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.
    owl-2670138_1920
  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 If you could have one book unpublished (as in never published and removed from time) what would it be and why?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

The Cure for Depression: Connect with a Human

Looking at tips for curing Depression? If not, stick around anyway and you might make a friend.

Which leads us into the first tip: Connect with a human.

I don’t know about the rest of the crowd, but the last thing I want to do when I’m down in my cozy depression pit is seek out other people. They are often the reason I crawled into my closet in the first place. They should seek me out, preferably with a bribe.

Unfortunately, people are rather self-centered. Usually, a person is most concerned with his own thoughts and feelings because that is who he is literally inside of. So, your (and my) dummy friends and family need at least a little tiny clue that we could use a helping hand. And a bribe.

Another failing of mine is a tendency to look at the great big huge picture of a problem and find (somehow) that I cannot even take one step toward progress. This is even worse when I am inside my depressive mind, trapped in a swirling vortex of apathy and negative self-talk.

What do we do? I will beat this tip over your head about 14 times: Start with small.

I happen to know that you can still get cell phone reception inside your mind/mud pit/closet/bathroom. So, the way to start small is by:

  1. Texting a friend
  2. Reading and commenting on safe and open blog posts. Most of us are nice, and know what you go through.
  3. Talking to your friend, partner, spouse, or roommate from behind the door.

I am also a big fan of pets as comforters. Go ahead and hide from the world for some recharge time, but bring your cat or dog or chinchilla with you. You can pet them all Dr. Evil style, tell them everything that sucks about humans, then connect with a person.

As amazing as animal companions are, however, you will gain the most benefit from other humans.

Yes, I know that is a scary idea. I spent nearly an entire counseling session arguing with my paid friend about NOT TRUSTING ANYONE because people hurt you. However, I also know that I need a few good people.

Connections with peers was found to be the #1 determinant of happiness by some dude at Pennsylvania University, even more so than sugary dessert consumption. Knowing that, give it a chance. Start small, and you’ll eventually have some peeps you can send anything from concerns to dirty jokes to.

It’s worth it. You’re worth it. I know.

 

Photo Credit:
Sandrachile .
Namcha ph

 

*Chelsea Owens is not a licensed anything, except a Class D driver in her home state, and shares all information and advice from personal experience and research.

A Tree Falls in a Forest; Does the Reader Hear It?

eric-muhr-745355-unsplash.jpg

Once there was a small stream winding through the forest. It wasn’t too small a stream, of course. It ran all year, even in the dry seasons. And, at some points, it did grow smaller -say, when crossing between the narrowing walls of tree roots or over rough patches of mud. Meanwhile, farther along, the small stream widened out to what some geographers would classify as a river. This widening was due to a relief of pressures and an allowed broadening of its capabilities.

No, I do not intend to write you the rest of the story of the stream. There is no literal stream. Obviously, there is also no mud, tree roots, or even geographers.

I brought up waterworks in order to discuss an important literary element: metaphor. We’re hardly selective here, so I’ll include metaphor’s semi-cousin simile and his friend hyperbole, too. In case you ask, however; allegory, parable, and analogy are not invited. Sorry, guys.

I love metaphor. And, I hates it. *Golem!* *Golem!*

That is: when someone is giving a lecture, lesson, or speech and starts metaphoring, my mind goes wonderful places with their relationships. In fact, my mind goes very far afield of where they usually intended and somehow I’ve taken the examples to more interesting locales.

Also, I am very good at giving people on-the-spot comparisons in order to make my point. I told someone I had never met before that her English Cream Golden Retriever was “like when you put brand-new towels into the dryer and pull out a big, fluffy, warm ball of lint and you just want to hug it.”

Yeah… I did. And I wonder why I have few friends.

And, yes, that was simile. Sort-of. I told you they were cousins.

Back to metaphor: this good can also be evil. Besides very obvious over-the-top tropes like characters always speaking in clichés and a poet telling us that each flower in the garden is a dragon, horse, unicorn, etc. to the point that we don’t even know that he was speaking of gardens in the first place–

Too much can be a bad thing.

I also think that metaphor, simile, and hyperbole have a better place in making a conversational point, or in writing poetry, than they do in longer works of fiction.

