Showing posts with label writing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label writing. Show all posts

Monday, March 26, 2018


My six-word poem is called a hay(na)ku, a poetic form created by Eileen R. Tabios. The basic format is this: First line = one word. Second line = two words. Third line = Three words.  If you'd like to learn more, check out Eileen's webpage

In February I submitted three poems for the upcoming anthology, HAY(NA)KU 15 (working title). One of them was accepted. Whooo-hooo! The last time I had a poem published by someone other than me was. . .hmmmm. . .about 40 years ago.

Friday, February 2, 2018

In Every Room!

Pens and Pencils in Every Room! 

That would be my tagline if I were a candidate for political office, never mind what. Forget about a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage. For me, it's pens and pencils in every room.

Sure, if you'd like, paper, too.

Ideally, I'd also add a dictionary on every floor in the house, along with an atlas or at least a world map and map of the United States on the walls.

While I'm at it, a current set of the World Book Encyclopedia. Yes, I'm talking actual books. And, let them be in big print. Oooh-la-la, I love me the big print.

Don't get me wrong. I still want an up-to-date Mac computer with decent access to the Internet. That's for research and such.

But, for sudden thoughts that must be quickly written, it's very important that I have pens and pencils in every room. Every room!

I thank you for your time.



Friday, December 1, 2017

Wicked Sweet

Dear Friends, today I give to you my first fictional story as a retired lady. You're welcome. Giggle.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Timidity, Be Gone

A party has been going on in my head, and it has been rather rowdy at times.

We all do need to be rowdy once in a while, but within reason.

Within reason.  Who coined that phrase? How long did it take for others to start saying it? Before it was explained in a dictionary? In a grammar book? Is this phrase an idiom? Are idioms even taught anymore?

Pshew! See what I mean? A party is going on in my head!

Some of you may have thought that my idea of rowdy is making loud and happy noises, and possibly doing a silly prank or two on the Husband. That, of course. Sure. Maybe. Not telling. Giggle. 

Rowdy to me is also playing with words and sentences, and thoughts and concepts.

Once upon a time 11 years ago I jumped out of a plane. That was not hard at all. If you freeze, like I think I did, your instructor (the professional skydiver to whom you're hooked), merely pushes you over as he falls forward. Me jumping out of the plane (from 18,000 feet up in the air, too, mind you) was quite easy compared to taking a deep breath and letting my storytelling voice cough, laugh, dance, cry, shriek, sing, do somersaults, grit teeth, zen out, play solitaire, roar, and s-o-a-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r. 

My ability to hold that rowdy door open longer is increasing bit by bit, day be day. Thank you very much for listening.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Wondering. . .

Yesterday's mail brought my royalty check. Whoo-hooo! Just in time to pay the property tax bill. Boo-hoo. I'm grateful, and fortunate, to still receive royalties on career and educational books that I wrote 10 years ago.

Jo in Little Women was asked by Professor Bhaer (who Jo eventually married) why she wrote trashy stories. Her answer: The sale of that trashy story bought something for her family back home, the sale of this trashy story paid for a vacation by the sea for her ill sister who needed the fresh air, and so forth and so on.

Professor Bhaer had the decency to feel bad for bringing it up to Jo, and after he apologized, he encouraged Jo to write something that is dear to her heart.

I'm not saying that my books are trash. Far from it. I have been wondering lately if there is something that is dear to my heart that I want to write. 


Saturday, July 1, 2017

Taking a Break for Writing

Note: I wrote this post yesterday from the iPad, then sent it to my computer by email. Perhaps one day I'll learn to cope and paste on iPad. Anyway, by evening, I was too pooped to get on the computer and publish this post. In the end, does it really matter if I had? :-)

I'm taking a short writer's break from being a domestic goddess. Brief no doubt because I have been thinking about writing that first sentence for the last 10 minutes. Every so often that sentence repeated itself in my brain when I wasn't distracted by The Solid Gold Oldies music station on TV playing in the background and by the ambitious things I want to complete before dinner begging for mental attention.


I forgot. What was the intent of this post?

Probably to brag about the things I have finally got to and then some. Should that be one word: then some, thensome?

To my great surprise the Blenheim apricot tree gifted us—and the birdies—with many branches full of fruit. We can't eat the apricots faster than they ripen on the tree. For every apricot we pick, one smashes on the ground. Not a bad ratio, considering we thought the tree wasn't interested in producing anymore.

