Follow Your Bliss

28 Jul

Compass Poem Directions“Follow your bliss.”

It’s a saying coined by one of the most intuitive minds of the twentieth century, Joseph Campbell.

If you haven’t heard of my friend Joseph, you need to go watch The Power of Myth. Right. Now.

Okay, fine. Maybe you don’t have time (cough cough MAKE TIME), so let me provide you with a much too simplified summary:

Joseph CampbellJoseph was a literary anthropologist, so to speak, who spent his life researching myths throughout human history. After decades of research of countless religions and cultures, he found a common thread of what it means to be human throughout every story, every age, every religion, everywhere. Continue reading

How Do You Know When Your Manuscript Is Complete?

21 Jul

Editing Red Ink PenAs anyone who’s ever undertaken a creative endeavor knows—from drawing a picture or writing a poem to writing a corporate creed or even painting a room—the idea of being finished is highly subjective.

Technically, you could tinker with it forever. However, at some point it’s up to you to stop and say, “Yes, this is it. It’s done.”

In today’s digital world, that’s less of an issue. You can always edit a site, tweak your status, or repost a picture.

But with some things, like printed books, the result is a physical object that will be out there in the world, unchangeable.

That terrifying fact recently prompted me to ask some writer friends:

How do you know when your manuscript is complete?

Here are some of the answers I received:  Continue reading

You Can Do More Than You Think You Can

14 Jul
Clouds Jump Rainbow

© Horia Varlan, Flickr Creative Commons

Since I’ve traveled with kids a decent amount, people often ask me for tips.

My most frequent advice is:

You can do more than you think you can.

The same holds true with many things in life actually. Continue reading

Slant Rhymes

30 Jun
slant rhyme

© Thomas Shahan, Flickr Creative Commons (“White Collar” c. 1940, Linocuts by Giacomo G. Patri)

What are slant rhymes? Oh, you know them. They’re the ear worm of every pop tune on the radio.

Case in point, Taylor Swift:

‘Cause baby now we got bad blood.
You know it used to be mad love.

So take a look at what you’ve done.
‘Cause baby now we got bad blood.

Now we got problems.
And I don’t think we can solve them.

You made a really deep cut.
And baby now we got bad blood.

Notice anything about these rhymes… Perhaps that they don’t actually rhyme?

They’re slant rhymes, half rhymes, B-rhymes, or (if you’re going to get really nasty about it) lazy rhymes.

Pop songs aren’t the only culprits either. You see slant rhymes in plenty of kids’ picture books. That’s why most publishers have foregone picture books that rhyme altogether.

And that’s a shame really. Because when rhymes are done well, they’re instrumental in laying the foundation for reading readiness, by building vocabulary and developing sound discrimination.
Continue reading

Make Your Own Day

16 Jun

Szaba Seattle Space Needle

Any big plans for Father’s Day?

I’m going to be honest… My Mother’s Day wasn’t very good this year.

The four year old seemed rather on a mission to make my life miserable. I didn’t take it personally. Toddlers have those days.

It’s tough figuring out the world and your place in it.

Sometimes even we adults have issues with that. Now imagine doing so without reference or control of your emotions.

Trying not to take it personally, I gave her space and let Dad take the reins.

The next morning, something unexpected happened. Continue reading

What Are Your Dreams Telling You?

9 Jun
DreamShips

Kristy Mitchell’s jawdropping Wonderland photographs come to her in dreams.

Someone once told me that writers have especially intuitive dreams. I’ve had some soul-shaking ones, and last week’s was a doozy. But more on that later.

So I consulted the Internet. Turns out there are whole books on the subject of writers and dreams.

Did you know that without dreams we wouldn’t have Frankenstein, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, Catch-22, Misery, or even TwilightAll of these stories came to authors by way of dreams.

Think this all sounds like a bunch of hippie-dippie nonsense? Scientific American says otherwise.  Continue reading

Look With Your Real Eyes

2 Jun

scrabble tilesReady to play a game? Keep your eyes firmly planted on the screen. Then (without looking around) read the following question, close your eyes, and answer it:  Continue reading

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