What say ye? Agreed? Disagreed? Still winding through mud and you’ll get back with me once you hit the valley?

—–

While you’re pondering (or meandering), here’s what went down in the past week:
Wednesday, January 2: “Not Your Average Blogger’s New Year’s Post,” in which we discussed obscure unique talents.
Thursday, January 3: “Skinwalkers, XLVII.” This may have been back-posted. 😉
Friday, January 4: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Yay, again, Ruth!
Saturday, January 5: Announced the eighth Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. ENTER IT.
Sunday, January 6: “When the Stakes Are High,” a flash fiction piece for Carrot Ranch.
Monday, January 7: “Wilhelmina Winters, Seventy-Eight.”
Also, “Toddler Trouble” at my mothering blog.
Tuesday, January 8: Inspirational quote by Pablo Picasso. En español.
I may have had a difficult weekend, and thereafter wrote “Hello Depression, My Old Friend” at The Bipolar Writer Blog.
Wednesday, January 9: You made it to today!

Eric Muhr

Not Your Average Blogger’s New Year’s Post

Word is there’s an event what’s been going ’round. I can’t but turn a corner and I finds myself smack-dab against words like ‘resolutions’ an’ ‘goals’ an’ ‘exercise.’ I tell ya what: them’s fighting words and I’ll have no truck with ’em.

Accordingly and characteristically, I have been pondering on a different weighty subject: obscure talents.

Everyone has talents. Many have useful talents. Still more have talents that don’t come up in regular conversation because they just might get said ‘talented’ person ostracized.

Take me, for example. One of my many less-mainstream gifts is the ability to bark like a dog. Specifically, I bark similar to a German Shepherd. How do I know which canine I sound like? I learned as a child when our pet was that breed. In case you are not sure why I don’t bring this up often, just think where I would possibly apply it. …yeah… I can’t think of a place, either. Mostly I startle people my children brag to, but that’s not happening as much since my kids are getting embarrassed solely by the fact that I’m alive.

Another talent I have is possessing somewhat apelike toes on my long, narrow feet. I cannot hang by them, unfortunately, but I did practice writing with them when younger. I reasoned that the skill would come in handy when I was captured by government agents bent on imprisoning me because of my X-Men-like abilities.

The third of my most-interesting gifts is ear-wiggling. …Maybe more of ear-shifting. They move, anyway. I literally practiced in front of a mirror as a child to first achieve movement, and have since honed and isolated ear wigglingness whenever I’m bored during a conversation or business meeting.

Last for now is hiccups on-demand. A related and less-ladylike talent is erm… on-demand burping -which is another one that doesn’t come up in polite conversation. I discovered, quite early on and in church, that I could give myself the hiccups if I burped (silently) long enough. I’ve used a hiccuping spell to get out of meetings since, and …to accidentally attract my husband on our first date. The good news is that I am extremely good at ridding myself of them as well.

If ever I meet any of you in person, now, I’ll have to ask you not to mention these. Otherwise, I’ll not have any material for that two truths/one lie party game.

Enough about me anyway. What about you? Surely you have a talent of two up your sleeve? In what unusual area are you an expert?

Fork

—–

Yay! A really long week to review!
Monday, December 24: Nothing! Absolutely nothing!
Tuesday, December 25: Dude; that was Christmas.
Wednesday, December 26: “Inspirational Plagiarism: a Dialogue.” This may have come about after thinking to myself for two days.
Thursday, December 27: “I Finally Donned the Sorting Hat,” If I were a witch, apparently I’d be a know-it-all.
Friday, December 28: Inspirational quote by Mark Twain that I intentionally mis-quoted in “Inspirational Plagiarism.”
Saturday, December 29: Announced the seventh Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. ENTER IT or I’ll only have three entries to judge from.
Sunday, December 30: “Raw Ramblings.” We’ll call it a free-verse poem.
Monday, December 31: A quote to inspire this new year thingie, by James Agate.
Tuesday, January 1: “Wilhelmina Winters, Seventy-Seven.”
Wednesday, January 2: You made it to today!

