How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE


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Is It Too Late To Follow The Dream?

I am pleased and honoured to share with you the following guest post.

Angela Ackermanis one half of The Bookshelf Muse blogging duo, and co-author of The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression.  Listing the body language, visceral reactions and thoughts associated with seventy-five different emotions, this brainstorming guide is a valuable tool for showing, not telling, emotion. She lives in Calgary, Alberta, in the shadow of the Rockies, with her family, dog and one slightly zombie-like fish.

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How many times have you run into someone, and when it comes out that you’re a writer, they say, “You’re so lucky. I would love to write a book someday.” Or maybe a spark lights up in their eyes as they tell you this great idea they have for a story, or their hands get all animated as they describe a novel they read, falling right back into that world.

What you’re seeing is Passion. It might be only a glimmer, or a full-out flame, but either way, there’s something big going on inside them, if they only knew how to set it free.

I’ve run into a lot of writers-in-waiting:  people who love books and to read, who have big imaginations and who enjoy the lyrical nature of how words fit together. Maybe they journal, or fiddle with poems or haikus, or create jingles in their mind as they watch cheesy TV commercials. The point is, they are writers in all but name. Oh, if only they knew!

Sometimes when they tell me I’m lucky to be a writer, I’ll ask them, “Well, why don’t you become one too?”

Often than glow that lit them up only a second before clouds over. They say things like, “Oh but I couldn’t. That’s just a dream. I don’t know a thing about writing.” Or, “I don’t have time between work and the kids and the gardening and the house. In fact, did you see the peeling paint on the fence? I have to get on that soon or the whole thing will rot away…” and the conversation becomes a list of chores needing to be done, work waiting to fill the hours.

It makes me sad, because that writer-in-waiting is still inside, wanting to be let free. It wants to be more than a dream. It wants to make the journey.

Being a writer (or following any dream for that matter), takes courage. We come into it knowing little, but passion sustains us and then bit by bit, we learn and grow. Sometimes it’s about waiting for the right time, but mostly it’s about MAKING TIME.

Our world is so busy and frantic. There are bills to pay yes, and housework and meetings and kids circling like piranhas asking about dinner, but there is also passion. Make time for it. If you want to write, pick up a pen. Apply to paper. Let the words flow. No matter where you are in life, how old or young you are, it’s never too late to turn a dream into a reality.


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I Was Born This Way

I’ll tell you how it happened. My daughter’s at fault for the second time.(a.k.a. Mrs. G., identity protected).

After a year or more, my daughter had a free Saturday and  time to check out garage sales. We packed up the kiddies early and off we drove. Not much was in the newspaper, but we hoped to find unadvertised sales along the way. The pickings were slim and I was the lone spender. I found two great books: Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons and The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch for fifty cents each.

Mrs. G. turned an unexpected corner and I asked where she was taking us. She smiled with a wicked grin on her face. We were in SPCA territory.

“It’s something new for the kids to do and  maybe we can check out current pricing,” she said. My grandkids were excited. (I mentioned a while back I might consider getting a kitten later—in the fall—maybe. Or, maybe not. My mistake.)

We watched a three-month-old kitten because the fuzz ball was entertaining. I liked its fur: various shades of pale grey like smoke and fog. The one and two-year-old cats had the forlorn look you see on television commercials advertising abused animals. I wanted to leave but my granddaughters weren’t ready yet.

I came across a handsome two-year-old grey cat, similar to the kitten but it slept on even when I knocked on the window. I didn’t want a cat that old anyway, already set in its habits. What? Hush up brain.

Another cat was sleeping faced away from the window. I saw a long, sausage squashed between the wall and the kitty litter box. Ug-ly, I thought, and joined the grandkids for a while, but wandered back again. The brindled (sausage) cat was awake. She came up to the window when I tapped it, giving the glass a welcoming body rub, looking up at me. In an instant, I fell in love. Something irritated my eyes. My daughter’s face showed surprise and the grandchildren looked worried.

No-one was more taken aback than me.  One-year-old Didi was mine. On the way home, we renamed her to Lady Gaga (my daughter’s suggestion). I was gaga over her. Look at her; she’s one of a kind!

Day three:  I feel we’re old friends already and I think Lady Gaga likes me. She plays well but misses me and jump onto my lap crying for attention. She initiates cuddling, cheek to cheek. I’ve accomplished next to nothing since Saturday. Last night I was trying to type while she slept, curled on my lap. Heaven.

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Crawford

The last time my daughter drove me to the SPCA was after she’d left home at seventeen. She worried I was lonely living by myself—I wasn’t. I didn’t want a cat; I missed her.

