Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Challenge : Z is for Zoom

Z is for Ze End. No, just kidding. Today, Z for Zoom.

And it is the final day of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.

I like the word Zoom. To go fast. To rise rapidly. To close in on something quickly; close-up.

Zoom is a useful tool for writing. For dancing. For even making art, I suppose, given the right medium and conditions.

Zoom is a word which kind of sounds like the accompanying concept.

And this month has gone rather quickly, from A to Z. Blogging every day. One letter at a time. I did it. Here's proof - my Z word : Zoom. I will admit that just past mid-month I wondered why I did this. I wondered if it would ever end. But the beginning days and the end days have Zoomed by.

And now. Toodle-oo for now. Another challenge successfully completed.

Zoom. And we're off. Now to go pick up few more posts from the A to Z Challenge. I've been hopping around here and there but slacked off a little the last couple of days. I will get caught up. And I've found a few new bloggers to follow and reconnected with a few from the Literary Kitchen.

photo from truedogblog

Monday, April 29, 2013

Challenge : Y is for You

Y is for You.

I was planning to go for something more complicated, or sophisticated. But I decided that "You" is just right.

Because, even though we're told from a young age that "the world doesn't revolve around You," many people think it does. Maybe that's not a bad thing. It just is.

And once in a while, admit it, isn't it fun when it does happen?

It makes me wonder the difference between people who grow up thinking they can have or do or be whatever they want - and who feel like they actually have permission to do that - and those people who grow up with limited thinking trained into them by those who raised them.

I'm not talking about the platitude of "You can be whatever you want." I am talking about knowing who You are and being good with that. Shining with your You.

Y is for You - and that makes life good.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Challenge : X is for Xylophone

X is for Xylophone. And X-ray. And XYZ (which can be a generic filler/space holder or, I saw on Dictionary.com that it is also slang for "examine your zipper").

But I'm going with Xylophone. That was the first X word which came to mind.

Drats! I just thought of X-Files. That would be fun to write about. See, my partner and I are re-watching the series from beginning to end. We started out watching them together on streaming Netflix. But my partner is home more than I am and had a tedious project to work and and wanted something to watch while she did it. So she watched a few X-Files and got ahead of me. It's fine - we watched a few together recently, again, and there are plenty more to go. It's funny now to see some of the things which were so technologically advanced when it started. The giant mobile phones and the dot matrix computers with giant monitors and clicky keyboards which make that sound you no longer hear when you depress the keys. I missed a lot of the shows when it was on the first time. Truth be told, I wasn't into it for a while.

Okay, back to my word for today: Xylophone.

As a kid we learned to play them in school. Not very well, but as background sounds for choir or in music classes. The kind of music classes they no longer offer. At least not here. But there was a traveling music teacher who brought all kinds of things to make music an sounds: xylophones, castanets, maracas, kazoos, and more. It was about exposure to music and fun and learning to put sounds together to make songs.

I have fond memories of the colored xylophones, even though I haven't touched one in years.

So, today, X is for Xylophone.

photo from A is for Angela

Friday, April 26, 2013

Challenge : W is for Wonderful

W is for Wonderful? Wow. I didn't see that one coming before I typed it. WFT?! Oh, yes, there's another one.

But I'm going to go ahead with Wonderful. Because today I just wrapped (ooh, another W) up the inaugural session of my five months of theatrical preparation workshop, parts I and II. At noon today, the part II participants interpreted the project play, Clybourne Park, at Portland Center Stage.

They did a really good job and it was fun to be there with them and to debrief and celebrate afterwards. They were a great group, and along with the other two participants from part I, I couldn't have asked for a better first group for the workshop.

They were wonderful today. The process was wonderful. It even made giving up some weekends to spend with them, well, wonderful.

I will miss them and I will miss this workshop. (Ooh, another W.) Some of them will be back and I know I will work with some of them again in other capacities. Maybe in one of my next theatrical interpreting workshops. I have two in the works and will begin looking at when I can do this extensive, in-depth training again.

W is for Wonderful. And that's what I'm feeling right now.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Challenge : V is for Visceral

V is for Visceral.

According to the Google search definition, Visceral means "Relating to deep inward feelings rather than to the intellect."

That's a good word for today.

See, that's what I'm working on. Most of my life I've been a "head" person - a thinker - a person who weighs the pros and cons and tries to figure out the best course of action, which may mean looking at the worst case scenario and the probable cases and going from there.

There's a phrase, "plan for the worst and expect the best."  Heard of it? I have. But the problem for me is that I do a pretty good job at planning for the worst case, and I think about the best case and my options. but I don't expect the best. In some ways that has, perhaps, led to less disappointment. But it's also led to less pleasure and less joy.

Because I live more in my head and doing the right thing. Rather than going from my inner knowing and feelings.

I've been working on this for a long time. Years. I've made a lot of progress, but once in a while something comes along and trips me up. Like an innocent encounter with a very nice person last week, whom I know had no ill intentions. Quite the opposite! But something in that interaction threw me out of my safe bubble and I've had bouncing feelings like a hyperactive hamster in a round cage. I talked with my therapist today and I'm back on track. But what a week.

Anyway - back to the word. Visceral. In the feeling body - deep and real; innate knowledge. Not living in the head and disconnected from the emotions flowing through the energy of the world. Sometimes being in one's head is a good thing, a safe thing, a smart thing. But being in touch with feelings at the same time - yes, it's better.

V is for Visceral. Feel it.
photo from Joanne Enslin and associates


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Challenge : U is for Umbrella


U is for Umbrella.

Now I know some of you may be thinking, "Of course she's writing about Umbrellas. Didn't she recently say she's in the Pacific Northwest, which is famous for their amount of rainfall?"

But in that you'd be incorrect. At least for those of us who claim native or near-native status. For us, we don't usually have umbrellas. We're so accustomed to the rain that we don't bother. And with the winds and the gear we carry when we're out in the rain, really - what use is an umbrella? It's more of a hindrance than a help.

See, out here, we tend to have coats with hoods. Several of them to go with the varying seasons. And they're waterproof or at least water resistant. A hood gives you more mobility by keeping your hands free and by not fighting with the wind.

So I'm talking about Umbrellas not because I'm from here, but because of a recent trip to San Francisco in the late fall and the extensive use of Umbrellas that I saw. It was fascinating to watch people with their Umbrellas - their rituals, their struggles, their variety. And I was quite content with the hooded coat I'd brought along with me.

