Posts tagged with Nanowrimo Novels

This Is Better Than That

"Whatever gets you through your life 'salright, 'salright, Do it wrong or do it right 'salright, 'salright, "

John Lennon's lyrics to "Whatever Gets You Through the Night.", have played through my head numerous times over the years, too numerous to mention.

Most of you reading this blog have at one time or another been in extreme pain, and whether that pain was physical, mental, or spiritual, more than likely you have had many opportunities to feel the effects of how life changing and challenging pain can be.

Pain over the sudden loss of a loved one, news that someone you know and love has a terminal illness, or receiving a negative diagnose of a personal nature is indeed life changing.

Whether it is depression that is getting you down, temporary blues over the loss of a job, a physical ailment, or something more permanent, I hope you'll give the technique I"m talking about a chance to change your attitude by focusing in a more positive manner.

I didn't invent, "This is Better Than That", I don't even remember what it was called when I first heard about it, but the idea is that you begin each day with a mental list that you keep track of to compare what you have done as to being better than anything else that you experienced in the day.

Example: I wake up in excruciating pain, I turn over and the pain is slightly less. I say to myself, "This is better than that".

Next I get out of bed and I feel the cool, smooth floor underneath my feet and I ask, "Is this better than the decreased pain of my earlier movement?"

If it is then it goes to the top of my list. Next item may be something as simple (and endearing) as seeing my child's smile and noticing he/she is missing a front tooth - this immediately goes to the top of my list.

The idea is that if we concentrate on always looking for the next best thing to put on the top of our list. we tend not to focus on the negative things; they are ignored or not as noticeable since they are not what we are paying attention to for our list

.At the end of the day, as your head touches the pillow and just seconds before you drift off to sleep, spend a minute or two thinking about your list and remember as you go through all of the positive things that occurred in your day which one of them was better than all the rest.

If you have been used to thinking in a negative manner, are seriously depressed over a diagnosis, it might take awhile to retrain your thinking pattern.

You DO have control over how you LOOK at things that are happening, or have happened, in your life even though you may not have control over what actually happens or happened. Take back some of the control by how you choose to look at things and don't forget to ask, "Is this better than that"?

What techniques or tools have you utilized to help you transition through a difficult time period or loss?

We have had numerous losses within our community over the past couple of months - what advice would you give to those people who have lost a loved one to help them make it through their life?


Give Us This Day Our Daily Haiku

Go ahead, you know you want to, you know you need to, you know you can't stop yourself, you know you can't live without it.

People are uniquely different - I have a girl friend who years back would take one photograph each day that she felt best captured her feelings for that day. These days she is writing a daily haiku - what a thing to do!

Some people take a daily shower or bath, others fit in a daily routine of exercise or a walk with their doggy. Still others take the time to read their favorite daily newspaper (mine is the Lawrence Journal World), or to watch that favorite television show.

One of the things I have been most surprised about while writing blogs is how popular anything about poetry seems to be. People whom I would never have thought of having poetic minds or thoughts have surprised me with intricate, beautiful, soulful poetry.

So here goes - a living, ongoing, changing forum. Give us this day my daily haiku......please come on daily and post a haiku that best describes your emotional state, your day at work, your romantic life, an interaction with the world around you, or a snuggle with your child.


Running Naked With iPhone: Day Two - A New Beginning

Waking up to a crystal clear morning in the Rockies - it doesn't get any better. The devastation of the campsite by pine beetles seemed less foreboding than it had appeared in the cold rain of the previous evening. Although the first words out of my mouth, "I'm not leaving the tent until the sun is up and the temperature is 70 degrees. No, make that 80 degrees", the thought of campfire coffee, bacon and eggs, and a roaring fire enticed me to exit the comfort of the queen-sized bed with overlaid sleeping bags.

Once the sun came over the mountains, the cool night air warmed immediately. So much so, that we discarded layers of clothing to begin exploring the area surrounding the campsite.

We noticed many small signs of life: a new beginning that provided not only hope that in time this site would return to the beauty of the past (knowing that probably wouldn't happen in our lifetime), but also a gentle reminder of the cycle of life. The knowledge that nature has a way of regenerating and doesn't require much in the way of help from mankind.

The lure of wildflowers, a mountain stream, and the instinctual use of our senses enabled us to first 'trip' across a mother moose with her calf, enabling us to see sights to which I previously would have been oblivious.

Once we spotted the moose, we began circling around her to position ourselves closer, but with an awareness not to come between her and her calf.

As we circled, we became aware of what would have been signs, or clues, if we had known what to watch for. These included fresh moose and/or elk scat (poo by any other name), and an area of grass that had been a recent nesting place for a mother and her calf.

Eventually, with much trepidation, we made our way close enough to the female to get these two pictures. The awareness of her odor, her closeness, her sheer size, brought an excitement and understanding of why people hunt - whether that be with camera or weapon. I felt more alive than I had in a long time, scarcely noticing how soaked we were from lightly falling rain, and the dampness of the tall grasses as we made our way through them and back to the bleakness of the campsite.

