I Went to Sleep in 2020

and woke up back in the 1960s.  How is it that there is no learning curve?

“If you stick a knife in my back 9 inches and pull it out six inches, that’s not progress.  If you pull it all the way out, that’s not progress.  The progress is healing the wound that the blow made.  They haven’t begun to pull the knife out.  They won’t even admit the knife is there.”  – Malcolm X

Everyday People   

                          [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUUhDoCx8zc]

Sly and the Family Stone

Sometimes I’m right and I can be wrong
My own beliefs are in my song
The butcher, the banker, the drummer and then
Makes no difference what group I’m in

I am everyday people, yeah yeah

There is a blue one who can’t accept the green one
For living with a fat one trying to be a skinny one
And different strokes for different folks
And so on and so on and scooby dooby doo

Oh sha sha we got to live together

I am no better and neither are you
We are the same whatever we do
You love me you hate me you know me and then
You can’t figure out the bag I’m in

I am everyday people, yeah yeah

There is a long hair that doesn’t like the short hair
For bein’ such a rich one that will not help the poor one
And different strokes for…

Oh sha sha we got to live together

There is a yellow one that won’t accept the black one
That won’t accept the red one that won’t accept the white one
And different strokes for different folks
And so on and so on and scooby dooby doo

I am everyday people

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Sylvester Stewart

Everyday People lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

I May Not Have a Backyard (or Any Yard)

(apartment living and all that), but on the balcony facing mine, a neighbor has quite a few plants.  Apparently there is something there that attracts a hummingbird.  Often on weekends, I see it flitting around over there.  Never fails to bring a smile to my face.  At times, it almost seemed like the bird looked different, though it is hard to tell when they move so fast.  But today I definitely saw two of them together. 

Find the little pleasures in life, pandemic be damned!

hummingbird

[found on website:  https://www.publicdomainpictures.net/en/view-image.php?image=211852&picture=hummingbird%5D

Up for Grabs #8

Wherein I have written something, whether a single line or two, or several paragraphs, but think it highly unlikely I will ever do anything with them beyond that snippet.  Therefore, they are herewith put ‘up for grabs’.  If any of you writers can and wish to make use of them, feel completely free to do so.  I don’t even require any sort of acknowledgement if you do.  You can take a tiny part of them, the thing in its entirety exactly as is, or the basic idea and completely do with it what you will.  It just seemed pointless to let these things sit ignored on my computer until the end of time, knowing full well I won’t do anything more with them.  Rest assured, if there is any idea I have even the vaguest intention of pursuing, I will not be posting it here.  So, no fear that I’ll change my mind.

*****

Haven’t done one of these in a while, and with all this lockdown stuff going on, maybe someone is looking for an idea or snippet to inspire their writing.

She was a mountain of a woman and he stared in awe.  After a moment, he realized she wasn’t nearly as tall as he had first thought, but her formidable size gave the impression of greater height.  She had on a flowing, orangey-red dress that rippled as she moved, putting him in mind of lava spilling down the side of a volcano.

Hirsute

As previously mentioned, I subscribe to Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day (they email it to me).  It’s always interesting when a word you’ve heard more than once in the course of your life, but didn’t pay much attention to, turns out to mean something other than what you thought it meant.  I don’t always have a firm, ‘could define it to someone else’ idea of a word’s meaning – I just sort of think that I understand the gist of it.  Usually these are words that I’ve never actually used myself, so I never had a reason to track down the correct meaning.

The most recent example is ‘hirsute’.  I had always heard it used in such a way that it seemed to mean ‘would be’.  It actually means ‘hairy’.  Either I was hearing it used wrong, or the way it was used was ambiguous enough that either definition could sort of make sense.

How many words do you only think you know the meaning of?  And do you look them up before you use them?  It might be a good idea to doublecheck your understanding.  More than once in my writing, I’ve found that the word I was going to use is not the best one.  I have also seen published authors use words incorrectly.  And these are professionally, not self, published books, that are on the New York Times bestseller’s list.

Don’t Misunderstand Me

coax

This came up as my Merriam-Webster word of the day.  It took me a moment to figure out why they were showing a weird pronunciation for it.  It was obviously “co – axe” as in coaxial cable, right?  Uh, no.  Actually it’s the verb pronounced “kohks”, meaning “persuade by means of gentle urging”.

When I was in college, many moons ago, I took a Russian language class (don’t ask – an adviser suggested it).  When I didn’t want someone to know what I was writing in a note to myself, I would write a word or words phonetically but using the Russian alphabet.  One day I was looking at “pyck” followed by several numbers.  I kept repeating it over and over and over, but could not think of what “roosk” (which is roughly how ‘pyck’ would be pronounced) meant or what this was referring to.  It took quite some time to realize that it wasn’t me writing an English word phonetically with the Russian alphabet.  It was me writing an abbreviation for ‘paycheck’ followed by the amount.

This is one of the things that can make English, and writing in general, so tricky.  If the reader is coming at it from a different point of view than the writer, there will be a miscommunication.  I’ve seen this in written sentences, where I read it and it doesn’t make sense.  Only after I take the context of sentences before and after do I realize my inflection is wrong, giving a wrong meaning to the sentence.  It wasn’t that the sentence was incorrectly punctuated – sometimes English is just hard.

Keep that in mind when you are writing.  YOU know what you are saying – or mean to say – but the reader may not be on the same wavelength.

A Little Nature to Enjoy in Lockdown

Dangerous going out of our houses these days, but we can bring some nature inside to enjoy.  The orchids are blooming.  These three are at home, but there are another 4 at work (being enjoyed by…no one but me as the skeleton crew).  However, the prolific orchid should bloom in the next week or so as well, so I’m including an old photo of that one for your enjoyment.

Stay safe and well, my friends.

my orchids_04.04.20bc

 

my orchids_04.03.19b_c

 

 

 

Explanations, Excuses and the Spice of Life

My grandfather was a firm believer that if you were going to tell a story, you should make it good.  I agree with that.  And, by extension, I think we should all be more creative in our explanations and excuses.

For instance, in an Olympic year (a year when the summer Olympics were being held), I was with a group in a park celebrating someone’s birthday.  I walked over to the trash can some 20-30 feet away to throw out some trash, and managed to step down wrong on some uneven ground.  I felt the ‘pop’ (aside from the ‘ouch’) and knew something was wrong.  It later turned out to be a sprained ankle and I had to deal with that healing for an extended period of time.  However, in an Olympic year telling people that you ‘stepped down wrong’ is boring, not to mention embarrassing.  So I got creative.  “I was sticking my dismount from the balance beam and felt it go, but I held onto the landing and got high marks.”  “Another runner stumbled into me, making me take a bad step, but I managed to finish my leg of the relay race and we just missed a medal.”  That sort of thing.

Come on, admit it.  Which version of that story would you rather hear about my sprained ankle?  Even if two of them are completely false.

My roommate and I would often do things on weekends, and her boss always asked what we had done that weekend.  Well, saying we went to Santa Barbara to see the mission there wasn’t very interesting, but we managed to drive past a garage sale going on in Santa Barbara, so we told him we had gone there for a garage sale that we heard would be really great.  When we did a quick turnaround weekend drive to Utah to visit her family, we went out to dinner while there.  So we told him we had heard about a great Chinese restaurant in Provo and had to go check it out.

Of course people know it isn’t the truth, but everyone enjoys the story a whole lot more than boring facts.  So, how about it?  Anyone care to join me in spicing up our dull existences with creative viewpoints?

Now then, Shelter in Place…what am I really doing while sequestered?  Maybe…