Go Around Inspired

Today’s challenge from Word of the Day: INSPIRING

Ah! How can I neglect such an easy prompt when I find so many things around to inspire me? Lately I’ve been “creating” several songs for our school children, taking some old forgotten tunes and writing new words — or some old poems and setting them to a tune. I found this inspiring poem last night, and think the first verse might make and nice school song.

If You Can’t Go Over or Under, Go Round

by Joseph Morris
(born 1889)

A baby mole got to feeling big,
And wanted to show how he could dig;
So he plowed along in the soft, warm dirt
Till he hit something hard, and it surely hurt!
A dozen stars flew out of his snout;
He sat on his haunches, began to pout;
Then rammed the thing again with his head–
His grand-pap picked him up half dead.
“Young man,” he said, “though your pate is bone.
You can’t butt your way through solid stone.
This bit of advice is good, I’ve found:
If you can’t go over or under, go round.”

A traveler came to a stream one day,
And because it presumed to cross his way,
And wouldn’t turn round to suit his whim
And change its course to go with him,
His anger rose far more than it should,
And he vowed he’d cross right where he stood.
A man said there was a bridge below,
But not a step would he budge or go.
The current was swift and the bank was steep,
But he jumped right in with a violent leap.
A fisherman dragged him out half-drowned:
“When you can’t go over or under, go round.”

If you come to a place that you can’t get through,
Or over or under, the thing to do
Is to find a way round the impassable wall,
Not say you’ll go YOUR way or not at all.
You can always get to the place you’re going,
If you’ll set your sails as the wind is blowing.
If the mountains are high, go round the valley;
If the streets are blocked, go up some alley;
If the parlor-car’s filled, don’t scorn a freight;
If the front door’s closed, go in the side gate.
To reach your goal this advice is sound:
If you can’t go over or under, go round!

NOTE:

This was published in the 1920s in the book, Poems of Inspiration, which has lately been reprinted. You are one who enjoys these upbeat old poems, here’s the Amazon link.

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. 🙂

 

Ads and Fried Termites

Word of the Day prompt this morning: IMAGINATION
Merriam-Webster’s word of the day: AUDACIOUS
Fandango’s One-word-challenge: TRAP

I posted this article years ago, but will post it again this morning, as it fits the above prompt words.

As you all know, a writer’s mind is a constantly swirling inkwell. I see, hear, read, experience things – and my mind traps this new info, wanting to turn it into stories or articles. It’s in my genes; I come from a long line of storytellers. After all these years I’m still trying to decide if this swirling process is pearl or peril. Is God sending these inspirations, wishing to speak through me – or is it that “muse” some people speak of that’s made chaos of what could have been my well ordered life? 🙂

I have dear friends whose minds seem to turn in orderly rotations around the fulcrum of “clean and neat.” It’s deep in their genes and I admire the results they achieve in their homes. Many times I’ve decided to give up writing in favour of having a sparkling house like some others. I may spend hours editing, trying to achieve “clean, neat, and in order” in the articles I write but this doesn’t leave me time to give my physical surrounding that same care. ☹

Some women look at the world with their eyes, where I tend to see the world with my mind or imagination. For example, if I walk through my house and see light shining in the windows, I might think about doing an article on light versus darkness; my friends will see that the window needs cleaning and get to it. Or they make a mental note to do it later–and remember.

I make notes, too, but they get lost somewhere. (The fate of many of my literal lists as well.) Then there are times when some really brilliant or audacious idea pops into my head, but I can’t drop what I’m doing. I try to snatch a moment to rush to the computer and type in a title –and maybe a few lines– before I forget it. When I’ve finished what I’m doing, I’ll get back to that file and let the creative juices flow. If I remember.

A few weeks ago I noticed a file in my hard drive entitled “Ads, ads, and termites.” I stared at the screen for a minute. What kind of ads was I thinking of? Kijiji, perhaps? But why the repeat? And how do termites fit with ads? I was mystified and didn’t bother to open the file.

Yesterday I saw it again and the fog started clearing. “Ads, ads” wasn’t advertisements; this stood for adjectives and adverbs. I was thinking about adverbs and adjectives, then read something about termites, and somehow a comparison popped into my head. I’d been reading a missionaries’ letter –they are working in Cameroon– and they wrote something about termites. But what? Sigh…

I opened the file; here’s what I’d typed in:
Adjectives, adverbs, and fried termites. (Fried termites?)
The almost-pure-white butterflies flipped and flopped in lazy circles over the crisply sun-burned lawn, searching for a choice bit of vegetation on which to lay their tiny greenish-yellow eggs.

I know adjectives and adverbs have fallen into disfavour these days. You’re supposed to cut back on them and rather choose strong nouns and verbs. Like “The ivory-coloured butterflies winged figure eights over what once was lawn, searching for some living green on which to lay their eggs.”

