Monthly Archives: December 2014

Daily Prompt/All Grown up

When was the first time you really felt like a grown up (if ever)?

This is an interesting question, because it certainly depends on the meaning of grown-up. There have been a number of times when I was convinced I was grown-up, but in looking back, I know I was in error. Why? Because I am only partially grown-up now. and I don’t think it’s something you can lose, once you’ve got it.

I remember feeling very grown-up on my tenth birthday because I finally needed two numbers to signify my age. A similar thought occurred when I was 13, and when I graduated from high school at seventeen. I realized I was not grown-up after graduation when I and my siblings headed off to Woodstock, a concert event for which we had bought tickets in February. At the time, one could buy alcohol in New York at the age of eighteen, which both my siblings had obtained, while I could not. They stopped and bought appallingly flavored brandies that stunk up the car when they opened them. We thought we had left on time, but had a stunning epiphany that tickets would not be needed as we joined the slightly moving traffic jam trying to get to the concert. We arrived as it began to rain. My brother and I each bought a triangular plastic blow up pup tent that would keep us dry if nothing else. My sister decided to forgo the tent, and spent a miserable weekend as a result.

My memories of the concert are slim. I remember Melanie singing about the roller skate key, and waking up to Sly and the Family Stone. I remember Joan Baez’ ethereal voice filling the air. I remember doing the cheer with Country Joe and the Fish. I could go on, there are ten or fifteen more incidents I recall, but it would bore you. The bottom line is that I did not feel very grown-up as we pulled our car out of the mud, and took off our wet clothes only to discover that our clean clothes were wet too. My mother had ordered us to be home by 7 pm, but that was closer to the time that we finally hit the highway. She had apparently worried herself sick the whole weekend because of the news reports and pictures coming out of the television and newspapers nonstop.

I don’t know what happened to those orange tents. I have no recollection bringing them home, so it is possible we gave them to other people who were staying until the bitter end. We missed Jimi Hendrix and others, and were enraged at my mother’s demand that we leave early. In the fullness of time, we didn’t miss anything earth shatteringly important, and what we missed is now available somewhere on tape or video. At the time it was the most important thing in the world. But only a few short weeks later, I was off to my freshman year in college, which was in its way more exciting and earth shattering than Woodstock.

Hindsight/Daily Prompt

Now that you’ve got some blogging experience under your belt, re-write your very first post.

Why should I? I went back to read it and it was perfectly fine. At least for me. And I see no purpose in performing distasteful tricks for the sake of playing along. This is your second strike this week. One more and I’m quitting on the Daily Prompt for two weeks. By the way, although it is fine that you’re back, why am I still not getting notifications of the prompt? Is it because you know I will call you out on the lame ones?

I have been blogging for a little over six months. During that time, I have discovered that I like having a forum, and an interesting group of followers. I have regular converse with some of them, and some of them do the daily prompt. I have watched in amusement as they and I have walked in lockstep against inane prompts. Sometimes we write something even on the idiot ones, but it has more to do with our ire than with a delight in enjoying the thrill of a decent prompt. Good prompts teach us and reward us. They stretch us in the direction of growth as writers. Stupid prompts cause wallowing in the depths of despair and writing out of desperation, not a place conducive to the best writing. We don’t learn from the stupid prompts, except new and funny ways to tell you how bad they are. You should have an editorial review board before you put out a prompt. With at least one real blogger not in hock to wordpress on the board. But it will never happen. Maybe I’ll just stop seeking out the prompt, now that you are no longer sending it to me.

That’s a plan. And I think I’ll follow it.

Daily Prompt/Cliché

Clichés become clichés for a reason. Tell us about the last time a bird in the hand was worth two in the bush for you.

I wonder where they come up with these prompts. Some of them are downright stupid. This is one. While I understand the cliché, I rarely remember them until someone comes out with the damn thing so I can think about it. My feeling about this particular one is that we are an acquisitive people. and the thought of a new iPhone or PlayStation or Wii is enough to make millions of people want it desperately and need to have it. It’s ridiculous of course, and the upshot of all this is that earlier versions of these items become available for sale at steeply discounted cost for a fully functional, if not absolutely up to date, phone or game player.

So I have just bought an iPhone 4 online, my first, at a considerably lower price than either the 5 or 6, and yes, there are already 6s on sale by some jaded buyers who didn’t like what they got. Is this one bird versus two? Perhaps, but it was a pocketbook issue, and I can use my new phone on a program that, best scenario, costs me $9 a month and worst is probably $25. As we used to say, can’t beat that. And if at some later point I need to update my phone, I will be able to. I have had enough expenses in my life lately that I believe that anything is possible in the future, if not now.

