Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #342, Theme: (Blank) Ways to (Blank)

This is what I call a “hybrid poem”.  This is my short list of what has worked (for me) to achieve more joy in my life, and even helped me become a better writer.

Happiness Tips

Marry for love, knowing that everything else could change.
Make your children laugh; find relaxation in play.
If a friend doesn’t reciprocate, let that friendship go. (Sometimes that means unfriending; keep it real.)
Seek out face-time.
Eat less, drink more…water.
Don’t feel guilty for needing help, for everyone born into this world has needed help at one time or another.
Find the extraordinary in the ordinary.
Drive with the sunroof open or the windows down on a beautiful day.
Open your windows, pull back the curtains, and let the outside in.
Go barefoot once in awhile.
Appreciate each season, literally and metaphorically, for what it has to offer.
If you can’t find meaning in every trial, make something meaningful come from it.
Know that it’s okay to not be okay.
Pay it back, and pay it forward.
Learn from the mistakes of others.
Live for experiences, not things.
Listen, and you might learn something.
Know that even the cashier is worthy of your attention.
Do what you love, if you can, or find love in what you do (while you work towards the former), knowing that no job is forever.
Don’t try so hard to like foods you don’t, but be willing to try them in a different way.
Keep your eyes on your own plate.
Make learning lifelong.
Seek to outpace yourself, not others.
Help others, but never promise more than you can do.
Share useful information.
Watch less news.
Embrace minimalism.
Make time for coffee in the morning.
Know that you have value, and that no one can take that away. Your worth is not in your “usefulness,” but in the price Someone paid for you.
Find solace in spirituality.
Read.

Cheek to cheek

 http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/wednesday-poetry-prompts-342

5 Really Cool Things About Kindle

  1. Free books.  I don’t consider PDF downloads “real” books, but I love the free ones (especially on writing) offered on amazon.com.  It’s a great way to connect with other authors and learn something about the craft.  (I highly recommend “How to Write Poetry, by Cynthia Sharp; it’s not free, but it was well worth the $2.99).  I already have a free e-book idea of my own I am developing (writing prompts with examples), as a way to gain followers, and perhaps even contacts.
  2. Samples:  I can sit anywhere (like in bed) and read a sample of the book before I buy.
  3. Instant gratification:  I don’t have to wait for a book in the mail.
  4. It’s minimalist.  I hate clutter (I can count on both hands the number of DVDs I own, and there is a cap on how many of anything I allow myself to own); nothing looks junkier than a bunch of dog-eared paperbacks.  Plus, the electronic device is also much more sanitary than a used book that someone may have read while on the can.  (Hey, going to the bathroom is boring.)
  5. I can send documents.  http://www.amazon.com/gp/sendtokindle/email.  This is my favorite feature, because I’ve been wanting to print up a booklet of all the kids’ songs I sing to my daughter (as I haven’t learned all the verses to them yet–even the lyrics I wrote myself), but now I can just send a Microsoft Word document with all the songs as an attachment to my Kindle e-mail.  I can also read my own work, thus saving ink (but I can’t edit it).

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There are a few drawbacks to an e-reader, like not being able to give away a book you will never read again.  (I don’t pay $3.99 for a book to just delete it.)  A few of the authors I read, like Lisa Jackson and Sandra Brown (mainstream fiction authors, whose focus is on plot, unlike literary fiction, where the focus is on characterization), I won’t read again.  I know the plot, and the characters aren’t compelling enough to revisit.  (I like to compare mainstream novels to milk chocolate, and literary novels to dark.)

Furthermore, I was under the impression that Kindle books were cheaper, but they are not, considering I rarely ever buy a new book.  I generally by “Like New” books in hardcover, or, unless they are by one of the authors I mentioned, I buy a cheap paperback.

Also, there is nothing like browsing the bookstore for an hour.  It’s one of my favorite ways to spend an afternoon (usually with a coffee).  I say, I will never buy an illustrated children’s book on any kind of electronic device.  My daughter likes turning the pages, and I like the aesthetics of a shelfie.

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So, I am what I call a hybrid reader–beloved books will still have a place on my shelf, but pure escapism can be relegated to my Kindle.

Poem-a-Day Writer’s Digest Challenge #21. Theme: Strange

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I am a Strange One:

A Self-Portrait in Writing

I turn my clock backwards
before I go to sleep.
I am a strange one.

I don’t like to sleep on pillows,
but rather between two of them.
I am a strange one.

I set my clock ahead five minutes,
for 7:00 a.m. is too close to 6:59.
I am a strange one.

I am studying to work in the healthcare profession,
but the sight of blood makes me faint.
I am a strange one.