Umbrellas can be fun or serious or make a statement. I loved watching the colorful sea of umbrellas as people jostled for space. Some of them had personal sized Umbrellas which barely covered the circumference of their personal space. Some were giant golf Umbrellas (I think; I'm not a golfer so I may be wrong) which were intended to cover the golfer, the caddy and more (I think: did I say I'm not a golfer?) - but they weren't sharing on the streets of San Francisco. And everything inbetween: copies of art
photo from Virtual Tourist: Chinese New Year in the Rain
masterpieces; jokes; pieces of body parts which were silly when combined with the person holding the Umbrella; and the standard business compatible colors of blacks, grays, blues and reds.

The Umbrellas jostled for space over their owners heads, like bumper cars or overfilled helium balloons. Except that some people's heads were shoulder height to their neighbors.

When the rain stopped, people took out a few Umbrella bags, but those without had clear plastic bags, shaped like cake decorating cones, into which they put the now dripping Umbrella. And inside the doorways of stores and restaurants were racks of these same Umbrella bags, with cutesy names depending on where the shop owner purchased them.

There were discarded Umbrellas in the standing pools of water in gutters; their bent and broken spokes sticking out in different directions. On some the fabric had some loose from their spine; some were completely disheveled.

U is for Umbrellas. Now you see them; now you don't.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Challenge : T is for Theater

T is for Theater.

For those who have followed my posts, whether here or on Facebook or on Twitter, you know that Theater is an important part of my life. I've been involved with theater since I was a little kid. So when it got to T and I started thinking about what T-word I wanted to write about, it only took a few seconds.

Theater. Or Theatre.

I originally thought I would talk about my love of theater, my involvement in theater - both past and present, and maybe get into a little bit of exploration of different theatrical genres. That could take a very long time, which wouldn't necessarily be bad, but it might be something for another time.

Again I found myself not being able to remember the origin of the differences of TheatRE and TheatER. I've heard different versions. So I decided to do a little web hopping and see what I could find.

The first one which caught my attention was this from over at Community.Write.Com : "Theater is the preferred spelling in American English, and theatre is preferred virtually everywhere else."

My favorite is from the Grammarist, and the first part of this (the venue versus art form explanation) is the one I've heard from some theater peope: "Some Americans do make distinctions—for instance, that a theater is a venue while theatre is an art form, or that a theater is a movie theater while a theatre is a drama venue. There is nothing wrong with making these distinctions, but they are not consistently borne out in general usage."

So I guess that it really doesn't matter which we use. Unless you are and American and don't want to out yourself as such - in which case you could decide to use the "RE" spelling in your written correspondence. I try to follow the lead of the theatrical company with which I'm working when I spell the word.

Theatre is another one of the essentials of life, in my opinion, no matter how you spell it. It falls under the Arts and Creativity, which are crucial. Theatre lets us explore other lives, times, places through the stage - whether we are involved in the production or are in the audience. It lets us see possible outcomes, experience other times or worlds, it lets us try on other personas and see what happens. Sometimes it's an escape, or a release, or a sense of not being alone, something to make us feel better, happy, sad, hopeful, romantic, angry, and more.

T is for Theatre/Theater.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Challenge: S is for Sunshine & Saltwater

S is for Sunshine and Saltwater.

These two things are very important where I live. It's probably more accurate to say they're important anywhere. I mean, who doesn't need sun and water?

Living in the Pacific Northwest, Sunshine is sometimes elusive. At least from November to May, some people say. I say that fact is changing. Sometimes that's true and sometimes not; now, for often than not, it's not. But we are still famous for our higher rainfall and grayer skies.

But we're also known for our greener forests and urban landscapes and fields. Those are made by rainfall. So as much as people might whine about the grey skies and water coming down from those grey skies, the result can be pretty amazing to look at, hike through, bike across, and so on.

Sunshine is another factor in the growth of greenery. It is also a factor in Vitamin D for the body. Which we all need. Some of us more than others. I've heard it said that those of us who've spent massive times living in that same Pacific Northwest should take more Vitamin D; some of us do, some don't.

But this morning it is a very sunny day. Yesterday was cloudy and drizzly. Today I woke up to sunshine and not a hint of a cloud that I can see. (Though if I put my glasses on I suspect there are wispy remnants.) So Sunshine was the first S word that popped into my head.

And, as has happened several times, as I was typing in my title, the second important S word, Saltwater, joined in.

I live in Portland, Oregon. One awesome thing about living here is that we have the mountains for skiing or hiking within an hour drive; the desert a couple of hours away; rivers for paddling/wind surfing/parasailing/boating and more within minutes to a few hours, and we have the ocean in less than two hours. I love all of the other places, but going to the beach is my place of rejuvenation.

For those who've never been here, I know that "beach" brings up images of sun and sand and tans and maybe skimpily clad surfers. Not so true here. Sometimes you can do that, but it tends to be colder, and there's more wind, and going into the water requires some fortitude or a wetsuit - the water is cold, most of the time.

But the beach is beautiful. Miles and miles of it. And the scenery. The smells. The sounds (away from the more populated areas, at least).

S is for Sunshine and Saltwater. I'm grateful for both.

Cannon Beach photo by Dot.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Challenge : R is for Radical

R is for Radical. 

As in you have the Radical Right to be yourself. You have the Radical Right to write your truth and walk your path.

Radical is not a bad word. Some people treat it as something to avoid, as in being anti- this or that. But we have a Radical left and we have a Radical right in terms of the great political divide. We have Radical religious icons of every flavor and color and model. There are Radical writers - which era, you may ask? And I say, any era. 

There are Radical conservatives and Radical liberals, Radical democrats and Radical republicans.

Radical in and of itself does not denote conservative or moderate or liberal beliefs. It only says that the Radical's beliefs/actions/writings are not of the standard of the group to which they identify belonging. Or the era. Or the .... You get the point?

I wonder : what would it be like if Radical was the norm. What would we call a Radical Radical if that was the status quo? There are certainly some Radicals of the past who would no longer be given that label.

R is for Radical.

Who do you consider Radical Writers? Why?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Challenge : Q is for Quirky

Q is for Quirky.

Oh, no, can it be that I'm stuck in a rut? A theme with random visits to outsiderland? It could be. And that's okay. But Quirky is different than nerd. Yes.