This afternoon I finally turned off the computer and took care of the apricots. I froze a bunch of fruit, baked an apricot pie, made apricot pouches with the leftover filling and pie crust, and created a spicy sesame apricot salsa. Olé!

Cleanup took longer. That's what I'm resting from, which is about to be over.

Next on my agenda is to pare lemon rind and soak them in vodka for my first ever attempt at making limoncello. I've been wanting to try that for the past 13 years. 

Until later.

Friday, June 16, 2017


Rusty nails.

Rusty rust.

Rusty stringing-words-into-sentences-into-paragraphs-into-stories.

I'll get there. Again. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The I's Have It

What do the I's have?

I don't know.

The idiom just came to me. So, let me go look it up. . . .

Oh, it's not the I's, but rather the ayes.  Now, that makes sense.  The ayes have it.  In other words, the majority of people who voted in favor of something won. Okey-dokey.

Pondering and writing about that idiom interrupted my original intention for this post. The thought started the other night.  What came first: Ink or inkling?

Did someone have an inkling and needed ink for her pen to write about it? Or, perhaps, hmmm, she spilled ink on herself because someone surprised her by whispering in her ear. She stood up quickly, saying with much irritation to that person, "Inkling!" She was too polite to swear, you see.

This morning, while the Husband and I sat not impatiently in the doctor's office (simply a routine visit for the Husband), I wondered what came first: Imp or impossible? And, Id or idiot?

Intriguing, aye?

The inspiration for today's post is ABC Wednesday and the letter (wait for it) I. To check out other I-themed posts, click here. Thank you ABCW team!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Oh, Well

Just before we turned off the lights last night, the Husband and I were talking about something that reminded of something else that I thought would be fun to write about today. I always like when that happens.

This morning, I woke up thinking about what I wanted to write. But, I couldn't recall. The Husband couldn't remember either.

I figure the thought would pop up by lunchtime. It didn't happen. Nor, did the thought reveal itself after lunch.

Still, I wrote about something. Ha!

See you tomorrow.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

A Slow-Thinking Day

Klunga-langa-tank. Klunga-langa-tank. Klunga-langa-langa-langa-lagna-langa-tank!

That's the Husband's and my new song, based on the sound my purple pencil makes when I push on the end of it. Over and over. And over. And, over.

Words are on strike in my brain today. Or, maybe it's my brain that's on strike. The words are simply in their cubbyholes waiting to be put together into a story. So, if you please, I hope you'll come back tomorrow for my Alphabe Thursday post about the Gilroy Yamamoto Hot Springs.

Ciao. And chow, I would definitely like right now.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Random Scenes: Other People's Junk

“Panties!” the middle-aged woman exclaimed, working her way against the stream of incoming buyers and gawkers. A couple stepped aside when she grumbled, “No respect at all!”

The petite woman carefully placed her estate sale purchases in the back of her prized green 1957 Chevrolet truck. She flipped open a velvet blue lace fan and cooled herself. She wondered who in her right mind would want to buy a dead lady’s panties.

“Hey Midge!” shouted her friend who called herself Lara today. Midge strode over to pick up the bags and baskets beside Lara.

“Lots of great stuff,” Lara said. “Did you see that Whitman copy of Spin and Marty?”

“I would've bought it, if it wasn't falling apart,” said Midge.

Lara nodded. “They should’ve just dumped it. Quite a lot of stuff they should’ve burned or taken to the dump.”

“No kidding,” said Midge. “They were even selling. . .”

“You’ll never guess what I bought!” Lara said at the same time.





“What are you going to do with a dead woman’s panties?”

The bright red haired wigged woman giggled. “They’re not what you think, Midge. They aren’t the sensible grandma panties at all.” Lara opened a bag. “Look at this beautiful handcrafted lace.”

“Are they brand new?”


“Then no, thank you,” said Midge, opening the door to her truck.

“Party pooper,”said Lara.

“Yeah, yeah, don’t get your knickers in a bunch. There’s a barn sale up the road, I hear.”

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Random Scenes: I Want Her

I Want Her
Su-sieee! Mac 

"Mom, you're not going to ride the back roads, are you?"

"Hmmm," the grey-haired woman said.

"Mom!" said her son on the phone. "It's dangerous riding alone out there. Remember last year when that runner died...."

