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Butterflies -- that's another magical word. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Butterflies — that’s another magical word. — Photo by Pat Bean

            “Better than a thousand hollow words is one word that brings peace.” Buddha

Magical Words

            When I was a kid, I often told those who bullied me that “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” What a crock of bull. I was hurting from their words even as I quoted the saying.

 

Friendship and Contentment. The two best friends,  Pepper and Dusty seem contented as they share a patch of sunshine.  -- Photo by Pat Bean

Friendship and Contentment. The two best friends, Pepper and Dusty seem contented as they share a patch of sunshine. — Photo by Pat Bean

           This morning, as I was reading a blogger who listed 50 things that made her happy, I started my own list, and at some point the word “words” was added to the list, which made me want to start a list of my favorite words.

            Cacophony was the first one that came to mind. I’m not sure why, but the first time I came across this word – and then looked up its meaning – I loved it, and was/still am always trying to find a way to use it in my writing.

            I then thought of words that seem magical because of their meanings — or personal connotations. Peace and love led the list, followed by these 10:

            Grandchildren, Travel, Nature, Pepper (my dog, not the spice), Books, Inquisitiveness, Art, Friendship, Birds and Contentment – the last a state of being that only now am I coming to find in my life because of words like restlessness and ambition that are much a part of me.

            What words are magical to you? This inquiring mind wants to know.

            Bean Pat: 20 Minutes a Day http://tinyurl.com/hgnheby This flash fiction story by one of my favorite bloggers ends with words that I’m now incorporating into my life.

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            “Eventually everything connects – people, ideas, objects. The quality of the connections is the key to quality per se.” — Charles Eames

            “People find meaning and redemption in the most unusual human connections.” Khaled Hosseini

This photo was taken over 30 years ago, when I played Mrs. Zubrisky, as did actress and author Mary Louise Wilson. That's a very young looking me sitting on the left. What a wonderful memory

This photo was taken over 30 years ago, when I played Mrs. Zubritsky, as did actress and author Mary Louise Wilson. That’s a very young looking me sitting on the left. What a wonderful memory

Books Bring Me Joy

            I just started reading Picnic in Provence by Elizabeth Bard when a small sentence let me know how much I was going to enjoy this book. “But then some people bird watch,” said the book’s protagonist, which let me know, in a whispered writer’s voice, that the author knew all about crazy bird watchers – like me.

            A bit later on she said of her husband: “It takes more than 10 years in bed with an American to cure a European of his natural reserve.” I connected with this sentence because I understand how different people are, and that you never truly get to know them – even if you sleep with them for years.

            It’s these kinds of personal connections that give me so much pleasure in reading these days. And since I have a lot of living behind me, I’m able to make more and more connections with each passing year.

            I thought about this as I was reading My first Hundred Years in Show Business by Mary Louise Wilson this

Mary Louise Wilson

Mary Louise Wilson

morning. I’m not sure anyone but someone involved in theater would truly understand and appreciate the book. But, since I was very involved with amateur Little Theater during the 22 years I lived in Ogden, I’m loving it.

            Even so, I didn’t have any real connection with the author until she began writing about her role in Neil Simon’s little known play “Fools.” It’s a fantastic play about this village that has been cursed with stupidness, and Mary Louise and I both played the role of the intellectually-challenged wife, Mrs. Zubritsky.

            When she described how in the play, when she was supposed to open a door but couldn’t, that she decided to pull on the handle instead of push, I connected. It was exactly how I had dealt with the same door scene. And we also reacted the same way in the play when the husband asks his wife to lower her voice. To comply, we both decided to bend our knees.

            Reading My First Hundred Years in Show Business is bringing back wonderful memories – what fun!

            There is no question but that books are wonderful. But when you can make a connection with them, they become magical.

            Bean Pat: Wanderlust http://tinyurl.com/j4rbmb5 I easily connected with this blog and blogger because we share a passion for travel.

P.S. If you’re interested you can type in Fools, Neil Simon and find videos of scenes from Fools.

