Tag Archives: Z-A

Rhythm: Use it In Your Prose, Not Just Poetry

I quite clearly remember the lecture in my Writing for Communications course. The teacher was a brilliant man, a writer with the Miami Herald, someone who I held in enormous esteem. I wanted to ace his class more than any other class during the last two years of college. His writing was beautiful, like poetry, even when he wrote about heartbreak and chaos. It drew you in. It had its own rhythm.

Ah. There you go. Poetry.

The course was required of all Mass Comm majors. The first day of class, someone said that she worried about her writing because, while she could write poetry, she couldn’t write prose.

I think the term my favorite teacher used in reply was: bullshit.

He then proceeded to explain that someone who wrote “just the facts” and didn’t know how to dance with words, moving them around so they drew in the reader, was a hack. That’s the difference between someone who takes notes and a writer, he said. A writer learns how to make the most of rhythm and its pauses, its stretches, the way the words sound even on paper. A good writer makes words flow. A good writer doesn’t lose folks in the flotsam and jetsam.

I’m still working on it.

In the years since I graduated, I stopped writing poetry. I started writing copy. Then teaching… and now I’m back to trying poetry in an attempt to make my writing more easy on the eye. Scratch that: I want to make it more interesting, more compelling.

I’m trying to make it a beat to follow. I’m relearning all those lessons he taught back in the day. It’s not as easy as it seems.

I could start by listening to music, the way I used to. I could write away from the sounds of my children and their games and squabbles, but I wouldn’t want to. I’ll have to find some way to get it back.



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Veritaserum — Would You Use It?

If you are a Very Cool Person, you know about the Harry Potter books more than simply a peripheral awareness of their huge influence.  If you aren’t, just stay with me.  You’ll want to read this.

One of the most compelling things about the books is their use of ethical conundrums to get the reader to really consider their own choices in life.  One such has to do with a teensy bottle of liquid truth:  it’s called veritaserum, and it’s a truth potion.  The most powerful truth potion in the wizarding world, as a matter of discussion.

The use of it is forbidden, but that makes no difference to a number of folks who consider it perfectly justifiable in what they consider their quest for answers.

Here’s the thing:  if you had a bottle of veritaserum, would you risk using it?  Would you feel justified in using it?  Have you ever wished you could just “know” the truth about something, and would do just about anything to find out the answer, whatever the cost?

I have thought that on a number of occasions.  Suffice it to say that, if the stuff existed, I’d like to think I wouldn’t try to obtain it and use it.  But there have been times, I suppose I might have.  Would I have regretted it?

Would knowing the truth solve any problems?  Probably not.  I think it would create more.  It’s not for us to know what’s in someone else’s head, and not for us to decide whether someone has to tell us what they’re thinking.   Or is it? 

Sodium pentothal is a drug like many others, and its use has been debated in India as recently as 2008.  What about when athorities are interrogating terrorists?  Suspected terrorists?  It’s a compelling question.

We must not tell lies.  At least, that’s what Delores Umbridge would say.


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Wonder Woman, All The World Is Counting On You


Yeah. I look juuuuuuuust like that. Mmmhmm. Yep.

 When I was a little girl, I used to pretend I was Wonder Woman. 

First of all, she wasn’t blonde.  This was of supreme importance, because at that point in my life, your attractiveness seemed to hinge upon the amount of blonde on your head and its ability to properly feather. 

Secondly, Wonder Woman had accessories.  She had a magic lasso and bracelets and that tiara thing on her head, and she was sort of like a feminine version of Captain America.  Plus, she was a princess.  That came with its own set of finery.

Wonder Woman also had a KILLER theme song.  You could just imagine the muses lining up to shout out the funky praises of a warrior goodness.  I’m not going to lie: I used to sing it when I rode my bike around the neighborhood — and I had a Wonder Woman-y bike if ever there was one.  It was called the Star Spangled Banner (seriously, it was on the banana seat) and had red, white and blue streamers on the handlebars.

Last, Wonder Woman was intelligent.  She probably read books whenever she wasn’t being an Amazon Warrior or subjugating evil.  Even in my first decade of life, I could see that she and I would have gotten along famously had she only known to stop down in Florida on her way to Amazon Island.  I could have lent her some of my books.  We’d have been buds.

