Showing posts with label story. Show all posts
Showing posts with label story. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Your Story Matters


"The first draft stinks," so say the writing gurus. They also say that when you finish a book, go back and rewrite it, for you will be a better writer. 


Yeah, but how often can I do that without my head exploding?


Most excerpts offer the beginning of their book as an introduction to the work. I'm offering the end. 


This comes after my race with the Pink Dogwood Tree's blossoms, where I tried to write 50,000 words before the flowers fell off the tree. 


The tree won.


However, Mom's Pink Dogwood tree in the front yard came to the rescue. She held her blossoms until June 4.




Chapter 66


May 31,2023—50,000 Words


Last night, we watched Hetty Lawlor, a 17-year-old fiery red-haired portrait artist, one of the three finalists on the TV show "Portrait Artist of the Year" (2018). She had beat out tried and true professional portrait painters and was my favorite. Her colored pencil portraits were exquisite, the likeness of her subjects uncanny. I loved her. 


And then a strange thing happened. As the final selection to win "Portrait Artist of the Year," where they would receive a commission of 10,000 £ and have their painting hung in a museum in Britain, I was suddenly torn. I had a twinge of desire for Samira Addo, another artist. It was a neck-to-neck race. I held my breath.


Samira Addo won.


Addo came through like a student who aced the final exam and got an A.


Lawlor's likenesses were second to none. And yet, and yet I saw the artist in 



I tend to like realism and exquisite rendering of features, but suddenly, I was thrown into an abstract world. How did Addo do it? How did she capture the essence of a person with so few brush strokes? Faces were not flesh-colored, gray even. Yet there was an artist.


I have been rendering my life in Word pictures. I am a painter with a pen and have endeavored to fill in my pen and ink drawings with watercolors. But as I close this page, I am throwing aside the pen and the ink, and instead, I pick up the brush only. I dip it in water, and then the paints. I begin a smear across the canvas—aquamarine, aqua, seafoam green, blues, and green—the seafoam green of the sea, aqua of the reefs, green of an Oregon forest. A girl runs barefooted through the surf. Her filmy dress is white, wet, and plastered against her body. Water flies up from her footfalls and lands on the page in starbursts of white, pink, violet, and orange—sunset colors. 


The running girl's hair is entangled with the air-driven water, and with the splatters and sparkles, golden strands among the green and blue.


You can't recognize the girl specifically, but you see a resemblance. My hair isn't long, and my face isn't blue, but it's there among the peacock colors.




PS. What would I like for you to carry away from this reading? 


Oh gee, I really want to instill in as many people as possible, me included, the wonder in which we live. We're here. We have life, medical care, the freedom to roam and travel, milk and eggs, fingers, and opposable thumbs. We have built monuments, homes, cathedrals, airplanes, books, computers, clothes, a way to go to the moon, and a way to get back home. We can fly in a plane through the sky and SCUBA under the sea. We have eyes to see, ears to hear, and an imagination that goes to the stars and back. 


Bless all you have: a roof over your head, plumbing, appliances, a computer, clothing, your ability to see, feel, and taste, friends, money, and the ability to walk, talk, and imagine.


I applauded when I read Jen Sincero's (You are a Bada**) comment on the Universe. "What more do I have to do to wake these bitches up?" she wrote, "Make water, their most precious resource, rain down from the sky?"




Blog, Where Tigers Belch and Monkeys Howl is back







Wednesday, January 31, 2024

This is What I Have to Say Today, When I Didn’t Have Anything to Say Yesterday



How do we wake up spiritually, and what does that mean anyway? As writers or bloggers, what can we say that hasn't been said?


There is a lot to say, for we live on the leading edge, but there is a drop-off in front of us, and we don't know how to handle it. 


Is there an invisible stone bridge across the abyss that blends into the surroundings that we can’t see? Remember Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade? (Perhaps that is my favorite of the Jones series—or a close tie with the first. Who can forget the snakes or that incredible ride on the black horse where Indiana forces a rock into the enemy tank's exhaust?)


