Blogging from Prompts Day 1: What Have You…

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Happy Monday, friends! It arrives no matter how we feel about it, so we might as well greet it nicely, and maybe it will be nice to us.

Maybe.

So this week I’m going to blog from random writing prompts, because, well, why not? Today I’ve used this website and here’s the prompt:

“What have you stolen?”

Hmm.

This is a tough prompt for me, as I am one of those painfully, painfully honest people who goes back if I get too much change. The other day, I parked on a Chicago street with metered parking. Here, instead of a meter per spot, we have pay boxes. Well, a woman was leaving and she offered me her printed receipt so I would get free time.

And I didn’t take it.

It felt….weird.

Once, though, when I was a child, I went to the hardware store with my Dad, one of those locally-owned ones with dead-end corners and fascinating bits in bins. I needed a combination lock for school or something, so I picked one up and carried it around, looking at everything.

Well, my Dad didn’t find what he needed, and out we went. And then I realized I was still holding the lock. I’d completely forgotten it was in my hand.

That’s right. I was a thief.

I panicked. I told my Dad. I wondered how I could recover from this moral turpitude, though at that stage I doubt I knew the phrase moral turpitude, but I got the idea.

He told me to put it back.

Embarrassed and feeling every inch the criminal I was, I slunk in and put it down, and slunk back out again.

Crime spree complete.

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

 

Even the lemurs know it’s Friday

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Well, one way or another, we’ve made it to Friday. It’s been a rough-and-tumble week, the kind with relentless stresses coming at us in battalion waves.

I miss the days when we didn’t have to worry about things we never even thought to worry about. Alas.

Here we are, on the other side of the stretch. We still have healthcare — for now — but the cracks in our democracy have widened to chasms that let the darkness through.

Hmm.

I’ve had a bit of a productivity experiment this week, and I’ve kept to my goals, mostly. Today may be questionable, but I’ll do my best.

All we can do is our best.

But I have discovered that even when the proverbial political wolf (as opposed to this metaphorical and literal Wolf) is at the door, you can can ignore his knocking if you close twitter.

And set a timer.

Lesson of the week?: Timers, people. Timers.

Oh, and contacting members of Congress really works.

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

There is Magic in Your Phone

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So much deliberate, calculated cruelty coming from our own government right now. I don’t know about you, friends, but I’m finding it oppressive.

Very oppressive.

And yet I’ve managed to stick to my writing schedule this week. Which isn’t exactly easy, given where my mind is, but I’ve persevered using my old standby trick.

My timer.

No matter what is going on, when you set that timer, you’ve got to put your shoulder into whatever task needs attention. The timer creates a window; the timer is a demarcation. The timer says “this is what I’m doing now.”

And I’ll tell you something interesting.

Even when it’s been difficult this week to drag my head away from blatant bigotry against our fellow Americans, away from the question of what will happen to the millions upon millions — including me — served by the ACA, once that timer starts, I’m in the multicolored world of my imagination.

Escape.

I know we’re tired. I know it’s tough to have the same argument for months on end, to feel as though you’re talking to heartless stone walls.

But.

We can hone our priorities. And we can get things done.

Including the big things.

Now set your timers and call your Senators and Representative. It’s faster than you think.

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

Productivity. Probably.

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Healthcare still isn’t safe. Please call your members of Congress — start with your Senators, and then your Representative — to stop the repeal of the ACA. You might save a life.

Seriously.

So yes, right, productivity. Hard to be productive when you’re thinking about a future where you can’t get health insurance, but while the Senate throws itself at various forms of the tax-cut bill euphemistically called healthcare, hoping for just one to stick like a limp, poisonous strand of spaghetti, the planet still turns.

Yep.

We all have other things to do, except, of course, the Senate, who could keep doing this until we are gone and the earth is gone and the people who want the tax cuts are gone. See how easy it is to be sidetracked?

My go-to is the to-do. List, that is. Something about crossing things off, one by one, that I find satisfying. But I always have that one task.

You know that task.

It’s the minor thing, that one little thing, that keeps getting carried from day-to-day. It’s never important; the important things get priority.

But it stares at you And the more it stares at you, the bigger it gets. The more difficult it looks. The longer you feel it’s going to take.

Well, I did mine this morning. All told, it probably took under 10 minutes. Now I dare you to do yours.

Right after you call your Senator.

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

Tell Them Who We Are

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By Premier Manufacturing Company Details of artist on Google Art Project [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons; Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

I will preface this post: This is not political. This is about humanity, about treating people with disabilities fairly and with consideration, about valuing the lives and health of our fellow Americans.

This is about respect for our Constitution and the process it requires. This is about representational government and whether it can choose to usurp the power of the people to serve a few extremely wealthy masters.

This is as simple as right and wrong.

Today, the Senate will vote on a bill no one has seen. When I say no one has seen it, I mean the Senators themselves don’t know what is in the bill.

THE SENATORS THEMSELVES DON’T KNOW WHAT IS IN THE BILL.

The Congressional Budget Office hasn’t reviewed it, as no one has reviewed it. Besides, Republicans apparently resent the CBO because it quantified the financial and human damage of previous versions of Trumpcare.

And despite strong public opposition — human opposition, not the paid propaganda voices following their paid talking points — from Americans across the political spectrum, Republicans want to push ahead and strip Americans of healthcare.

For some tax breaks for the extremely super-wealthy.

Even worse, this bill will likely alter Medicaid, the program many people with disabilities, children and adults alike, depend upon for survival. Not metaphorical survival.

PEOPLE DEPEND UPON MEDICAID FOR THEIR LITERAL SURVIVAL. WITHOUT IT THEY WILL DIE.

