Tag Archives: LinkedIn

Brooding trucks

Between brooding trucks, /
fumes and metal shuddering, /
your voice lifts my soul.

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Filed under Brooding Trucks, haiku, poem, poetry by author


The garden wall leans.
The wind rattles old vines as
the cold chains my heart.


Filed under haiku, poem, poetry by author, rattles

Spoken words

I crave the sound of your voice,
the touch of your syllables to my ear,
a kindness of words only you can speak.
Sentences that mean nothing
when spoken by others –
a clattering of consonants to these empty ears –
are wonder of time on your lips.
Your voice carries the lightness of words,
the weight of our history,
and the magic of the moment yet to be.


Filed under free verse, poem, poetry

Whispered embrace

Love whispered your name

Whispered embrace


Filed under haiku, moon, photograph

Writing tip Wednesday: knock-off anyone?

[Editor’s commentary: “It was a dark and stormy night.” How many times have you as a writer been told not to copy. Don’t copy somebody’s homework. Don’t copy the way somebody looks. Seems somewhere along the line may have changed. Or, at least, knock-offs of something may be okay. Or at least what publishers are looking for. That’s what this article suggests. So, maybe what you need to do is find some best selling novel and “spice” it up in some way, and see if an agent or publisher will buy it. I say it with a bit of tongue-in-cheek. Therefore, I don’t know that I so much say this is a writing tip and maybe a way to get started writing if you feel stuck. Take something out there, a classic maybe, and bend it some, change it in some way. Many of the stories of King Arthur’s knights of the round table were retold in just such a fashion. Each new writer taking what had been written before about a certain knight and adding his own inflections to it. In some ways, we may not be quite as far beyond the Middle Ages as we would like to think.]

“Fifty shades” of knock-offs?

Source: http://www.hlntv.com/article/2012/05/14/fifty-shades-grey-knock-offs?hpt=hp_c2

By Matthew Carey

updated 11:31 AM EDT, Mon May 14, 2012

An erotic bestseller has publishers fantasizing… about how to repeat its runaway success.

The “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy by author E. L. James has sold an amazing three million copies in just a few weeks, seducing readers with its sadomasochistic tale of virginal college student Anastasia Steele and her troubled billionaire lover Christian Grey. Universal snapped up the film rights for a reported $5 million.

The “Fifty Shades” boom “is a very big deal,” says Jim Milliot of Publishers Weekly. “I think it’s safe to say it’s a mini-phenomenon.” Milliot says publishing houses are pouring over ideas hoping to duplicate “Shades’” achievement.

“This is a notoriously copycat industry… This industry jumps on whatever big thing comes along,” Millot explains.

But it’s tricky to imitate what you don’t quite understand — and many industry pros are baffled by the trilogy’s success.

“A lot of people are kind of scratching their heads about what has made this thing pop,” Milliot says. “It’s not just the sex thing that’s selling. There’s way more explicit stuff out there if you want it. It’s more than that.”

Milliot credits word of mouth, plus “Shades’” distinctive cover art (a silver necktie) and what he calls a “secret sauce” — that mystery ingredient that can turn something ordinary into a big hit.

Already, some rival publishers are promoting titles with their own recipe for “secret sauce”:

• “Bared to You” by Sylvia Day is described as a compelling combo of “love, lust and secrets.” Heroine: Young Eva Tramell. Troubled, rich boyfriend: Gideon Cross.

• “Big Game”, the latest in the “Vampire Vacation Inn” series by C. J. Ellisson, which could be called a cross between “Twilight” and “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Heroine: 580-year-old vampire Vivian. Sexy soulmate: Rafe.

Like “Fifty Shades,” Ellisson’s books contain a “heavy erotic element,” the author told HLN (though she notes the hot action involves a married couple). Ellisson began publishing her series before the “Shades” explosion, but all the media attention on James’ trilogy may benefit her sales too.

“I love that [“Fifty Shades of Grey”] has brought erotic literature into the mainstream. I think that’s terrific,” says Ellisson.

There’s an irony in publishers trying to imitate “Fifty Shades of Grey,” because it basically began as an imitation itself of Stephanie Meyer’s “Twilight” series. E.L. James’ story originated on a Twilight “fan fiction” website, and her main characters were first called Bella and Edward (not Anastasia and Christian).

Milliot says — imitation or not — “Shades” is not in “Twilight”‘s league, despite those impressive sales figures and a movie in the early stages of development.

“I think you see how books two and three (in the series) do and you have to see how the movie gets made and if the books have legs. It’s not there (yet) to be compared to ‘Twilight’ and ‘Harry Potter.’”

But Milliot adds, “It has the foundation to do that.”

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“Hal, tell me a story.”

