In my mind, I'm five years old having a high old time wandering and wondering. In reality, I'm now approaching my late 60s, wowza! I tell you a lot of creativity is still to be found in this old young self. In you, too, whatever your age. Welcome to my barefoot world!
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.
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
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.
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 mor
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 wit
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 toda
"Here we go, Su- siee ! Here we go!" claps my internal cheerleader. "Come on, Su- sieee ! Mac!" encourages my internal coach, "You can do this!" Where am I going? What is this? Beats me. That's untrue. I do know. I've been reluctant to say it aloud. For quite a long while. Deep breath. Another deep breath. Another. And, another. Here I go. Here I go. I shall not be afraid of the words. I shall not be afraid of how they may combine. I shall not be afraid of writing. Forget the baby steps. A giant step is what I need to take. The only permission I need is my own. Here I go! Here I go!
Today, begins NaNoWriMo , which is short for National Novel Writing Month. Thousands of writers from all over the world commit themselves to completing a 50,000-word novel by the end of the month. That's about 1,666 words a day. That is not easy! Last year, I signed up to give a try. My enthusiasm lasted one day, which, for last year, was pretty good as I was feeling quite burnt out. I just didn't know it then. Once upon a time I wanted to write a Great American novel. Do I still? Dunno. I do have my unfinished novel, The Mystery of Sweet Fat's Ballroom , on my computer. The story takes place in both the present and in the mid-1930s. Lately, I think I should rewrite it. Keep the story in the 1930s, with flashbacks, if any, going back to the early 1900s. Okay, writing that got me excited. I might just go immerse myself in the past to get the imagination juices rolling. But, I know, for sure, I won't be writing 1,666 words today. So what got me thinking about Na
Okay. So, I changed the name of the blog, from Don't Be a Hippie...Then and Now to The View from the Top of the Ladder . Will a new name get me to write regularly, or just write? We shall see, dear Readers. I haven't written in a long time. Anything. No, that's false. Occasionally, I write short articles for moolah, and I post at Take 25 to Hollister , with the goal of doing it everyday for a year. But, until this moment, I haven't said anything about my intent there. I just post. I'll know on January 7, 2015, if I have accomplished my goal. A second time. This is the fourth blog title change for me. The last three times, I started a new physical blog. This time, I realized whatever for. My writing voice hasn't change. Neither have the topics that I write about because there is nothing new under the sun, including my "writer's block" that has been going on for more than several months. Possibly years. Some would say that I don't ha
Sometimes, it feels like this when I'm working: Herding sheep (which are the words ) into a pen. The sheep, however, are not being nice about going into the pen. Sheep there. Sheep over there. And more sheep way, waaaaay over there. Then, of course, I must not forget the sheep that are hidden from view. Or, those sheep that have made their way to a meadow I had no idea existed. Where's Little Bo Peep when you need her? But, wait, she lost her sheep. I wonder though if sheep is the best animal to stand for the words . How about a horse? Gallop. Trot. Nostrils flaring, head tossing back, foot stamping. Such attitude. Neighhhhhhhhhh . Maybe the words are more like cattle or milking cows. Mooooooooooo . Definitely not cats. Be nice if the words were more like dogs. Woof-woof . Here I am. How ya doing? I'll hang out with you. Can I do anything? You need a nuzzle. Give it a rest. Let's go for a walk. Yeah.
It's time for a pretty picture. Just because I feel like it. Last Saturday, the Husband and I ran away to the beach for the day. We all need to do that now and then. To forget wearies and woes, figures and foes, as well as everyday routines. When was the last time you did that? A few weeks ago, I decided to participate in the A to Z Blogging Challenge that takes place in the month of April. Participants blog through the alphabet, Monday through Saturday. This is another Doing 60 thing for me. You're welcome to drop by one day, some days, or all days in April. To learn more about the A to Z Blogging Challenge, please click here .
The words unfold themselves in my head. The hands though won't jot them down on paper or key them onto a blank document. That's not an excuse. I have no excuse. The Daddy accepted no excuses from me when I was a kid. If I did something stupid, then I did something stupid. I suffered the consequences. I learned quite early what the consequences were so I did my best not to do stupid things—or, at least, not to get caught. For a man with a gentle voice, the Daddy gave very stern scoldings. So stern that it brought on the tears. And, should I cry, the Daddy said, "No crying." The longer the crying, the harsher the scolding. The Daddy used his belt for the dumbest decision-making acts I did. One or two quick slaps on my legs. The sting of the leather brought on the tears, too. "No crying," the Daddy said. Sucking up the tears just gave me the hiccups. I only recall two instances when I got the Daddy's belt. Both times I was no where to be fo
I'm doing something completely different today. I'm linking up with Just Write , a weekly writing prompt hosted by authors Rebecca T. Dickson and Laura Howard. Want to try it yourself, click here . This week's prompt is "What if I just kept driving?" Sheila drove into tomorrow. It was much easier than she thought it would be. Her present was purgatory. Maybe if it was just hell, she would've stayed. Hell was bearable. It had borders. It had form. It had shadows in which she could find relief. But, purgatory. Damn. Purgatory. Such wishy-washiness. Such enabling. Such obscenity of humanity. There she said it. She lit a match to it all. Sheila looked over the desert floor, warming with each second of the rising sun bursting itself into the new day.