In times of trouble, we can rely on the arts to give us a moment of reprieve or a thought that no amount of preaching or expose' can do. It's the stories we love. We usually want the good guy to win, and happy endings work better than sad ones.


See, we are really dreamers and romantics at heart.


That is something we have forgotten.


Tomorrow is Ground Hog's Day. I will always remember the date, which is also my grandson's birthday. It's time to watch that movie again. Bill Murray, who begins as a pompous jerk, must relive the same day over and over until he is transformed into a nice guy and wins his lady love.


Is that what we do with our lives? Must we keep living it until we get it?


It tickled me when I read that author Mark Manson said he would like to be a barista at Starbucks and write a note on everyone's cup. It was dismal stuff about the meaninglessness of life, but then how can we send them off with "Have a nice day" when so much depression abounds?


"Depression," Manson says, "is a crisis of Hope."


"Hope is what we believe to be greater than ourselves. Without it we believe we are nothing."—Mark Manson. 


I mentioned Thailand in an earlier blog after watching a documentary on Happiness. The Thai people were listed as among the happiest because they believed in HOPE.


"Getting it" is different for everybody. However, I think a few characteristics could apply—take care of yourself, the people, and the earth, be kind, and don't hurt things-living or otherwise. Have a spiritual understanding without beating other people over the head with it. Continue to grow. Believe in hope.


We are only here briefly, so we should make it count for something. 



P.S. I was depressed until I wrote something. That’s a lesson on putting the pen to page and begin.

Monday, July 17, 2023

This Was a Real Nice Clambake


 I dug for clams once, my first and only time, so why in the world am I naming my memoir THIS WAS A REAL NICE CLAMBAKE?

 Because once I wrote of it, I had Rodgers and Hammerstein's lyrics from Carousel (1958) stuck in my head until I gave it as the title.

  "This was a real nice clam bake

We're mighty glad we came

 The vittles we et

 We're good; you bet

 The company was the same

 Our hearts are warm, our bellies are full

 And we are feeling prime

 This was a really nice clambake

 And we all had a real good time."


--Public domain: "Published in the United States between 1928 and 1977, inclusive, without a copyright notice."

There are strict rules about using song lyrics, but to my surprise, this song came up public domain. So, I'm printing the lyrics because they pretty much sum up my life. And after being around the college performance of Carousel, in which my husband sang, those words were right on top of my brain.

 I wrote this memoir while drunk. Maybe that explains that while in an altered state, anything can come up. And you know about the brain, it zigzags all over the place, one thing leads to another and sometimes you go, “Huh? Where did that come from?” However, I was not drunk on alcohol or any other mood-altering substances. I was drunk with inspiration. 

 It's Natalie Goldberg's fault. 

 In Old Friends from Far Away, Goldberg said a memoir doesn't have to be an old person's story; I was born in, went to school… Boring. It's for those moments that take our breath away--like on that hot day, you stopped the car by a creek, stripped off your pantyhose, waded into the stream fresh off an ice flow, and felt alive. (Guys, take off your socks, and who wears pantyhose anymore?)


I put the above copy on Facebook. I joined this week; after doing the famed stalling to sign on the bottom-line bit, I decided if my publisher is on it, I ought to be. So, you can find me at


I keep talking about my memoir, for it has been the object of my attention for a couple of months now. Before those last two months, I hadn’t planned on writing a memoir—I didn’t want anyone adding up the years, but finally, I threw discretion to the wind and felt it was something I had to do.


I think everyone ought to write one, to take stock of one’s life and decide what you want to keep and what you want to throw away.


It can even be like “Morning Pages,” where you write out all the crap, gripe on paper, then stop telling the same old sad story over and over. For you know the saying, “Neurons that fire together wire together,” meaning you will fix them in your brain.


Free up your brain to be ready for the next adventure.


Ta Da!


Live long, be happy, read my Memoir/autobiography/travel/adventure/special interest book when it comes out.