I love to read crime thrillers,
but I love to write children’s nursery rhymes.
I am a strange one.

I read the dictionary for fun,
Hemingway for school.
I am a strange one.

I am a maximumist when it comes to books,
a minimalist when it comes to DVDs.
I am a strange one.

I love foreign films with subtitles,
but close captioning drives me crazy.
I am a strange one.

I love and appreciate fine art,
but have a hologram of a tree hanging in my house.
I am a strange one.

I watch Fox and read the HuffPost.
I love the Shopaholic series, but am a fan of Dave Ramsey.
I am a strange one.

I have seven Rubbermaid Tupperware containers,
and seven Rubbermaid lids.
I am a strange one.

I like Coca Cola from Mexico,
but I would never drink the water there.
I am a strange one.

I don’t love to cook,
but I love to watch cooking shows.
I am a strange one.

I’d much rather “meet my meat”
than cook it.
I am a strange one.

I buy a new fruit or vegetable first,
then try to figure out what to do with it later.
I am a strange one.

I love most everything fried,
but I prefer my fries baked.
I am a strange one.

I don’t like bananas,
but I love banana cream pie.
I am a strange one.

I love the beach and water aerobics,
but I never learned to swim.
I am a strange one.

My dream vacation is in Iceland,
but I hate the cold.
I am a strange one.

I love cat jokes,
but will probably never have a cat.
I am a strange one.

I like to make bars of soap,
but I prefer to use body wash.
I am a strange one.

I am a night owl,
but I hate when it gets dark early.
I am a strange one.

I hate cold weather,
but I love to be able to wear nylons and sweaters.
I am a strange one.

I like to wear socks inside the house,
but not outside the house (with shoes).
I am a strange one.

I find brassieres uncomfortable,
but not bikini tops.
I am a strange one.

I prefer skirts and mittens
over pants and gloves,
because I like my parts to touch.

I don’t like beards,
but I like a man who can grow one.
I am a strange one.

I like a man who wears cologne,
but I don’t wear perfume.
I am a strange one.

I don’t mind loading washers and dishwashers,
but I hate emptying them.
I am a strange one.

I love shopping for clothes,
but I hate trying them on.
I am a strange one.

I live in the Deep South,
but I don’t say y’all.
I am a strange one.

I don’t have a single tattoo or piercing,
yet I love chandelier earrings.
I am a strange one.

I am an introvert,
but I wait tables for a living.
I am a strange one.

My truths may be strange,
but they are not stranger than fiction.
We are all contradictory,
and, at times, just a little bit OCD,
in our own way.

But at least I don’t go to a seafood restaurant
and order a hamburger.

Something to blog about

So many years, I’ve avoided college because I didn’t think I was smart enough. I took an assessment test today at the facility, and the recruiter told me I had to score at least a 13; I scored a 31, and she told me a score over 30 was almost unheard of. I needed that boost of confidence. Math (the kind that mixes letters and numbers) has always been the bane of my educational existence. That’s why I didn’t stick with college because I knew to get my degree, I would have to pass it, and I was so convinced I wouldn’t be able to. I know it won’t be easy, but I also know if I try hard (and focus) enough, I can at least pass it. If only I had known at 22 what I know at 32 . . .

I was one of those lazy people who only wanted to do what came easy, assuming that all those who got master’s degrees didn’t have to work as hard as I did to get an A. I look at this new chapter of my life as a challenge to work my brain in a different way, perhaps even help me hone my creativity more. I am a big believer in simplifying our lives in any way possible (for example, I have a house cleaning schedule I stick to, which helps because I am forgetful, and I don’t have any more bath towels or dinner plates than I need), but that doesn’t mean we must be simple-minded. We should all be lifelong learners.

The biggest catalyst in making this decision was my daughter. Of course, I am doing this for myself, too (she was just the final push), but I want to be an example to her that you’re never too old, and it’s never too late to learn a new skill, better ourselves, and work towards financial peace. For so long, I’ve worked low-wage restaurant and retail jobs, where most bosses, especially if you do a good job, prefer to hold you back so they can keep you where they want you. In getting an education and proving my worth, I will be bypassing all that. I like to shop and eat, but I don’t want to work in those kinds of settings. Those jobs are fine, as long as they’re temporary and you’re working towards something. I think one can have more enthusiasm for a job like that if they know it’s only temporary—that better things are coming.

Completing this program of study will also give me the confidence I need to look for that job, be proud of my resume, not be nervous at an interview, etc.

I can finally see what is at the light of the end of the tunnel—a path which has shortened considerably, now that I know what I want to do.