#SoCS 9/23/2017 – Hot/Cold

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When a writer is running hot on a writing project, it’s easy to write. The ideas are coming hard and fast. Creativity is at its highest. Everything is going well. You’re not always running hot. Sometimes, either you or the project grows cold for no particular reason. Burnout may be the case if it’s a long project. When that happens, it may be time to switch projects for a while. Writers usually have several going at once. A couple on the front burner. A couple on the back burner. Several in the desk drawer. That’s the case with me.

I’m in the middle of a long writing project that’s grown a little cold to me. It’s sagging. I’m not sure of the direction I want to take. I feel my creativity flagging. My ideas are not flowing as freely. My characters are getting boring to me. So, I’m going to shove it to the back burner for a month or two. I’m going to see if I get my enthusiasm back for the project. It’s a project that’s important to me, so I am, in fact, sure that I will. I need some thought, some new sources of inspiration, some time to sleep on it, some time to think of the direction I should take. Such a thing often happens to a writer in the middle of a novel or in the middle of any long writing project. You lose your way. Particularly if it is a complex story, with lots of characters and subplots. Mine is that – a complex story.

While I work on getting my mojo back for my long project, I’m going to tackle a shorter project. I think it’s going to be a novella. Novellas seem to be gaining popularity among the reading public as we have less time and more commitments. After doing my market research, there are new publishers out there for this shorter work. I’m not going to give too much away about my project, but I’m excited about it. I have a good idea which may actually dovetail into my longer project.

Stay tuned!

 

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Pretty Terrible

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Marianne has been in with the doctors a long time. That’s what Marianne’s husband, Joseph, was thinking as he sat in the hospital waiting room. He noticed the flowers. Pretty. He hated hospitals. He’d just focus on the flowers while he waited on Marianne.

“Excuse me. Mr. Hayworth?”

Joseph jumped. He’d nodded off, staring at those flowers.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Hayworth. Your wife has a collapsed lung. We accidentally caused it to collapse at the end of the procedure. She has to stay until it resolves. She’s in Room 412.”

Joseph was still trying to wake up. He jumped up, thanked the doctor, and shook his hand. The doctor left and walked quickly down the hall.

“Now what?” Joseph thought.

He walked over to the flowers, snatched them out of the pots, and started walking quickly to Room 412 to see Marianne.

140 words

Photo Credit Shivamt25

#SoCS – 9/9/2017 – Motive

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What a bad time for me to write a stream of consciousness blog post! There is only one thing streaming through my consciousness and that is the situation in Florida and the Caribbean islands due to #HurricaneIrma. I suppose my motive for writing this post at all is a bit of catharsis. You see, the hurricane is about to come roaring up through the Florida peninsula, clinging to the Gulf Coast, and I own property on a barrier island off the Gulf Coast. Chances are, nothing will be left after being touched by a Category 5 hurricane.

My own property isn’t my only motive in writing this blog post. I also want to call attention to the 5.6 million people who have had to be evacuated out of Florida. That is a huge number of evacuees for me to wrap my mind around. There is going to be massive property damage in Florida and many of these people may not be able to go home for a while. Just like the people of the U.S. have helped the people of Houston after Hurricane Harvey, please help the displaced people of Florida who are victims of Hurricane Irma.

Now to continue to sit, wait, and watch the Weather Channel (and the weather online). It’s a bit like watching a train wreck and not being able to look away.

Play Ball!

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David climbed to the top bench of the falling-down bleachers at the old baseball field. When he was a child, he played Little League baseball here with all his buddies. He looked to his left and saw the dugout. It was in disrepair. He could see behind it from  his vantage point. Even the yard was grown up. Who was taking care of this place? No one? He knew the field wasn’t used anymore. Kids today would rather play video games or surf social media on their phones.

David had done well in life. He had an idea. Why not get his buddies together and raise money to repair the field. Try to start up the Little League teams again. He started making phone calls. HIs buddies were interested. They went to work.

The following spring, flyers were up all over the city advertising Little League. On sign-up day, the field was beautiful. There were long lines of young boys anxious to try out for Little League teams. David’s hometown, once again, had a thriving Little League program thanks to David and his friends.

The words, Play Ball, sounded wonderful to them and to the entire town.

