Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Things Left Behind...

Inspired by an anecdote on another writer's blog, I got to thinking about the things we leave behind.  How many of us inadvertently leave something important somewhere and either never get it back or go through hell trying to get it back?

My husband has a bad habit of forgetting his baseball caps in public places.  Just recently he left one behind at the movie theater. When we got back home he asked, "Did I have my hat with me at the movie?"  We both pondered that for a moment.  Then he said, "Yes, I did.  I think I left it on the seat."  Oh well.  We weren't about to drive 30 minutes back to Lincoln just to fetch a baseball cap.  He has others.  And now, I suppose, someone else is wearing his hat.

A number of years ago I'd visited a fast food place for lunch during my lunch break from work. Having only a half hour alloted to me, I got busy eating my food.  I'd draped my new jacket over the back of the chair and never gave it another thought.  It was a warm day and the jacket wasn't really needed. When I glanced at my watch and saw the time, I panicked.  Got to fly back to work since some nosy person would notice if I was late.  I just grabbed my handbag and took off.  Eventually at some point during the day I realized I'd left my new jacket behind.  I called the restaurant and spoke with someone who didn't seem too concerned; he told me the jacket would go to their lost and found area.  I made numerous calls and even returned to the "crime scene." To make a long story short, the last attempt I made to get my jacket back I was told that the supervisor took the jacket home with her.  I never got it back.

Last year at Christmastime I was a scatterbrain shopper who rushed from store to store, frantically trying to do everything in one day.  (grocery shopping, mall shopping, drugstore, post office--you get the idea)  On my final trip (grocery store), when I paid for my groceries, I whipped out my billfold, placed it next to the credit card swiper machine and pulled out some cash.  After paying the clerk, I grabbed my grocery bags, tossed them in my cart and rushed off into the outside world.  Later at home when I wanted to check my receipt, I opened my pocketbook.  Hmm.  The receipt was there, but no billfold.  The billfold is sacred of course since it holds all of my cards--driver's license, credit cards, all kinds of important stuff.  It would be a MAJOR inconvenience if this billfold could not be recovered!  I searched all over the house until it dawned on me--I'd taken the billfold out at the grocery store and apparently had not stuck it back in my pocketbook. I'd left it at the register where ANYONE could just pick it up and take it with them. Oh shit!

But this story has a happy ending. I raced back to the store, the store manager spotted me, the wild-eyed, crazy woman searching for her billfold, and flagged me down. She knew me by sight since I practically live in her store; she'd found my billfold right after I'd left and knew I'd been at that particular register and she tucked it away safe in her office.  Whew!  I dodged the bullet this time around.

I've also left my keys on a city bus, my driver's license at the bank (and amazingly they did not call me to tell me I'd done that), my umbrella at a restaurant, my winter coat at the hospital, and a pair of black panties at a former boyfriend's house (don't ask).

So how about you?  Have you ever left something important behind?

Monday, October 26, 2009

True Beauty

Okay, my final blog post about the colors of autumn.  I just need to embrace the beauty of fall before it slips away.

It's just so beautiful out there each day; sometimes I wish it would last all year long.  But then again, perhaps it would get tedious seeing the same artwork painted across the landscape day after day.

I was thinking about it the other day, the beauty of nature, how each season holds its own special beauty.  Spring gives birth to flowers, the beginning of the seasons.  We get to see everything in bloom.  Summer gives us blue skies and lots of greenery.  Fall is obviously known for bright, beautiful colors.  But how about winter?  I thought about that one for a while.  With its bare branches and loss of color, what could be beautiful about winter?  And then I thought of snow.  Whiteness has its own special beauty, blanketing trees, houses and landscapes.

So, let's celebrate fall while it's upon us.  Here are a few more samples of the awesomeness of autumn.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The colors of fall

Today was very windy, leaves swirling all about, so I thought I'd better capture a few more images on camera before the trees are bare.

I found this group of trees surrounding a nearby fishing pond; they called to me as I was driving past.  I thought, "Oh, I've got to take some pics of those on my way back."

It was a bit overcast today, so the photos will reflect the lack of sunlight.  Still, I couldn't resist the colors.  In the next few days I'm hoping to get over to County Road where I saw some beautiful yellow leaves.  Just hope they haven't all blown away!

Oh, and if you click on one of the pics, you can see the larger, clearer version.

Friday, October 23, 2009

It's time to dress for fall...

As promised, I went out and snapped a few fall pictures to show the contrast of the changing seasons.  Many of the trees around me are beautiful right now; it's so nice to see those blazing shades of yellow, orange and red as I'm driving about or off on a bike ride.

I know autumn won't last long, so I'll hold onto these pictures as a keepsake, returning to look at them on those cold winter days when the trees are empty and sad.  There's a chill in the air today and I needed three layers to keep warm.

May the colors inspire you as you're sitting down to write today.

ETA:  I'm going to update this soon.  I found an area with much better foliage. Unfortunately I did not have my camera with me, so I could not capture what I saw.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Anniversary Memories

Twenty-four years ago yesterday I wore a white dress, white shoes, a touch of jewelry and my best smile. A nervous smile, I might add.  I remember something my mother once said about sitting across the breakfast table at her husband and thinking, "Who is this man?"  Sure, I knew the man I was marrying, but did I really know him?  Ah, but twenty-four years later, I know him quite well!

It was a blustery fall day, the red, orange and yellow leaves swirled about, but the sun was shining and my heart held the highest hopes for a new life with my new partner on a journey I could only imagine.  "For better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health"--I repeated the words and so did he.  I was a bundle of nerves, my palms were dripping wet; I knew what I was saying but somehow couldn't really focus on the words.  All eyes were glued to the two of us, as if we were actors on a stage; one false move, one slip and perhaps they'd be laughing at us.

