Haiku Friday: Umbrellas

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

rainy March morning
umbrella people appear
sprouting like mushrooms

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 – Likeability

Back in the 80s I worked in a satellite sales office for a very large corporation. When I first got the job I was young and dumb in the ways of sales, and it was my boss’s job to train me. He did a good job because he was a personable guy with a great sense of humor and a large fund of entertaining stories, so it was easy to learn from him.

What does this have to do with a writing tip? I want to share one thing my boss told me that I’ve never forgotten. He said, “All things being equal, people do business with people they like.”

And what does this have to do with writing? Sales isn’t writing, after all. Or is it?

Sales (sales done right, that is) depends on good communication. So, of course, does writing. And sales (again, done right) also depends on how much you like the person selling to you. Whether someone wants to read what you write also depends on your readers’ perceptions of you. You want them to want to meet you in person, even though they know they probably never will. Why? Because they think they would like you.

Likeability is a huge factor in success and in failure. Some people have it, some don’t. This is quite observable in politics. What was one reason George W. Bush won the 2000 election? Because people thought he was more likeable than Al Gore. What did Ronald Reagan have in spades? Likeability. Why did John F. Kennedy win over Nixon? Duh.

Share your likeable self when you write. Don’t be a pompous, arrogant, know-it-all. Show your sense of humor, maybe poke a little fun at yourself. Write from that place – your fallible, human, likeable place.

Compost: Making Them Real

Maybe you’re like me. You have many ideas for stories, books, blog posts, essays, memoirs, poems, and so on – yet when can you possibly find time enough to write them all? Which one should you write first? How can you choose, they’re all so cool!

Sometimes if you have too many ideas you may feel blocked, even paralyzed. One way I’ve found to overcome this paralysis is to simply say – out loud – what I intend to do. This makes it much harder not to do it.

To make things real, you have to get them out of your head. When you write your intentions down, you have claimed them as yours, given your word to the Universe. Now you gotta do them. Oh dear.

Because I really want to turn my ideas into books, lately I’ve been sharing some of my Work in Progress, even if they are just in the idea stage right now. On March 5th my dog Goody Beagle wrote about her new book, a sequel to Dog Park Diary. On March 7th I wrote about the memoir I’m writing about my parents’ love story set in World War II. On March 12th I wrote about the series of short stories I’m writing, tentatively called How-To Wisdom Tales. On March 14th I wrote about the children’s ABC book I’ve resurrected from the past and renamed X is a Fox Walking Backward.

Wow, that should be enough. Except I have more. Here are some other projects on my WIP list – what do you think? Any of them strike your fancy?

I’m expanding my book Making History to include the 1990s, and will be publishing this new edition as 3 ebooks.

I’m continuing to write haiku, of course, and I have an exciting publishing idea for them, but I can’t tell you about it yet. But it’s very cool, believe me.

Finally, I’m working on a novel that explores the nature of identity – how do we know who we are, or aren’t?

Please note that I have not said – out loud or inwardly – just when all these projects will be accomplished and out into the world. It may be a while because I also am ghostwriting some really exciting projects for other people too – it’s a good thing I love to write, isn’t it?

Haiku Friday: Feng Shui

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

learn to go lightly
feng shui away your treasures
they’re not what you think

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 – Spring Equinox Rituals

On the Spring Equinox, also called Ostara, the nights and days are of equal length. All is in perfect balance. This is the season sacred to childhood; of bunnies and eggs and all things young.
There are buds on every tree. Daffodil and tulip stalks are poking out of the ground, and some have begun to bloom. This is the time to celebrate childhood joys and the sense of infinite possibility.

Here are some of the ways my friends and family celebrate the Spring Equinox:

Demonstrate the balance of the earth. Take a raw egg outside to a flat piece of ground. Stand the egg on its tip. It will not tip over. It will balance! This never fails to amaze people, but it really does work.

Wear pastel colors. Pink, minty green, lavender, pale yellow, baby blue — think young!

For sheer fun, nothing is better than the ancient custom of dying or decorating eggs. You can use an egg dying kit, or paint them with acrylics, watercolors, marker pens, or even colored pencils. (Just don’t press too hard.) If you want to keep your eggs for a long time, blow out the inside of the eggs first, and then paint, varnish and decorate the shells with ribbons, beads, or found objects. To blow eggs, make a small hole in the tip of the shell of a raw egg with a needle. Make another hole at the other end. Blow in one end and the raw egg will flow out the other. (You have to blow hard. It also helps to scramble the egg yolk sac inside the egg.) After you’ve made your beautiful eggs, make an Ostara tree by tying eggs onto branches of a tree outside, or bring a small tree inside for this purpose.