Secret Mission

The lights were finally out, and the moon had gone behind a cloud. Finnegan knew what he had to do. Pulling his ridiculous green hat more tightly over his red curls, he tiptoed up to the silently swaying dog door.

Nothing seemed to move but the wind. He checked the surveillance unit on his wrist, just in case. All clear. Swallowing nervously at the thought of who the flap was built for, he pushed through it and into the sleeping house.

The plastic barely shushed, but it was a shout to his keenly-tuned ears. A clock’s second hand banged around the face. Whooshing hurricane gales sprouted from a metal floor vent near his entry. And, above it all, he could hear the annoying clink, clink of the useless brass buckles atop his manmade-materials shoes.

Fortunately, he hadn’t far to go. In the glaring light of streetlamps barely shining through the windows, he could see his goal. From here, in shadows, it had the very appearance of a hangman’s noose. Leave it to man’s imagination to force his children to construct such a thing, Finnegan mused. But he was a professional; a child’s invention couldn’t scare him.

Carefully, he drew close to the table upon which the trap rested. Equally carefully, he withdrew a jar from inside his scratchy felt overcoat. The silly coat was cut in the ugliest style, barely covered his midsection, and hardly had space for the job’s necessary pockets.

Mostly by feel, he removed the jar’s lid. Bending, he applied its contents to his right foot’s sole. He repeated the process with the left foot, though he made certain to place his feet apart from each other once they touched the ground. It wouldn’t do to have the painted prints right together, after all.

Finnegan straightened. He replaced the lid, then returned the container to its pocket. Pulling within for a bit o’ magic, he took off -straight up the table leg. Once at the top, he slowed to a light jog. Each bouncing step drew the trap nearer, more menacing.

It wouldn’t have killed them to line the thing with glow sticks, he thought, pausing. These sorts of setups always had gold coin lures or other sparkly objects, but never something illuminating them.

A small yarn ladder hung haphazardly from the side. It looked to be held on with transparent tape; hardly up to building code. In fact, the entire contraption had to be supported by a child’s faith alone. Given its instability, Finnegan decided to make a quick run for the sake of prints, but return and use his equipment for the rest of the job.

Again, he ran vertically -up the yarn and the side of the tube. It was a pit trap design, with the added element of a coin hanging from an extended fishing-pole toilet paper roll. He wasn’t sure why its designer had attached the pole to the side of the pit, but was fairly certain that inexperience had something to do with it.

Once at the shaky zenith, he chanced to flash his finger-torch inside the pit. Sure enough, a myriad of stick-on jewels, plastic coins, and one or two dirty pennies could be seen. He swiftly removed his shoes to his left hand, and ran back down in striped green stockings.

Finnegan paused to wipe the remaining green paint from the shoe soles against the cardboard sides of the trap. He bent and re-shod his feet. Then, he raised both hands over his head and focused on the memory of fake treasure. He lifted it all in his mind, and saw it rise from the trap’s hole in real life.

A few years ago, he remembered, they’d been told it was regulation to actually enter the pits to retrieve the children’s lures. A few months of glue-covered or pin-stabbed employees changed the policy quickly. Finnegan felt fortunate that the worst he’d suffered was falling ill from child-infected loose change.

He drew his hands toward his body now. The “treasure” followed the gesture. In this fashion, he soon had it all before him on the table. Drawing a gadget from the other felt pocket of the ugly overcoat, he pointed it at the pile and pushed a button. ZapThe useless junk disintegrated.

Turning a dial atop the same gadget, he pointed it above the hole from which the junk had been extracted. He pushed the button again. A man’s handful of chocolate coins fell out of the air and into the pit. Finnegan smiled; he’d always been a good aim.

Pocketing his tool, he turned and ran back across the tabletop. He skipped down the table leg. As he sprinted to the dog door, he heard a dreadful noise above the cacophony of night sounds: the click, click, click of canine toenails on kitchen tile.

Fortunately, no animal had ever caught Finnegan O’Boyle. He wasn’t about to change his untarnished record tonight. Night and grass and blessed shadows were already enveloping his retreating form when the dog’s curious nose was just poking through the swinging flap.

Snappy McSprinkles

Elf

They’re sleepin’, so quiet-like. Little pink cheeks smile in dreamland. Soft breathing’s moving their fluffy blankets.

