Fire in the Wind

Hello everyone,

I read an interesting tidbit the other day from one of these life-coach-advisor types: If you have goals in life you really want to accomplish, or if you feel like your time management ability leaves something to be desired, leave the internet alone for the first three hours of each day. This includes cell phone calls and messages.

He claims most people who’ve achieved success in life don’t start their days online. They rather spend those first prime hours reading, meditating, focusing on goals and planning their day. Conversely, people who start their day hopping and skipping around the internet, reading e-mails, and leaving short comments or messages, tend to carry on through the day with the same lack of focus and end up not getting much done and feeling very unsatisfied.

I’ve decided to follow his advice and see how it works, as I’ve been very frustrated at my tendency to be distracted, or lack of self-discipline. So I tried it this morning: I left the computer alone and read some devotional thoughts about Easter — then focused on some needed housework.

The upside: I feel like I accomplished something today. 🙂
The downside: Morning is my prime writing time. If I got busy with other things, I don’t get to my computer until the evening. (Mind you, it dosn’t help that I have a jigsaw puzzle on the go right now. 😉 )

Now, on to the Fire Wind:

Today was warm and the wind gusting high at times — and it’s been extremely dry here this spring. I was outside for a few minutes around 5 pm and thought: a bad day for a fire. As I’ve mentioned, over the last couple of weeks I’ve been trying to burn our “trash pile” of dead and/or pruned branches. I had a little fire last Thursday, but then the municipal Fire Ban went into effect and we can’t burn ANYTHING now. Small wonder, though: last week Saturday our volunteer firemen were called out to three big fires in this area, and we heard there was a bad one near Saskatoon last Saturday.

I came in from outside and puttered around a few minutes, then opened the west side window, since it was so warm — and I got a strong whiff of smoke. Looked out and saw smoke billowing into the sky;  it seemed to come from the farm across the field about a mile south of us. We decided to drive out and see what was happening — after all, the wind was blowing the smoke in our direction and that does make one nervous!  When we reached the road our farmer-neighbour went by in his tractor and headed across the field toward the fire.

We heard later that our son-in-law, on his way home from work, spotted the flames and called in the alarm, then went back to fight the fire. Volunteer firemen arrived and then the firetrucks, and we saw our neighbour going back and forth across the field next to that farm, plowing a fireguard to keep the fire from spreading this way in the high wind.

It burned for at least an hour and now, several hours later, there are still flashing lights at that farm. The fire was burning in their trees, so I imagine some firemen are watching to see it doesn’t flare up again.

I haven’t posted anything in honor of National Poetry Month for a few days, but thinking of fire makes me think of Aussie poet Frank Prem’s book DEVIL IN THE WIND, about the devastating bush fires he witnessed in 2009. This promises to be a fascinating account in poem form! It’s for sale now on Amazon. Here’s the dazzling cover — and the link (Amazon .com)

Devil In The Wind: Voices from the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires (Poetry Anthology Book 2) by [Prem, Frank]

 

Writer’s Clock

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“Oh, what a beautiful morning!
Oh, what a beautiful day!
The suns is so cheerily shining
and snowbanks are melting away.”

(With apologies to the original songwriter.
And thanks to Pixabay for the ClipArt Vector)

A week ago spring came back to our land and has settled in so pleasantly. Today I even saw half a dozen Canada geese overhead. Mind you, they were going south, and might have been some who wintered over down by the dam. But still, it’s the principle…

It’s been a few days since I last posted — not that I suffer from WRITER’S BLOCK so much as WRITER’S CLOCK. That is, not enough time to sit down and write everything I’d like to, especially now that the days are so spring-like and the house needs a good cleaning.

Our cats definitely have spring fever and want to be out…in…out…in…out… all day long. Our lawn is slowly appearing and the gravel road by our property is nice and firm for walking on now, though the driveway is still slushy and spongy.

Wandering the internet for awhile this afternoon, I discovered another online haiku journal, the Wales Haiku Journal. Interesting! In fact I even dared submit a few of my newest verses. Perhaps with a nod to my gr-gr-gr-grandmother Jones from north Wales. Having a Jones from Wales, John Smith from London, and John Turner, an Orangeman from Ireland, among my forebears, I feel very standard-issue. 🙂

This past week I’ve been working quite a bit on my book of haiku, have transferred it to Kindle Create and set it up. I’m inserting some pictures now. Soon, soon…!