"Son, you're channeling your grandmother." She laughed. "I'll be fine. I'm not riding anywhere new. And, I've got the phone."

"Mom, please just ride around your neighborhood."

I can feel her coming.

Leave it alone. Mike's already married.

She's the one I want.

The woman pedaled along the shoulder of the two-lane highway. She almost heeded her son's fears. Silly. Nothing happened at all to her on the back roads. But, the highway was getting her nervous. She was riding later than usual, which meant more cars on the highway as she headed homeward. Were the big rigs speeding by faster than usual? She scooted further to the right.

She's almost here.

Leave it alone. Mike's happy. Be happy for him.

She's perfect. I want her.

She neared the spot where Judy Lynn died in a car crash. The poor woman, she thought, going through the windshield.  She shuddered. Judy Lynn didn't have a chance.

A big rig flashed by her, pulling her into its slipstream. She braked. Her bike spun out of control. Oh no!


She opened her eyes. "Where am I?"

"You're in the hospital, Mom," said her son.

"Where's Mike?"

"Who?" asked her son.

"Who are you?" asked Judy Lynn.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Random Scenes: Girl Cousins

Setting: On a late Spring Friday afternoon, two 12-year old cousins are standing on the BART train platform in El Cerrito, a small city across the bay from San Francisco. 

 “The pony-tail lady in jeans and pink sweater," I said to my cousin who was a few months older than me. Whenever we’re in a public place, Sydney and I like to play a game of guessing what people are.

“A dancer. Maybe a ballerina,” Twelve-year old Sydney said, gazing down the BART train platform.

"See the old man with the silver cane behind her."

“A retired guy from the government.”

“The girl in overalls with a brown leather backpack.”

 “Easy. College student, probably UC Berkeley." Sydney lowered her voice and said, "I've got one for you, Jeannie. The tall guy with the bald head and the blond ponytail."


“Behind you.”

I squatted down and pretended to tie my shoe as I glanced at the man wearing a grayish-green raincoat, the belt hanging to the ground. He reminded me of characters in the spy movies my brothers like to watch.

 “A double agent of course,” I said, nearly whispering.

Sydney nodded, looking over at him. I took another peek. He was staring at us. Giggling, we turned quickly around.

 “Ssssh,” I said. “He’ll think we’re talking bout him.”

“We are,” Sydney said between giggles.

I turned again. He was still staring at us. It made me nervous. But I never let a stare get the better of me. I stared back.

“Cool, Jeannie. You made him look away,”  said Sydney.

I shrugged. It was nothing. I was the champion starer in my class. I needed some notoriety other than being the shortest kid in class.

 “You pick one,” said Sydney.

"Here comes the train," I said. "Come on, let's get on the first car."

In seconds, the train to San Francisco came to a halt. We were spending the weekend with Sydney's mom who says she's an artist. But, I know better. I'm certain she's a spy.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Random Scenes: Don't Slam the Door!

Don't Slam the Door!
by Su-sieee! Mac
S-L-A-M !!


“I’m sorry, Ma,” said the tiny young girl. “I forgot.”

“One of these days, Alessa, something terribly awful will happen when you slam that door,” said her mom.

“Yes, Mom,” Alessa said, thinking that was just too silly of an idea. Still, it did frighten Alessa a little and she stopped slamming the door. 

Then, one day she forgot.

S-L-A-M !!

The building shook.

Things tumbled off the shelves and walls.

The trees and the houses rocked and rolled.

The bridges collapsed.

The roads crumbled.

The cities fell apart.

The water in the bay shook. 

The mountain tops blew off.

All over the world, the crusts moved and shook and sunk and rose.

The earth spun off its wobble.

It bumped into the moon, next into Mars, and then into Jupiter.

Earth bounced back towards the sun, sucking up all the other planets of the solar system.

The sun and all the planets exploded and swirled into a swirl, swirling, swirling, swirling and collapsing into a black hole.

Everything was pitch black. Silent.

Please, please, please.

Don’t slam the door.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Random Scenes: A Surprise Visit

Ago  (Ah-go) watched the water slowly run towards the end of the bittermelon row. When he was finished watering all the rows, maybe he would drive to the Senior Center for lunch. The food was okay. The best part was talking with his friends.