What's the word I'm thinking of? Damn. What's the word? That's my life these days. And, that's not good when you make your livelihood as a writer. The word I'm trying to think of is usually a simple word, too. Forget about asking for an example, because I can't remember any one of my 500 million+ instances at the moment. All I know is that the word I'm trying to think of just dangles ghost-like in my mind. I really dislike the way a word plays hide-and-seek with me. If the Husband happens to be nearby, I'll ask him for help. "What's the word that means blah blah blah." Most often, thank goodness, he knows the word I'm seeking. Some times, he throws out a bunch of words. None of which fit what I'm wanting to write. Other times, well, let's just say that I just type in blab blab blab and move on to my next thought, choosing to believe that the word will show itself. Eventually, it does. So far. Thank goodness. This troub
The Republican candidate for President—whose name shall not be invoked—thinks I'm a victim. Ha! Talk about projecting and being judgmental. No, no, come back. I'm not going to muse about politics today. Bleah. Today, I give you a look into this writer's belfry, as in bats in. The other day I found a file on my desktop with the title 88888...8887.doc. Of course curiosity got me and I opened it. Ha ha! on me. The Word file was my writing journal, the one I had started a few months ago with good intentions. Uh-huh. I was fishing around in my head for a story to latch onto. It had (and has) been a long while since I tried. The narrator a woman in her late 50s. A lot of ways I could go with that. A lot of ways. Did I? No. Will I? I don't know. See. This became a post. Ha! Sorry for the blurriness of the photos of the scribbles. Hmmm, maybe that's a projection of my imagination right now. What you read is actually less than 855 words. I left out
This morning, I read that a local farm needs a driver to deliver CSA boxes to its distribution points in several cities. Only twice a week. Only 15 to 20 hours a week. $12 to $14/hour, depending on experience. I would love that job. Yes, I would. Those are not long hours at all. The pay is definitely a living wage and it would be a nice monetary supplement for this nonstarving writer. The lifting and hauling? I may not be in the best of shape, but I can manage the up to 40 pounds per item. I truly believe that within a few weeks my strength and stamina would be greatly improved. I would be hauling boxes with the not-quite nonchalance I used to do when I was quite younger. (Hey, it's my daydream.) Besides, the Husband says he would do it with me. Just think, the farmer would get two for the cost of one. If only I didn't have this writing project right now. And, those other responsibilities that I can't walk away from for two days a week. I know my limits—and my
Some days are better than others when it comes to my memory. Who am I kidding? It's really down to moments. Once upon a time, a long time ago, when I was 17, I memorized all of Horton Hears a Who! by Dr. Seuss for a public-speaking competition. I recall stumbling once or twice. Maybe trice. Ah, I had a strong memory back then. My long-term memory is still rather good. I just related a tale from over 40 years ago, didn't I? It's the short-term memory. Sigh. The other day, I was telling the Husband how many states allow employers to pay their workers who receive tips far less than minimum wage, as long as the combination of their tips and hourly rate (let's say $2.13/hour) totals up to either the federal or state minimum wage, whichever is the higher amount in the state. Yes, I know. The Husband could not believe it either. I'm glad to say that California does not have that law. I told the Husband that I learned all this from research I had done the day before f
I've been dragging my fingers across the keyboard right now, and pressing the delete button a lot. I just don't feel like writing. So, why try, you may ask. It's not like my boss will scold me if I don't offer something up to the blog today. Well, yes, the boss will scold me. The boss is me. When I started Don't be a Hippie , I committed myself to publishing a post every Tuesday and Thursday. A job commitment is a commitment, regardless of whether it's to myself or to someone else for a fee. Blogging wasn't always like that for me. It was mostly comme çi, comme ça. But, a few years ago, I went through a rather bad bout of what I shall just call writer's block. I used the delete button and stared at a blank computer screen more than quite a lot, and that's saying it mildly. The only way to keep that from happening again is for me to meet my self-imposed deadlines. It truly helped that I made myself do a daily post for one year on my Take 2
Some of the first books I wrote and edited at Janus Book Publishers . Thirty years ago, I began my first day at work in the publishing industry. It was actually my second day of employment, but the first day was a holiday. I still think that was (and is) definitely a great way to start a new job—and a new career. I had not planned to enter the publishing world . Back then, my goal was to get at least five years of teaching under my belt so I could eventually become a high school counselor or a curriculum developer in a school district. So, what happened? Simple. By the time I earned my teaching credential in social science, there were few teaching jobs. I was in another bout of unemployment when I saw the newspaper ad for an assistant editor position at a small educational publishing house. I figured it was a long chance, but heck, what did I have to lose. Throughout the whole job selection process, I had a good feeling about the job. I had to do a writing sample, and as I work