I miss her.  I’ve seen the newest incarnation of the television icon, and she doesn’t quite do it for me.  Even after they re-designed her outfit, she just fell flat (not her breasts, however, which were perfectly perky and defied gravity… alas, I don’t have THOSE, either).

I wear a Wonder Woman nightshirt to bed at night.  I like to think I get a lot accomplished in the dreams I have on those nights.  It’s good to have a hero.


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XM Radio? Not Sure. It Depends.

When my husband bought his new car shortly before he deployed last year, it was the object of much admiration and longing by yours truly, not because of its perfect paint job (until the kid next door scratched it up), or its useful and perfectly proportioned cup holders (I take it back: I wanted his cup holders — hot coffee in the lap is no fun), but because it came with XM radio.

The radio in our aging minivan doesn’t work very well most of the time, and when it does, we don’t have much to brag about as far as musical offerings go in my neck of the woods. I mostly listen to eighties music, country music and Spirit FM, a modern Christian music station. Don’t judge — that’s how I roll. I digress.

The few times I borrowed his car for trips around town, I fell in love with the innumerable stations. I don’t listen to most of what it provides, but the thing is loaded and armed for bear. Book readings, Margaritaville, talk, comedy, and, yes, eighties music, and not the stupid bubblegum variety: this was choice stuff, from back in the Must Wear Black stage in my life.


I’d love to get XM radio on my next car. Given the cost of anything automotive these days, I’d have to give up something else, though. What would it be? That’s a tough one. I don’t get manicures and I color my own hair, so that’s not an option. What about my gourmet coffee? Ugh. Don’t know if I’d be willing to make the trade…

At any rate, I’ve got my eye on the XM package next time we’re ready for a car, which will be in about 2 or 3 years. I’m keeping my eye on their channels until then.


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Yellow. Not Yellow, Gold. Seriously, it’s Yellow.

photo by malalena

I have problems with yellow and orange. Always have. The same way my daughter dislikes the numbers 8 and 9 because “they’re just creepy,” I have probelms with yellow and orange. It makes no sense. I like sunflowers and daisies and they are most certainly sunny shades, and I even painted my walls a creamy gold (NOT YELLOW) shade. But yellow creeps me out for some reason. I think I know why I don’t like orange.

Once I had a horrible seizure as a child and, because of synesthesia, the seizure became “orange”. I’ve written a bit about Alice in Wonderland Syndrome, but basically it’s related to synesthesia, where the brain processes sight, sound, taste and other senses differently, sometimes overlapping them or putting one where it typically shouldn’t be. When I had seizures, they were sometimes “yellow” and, as I said, the worst was “orange”. Orange, to me, is especially associated with pain.

I like gold, though. It’s sort of orangey-yellowy, isn’t it? I dunno.

Tell me.


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Z-A Challenge — Why it Scares Me a Little


image by txpotato

I really, honestly, am not excited about doing this challenge… at least, not right now. But here’s a secret: that makes me determined to do it. Z-A, I’m going to be blogging another month’s worth of flotsam and jetsam from my writing and my life, and it’s going to be very difficult.

I have to tell you, I have some major problems writing sometimes — putting myself out there, I mean. It’s a challenge in more ways than one for me to do this blogging exercise.

I’m incredibly insecure about my ability to communicate. I second guess everything I say. I can think of a hundred reasons not to do this, and only one reason I should… but that one reason is so powerful I can’t back down. I’m doing the blog challenge NOT to get subscribers, or to increase awareness of my blog or writing. I’m doing it because if I can finish it, I’ll feel like I’ve accomplished something that’s not easy, and not convenient.

I’m doing it because I’m scared to do it. And I refuse to let it beat me.

Some days, I honestly would rather not pick up this computer. There are times that the thought of interacting with others, even digitally, terrifies me. When I put my heart out there, it opens me up for criticism, which I’ve never been able to deal with very well.

But last week, I was reminded why it’s important to do and say things that I feel strongly about, even if they aren’t popular: because if I don’t, their voices are the only ones being heard. So, as much as I will admit right here that I’d rather have dental work than commit to another challenge, I’m doing it anyhow. Even if no one read another blog post I wrote, I will know I didn’t let self-doubt and difficulty master me.

See you at “A”.


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