Quirky can be anything that doesn't conform to the norm.

Quirky can be wearing slips as skirts and underwear as hats (yes, I know someone who actually does that - as a joke, to make me smile sometimes - and yes they are clean underwear). It might be eating only yellow foods or drinking water only between the hours of 9 -10 am and 4-5 pm, and 9-10 pm.

I like the sound of Quirky when I say it out loud. I like how it looks on the page - "Q" is often a fun one to write (though it hasn't always bee). I like how the typed word nods to itself with the bottom of the Q and the bottom of the 'y' reaching towards each other before the grounding line.

That's it - simple. I like the word and appeared on my Q day.

Other Q words to consider:
query (I bet there are some great Q posts on this from other bloggers)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Challenge : P is for Power

P is for Power.

I'm talking about Personal and Positive Power. It is not power over someone or power to misuse. I could talk about wind power and solar power - or alternative power, in general - but I won't; probably someone else can talk about that with more authority and accuracy and, well, I don't want to.

Personal and Positive Power is about being present in your life, in your body and your relationships. It's about knowing who you are and what you need in this world and it's about not being afraid to say things like, "I think _________" and "I need _________" and "I'd like to __________." And I do mean that in a respectful and appropriate way.

Sometimes we're afraid of the Power we do have and we shirk from it. We try ... Let me back up and be honest. I'll speak for myself because that is who I know most about. And from what I've been told, I'm really not that unique in a lot of ways. I mean - I am; I'm me and there is only one of me, I'm pretty certain. But many of my experiences are similar or the same as others in many ways. And in being cautious with showing my Power was ingrained at a pretty young age.

So sometimes I'm hesitant to speak up and show what I know because maybe my Power won't be perceived well or will be misunderstood. Yes, that's happened. In the recent past I said something to someone, honestly and what came from my heart, and the other person thought I meant something else and that there was another feeling behind what I said. But I'd said exactly what I felt and I that it was okay - both things honest and true; the other person didn't believe me and I lost what I thought was a good friend. I spoke my Power and lost a friend.

Usually speaking one's Power doesn't have negative consequences. That's what I have to remind myself. I didn't grow up with people plainly speaking their Power and we had to guess and figure it out and look at the words around what was being said to know. And we were taught to not act "too big for our britches" nor "to brag" and to not be a "knowitall."

It's taken me awhile, but I think I have it now. P is for Positive and Personal Power. And that's good.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Challenge : O is for Outlandish Ostrich Orthotics

O is for Outlandish Ostrich Orthotics

Yes, it looks like it's storytime, again. I was thinking of "O" words and many came to mind. I let them loll around in my head, Orating and Oozing and Ogling each other. I thought I was going to settle on One thing and then the Other popped up and cried, "Me, Oh, pick me."

And here I am, with another tale to tell and, look, it too has an animal.

I wonder what her story is? Let's find out.


Olivia the Ostrich was walking along the dirt road. The day was still early and the spring sun had yet to show its glowing orange head above the horizon. The glow from the edge of the world reached up toward the place where Senor Sun would land later in the morning, but for now it was still a deep turquoise blue fading to gold trimmed in near white.
photo from The Princess and the Pump

Far off deep in the clumps of trees Olivia could hear the little birds singing to each other. Talking of their plans for the day and the things they had to do. There was a pair somewhere nearby overhead whispering about a near escape he'd experienced with a big wild cat recently and his friend seemed to listen intently, with only an intermittent peep.

There was no sign of her sister; they were supposed to meet today to talk about what to do for their brother's birthday. Which was only a couple of weeks away. Olivia increased her speed and bobbed her head from side to side, wondering if maybe her sister was playing a joke and would jump out to scare her or something. She'd done that once in the past; she might do it again.

The clumps of trees eased away and the birds' voices faded. The top of Senor Sun's head was emerging on the edge of the world and Olivia could see farther around her now. Still no sister. She stopped on the road and listened. Hearing only the roar of an engine in the recesses of the other side of the trees, she opted to leave the open road.

There were thickets of bracken and clumps of trees smattered across the landscape. She mentally mapped a path of safety to get her out of sight of the road but so she could still keep her eyes on it in case.

In case? she thought. In case, she told herself, her sister appeared. Because their brother's birthday was getting nearer by the minute. Or so it seemed.

But she didn't want to get caught by the car beings because they could be unreliable and mean.

So she hid.

And as she hid, she dozed. The rising sun faded. The lightening sky faded. The grasses and trees which now hid her were the last to go and all was dark or non-existent.

Olivia dreamed of dancing on the sun with her sister. Of catching fireflies with her brother in the moonlight next to a river. Although in truth she didn't know how she'd hold a jar into which to put the bugs; but in her dream it didn't matter.

Then she noticed it. In her dream she was wearing glitter covered red shoes. Just like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. Only these shoes had wide toe boxes and the thick heels were rubberized and comforted her feet with each step. They were beautiful and solid and she felt like she could dance all night.

Olivia opened her eyes. She thought she opened her eyes but everything was still dark. And then she noticed a figure standing near her and she jolted wide away and shook her body from side to side.

"Who?" she started. "What?" and prepared herself to run.

photo from deviantArt
"Hey, chill, sis, it's me," came the voice and Olivia felt her body relax. "Lil Joe just want us to play a game of catch a falling star for his birthday. That's all. And his birthday is in ...well, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 ... now! You're it!"

And her sister ran away and joined a slightly smaller ostrich, Olivia smiled and chased after them. Slowly. Being the oldest, her stride was longer and she'd catch up to them in no time. But she wanted the game to last so they could be together, so she took her time.

Ostriches in the dark, playing catch a falling star. And Olivia imagined she was still wearing her own ruby red slippers.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Challenge : N is for Nerd

N is for Nerd!

When I was growing up, being called a Nerd was not a good thing. It was a significant insult if someone called you that and it was to be avoided.

I tried really hard to not be a Nerd. But it was difficult. I was tall, especially for a girl. I had long red, very curly hair, which would make itself into ringlets by the end of the school day, no matter what I tried. I wore glasses - and calico cat's eye glasses at that. And had freckles.

I say "had" as if I didn't still have those things - but I do. When I was a teenager, I hated my red hair and I hated even more that it was so curly. I tried different ways to manage the curls, calm them, but nothing worked; or not for very long. And I will admit that I didn't hate them enough to spend a couple of hours every day trying to tame them. As I got older, I came to like my red hair and it became part of my identity. It's still curly; but is rarely long enough to go into ringlets.