 

 

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OK. Just call me a brazen hussy. I'm the star of this blog.

OK. Just call me a brazen hussy. I’m the star of this blog.

“When I write, I lose time. I’m happy in a way that I have a hard time finding in real life. The intimacy between my brain and my fingers and my computer… Yet knowing that that intimacy will find an audience… It’s very satisfying. It’s like having the safety of being alone with the ego reward of being known.” — Jill Soloway

Because of a Story and a Book Review

            What Jill Soloway said in the a above quote fits me like my own skin – at least the skin I had when I was younger and it had no wrinkles. I like having people read what I write, and for 37 years, when I wrote for a newspaper, that was almost a daily occurrence. But since I retired, it’s been a rare happening.

So I was quite pleased when my 600-word flash fiction story, The Heart of a Dog, took first place at the Story Circle Network conference in Austin, Texas, that I attended in April. Then I came home to find that my review of Walking the Llano was selected as Review of the Month for SCN’s book review page. The book is by Shelley Armitage, and if you’re interested, you can read the review at http://tinyurl.com/mgry65 And if you want to ready my story, just send me an e-mail at patbean@msn.com and I’ll send you a copy.

I feel like a brazen hussy for promoting myself like this, but it feels good, too.

I write because to not do so is like not breathing, But when what I write is read – and liked by others – it’s like watching a sky full of exploding firecrackers in my head.

Bean Pat: Feral Poetess http://tinyurl.com/hzl6ucr I love this combination of photo and words. This is a blog I recently started following.

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Most recent watercolor and pen painting. -- By Pat Bean

Most recent watercolor and pen painting. — By Pat Bean

“To love doing one thing doesn’t mean one does not love doing other things.” – Pat Bean

And I Have No One to Blame but Myself

The painting before that. I'm guess I'm in a flowery mood.-- By Pat Bean

The painting before that. I’m guess I’m in a flowery mood.– By Pat Bean

My brain’s on overload after I wrote down all the things I must do or want to do this week, which involves six writing projects (two with upcoming deadlines), a Barry Manilow concert tonight, a play reading Friday night, a bit of painting when I can fit it in, dog walking and sitting (my part-time job), upgrade my computer to Windows 10, a delayed birthday dinner at my daughter’s Thursday, plus reading and cleaning my apartment, etc., etc., etc.

How does a supposedly retired person get herself into so much chaos? Something in me must love chaos. But I’m not going to have time to figure it out this week. I’m going to be too busy.

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Where’s my Backpack http://tinyurl.com/jy4coej Find out how the Devil lost his thumb. Great armchair travel story.

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The Wyndham Hotel in Austin kindly turned the men's room into a women's room this past weekend when over 100 female writers took over the premises.

The Wyndham Hotel in Austin kindly turned the men’s room into a women’s room this past weekend when over 100 female writers took over the premises.

It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by. How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment? For the moment passes, it is forgotten; the mood is gone; life itself is gone. That is where the writer scores over his fellows: he catches the changes of his mind on the hop. ~Vita Sackville-West (I know I’ve shared this quote before, but it is my favorite writing quote because it explains why I’m so glad I can call myself writer, a title which took way too many years of writing before I gave myself permission to use it.)

Doing It With Sisters

I’m just hours away from spending four days surrounded by my writing sisters, where we gathered in Austin this past weekend for the Stories from the Heart Contest.  It was a fantastic experience, and for way many more reasons than – can I hear a drum roll – that  I won the flash fiction prize for my story “The Heart of a Dog.”*

And someone was kind enough to turn the urinals into unique vases.

And someone was kind enough to turn the urinals into unique vases.

The reason I’m sharing this with you is because one of the presenters, awesome Debra Winegarten, encouraged us  to put ourselves out there to the world without apology, and that was just one of the many pieces of wisdom I came away with.

Now laugh if you will, but the biggest note of things to do that I wrote to myself was to put a note pad by the toilet. Doing just that I realized would better help me to clasp that net over the butterfly of words.