Someone was bound to ask him about Song. "Have you heard from her?" "Where is she now?" Although it has been weeks since she left,  a few of his compadres still shook their heads in disbelief that his single daughter was criss-crossing the United States in her small yellow car. Young, unmarried women don't do that, according to them. Not  in the Philippines. Not even in the United States. "Times are different," one friend, usually Danny or Pablo, said. "Song is tough and level-headed. She can handle trouble."

Level-headed, yes, thought Ago, pulling up a weed between the vegetable rows. Tough? Her mother, the Old Lady, thought Song was tough because she talked back. He didn't see it that way. Song defended her actions. Maybe that was a sign of toughness. He preferred to not think any harm would come to his daughter on her trip. Ago moved the water hose to the last row.

At the beginning of May, Song came home for a visit from college. "I'm going to drive across the country with a girlfriend when school is over," she announced. "We're going to New York where her family lives. Be back sometime in July."

Ago and the Old Lady did not want her to go, but they had no say about it. Song was 20 years old. Her life was already hers. She was living on her own in San Francisco, working while going to school. She had shown herself capable of taking long drives by herself to see her friends in Southern California. And, last year, he saw for himself how she took care of things when the two of them traveled to his home town in the Philippines.

Still, Ago worried about his daughter, hoping the best for her every moment. Maybe he would skip the Senior Center today.

"Hello! Hello! Daddy are you out here?"

Ago stood.  Could he believe his eyes? He ran towards the house, calling, "Song, is that you? Are you home now?"
Hello Dear Readers,

I'm trying something new -- drafting very short shorts of fiction, personal memoirs, or a mixture of both. All random stuff until something shows itself, if it does. I'm not sure if it'll be a regular feature. For now, let's just see what happens. 

Have a wonderful day,
Su-sieee! Mac

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Another Rambling Saturday

The greatest thing that happened this past week was Rainy Thursday. It rained throughout the day and night. And, at one point, it came down in buckets. Of course, I had to go outside and take photos. I got totally drenched, and loved every huge raindrop that my tee-shirt absorbed.

The Mama loved the rain, too. She was outside when the rain started, and decided to go hang out in the shed as the sky kept crying. On this coming Wednesday's post, I'll share what she did during the rain.

Writing Travel Bits
Lately, I've been writing descriptions about local places for Mapquest. Once upon a time, I thought I wanted to be a travel writer, but other things came along to drop that thought in the wish bucket. Writing these occasional short pieces is fulfilling that dream. Here are a few of the places I've written about so far: Pinnacles National Park, National Steinbeck Center, San Benito County Historical Park, and the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Joseph.

A rock climber at the Pinnacles National Park

Vanna White
On most week nights, we watch The Wheel of Fortune with the Mama. Every time Vanna White walks to the puzzle board, I wonder the same thing. How much does Vanna White make? After years of asking that question, I finally remembered last night and did a Google search. I now wish I had not. It truly is better to be ignorant about some things.

How much do you think she earns touching the lit-up squares so that the letters appear?

Eight million dollars a year! So says Celebrity Net

Yeah, I know. I'm going to cheer myself right now by baking lemon zucchini bread, with poppy seeds, if I can find them.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

John Steinbeck Said . . .

The Husband and I had a wonderful time wandering about on our monthly 23rd date. We saw quite a lot of amazing and interesting stuff and met some very nice people during  our travels.  One of our stops was the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas. If you're into John Steinbeck, you'd like this museum. It's all about Steinbeck and his works.

There was so much for me to see, to read, and to absorb as I went from exhibit to the next. Reading the honesty and wonder in Steinbeck's words was like breathing in oxygen.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Writing Under the Influence

The following was written yesterday afternoon (and edited much later) . . .
This is a first for me. Sipping a beer as I tippy-tap out words on the keyboard.

This, I'm having -- the beer -- right after drinking a small (which in olden times would've been medium) cup of wonderful coffee. I drink coffee now and then, alas. I like the taste of coffee, as well as the thinking that evolves with the caffeine, but this old body of mine can no longer handle daily consumption of the stuff.  Pobrecita. See, even the little Spanish I know gets evoked in the brain cells.

Lately, my morning brew is a cup of boiled water. I'm just not into tea or hot lemon juice right now. For the past week, I've been wanting coffee from Vertigo, a coffeehouse in San Juan Bautista that roasts and grinds coffee beans fresh every day. It's about eight miles, more or less, away. Not far at all, but getting dressed and doing this and that before getting into the car first thing in the morning takes too much time and energy.  By the way, if you're ever in San Juan Bautista, be sure to stop for a cup of Vertigo's brew. The folks there also make some of the best pizza in the area, which they bake in their outdoor pizza oven.

