Read Aloud Day
Did you know that February 1st is World Read Aloud Day?
It's a day to celebrate the importance of sharing stories.
Grab a book and read it aloud to someone -- today or anytime that seems like a good opportunity to share a story.
Photo credit: Ben White on Unsplash.com
A Little August Inspiration
The inspiration for Haiku can come from anywhere, even a walk though a familiar neighborhood.
I hope you enjoy these brief vignettes of summer.
They are fun to compose -- try adding yours in the comments.
Burnt grass, faded spots
Flowers hold their dying stalks
August heat hits hard
Lean back, feet in the sand
Red skin tingling and warm
Setting sun ends day
Silver green patterns
Make reflections dance
Across the peaceful water
Valentine's Day focuses on love, and especially romantic love.
So for those who aren't in a romance, it can be depressing. It was for Sophia. One Valentine's Day, she was newly divorced and working at a new job where she hadn't had a chance to make any friends yet. She walked by the receptionist only to see candies and vases of flowers. The woman in the cube next to her received a dozen roses. Then the guy on the other side spent hours talking about what his girlfriend was going to do for him (a bit too loudly so she couldn't help hearing).
So she wrote this post -- something for all of you who don't have a special someone, or whose special someone isn't around or isn't the romantic type.
It's also good to read if you're just looking for something uplifting . She titled it --
Things I love that have nothing to do with Valentine's Day.
1) Sunsets over water
2) Sunsets just about anywhere
3) Cherry tress in bloom
4) Birds chirping
5) Daffodils in bloom
6) The way babies smell when they've just had a bath
7) Going for a long walk in a quiet park on a warm spring day
8) And last but not least -- Pushing the publish button on a blog post!
Thanks for reading -- I have a hunch that she didn't get them all -- what would you add?
Did You Miss Any of These?
Happy New Year !
First, a big thank you for reading! I really appreciate it when you read my books, join my Facebook page or subscribe to the newsletter.
To sum up my first full year of blogging, here are my top blog posts of 2016 as ranked by Facebook "likes".
See if you agree with the rankings:
1 ) What Makes a Memorable Hero?
2 ) Have you been bitten by the Jane Austen bug?
If I missed one you liked, or if you have suggestions for topics you'd like to read about, please comment!
If you are interested in new books, I am targeting to have one out in the first half of 2017. Watch for updates in the newsletter or join the conversation on Facebook!
Wishing you a great 2017!
Who Wouldn't Want More Holiday Cheer?
There is a Verizon commercial where the announcer asks "who wouldn't want more?" My favorite part is when the little girl says, very politely, "no thank you father" when offered another gift.
I understand that it's advertising and they want to convey that you get more services. But it started me thinking -- do we really want more?
Sometimes more isn't better. For example, marketers are finding out that more content isn't necessarily better. More words don't necessarily add to a poem or story. And have you heard some one say "we have more channels and nothing good to watch"?
And more electronic options and social media channels to communicate don't seem to have drawn us together. While it's convenient to be able to video chat with someone, how often do we do it vs. texting?
This is even more evident during the holiday season, where the pursuit of more is everywhere. For some it's more entertaining, more cookies, especially more gifts. Pressure is on to buy, buy, buy -- by phone ads, diamond ads, perfume ads, even new cars have bows on them.
Because of this, many people feel stressed, overwhelmed or even depressed, depending on their situation in life.
Some people might even look like this:
So if you're one of the people that is stressed or sad at the holidays, what can you do?
Take a step back and look around you. Try to do things that inspire you instead of doing things that wear you down.
What do you do to increase your holiday cheer? Please add in the comments.
Thank you so much for reading, I wish you the best of the holiday season!
Keeping the Best, Changing the Rest
Growing up, a family gathering wasn’t complete unless there was a game of Pinochle -- the click of cards and conversation punctuated by laughter and exclamations.
Pinochle is uses a special deck of cards (made by combining the Ace, Ten, King, Queen, Jack, and Nine of two decks) and is most often played with just four people.
To include more players, the family added decks, so instead of two of each card, there could be three, four or more, depending on how many people wanted to play. To make things even more interesting, new partners were picked every hand by turning up a card from the ‘blind’.
Over the years, the family drifted away from the card games. Football, television and electronic games began to dominate.
But this year, Thanksgiving was at our house and we had a bright idea -- reviving the family pinochle tradition!
First we had to remember the rules. With a bit of help from the Internet, we pieced together a quick overview of the rules for the younger generation (and those that hadn’t played in a long time). It went pretty smoothly until we got to what constituted meld - the points you accumulate before the hand is played. Then the questions began:
Asking good questions and challenging assumptions are great skills for innovation, even if that wasn't the objective and most of them were asked for the fun of asking. They paved the way for the final question:
If my grandfather could change the rules to make it fit the situation, so could we. Tens, Kings and Queens now counted for points.
This changed the game slightly (Oddly, it was more challenging to count the points). But we still had conversation, laughter and some exclamations.
That made me wonder about the upcoming Holidays. For many, they are full of family traditions and “have to dos”. Perhaps not everything makes as much sense as it did for our grandparents, or parents or even ourselves at a different stage of life.
By questioning and challenging assumptions, you can keep the best parts and change or eliminate what doesn’t fit. Make them your own – and maybe you’ll come up with something even better.
Are you changing some traditions? If you are, please tell us in the comments.
Have a wonderful week!
Insights on writing, characters, humor and other tidbits from the author of the "Scoops and Schemes" series of novels.
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Copyright 2023 by Nancy MacCreery