Finally, make an omelet or egg custard for dinner.

Ghostwriting for a Dog: My Hero

Goody Beagle here. Yesterday at the dog park Alex showed that he loves me a little after all. Most of the time he ignores me, just like I ignore him. But yesterday there was this annoying French Bulldog at the park and he thought I had a good smell so he wouldn’t leave me alone, sniffing my butt all the time and trying to hump me. I tried to get away from him but he followed me wherever I went.

But then Alex, who was playing with a Boston Terrier on the other side of the park, noticed what the French Bulldog was doing. He stopped playing and galloped (yes, Alex can gallop even with his short legs) across the park toward me and the butt-sniffing Frenchie. When he was still a couple of feet away, Alex threw himself into the air and slammed the side of his body right into the Bulldog and Mr. Frenchie-French went down with a “whoof.” Then Alex made some of his sharp terrier-yaps and stood between me and my tormentor. The Bulldog slunk away.

It was wonderful. Tonight I will forgive Alex for hogging the bed. Maybe I’ll even let him steal one of my bones. (But I don’t know, that may be too much forgiveness …)

Haiku Friday: Daffodil

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

It’s a daffodil
bursting yellow from the ground
a true born again

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: Save Your Stuff (again)

Last month I blogged about it being a good idea to save stuff you wrote in the past, because it can be encouraging to see how much better you write today than you did then. (To prove it I shared a completely awful poem I wrote when I was 13.)

But sometimes the stuff you wrote a long time ago may turn out to be good stuff that you can use today. I’ve had this happen too. When I was 17, I wrote a children’s ABC book for my then 3-year-old little brother. It had the unimaginative title of “Animal ABC” and was illustrated by my own drawings of slightly loopy animals. (A is for Ant, B is for Beaver, C is for Camel … and so on. My favorite was J is for Jellyfish, which is an easy animal to draw.)

Despite being only 17 when I wrote it, this book is good! The only thing I don’t like is the title, so I have renamed it “X is a Fox Walking Backward” and it will be available, with my original drawings, later on this year.

Compost: Teaser Tale

I have a long WIP list. So much to write, so little time! One of the things I’m working on is a series of short stories tentatively titled “How-To Wisdom Tales”, starring various creaturely heroes such as tigers, frogs, fleas, deer, fish, dragonflies, robins, and more. Each tale shows “how to” tell truth from lies.

Here are the first few paragraphs from a tale called Trout: How to Know It All. Tell me if you’d like to read more, and I’ll send you the rest of the story via email, in exchange for your opinion. Remember this is a Work In Progress.

Long ago, or maybe only yesterday, there was a young woman who wanted to know everything. She read thousands of books. She took thousands of classes. She listened to thousands of wise men and women, and asked thousands of questions. Still, no matter how much she knew, there was always more to know.

One day after she had been studying for a long time, she went for a walk to freshen her head. Her walk took her along the banks of a wild and twisty river. The river pushed and shoved and whirled and churned, making its way over rocks and fallen logs. It sang and whispered and whistled and slurped. It threw up cold spray that dampened her legs and splattered on her face. Soon her head was very fresh indeed, eager to know more new things.

She turned to go back to her studies, and just then an enormous Rainbow Trout jumped out of the river in a flashing, graceful arc. He was as long as a dolphin, plump and juicy, and his sides glistened with a rainbow glaze, pink and green and silver. He smoothly entered the river again and swam to where the young woman stood watching, her attention caught by his size and beauty. He shimmered in the shallows near the bank, his fin making giant ripples on the surface of the river. She could see his face through the clear water. His unblinking eyes were fixed upon hers.

Trout gestured with his tail toward a deep green patch of smooth water in back of him, near the opposite bank of the river. It was a calm quiet circle in the midst of the rushing turmoil of the river, a place where the current did not go.

“That is my Home,” said Trout in a watery voice. “The deep bottom of the river, where all is known.” He gave the young woman a keen look, expectation plainly written on his rainbow scales. Evidently he wanted her to understand something.

She certainly liked the sound of a place where all is known, but she didn’t know what Trout wanted her to understand, or to do. She stared at him, watching Trout watch her. They watched each other.

Finally, she spoke. “Is there something I should know about the dark quiet water, your Home?” she asked.

“You may find an answer there,” said Trout, through the bubbles and swirl of the river. Plainly he did not use people-speak very often, for his voice was heavily accented with the rhythm of the river.

Haiku Friday: Old

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

how brave the old are
lost alone without a map
in a pathless land

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.