Recently a client said something about "the interpreter with the perm" and I wanted to tell them, "no, it's natural, look, I have a picture I just got of myself as a child. See? Same hair." Of course I didn't say anything. I just smiled.

So. Nerd. I am one. Have been for a long time.

With being tall and glasses and red ringlets and freckles which I hoped would one day all grow together into a tan (they never did) - I was also good in school. I tried to do my best and that was pretty dang good *grin* - but I also tried to cover it up and not show other kids. That would be bragging, which would be bad, and I didn't want to be called a Nerd.

Once in a while I forgot I wasn't supposed to be too good at things and wrote a play, or took on the organizer role in a class project. Things like that. Things which kids would call me Nerd over; except not usually to my face because, after all, I was taller than many of them.

Now I embrace my Nerdhood. A while ago I was in a discussion about Nerds versus Geeks. Same? Or different? I think Geeks tend to be associated with technology, which Nerds can be. I might be wrong - but Geek seems to require technology by definition; another thing I might want to look up before I go too far.

I have friends who are Word Nerds - and I count myself among them. Then there are the Language or Linguistic Nerds - which are not exactly the same but closely related, and definitely some overlap. I have several of those friends as well. And I suppose by virtue of my work - both sign language interpreter and writer - it is almost a requirement; though not really. But I think maybe it should be.

And the Technology Nerds -- I'm making this one up right here. I think that Technology Nerds are the ones who have a good amount of experience with technology, aren't afraid of it, know more than just the basics - but they're not the coders and the game developers. They love the technology but it's definitely in the "I can do it and like it" rather than the "must have it and I'm the king of XQZ" category. The others are the Geeks - more skills and more drive to master it.

Oh, and in the Technology Nerds, I count my friend and I who are Nerds about our Blackberrys. Now, don't go telling me that Blackberry is a dying or dead breed. I don't think so and I sure hope not. A friend of mine and I are trying to find a date and time to go take test drives on the new Blackberry Z10 and Q10.  Okay, if you know anything about them, you know the Q10 isn't out here yet - the Z10, yes. But I'm not sure I'm ready to give up my physical keyboard. My point is that he and I are drooling over the new devices and want to get our hands on them. My provider contract is up pretty soon and I'll be eligible for an upgrade.

N is for Nerd. What's your Nerd quotient and category?

Monday, April 15, 2013

Challenge : M is for Magenta

M is for Magenta.

Magenta - or at least my conception of Magenta - is one of my favorite colors. It is the color of a robust red wine, of pomegranate seeds at the peak of ripeness, of the piece of satin ribbon left over from an unexpected gift.

Magenta can be other hues as well. It seems to range from a sashimi slab of tuna on the sushi-go-round, to a deep electric pink worthy of a black light, to purple as a plum. I'm sure if I asked an artist trained in traditional visual arts, they would point out to me exactly which hue is correct.

I remember from a screen printing class and my years of making silk paintings by hand and even the one intro to letterpress class I took that Magenta is actually one of the base colors from which many others are created. For example, making purple in a screen print happened by overlapping Magenta and cyan. I mean, I know you can buy many colors of inks and paints. But in the old school way you have three colors : Magenta and cyan and yellow. Oh, and black; four colors.

Color Meditations
I don't have a box of Crayola crayons handy to look at their version of Magenta. But I like my Magentas rich and deep and pretty close to that perfect balance point between pink and purple, with one drop more on the blue side of the line.

And Magenta is the color of my healthy blood when it first is coming out of my body for a blood test or a timed bleeding test. Especially the bleeding test which is an interesting experience I knew nothing about until about sixteen months ago when my doctors discovered that I have a genetic mutation which can increase the likelihood of blood clots. So I'm on a blood thinner medication. But my primary health care is "alternative" (naturopathic, acupuncture, chiropractic) and we have a local specialist naturopathic physician who is nationally recognized for his work in cardiovascular situations. One thing I have to do - in addition to the blood tests every four to six weeks to measure the medication level in my blood for my MD - is to do this timed bleeding test with my regular ND provider every few months. The basics are that she uses a special lancet to make a small puncture and we see how long it takes for it to stop bleeding. It's not quite like watching paint dry - but can be. The goal is for my blood to take longer than the average person to stop bleeding - ideally it's somewhere around seven minutes.

So when I say that Magenta is the color of my healthy blood, I do know what I mean. Sitting and watching it bleed (and how much, for how long), I do see the color as it comes out, which is a Magenta when it first surfaces, before more oxygen hits it and it starts to turn more red.

M is for Magenta.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Challenge : L is for Luck

Today L is for Luck.

It could also be for Lucky, but I think I like Luck better.

As in, "good luck," which is kinder and more authentic than simply calling someone "lucky." "Good Luck" implies that you mean them well and have good intentions.

No, I'll take that back, as well. Because a person can also say "Good Luck" with a sneer in his voice, with equal emphasis on both words, and in comes out as sarcastic, which is not positive and may not be said with good intention.

So maybe Language and/or Linguistics are other good words for today, as well. Yes, I think so.

And isn't it appropriate that I, as a writer and as a sign language interpreter, would say a few words about L
from Wikimedia Commons
being for Language and Linguistics. And Luck, as well. I hope as an interpreter that my preparation and skill would be more of a factor than just Luck. Although there were days when I was doing 100% freelance interpreting and it was the end of a busy week and I was tired that that I might wish for a little bit of Luck that a meeting would end thirty minutes early so I'd have time to take a break and write a poem or work on a short story between interpreting assignments.

Or as a writer I might sometimes wish for a bit of Luck as I sit down at the computer and turn it on - or wake it up is more accurate unless we're talking about meeting a friend for writing in a cafe or midnight:01 at the beginning of NaNoWriMo which is usually at a cafe or some other 24-
from Kwantlen Polytechnic University
hour location. Or I might even be getting out pen and paper to write; yes, it's true, sometimes I do write by hand. My point being that sometimes as a writer I hope that I have something to say, or that a character shows up, or that I can catch the story as it happens.

All very good L words and I'll take all three today.

L is for Luck and Language and Linguistics.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Challenge : K is for Knitting

K is for Knitting.

The first word which came to me was kinesthetic. Maybe I should have gone with that one - it could have sparked a story about my partner, about learning styles and modern education. But I wasn't interested in traveling down that path today.

