Something in the Mail…

I came back from vacation to a little surprise waiting in our mailbox….

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Hmmm… Air Mail addressed to me, in a padded envelope…

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It claims to be a book! I think I know what ‘book’ this is!!!

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And I know some of those “fellow bloggers!”

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Not sure about that signature, though. Hopefully it’s legit.

Stay tuned for a book review, all ye others who are also expectantly excited. I will finish tonight.

THE KIRKWOOD SCOTT CHRONICLES: Skelly’s Square by [Black, Stephen ](Dude; you could be reading, too! Click here for the Amazon link.)

 

Sunshine, Lollipops, and Blogger ‘Awards’

Kevin Parish at What Words May Come gifted me The Sunshine Blogger Award. Thanks, Kevin!

Sunshine

Here are Kevin’s questions:

  1. What verbal graffiti do you use too much? (Examples: Like…Well anyway… I know, right… Huh… Umm…)
    Ummm… Huh… I don’t really know.
    do know that I have detested “I know; right” since it first cropped up, so you shan’t hear me say that ever.
  2. What is your favorite color?
    I’m rather fond of winter shades: dark burgundy, dark blue, dark green, dark black, etc.
  3. Do you love, hate or couldn’t care less about professional sports?
    This may shoot me in the foot in terms of followers, but I am not a professional sports fan. I love to watch anyone who is a master of his craft, so I do enjoy the occasional match. Frankly, I find rooting for a team pointless since the members are not even native; they might very well be originally from the opponent’s home state or be traded there next season.
  4. What’s the name of your longest-time best friend?
    My husband is my longest-time best friend, and his name is Kevin Owens.
  5. What’s the funniest nickname you have ever heard?
    Like H.R.R. Gorman, I’ve a better story about a real name. My husband worked with a man who legally changed his name to something like Captain Yam*. The guy was a bit socially awkward as well, as in showing up to work every day in something like a bike helmet awkward**.
  6. Do you have a nickname that you can/will share?
    My mother called me Munkey as a child. Word is that I looked like a monkey but she made it sound slightly cuter than that. I also liked monkeys. Darn sticking-out-ears…
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  7. Have you ever started laughing really hard just by thinking about something? If so, and you can remember, what was it?
    Oh, yes!! Occasionally I will engage in a comments conversation on WordPress and my friend or I will say something downright clever. I’ll think about it and laugh for days.
    I think one of the latest ones was betwixt me and masercot (AKA Charles). He mentioned Dr. Suess in response to my blog post on picture books.
    Me: “…Fish in a tree is hard to believe.”
    Him: “The worst was when they hopped on pop, right after his kidney surgery…”
    Me: “You must not hop post-op?”
    Still laughing. Though, I laugh whenever I read one of Charles’ blog posts as well. He’s dangerously funny.
  8. What are three of your “bucket-list” to-do’s?
    1. Write and traditionally publish a book.
    2. Visit Europe.
    3. Learn the violin.
  9. Would you rather have a lake house or a mountain chalet or something else?
    I’m more of a mountain chalet type. We once stayed in a house in Montana for a family vacation, when I was a child. The whole thing perched right on a lake and gave me anxiety that it would simply tip in at any minute.
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  10. What country would you live in if you couldn’t live in the one you live in now?
    I like Gorman‘s answer for this, too, but I’d probably choose Canada.
  11. Do you believe that people can change? Why or why not?
    I do believe people can change, and see that they do. Honestly, different life stages and circumstances force a lot of change on us whether we like it or not. It’s those who are able to initiate change that I admire, and those able to take surprises in healthy directions.

