Quotable Thursdays


As a reader and of course as a writer, I am often moved by the power of words – quotes and song lyrics especially.  When I was younger, I fancied myself a poet.This week’s quote is the way people often seek to live during the holiday season:

“Spread love everywhere you go.  Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” – Mother Teresa

It’s a lofty goal, to be sure.  And that’s why I like this time of year, people smile more and celebrate each other more.  But really, we should try to infuse all of our days with the goal of making someone else smile and of course, making ourselves smile.  Try to live lift with a light and happy heart…you’ll lift people’s spirits and brighten their days.  Then no cloud can truly darken your day and no storm can steer you too far off course.

Quotable Thursdays

Quotes have that rate ability to give us advice or insight with very few words.  Their brevity (it is, after all, the soul of wit) is their brilliance.

This quote does an exceedingly good job of reminding us who has the power to change our lives:

“No one saves us but ourselves.  No one can and no one may.  We ourselves must walk the path.” -Buddha

You.  You alone have the power to change you life.  I’m not saying that others can’t inspire or help you (as we know that it is possible), but in the end, you are responsible for helping and changing yourself.

I think of this quote often when I hear people wish for someone to save them, to pull them out of the rut that they’ve been in.  I’ve been guilty of it too – hoping that someone will swoop in and tell you what to do, to save you, or to tell you that you’re right in taking that next step in your journey.

But the truth of the matter is that you shouldn’t wait for someone to come and solve all of your problems.  Because you don’t have to waste your time waiting.  Just like Dorothy at the end of the Wizard of Oz – many people don’t realize that they already have the power to do it for themselves.

(By the way, I hated that part of the movie.  I was so annoyed at Glinda at the end.  Seriously, who makes a teenager go and defeat an evil witch just to go home, when they could have left at any time?  Wtf, Glin?  As a writer, that always seemed like a bit of a cheat or a lazy plot to me.  On a sadder note, this has got to be one of the only quest-like movies with a female lead and no romantic triangles or what-have-you interfering with the quest/plot…wouldn’t it be neat if they re-imagined the movie in a kind of Lord of the Rings manner?  But I digress..)

Don’t wait for someone to come along and rescue you.  Be bold.  Stand up for yourself, kick your own ass into gear, and be your own hero.  You’re the only one who truly can.

Pasta, the only time it’s okay to eat elbows (Food Series)

Image credit: pixabay & wordswag app

I hate diets.  Although to be fair, I don’t know anyone who loves them.  Because of my slowing metabolism (boo, adult life!), a sedentary lifestyle (hey, it’s dangerous to write and walk!), and a widening waistline, I’m going on one.

But, to make myself feel better, I’ve created this series – the food series – to wax poetic about my favorite foods or tell you stories about them.

Today’s post: glorious pasta.

Mmmm.  I already ate and that picture kind of makes me drool.  Oh pasta, you’re never just a side dish to me.

That’s enough waxing poetic, now for a story:

When I was going through my divorce, I rented a new apartment and the day I left my ex, I left a lot of my stuff at the old place as well.  So, when I moved into my new place, my family helped me get my things from the old place and into the new.  But, since we only had a few hours, again – a lot of stuff was left behind.  I went again with my dad a few weeks later to pick up a few more things.

While we were there, I grabbed a hodgepodge of stuff – a lamp, a step-stool (yes, I’m short)…honestly, I still wasn’t sure what else to take as splitting up joint assets is a difficult thing.

My dad and I walked through the condo to the kitchen where we went through some of my previous belongings – should I take the cookie jar?  No, he had always liked that jar.  Should I take the glass baking dishes I bought in college?  Yes.  Should I take half the pots we got when we got married?  I guess…

Anyway, I remember turning around, not really sure what to do and my dad suddenly asking me if I wanted the giant box of pasta I’d bought at Costco a few weeks before I left my ex.  I think our conversation went something like this:

“The pasta?”

I artfully raised an eyebrow. (Yes, I can in fact do this…probably because I spent a lot of time practicing when I was a teenager.) “Isn’t that…I don’t know, kind of silly?”

“You’re starting over in a brand new place and letting him live here with all of the things you bought together.”

“But Dad, what will people say?  What’s next, the ice cubes?” (Back then, I still cared what people said about my divorce.)

“This is something small.  You’ve been nice enough.  You’ve had to buy cups, plates, furniture, a TV, food…it’s costing you a lot to set up a whole new place.”  My dad took the box of pasta and tucked it under his arm.  “Think of this,” he said. “It’s one thing that you won’t have to buy.”

I looked at the box under his arm.  It held at least 15 boxes of assorted pasta that I loved to cook – elbow, linguine, spaghetti.  He was right, it was a fair amount of food and with setting up an entire place on my own and paying for a lawyer, my bank account was frighteningly slim.

“Okay,” I said and the slight ridiculousness of walking out with a giant box of pasta made me smile, even in that difficult time.

And then we left and I never went back.