[Editor’s note: this is the second half of the “Hal” articles. The first article appears under “Hal, open the keyboard. Hal….” and is about a computer application writing non-fiction articles. I am not sure what to fully make of either article, but they seemed oddly linked to each other. It seems storytelling is something genetic in humans. We are born to tell stories. maybe in some strange way Alzheimer’s is a “revenge” on humans for not valuing storytelling enough.]

Alzheimer’s Patients Turn To Stories Instead Of Memories

Source: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/05/14/152442084/alzheimers-patients-turn-to-stories-instead-of-memories

by Joanne Silberner, NPR

May 14, 2012

Ask family members of someone with Alzheimer’s or another dementia: Trying to talk with a loved one who doesn’t even remember exactly who they are can be very frustrating.

But here at a senior center in Seattle, things are different.

On one recent day, 15 elderly people were forming a circle. The room is typical — linoleum floors, cellophane flowers on the windows, canes and wheelchairs, and walkers lined up against the wall.

Linda White is leading a session based on a program called TimeSlips. The idea is to show photos to people with memory loss, and get them to imagine what’s going on — not to try to remember anything, but to make up a story.

Storytelling is one of the most ancient forms of communication — it’s how we learn about the world. It turns out that for people with dementia, storytelling can be therapeutic. It gives people who don’t communicate well a chance to communicate. And you don’t need any training to run a session.

White walks around the circle holding up a stock photo of a fit elderly man. He’s wearing a banana-yellow wet-suit vest and is water-skiing.

The man is smiling broadly at the camera, perfectly framed by a big arc of water.

“He’s experienced and he’s cool; he’s happy,” says White. “Look at the grin on his face.”

Many of the people in this group don’t talk much on their own. But they’re enthusiastic about making up a life story for the water-skier — he’s a retired guy who’s been divorced several times. He’s got four children and a wife onshore, waiting to be taken out to dinner.

Most people with dementia live at home and don’t have the opportunity for this kind of session, run by someone who’s been trained to do it. But storytelling can be done at home, according to the founder of the program, Anne Basting.

“Anybody can do this,” says Basting.

She directs the Center on Age and Community at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. She started work on storytelling as a way to give people with dementia a low-stress way to communicate, one that did not rely on their memories. She sees it as giving caregivers a chance to reconnect with their loved ones.

“People with dementia start to forget their social role; they might not remember they’re a spouse … a parent,” says Basting. “They need a social role through which they can express who they are, and the role of storyteller really supplies that.”

One study co-authored by Basting in The Gerontologist, a journal, found that storytelling made people more engaged and alert, and that staff members at residential facilities had more positive views of their patients. An independent study published in Nursing Research showed participants were happier and better able to communicate in general.

Basting says one of the biggest hurdles to getting the program going has been skeptical family members.

“Resistance comes when people say, ‘My dad would never do that; he’s a very distinguished man. It’s beneath him; it’s childish,’ ” says Basting.

And then Dad hops right in.

Basting tells of one man who came to her in tears of thanks. For the past three years, he had been driving his wife crazy, trying to get her to talk about shared memories. He tried her on storytelling so they could talk about the story and play with the plot line. And eventually, he was able to communicate with her again.

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Filed under Hal, make believe, storytelling

The Devil’s Dictionary: Corportion, Congress, Lobbyist

In our continuing quest to revisit a classic, or even a curiosity from the past and see how relevant it is, we continue with The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce. Originally published in newspaper installments from 1881 until 1906. You might be surprised how current many of the entries are.

For example, here is a definition for the words Corporation and Congress. The Old definitions are Bierce’s. The New definition is mine. From time to time, just as it was originally published, we will come back to The Devil’s Dictionary, for a look at it then and how it applies today. Click on Devil’s Dictionary in the tags below to bring up the other entries.

Corporation, n. An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility.

Congress, n. A body of men who meet to repeal laws.

Corporation, n.The only think I could add to corporation is: An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility. Peopled with overcompensated executives whose sole purpose is to privatize the profit and socialize the debt. In the vernacular: heads, I win (I get to keep the profit); tails you lose (You have to cover the bad debts).

Congress, n. A body of men and women who meet to repeal laws, generally at the behest of a corporation. This is now true of both the federal Congress and the state Congresses throughout the U.S.

Lobbyist, n. Paid influence peddler, bag man for the corporation, general thief in the night whose sole purpose on behalf of corporations is to see that Congress understands which laws are to be repealed or weakened, and how this should be done, particularly since too many lobbyists are former elected officials. Lobbyists can promote on behalf of other entities and not only corporations, but the goal is generally the same.
[Editor’s note: lobbyist was not a term long in use when The Devil’s Dictionary was created.]

Final word:
“It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.” –MARK TWAIN

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Filed under Ambrose Bierce, Devil's Dictionary, Mark Twain, satire

Never more true

Where the skies are blue and the lions, too.

Where the skies are blue and the lions, too.