—–

Mostly I use this next part to introduce any of my readers to any of my other readers whom I find excellent to read. The main snag is that I’ve already ‘nominated’ a fair number here, here, here, here, and here. If you’re looking for some great sites, scroll down to the bottom of those links and also check out these:

  • Kat of The Lily Cafe. She writes, she mothers, she reads; she’s amazing.
  • Frank Prem, the poet. I can’t believe I haven’t mentioned him before! Frank has the gift of capturing voices in the poems he pens.
  • Robert C. Stroud of Mere Inkling. Primarily writing from observations of C.S. Lewis, Stroud expresses and expounds upon various interesting and informative topics.
  • Almost Iowa. I can’t find his real name right now (if he gave it), but these all seem to be hilarious recounts of experiences in …well, almost Iowa.
  • My Mindless Drivel. Another excellent writer, mostly sharing life stories and thoughts on how things ought to work.
  • Charles of Legends of Windemere. He’s an author and all-around good guy. We also seem to share opinions on …Bad Boys?

If any of you whom I’ve named get the notification and wish to respond, here are my questions:

  1. If you could be a type of cheese, which would you be and why?
  2. What is the strangest fact you know?
  3. Who inspires you the most as a writer?
  4. If you were King of the World for one day, what change(s) would you make?
  5. What’s your favorite cheesy joke?
  6. Who would win in a mud wrestling match: broccoli or a potato?
  7. What is the first thing you think of when you see the word collywobbles?
  8. What is the best letter of the alphabet?
  9. When two roads meet in a yellow wood, are they dirt or paved?
  10. Could you live without your left thumb? What if you needed to give something a two thumbs-up rating?
  11. What’s your favorite salad dressing and whoever thought salad was a good idea in the first place?

—–

RULES:

1. Use the sunshine blogger award logo

2. Give thanks to the blogger that nominated you

3. Answer the 11 questions given to you

4. Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 questions

Photo Credit:
Saray Jimenez
Jose Rago

* This is not his name, but is close.
** This is not what he wore, but is again close.

©2019 Chelsea Owens

“Your blog is like lounging around the house and watching TV, maybe picking up some sticks in the yard. It’s you, and you have a casual vibe going on. A book is like going out for a big evening. You want your hair, nails, and makeup right. Maybe you spring for a new dress, which is like your cover art.

“You may not like the work that goes into it, but you’re going to like the reception when you finally get to the party.”

-C.S. Boyack, “So it begins

Smells Like Reanimated Spirits

You’re at a burial, dressed in shoes you didn’t have time to polish or lace up correctly. It’s a grey sort of day, overcast with rain coming soon. They’re lowering the casket into the ground and all you can do is stare at the stubborn knot in your shoelaces.

Someone lights up a cigarette after the service is over and you move away to avoid the smoke. Your heels slip into the soft ground and you get mud on the hemline of your clothes. You stop to catch your breath after a long day and close your eyes. You smell rain in the air.

There’s a piano you can hear in the nearby chapel playing a soft tune. You think they’re playing “Amazing Grace” and then it changes. A sudden thought strikes you: “I must get back into the car before the last note. Once the last note plays, it’ll start raining.”

You’re heading back to the car when you see a man standing at the fence. He’s dressed in overhauls and a flannel shirt, looking directly at you. You glance away but are drawn back by the man’s intense stare. He’s holding something in his hand. A letter? A book? You can’t tell. You feel you must find out, before the last piano note…

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Dodging headstones and mushy half-buried plots alike, you walk to the fence. And the man. Conveniently, they are both in the same direction. As you walk, you wonder at the prevalence of recently-turned earth. Just how many people have died lately?

The eerie piano playing from the chapel plays background beat to your even tread. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” will do that to a person, even if it’s a piano cover version and therefore lacks that awesome bass guitar.

Your attention draws back to the overall man who is fascinated with staring. Some people clearly need a hobby, especially since there are a lot more interesting things to stare at than a muddy-hemmed, sneaker-clad burial-crasher like you. You get closer and closer, noting his lack of blinking; his lack of attention on a bird that poops on his shoulder or on a passing dog that relieves itself on his trouser leg.