But what does that all have to do with fried termites? Whatever the case may be, I fear they will be forever trapped in some crazy mental link-up now! Whenever I hear termites, I’ll think of ads.

Much like the incident my mother-in law told me about. One day while she was still a girl at home her brother Jake asked her a question: “When you see a falling star, do you ever think of onions?”

“Onions! No, never,” she answered.

“You will from now on,” Jake said with a laugh.

Oh, brother! she thought, but she told me his words have proved true: after that day, every time she saw a falling star she was reminded of that dumb joke. And since she told me, I’ve thought of that silly “onions” joke, too, every time I see a falling star.

So be warned. It’s possible that, from now on, every time someone mentions adjectives and adverbs you may find yourself thinking “fried termites.”

Perhaps I’d better find that letter, read it again, find out what my comparison was and tell you, too. Right now the letter is buried somewhere in a pile of correspondence we received, but if I’d clean my house once…

I’m Recommending

The Ragtag prompt for today is RECOMMEND

An accessible, practical, delightful word.
I love recommending.
Doesn’t everybody?
Lecturer

I could recommend all kinds of things.
Places to go, things to do, books to read.
Today I’m going to recommend something to you fellow bloggers.
You see, for the sake of a better blog, I’ve just broken my #1 November Rule.

One thing I have consistently recommended to fellow Canadians is:
IGNORE ALL THIS BLACK FRIDAY STUFF!

We don’t have “Black Friday” in Canada and I hope we never will. Consumers hear enough hype about Boxing Day Sales—but in our day they stretch out from Dec 26th to 31st. Then on Jan 2nd businesses start on their New Year’s Super Sale, followed at the beginning of Feb by their MID-WINTER BLOW-OUT sales. Then we’re into the MARCH MADNESS sales and then…

Any reason for a till-ringing money exchange, right? I don’t totally blame Canadian retailers for trying to get into the action on some pre-Christmas sales, but we already do have “Pre-Christmas” and even “PRE-Boxing Day” sales. When I read what Black Friday has degenerated into south of the border — from family-gathering, blessing-counting gratitude on Thanksgiving Day to the grabbing, shoving, stomping greed on Friday — we can do without it.

But I sat up and took notice when I saw this morning’s e-mail from WordPress advertising a Black Friday sale: 30% reduction on the price of all upgrades. For some time now I’ve wanted to get rid of the ads on my other blog, Tree Top Haiku. An upgrade that would do this cost $60 CDN, so I’ve put it off. Today, seeing the price drop down to $40, I sprang for it.

I may not like the idea of “Black Friday” but I don’t like ads on my blog, either. I get blog posts from other writers still using a .wordpress.com address and there are always ads underneath the title and brief except. Some of these are video-type ads; I find the motion annoying.

It’s your blog, your money, your call…
but I recommend getting rid of the ads. And 30% off is a pretty good deal
— even if it is connected to that “infamous sale day.”

Oh…and I recommend getting your free e-copy of Silver Morning Song this weekend. 🙂

Reading

Pixabay photo

You Gotta Want It

Fandango’s challenge for today is HAPHAZARD

Which makes me think of a certain used bookstore I’ve been in a few times. The senior gentleman who runs it has thousands of books. He’s purchased an old commercial building and has it piled floor to ceiling (think 12 foot ceilings here) with books.

His aisles do not look like this:
Books

No, his aisles look very much like this:
Book stacks

With barely enough room to walk through the tunnels between the stacks, this is not the place to hang out if you suffer from claustrophobia. (Or from allergies.) You’ve got to really want that book!

I don’t know if he buys many new books, but he has many old, rare books, and he usually can tell you about which part of which aisle you’ll find the one you’re looking for. Or the author you want to read. Agnes Sligh Turnbull for example, or Ralph Connor.

So you go to that area he indicates and start perusing the shelves and stacks. Perchance you’ll see exactly the book you’re looking for.
Books in stack

My thanks to to the folks at Pixabay for all the free photos. 🙂

The word HAPHAZARD means “determined by accident rather than design.” It can be stretched to indicate possible danger to the person engaged in something haphazard. Such as a tower of books landing on your head. But our used book seller’s wares seemed to be stacked securely enough.

His merchandise does, however, suffer from the usual fate of many books crammed in a small, poorly ventilated place: they’re musty. And I’m really sensitive to must or mould, so I have to air my purchases outside for hours every day over several days, turning the pages every half-hour or so, before I can read the thing.

For those of us who appreciate books, his store is a real treasure trove of possibilities. someone doing historical research for the 1900s would be in their glory. Sad to say, though, there’s a limit to how useful out-of-date information is. He apparently has a mail-order business, yet I do wonder how many books he actually sells in a month.

Looking through a multitude of used books, or seeing the millions of e-books and print books available today, I recall the never-so-true words of Solomon — supposedly the writer of the Bible book of Ecclesiastes:

“And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.” Ecc. 12:12