If worse comes to worst, start writing verse.
A rhyme in time will take your mind
away from this cursed ‘verse.
It will take you to worlds never you knew.
It will take you to worlds never more true.
Where the skies are blue and the lions are, too.

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Filed under cartoon by author, poem, rhyming poetry

Homeless bound

[Editor’s note: Okay, folks, another attempt at abbreviating a bit of unusual news. see my haiku at the end of the article. You try it and post your reply in the Leave a Reply area below the posting.]

Suspect bunked with dead man for six days — warrant

Stayed on after tenant died

Source: http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2012/may/08/suspect-bunked-with-dead-man-for-six-days-151/?partner=popular

By Jamie Satterfield

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sure, there was a dead man in the bedroom, but the rent was free.

So explained James M. O’Brien, 58, when Knoxville police showed up at Isabella Towers to discover O’Brien had been bunking with a dead tenant, according to an arrest warrant.

O’Brien is set for a preliminary hearing Wednesday in Knox County General Sessions Court on a charge of abuse of a corpse in connection with the April incident.

According to a warrant filed by Knoxville Police Department Investigator Brian Moran, O’Brien, who is homeless, had been staying with Clarence Stephens III, 47, at Isabella Towers, a low-income apartment complex on Isabella Circle near KPD headquarters. On April 21, Stephens died.

O’Brien knew he was dead but continued to stay in the apartment, the warrant stated.

“The defendant said he covered (Stephens) in clothing and blankets and opened the windows due to the increasing foul smell of (Stephens) decomposing in a manner offensive to the sensibilities of an ordinary person,” Moran wrote.

O’Brien spent six days in the apartment with the deceased before a manager at the complex noted a noxious smell and alerted police, the warrant stated.

Moran wrote that O’Brien said he hit Stephens in the throat, “at which time (Stephens) laid in his bed and never regained consciousness.” However, KPD spokesman Darrell DeBusk said an autopsy showed no signs of “blunt force trauma,” and a preliminary report suggested Stephens died of natural causes.

“The medical examiner said the deceased was on medications for several things, had seizures and was a heavy drinker,” DeBusk said.

O’Brien is being held in jail in lieu of a $5,000 bond. Abuse of a corpse is a low-level felony and carries a penalty range of one to two years in prison.


“Homeless now”

Home window wide. Smell
the fragrance of the long sleep.
Body homeless now.

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Filed under haiku, homeless, true story

Writing tip Wednesday: How to keep writing even when times are tough

How to keep writing when the s*** hits the fan


Source: http://blog.nathanbransford.com/

I wrote the latter part of Jacob Wonderbar for President of the Universe and nearly all of Jacob Wonderbar and the Interstellar Time Warp while going through one of the hardest stretches of my life, and I felt very acutely how writing during hard times can be both a great blessing as well as a serious stressor.

It can be cathartic to block out everything going on in your life and lose yourself in your fictional world for a while, but stress can also make it extremely hard to focus.

Having made it to the other side, here are some things I learned about how to keep writing when life throws you a major curveball.

Take care of yourself first – You first, writing second. Get the help you need, take the time off you need, and don’t let your desire to write add to your stress. Life comes before writing every single time. Do what you need to do.

Don’t keep your situation a secret – You may feel like you don’t want to burden your writing/critique partners or your agent and editor with your personal life, but that’s not the right instinct when things are serious. Keep them in the loop and don’t be afraid to ask them for more time if you need it. Chances are they’re going to be awesome and tell you to take care of yourself, which will give you the breathing room you need to focus. I did just that with my agent and editor, and they were wonderfully supportive, which relieved a huge amount of stress.

Force yourself to get going – That very normal hump that you have to get over to force yourself to sit down and start writing when you don’t want to can feel like Mount Everest when you’re stressed out. So start climbing. Open up the computer, make yourself get started. Follow the steps for getting back to writing after a break, and once you really get going you’ll be amazed how nice it feels to lose yourself in your writing again.

Don’t be afraid to cut back – Even if you do power through and keep writing during a stressful time, chances are you’re not going to be as productive as you are normally. That’s just the nature of being distracted. Plan ahead for this and don’t put extra pressure on yourself to maintain the same pace.

Channel your emotion into your writing – Even though I was writing wacky children’s books, I still found a way to channel the things I was feeling into the stories. In Jacob Wonderbar for President of the Universe, Jacob starts wondering if he really even wants to win, and Jacob Wonderbar and the Interstellar Time Warp hinges on whether Jacob should change the past. Now, Jacob doesn’t get all cynical and depressed, but he does feel some of the things I was feeling in the past few years.

Let writing be a bright spot – At some point we’re all confronted with difficult stretches in life. But let your writing remind you of how great your future can be. You’re going to keep getting better, you’re going to keep writing books, and no one can take writing away from you. Savor it and enjoy that it’s yours.

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Filed under words, writing, writing tip