Just before you call out to him, his image blips and reloads. He is a clean, staring man again, proferring a flat object that is meant to look like a book. Thunder rumbles nearby, and he finally glances to the grey and heavy clouds. His gaze returns to you, who have stopped just before the projection of him.

“244224,” he says, monotone. “42,” he adds. Then, “2442.” He beeps.

You roll your humanoid eyes, reminded of how your familial assigners could not be happy with a short sequence like all the others. “Yes?”

“Precipitation imminent. Nirvana ending. Accept reanimation.” *Beep*

Your eyebrows raise. “Reanimation??”

“Affirmative.” He pauses, then remembers to *Beep!*

You look back and around at all the mounds of dirt, and swallow. It’s not easy considering the difficulties the body emulators had in transferring your normal shape to a humanoid form, but you manage. The sky growls again. A spot of earth near you seems to as well, but perhaps it’s the simulated imagination you’re equipped with.

Whipping back around to the hologram, you place your right forearm directly over the outstretched object in its hand image. The flat object glares a red light of warning. You realign. Still red. The growling from below ground is definitely not just your imagination now and you grit your teeth in frustration.

“Please align to shape,” the ‘man’ intones.

You try again and get the angry light again.

“Please align to shape,” he repeats.

Just as a very visible hand claws through the mud to your side and just as the final lingering notes of the piano are played, the tablet magically accepts your forearm’s outline and turns blue. “Code accepted.”

Your humanoid form releases a sigh of relief just before dematerializing. Your normal self, meanwhile, has a final, comforting thought. I am so glad that finally activated. Earth’s a real downer during a zombie apocalypse.

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From the story prompt beginning shared by the highly-imaginative, amazing, wonderful, and fantastic Peregrine Arc.

You can play, too! The submission window closes on April 12.

 

Photo Credits:
Daniel Jensen
Wendy Scofield

That Liebster Award Thingie

Many thanks to Peregrine Arc for this here Liebster Award.

Liebster Flowers

 

In answer to her questions:

  1. Why is blogging called blogging? Why isn’t it called ejournaling or something similar, you know?
    *Ahem* It’s a portmanteau of “web” and “log.” In the old days, before you young’uns even had a microwave death trap for yer food or a cellular cancer ray fer yer textin’, a person who wrote online kept a web log.
    I blame the rising generation, George Orwell, and the Germans for the term.
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  2. If you ever actually came across a ghost (yours to invent) what would your honest reaction be, as far as you can tell? 👻
    That’s easy! I’d scream like a banshee (also a ghostly apparition) and run away.
  3. If an animal talked to you, would you respond back? Or would you run to the nearest neurologist? What’s the animal and what did it say to you?
    Assuming an animal spoke English to me, I believe it would be like Gary Larson’s Far Side of the dog translator: a bunch of mutts saying, “Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!” I wouldn’t tell the neurologist anything; they charge way too much. And, dog is the first animal I thought of.
  4. You’re on stage, accepting your dream award. What’s the award and what did you do to deserve it? Who do you remember to thank in your speech? And, here’s the kicker: is there anyone you blow the whistle on? This is your chance now to start some change…
    I am so boring. I don’t even know of any awards besides the movie ones and that Nobel thing. I’d really just want to be extremely rich and famous, but for the best reasons. So; no, I wouldn’t be blowing any whistles -except on those idiots who don’t know how to use a roundabout.
  5. What do you think should be done about me-monsters? You know, those people who just rattle on about themselves at dinner parties until you bend your fork into a boomerang so the investigators can’t find the murder weapon?
    A boomerang fork is highly inventive! I’d go with that, or a laryngitis-shooting secret ring.
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  6. If you could have one book unpublished (as in never published and removed from time) what would it be and why?
    I would unpublish every single serial book that is crap (and all the movies, too). Yes, that counts as one.

And again, here are a list of sites you ought to read and follow. I try not to repeat people I’ve suggested from past nominations (here, here, here, and here):

PK Adams. Writes about running, religion, and life.

