The Ghost….

My short story, The Ghost in Her Room, has been published by Dreamers Writing.

The editors were very sweet. Kat mentioned in an email how much the story touched her.

Working with Dreamers Creative Writing has been an extremely pleasant experience.

Thank you!

So now I write….

This morning began as perfect set up for a good writing day. I walked the dogs in the cool air, rain dripped daintily from the sky, neighbors waved from their patios. I brewed a beach bellini tea and plucked a fig fresh from the tree. What could go wrong?

Life happened.

Paperwork of the financial type, grading essays, responding to emails.

Nails on a chalkboard.

The dream like setting beckons, the adoring characters wait. The world I was so lovingly creating has come to a standstill.

I am filled with liverwurst sandwiches.

This is why writers have phoneless, internet limited, no contact writing retreats – which are harder and harder to find.

Can you imagine even being disconnected these days? I used to say – “nothing is going to happen that you can’t hear about an hour later” – to my students to encourage them to put down their phones. But I, too, feel that same tug of addiction these days. The world moves fast. Don’t get back to someone and you lose an opportunity.

Our insta-world expects an insta-response or you’re history.

I just want to write. I want to sit down and not have to worry about anything else except the setting, timeline, character arc, beauty of language, reasoning of scene.

I’ll take the transitional cuppa, the stroll in the garden, anything to get back into my writing state…..

until the next interruption.

Dreams of Dying in a Mad World

Freud had his issues, definitely, but he did bring us dream interpretation. He wass the first to propose that dreams mean something other than our mind taking flight during the night. Some of his suppositions about meaning were probably incorrect.

There are modern interpretations, spiritual interpretations, and personal ideas of what each dream might mean to the dreamer.

When I was young, I kept a dream diary. I began to wake up multiple times a night – after every dream – and scrawl furiously images and events. Sometimes in the sleepy morning light, I was unable to make out what I’d written. Over time, however, I did see a pattern in the dreams. A message, if you will. My mind was working on my day time issues. And I wrote more.

There are a number of dream dictionaries, dream meaning sites, and even people who do dream interpretation – I totally want that job! Sometimes it’s easier for others to see the meaning in our dreams than we do, depending on how well they know us.

Dreaming of death means, according to these sites, a big change or a new start. I don’t know if I believe that.

Dreaming of loved ones who have passed has a number of different meanings depending on who you talk to or what you read. Some will tell you that you are experiencing visitations. The dead are dropping in to say hello because it’s easier than trying to drop in during the day when you’re reasonable/logical mind is ruling the roost.

I don’t mind when the dead drop in on my dreams. I saw my mother recently. She looked better, and happier, than she had in years.

There’s a school of thought that believes that the best writing comes from the same places these dreams come from, released from the logical mind.

Some of my best writing has come in the middle of the night, somewhere between the dreaming world and the waking world, somewhere between the logical mind and the mystical possibilities beyond our waking consciousness.

I need to do more of that… more sleeping or not sleeping, more dreaming, more writing in those twilight states. I think my writing is more free, more interesting, maybe getting back to what writing is all about. Not the waking world of publishing and promotion, but the inner world of expression and possibilities.

*the title is inspired by the song by Tears for Fears – Mad World – featured in a dreamlike movie, Donnie Darko.

To Infinity and… I’ll Stay Here, Thanks

Richard Branson flew to space, then Bezos and his blue crew. A friend of mine wondered about their choice. I said, hey, they’re filthy rich; they’ve been all over the planet. They need something new.

Those who know me know I love travel. I have a deep seated need to experience new spaces, new places, new cultures and people.

For a sliding moment, I felt sorry for these billionaires whose only novel rush might come from a space flight; however, I rejected that thought quite quickly as reductive. They have the cash, why not fly to space?!

And what about the lucky soul who won the extra seat from the person who had to cancel? (First, imagine that! No refund on that ticket!)

I, like many of you,, cannot afford to go to space. But would I want to? I have to ask myself this question. I used to dream of winning publisher’s clearing house, occasionally wish I could guess those lottery numbers. Hell, I’d take finding a wheel full of cash along side the freeway. (I’m not sure why I would ever be on the side of a freeway looking at tires, but stranger things have happened.)

Given the current state of the world, I’m concerned about getting on a plane because of all the f’n nutty people acting out after a year of being locked in. Everyday someone’s being an asshole, refusing to wear a mask, smacking a flight attendant, or trying to open an emergency exit while in flight (did you see the woman duct taped to the seat?!), and getting yanked off a plane by the police.

Bottom line – I’m not ready to fly in our atmosphere. I’m not sure I’d want to fly out of it. Then I heard the trip to space was only ten minutes long. Ten minutes? I’m risking my life for 10 minutes? Yeah, I don’t think so.

When can I spend a week up there? Call me when they have a Starbucks and a CVS. Kitchy shopping. Trinkets to bring home. First painting done in space. Where I can sip space tea next to an asteroid crater. Hike the lunar landing site. Let me know when we can see how real aliens live and tour old space ruins.

I guess there’s still plenty to see and do here. For me, anyway. The natural beauty of New Zealand awaits. There’s an owl sanctuary in Spain, cocoa farms in Costa Rica, the ruins of Pompeii.

I’ll be here. Gaging my luck, I’ll plan my next flight to NC to see my bestie.

Maybe someday space. But not now. I’m writing.