Within less than a 24-hour period, we had witnessed what many people go their whole lives without seeing. And, we had adapted to our climate enough to have steaks on our plates in time to retreat into the warmth of our vehicle as evening rain fell once more.

(Stay tuned for: "Running Naked With iPhone: Day Three - Letting the Cosmos Decide"


Loku: New Form Of Poetry With Lawrence Roots Sweeps Literary World

Lawrence, Kansas is a melting pot of people and creative ideas erupting with artists, singers, song writers, performers, and entertainers of all varieties.

From this epic center of creativity explodes a new form of poetry referred to as Loku (pronounced low koo), based on the ancient Japanese form known as Haiku.

People the world over are familiar with this simplistic, yet profound, structure of 17 onji, or syllable count, structure of 5-7-5

.Other poetic forms that use a similar structure are the Katuata, Choka, Tanka, Mondo, and Sekoka.

The Katuata uses 19 sound units (onji), or syllable count, with a structure of 5-7-7.

The Mondo form is written by two poets with one person asking the question and the second supplying the answer. An example of the Mondo is as follows:

Why is there no rain

the land cries our for water

but cannot shed tears?

There will be no rain

because you wept time before

when there was some rain.

and is in the traditional 5-7-5 syllable count.

Choka is the most intricate of Japanese poems with a choice of form using either 5-7-7-5-7-7 or 5-7-5-5-7-5.

Enjoy the following example:

The Moth

there is no freedom

escaping from my cocoon

I must seek you once again

I am drawn to you

like a moth to a candle

circling nearer and nearer

the deadly flame calls

now my wings are scorched

why must my nature be so?


The new form of poetry created in Lawrence, Kansas, known as the Loku, is a simple three word, three syllable format

.Example:"two words, three"

One interpretation of the above poem is simply, I love you, or I love thee, since love is the core value of all poetry and a universal language.

It is more difficult to write a Loku poem than it may appear.

Please spend time following the Loku format and share Loku poems of your own creation along with the meaning of your poem.


Could You Do It In 500?

Can you do it in 500? Some people could never do it, regardless of how many they're given. Michael Goodwin, author of The Badass Geek, thinks you can and I'm willing to give you a chance.

What are we talking about? Goodwin says it best,

“Fiction 500 is an on-going short fiction project, created in 2008. The project is based upon a simple idea: write a fictional story using no more 500 words…Telling a story in just 500 words forces the writer to get to the point and decide what the most important things to say are, and what parts of the story can be left up to the reader to come up with on their own.”

(read more about Goodwin's blog idea and post your own short story on his site at:

While I'm hoping Michael shows up to tell us how he came up with his terrific creative idea, you better start composing your 500 word short story.

Yeah, we're having a contest! The three judges are as follows:

Tena Santaularia - Special Event Decorator and Balloon Artist (see:

Lori Schutter - Gift Processing Associate at KU Endowment Association

RoeDapple - famous blogger and generally nice person; although he is notorious!

Please mail your 500 word short story to me: no later than February 16th (you've got one week). You may each submit up to two stories. I will then remove your name and assign a number to protect your identity before forwarding them along to our three judges. The winner will have their story placed in my online blog, along with a brief interview about them and their process, on February 23rd.

Have fun, keep them 'relatively' clean, and feel free to ask questions as you go. (what the judges don't know, is if they are able to pick which story is mine from the group they will also win a prize!) Stories will be judged on concise and precise writing, word count (exactly 500 words), creativity and compelling concept.

Coming in March: Memoir Madness - for those of us who don't give a hoop about basketball!


In the Mood for RVing? I’m Wanting a Pop-Up

This time of year has many of us dreaming about some type of escape. Whether that involves sipping a pina colada on a tropical island, skiing at a favorite resort, or something as simple (okay, it isn't always simple) as a visit to Grandma's house, our minds are most likely vacationing somewhere during these seemingly endless days of winter.

I've never traveled by RV, never used a pop-up camper, but as recently as last summer, I did have the opportunity to spend several days and nights camping in the Rocky Mountains.

My first thought was how nice it would be to crawl inside one of the pop-up campers I saw attached to vehicles - somehow the RV world just isn't me.

The campers would offer immediate warmth, or air conditioning, depending on our needs, and quite frankly, we were freezing in our tent. It would save us time and energy spent setting up our tents, finding three 'legal' sites close enough together to actually enjoy the company of those with us isn't always simple, and it would enable us to travel and park at some other location during our travel time.

So the search is on. What better place to go than the RV show at Bartle Hall this coming weekend. Will I see you there?

What are you looking for. Are you looking for something specific or are you simply daydreaming?

I called one of the places about renting a pop-up - they are quite expensive! For those of you who use them, are they cost effective, or is it more about the freedom of being able to stay off the fast lane and travel without thoughts of motels, etc.?


That Crazy Little Name You’re Called

Just within the last couple of days, I've learned of some of my reader's nicknames. Whether we love them or hate them, we've all got them.