Much of that part is a blur but often through the years I've thought about those words we were asked to repeat.  They have such meaning, such significance, and yet for many they don't seem to mean much at all.  Considering the divorce rate, how could they have meant much at all?  My husband and I have been through good times and bad times ("for better or for worse"); we've never been rich, but we've been poor.  I translate that one to ("for poor or for poorer").  There has definitely been some sickness, mostly mine, and thankfully my husband has seen me through it. These are things many people never think about when they're standing across from each other wearing their Sunday best, gazing into each other's eyes, hand in hand, before God and family and friends.  The future is down the road, out of sight.  Their focus is usually on the present, their special day of celebrating, partying, dancing, smiling and loving each moment.

Those holy vows meant something to me way back then and they mean even more to me now. I take promises very seriously. We can't know what kinds of hurdles life will throw in front of us on that road that leads to the future, but we have to be ready for them.  And holding onto your partner's hand you're saying, "I can get through anything as long as you're beside me."

"For as long as you both shall live."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Descriptions, descriptions!

How would you describe these flowers?  Are they pink and white or are they more than that?  Do they need to be more than that?

I was trying to write a 3000-word story for a contest and didn't get too far.  I had a vague idea of where the story was going.  I'd figured out how to incorporate three contest requirements into it. The problem? Narration. Description. How to explain what the woman is doing and why.

I don't seem to have a problem coming up with ideas. I don't flinch when it comes to writing dialogue. Piece of cake. But descriptions? Man, that's hard. I'm a writer, I'm supposed to be able to do it. Are certain writers better at descriptions than others? 

There are times when I think I should stick to writing poetry.  Or non-fiction.  Or maybe plays.

And now back to those pretty flowers.  How would you describe them? (oh, you can click on the picture to see a larger version).

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Writer and Her Workspace

Originally, I had some photos of my workspace posted.  But since someone thought my desk looked a little too neat, I decided to take a few pics of its messier status.  Now, I tried to edit the original post and move some things around, but technology doesn't like me very much, so I wound up removing the whole ball of wax.

And now I have to use my brain to remember the lovely words I'd posted.  Of course, I can't recall, so I'll just have to wing it.  I believe I explained that in its neatest condition, my desk holds a dictionary, a fancy can with some pens and pencils, a laptop computer supported by a dohickey thing which elevates it so I don't burst my neck muscles, a stapler and a few Avon books (my other money-making venue).

In its messier condition, you'll see some other items such as a Kathy coffee mug, a water bottle, a magazine, a bunch of papers, yet another cup of pens and pencils, my mouse and now a brand new phone.  Nearby is my printer.

And what good is a workspace without the writer working in it.

If all goes well, the photos will magically appear once I'm finished typing this.  Cross your fingers I do this right.

What does your workspace look like?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sky pictures

"Rows and flows of angel hair

and ice cream castles in the air

And feather canyons everywhere,

I've looked at clouds that way."


Joni Mitchell had a nice way of describing what clouds look like.  Very accurate, too, I must say. Today when I was taking my walk I decided to study some clouds and photograph them, too.


I think most of us can remember lying on the grass as a child, staring up at the clouds. We challenged one another to try to describe the shapes we saw, to find the hidden pictures. There were dragons, castles, witches, angels...or maybe nothing more than just a girl's flowing hair stretching across the sky.

I wrote a haiku about clouds once:

Clouds filter through steel

branches, unraveling threads

of sky tapestry.


What do you see in the clouds?


Saturday, October 3, 2009

I need to make you laugh!

So, I wanted to write some humorous greeting cards the other day, but for the life of me, I just couldn't think funny.  How do you say something funny on command?  I can't do it, but perhaps some people can.  I'm sure Jim Carrey and Robin Williams aren't funny 24 hours a day.  They must have their off moments.  It's great to have a script in front of you filled with funny lines, but what if you don't?  We're all humans, capable of multiple emotions, so you would think we all have times when we just don't feel funny.

So, in that case, how do you MAKE humor happen? How do you tap into that funny vein and make the silly, crazy stuff come pouring out?

One way I do it is with pictures. (Like the one I've posted above.) I need idea starters. So I googled funny baby pictures. Then I stare at a picture and wait for inspiration to strike. Possible captions for this one? How about: "Man, I'm pooped. And speaking of poop, change my damn diaper, will ya?"

Or maybe: "Sucks being me. How are YOU doing?" Then there's: "She makes me wear this goofy-looking hat! What will all the cool kids think?"

A number of years ago when I was working in editorial at Paramount Cards, I finally got a shot at writing humorous cards. We had a very small staff the whole time I was there; all three of us worked on sentimental or serious cards, no funny stuff. That was fine with me but I must admit there were times when I felt like writing some humor. It wasn't until 1996, I think, that we had a different editorial manager, and he let the three of us editors work on some humor. I remember sitting around with Michael and Regina, bouncing ideas off each other. It was great! We just cracked up laughing and I thought: What a great way to make a living! The other departments must have thought we were insane; I'm sure they could hear our bellows all the way down the hallway.

So, that's another way to stir the funny pot--surround yourself with funny people if you can. My youngest sister is usually a great source of jokes, derived mostly from real life incidents.

The only other way I can think of is to watch funny TV shows (and there aren't many I'd consider funny) or funny movies.  Sometimes a book will prove useful.

Excuse me now.  I've got to go tickle my funny bone so I can tickle others.