“Let’s just look,” she said. “Nothing wrong with looking, is there?”

I looked and was smitten seventeen years ago too. His name was changed to Crawford.


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Introducing: Inanimate Objects

Perspectives is a biyearly literary magazine that is dedicated to giving life to inanimate objects. It goes a step beyond the proverb, “Don’t judge a man before you’ve walked a mile in his shoes.” Perspectives gets the imagination to step into an inanimate object’s skin and walk around in it. Delve into the world of inanimate objects. Read Perspectives. Direct any questions or feedback to the founding editor, Monique Berry, at perspectivesmagazine@gmail.com

To read this exciting issue click:  http://1perspectives.webs.com/pmjuly2012.htm

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As well as introducing you to the latest issue of Perspectives,  I take this opportunity for blatant self-promotion (I am blushing, can’t you tell). You’ll recognize me by my picture between its covers.

I’m certain you’ll have lots of questions for the editor after  reading the unique articles. Go now, enjoy; afterwards, I hope you will share with your friends.


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Share Your World – Week 18

 Follow, the founder, Cee’s LINK to participate. For rules and questions click below. You should try it. You might surprise yourself. It’s a great way to meet new bloggers by sharing your world.

http://ceeslifephotographyblog.wordpress.com/2012/04/07/share-your-world-week-18/#more-2305

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1. Do you play video/computer game? Which one(s) or most recent?

I didn’t playing board games when I was about 30 but couldn’t really get into them. When computers came out with Pac Man and the Lemmings, I didn’t have the patience to play. How could someone waste time playing games, I wondered? (I can be a little square maybe). I’ve never been much of a card playereither  nor had I even played Solitaire with real cards but I got hooked on Windows Solitaire for a while. That was years ago.

2. When writing by hand do you prefer to use a pencil or pen?

I prefer using a Gel type pen when I write. However I cannot write more than a sentence before my handwriting gets tight and ugly. I have arthritis in my thumbs so I avoid writing as much as possible. Give me a keyboard and I’m flying.

3. What has surprised me about blogging?

It’s amazing how many interesting and warm-hearted people there are  in the blogosphere. I had no idea I’d fall into such a generous community. Frankly, I’m agog with the many different things I’ve learned since. Who knew there were so many wonderful writers out there?!

4. If you had a shelf for your three most special possessions (not including people or animals), what would you put on it?

The first one would be the Easter card my four-year-old granddaughter made me. The second,  a bookmark my eight-year-old granddaughter gave me for Valentine’s Day. The third  would have to be a favourite book but there are so many to choose from.  On second thought, I believe I would choose The Old Man and the Sea by Ernst Hemingway.


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The Uninspired Chronicles – Reboot

For rules regarding the Uninspired Chronicles, go to:

http://riatarded.wordpress.com/2012/03/29/the-uninspired-chronicles/

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When I have an idea clamped in my teeth, I can’t sleep. I switch on the bedside light every ten minutes. ON to scribble something I don’t dare forget. OFF again. Good night. ON again. OFF again. So I lose a little sleep now and again. It’s just not often enough to be worth it!

On the other hand, when I have a brain cramp, I entertain myself  in unusual ways. Some efforts never work. Some work once in a long while. You have to have a sense of humour every now and again. I do try. More today than yesterday etc.

These are a few of my favourite prods (yes I need prodding, so I prod when I must).

Will it be a nudge, a poke, an elbow or a push this time? Let’s have a look.

1. Free write for 10 minutes about the first thing that pops into my head:  onions, the Easter bunny, what my grandkids did lately.  Aanything will do no matter how ridiculous.

Ninety percent will be garbage but usually a pattern will form.

2. Try prompts. A box of randomly selected words from the newspaper waits on my desk. The work spinach again? Ugh. Stinky socks—stinky socks?  Must I?

Sometimes this is even FUN.

3. I keep an envelope of pictures:  interesting faces, odd objects, shapes. I stare until I go cross-eyed. Something will come sooner or later. Sometimes much later.

Other times I just get a headache.

4. If staring doesn’t work, I head to the kitchen to chop, slice and dice until I end up with soup.  At least I’ve gained SOMEthing as well as a sense of accomplishment!

Not what I wanted but beggars can’t be chosers. (Apologies for the cliche.)

5. Do a brain dump when times are good. Plan ahead for the blocked days. Having some of these is a miracle but having something handy might help when I need it. Save everything.

Where did I file that great stuff I dreamed up last month? Why can’t I find it?

