Intimate Solidarity

Hardship and trouble,
Crumble walls built by,
Boredom, disappointment,
Ridiculous expectations,
Self protection,
Laid down like scum,
Layer upon layer,
So skin does not touch skin,
With electrifying connection,
but dull and shallow reflex.
All this swept away,
In the storm of tribulation,
That holding a hand,
That holds back,
Answers the need,
Declares that the cement,
Is good,
Worthy of deep gratitude.

Who is Ed? – Lessons from the Comics

It matters how something is said. We all know that. But it also matters how something is thought to be said. Our lesson from the Comics today is from “Pickles”by Brian Crane. The cartoon is of retired couple Opal and Earl. A recent episode featured Earl jealous of a text he sees on her phone which he believes is a reminder to call “Ed”. Opal explains that it doesn’t say, “call Ed”. It simply says, “called”.
It’s funny in a cartoon but if confusion is in a novel or short story, not so much.

What am I talking about? Not simple reading errors but word placement that causes confusion or maybe a whole different meaning.
For example, “You can hop on the tube and eat lunch at Harrow’s Grill for three dollars.” Someone might think it only costs three dollars for lunch at Harrows when it really costs twelve bucks for the cheapest dish. Should say, “For three dollars you can catch the tube to Harrows Grill and get some lunch.” Whole different point.
Here’s another, “After eating my bird whistles.” Hmm, does that mean someone is eating a bird?
How about, “My favorite foods are fried chicken, peanut butter and jelly and pizza covered with anchovies.” Is that peanut butter and jelly with anchovies?
These are just simple examples of poor word order and missing commas, but you get the idea. I’ve heard the best way to catch these types of mistakes is to read what you write aloud. When you read your writing, if you stumble at speaking it, chances are a reader will stumble at reading it.
In the cartoon, the momentary confusion almost led to a serious issue between Opal and Earl. Hopefully we can avoid even near misses. When my novel gets before an agent or publisher the last thing I want is for even one sentence to leave her scratching her head saying, “What?”
I’m fairly certain that would be followed by a, “Thanks but no thanks.”
Write on but take the time to read aloud!

5 Things I Saw Today – April 30, 2021

  1. Thousands of seeds raining down in the sunshine from within the bright green of our maple tree. The tree opened her arms wide and set her children free. They danced and twirled and spread their wings in the joy of life. With every breath from the sky, a new handful released. The wind and tree together setting them off on their life’s journey. I stood under the tree feeling like a child in midst of it. These moments need to be captured. They are gifts.
  2. A thin, long, millipede with long antennae, looking otherworldly, fascinating and creepy at the same time.
  3. My ‘grand puppy’ chewing on a bone. Got to love that cute face. No really we have to love that face because we’ll be babysitting her for a week. If you think babyproofing a house for a two year old is hard, try doing it for a big puppy that vacuums tissues up until no one knows for sure, was that box full or empty?
  4. A disrespectful email to one of my team members. Made me see red. It shouldn’t surprise me but it does, that people can be so immature to think that being a leader means being assertive and being assertive means grabbing what you want from the negotiation table when no one is looking. I didn’t let that one slide by without calling her out. People need to realize in real life a nasty person is not revered like they are on television. Let’s make sure it doesn’t happen in our writing too.
  5. Unmade bed. My husband is OCD. His morning routine is maddeningly predictable except this morning. He’s retired and took on making the bed weekday mornings. So when I came in from my morning run and the bed was unmade, it was cause to check on him. He was at his usual point, making a bowl of oatmeal. I didn’t say anything, didn’t ask, but I made the bed. It could have been for any number of reasons. He didn’t feel like it, which he’s entitled to however out of character. He decided to switch up the routine, also strange but change can be good. He may have just forgot, the most concerning possibility so I’m not going to ask; “let sleeping dogs lie” until they get in the way.

That’s it. Just random observations on a random day. Maybe one of them will knock a few ideas loose in your mind and get you writing a short story, a chapter or an email to someone who needs to hear, you’ve got their back.

Say it Again – A Poem

Lies, lies, lies,
Whisper at every side,
Truth, truth, truth,
No where to abide.
Noise, noise, noise,
The melody is dead,
Silent, silent, silent,
No words of hope are said.
Strife, strife, strife,
Fight to live a life,
Rest, rest, rest,
On the edge of a knife.
Close, close, close,
Eyes to present dark,
Open, open, open,
To a view vast and stark,
Search, search, search,
Until all thoughts suspend,
Find, find, find,
The light at tunnel’s end.