Friday, May 10, 2013

Yo Mama


It teaches you a few things…

Like how to open a stroller with your teeth.

That zone defense stinks. Man-to-man is the only way to go.

And that you can achieve perfection…

in your efforts to mimic the voice of Goofy.

Only to be asked to use it in every conversation

for an entire year.

You learn that relief is always temporary…

Your next gig?

Oscar the Grouch.

You realize that those fascinating psychological studies you learned about in school actually revealed NOTHING about the real-world effects of sleep deprivation.

Because in the real world, you find yourself ending phone conversations with “Love you” no matter who is on the line…

Pediatric nurse


The cable guy.

You stumble around for days not knowing the season or year.

You use the dog’s name when speaking to your child.

And you lose your keys 87,000 times –

only to find them lurking in the strangest places…

The file cabinet – under “S”

The freezer

Your hand.

Good thing the Devil never shows up –

because you become the kind of person who would gladly hand over her soul AND the 401(k) for a 20-minute nap.

You discover that hazmat suits are for sissies –

a person can actually have continual exposure to bodily fluids and live to tell the tale.

And tell the tale you will – to anyone, no matter who, no matter where…



Miss Manners be damned.

Graduate school?

Turns out, that was a cakewalk.

And unless your advanced degree was in choo choos or birdies, nobody you work with gives a hoot.

Yeah, I’m still stumbling my way through the mommy years.

I’ve done well enough to reach the “teen” level.

And this is a tough one –

They’ve figured out that I have no idea what I’m doing.

Even so, I’ve done okay.

How do I know?

If I were in a maturity contest and pitted against my own offspring…

They would win.

PROMPT:  Erma Bombeck made an entire writing career out of motherhood. So, if you mother something – be it human, hairy, or houseplant, you‘ve got material. And hey – if you see a mother this weekend, give her a hug. Better yet – a nap.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Hot Spots

I heard a special public service announcement on the radio yesterday…

Apparently, it is Volcano Awareness Month!

Well, there just so happens to be an active volcano exactly 28.5 miles from my front door.

Trust me, I am aware.

I am aware every single month of the year –

She steams fairly often, after all.

But so far she has kept her ash to herself.

Thus, we are on still on speaking terms.


Perhaps Volcano Awareness Month is not really meant for me –

But for those of you who are currently volcano-free.



Do NOT let a volcano sneak up behind you.

Do not let a volcano set up camp in your front yard.

Volcanoes do not make good neighbors.

They get steamed.

They throw things.

They blow their tops.

They NEVER leave.

Thank you for your attention and awareness.

Together, we can prevent unwanted volcanoes.

This has been a very special Mind’s Elbow Public Service Announcement.

PROMPT: Celebrate your volcano awareness by reveling in the power of place! Location can have a big impact (from extreme boredom to molten ash) on a character. So, put your protagonist in a place that packs a punch and let the fun begin! 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Gotcha Covered

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend a talk given by Wayne Dyer.

Dr. Dyer is a former psychology professor turned motivational speaker and author. You may recall from an earlier post that it was one of his old recordings that inspired Sara Blakely, the creator of Spanx.

Anyway, good old Wayne happened to mention something he does when he decides to begin a new book 

Mind you, this is before he ever sets pen to page...

He creates a cover for this “bestseller of the future,” wraps it around a book he has on hand, and places it on his writing desk.

Now that’s some serious positive thinking in action!

And any action full of feel-good positive thinking has got to be good for you.

Uh oh – I think some of you out there may be gearing up your yeah-buts right about now.

As in, “Yeah, but does it actually work?”

Oh, I don’t know.

Maybe you should ask Wayne Dyer –

He’s written 7 New York Times bestsellers.

PROMPT: Create a great cover today! Oh, and don’t forget the bestseller tag and an award medal or two, just for the feel-good, positive JOY of it!
Because yeahs are way better without the buts.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Use Your Loaf for Sausage and Mash

And now it’s time for a feel-good word story from across the pond!

Did you know that there is a very special ATM on Commercial Street in East London?

When requesting your language of choice, it gives only two options –

English or Cockney.

That’s Cockney, as in Cockney Rhyming Slang.

So, if you’re in need of some Fast Sausage and Mash (a.k.a. Cash) and want to have a little wordy fun doing it, simply enter your Huckleberry Finn (pin) and choose from the following colorful options –

Lady Godiva (£5)

Speckled Hen (£10)

Horn of Plenty (£20)

Now that’s just plain fun!

You know, rhyming slang is often used to substitute words regarded as taboo.


I’m thinking this could come in handy here in the Evergreen State.

PROMPT: Take a little walk on the wild side of London where feet are plates, eyes are minces, and a head is known as a loaf. Check out a nifty Cockney Rhyming Slang Dictionary here. Then throw your character into a whole heap of Barney Rubble. But Blimey! Nobody knows what the Gypsy Nell he’s saying.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Washington: The State of Insanity

Recently, the great state of Washington made headlines when it went on a little tear to make all state laws gender-neutral.

Apparently, the words freshman, fisherman, and penmanship have been banned.

Now we can only be first-year students and fishers engaged in handwriting here in the Evergreen State.

You see, somebody’s feelings might get hurt if we use those other words.

Well, here’s my take –

If being called a “freshman” is going to turn you into a non-functioning human curled up in a fetal position and crying for your mama –

You need therapy.

Meanwhile, how many of those “sensitive” freshmen out there are at this very moment merrily singing along to every rap song featuring words that sound like garden tools or rhyme with “itches?”

Just sayin’.

Oh, and regarding the word updates, one National Women’s Law Center senior adviser said, “This is important in changing hearts and minds.”


Yep, I’m pretty sure penmanship is making a BIG impact on hearts and minds.

So where do we stop, Ms. Adviser?

I mean, I’m not sure what to call myself right now.

Surely, I can’t be a woMAN

or a feMALE.

or a perSON.

Or a huMAN being.

Oh my! Should we ban those words, too?

Maybe I’ll just go with XX from now on.

And what about those letters, Washington State?

You know, I've been thinking…

That Q looks a little too male for my taste.

I think it should go, don’t you?

And Y – only guys have Y chromosomes, so…

Outta here!

Actually, I know what should be outta here –

Legislators, get out of the word business.

After all, when we finally ban ALL of the words and letters that can potentially offend a hu*** per*** (believe me, I've worked as a therapist – there is NO END to the list of things folks can get worked up over or break down about) 

Take a good, long look at what remains…

PROMPT:  Warning to all writers –

If you are going to put pen to page, you are going to offend someone.

“The writer who is a real writer is a rebel who never stops.”
~William Saroyan

Get your rebel on!

Um… can someone, like, post my bail?