The second word was kangaroo. That felt too trite and I really have no opinions about kangaroos. No feelings about them either way. They're funny creatures and cool and I've had very little interaction with them. I mean, I've seen them at a zoo, but that's all. I care about them in the sense that they are living, breathing beings; but beyond that, meh.

So today K is for Knitting. And in the way things have gone with my past couple of A to Z Challenge posts, as I was typing the title another K word popped into my head: Kite. And I thought that maybe I could do another dual post. I do have Kite experience in my past. Not as a pro or even a competitor, but at one point in my life I was co-owner to a gaggle of Kites. I don't really know what you'd call them - but we had a bunch of kites; and some of them were not cheap. Some really cool ones. But that's another story - which could go in the memoir I'm editing but it's not in there. Not yet.

But no, I don't want to write about kites today.

So it's back to : K is for Knitting.

I knit a little. In spurts.

But I have a friend who learned to knit from some co-workers and, boy, did he ever pick it up quickly. And well. He's a natural. A mutual friend called him a knitting savant and he kind of is. Within weeks he was making up his own patterns. I'm not referring to just playing around with knit-1 perl-2 knit-1, etc. No, he was creating patterns for scarves.

Easy, you say? No, I mean, he was making up mobius scarves. And he did that type of knitting where you work with two colors at the same time (starts with an F - I think - I could look it up on Facebook but I'm not going to, I'm leaving this post as is) - and it came out fantastic.

Knitting. For me it can be like a meditation (and I'm writing a story about that - the story is fiction but it's based on my experience). Especially things like hats knit on round needles, with repetitive patterns or even, once I get past the brim part, it's just knit around. And around and around.

There is something satisfying in making something you or someone else can use. It's calming. At least with simpler patterns for me. I knit a few more complicated things a number of years ago; but recently it's more hats and scarves kind of things. I was making a set of fingerless gloves, but never finished them.
Knitted Kite pattern on Etsy

I also like the feel of yarn when I'm knitting. And I like bamboo knitting needles. So it becomes tactile, too. I've made a couple of things with synthetic yarns but my experience in knitting them wasn't the same.

Knitting, like sewing, is not really a cost-saving approach, either. Unless you have access to secret stashes or really good deals. Yarn - the good stuff - is expensive and you can probably buy it cheaper than you can make it. Which isn't a reason to not do it - I'm just saying that Knitting is not without costs and probably won't save you money. Another of the things you do because it makes you feel good. And that's okay.

So, today, K is for Knitting.

Maybe I'll write about the Kites later.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Challenge : J is for Juxtaposition

J is for Juxtaposition. I like that word. The sound of it, the feel of it in my mouth when I say it, the challenges it raises when I sign in, the way doesn't quite flow from the pen onto paper - the way spans the length of the keyboard as I type it.

As it doesn't flow to produce the word, so it doesn't flow in definition. By which I mean that a Juxtaposition is generally placing things together which aren't normally found that way. It doesn't have to be that there is tension between the objects places side by side, but often - at least in creative and artistic uses - it is.

In art, Juxtaposition is frequently used to show tension, inconsistencies, to make a point or give graphic representation to concepts one is trying to show to convince, evoke, or expose. I suppose that Juxtaposition is prevalent in dance, which is one reason I like it. And in theater. Aren't performances all about Juxtaposition? What goes together, what doesn't? What is present or absent, in the concrete or the abstract?

I was also thinking that Juxtaposition is what we use as writers. Juxtaposition isn't limited to just the visual arts, but to literary as well. We can Juxtapose a character in a setting and see how the story plays out. We Juxtapose two characters or two families or generations into a story to evoke those same senses as visual arts: tension, meaning, definition, and familiarity or dissimilarity.

J is for Juxtaposition.

I did a little wandering around the internet, looking for images others put up to represent Juxtaposition. Here are a few I found...

from Creative Studies Blog
from Keeping Your Head in (All) the Game(s)

from Creative Studies Blog

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Challenge : I is for Inspiration

I is for Inspiration.

Of course it is; what else could it be? Yes, I had a few others, like Insightful, Imagination, Integration, Integral, Integer. Oh no, they just keep coming. So many I words that call out to me. That call out to, me, or I in other contexts. Perhaps I should write about the I is for I.


Inspiration. That's the one which carries the strength for me as I type this. Because Inspiration can be so many things, depending on the viewer, the reader, the listener; on the intent of why a person might be seeking inspiration and what they are going to do with it.

Inspiration is not just one thing. It is many things and could be anything.

For example, watching dance is very - no, let me correct myself : can be very - inspirational for me. I am not a dancer. I've always liked to dance, I was on a dance team in junior high school, I went to school dances, I went to dances in bars when I was old enough (and a little before; I looked "older than my age" until I didn't any more, which was in my early 30s). So I never had any formal dance training - only the generic dance classes at school, or a square dance lesson or two, or dance instructions in aerobic classes (can that even qualify as "dance"?).

But there is something in watching skilled dancers which speaks to me in a language that is beyond words. And when the dancers interact and their bodies communicate - with each other, with the audience, with the space in which they are performing - I feel it. I know I've said this previously but perhaps you didn't see it: don't ask me to explain what a dance was "about" or "why" it was good or inspirational. I can't tell you. I know what speaks to me when it's there and I feel it in my body. I don't know if it's "good" or if they are technically very skilled. I only know that it works and it communicates and I'm there with them. And I leave changed in some way and my inspiration is sparked.

Sometimes it's a sound.
A name.
A smell can evoke a memory, a sense of something exciting or scary or sad or just is.
A series of musical notes.
A voice.
A flash of color out of the corner of my eye.
A tingle triggered by unknown factors.

Inspiration also works for people in business, scientists, doctors I suppose, inventors, dancers, visual artists, sculptors.

Inspiration is Invaluable.

Inspiration makes life Interesting.

I is for Inspiration.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Challenge: H is for Haiku, Haibun, and Heroic Couplets

Actually, in honor of National Poetry Month and all those who are also doing NaPoWriMo, my H is for Haibun, Haiku, Hamd, Heroic Couplets, and Hybronnet.

I will admit that Haiku was the original word. But as I did a little looking around, looking for something entertaining to write about Haiku, I discovered the other types of poetry which begin with the letter H. I will also admit that I've never heard of two of the styles of poems and another one I think I've heard mentioned, but would have had no idea what it meant.