Defunding Planned Parenthood and Government Welfare

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When someone mentions the defunding of Planned Parenthood to me, I don’t dignify that comment with a response. The very idea of defunding an organization that has helped so many women is offensive to me. My feelings on this subject has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that some Planned Parenthood’s offer abortions. My feelings have everything to do with how much Planned Parenthood has helped not only women, but men, since its inception.

They offer pap smears that screen for cancer, a variety of birth control methods, including compassionate abortion in some cases, HIV services, LGBT services, services for men, and more.

Planned Parenthood offers general health services for low-income women. Women who are either receiving some sort of government welfare or, if they become pregnant with a child, will have to receive government welfare. Women don’t become pregnant by themselves. If Planned Parenthood is responsive to low income women, they are also assisting the men who are their partners. The men involved in an unplanned pregnancy might also need government welfare. The services that Planned Parenthood offers can keep a couple, not just a woman, off the welfare rolls.

The current Congress and President, as part of the conservative movement in the U.S., has been determined to defund Planned Parenthood on the federal level and turn whatever is left over to the states. This Congress and President also want to severely cut back the Medicaid program, our current version of government welfare. The two initiatives don’t seem to be compatible. Cut Medicaid and Planned Parenthood? Where are women and men who are low-income and possibly out of a job going to get health services, particularly in the face of a pregnancy? Where are low-income women going to get birth control services, along with family planning advice?

Does the conservative government really think that low-income women are just going to stop having children? They have to know that such a scenario is ridiculous. They will keep having children and the welfare rolls will swell. Emergency room visits will also swell as the women will have no health care options.

Does the conservative movement in the U.S. care? My thoughts? They will only care when it starts costing them money. They won’t care about the men and women they are hurting in the process.

Other posts by other bloggers:

Why We Need Planned Parenthood

What Gives White Men the Right to Take Away a Woman’s Right to Basic Health Care?

#SoCS – 08/19/2017

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What is on my mind as I write this post? The ocean. The way I feel when I look at the ocean, when I’m near the ocean, when I breathe the salt air. I’ve never understood how someone from a landlocked state like me, who didn’t even see the ocean until I was 21 years old, could feel so connected to it. I felt like this the first time I ever saw the ocean, that time the Atlantic. After a time, I had occasion to spend significant time in South Carolina, off and on. Looking out at the great Atlantic was as much of a thrill as it was the very first time.

Later in life, I saw the beautiful Gulf, both from the Florida peninsula, the port of New Orleans, and the port of Galveston. I then spent a very special day, once upon a time as if in a fairy tale, on gorgeous Catalina Island in the Pacific, a visit I will never forget with someone I will always remember.

In 2009, I was fortunate enough to happen upon, totally by chance, an island in the Gulf of Mexico and I fell in love with it. It’s not the type of island most people might find appealing. It sits below the frost line and is tropical in most ways. But, it doesn’t have the requisite sandy beaches. It has beautiful sunsets, incredible birds, an array of wildlife,  rampantly growing tropical vegetation, and incredibly temperate winters. I feel more myself when I’m there than anywhere else in the world. The Gulf waters surrounding my island are usually calm and full of fish that I’m just learning about.

This year, I will have guests visit me when I’m at my island. Family, friends, and several friends live nearby. Fun!

What draws me to my island is the feeling in my soul when I’m there. I seldom find myself at peace. I have a restless soul, a restless heart. I’m at peace when I stand and look out at the ocean from the shores of this magical island.

I can’t wait to return.

 

Congress Does Not Represent the People of the United States

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The U.S. Congress, the legislative branch of the government, has become corrupted. This is the branch, of the three branches of government, set down by the Founders, that is supposed to represent the people of the United States. Do you think that we are fairly represented by the U.S. Congress? I am here to contend that we are not.

We only have to look as far as the current Senate Health Care Bill and the debate surrounding that bill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is the primary senator pushing the bill. He is doing so became he is being pushed by the President, but that is not the only reason. Since 1989 and to date, five of the top industries contributing to McConnell are: Health Professionals, Insurance, Hospitals and Nursing Homes, Pharmaceuticals and Health Products, and Health Services and HMOs. Can McConnell truly be unbiased?

Mitch McConnell represents the state of Kentucky as a senator. He is supposed to represent the people of that state. Kentucky is a poor state. A high percentage of the population, particularly in the Appalachian region of the state, use the Medicaid program. For example, in Kentucky, children represent 19 percent of all Medicaid spending but 43 percent of its enrollees. The Senate Heath Care Bill, pushed by Senator McConnell, would take away these benefits for many or most of these children who are not even the driving force of the Medicaid expenditures.