6. Writing often seems to keep the ideas coming. Life gets in the way, though.  There isn’t time enough for everything I want to do each day. Maybe I’m just too disorganized.

If all else fails or even when it doesn’t, I turn up the music. Remember marching bands? They still  get my heart thumping and rev me up.

Tomorrow is another day. Maybe next time. . .

I am such a fraud!

When I’m bored and can’t bang my head against the keyboard anymore, I try online challenges (something for everyone). Another reboot: I am energized by exchanging ideas, opinions and thoughts with amazing bloggers.


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Share Your World Week 17

Share Your World is a fun way to meet new bloggers. The founder, Cee’s blog LINK follows with the rules on how to participate. Check it out! You should try it.

http://ceeslifephotographyblog.wordpress.com/2012/04/01/share-your-world-week-17/

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1. At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?

I recently put the finishing touches on my latest short fiction last Tuesday. I feel this is the best one ever; I’m levitating. (OK, I’ve been wrong before . . . just feeling good for a second here.)

2. What individual item of food would you not eat, even if it was served to you at the Queen/President’s dinner table? (Something ordinary.)

I like ALL seafood food but not Calamari. There’s something about the texture of this one that makes me clench my teeth like a child refusing medicine.

3. If you could choose between Wisdom and Luck, which one would you pick?

I would choose Wisdom. I already know about luck. No, I haven’t won the lottery. Who cares about that? (Are you nuts?) I believe I’ve been lucky so far in this life because I’ve landed on my feet when I needed to—more times than a cat. (Not kidding.)

4. What was the last time you went to a new place?

Last Wednesday night I went to the recently renovated Central Library downtown. I avoid downtown so I haven’t been there for years. I attended A Literary Festival (started March 28th to April 1s)t. Ten area luminaries defended titles from the Ontario Library Association’s Evergreen Reading List (Canada Reads). Although I bought a ticket, I didn’t win the draw for the ten books discussed. What went wrong?


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Trifecta Meme

This is my Trifecta Meme post. Click here to learn more.

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1. What is your name (real or otherwise)?

Tess Kann

2. Describe your writing style in three words.

Witty, humourous, light

3. How long have you been writing online?

About 18 months

4. Which, if any, other writing challenges do you participate in?

Share Your World, 100WCGU

5. Describe one way in which you could improve your writing.

Getting feedback

6. What is the best writing advice you’ve ever been given?

To use less words

7. Who is your favorite author?

Ernest Hemingway

8. How do you make time to write?

I must just do it

9. Give us one word we should consider using as a prompt. Remember–it must have a third definition.

‘coke’

10, Direct us to one blog post of yours that we shouldn’t miss reading.

https://letscutthecrap.wordpress.com/2012/02/29/if-it-feel-this-good-how-can-it-be-bad/


34 Comments

Share Your World Week 16

Share Your World is a fun way to meet new bloggers. The founder, Cee’s blog LINK follows with the rules on how to participate. Check it out!

http://ceeslifephotographyblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/share-your-world-week-16/

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If you had a choice, which would be your preference: salt water beaches, fresh water lakes, hot tub, or desert?

I’m a Northern Ontario girl: cold weather, tons of snow, short summers, a mixture of weather patterns in one day. We lived by the lake. It was clean and fresh, so fresh that it was the only natural lake in North America not poisoned with fluoride until a few years ago.

When I was a kid, the haunting call of the loon was the last sound I heard in the evening and first one in the morning. I loved that sound. Nothing beats living by the water. I wish I did still.

 

What book do you think everyone should read and why?

I have a hard time stopping at one. In no particular order, these three are provocative in so many ways; you stop and think about them afterwards. The stories linger.

Cry The Beloved Country by Alan Paton: This is a classic work of love and hope, courage and endurance, born of the dignity of man (This description is straight from the book’s jacket).

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway: About courage in the face of defeat.

Night by Ellie Wiesel: About the death of innocence and more.

 

What’s your favorite way to wake up and what’s the first thing you do?

I love spring and summer and fall. The chirping of birds and the sun streaming through the window onto my face is the perfect way to wake up. It’s a gentle, soothing way to start out my day.

I’m not twenty anymore, so I head to the loo. (Well you did ask). Then I jump into the shower. There’s nothing as invigorating as pulsating water prodding my body awake. An inch at a time. What’s the rush anyway? I’m RETIRED, aren’t I?

The sound of an alarm clock is hell and should be banned. If I need to be somewhere early in the morning and can’t take a chance on sleeping in, then I’ll use one. But only if I must.

