it’s a good idea to try ghostwriting.

Ghostwriting is good for your ego. You don’t get any glory or credit. Nobody knows it was your writing that made a book sing, or caused people to weep, or others to cry “aha!” as an idea illuminated their life.

As a ghost, your writing does not belong to you. It belongs to the author, who is not you. Yes, this is a positive thing. It keeps you from getting puffed up with self-importance. You’re not the only one with things to say.

For this and many other reasons (like having a job!), I love being a ghostwriter. I also love to teach, so I have a program you might like to try. It’s called “Living as a Ghost” that teaches writers, editors, and other “book people” all the ins and outs of ghostwriting.

Check out “Living as a Ghost”  – and if it sparks your interest, please let me know. I’m happy to answer any further questions or concerns you may have. Email me at storykim@comcast.net.

Ghostwriting for a Dog: Boxing Day

Goody Beagle here. Today is Boxing Day in England. That’s what my human says, anyway. I have never been to England, even though I’m told that the very first beagles came from there. I also do not know why they call it Boxing Day, although I’m pretty sure my human could tell you, if you asked her. (She knows a lot of useless stuff.)

What Boxing Day means to me is this: roast beef.

That’s because my human’s grandmother came from England (no, she was not a beagle, and the dogs she favored were Pomeranians, how awful). So my human’s grandmother learned how to make the traditional British dish called Roast Beef & Yorkshire Pudding from her mother, and always served it the day after Christmas – which is Boxing Day, in case you didn’t know. So my human’s mother did the same thing, and so did my human, and now my human’s daughters do it too.

This is one human tradition that I approve of. How could anyone not approve of roast beef? (I’m not as sold on the Yorkshire pudding, but the gravy that you pour over it is pretty good.)

Haiku Friday: Rest

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

life’s too short, we moan
while we rest our fat asses
and our dreams pass by

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: Solstice Traditions

Since ancient times people have been celebrating the Light’s rebirth on Winter Solstice, the longest day and shortest night of the year. Although it’s dark tonight, we know that the light is on its way back. Celebrate! Here is my favorite way of celebrating Winter Solstice:

Gather a group of people in a room and turn off all the lights. Send the youngest person into another room. (If the youngest person is a child, send a supervisor with them.) While in the dark, think about the blessings of the past year, and what you’d like the Light to bring. Meanwhile, the youngest person will light a candle or candles and when the time is right, open the door and
bring the Light into the room again.

This sounds simple, but it can be powerful and dramatic. Sing “light” or “sunshine” songs as the new Light is carried into the room. Some of our favorites are: You Are My Sunshine, This Little Light of Mine, and Let It Be.

Have a blessed Winter Solstice. May the new light bring goodness and beauty to your life.

Compost: Writing for Real

Do you want to write real? Down to the bones and the blood, past all the fakery and pretense? Well of course you do, most writers are truth seekers.

But sometimes this isn’t easy. Words by their very nature are not the truth – they are second-hand removals from the truth. They are descriptions of the truth.

When I want to practice writing “real” I will write a short piece about children. The younger the better, preferably at the stage when they’ve just become verbal, say three or so. Three year olds have no filters. They see the world in ways that you have forgotten, because they haven’t been around long enough to know how things “should be.”

Here’s what I scribbled after spending some time with my grandson Desmond a couple of months ago, when he was almost three:

One time when Desmond stayed at my house, I gave him a kiwi fruit for lunch. He called it a green strawberry and asked me if it was sick. I said no, it was a kiwi and he laughed because he said kiwi sounded like what the birds say.

I peeled the kiwi and he picked up the skin and asked, why does the kiwi wear a coat? Then he asked where I got the kiwi, and I said I bought it at the grocery store but maybe the grocery store got it from a farm in New Zealand or Australia, countries a long way away where the kiwis and the kangaroos are. That got his attention because Desmond likes to jump like a kangaroo.

He asked me to tie a scarf around his waist so it hung down his butt and he pretended he had a long tail like a kangaroo. Then I said, but Desmond, kangaroos have very big feet too, which gave him the idea of putting on my shoes so he’d have big feet and a tail.

He hopped over to the table where his peeled and sliced kiwi fruit was waiting for him, and he at last consented to eat it. His verdict: he prefers his strawberries red, but he likes being a kangaroo.

Haiku Friday: Google

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

google your own name
wait for whirring bits and bytes
to tell you who you are

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: Don’t Write Purple

A very long time ago, around 40 BCE or so, the Roman poet Horace wrote this in his Ars Poetica: “Your opening shows great promise, and yet flashy purple patches.”

From this sentence by Horace we get the phrase “purple prose.” I used this phrase in conversation the other day, and many people, to my surprise, had never heard of it. Possibly because they are not writers or editors. Writers and editors are on the lookout for purple prose. So they can kill it.

Purple prose means a word, phrase, sentence, or any written passage that is too ornate, too flowery, too over the top – in fact, just “too.” Purple prose draws attention to itself and away from the story.

The most obvious kind of purple prose is romantic or erotic prose. It’s the easiest place to go over the top. That’s because the words we give to sexuality are usually either too clinical or too crude. If you say “He patted her mammary glands” it’s not very exciting, but “He grabbed her boob” is crude. Neither is purple, though. Purple would be “His sweaty hand gently caressed her hot heaving bosom, leaving a slimy trail on her rose-colored nipples.”

So now you know. Don’t write in purple. Black is much more real.

Ghostwriting for a Dog: Alex and the Greyhound

Goody Beagle here. If you follow my writing in this blog, you know that my house mate is named Alex and he’s a pain in the you-know-what most of the time.

Alex likes to go to the dog park a whole lot. Now I like to go to the dog park too, because there are so many great smells there. But Alex likes to go because he likes to run, and run, and then run some more. He especially likes to race other dogs to see who is the fastest runner.

But Alex is a terrgi. (That’s what my human says – it’s a made-up word that means part terrier, part corgi, which is what she thinks Alex is – although no one really knows what Alex is.)

Alex is a fast runner for a terrgi, but he’s got an overinflated ego that makes him think he can outrun a greyhound. The other day at the park there were two greyhounds there, and they were having a great time chasing a ball that their human threw for them. (Ball chasing is a stupid waste of smell-time, in my opinion.) Alex joined in their ball chase and it was just embarrassing to see how far behind he was in running. But he didn’t seem to know that and just kept on trying. Until finally the greyhounds went home and Alex collapsed in front of the water dish. And when we went home he slept on the couch the rest of the day.

I know some would say that Alex was brave because he didn’t give up. But I think he was just stupid for not accepting the obvious truth that a terrgi can never outrun a greyhound.

Haiku Friday: Tests

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

life doesn’t warn you:
“Okay, here comes your big test”
Suddenly, you’re up

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.