The Beauty of Forward Motion

At the beginning of the semester, there’s an effervescence in the air on campus. The air around us is charged with positive energy. Thousands of students are buzzing with dreams and goals. They are brimming with the excitement of forward motion, their brains producing dopamine, which seems to affect everyone around them.

The excitement of learning, of trying new things, of working toward something new is like a drug, makes one giddy.

Excitement is lost in routine. Some people go on about their lives, thinking they’ve done everything they need to do and they’ve reached a place of comfort. And they get lazy in that comfort, forget to be open to new adventures.

I asked someone recently about Geocaching. I think of it as finding a treasure, accomplishing mini goals; my brain already releasing happiness hormones in response to the thoughts of the challenge overcome!

His response: It sounds childish.

Yes. Maybe. And isn’t that exciting? The very beauty of youth is excitement at every new adventure, big or small! It’s an energy wrapped up in an overflow of snapping and bubbling. And it’s engaging and enigmatic!

Forward momentum – new challenges – it is what keeps us young.

Einstein was said to have been working on a new theory even on his deathbed. After he passed, his brain showed a lack of plaque. Plaque the normal brain develops with aging.

Writers are all about the new and exciting. The next scene, the next chapter, the next story!

Have fun, engage that childlike excitement, set new goals and accomplish them or fail them – it doesn’t matter – just as long as you keep moving forward!

Empathy and the Modern Human

Earth has been a pretty terrible place to be in the last few years. Only we can make it better. Each and every one of us can do our part in our little corner of the world. Because when we are better humans, it makes the world a better place.

I read an article recently in which Valerie Bertinelli was trolled – by another woman – who fat shamed her. Really? WTF is wrong with you that you have to troll one of the most beautiful humans on the planet?

Bertinelli says she uses empathy to deal with comments such as that.

Empathy is the answer, truly.

Empathy is the high road.

I have been dealing with some harassment on top of the death of a few family members. Recently, I received vicious snail mail by trolls I have had to block on every other platform.

When I consider the effort these people have taken to reach me, it makes me believe they are seriously unhappy in their own lives. I know I have not said or done anything to them to incur or engage their wrath. They’re just unhappy and need someone else to focus on. And that is truly sad.

Burt Bacharach said it best: What the world needs is love, sweet love. And empathy.

Empathy has been my inspiration. How to Throw a Psychic a Surprise Party is filled with stories of empathy.

Sending you love.

Can we be real honest here for a moment?

2020 was traumatizing, yes.

Then the spring culling of faculty was horrifying.

The death of friends and family,

then continued torment by people who are unhappy and unhealthy.

The past 17 months have been horrendous.

We’ve all been in some type of survival mode. We’ve all been hurt and scared and scarred. We haven’t reached out enough or we reached out and didn’t received a response.

We’ve been told over and over, this is the new normal, this is normal, now we’re getting back to normal.

The world is an angry place. Karens rule. Mass shootings. Building collapse.

Nothing is right. Nothing is normal. And it’s okay to be upset, to feel dismayed, confused, unsettled. Nothing about the last year and a half has been comforting.

And you’re not alone.

But

hang in there

we

will

all

be

okay.

Found Objects

I walk a lot. On these walks, I happen upon things lost or left.

I’ve found many feathers. Owls. Parrots. Crows. and once a hawk feather.

My friends remind me feathers are signs and have meanings. A black feather is protection. A white feather means an angel is watching over you.

The hawk’s feather represents clear vision.

When I found this hawk’s father, I was ecstatic. Such a wonderful and rare find! I immediately shared the news.

One person questioned how it’d come to be there on the sidewalk in the middle of the day.

I assumed a hawk lost it as he flew overhead or stopped for rest on a nearby tree. I guess he could have swooped down for a mid-day snack and the feather fluttered to the ground.

Yet – this person seemed convinced the feather it belonged to someone else. Does a child live at a nearby house? I considered it. Actually, no. Could it have belonged to a neighborhood child walking by? And she went on. Had they bought it somewhere and then dropped it? She seemed set on believing that it had been lost by a person and it belonged, not to me, but to someone else.

Did I need to explain there were hawks in the neighborhood? Did I need to say, there’s a nearby tree where I’d seen ravens and the occasional hawk? I didn’t want to explain or analyze or concern myself with such things.

I believed a hawk had molted it. And it was meant for me.

Maybe it’s like believing there’s a little magic and mystery left in the adult world.

Maybe that person had no more magic.

Of all things in life, I choose to indulge in the ever small myths and mysteries of found objects.

Friday Motivation

Motivation has been hard to come by of late.

I’ve taking out my frustration in other ways – painting, drawing, and creating new and exciting things. But I am getting back to writing – I swear!

So – some updates:

I found this great review for Harvey Levin Can’t Die.

The story was originally titled, Harvey Levin Must Die, but I couldn’t get it published! Then someone mentioned the title was less than desirable. Ahhhh!!!

So.. presto, chango, accepted and published. And, although people like to email me their kudos and tell me their reviews, I have a hard time getting people to post them. Soooo… here’s one from a gentlemen in Germany. Whoever you are – thank you! I’m glad you liked it!

Other exciting new things is ReadLipsSwag.com – some of our titles and literary inspired shirts and accessories. I find this quite exciting.

It’s on sale too… through fathers’ day. Use code DAD101 if you find anything you like.

Ladies and gentlemen, if you’re read any of my work – please review, review, review. It helps – even with just my motivation!!