Mystery Box/Daily Prompt

You wake up one morning to find a beautifully wrapped package next to your bed. Attached to it is a note: “Open me, if you dare.” What’s inside the mystery box? Do you open it?

If such a box mysteriously showed up next to my bed some morning, I would call the police. It would mean that someone had entered my apartment illegally and left it there. I would not accept anything under these circumstances. While I am willing to suspend disbelief while reading fiction, I absolutely do not suspend it in real life. Having lived with a threat before, I feel no safety in this situation now.

In fact, this goes with a few other daily prompts with which I have had problems. While potentially delicious in fiction, the proposed scenario is, for a large number of people, fraught with anxiety or fear. It might be nice for a beloved husband, wife, child, or parent, but for the person who lives alone, and we are legion, this conjures too many inharmonious visions, and can put fragile people over the edge. It’s nice to assume that all bloggers on WordPress have risen above such difficulties, but it is naive at best, vicious at worst, to make such an assumption.

I am not amused.

My Hero/Daily Prompt

Who’s your hero? Tell us a story about why that person plays such an important role in your life.

My hero is a character in my first book (now at the editor) Fantastical Trips (probably available this spring, but no promises!). He is a felixitie, a humanoid cat with upright ears, a  fur covered body, but no tail. His face is also feline. He is the head man of his group of felixities, and he is noble of purpose, wise beyond his years, and as gentle a person as you are likely to meet. He resolves conflict, leads communal hugs that transcend the physical, and leads with grace and humor. He assumes everyone is well intentioned until he sees evidence to the contrary, and he speaks badly of no one who doesn’t deserve it.

He is not a weakling, but assertive, without being aggressive. In fact, he is all around good, except with two flaws. He is occasionally arrogant with the testiness that sometimes goes along with it, but he admits his mistakes (mostly). The second flaw can only be found by reading the book (no spoilers here!)

He is not the hero of the book, although he has a rather large role. He is not the hero of the second book (now being written), though again he has a large role. Why, you might ask? Because a hero who is this good in a book is boring and can’t advance the story very well. He supplies humor, observations, reprimands when necessary, and a good companion to others. It’s certainly the role I would like to play in life, but I don’t have all his good characteristics. But this is why I write, so that I can play at being good.

Real life heroes are those like Malala Yousafzai who are willing to sacrifice their lives for worthy causes. She is strong, noble and admirable. But the world is otherwise generally bereft of those characteristics, which is why I live in fantasy.

Secret Santa/Daily Post

You get to choose one gift — no price restrictions — for any person you want. The caveat? You have to give it anonymously. What gift would you give, and to whom?

I would give a complete new building on lakefront land to Peter Biello as Director of the Burlington Writers Workshop for a dedicated home for the workshop. The building would be big enough to hold two or three meeting rooms on the first floor, one of which would be a library, and one a living room type space for informal meetings, as well as a complete kitchen and rest rooms. The second floor would have three bedrooms with bathrooms en suite for visiting writers. There would be a laundry on the second floor.

Attached to the building would be a secondary space, including two bedrooms, a full kitchen, two bathrooms, and a living room, with a laundry room, to be the dedicated home of the director of the BWW.

In the best of all worlds, it would be a Deltec circular house ( with the addition being circular also. These homes are absolutely drop dead gorgeous, and are at the top of my own wish list!

To Be Resolved/ Daily Prompt

We’re entering the final days of 2014 — how did you do on your New Year’s resolutions these past 11.75 months? Is there any leftover item to be carried over to 2015?

Who does resolutions after the age of 30? Anybody? As a youth, I was hopeful and happy in the belief that I could resolve things in a year. And I tried hard to do whatever at least through March. And then something or another came along and the resolution was out the window. Looking back from a much greater age, I can see that some of those resolutions were foolish, some unobtainable under the best of circumstances, and some that were well on their way to being true, through no help from me.

Under the circumstances, I cannot say how my resolutions fared, since I didn’t make any. I would have been surprised, very surprised, if you had told me last January that I would be a blogger by now. I would have been even more amazed at the thought that I would be a writer of fantasy with one book finished and at the editor.  Since those wonders are enough to please me any year, I have to say that any resolutions would have paled by comparison.

I feel no need to make resolutions. I just look to the future and hope it will be better than the past. And this coming year has a lot to live up to, to be better than this year just passed. This has happened so rarely in my life that I am living in the glow, but writing fiercely to get the sequel of that first book ready to go. What would make this year better than the one just ending would be to be able to say at the end of the year that I have two books published. Now that would be wicked cool, as I used to say a long time ago.