Bruce. The best at writing bad endings for his characters; recently taken to composing songs and sharing them.

Roberta Writes. She lives in South Africa and writes some creepy (and good) stuff.

John L. Malone. John’s about quick punches, short stories, and the nonsense that makes them.

Michael B. Fishman. Michael is funny, and a fantastic terrible poet.

Nominees, here are your questions if you wish to answer them:

  • Would you rather sleep in on Sunday, and would a cat sitting on your face change that answer?
  • Given an infinite number of monkeys and typewriters, how soon before they realize typewriters are outdated and they’ll need to learn sign language?
  • What is the best paper airplane design?
  • Who would win in a duel: chocolate volcano cake or bananas foster?
  • If you could choose one magical power, what powers would everyone else have?

 

According to P’Arc:
What is the Liebster Prize?

“The Liebster Prize is an award that exists only on the Internet and is awarded to bloggers by other bloggers. The first case of the award goes back to 2011. Liebester in German means sweet, kind, kind, dear, charming, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing and welcome. It really is an excellent way to meet other bloggers and gain more visibility in the community.”

Use the links below to follow the rules and find the submission page:

https://theglobalaussie.com

Submission Page

Official Rules

 

Photo Credits:
Image by suju from Pixabay
Image by Виктория Бородинова from Pixabay

Mystery Blogger Awarded

Thanks to Beckie of Beckie’s Mental Masterfulness for nominating me last week; and on my birthday, no less!

Here are my answers to Beckie’s awesome queries:

  1. Do you collect something, if so, what?
    I just might have a problem collecting books. Yes, I can quit when I -okay; no, no I can’t.

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    may have more than this.

  2. Other than writing, do you have any other hobbies or activities that you enjoy?
    I am a mother and housewife (and regular wife, and taxi, and….) “other than writing.” *Sigh* As such, my other hobbies need to fit between the cracks. They include reading, running, camping, and artsing.
  3. What is your most embarrassing moment in public?
    I puked on several kids at our choir concert in fifth grade.
  4. If you had your choice of sleeping on a bed of nails or eating chocolate covered ants, which would you choose, and why?
    I seriously think this question needs more parameters. I mean; if I only had to sleep on the nail bed for ten seconds, that’d be fine. If I only had to try one ant, that would also be fine.
    Mostly I don’t think I would be able to sleep on nails or chew insects.

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    Cute; but, UGH!

  5. What is your worse pet-peeve?
    I’ve been thinking about this one. My worst pet-peeve is people being selfish, especially at the expense of others. Seriously, people, have some manners if you can’t have empathy.

Some of my favorite posts I giggled to myself over include “Encounter in the Alley,” “Silent but Tardy,” “Everlore,” “My Muse,” and “A Spoonful of Limericks.”

Any stragglers-on to my blog know I’m not a huge fan of this chain mail thing, so my nominees are more a list of blogs I follow that I highly recommend you all check out. If they want to answer the questions, more power to them.

Len of Len’s Daily Diary. Brilliant mind, touching observations, and excellent story-teller.

Treeshallow Musings. She’s a gifted poet and word-painter.

Geoff. If you haven’t read Mr. LePard yet, that may be better for your health.

H.R.R. Gorman. Also an excellent writer; delving into a little sci-fi, a little horror, a little fun.

Beverly Hughes. One of my favorite people. She writes moving and insightful posts about mental illness and her journeyings.

Official Nominees: you may choose to answer my questions:

  • Is there anything chocolate cannot solve?
  • Are fabric softeners really effective?
  • Who is your favorite Disney princess?
  • Which storybook villain would always win a limerick competition?
  • If you could vote for anyone to be leader of your respective country, who would it be and why wouldn’t it be Girl Scout Tagalong cookies?