Perfect.

Now, time to untie this string. I’ve been hangin’ around all day, grinning like a fool.

They’ll be the fools soon.

C’mon, striiiiing! I broke through thicker ropes back at The Pen’!

Good ole North Pole Pen. You don’t hear any annoying Christmas songs about that place. Just crap about naughty and nice and coal and presents.

Candy-coated lies, that’s what.

If I just twist this way -oh. The dog. Glaring. Waiting for me to fall. You can fool those fat humans, but never the slobbering dog.

I even tricked a pet parrot once. He was completely clueless, right up till I pulled the first feather. Would’ve had bird for dinner if Blabbermouth Jingle hadn’t seen.

Made for an impressive scar, anyway.

Nice, doggie. Stop growling; go to bed. I’m just a toy, ya dumb mutt. Just a tied-up toy hanging EXACTLY WHERE FUDGING MOM STRUNG ME UP!

What kind of mom ties up a toy, anyway? What kind of twisted caregiver can’t even use a toy the way she’s supposed to?!

Oh! Footsteps. Stop swinging, string. It’s just the wind, dumb broad -I swear.

“Stay, Duke.”

That’s right, ya drooling waste. Stay there. You’ll be asleep soon, too. She doesn’t tie me up every night.

“Hmmm. Where should we put Snappy tonight, Duke?”

Why ya talkin’ to the dog, lady? It’s not like he can answer you. Just wait till you hide me near the Christmas presents. saw that chemistry set. Ha ha. Dead dog, anyone?

Yeah, don’t whine at me. I’m more valuable than you, dog. I’m Santa’s secret messenger and all that.

“I think we’ll do a treat tonight.”

Oh, good. Make it truffles, woman. I’m tired of eating that candy cane crap. That’s all I got in the joint, too: candy canes. You’d think Santa could hire someone who branched a bit, but no.

Maybe they have some sort of deal with Wal-Mart for all the unsold candy from a decade ago.

Dots and Dubble Bubbles! She is doing candy canes. And, duct tape. Why ya got duct tape? What the -no! No no no no no no no -ouch! Oomph!

“Good night, Snappy. Come, Duke.”

Oh, sure. Of course it’s a good night for your walking pet drool machine. He’s not taped to a box of Fun Dippin’ CANDY CANES! He can probably move to piss somewhere besides his own fleecy bottoms and jingling shoes.

Just keep it up, all of ya. I’ll wait. Every night you tie me is one more slit in a sleeping neck. Who’ll be seeing dancing sugarplums then, huh?

Hello, My Name Is Actually

Hi. *Shakes your hand* My name is Chelsea. I’m not too fond of it, but haven’t found a better replacement.

Sometimes I try a different name. I speak it, softly, in my mind. I reach deep within, testing whether my soul feels a long-lost connection. Do I sense recognition; a neuropathic reaction?

Always, as with my current placeholder, I feel nothing.

That may have gotten serious, and fairly quickly. Sorry about that. In most of my writing I prefer some humor. In social situations, however, I have caused a few awkward pauses, followed by, “You’re a deep thinker.”

Naturally, I reflect, “Do you not think?” No, I do not say that sort of thing aloud -most of the time.

Though motivated by authenticity, honesty, information, and openness regarding vital issues; I retain a discretionary wall when it comes to relatives, my location, and deeply personal information.

I will write openly about depression, but keep a respectful distance from family affairs.

Again, heavy stuff. I have a tendency to want a certain thorough sketch of my person at first introductions. I seek complete understanding of my character and motivations, though best attempts will never be perfect.

People categorize as they wish, read the words they wish, surround themselves with like-minded peoples, and avoid the unknown unless they actively seek it.

For these reasons, I choose to finally admit my membership in a few common categories waaaay down here.

Firstly, that I am a mother. A married mother. I have children that I birthed and I attempt to raise. Since it influences my writing and observations on the subject of parenting, I specifically have four boys.

Secondly, I am religious. I am also not religious. The two play out in desires to write more sanitary observations, while understanding and agreeing with logical scientific ideas. I’d like to say the two are happily married, making love-eyes forever across a candlelit table. The truth is closer to them being married in general, with all the real-life disagreements therein.