What will Republicans do to Medicaid? We don’t know because no one has seen the bill. There have been no public hearings. Most of them also have no idea, but they’ll vote for it anyway.

Which is horrifying.

Please call your Senators. Now. You can find them right here. Then your Representative.

This is not how America works. We don’t let the strongest, the wealthiest feed on the most vulnerable among us. We don’t allow our values, our religious beliefs, our understanding of morality to be twisted to harm our fellow citizens.

As I said, it’s about right and wrong. The government might have some trouble telling one from the other, but we owe it to our country and fellow citizens to set it straight.

Call now.

Reality Blights

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By Dfb2k01 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Somebody left the rationality rod ajar again. We’re living in times when dreams make more sense than what’s passing for reality.

As a writer of science-fiction, I call foul.

(You know it’s Monday when I work a sports cliche into a blog post. What’s that hypothetical reader? You suspect a case of the Monday Brain? You suspect right.)

Another clear sign of a Monday? Me delving into the origin of the phrase “call foul” to make sure it really did start with sports. Because it could be Shakespeare, you know,

Shakespeare invented everything.

Now where we again? Yes. Logic. Reasoning. Rationality.

We are dealing with people in positions of great power who claim that the very structures of truth and fact can be shaped to their desires, and that has an effect on us all. As writers, many of us are probably wondering how fake truth became even stranger than truth which has always been ranked stranger than fiction (according to Mark Twain, at least).

Which leaves an imagination feeling a little less than creative. There’s no topping what’s happening now. It’s as though all the writers off in the great beyond have gotten together to weave us a doozy of a tale.

Unfortunately, most of them don’t trade in happy endings.

So here’s the pointy bit of this meandery post: if you feel like your creativity is currently on the fritz, outmatched by a reality more bizarre than anything you could conjure, you are not alone.

And that’s OK.

When all else fails, take, uhm, “reality” and make it weirder. It’s all just sitting there anyway.

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

Puck Monday

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Oh hello Monday. I’ve been expecting you.

Any day can be a Monday, if it tries hard enough. Yeah, sure I waxed on about the fresh start of Mondays mere weeks ago, but today, hypothetical reader, I come to you with a dire, dire warning.

Monday has a dark side.

Sweet, innocent clean-slate Monday sometimes, sometimes is out to get you.

Yes, thank you Sean Connery. Monday IS out to get us. From the moment I got up this morning, sneaky Monday has pulled sneaky Monday tricks trying to derail me with its sneaky Monday ways.

Yep. Now, Monday. Now.

Please go back to being your sweet, fresh new week self.

OK, maybe that’s the beginning of the second cup of coffee talking. It’s probably more like:

Whatevs. Point is, Monday, I’d like to call a truce.

And for you, hypothetical reader, until Monday is willing to think about what it’s done and apologize,

Monday’s up to Puck all.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

Deciding. I Think.

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The Difficult Decision, Stefano Novo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

So I started working on something that’s been floating around my head for a while. It’s a totally different medium, and thus a completely different way of writing. It’s always good to stretch those old medium muscles.

I hadn’t gotten very far when I hit that proverbial kitchen utensil in the right-of-way. I had a decision to make.

And I wasn’t sure.

Here’s the thing about writing: it’s an infinite series of decisions, one right after another, some so quick you don’t even realize you’re making them. But then you get to the story-shaping ones. The ones that take the clothes off the hanger. The ones that define what it is.

Some writers might make those decisions before they start. Some have neat binders with all those forks neatly lined up into place settings, crystal gleaming, flower arrangements just so.

I am not one of those writers.

I’m a pantser. For anyone not in the know, a “pantser” is someone who writes by the seat of his/her pants, a term borne from the delightful torture that is NaNoWriMo.

My stories reveal themselves to me as I go along. So do my characters; so do their motivations. It can happen organically, but then there are times like yesterday.

It’s the ultimate choose-your-own-adventure.

I think I may have gotten it, but if I’m write (most Freudian typo ever to typo, so I’m leaving it), I didn’t start the story at the right spot. Or maybe I did..

Decisions, decisions

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

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From the Inside of a Storm

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Seascape with Storm Coming on, J. M. W. Turner [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

It’s a dark and stormy day, the light softly tinged green. The kind of day that has a phone pinging with weather warnings.

Flash flood, if you’re curious.

The traffic shushes wetly along, a constant hush of white noise, and every now and then the sky rumbles grumpily, punctuating with a flash of stark white light.

I know how it feels.

It’s the kind of day to sit hunkered down over the computer, the romanticism of writing merging with reality for one of those rare, rare moments. It’s the kind of day where a second cup of coffee isn’t a thought but an action, one that happens almost as though through sheer will of the cup.

It’s the kind of day for imagination, for cozy daytime darkness, for conjuring worlds far more colorful than the soggy gray one outside my window.

It’s the kind of day to vanish inside and let the the outside go just for now.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

Close only counts in horseshoes and epiphanies

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Caspar David Friedrich [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Leaning against my refrigerator door, my feet finding the remaining sticky spot on the floor I missed when my plastic bowl of cut melon decided to shuffle off this mortal fridge coil, I had an epiphany.

Well, that’s not entirely true.

I wanted to have an epiphany. It felt like a good moment for an epiphany, the fibers of my sock scruffing like velcro as moved away. But I don’t lie to you, hypothetical reader, so I admit my only real thoughts were this post and cleaning the floor.

Obviously.

But it was one of those moments, I’m sure you know the kind. when it feels like there’s something dangling just beyond your mental fingertips, something so close but not quite here yet. I cannot pick out the shapes in the mist, but the wind has shifted.

The wind has shifted.

And the sun will burn off the rest.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.