Bean Pat: Live to Write – Write to Live http://tinyurl.com/gpkwxyv This is one of my favorite writing blogs, and today its author, Lisa Jackson, encourages writers to enter contests.

*If you, men included, want to read my 600-word story, “The Heart of a Dog,” send me your email (mine is patbean@msn.com) and I will send you a copy.

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“Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow is the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.” – Bil Keane

This is the kind of landscape I was living in when Texas changed to Daylight Saving Time back in 1967.  -- Photo by Pat Bean

This is the kind of landscape I was living in when Texas changed to Daylight Saving Time back in 1967. — Photo by Pat Bean

A Memory from the Past

            When the change to Daylight Saving Time rolls around each year, my memory bank gets a jolt of fresh power that takes me back to my days as a reporter on a small Texas Gulf Coast newspaper.  Texas began its annual clock manipulation, as a way to save on energy costs, the same year that I walked into my first newspaper.

And this is the Arizona landscape where I live now, and which does not participate in Daylight Saving Time. -- Photo by Pat Bean

And this is the Arizona landscape where I live now, and which does not participate in Daylight Saving Time. — Photo by Pat Bean

While the benefits of Daylight Savings Time have been much questioned, there’s no question in my mind that this event was a first step on my road to a 37-year journalism career. You see, that 1967 newspaper story about the time change carried my first-ever byline.

I remember the managing editor lecturing me afterwards on how I could have made the article better, like not starting every sentence almost the same way.  A few years later, I reread the story and cringed. While it was grammatically correct, it lacked grace. It read like a toddler taking their first step. But then that’s exactly what I had been doing at the time.

It took many, many years after that first story before I could comfortably call myself a writer. And some days, I still question the title.

Meanwhile, I’ll never forget that first timely baby step.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: On Growing a Spine http://tinyurl.com/jrn97k4 Some people are born with one, and some, like me, have to grow them. This blog reminded me that I, too, was almost 40 before the growth began.

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The Blahs

      “The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet.” James Oppenheim

While it's been sunny outside, the past two weeks have been dark and overcast in my head. -- By Pat Bean

While it’s been sunny outside, the past two weeks have been dark and overcast in my head. — By Pat Bean

I have a Case

I have always been a high-energy kind of person, one who thrives on ending a day with a feeling of accomplishment. A good day for me has always been one in which I have completed a project or activity and learned something new.

But perhaps the sun came out today. -- By Pat Bean

But perhaps the sun came out today. — By Pat Bean

Of course I’ve had days that have been eaten up by computer games, non-stop reading or television (more the first two than the latter), but they have mostly been singular in nature with better days in between. And I don’t begrudge the reading days because I count them as learning days.

This blah episode, however, has stretched into two weeks, which accounts for the absence of recent blogs.

I’ve been sitting here this morning, curled up in a blanket in my recliner with my morning coffee and my laptop, searching for answers to the dilemma — because accomplishing nothing for days on end does not make me a happy person.

First I gave myself credit for things I did accomplish just before this case of the blahs set in. I finished my fourth rewrite of Travels with Maggie, submitted a flash fiction piece to a contest and took on a new doggie baby-sitting client. The latter means I now have three dogs to walk every day. While that uses up an extra bit of time and energy it’s not that much. And besides, the extra walking is good for me. So scratch that excuse.

Perhaps I’m dawdling because I’m anxious about taking the next step on my travel book? That actually sounds possible.

And then, there’s the unrelated fact that today is St. Patrick’s Day – the time of year when my mother died. She actually died on a Friday the 13th, with her memorial service on St. Patrick’s Day. I still miss her, but I don’t think she’s the cause of my blahs. I mean I didn’t realize it was this time of year until today.

Perhaps I just needed some time off — and perhaps writing this blog means I’m ready to get back to being myself. I certainly hope so.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: My Beautiful Things http://tinyurl.com/jvf5h8e Relax and take a walk through the woods to the beach from your armchair.

 

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