Haiku Friday: Dust

haiku pic 1Here’s my haiku for today, on the topic of Dust:

in a billion years

no one left to remember

we’ll all be space dust

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.

Serial Fiction: Grandma’s Masks – WIN 3 Ebooks!

Boogy Cats Gabriel's bed sandwich ebook

In February I started a new feature on this blog. I have been posting an installment of my novel-in-progress, Grandma’s Masks. Yes, I am guilty of serializing.
I hope you have been following along. If not, you can easily catch up by clicking the tab above called “Serial Fiction.”

And now I want something from you. I want your opinion. I want to know if you think serializing is a good way to showcase new works. Are you intrigued after reading an installment, and eager for the next Wednesday? Or are you frustrated, and losing interest? Are the installments too long or too short or just right? Do you remember what has happened week to week, or have you forgotten? Are you too busy to read a serial?

I really want and appreciate your feedback on this! Please do not worry about hurting my tender writerly feelings. In fact I appreciate your feedback so much that I am willing to give you a prize in return for your opinion on this subject.

If you send me your opinion, either as a comment here or in an email sent to kim@primary-sources.com, I will give you a voucher to claim three FREE ebooks in return. The ebooks are my three short-story compilations (and they’re very good, even if I do say so myself). The titles are:

 

Childish Discoveries: The Sandwich and Other Stories

Adult Distractions: Gabriel’s Bed and Other Stories

Creature Discomforts: The Boogy Cats and Other Stories

 

Thank you for your honest opinions – and in June I’ll be back with more of Grandma’s Masks.

Ghostwriting for a Dog: In Good Paws

oncouchGoody Beagle here. I am trying to train my so-called brother, Alex Terrgi, to blog about important stuff, like smells and food and love, but it is uphill work. For one thing, Alex gets distracted easily and can only seem to tell the human one tiny thought at a time, like “Ball! Let’s play ball!” and he repeats it over and over until she throws the ball for him. I mean, what’s she supposed to do with that?

But I have to admit that Alex does a good job when it comes to love. He knows how to love. I remember when The Grandpa, who was our human’s father, was dying.  That was before Alex came to live with us, when he still lived at The Grandpa’s house. The Grandpa spent the last two weeks of his life in his bed, because he was too weak to get up. So Alex spent those two weeks in bed too, lying next to The Grandpa with his head on The Grandpa’s shoulder or thigh, or just curled up next to him, always touching. The only time Alex left The Grandpa’s side was when he had to go outside to pee or poop, or to go gulp down his dinner as fast as he could so he didn’t leave The Grandpa for long.

Alex knows how to comfort someone who is dying, like The Grandpa – and me. These days he lies on the couch next to me, with his warm body touching mine. He may be an annoying pest at times, but this is okay because he not only knows the meaning of life, he acts on it. Yes, Alex knows how to Do Love.

I know that when I leave, I will leave our human in Good Paws.

Haiku Friday: Questions

zen gardenHere’s my haiku for today, on the topic of Questions:

questions need answers

whodunits are not as fun

when there is no who

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.

Serial Fiction: Grandma’s Masks, Installment #16

beetle(1)Here’s another installment of my book-in-progress, Grandma’s Masks. If you missed the previous installment on May 15th, click here to read it. Or click the Serial Fiction tab to read all the previous posts of Grandma’s Masks.

Trout made a sound that was a cross between waves lapping the bank and raindrops splattering on rocks. He shook his whole plump body, and a few rainbow scales drifted off and floated on top of the water. They were as big as lily pads.

“What did you say?” she asked, but Trout did not answer, only continued to stare. Maybe he had run out of people words. So she thought about the deep green patch of smooth water, with its mysterious shining surface so serene in the midst of the rushing river. What could it mean? What answer could be down there? Would she have to jump in to find out?

“Is it the answer where the earth and the stars and the sun and the moon came from?” she asked, hoping it was. That would be worth knowing, and she was fairly sure no one else did know it. Trout snorted, and bubbles popped on the surface of the water.

“Is it the answer to what will happen tomorrow, next month, or next year?” she tried. That might be even better. No one had been able to predict the future accurately yet. She could be the first. But Trout wiggled his top fin, and rolled his flat fishy eyes.

“Well, is it the answer to what happens after death?” she demanded. This time Trout made a sound like something swirling down a drain, glub blub burp. He slapped his tail on the water, drenching her in his excitement. His gills opened and shut rapidly.