I hopped over to Poetry Soup to read up on these H poetry forms:


Japanese form, pioneered by the poet Basho, and comprising a section of prose followed by haiku. They are frequently travelogues - as in Basho's The Records of a Travel-Worn Satchel (1688). In the best examples, the prose and haiku should work together to create an organic whole.

A Japanese poem composed of three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five moras (a unit of sound that determines syllable weight in some languages) respectively, usually about some form of nature. Although haiku are often stated to have 17 syllables,[2] this is inaccurate as syllables and moras are not the same. Haiku typically contain a kigo (seasonal reference), and a kireji (cutting word).[3] In Japanese, haiku are traditionally printed in a single vertical line and tend to take aspects of the natural world as their subject matter, while haiku in English often appear in three lines to parallel the three phrases of Japanese haiku and may deal with any subject matter.

Hamd is a poem in praise of Allah. The word "hamd" is derived from the Qur'an, its English translation is "Praise".

Heroic Couplet
A traditional form for English poetry, commonly used for epic and narrative poetry; it refers to poems constructed from a sequence of rhyming pairs of iambic pentameter lines.

The form name is derived from hybrid and sonnet.

This form is an offspring of a sonnet; that is to say that it must consist of fourteen lines; each line must be octal syllabic, does not necessarily have to be iambic although it can be if desired, and the rhyme scheme can be ABABCDCDEFEFGG, couplet rhyme, or other acceptable schemes, allowing the poet more latitude to work with, and finally, the end rhyme can be a combination of rhymes (masculine, feminine, slant, etc.) or used anyway the poet deems appropriate.

Now, if I were really on top of things, I'd write out examples of each one and post them here, as well. But I haven't done that. So I'll leave it to you to look them up.

I do recommend clicking over to Poetry Soup and reading their example of a Bosho Haibun. I like it.

H is for more than just Haiku!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Challenge: G is for Gumbo. And Gumby!

A G-word didn't pop right out at me. No, not 100% accurate - the word giraffe came to mind, but I didn't want to do another mystical animal story. I mean, I like giraffes. They're funny and peculiar and they do kind of make me smile to look at them. But I haven't been in the mood to write about them.

So when I actually sat down to write this post, I thought again. G. G. G? And the word Gumbo popped into my thoughts so I decided to go with it. The problem is that I'm not from the South. My family isn't from the South. I've eaten Gumbo but I have no basis on which to say that something is or isn't Gumbo. And I realized that I really didn't know what rules there are for Gumbo and what does or doesn't make it Gumbo. Other than a sense of it being from Louisiana or that area, and that it probably includes okra, although I didn't know if that was my food stereotyping or reality.

So I started searching online. Yep - lots of options to tell me what is or isn't Gumbo and who has the best. And recipes. Recipes galore - oh, look! another G word.

One site I landed on was the Southern Food Guide on About.com, where I read
"Gumbo is a Louisiana soup or stew which reflects and blends the rich cuisines of regional Indian, French, Spanish, and African cultures. The word "gumbo" is derived African term for okra, "gombo," and first appeared in print in 1805 ... There are no hard and fast rules for making gumbo beyond the basic roux, okra or filé powder, and your imagination. There are probably as many distinctive recipes for gumbo as there are cooks in Louisiana." 
Good to know.

I also looked at Gumbo images, to spice up this post with a little more color and pizzazz. This one stood out  and the author of the accompanying article swears that his Mom's Gumbo is the best. But as he says, that's what all Louisiana boys are supposed to say. The picture alone makes me want to try the recipe, which you can read about in the article,  Best. Gumbo. Ever. .

But, wait. There's more.

So I started to type this post and as I was putting in the title, it came to me. Another G word I have to mention is Gumby! I'd already started drooling over Gumbo so I wasn't willing to let it go.

But - Gumby!

I grew up with Gumby. I remember his sticky green distorted eraser body. I remember the smell of the his body when he came out of the box - a soft chemical tang of newness, a sweet scent reminscent of green apples (which may have been from the Jolly Roger Green Apple candy I'd eaten rather than from Gumby himself). Gumby was fun to play with and take with me, he was flexible and could be wrapped around things and hang off of my pencil or pen when I wrote. And he was happy. So happy. He had an orange horse, whose name escapes me because I wasn't interested in him.

When he got old, he had ink marks on him, and smudges from dirt or the homemade mimeograph we'd made with gelatin in a shallow baking pan, and then he started to get brittle. Just a little bit in a few places. Then he got a fracture and water leaked in and I remember when his poor arm broke off and there was a rusted wire poking out. No wonder he lost his arm.

G is for Gumbo. G is also for Gumby.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

This is National Poetry Month

I've done National Poetry Month for the past three years. But not this year. This year - as you may have noticed - I'm doing the Blogging A to Z Challenge. If you missed my first post about it, you may have wondered why I have a letter block each day, and why some of the topics were chosen.

Not that I can really tell you why I chose the topics, unless that's already in the post itself. Which some of them are. But some are random, as in 'what's the first thing which pops into your head with the prompt of the letter "E".' That one was completely random and fun: Eclectically Ergonomic Elephants. Ha!

But even though I'm not writing a poem a day this month, I am posting prompts intended for poetry, every day on my related site, The Writing Vein Playground. The prompts could also be used for writing. Or making art. Or dancing. I have a few friends who are writing a poem a day so these have been created with them in mind, but are open for anyone to use, of course! You can find them and see what I discover each day over at The Writing Vein Playground. And if you use them, feel free to post your poem or flash writing in the comments section.

So far this month every prompt has been a picture, one is a video. I suspect that will continue; I may or may not add word prompts as the month progresses. Each post does include a link to the place online, usually an article, where I found the pictures if you want to read more about it. But wait until after you've written your piece!

Here are direct links to the prompts so far :

April 1

April 2

April 3

April 4

April 5

April 6

April 7
No A to Z Challenge post today. Sundays are days off in their format. Although you can see that I have already developed the daily posting habit, so here you go!

And a bonus random photo from my own collection - just because.

Reaching for Sunset by Dot.
Nye Beach, Oregon 2011

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Challenge : F is for Float

F is for Float.