If interested, here are the rules and such:

Rules:

  1. Put the award logo/image on your blog.
  2. List the rules.
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link back to their blog.
  4. Answer the 5 questions from the blogger who nominated you.
  5. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.
  6. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
  7. You have to nominate 10 – 20 people.
  8. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog.
  9. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify).
  10. Share a link to your best post(s).

Photo Credits:
Susan Yin
mi_shots

The Power of the Word

I love words, and I always have.

Whilst pregnant; my mother swallowed Agatha Christie and James Herriot and Ogden Nash, sending their formatted prose intra-umbilically to my formatting body. After I was out and able to lay still; the fare included A Child’s Garden of Verses, Shel Silverstein, Ramona Quimby, and Twig. Once literate by my own merits (and from my mother’s example); I devoured Laura Ingalls Wilder, Arabian Nights, Bruce Coville, and Anthem.

I vowed to read every book ever written. I thought my goal an attainable one.

In the meantime, my literary diet supplemented my grammatical learning. Unlike many writers, I do not have a degree in the craft. My teachers were Charlotte Brontë, Mary Shelley, and Douglas Adams. They taught me by example and expanded my lexicon to precocious measures.

In this way, I blame them for my problem.

I love words and am not afraid of them. I play with adjectives, verbs, and nouns like a small child with a treasure chest of his favorite playthings. Yes, I sometimes smash them together and finger paint a Jackson Pollock-worthy story. Yes, I sometimes roll terms into shapes like Play-Doh and end up with noun-verbs and adjective-nouns.

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Every now and then I step back from my mishmash meter, sigh with contentment, and behold a magnificent mural.

Between times, however, my words have a tendency to cause mischief. I’ve used strong words to accurately describe my feelings, and inaccurate words in feeling ways. I’ve intentionally poked and stabbed to incite a reaction. A handful of times, I have drawn on The Power of Words to move a people to action.

I am, naturally, a novice at wordweaving. I worry at trying a spell when I haven’t passed all the levels. I tell myself not to dabble until I become a master.

I have also ticked some people off.

And yet, I cannot stay away. The bubbling brew of prosaic verse simmers warmly, invitingly, lovingly. Come hither, it tempts, I will not harm thee

What say ye, wordspellers? How do words speak to you, how do you listen, and how (in turn) do you release the power that builds as you chant your incantations?

—————

We’ve crafted for another week. Here’s what I created:
Wednesday, February 20: Is Harry Potter a good book? Read what I thought and what many insightful comments determined in “To Potter or Not to Potter?
Thursday, February 21: “The Cure for Depression: Don’t Be Hatin’ on Medicatin’,” another suggestion in a series originally posted over at The Bipolar Writer Mental Health Blog.
Friday, February 22: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Peregrine Arc!
Saturday, February 23: Announced the 14th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. We’re doing parodies of pop songs. PLEASE ENTER!
Sunday
, February 24: “Dot on the Brown,” my poem response to the famous Frank Prem’s “speck on the blue.”
Monday, February 25: “Wilhelmina Winters, Eighty-Three.”
Tuesday, February 26:  An inspirational quote by Maya Angelou. Smile at home, everyone.
Also, noted that I now have 500 Followers! Thanks again, everyone!!
Wednesday, February 27: Today‘s post.

I also posted all this week at my motherhood site. My favorite (and the internet’s) was my poem, “A Poem About Socks.”

And, I wrote a piece for Kids are the Worst titled “12 Fun and Easy Cabin Fever Fixes.” Don’t worry; there’s plenty of my good, old-fashioned sarcasm to keep things interesting.

 

Photo Credit:
Amaury Salas

To Potter or Not to Potter?

It’s time to really let the fur fly around here, because I am going to ask the question no one ever should: Is Harry Potter a good book?

If you have been living in a bubble or under the age of twenty for the past 21.5 years, you might not know what I am referring to. In that case, I speak of a book series published by an unknown woman (at the time) that EXPLODED into ultimately selling more than 450 million copies worldwide.