I ask you. Is Mitch McConnell representing his Kentucky constituency? Perhaps he is, instead, representing those five health care industries that contribute to his campaign funds? He is lobbying to take away the Medicaid benefits from his constituency.

The McConnell example is only one example of a senator who is not serving his constituency. Congress is supposed to serve as the voice of the people and the states to the federal government. Do you really think it is currently, or has in the recent past, been fulfilling that function?

Congress is also supposed to serve as an oversight body on the Executive Branch of government; in other words, the President of the United States. That, to me, is laughable at this point in time. Yes, there are committees in place to investigate the dealings of the Trump administration and I fervently hope they are doing their jobs. I count on the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, to oversee those committees at this point in time. The Senators and the Representatives are too worried about losing their own jobs to really serve as oversight on the President.

Congress now, instead of representing the people, represents money. The money they can make from the lobbyists of corporations like health care corporations if they follow their agendas. There is only one way to solve this problem. Term limits. Limit the terms of the Senators and Representatives so they don’t have time to become millionaires through lobbyists and on the backs of their constituencies, the taxpayers. Only then will we have something approaching a representative Congress again.

Song Lyric Sunday – 7/2/2017 – Free Bird

Our theme for this week, considering it is the Fourth of July weekend, is “freedom.” The song I instantly thought of was “Free Bird.” Here it is. Enjoy!

Free Bird

Lynard Skynard

If I leave here tomorrow
Would you still remember me?
For I must be traveling on now
‘Cause there’s too many places I’ve got to see.

But if I stayed here with you, girl,
Things just couldn’t be the same.
‘Cause I’m as free as a bird now,
And this bird you can not change, oh, oh, oh, oh.
And this bird you can not change.
And this bird you can not change.
Lord knows I can’t change.

Bye, bye, baby, it’s been a sweet love, yeah,
Though this feeling I can’t change.
But please don’t take it so badly,
‘Cause Lord knows I’m to blame.

But if I stayed here with you, girl,
Things just couldn’t be the same.
‘Cause I’m as free as a bird now,
And this bird you’ll never change, oh, oh, oh, oh.
And this bird you cannot change.
And this bird you cannot change.
Lord knows, I can’t change.
Lord, help me, I can’t change.

Lord, I can’t change.
Won’t you fly high, free bird, yeah?

Songwriters: Ronnie Van Zant, Alan Collins

 

Dedicated to Betsy:

Fly, Betsy, Fly

Free as a Bird

No More Pain, I Was to Blame

You Were My Sweet Love

Song Lyric Sunday

 

Father’s Day in the U.S. And Other Countries

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My dad has been gone for 34 1/2 years and I miss him as much today as I did when he died. Particularly on Father’s Day, the third Sunday of June in the United States. My dad was a fun, but hard-working parent, never aimless. I miss the twinkle in his eye when he saw me and the spring in his step when he carried me to bed! This poem reminded me of him.

Father’s Day was first celebrated by Sondra Dodd in 1910 in Spokane, Washington. She had lost her mother in childbirth and her father cared for her. She wanted to show her appreciation for him. Sondra’s dad’s birthday was June 5, so Father’s Day unofficially ended up in June. The movement to establish a day to honor father’s grew and in 1924, President Calvin Coolidge became a supporter. He did not declare it an official holiday.

Father’s Day was celebrated in June. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson declared it an official holiday and designated the third Sunday in June as the official date for Father’s Day. In 1972, President Richard Nixon declared Father’s Day to be a national holiday.

There are some interesting and fun facts about Father’s Day in the U.S.

There are over 70 million fathers in the U.S. And 2 million of them are single. It is the fourth busiest day for sending greeting cards. More than 214,000 men are single fathers.

Other countries also celebrate Father’s Day. Canada celebrates it like the U.S. but unofficially. France celebrates Father’s Day on the third Sunday in June. They used to give their fathers’ Bic lighters but now they substitute other small gifts. Germany celebrates the day on the last day of the Easter holiday.

In Asia, India celebrates Father’s Day much the same way as we do, but Thailand celebrates the day on the birthday of their king and everyone wears yellow. In Australia, Father’s Day is celebrated on the first Sunday of their spring which is September.

Now, I’m going to go and start the dinner I’m preparing tonight in honor of my dad. Happy Father’s Day to all the dad’s out there!