I’d Rather Be…

I’d Rather Be…

Who are these friendly people extending their hands toward one another? See their smiles?








The arthritis in my left hip has reached critical mass, and until well after my hip replacement surgery in July, there are certain things I can’t do.

When I saw The Daily Post’s photo challenge this past week, I knew exactly how I would finish this sentence. You see, yesterday was the 31st Phoenix International Folk Dance Festival. I brought my camera and took lots of pictures, but I’d rather be…dancing.

Those lovely people above who look so happy are dancing to an American folk tune called Paul Jones and executing a square dance figure known as a grand right and left. If you scroll through the photos at just the right speed, you’ll get a feel for the sequence.

Or you could watch the short video below.

The festival was delightful, but I missed out on the best fun, the dancing. I have lots more pictures, so I’ll post a whole photo essay on the festival soon.

From the Creator’s Heart #142

From the Creator’s Heart #142

I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray (Psalm 17:6 NLT).


Limericks for St. Patrick’s Day

Limericks for St. Patrick’s Day

My response to the Poets on the Page poetry prompt: Blessings, Curses, or Limericks?

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I stepped away from my usual free verse and tried my hand at some limericks. Named for a city in Ireland, this form has a particular rhythm and rhyme sequence that I find very challenging. I tried to incorporate something Irish in each rhyme:


A leprechaun ninety years old
Thought his nephew exceedingly bold.
He hitchhiked to Wicklow
And slid down a rainbow
And found there a great pot o’ gold.

A lawyer defending in style
A spy who had stolen a file
Asked the judge for recess
For his client to dress,
But he fled to the Emerald Isle.

A happy man started to prance
While his friends looked at him all askance.338px-Leprechaun_ill_artlibre_jnl
He said, “Do what you feel.
Me, I’m stepping a reel.”
And he calmly continued to dance.

A sharpshooter packing a pistol
Walked into a tavern in Bristol.
He said, “What’ve ye got
That won’t cost me a shot?”
And they poured him some Waterford crystal.


Getting back to St. Patrick, he was not, as you might think, born in Ireland, but in Britain. When he was sixteen years old, he was kidnapped by pirates and taken to Ireland to be sold as a slave.

For six years Patrick worked for his master, and while he worked he contemplated his life so far. Ashamed of his sins, he prayed and meditated, asking God’s forgiveness. One day he received a vision that his time enslaved in Ireland was over and his ship had come in. He escaped from his master and walked 200 miles to a port (some say it was Wicklow) where he gained voyage back to England.

Years later, he returned to Ireland, where he introduced Christianity.

Legend has it that Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland. But the Irish climate is not conducive to the reptiles. More likely, he subdued the Serpent (Satan).

Stained glass window depicting St. Patrick was photographed by Nheybob.



Creative Juice #85

Creative Juice #85

Inspiration for creative folks:


In the Meme Time: Expectations


Newsletter expectations

Guest Post: 6 Ways to Increase Your Productivity as a Writer Without Burning Out by Jennifer Louden


Thank you to Writers in the Storm and to Jennifer Louden for these tips on avoiding writer burn out.

lamca-kubrick-typewriter-jack-dull-boy-shiningJust about every day I read an article about a writer who’s written 988 books in the last three months under seventeen pen names while maintaining an active presence on every social media platform.

It’s enough to send me to bed with Netflix and a whole lot of dark chocolate.

But after a good binge, you and I still have to face the fact: it’s a crazy world we authors inhabit. And staying sane and productive without burning out is a skill we must cultivate, right up there with establishing a compelling voice and a thriving platform.


Jennifer Louden, from her website

I’ve spent a big part of my career studying how writers can work with more ease and consistency, mostly because writing has always been a struggle for me (8 books with a million copies in print aren’t proof writing is easy for me, only that I’m stubborn). I hope the following suggestions for sane productivity will help you like they have me and the writers I coach.

Read the rest of the article here.

Video of the Week #141: When is Less than Your Best Enough?

Video of the Week #141: When is Less than Your Best Enough?

Lights in the Darkness


In response to Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge prompt: Sunset to Sunrise.

A nearby community here in Arizona decorates the cacti in the road medians at Christmastime:


Near my home there’s a streetlight shrouded by willowy tree branches:


Fun Foto

Wordless Wednesday: Pinecone



Writing Personal Experience


Writing and coffee

Don’t you just love to lose yourself in a true story, whether it features romance, mystery, or humor?

People like to read about three kinds of personal experiences:

  • those that are universal,greta-punch-62508
  • those that awaken nostalgia, and
  • those that are unique.

If you are reading this article, you undoubtedly have had experiences you want to share. How do you write them so they resonate with your readers?

It all starts with a story.

The anecdote you want to share has a beginning, a middle, and an end; one or more characters; a particular setting; a theme; perhaps some action that resulted in a change; possibly some dialogue. You will need to develop all of these as you would in a novel, though economically if you’re writing a short piece. And, your story must have a point.

To have a point, the story must do at least one of these three things:

  • present a solution to a problem,


    Image by torgakhopper on flickr.

  • make the reader laugh, and/or
  • remind the reader of what we once took for granted but have lost.

In order to be effective, the personal narrative must be well-crafted.

Observe the conventions of good spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Use precise words that are descriptive, active, and visceral. Engage the senses and the emotions. Vary sentence structure. Reflect on how your experience impacted you. What did you learn from it? What takeaway can you offer?

Most of my own personal experience pieces have been published on my critique group’s website, Doing Life Together. Here are some of my favorites:

Have you written personal experience pieces? Feel free to share a link in the comments below.