Friday, March 1, 2013

Celebrate Seuss!

Horton: The Early Years

All I ever need to know, I learned from Dr. Seuss –

1. Fun is good.

2. The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.

3. A person's a person, no matter how small.

4. Don't grumble! Don't stew! Some critters are much-much, oh, ever so much-much so muchly much-much more unlucky than you!

5. Step with care and great tact. Remember that Life's a Great Balancing Act.

6. Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.

7. From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere!

8. You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.

9. Why fit in when you were born to stand out?

10. Will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)

PROMPT: Tomorrow marks 109 marvelicious years of Seuss!
Plan a party – bring the cats,
without or with their stripy hats.
Then make and serve some tasty schlopp.
But be a love – don’t hop on pop.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

The List

T-Rex Alert!

I was at the market the other day when a man stopped me near the frozen foods.

“Is that a list?” he asked.

When I informed him that indeed it was, he shook his head. “I didn't think anyone wrote lists anymore,” he muttered as he moved on to Dairy.

I must admit that I was a little stunned.

Somehow I had become the planet’s last triceratops.

Of course, I wanted to justify my scribbles. “Hey, Mister!” I wanted to call after him. “This is why I have to use paper!” then whip out my flip phone with the IQ of 4. But, alas, that would have only made things worse.

And then I got to thinking…

A world without lists is a sad, sad world for writers.

Okay, maybe it’s a little odd, but I love discovering a page of someone’s discarded grocery needs. It’s amazing how a just a few words can help me build a character or set a scene.

“Ah, someone’s having a birthday,” I’ll say. Or “Oh look, 3 gallons of ice cream, bacon, chips, and… diet soda – haven’t we all been there?

Even my non-writing friends can sense the treasure buried within a list. One once gave me an expense register that he’d found at an estate sale. It was a simple tablet from the 1940’s with each one of a young woman’s purchases meticulously recorded. It was pretty obvious that she had a tight budget, and yet…

Every so often she would shell out $25 (a fortune!) for voice lessons.

Now, that’s a character who’s begging for a story.

PROMPT: Create a list for one of your characters, or a character from some kind of list (at last, Facebook Timelines have a purpose!). If those options don’t grab you, you can always write of the sad plight of flip phone-wielding dinosaurs lost in the frozen foods. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

How Do You Spell Success?

Most of us want to be successful.

If we’re writers, we want to get a book in print.

If we’re artists, we want that gallery showing.

If we’re algae specialists, we… uh…

Anyway, you get the picture.

But here’s a fascinating thing that I learned about people long ago when I worked as a counselor –

When you really drill down to determine why folks want success, it’s because they believe that it will ultimately make them happier.

Each person simply wants to be happier in his or her own skin…

in his or her own home.


So, I ask you –

Why not start there?

Why not start with the end in mind by coming up with creative ways to be happier at home?

And here’s the delicious irony –

The faster you do that, the faster that elusive success will find you.

Yes, algae specialists, I am talking to you.

PROMPT: It’s a great day for happiness! Write about all the little ways you can cram more HAPPY into your life. Then do at least one. Face it, Grumpy Cat’s frown is adorable, but yours isn't doing you any favors.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Once Upon a Time…

According to the calendar, today is Tell a Fairy Tale Day.

Most of the sites about it encourage parents and teachers to read their old favorites aloud in order to delight small children.

Oh, they’ll be delighted all right.

Because before those tales got Disney-fied, they were… well…

Let’s just say that Stephen King had nothing on them.

So, before you go back to those lovely originals, here are few endings you might want to know –

Cinderella’s stepsisters get their eyes pecked out by pigeons.

Grandma and Red Riding Hood get gobbled up and digested by the wolf. Sorry, kiddos, the woodsman is a no-show, so there’s no one to hack them out whole and breathing.

Same goes for Goldilocks. She’s actually ripped to shreds and eaten by the bears for trespassing.

Oh, and happily ever after? Um… no. In the original version, the Little Mermaid flings herself to an oceanic death after the prince dumps her.

Well… sleep tight tonight, boys and girls.

Sweet dreams!

PROMPT: Write a tale of your own today – grim, fractured, or sanitized. Oh and by the way, the calendar also indicates that it is National Pistachio DaySo move over Princess and the Pea – I’m thinking it’s time for something a little bit nuttier.

Monday, February 25, 2013

They’re People Too

Believe it or not, the “talking animal” is a highly controversial subject in the world of children’s writing.

Some editors love them…

Some detest them…

And some educational companies absolutely forbid you to suggest that an animal speaks human.

And yet, many of our most beloved storybook characters from childhood are totally anthro.

Think about it –

You’ve got your Pooh bear, your Peter Rabbit, and Frances that well-mannered badger-thingy.

So, here’s my question…

Why don’t they ever wear pants?

Sure, they can chat, dance, serve tea, and even wear snappy tops…

But pants are definitely NOT happening with this crowd.

I don’t know about you, but that one’s been bugging me since I was about seven.

Alas, it is a mystery that may never be solved.

Anyway, here’s some real animal news that you can use in your writing today –

Marine biologists have recently discovered that dolphins use unique whistles for each of their friends.

In other words, they call one another by name.

Until now, we thought that only big-headed humans did such a thing.

And yet, these underwater anthros seem to fit the same old pattern –

Bottlenose bloomers have yet to be located.

The search continues…

PROMPT: It’s all about anthros today. Write with the dolphins, or knock yourself out with some other chatty critter – but do me a favor and, please oh please, cover up their private parts.