It could be a root beer float. Yum! I haven't had one of those in a long time; years. Right now I'm tasting that creamy texture of the vanilla ice cream - make it a really good one, natural, old fashioned, plain vanilla - covered with a real home-brewed type root beer poured over the top. So that the ball of vanilla is covered with a crunchy root beer ice coating, which crunches as you sip and chew. Smooth.

But I'm not writing about that today.

Or it could be a parade Float. Living in the City of Roses, that would be natural. We have the annual Rose Festival and the accompanying parade, which includes the Rose Princesses and the Rose Queen. And the Royal Rosarians. I haven't kept up with the newest technology in Float building, but it used to be that they used actual flower petals - many of them roses, of course - which where applied to the body of the Float to make the creatures and vehicles and the structures upon which the people and animals and various attachments sat as they flowed through the streets of downtown Portland, Oregon, blocking traffic for hours and making it difficult to get from here to there or anywhere.

But I'm not writing about that today, either.

What I am writing about is to take a Float. As in, Float in a saltwater tank for a period of time, with the door closed, the lights all off and access to light blocked, and no sounds. To Float in darkness for ninety minutes. Let the salt heavy water support your body in its natural position, in the dark and the silence and just be present. To slip into a state where ninety minutes feels like thirty and eventually your mind does quiet and you are ... just ... there. Floating. Supported. Relaxed to the state where creativity lives and flows and you now have access.

The first Float I did was about a month ago. I'd heard about them and they sounded wonderful. And kind of scary. I couldn't really imagine me doing anything like being still for ninety minutes. And the first appointment I scheduled was actually two and a half hours, because of the time slot, which was because of my busy and pretty full schedule. But I thought I'd give it a try.

There was the option of getting out at any time, they said.

But I didn't. I stayed in the entire two and a half hours. And had no idea it had been that long.

Two nights ago I went for my second Float. It was only a ninety minute appointment. And - yes - it really did feel like about thirty minutes.

So when someone asked me yesterday if my "E" word story was about an elephant eating a berry which turned out to be a drug, and I responded that I didn't think so, but maybe. And then I said that I didn't know where the story came from and, no, I wasn't on any mind altering substance, either, when I wrote it. I wasn't.  But it was post-Float. And Floating is said to aid in creativity. The place where I'm going did a project where musicians Floated and then created music; they have a CD of their collected compositions. They also did a Float project with artists. Right now they have a Float project going on with chefs - I can't wait to see how that one turns out.

I'm thinking of talking to them about my idea for a writers and Float project. Really. It's that good.

So. F is for Floating in ten inches of water which has 800-900 pounds of Epsom salts, in the dark and the silence. Ahhhhhh.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Challenge: E is for Eclectically Ergonomic Elephants

Don't ask.
I don't know.
It just came to me in the way that random
with a prompt.
See, I'm a writer.
Without warning.

Today "E" is for Eclectically Ergonomic Elephants. And if you're wondering which came first, the picture or the words? It was the words. Then I searched for a picture to go with the "E is for ..." because it was too good to pass up. Of course I couldn't find Eclectically Ergonomic Elephants online. So these pictures will have to do. They look like they're in Eclectic stances and they are Elephants and I'm hoping that the large creatures are standing Ergonimically, although I have no idea.

photo from A Step Ahead

Esther the Elephant on tiptoes, reached towards the lowest branch, hoping to pull down something delicious
to eat which she thought she saw dangling within her grasp. If she could get the branch just a little bit closer.

In the distance, Edward the Elephent raised his trunk and called to the herd to come near. There was something important news he'd overheard and it was vital to their well being. Esther listened and stretched a little further and managed to grasp a few leaves and the little twigs to which they were attached. She could smell something. Up there. It was there. The. Something.

"Meeting," Edward bellowed louder and longer, drawing it out so there was no mistaking his intent.

Esther heard others coming near. Some were walking quickly, short bursts of their round feet on the dry hard ground. Some scampering like the smaller beings in the area; proabably the young ones. And some taking their time, not in a hurry.

"The branch," Esther thought. "The - thing."

And a little red round deliciousness dropped to the ground. A few elephants ran past her and Esther let go of the branch, which bobbed a bit and rebounded to rap her lightly on the top of her head. She dipped her head and let her trunk search the ground for the little orb which was losing its glitter in the dust of the called to meeting members of her tribe.

Esther raised her trunk toward her mouth, and slipped the treasure into her pointed mouth. She felt the red juice ooze from the cool roundness as she pressed it to the roof of her mouth with her tongue. She felt it swell to double the size, triple the size, and her mouth filled with the sweet juice and she let it run down her throat and tipped back her head and felt it run clear to her belly. The hurry and scurry around her faded and there was only her and red and juice and the sparkle she had seen previously was now inside her head.

photo from The Daily Galaxy

Edward let out a final shout. Somewhere.

Esther felt the redness fade but there was a glow in her belly. She opened her eyes and there were now golden flecks in the trees, the herd was now covered with silver and steel blue sequins,and the sky was amber and fuschia with ribbons of azure. Her feet glided as if on ice as she walked toward the gathering.

Esther smiled.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Challenge: D is for Dallying

D is for Dallying.

From Merriam-Webster:

1a : to act playfully; especially : to play amorously
  b : to deal lightly : toy
2a : to waste time
  b : linger, dawdle

I chose the above definition of Dally because it's not entirely negative. Most of the available definitions of Dallying take the negative spin, such as this one from Google: Act or move slowly: "workers were loafing, dallying, or goofing off".

But for writers, for artists of any kind I believe, dallying is actually a necessity. I also believe that even the 2a definition above - to waste time - is necessary. Because I don't really believe that it is wasting time.

It is in those moments of moving more slowly in the world, of taking time to notice, or even of staring off into space and letting the world catch your attention with something unexpected or new or even mundane (thanks, gl!) that you might not have otherwise noticed if you weren't sitting there. Wasting time.

Or as authors dallying at the coffee cart, with the hot cup of green tea in your hands, inhaling and letting the warmth spread from your hands to your face, you smile. And you overhear a conversation between two people at the burrito cart behind you. And you know what the character in your story on the screen at your desk is going to say. You head back to it and begin to write.

Or you notice the Grocery Outlet store when you're heading home from an appointment and remember you have to buy some handy item and maybe they have it. Inside you find treasures of foods from places you've never been to, or you thought your friend had made up, or something from the place where your current work in progress takes place. You wander the shelves to see what else there is and find the jumbled products in random order and yet you're compelled to keep looking. And there is a can of ______ something. The thing your protagonist is going to make for dinner and on the back, the label has a recipe for just that thing.

