Roughing It

junger Rhodesian Ridgeback und Berner Sennenhund beim SpielAlex Terrgi here. My human’s granddaughter got a new dog. Her name is Jackie and she is still just a puppy. This means she likes to play. I like to play too, so every time I see Jackie we get right down to it. She runs around and I chase her, and then I run around and she chases me. She bites me on my neck and then I bite her on her neck. This is all good fun and we both enjoy ourselves.

Although sometimes I sit on her face and she tries to bite my private parts. I have to let her know this is NOT okay. She is doing better in this regard, although sometimes she forgets. But like I say, she is just a puppy. I just have to teach her the rules.

The problem with Jackie and me play fighting is that my human and Jackie’s human do not seem to understand the rules of the game. Because Jackie is a puppy and I am bigger than her, they often yell at me when I pin her down and bite her neck. They make us go sit in different corners. I guess they think I am trying to kill her. Humans are dumb sometimes.

The rule about neck biting is pretty simple: if one dog bites a little too hard or in the wrong place, the other dog will yip or growl, and the biting dog will stop. Simple as that.

Of course there are some dogs who don’t follow these rules, but my human and Jackie’s human know us – they know we are not those kind of dogs.

Sheesh.

Winter Solstice Songs

Today is Winter Solstice, the shortest day and longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. Although there is more Winter to come, the Light is on its way back. It is cold outside, but under the dirt, nature is preparing for growth. In an individual human life, this time of year can be likened to being in utero inside your mother’s womb. It is dark and cramped in there, but soon you will be born into the light of the world.

Since ancient times people have been celebrating the Light’s rebirth on the Winter Solstice. There are many customs and festivals associated with this time of year. Here is one of my favorites:

Gather a group of people in a room and turn off all 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. As the Light comes in, it is fun to sing songs about sunshine, such as You Are My Sunshine or Let the Sunshine In. This sounds simple, but it can be powerful and dramatic.

Here are three haiku I wrote about this day/night:

arrayed in soft gray
today’s light comes just for you
where will you shine it?

visualize warm light
seeping under your front door
banishing the dark

sit still in the Dark
remember what you have learned
Light is born tonight

Haiku Friday: Rattling

HistoriansToday my haiku is from December 18th of my book A Haiku Book of Days for Historians, Storytellers, and Other Guardians of Truth, one of a 7-book series. The topic for today is: “Rattling”:

buried in a crypt
dreams you thought were dead return
rattling their bones

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.

You can purchase this book on Amazon here.

 

Alex Terrgi for President

My dogAlex Terrgi here. The other day my human’s 10-year-old granddaughter E came over to our house. She was wearing a shirt that said “My Dog For President.” (E lives with two dogs.) My human disagreed with her shirt. She said “I think Alex would make the best dog president.” E tried to say that either one of her two dogs would be a better president than me, but my human pointed out that one of E’s dogs is nearly 14 years old and does nothing but sleep, and the other is not even six months old and does nothing but jump and yip and chase. I had to agree. Would you want a president who slept all the time? Even worse would be a president who got excited about every little thing and either bit it or ran away from it.

“You know why Alex would be a good president?” added my human. “It’s because he is creative in getting what he wants, and mainly because he always comes from a place of love.”

I think that coming from Love is the best qualification for president there is. But never mind trying to get me to run, because I don’t want the job. Way too much work.

Haiku Friday: Chains

HistoriansToday my haiku is from December 11th of my book A Haiku Book of Days for Historians, Storytellers, and Other Guardians of Truth, one of a 7-book series. The topic for today is: “Chains”:

ghosts do not wear chains
the whole point about ghosting:
you are free at last

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.

You can purchase this book on Amazon here.

Starving Artists

Starving ArtistsThis post originally appeared on The Blood Red Pencil in April of 2013. If you are a writer and have not read this blog, you are missing some good stuff. Here’s what I wrote:

I have a young grandson who I think is musically talented. In fact, I think he is gifted, although I suppose it is remotely possible that I am a tiny bit prejudiced. But what is my grandson doing in a blog post about writing?

He’s here because I want my grandson to live a happy and fulfilled life, and I fear that he will begin to hear those voices in his head shooting him the very same line of BS that I got when I first knew I wanted to be a writer. These voices are familiar to all American artists, whatever their art form.

Art is just a hobby, not a profession. You can’t make money at music, writing, acting, painting, etc. – unless you are really really lucky and become Beyonce or Dan Brown or Judy Chicago – you have about the same chance of becoming rich in the arts as you do of winning the lottery. Make sure you train for something else to fall back on, because you will need it. People who try to become artists are immature Peter Pan types who don’t want to grow up and face the real world. Most artists end up broke or mooching on their relatives. Artists are selfish types who are always looking to others to support them. Arts are an extra.

Do any of these sound familiar to you?

One of the things I find ironic and infuriating is that the same negative messages are true for athletics also, yet sports does not get this treatment nearly as often or as stridently as the arts do. Children are encouraged, even expected, to try their hand – and other body parts – at sports.

What if we encouraged budding artists the same way? Arts are the heart of any society; we need artists. What if we actually compensated artists for their contributions to society – and not just the tiny percentage who manage to rise to the top? What if painters and sculptors and poets and trombone players made as much money as corporate executives and engineers and doctors?

What would have happened if Mozart, Beethoven, Shakespeare, Van Gogh – or to take American examples, Yo Yo Ma, Ray Charles, Meryl Streep, Ansel Adams, Ernest Hemingway, Toni Morrison – what if they had given in to those negative messages and gave up their dreams? Our society would be unrecognizable if there were no artists. In fact, our society would be dead without them.

What if my grandson was encouraged to become a musician? Would that be so bad? Would he really be condemned to starving in a garret? What if we encouraged children to explore and develop their artistic side? Perhaps we would have a nation of art lovers, instead of money lovers and sports fanatics.

Perhaps that would be just as good, or maybe, just maybe, even better.

Haiku Friday: Bravery

HistoriansToday my haiku is from December 4th of my book A Haiku Book of Days for Historians, Storytellers, and Other Guardians of Truth, one of a 7-book series. The topic for today is: “Bravery”:

how brave the old are
lost alone without a map
through 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.

You can purchase this book on Amazon here.