Monday night I hit the silliest glitch: I could not insert the copyright symbol. I tried every which way and listened to a couple of instruction videos supposedly explaining in detail how to create a Kindle e-book. Alas! They both slid through the front matter in a few sentences.

I enjoyed watching the one young fellow wave his hands around, though — in real life he must play a piccolo. Several times he said, “I’m sure you’ve all worked with this type of program before and know all this,” and I wanted to yell, “Would I be listening to you if I had?”

Note to wannabe self-publishers: If you’re doing your book on Kindle Create — and it really does work well — it’s best to have the Title page, Copyright info, Dedication page, and Preface or Foreword, all written up the way you want them, as well as the actual book pages, before saving your e-book document as a pdf that you will transfer to Kindle Create.

At any rate, I discovered that it’s really very simple to add that little © — once you know how. 😉 Actually, so many things in this old world are so simple once you know how!

This includes tossing out. As part of my spring cleaning urge, yesterday I opened a cupboard that I haven’t looked in seriously for a long time — and bravely threw out all those 5″ floppies and 3.5″ hard disks I squirreled away about 7 or 8 years back, when I got my new computer. You know the rationale: “A person never knows when this new flash-drive system might break down and we’ll need to go back to these…” NOT!

I hope you are all enjoying lovely days, too, dear readers.

Paper Airplanes & Haiku

Good morning everyone!

I’m up before the sun today, but it’s slowly getting out of bed. Our weather’s been up and down for most of the winter, but the forecasters are telling us now that we’re in for a spell of -20 to -30 C, such as you’d expect in February here on the prairies.

A great time to stay home, but our comfy conveyances are so handy nowadays. Not like in Grandma’s day when the rare trip to town meant piling into the old sled (sleigh?) with warm stones at their feet and bouncing across frozen fields. These cold snaps were when moms and grandmas circa 1900 darned the socks, patched clothes, wrote letters, and got their quilting done.

But here I am this morning, hopping around the globe via the internet to pop in on poets in Australia, Mexico, Britain and the US. I’ve read Frank Prem’s new book of poetry and his request for pre-pub readers and reviewers, then shared a fishy limerick with Kristian.

Now I’ve finished an interesting article on Objective Hokku written by David from I-assume-the-US. He explains that Objective Hokku is simply a reflection, via the poet, of what it there, making no comparisons, offering no personal opinion or interpretation. I’ll take a stab at it:

Winter morning.
The cat curled up
In the office chair.

You get the immediate picture and some sense of coziness. This verse doesn’t tell you that the office chair is mine and I should be in it, that because I’m too soft to dump the cat out, I’m sitting beside it on a hard-seated folding chair typing this. 🙂

The poem below is haiku, because it definitely leads you to a conclusion about my reading habits. 😉 Actually it’s more of a senryu, a haiku which makes a wry comment on human nature.

all the books
I hope to someday read
paper airplanes

And this even more so:

high pressure system
distant cousins arrive
family picnic drenched

Even though I’m not into the deeper significance of haiku and hokku, I do enjoy these “snapshot” verses. I hope you do, too.

Disconnection: Can You Survive It?

People are asking, “What is Social Media Turning Us Into?”
Here’s one possible picture.  😉

Pumpkin people

One former Google project manager, Tristan Harris, once claimed that social media is “hijacking our minds.” Studies are revealing that social media inclines young people to depression.

This morning I read a thought-provoking article and decided to post the link here so you can read it, too, if you’re concerned about the overall effects of social media. Read Social Media Detox.

Christina Farr starts out saying, “I quit Instagram and Facebook and it made me a lot happier.” She tells how at one point she kept track of the time spent on social media — and it turned out to be a whole lot more than she’d ever estimated.

Does that surprise anyone?

I’ve never been on any of those social media, unless you count Linked-In, where I followed some writers’ groups. Finally I even gave that up, and GoodReads, which hasn’t done much more than take my time. The world is awash in book and wannabe writers trying to promote themselves — and some are quite successful, more power to them.

I’m probably one of those people who doesn’t manage time well, but at present it’s all I can do to post on my blog and follow some others, never mind all the Tweets, Twitters, Instagram, etc. that one can get involved in. Also, our church has always urged members to not get involved in Facebook and such-like.