And sometimes, we just have to sit. Or walk without purpose. To slow down. To let our mind rest a little and let the stories percolate while we relax. While we dally.

Dallying. It's not a waste of time. It's time spent getting ready for the next round. Dally a little and see what you might have otherwise missed. Or notice if it makes it a little easier to jump back into your writing or art, or even to get back to the less-than-creative job which pays the bills.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Challenge : C is for Candle

There is no such thing as an artist: there is only the world lit or unlit as the light allows. When the candle is burning, who looks at the wick? When the candle is out, who needs it?
                                                     ~Annie Dillard

On the first day of the A to Z Challenge, this quote showed up in my blog reader list, thanks to Jessica Morrell on her The Writing Life Too blog. I don't remember seeing that quote before but I knew I had to use it. I had to share it. And then I realized that I had to include it in this month's posts. I'd already posted my "A" word so I thought I might go with "D" for Dillard. But that didn't work for me, so I read it again and again and settled on "C."

So there it is.

Here it is.

C is for Candle. At this moment I'm stumped for what more to say because "who looks at the wick" and "when the candle is out, who needs it" are so clear nothing more is needed.

The idea of Candle being the source of "the world lit or unlit as the light allows" delights me.

I love candles. I like the soft light they put out, combined with the warmth and the pulsing glow. I don't use them much because, like so many other people, my life is busy and I rarely have time to sit and ponder the flame heating air, heating wax, light seeping into the surrounding room and let it wash over me in quiet contemplation. With all the hurrying I know I'd only blow it out in my wake or I'm afraid I'd get caught up in emails and phone calls and editing the story, texting a student, calling my partner, feeding the cat, exercising, doing laundry, getting ready for work, and - I'm afraid maybe I will leave the flame too long and that might not be a good thing.

To busy to sit in the comfy chair or on the couch or to soak in a cleansing bath with Candles.

But this quote. The candles. The flames. The world lit or unlit. Knowing that what's important isn't the wick.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Challenge : B is for Balloon

I like watching hot air balloons. I have since I was a child. I could sit and stare at the bright orbs floating on the sky for long periods of time. I remember going to county fairs where there might be one for show, or perhaps, if you were lucky, you might be able to get into the balloon and watch as the pilot turned up the flame and you rose higher and higher. Or at least as high as the tethered craft would go. Safely harnessed to the ground so no one would be lost.

I was content to watch.

I remember going to a hot air balloon event a long time ago. Listening to the forced hot air as the flames reached into the gaping mouth of the balloon. And it rose. Temperature differences reacting from the inside and outside and the rose and drifted and rose and fell, growing smaller as they moved away from the crowd. Or growing larger if they were coming in and headed toward the landing pad.

I can still sit and watch them for a very long time.

There is something soothing about their presence in the sky. About their graceful bob and bounce, floating on the wind, their openness, and the exposure of the passengers.

A couple of years ago I was on a dragon boat team with a woman who was a hot air balloon pilot. Before that time I'd never thought about the balloons being piloted, or that it was something one could aspire to do; that someone would think "I want to grow up and be a hot air balloon pilot." She was very nice. If I ever had to courage to go up in a balloon, I think I'd like her as my pilot - calm, funny, confident.

Twice I've just missed the big hot air balloon event in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It looks gorgeous - the balloons against the blue skies of NM and the landscape of the region is inviting. Once I considered planning a vacation so I would be there at that time but it didn't work out.

I don't think I'll ever go up in one. I'm content to be a spectator.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Challenge : A is for Adventure

One of my favorite A-words is ADVENTURE. And that's what this month is going to be: an adventure in daily blogging (skipping Sundays to make it all come out right) and having each day focus on consecutive letters in the English alphabet.

I'm looking forward to the Adventure of discovering where I find each letter leads me and seeing where others go, as well. I've already selected  the blogs to follow, which includes a few right after me in the blogroll and the fellow Wayward Writers who are embarking on this journey. Er, Adventure.

I know some people have themes for their A to Z Challenges. But not me. And are we surprised? No! Because I'm approaching this as I approach NaNoWriMo and pretty much any writing which is not editing - with my mind open and letting the prompt wash over me and see what comes up floating.

So, while others may focus on their novels (I can't wait to see how Rocky reveals bits about his novel in progress through the alphabet) and others may use landscaping or spiritual practice or editing, or so many others I haven't yet seen - my only focus is, living and writing. And Adventure.

I have had some travel adventures and some of those have been shared here in the blog over the five years it has been in existence. There was joining a dragon boat team, being in a walking long distance relay team, walking races, a half marathon, learning to kayak and taking a major dunk on the first trip out. Oh, and the big Adventure of going down the Grand Canyon for eight days with a large group of people. Awesome Adventure.

I've also taken an Adventure in writing the memoir. Which is still in the editing phase. I'm currently getting yet another round of feedback and edits from a couple of other writers. After which the next manuscript draft will be firmed up, more edits made I'm sure, and then find a few people who are willing to read it from {cover} to {cover} and see it as a whole piece. Then tell me where the holes still are or the cloudiness or the puzzlement which stops the reader. If any.

In the past I took the Adventure of becoming a step-parent. Which I will now say was somewhat accidental and, I'll admit, I thought I could escape. As a young twenty-five year old I thought I could live with my partner and the two children and not be a step-parent. But I was wrong. And that was okay. So as much as I declared as a very young adult, before I met my partner, that I would never become a mother - the universe had other plans and I fell in love with someone with two children. I became a mother.

Adventure. A good word which I believe is important for life. Adventure can be a big trip - climbing tall mountains, canoeing long and remote rivers, hiking scenic mountain ranges, or cross country skiing through forests on freshly fallen snow. But it can also be a journey inward, to your true self, your spiritual self, to merge with your muse and find your creative spirit. It can be found in a book, listening to a piece of music, looking at art created by another, watching the body of dancers on a stage or the lawn or on a highwire. Or watching a film, a live theatrical production, kids playing at a waterpark, lovers in a restaurant, skateboarders outside on a cloudy day.

Adventure is what inspires you and fills you up. Gives you hope and foundation for another day.

Adventure. What's one small thing you can do to surprise yourself today?

And a special thank you to Arlee Bird for coming up with this creative Adventure of the A to Z Challenge!