Posted in Challenges and Contests, Flash Fiction Pieces, Life Writing, Marketing my Writing, My Poetry, Platform Building Campaign, Write 1 Sub 1 Monthly Challenge, Writing in Freedom, Writing Samples

Second Challenge – Platform Building Campaign….

Second Campaigner Challenge

Do one or more of the following:

Write a pitch/logline for a book based on the prompts (less than 100 words)

Write a short story/flash fiction piece of less than 200 words based on the prompts

Write a poem with a twist using the prompts as inspiration (in less than 200 words)

Write a story/poem in five sentences, each sentence based on one of the prompts

Write a poem/flash fiction piece (in less than 200 words) about the water pear *without* using the words “pear”, “spoon”, or “droplet”.

For added difficulty/challenge:

Complete at least three of the above activities and tie them all together with a common theme (feel free to either state the theme in your post or leave us to guess what it might be)

Write in a genre that is not your own

Ask Challenge entrants to critique your writing. After the Challenge closes, you may wish to re-post your revised piece(s), and I’ll include a Linky List at the bottom of this post for those wishing more feedback on their revisions (note: revised entries will not be judged, so please label clearly your original post and your revisions. Please do not offer critique unless someone asks for it, as per the usual blogging conventions. If you do ask for critique, make sure you ask for it clearly so people know you want it, and please be prepared to receive feedback that may not be 100% glowing. If you are a critiquer, please be tactful and courteous, and remember to provide positives as well as negatives.)

I would very much appreciate critiques, please! =)
The Prompts:

Two people are sitting together under the remains of a concrete bridge. Their backs are against a rusted bridge support. One person’s leg is cut. The other person has wet hair.

  • Write a pitch/logline for a book based on the prompts (less than 100 words) –

No Ordinary Magic  (96 Words)

 Too often, our modern world of technological marvels seem almost magical. And still we demand more, and more. Are we so jaded and numb that we miss the moments of true and simple magic in our own lives?

Come open your soul as we delve into the rare magic in everyday moments such as kicking a ball across a bridge on a bright cold day; artistic play with water and light; the moment just past striving; or an instant of mutual interest.

To the attentive, all of life is sparkling, extraordinary magic!

  • Write a short story/flash fiction piece of less than 200 words based on the prompts.

Facets (191 words)

I wait, and watch, as time grows short. Passersby, all in a hurry, seem not to see me at all.

They won’t allow themselves to slow to the pace of breath, of life, of magic.

A small boy bounces, kicks, and chases his ball across the bridge, snuggled in a jacket this crisp, waning afternoon. Skipping, random rhythm; soft scrape of feet on smooth stone…

A young woman in a suit, posture tense, repeatedly plays a video of a pear conjured of prismatic water droplets. Her expression is flat. She checks her phone, then again.

Little knot of children, shirtless and rumpled and dark in the sun. All squat and stare, their intensity clear and unmoving. Fascination for small simple gifts in a patch of earth….

The laptop shifts to dancing line art. Frantic texting. Lovely patterns, lovely autumn park, met by indifference.

A girl sits beneath the crumbling old bridge with a dripping cut on her leg, a boy with wet hair beside her, his arms uplifted, then, sparkling glittering arc down to her finger. Waterdrop rainbows, joyful embrace, impassioned kiss…

Time grows short.  Enchantment, wisdom  – life…

  • Write a poem with a twist using the prompts as inspiration (in less than 200 words).

Enchanted Vision (  119 words)

Park bench, late afternoon.

Crisp September light.

 Little boy bouncing ball on wide stone bridge.

 Soft scraping of feet,

 Quick, laughing breath.

 Young woman with laptop and cell phone.

 Conjured waterfruit and dancing lines.

 Wonder and beauty on her screen.

 Rapid-tense texts; frustration-sharp sighs.

 Three shirtless children squat studying patch of dirt.

 Motionless, silent, intent on this instant.

 Attending the gift of the earth and life.

 Under the bridge, a pair of young lovers.

 Scratch-broken leg, wet hair clings to scalp

 He scoops the pond, lifts the prize,

 Adorns her finger…..

They melt together as air finally ends

 No one notices my soundless pleading.

 I know the magic of life at last

 In the instant I die.

  • Write a story/poem in five sentences, each sentence based on one of the prompts.

Instants in Time 

Sunlight, shadow, sea, square tiles, and columned railings become the playground of a small boy in a long red coat, following joy in the form of a bouncing ball. A young, dark-haired woman with a bleeding leg sits under the old concrete bridge; a young man sits beside her, hair and clothes dripping unnoticed as he slips the diamond ring upon her shaking finger. Beside me on the bench, my neighbor’s laptop shows the birth and death of a water pear, again and again, and she ignores it, texting frenetically and breathing in short, sharp sighs. Three little children, shirtless and dark and seemingly not bothered by the cooling breezes, explore the patch of dirt between them with motionless attentiveness. As my last breath ends, the hot dog still lodged in my airway, a lovely digital sculpture shifts gracefully across the screen, and, above the sounds of her texting, I hear the woman complaining that her time is up.