If you can find a minute, do read this informative article, especially if you wonder how a person can survive without incoming messages. 🙂

 

Due to Start Soon

Fandango’s prompt for today: DUE

Oh, what a flexible word! I was to the library yesterday and borrowed a couple of books that give drawing and sketching lessons. This is due to my continued curiosity about art and my hope to someday produce some. My books are due back — must be returned to the library by — Sept 18th.

Due to my continued interest in writing practice, I’ve subscribed to The Write Practice. Sad to say, I don’t often find the time to do the assignments, but I get their posts. and their Fall Contest is due to start soon; participants must enroll before Sept 14th. Do check it out.

I’ve also come to enjoy haiku & senryu, both reading it and writing it. Humorous, serious, sometimes a bit wry. Like this one I wrote after visiting Value Village, a second-hand clothing & housewares store:

seniors’ day
at Value Village
Volvos in the parking lot
😉

If you hop over to Call of the Page, you’ll see their haiku and senryu classes are due to start Sept 6th. If you enjoy this form of poetry, do consider these classes; I think they’re going to be a lot of fun.

Our hummingbirds are perhaps overdue to fly south. There were three twittering around here yesterday evening, and one came to the feeder this morning at 5:45 am. A new version of “the early bird gets the worm.”

And now I’m due to start my day with a quick visit to the Seniors’ Home where I work. Then back home to work on a writing project long overdue.

Heads up, everyone. Owing to — or due to — continued worldwide interest, NaNoWriMo will be starting again November 1st. Time to start thinking about our next Nano writing projects.

Love for Exploring + Zest for Discovery

It hits me every now and then, this urge to go wandering. I check out a blog post, which leads me to another, then another. Hop, hop, hop. Usually leads to the joy of discovery.

Come hop, hop, hop with me now as I comment on the discoveries I’ve made:

Fandango’s One-Word Challenge today is LOVE. A great word, easy to write about. A heartening and wondrous word — but we’ve cheapened it, I fear. I recall some dear old grandmas warning about this. “Love is for living things,” they said. “Not for inanimate objects.”

When one teen was enthusing about something she really liked, saying, I just LOVE this —” a wise old grandma told her:

“Love something that can love you back.”

Love is a serious thing, a precious word not to be tossed around  and tarnished. We don’t really LOVE clothes, a car or a house. We don’t LOVE writing or running exploring. We love PEOPLE. So my title is misleading. But I ENJOY exploring, checking out other bloggers’ work.

Ragtag’s daily prompt word is ZEST. Merriam Webster defines it as:
: a piece of the peel of a citrus fruit (such as an orange or lemon) used as flavoring
2 : an enjoyably exciting quality : piquancy
3 : keen enjoyment : relish, gusto; a zest for living

P.S.: If you find big words enjoyable and exciting, their Word of the Day is ORGULOUS. And if you toss it into casual conversation, people will think you are orgulous.

As I said at the start, once in awhile I get this excitement, this urge, to explore, instead of ABIDING (Word of the Day’s prompt) here at home.

I popped over to one blog and saw a listing of a dozen different blog awards. One of them was ONE LOVELY BLOG AWARD. Curious, I Googled “One Lovely Blog Award.” Up popped ten pages of posts from people who wrote about — usually because they’d received — this award.

I checked out a few for curiosity  and landed on the Fractured Faith blog, done by Stephen & Fionnuala Black, a couple from Northern Ireland. I’ve seen their lovely icon before, as they’ve liked some of my posts. On their Home Page, in the list of their recent posts, I saw this unique Flash Fiction Challenge. An imaginative way to nudge the old muse. I don’t LOVE, but I really LIKE, your idea and am doing a pingback to your challenge. 😉

I’ve found the odd receipt but my imagination was dozing at those moments. I never derived a tale from my find like you did. I did find a wallet once — actually saw it fall out of the man’s pocket as he exited his car. I hurried over, scooped it up and located the man in a nearby store. When he discovered his loss, and saw it in my hands, he gave me a big hug. Definitely worth it. Loved the hug.

I think you can love a hug — even from a complete stranger. 😉

And now back at home, I shall abide awhile by my hallway window to watch the hummers. They may not be able to love us back but I believe they’re as thankful as their tiny brains can be for syrup provided. Then my hands had best abide in meal preparation, as it’s almost dinner time. 🙂