What do you do to relax?

I love to read, read, and read some more. In the past six months, though, I just haven’t had enough time for this guilty pleasure. This doesn’t feel normal to me. The jumping knee thing starts to creep up on me. . .

On the other hand, I enjoy tinkering with words, watching a story grow; stretching it this way and that, getting into characters’ heads. I never lose my cool or rip my hair out screaming at the page, ‘Why isn’t this working? Damn. Damn. Damn!” No, I NEVER lose my cool. (Liar). I’m always relaxed (really?).


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If it Feels this Good, How can It be Bad?

Let me make myself clear. I didn’t want to do it but I am weak. At least I’m honest about it. Would you steal a man’s water in the desert or would you let him drink and live? Enjoy his life?

OK, so my situation isn’t the same and it has nothing to do with water. It’s the best example I can think of that might grab your attention. An ad in the newspaper yesterday just jumped out and hit me between the eyes.  It was about a book sale. So what? Don’t I already work at a bookstore? Sure, I admit it and we have a sale coming up in a couple of weeks too. But…I’ll not be able to make it to that one. Anyway, I already know what will be on sale so I can’t get all that excited about it.

I’m running out of shelf space it’s true, but where there’s a will, there’s a way. Before I entered the lair of temptation, I promised I would only buy what I NEEDED and had to HAVE. None of this, ‘hmm that sure sounds good, I’ll put that on the next reading pile leaning tower of books stockpile awaiting attention.’

I bought five children’s books for my granddaughters and five books for me (5/$1.00 cheap but in mint condition). A mighty fair deal, right? Three of mine are novels; one is The Arctic Grail (The Quest for the North West Passage and the North Pole 1818-1909) See, deep reading by Canadian author Pierre Berton. The last one is Devil’s Knot (The True Story of the West Memphis Three) by Mara Leveritt of Little Rock. All good and only fifty cents each! How could I say no?

I’ve heard there are some who abhor hoarding. I don’t know anything about THAT and  I’m NOT one of THEM. You’d be surprised what I don’t have to run out and buy…wait for it…I already have it on my shelf.  I’ve belonged to a book club for eleven years.  What’s wrong with being prepared and on top of things? Am I wrong? I also have lots of choices when I can’t sleep at night. Not true anymore. I sleep like the dead.

I’m not admitting to anything, but maybe I have a certain—je ne sais quoi—-something in my DNA. I love running my hands over my friends books as I pass by. I like the way they smell and feel.  When I sit down to read, it’s nice knowing they’re watching me and enjoying that I am smitten by one of their own. See, it’s a two-way street. We respect each other. It’s been a long relationship and I want to give each one of my full attention. To get to know each one well. Some have been passed from hand to hand but I don’t care. Only rarely have I been known to give up a few but mostly I am loyal. And YES, I DO peruse many over again. I’m better than a boyfriend. I’m true blue.

Why isn’t there enough time to enjoy MY rapture here on earth ?


43 Comments

Late to the Party

Recently, I read an article in the New York Times that in such diverse cities as Paris (50% of households) and Stockholm (over 60%) of the population live ALONE. Solo. By choice. They rambled off numerous other countries one of which surprisingly was China as among the fastest growing population of single people.

WHY?

Because of all the lovely technology we have today, we are able to stay connected and never feel alone or lonely. A person can live alone but still engage with others whenever or however it suits them. The opportunity to pursue various interests is limitless. Personal space, privacy and freedom are closely guarded advantages.

Mostly, I can figure things out for myself but in this new blogging environment, I’ve become more curious. As I mature, I tend to ask questions. When I was young, not so much, because we all know that the young know everything. Some of my most recent questions are:  Can you help me find my car? Where did I leave my keys? Who moved my coffee cup? Where the hell are my glasses?

HOW?

Here’s the rub. Seriously, how do bloggers who have spouses, children and jobs find the time to keep up with their blogging community? How do you manage to read, comment, write, take photos and generally beautify your posts?

I’m asking outright because I’m supposed to be retired. I’m supposed to have all this time on my hands to do whatever I want to do. I love reading everyone’s posts and enjoy picking up marvelous new ideas, thoughts, and frankly reading some darn good writing. However, it’s nearly impossible unless I’m at it every single day, at least a couple of times a day. How do you do that and still find time to do anything else? Read a book for instance? Find the time to go shopping other than a one-stop shopping centre? Find time to sleep? Go for a walk?

Either this can be up for open comments OR I’d be happy to hear from you at:

gettingreal@hotmail.ca