  • Write a poem/flash fiction piece (in less than 200 words) about the water pear *without* using the words “pear”, “spoon”, or “droplet”.

Fruit of Life (145 words)

I stare in wonder at the digital legerdemain on the laptop screen. I try to imagine how the conjuring was done; what miracles of science, math, art, and programming were involved in the glorious fruit, seemingly formed of water and delicately, impossibly balanced. Who conceived of such an elegant and lovely mirage, and how? Was it brought to virtual life as an act of personal passion, or with the calculation of a team with a product to hawk?

Then, I am captured by the pure leaping joy of it, the ethereal beauty of the instant when it, as though from nothing, clings to the shape in a shimmering dance of life – life suspended, to end in the next heartbeat, before this breath is expelled….

The form collapsed, in iridescent spray – a wordless lesson in the momentary nature of all life.

I completed the entire challenge, including the increased difficulty option, and, as stated above, I welcome criticism!

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Posted in Book Reviews, Challenges and Contests, Life Writing, Writing Samples

Book Review: don’t think of an elephant –

Second Book Review: don’t think of an elephant –Know Your Values and Frame the Debate

For over a decade, now, I have noticed a peculiar awareness when certain political, business, and government representatives address the general public. It was a deeply intuitive awareness, and I didn’t have words to express it.

 It was a sense that something was hidden behind their streams of rhetoric; some other purpose that the speaker understood, but which the audience did not, nor even seem to notice.

 don’t think of an elephant confirms and expands on what I felt; that there is a substrata of hidden motives and agendas in such speeches, and that the way they are framed will in large part define how they are perceived by the listener. This is not remotely accidental; a great deal of effort, study, and money have gone into resetting the frames we use to define our reality or any issue.

The frames that are used often are a subtle and sinister form of brainwashing. Frames trump facts; people will reject facts that do not fit their frames.

Personally, I have found this to be very true within my family of origin. The stories and grievances being clung to and wielded as weapons fit into frames the members of this broken dynamic embrace; frames that exonerate them from any wrongdoing, and always place full blame on the other or others.

If stating facts that don’t fit these frames, in this dynamic, one is accused of haughtiness, arrogance, defeatism, extremism, argumentativeness, thoughtlessness, slander, intimidation…or something else that, once again, places “blame” on the “other.”…and there is no acknowledgment of the fact that “blame” and “other” are frames that not everyone possesses.

 The assumption is that the speaker is more right or knowledgeable than the audience or the accused, and that the other must be held accountable for their wrongs, or brought to understanding. And, since everything is presented only through the frames the speaker or accuser chooses, there will be little chance that the audience can defend a differing viewpoint or the accused defend themselves, because the frames are both invisible and seemingly invincible.


George Lakoff
George Lakoff (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


This small book, written by George P. Lakoff, a professor of linguistics and and a cognitive linguist, was intended for a liberal audience, so that they might learn how to reframe conservative stances, and then, from a position of moral competence and confidence, using the ability to advance one’s political and philosophical principles without needing to defend them against another’s conscious or unconscious frames.

 For me, in my personal life, this book has given me great insight into determining the frames others are experiencing the world through, and what my own frames are as well.

 It has also helped me to notice the places where facts do not match someone’s expressed frames, and to reframe these in such a way that the frames no longer match for them, and they have an opportunity to reconsider their own frames. Moreover, I am able to make my case from my own frames, and my own principles, rather than simply defending myself from their frames.

 I had already, for several years, been attempting to do just this, on an intuitive level, and with varying degrees of success. I found the insights, research, and tools offered in this book valuable in helping me to do this on a more conscious level. This has given me a powerful and versatile new skill for  my quest to live my beliefs and defend against those who would like to force or manipulate me to believe and live differently..

I can feel that these tools are the sort that become more and more useful with practice, until they become as natural and fluid as breath.

 Ratings: On a scale of 1 to 5

  •  Readability: 3 – Some passages got a little pedantic and dry, but not many. Mostly, the book flowed in a conversational, firm tone.
  •  Engaging Content:4 – I found this book fascinating, practical, and informative.
  •  Credibility:5 – Decades of cited supporting research; resources; and the author’s credentials made the points very strongly.
  •  Objectivity: 2 – This was absolutely a liberal work. The author states it very clearly, however, and the techniques can be used by anyone, in a wide variety of contexts.
  • Thought -Provoking or Perspective-Shifting: – 5 – Both! My mind was awhirl all through the reading. This book quite literally kept me up all night – after hours of waterpark play, no less! – and I have not seen any disagreement in the same way since…..

Overall Rating: 4 – I highly recommend this book to anyone who would like to state their views and positions more clearly, and provide others with food for thought. It is an enjoyable and engaging read, with great utility.