“That’s the answer waiting for me?” squealed the young woman. “Really and truly, I would know what happens after death?” How wonderful it would be to know that, she thought. If people knew what happened after death, they would not be so afraid. I could make the fear of death disappear in the world. Everyone would hear of me. I would be the richest and most famous person of all time. Books would be written about me.

“How do I get there, to find the answer?” she asked Trout. In answer, Trout raised his fin and waved it in the air, and as if he had summoned it, a huge flying bug with blackish-purple wings flew over to the young woman and hovered in front of her. The bug, a sort of beetle, was so large she could sit upon it.

“This beetle will take you,” said Trout, “so you don’t have to go alone.”

“I’ve never ridden a beetle before,” she said, a little hesitantly.

“Something new to learn, then,” suggested Trout. “If you want the answer, go ahead and climb on.”

“Well, if you’re sure …”

“Trust me,” said Trout.

The young woman climbed onto the beetle’s back, and the beetle took off over the river, heading toward the smooth dark circle by the opposite bank.

They hadn’t gone far when Trout leaped into the air and swallowed them both.

“Ah, human with beetle sauce,” he said. “My favorite.”

And so it ends, or maybe it is just beginning.

jump deep into dark

swim with the fishes of night

follow the bubbles 

##

Did the Trout play fair? Did she get an answer to her questions?

Compost: Writing Takes Guts

ANatomy of human digestive systemIt’s my birthday (actually yesterday was my birthday, but I’m taking a long weekend in celebration). Anyway, I am taking a day off so I’m presenting an article I wrote some years ago. It is still true and it bears repeating. Maybe you missed it the first time.

My ghostwriting clients are not writers. If they were, they wouldn’t need a ghostwriter, and they wouldn’t be my clients. So I am glad to work with non-writers – just because they can’t or won’t write, doesn’t mean they don’t have great stories. They do, and those stories deserve to be told.

But here’s a frustration with working with non-writers. Writers know that writing exposes you and makes you vulnerable. The more real and truthful you are, the more vulnerable and exposed.  But non-writers don’t know that – until they get their manuscript back from the ghostwriter they hired to write their story, and they read their words and thoughts and feelings on paper. And then they get scared. They want to hedge and soften, and turn specifics into safe generalities, so they will feel safer.

Of course, this will kill their writing.  Readers respond to gut-level stuff; that is what makes stories compelling and readable.  But it’s not just the readers who get shortchanged when the story is “softened.” So does the author. By softening those rough patches, by hedging their truths and telling instead of showing their pains and joys, they have dramatically reduced the biggest benefit of writing – healing their wounds.

It is the role of the ghostwriter to guide non-writers through this scary jungle. Ghosts don’t mess around; they go right to the heart of the matter, cutting through all the prettifications, evasions, rationalizations, and sometimes even lies that the authors tell themselves in order to avoid what scares them.

Writing something down makes it real, and much harder to ignore. That’s what a ghostwriter is after – the real truth about what happened and why and how the author feels about it. A ghost claims a space inside the author’s head and does not waste their time with anything but the unvarnished truth.

And that’s where the frustration comes in. It’s not my story; it’s theirs. If they don’t want to tell the truth, I can’t make them. All I can do is offer my tools, and hope they use them.

Haiku Friday: Withdrawal

haiku pic 3Here’s my haiku for today, on the topic of Withdrawal:

haiku withdrawal

two days without means the shakes

three days – delusions

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.

Serial Fiction: Grandma’s Masks, Installment #15

troutHere’s another installment of my book-in-progress, Grandma’s Masks. If you missed the previous installment on May 8th, click here to read it. Or click the Serial Fiction tab to read all the previous posts of Grandma’s Masks.

Trout:

How to Know It All

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.

When Trout was sure he had her attention, he 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.

“Oh? An answer to what?” she asked.

     ##

What do you think? Should she trust the Trout? What answer will she find there if she chooses to seek?

Ghostwriting for a Dog: Moving On Up

Alex_2011_1Alex Terrgi here. My sister Goody Beagle doesn’t feel like writing today, so I’m stepping in for her. This makes me feel like I might be moving up in the world.

When I came to live with my human, Goody Beagle was already here. So even though I am the boy dog, I did not come first.  Before I came to live here, I thought boys always came first, but now I live with a she-dog, a she-cat, and a she-human, and I’m here to tell you that boys do not automatically come first in this house.

But since I get to blog today, I might have a chance to come first – at least on blogging day. So here’s to lifting our legs, guys!

Haiku Friday: Mosquitoes

haiku pic 2Here’s my haiku for today, on the topic of Mosquitoes:

good we don’t eat bugs

can’t find a recipe for

mosquito puree

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.