In the end, there were quite a few things I never got back from my ex, but I’ve been able to replace most of it myself over the last year and a half.  I’m actually still working my way through that giant box of pasta and I still don’t know why my dad was so adamant about the pasta.  It was the point of it, I think, after all my ex had taken enough from me.

Either that or it’s because we’re part Italian, you know…and we’re very serious about our pasta. ;)

Food Series – Coca Cola

<Sigh> If there’s one thing I’ve learned on the other side of 30, it’s that I can no longer eat what I want  and suffer no consequences to my waistline. Boo.  Metabolism, why must you fail me now?  A desk job, stress, business travel, and the time suck of online grad classes have not helped at all.  Not to mention that I’m a huge foodie.  You know those people who say they get so busy at work that they forget lunch?  Yeah…I never forget meals – I look forward to them – and I get supremely cranky/hangry when I miss them.

What’s this all mean?  Diet time for me.

Boo.  Let’s be honest, lettuce really is the taste of sadness.

But since I’m cutting down on a bunch of bad foods, I’ve decided to pay homage to them in my new food series…perhaps if I wax poetic about them, I won’t miss them so much.

I guess I should start with Coca Cola…

image credit: @prolixme and Enlight app

Coke, don’t be coy – you know you’re my stomach’s soulmate.

That’s right, I drink Coke – not diet, zero, lite, what have you – I drink pure, unadulterated, glorious coke.

And for my diet, I shall be giving it up for…..hmm well, not completely.

Coke is like the bad boy in my life.  I know he’s no good for me.  He’s trouble.  I’ve given him up so many times.  I’ve gone months without him and I think I’m over it.

But then –

Then, I see him somewhere – with that beautiful red glow – and I tell myself, I deserve it. I’ve had a bad month/week/day/hour…darn, I think maybe I stubbed my toe a few steps back?  And so, I deserve to indulge myself in this one lovely little vice I have.

I pop the top and gulp down a little taste of heaven.

Sure, I might hate myself later for it…and remind myself that I could’ve had the more responsible iced tea or water.  But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t completely enjoy it.

<Sigh> But for my health and waistline, I’ll be slowly phasing coke out of my life.   I’ll start with one a week  – except on business trips, because I don’t drink coffee (I’ll limit myself to 3 cokes per week at first.  Because hey man, business travel is really rough) and cut down from there.

I’ll also try to change my indulgence to Coke Life (made with stevia and sugar for a few less calories), Coke Zero (meh), and Diet Coke (made with tears).

Oh coke, I already miss you.

Do you drink soda?

Quotable Thursdays

Image credit: Pixabay/Wordswag. Quote: Erin Hanson

Ah quotes, those lovely words of wisdom to help you get through challenging times.

I wish I came across this lovely mini-poem/quote long ago. But alas, sometimes words of wisdom only come when you need them most.

Here’s the full mini-poem:

“There is freedom waiting for you,
on the breezes of the sky.
And you ask ‘What if I fall?’
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?”

Erin Hanson, see more of her amazing mini-poetry on her blog: the poetic underground

This quote is for those of us who are tentative and are afraid of failure (of getting our feelings hurt, of being a disappointment, and other things).  Fear is so powerful in its ability to stop us from reach our dreams that I sometimes think it should be a tangible thing instead of just a feeling. The bottom line is, you don’t have to go into something thinking you’ll fail. And you shouldn’t decide not to do something new because of the chance of failure.  That chance will always be there. 

But so will the chance of success, reward, and greatness. Isn’t that worth a little risk?  When you’re faced with something new, always remember that you can succeed too. 

So, take a deep breath and go after your dreams. You might fail and fall….but then again, you may succeed beyond your wildest expectations. ;)

Quotable Thursdays

Image credit: Pixabay/Wordswag

I don’t know about you, but words have always been powerful forces for me.  The wrong ones can bring even the strongest person to their knees, but the right ones, they have a greater power – to build dreams, heal, soothe, inspire, and more.

Today’s quote was a staple during my hardest times and I’m sure it will continue to be.  It’s a quote from the beloved character from children’s stories, Winne-the-Pooh.  It’s pretty impressive when you look back on many of the authors of your youth and realize the depth and inspiration that they can bring you many years later.

“Promise me you’ll always remember: you’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” – A.A. Milne

I think a lot of us suffer from low self-esteem or poor self-worth.  It seems that sometimes, we have no problem seeing the good in others…and yet we often are blind to the good that resides within ourselves.

I’m not sure why that is or how to stop moments of self sabotage from sneaking up…  Maybe you can never completely silence that small voice of self loathing from popping up inside of you now and then.  But – and of this I am certain – you can prove that voice wrong.  You can look inside yourself and find something good.  And you can remind yourself that you are so much more than that voice can ever tear down.  You are better than you think and you can do more and be more than you think.  You can start again, no matter how big the fall, and become something greater.

And the first step, is to believe in yourself.