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I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone at the recommendation of my former sixth-grade teacher. I really liked the book. It had interesting characters, magic, an unseen parallel world, and enough British elements to tickle my anglophiliac bones.

I purchased and devoured each subsequent book as it came out, and cried on opening night of the first film.

A few years after that point, however, my English professor in (my return to) college ran us through an interesting exercise. “What makes a good book?” he asked, and wrote our responses on the white board. After looking over the items listed, he announced, “Harry Potter is not a good book.”

Since I do not live in a bubble and am not under the age of twenty, I was also not completely ignorant to the idea that others didn’t love Harry Potter as much as a large pocket of Potterheads. As a consequence, I was not floored at my teacher’s conclusions.

I instead experienced a wider perspective. His announcement released me from the godlike worship I had for authors everywhere and allowed me to acknowledge the series as one written by a human, with flaws. It was written by the first and only billionaire author human, granted, but still had flaws.

In turn, I was able to grasp the hope that someone like me could write. Someone like me could even write something that another person might read, or purchase.

Which is all very interesting, but doesn’t answer the main question of this post.

Is Harry Potter a good book? Why or why not?

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My own husband dislikes that J.K. Rowling neglects a basic rules structure for her magic system, that Dobby exists, and that most of the stories are just not interesting.

For myself; I notice some literary no-no’s in her writing like adverbs, POV changes, and …say, a rule she introduces about non-verbal magic spells that she seems to abandon in later novels. I also think (and thought) that it’s really not feasible for a young wizard who can shout two spells to consistently beat someone who literally murdered older, gifted wizards.

But maybe I’m being nit-picky with that last one.

Ever the devil’s devil’s advocate, though, I say that J.K. Rowling’s series could be considered perfection. She hit the sweet spot across age, race, gender, nationality, and class. She wrote characters REALLY well. I’m just a medium-level admirer and would gladly jump on a train, attend Hogwarts, marry one of the Weasley twins, and go out to lunch with Tonks.

As a final thought to any still in the haters camp: last year, my son’s doctor complimented my son because he was sitting in the waiting room reading a novel. I believe it was Magician: Apprentice. “When Harry Potter first came out,” the doctor noted, “I used to come out and find kids’ noses stuck in books. I haven’t seen that since.”

Say what you will, but I’d love to bring that sort of book love back. Wouldn’t you? Perhaps there’s a spell for that.

Until then, do you say it is a good book? Do you only say so because you love it?

Do you only disagree because you hate it?

—————

I solemnly swear that you may read below to see what I wrote for the last two weeks:
Wednesday, February 6: We discussed the deep subject of baths vs. showers in “A Serious Question Concerning Hygiene.”
Thursday, February 7: “The Cure for Depression: Get a Paid MEDICAL Friend,” the slightly-third suggestion in a series originally posted over at The Bipolar Writer Mental Health Blog.
Friday, February 8: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest involving Nursery Rhymes. Congratulations to Violet Lentz!
Saturday, February 9: Announced the twelfth Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest, with a prompt of love poems.
Sunday
, February 10- Thursday, February 14, plus Sunday, February 17: Various terrible poetry contributions of my own on the subjects of my backup camera, my absent appendix, black clothes, a first date, Costco, and Half-Price Chocolate Day.
Thursday, February 14: Wrote “Freddy and Teddy’s Valentines” for Susanna Leonard Hill‘s Valentiny contest.
Friday, February 15: Posted the WINNER of the love poem Terrible Poetry Contest: Geoff LePard.
Saturday, February 16: Announced this week’s Terrible Poetry Contest prompt. PLEASE ENTER IT!!
Also re-blogged Peregrine Arc‘s creativity contest.
Monday, February 18: Shared a quote from Joseph B. Wirthlin about finding a direction in life.
Tuesday, February 19: “Wilhelmina Winters, Eighty-Two.”
Wednesday, February 20: Today

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