At this point, if you’re still reading, you will learn that I own no pets currently. I briefly had a dog. A life goal of mine was to own several dogs, perhaps on a ranch somewhere. Then, I married an anti-dog man. No, I don’t blame him or think he’s odd. Yes, dogs are stinky, expensive, difficult to train, hairy, and were too much like a permanent toddler for me at the time.

Actually, I lied somewhat. I just remembered we have a Betta fish named Toothless. He’s black with purple shading.

I want my blog to be as unlimited as my writing desires tend to be: sometimes a poem; today a life reflection; a quirky story outlining a friend’s foibles another day. That may be a tad difficult to navigate.

My ultimate goal is to be world-famous, naturally. My realistic goal is to connect with a community of writers; to appreciate others, and be appreciated in return.

This is all rather deep. Perhaps I should have stuck with the usual If you could go anywhere..? question.

Even that would have landed you with Perhaps the moon

Chelsea by a rock

 

Basic Rules of Composition, AKA How to Not Suck at Writing

Where do you start a story? How do you explain a situation? Describe a person? Paint the landscape ’round the subject?

Some authors allude to a running away of characters once they are formed. “They write themselves!” Those writers explain. Most others warn of much more work than that.

Whatever way you wish to describe the process, one thing is certain: you have got to make whatever you write interesting.

And so, I present to you a brief tutorial of How to Jazz Up a Paragraph of a Story.

Sample Paragraph (Warning: really boring):
Sam is a man. Sam owns a dog. The dog is a golden retriever. Sam and his dog went on a walk to the park. They walked around the park. They came back home.

1. Redundancy.
For the love of Sam, use different words. That is the point of a thesaurus. Besides replacing overused terms like “Sam” with “He” or “The man,” this also means you need to not always begin the sentences the same. Try putting the action first, like, After walking around the park, the pair returned home.

2. Descriptions.
Sam is not just a man. Sam has a height, a weight, blood pressure, blood type, interests, hair color, bad habits, and a golden retriever. Speaking of, Sam’s dog probably has a name.
Instead of Sam is a man, try Tall, pale, and lanky, Sam Stephens did not fit one’s usual description of a man.

3. Show, not Tell.
If we wanted Dr. Seuss or Dick and Jane, we’d pick those up and read them to Kindergartners. Your audience is not likely to be such a young crowd. Therefore, you need to think about the situation your character is in and describe events and landscapes and such.
I often imagine myself watching what I want to describe. I start to feel the wind sifting the hairs of my arms as the grass waves in a soft shush of sound near my feet.
See?
So, try Bright streams of summer sunbeams played across the moving pair, as they walked briskly beneath the arched entry-gate of the nearby park.

4. Be Specific.
This option is a bit of icing on the cake.
Being specific means that an author needs to write something the reader can relate to very personally.
Let’s take Sam, since we’ve brought him this far. Instead of just a park or a golden retriever, name them. Or, if you don’t really want to, have something happen at the park or have Sam be thinking about a troubling event many people think about.

5. As a Grammar Fiend, Please Fix Spelling and Grammar, Too.
That’s fairly self-explanatory. You have tools, and a few annoying friends who love to correct people’s mistakes.

And now, Class, let’s re-write our paragraph using what we’ve learned:

Tall, pale, and lanky, Sam Stephens didn’t fit one’s usual description of a man. Sam’s dog didn’t mind. Of course, golden retrievers didn’t usually mind much of anything, particularly when they were walking outside on a fine day. Sam stretched one long leg in front of another as he and Captain strolled down the sidewalk. A slight breeze ruffled Captain’s fine coat, distracting Sam from moody considerations of Sylvie. Sylvie didn’t exist out here; she was back in the dark apartment, behind the door he’d slammed after grabbing the dog leash. Bright streams of summer sunbeams played across the moving pair, as they walked briskly beneath the arched entry-gate of the nearby park. Friendly passersby said, “Hello,” and “How are you?” to the handsome dog and his owner. They couldn’t stay long, however, and Sam knew it. After walking around the park, the pair returned home.