Flash Fiction – Time’s Echo

Image credit: Pixabay/Wordswag

I have a collection of notebooks that I’ve scribbled in over the years.  Some of it is just silliness, but other pieces are surprisingly okay.  Here’s a  piece of flash fiction I wrote awhile ago and later updated.

As I’ve said before, there are some things (and some people), you never stop writing about.  Some of this is true – I did hear a voice on a bus that reminded me of someone.  And I never crawled around under bridges with him…though sometimes, I wish I had.

Time’s Echo

I felt a sea of pins gliding over me, pricking up goosebumps over my usually calm span of skin.  All it took was a tone, a breath, a word – and time’s hand pushed me into memories of you.  

I heard your voice on the bus today, wishing while I turned that he’d look like you.  I’ve missed your dimples and laughing eyes, though I can count on both hands the years you’ve been gone.

He sat in the back of bus.  Surrounded by the smiling faces of friends, he recounted some tale of another night’s conquest.  But the words didn’t matter and barely registered in my mind.  I heard instead, your words – told in teasing rhythms, punctuated by laughter, and paused only by deep dimpled smiles.  He had your voice.  It’s clarity echoed in my heart and plucked the strings that hold me together.

My knees still bear scars from climbing under the old bridge with you.  Rushing over stones and brambles until we found the big rock at the edge of the marsh.  We rested our backs on its smooth face and lay in the sun, framed by swaying cattails and hidden by the fog rising from shallow waters.  You whispered poetry against my neck, teeth and tongue marking tender flesh with each word.

The man at the back of the bus turned and looked at me, his stare cutting through the haze of memories.  My heart beat a pattern of loss against my chest and my fingers probed the hollow of my neck, searching for the mark that has long since faded.

His lips split tanned skin into a smile that could never compare to the crooked brightness of yours.  Between three fast breaths sucked in through my nose, I allowed my lips to curl into a sad answer to his smile.  Dark hair fell over his shining blue eyes, as he turned back to his friends and continued the soft torture he afflicted on me.

But I wanted him to –

I closed my eyes, straining to memorize the rhythms that died with you.  I wanted to press my ear to his lips – hearing him, hearing you – capturing a piece of you inside myself.

Quotable Thursdays


Today’s quote comes from baseball legend, Yogi Berra, who passed away this week.

It ain’t over till it’s over – Yogi Berra

I love this quote, something about it brings back memories of childhood – arguing over a kickball game, defending your favorite team’s honor, or just when the other side thinks they’ve beaten you…but you know there’s still fight left in you.  In case you couldn’t tell, I was feisty when I was a kid. ;)

The saying was printed as a Yogi Berra-ism, a silly quote to make people smile.  But I think it caught on because there’s an element of truth there (which many sports fans and feisty kids can relate to) – even if the odds are stacked against you, you can still win.  Nothing is final if you can keep fighting.

So, the next time the odds aren’t in your favor, remember this Yogi Berra quote.  Or you can sing it, since it is a song too.

Quotable Thursdays – On storms and sailors


 I love quotes – their messages  are conveyed so succinctly and beautifully.

These brief words often help lift us up and strengthen our resolve.  Short quotes are easy to remember as well, allowing them to become personal mantras – something to whisper to yourself at a crucial moment, reminding yourself to be strong.

I love this quote, it’s especially good if you’re going through a hard time.

“A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.”

All of those bumps you encounter along the way make you stronger, wiser, and tougher than you were.  And all that experience with the bad times will help you as you continue your journey.

So keep steering through those storms. And who knows, if you’re a writer all the bad you face today can be the basis of future novels. ;)

Verbal Diarrhea – on dialogue

Adobe stock photo

Adobe stock photo

On writing dialogue

I hear it in my writers’ group often – there is a fear among many writers of failing at dialogue.

And it’s a valid fear.

The worst thing, as a reader, is to come across something on the page that pulls you out of the moment (or worse, the story).  And dialogue, that tricky minx, can pull your readers out of a story if you aren’t careful.

(Side note: I love this stock photo, it’s how I imagine my verbal diarrhea looks like.)

But how do you learn to write dialogue?

#1. LISTEN – Yep, I really did just yell that at you.  Listen to yourself talk.  Listen to your friends, family, people at work, people on the metro, people with drunken honesty at bars, people yelling at each other in a grocery store…

But it’s not enough to just listen, you have to pay attention too.

How do people talk? What kind of words do they use?

It depends on the person, of course.  But there are some words that people don’t use in every day conversations.  Flag those and take them out of your writing.

#2. Talk out your dialogue – So, you probably don’t want to do this in public or too loud. :p  But it really helps.

I’ve come up with some of my best scenes by talking it out to myself (while running, strangely enough).  It helps you listen to your own work and compare it with what your writer’s ear has heard in the past (see #1).

Does it sound clunky?  Do you stumble over it?  Well then, unless you want your character to stumble through it, you should probably refine it.

There, only two rules to help you hone your dialogue – totally manageable.  :)  So, go forth and infuse your characters and story with believable dialogue. May your pens be mighty and dialogue be strong! :)