My personal experience with nicknames has been that they change over time. When I was quite young, and pretended to be a gunslinger, my nickname was Roni. My sister gave me the name and a bracelet bearing that engraved one year for my birthday. As I became an awkward tall and skinny teen, I became known as any one of a variety of names from Eyelashes and Twiggy, to Olive Oil. I can't say any of those made me feel particularly loved!

As a young adult, my brother began calling me Ramjet. Sometimes he switched it out to Roter Rooter Scooter. I am not about to disclose the reasons behind any of his choices.

Friends later referred to me as Rhoda and I can still determine the length of time I've known someone when I'm walking down the street and someone hollers, "Hey, Rhoda!"

These days I'm more often referred to as Frufru or Squeaky Pants - and just for clarity, the latter refers to my sending a multitude of text messages via my iPhone. Sure, someone will on occasion refer to me as Phatty, but for the most part, it's all in a loving spirit.

What nicknames have you been referred to as you and your acquaintances have changed over the years?

Was there any permanent damage done?


Buried Alive: A Conversation With Jimi Hendrix

It isn't often you get the chance to rest beside one of your all time favorite heroes! I recently received photos taken by my cousin, Kent, who has moved to Seattle, Washington, of a burial site for sale within walking distance to Jimi Hendrix.

Now Kent is one of those guys who loves to check out the landscape when he goes to a new area - and particularly if that landscape includes a cemetery and someone he idolized is 'at home' there. So, when Kent sent me pictures he'd taken at Greenwood Memorial Park, I wasn't all that surprised. After all, when I went to visit him in Indianapolis, just a little over a year ago, our first stop was a cemetery high on a hill with a panoramic view of the city below.

"Jimi, do you have any clue how much I paid to be buried next to you? Jimi? Jimi?"

Those first few minutes of being buried alive where exhilarating. I couldn't help but wonder how much Jimi's music had changed over the years. He died in 1970, so I figure he is still pure rock and roll and psychedelics - he missed out on all that tom foolery that came later. No castrated Bee Gees singing Disco tunes in Jimi's electrified music!

"Jimi, are you awake? Hey, did I ever tell you about the time I saw Harrison in concert? Yeah, it was really great. Ringo was even there and so was Ravi Shankar! So, Jimi, are you working on any particular song right now? Maybe I can assist with a lyric or two. I don't have a background in music, but I do have a lyrical mind, if I do say so myself."

Damn, maybe Jimi was up late last night. I hope I'm not annoying him!

The thrill of being buried alive next to Jimi is beginning to wane. I wish I could see through this casket, the earth and tree roots, to see how he is aging. Maybe that's it! He's self-conscious!

"Jimi, I don't care that you've lost a lot of weight, that your teeth aren't brushed - do you still have teeth, Jimi? - and that your hair hasn't been combed. Those things weren't 'all' that attracted me to you back in the day. I loved you for your spirit, your music, your electric guitar was secondary to my love of your lyrics. Jimi? Jimi?"

Oh, great! So I paid all that money to be buried next to a guy who insists on giving me the cold shoulder. I want my money back!

How much would you pay to be buried to one of your heroes?

For additional information about this site, please contact :

Jim (not Jimi)
Greenwood Memorial Park, 350 Monroe Ave., Northeast, Renton, Washington.
You may call: 415-255-1511


Big Man Small World

The Olde Hip-Eye left this world and took a trip to whereabouts unknown New Year's Eve day. The passing of this giant man, with an equally huge heart, has left many of his friends and family reeling with memories from over the years. Everything Matt did seemed bigger than life. His laugh, and distinctive bellowing voice, could be heard across many a concert—and living room—floor throughout the years. If ever Matt met someone he didn’t like, it would be hard to imagine.

I was twenty when I met Matthew and even though I lost contact with him for many years when I became a police officer, and then was mostly housebound while raising my children, I had the good fortune of crossing paths again with him these past couple of years. He also helped me to reconnect with other close friends by giving them grief about having lost contact with me.

Matt always shared what was on his mind - not necessarily with tact, but you always came away from him knowing he still loved you, because he would say so freely.

What better tribute for Matt, whom we lovingly referred to as Jethro from the Beverly Hillbillies (due to his bull-in-a-China-shop gait), than to play some music in his honor.

Please think of an event or memory you’ve shared with Matt, and pick a song that suits your memory of him.

SPECIAL EVENT NOTICE! - Please join us for the Matthew Moore Celebration Of Life Service, January 10th at Liberty Hall in Lawrence, Kansas. Help us remember and celebrate the good times we shared with Matt with plenty of the music that Matt loved.

When: Sunday, January 10th from 2:00 - 6:00 PM

Where: Liberty Hall, 644 Massachusetts Street


Chili: How Do You Like It?

Some people like it with beef, pork or a combination. Others want it as I do with an even mix of meat and beans.

I have to have a lot of saltines crumbled in it to eat it, but I also like a mound of cottage cheese, sprinkles of sharp cheddar cheese and lots of hot sauce on top.

How do you like your chili? Hot, medium, mild?

Do you want it with sour cream, grated cheese, cottage cheese, or something else?

What do you eat with it? For me it is cornbread.....never big_prunes......