Ah, there I go distracting myself down another path. I have to say, I like the altered state I'm feeling with the caffeine and the beer. Happy buzzzzzzzz. I wonder how authors could write under the influence of alcohol or another mind altering drug besides caffeine. I can understand the drug helping one dig deeper into the caverns of the imagination, but to be able to channel the thoughts down to the fingers over the keyboard. That's something I could not train myself to do. It's just as well. I'm already addicted to potato chips and ice cream.

I heard that F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote while under the influence of alcohol as did Truman Capote and that guy who wrote The Sound and The Fury in which a full-haired Yul Brynner (ooh-la-la!) played someone in the movie version of the novel. William Faulkner! Were there any well-known female authors? Excuse me, while I go over to Google. . . .

Wowza!  Elizabeth Barrett Browning was hooked on opium also known politely as laudanum. The doctors had first prescribed it for her nervous hysteria, which I understand was a state of not getting deliciously satisfying lovemaking. I've never read any of Browning's work. Looks like I will now.

What do you think? Is my writing any more different under the buzzy influence of a strong cup of coffee and one beer than water?

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Comma

The comma has always, always given me problems. Where, oh, where to put that itty-bitty squiggly line of a hook within a sentence. That's why I love writing simple sentences, where the commas I generally need are for a series. Series? Yes, as in red, white, and blue. Or, if you're one who withholds the last comma, then: red, white and blue.

I don't know what they teach in English these days, but back in my day (hahahahaha, back in my day, as if I'm sooo old, but to someone younger than 60, I suppose I am), I was initially taught the series (or serial or Oxford, if you prefer) comma. That's the one where you place a comma before the conjunction: red, white, and blue.

That all changed in 10th grade. The English teachers, as well as the journalism instructor, were marking me off for following the series comma rule and demanding that I drop the comma before the conjunction: red, white and blue. Me, being a sheep, followed suit. From day one, I thought a series without the comma before the conjunction looked rather naked and the intention of the sentence was insincere.

Flash forward with me to my late 20s. Behold: I am now working at my dream job—an assistant editor for an independent educational book publisher of supplementary materials for special education teenagers. The house style for a series was the serial comma rule. Hurrah! I received my best training as a writer and editor at that job, thanks to Winnifred, my supervisor.

Today, I only withhold that last comma in a series if a publisher's house style calls for it or if I'm writing a press release. How about you? Do you put in that final comma in a series?

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sunday Ramble

I had completed a post for today several days ago. It featured a photo that I hooked up to a photo meme. Then I decided to hook up a photo on my other blog -- Take 25 to Hollister -- to the same meme. So, off came the finished post for this blog. You'll see it later this week.

Certainly, I could've posted both, but I didn't want to think about how to handle my visits to bloggers participating in the meme. Should I comment under one blog or both? If done individually, which blogs should I visit as The View from the Top of the Ladder and as Take 25 to Hollister. I just make things more complicated than they need be.

Seeking Oompah

My goal for 2015 is finding my creative groove again. That is why I'm rambling on the blog today rather than seeing if there are any Modern Family reruns on TV. Posting on my blogs daily is part of the plan to finding my creative groove, mojo, hoodoo, voodoo, fancy, desire, and plain old oompah.  Of course, once I do my thing for today, I may look for a Modern Family rerun.

Modern Family

By the way, have you seen Modern Family? I recently discovered the reruns. The show is like a bag of potato chips for me. I finish one show and I want another. Now, I understand why the comedy series and the performers have been winning awards the past five years.

The show is presented as a mockumentary. The writing is sharp and well-honed. There is continuity and growth with the characters. And, the actors perform their part so well, I actually believe they are a family rather than performers acting that they are a family. The stories show them going through daily routines and now-and-then special events, doing their best not to be annoyed at the crazy beliefs and actions of their family members. They have temper tantrums and blow off steam at each other, but, because they truly love each other, they manage to find a way to work through things and make amends. If you want to know more about Modern Family, check out Wikipedia's summary here.

Okay, I'm off to find an episode of Modern Family on TV.  Wait! Before I go, here's a photo for today. It's Molly the Cat hanging out on the fence, where she knows she's not supposed to be.  See ya!