Retro Tuesday 3-14-2023


“The cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself.” ― Carl Sagan

The more I think about this quote, the more I am fascinated by the awe-inspiring possibilities of the statement.  To think that the cosmos lies within us is contrary to everything we have ever been taught.  We are told that the cosmos is out there, beyond the curve of the horizon, beyond poor demoted Pluto, out somewhere in the Milky Way, trapped between the ever expanding ‘boundaries’ of the Big Bang.  Yet Mr Sagen suggests that all that infinity is instead inside of us? Our moral, boundried bodies? How can that be?

Is the tiny speck of the Big Bang hiding somewhere down in our souls, radiating out stars and planets and even black holes through ribs and muscles and lungs?  Or is the universe reversing inside us, growing smaller and smaller with each step we take to make this world a smaller place?

I can image my body filled with the ‘reality’ of blood and muscles and bones, but I have a harder time with the image of myself filled with star-stuff.  What exactly makes up this star-stuff?  Asteroids and space dust? Black holes?  Wormholes?  Matter and dark matter?  Or could it be all of these together just as in the vast unknown of the Universe?

I remember a book cover I once saw that has a person’s outline filled with the dark of sky and stars.  That is how I imagine myself filled with the stuff of the cosmos.  And this, I know, is only but a tiny fraction of what the words mean.  Maybe I will never understand the reality of Mr Sagen’s words, but I will spend my life trying.  That, after all, is the most anybody can expect.

Retro Tuesday 3-7-2023

Question of the Day 2-23-2018

Please feel free to answer these questions on your blog or in the responses. If you leave me a link to your post, I will re-post it on my blog. You can also feel free to forward these questions to anybody who might be interested. Thank you to those who have already shared their thoughts.

What are you waiting for?

What am I waiting for? In my life? My day? Moment to moment? Am I waiting for some assumed future event to make all things in my life right?  To be able to say, “Now, things are going to be okay.”

If I am waiting for those theoretical events in my future, then I will be waiting my life away. The time when I say, “Everything in my life will be perfect now,” will never come. The most I can expect is moments of perfection, moments when I can sit back and go, “Right this minute, I know what happiness means.”

I had moments like that this past weekend. Flashes of perfection. Moments of happiness. Moments when I was at peace.

Of course, I also had moments (or longer) of panic. Mainly when I had to drive home from my friend’s house in the dark and my phone wouldn’t connect with Maps. The reason I panicked was because I’ve had to drive without Maps help before and I got so lost and panicked and angry and…and…and…. so I came into this latest instance of driving home at night already nervous.

At that moment, I was waiting for Maps to help me get home. What I was really waiting for was somebody to take care of me, to tell me things would be fine, that I would get home fine, wouldn’t get lost, that everything was okay. None of that happened.

I finally drove back to my friend’s house and her husband got my phone working with Maps. They wanted me to stay the night and head home in the morning, but I knew I had to go. I had to overcome this fear paralyzing me. I had to drive home in the dark and not get lost, not panic.

Well, I didn’t make it without some panic. Maps and I don’t communicate well at times. Most of the times. Every time I go to their house, Maps tried to take me into a Military Base. Not where I want to go and not when I’d have to say, “Oh, sorry, Maps wanted me to come here, but I really didn’t want to.”

But, the bottom line is that I found my way to 64 and home. My panic was for naught as they say. (Hypothetical ‘they,’ whoever they are.)

But back to the question. There was a question right?

What am I waiting for?

Let me think on it.

Retro Tuesday 2-28-2023

This question cropped up in one of the Blogs I follow:

But what exactly do you earn if not money? Is there something else to being a writer?
Cristian Mihai

Good question. What does it mean to be a writer? There had to be a reward or we wouldn’t keep writing. Good ole Dr. Phil. How’s that working for you? I know my answer would be ‘while frustrating about NOT writing, it’s going well thank you.’ But that’s because I’ve always known deep in my heart that I am a writer. There has always been that voice inside saying ‘keep going. You’re going to get there.’ Then again, I keep writing those words, but how do you know what’s inside me? Hopefully, because you have that same driving, incessant, need inside of you.

So what do I earn if not money? I earn the privilege of becoming the person I was born to be. I earn the right to know and share the lives of characters that honor me with their stories. I win the wonderful experience of exploring a thousand worlds inside my own head, of being everywhere and every time at once. Now, if only I could bottle that scent, open the cork on a bad writing day, and take a whiff.

To me, being a writer means being open to the possibilities of the everlasting. Not that I think my writing will be remembered or even read a hundred years from now. Sure, it would be great, but I’ll be gone so what will I care? It is the stories themselves that are important; the lives, the loves, the hopes and fears and triumphants – and failures – of the characters. For it is the loves, the hopes and fears and triumphants and failures that make us human, that bind us all together.

I’ve often heard writers say ‘if one person reads my writing and is touched or changed, then I’ve done my job.’ Truer words and all that. I think, like most writers (and correct me if I’m wrong), I write for myself. I write to unfold the worlds within, to explore my own psyche and heal my own wounds, to be the person I was born to be. And what reason is more important than that?

Retro Tuesday 2-21-2023

 by athling2001

Daily Post One Word Prompt – Scars

There are scars, he thought, that might never heal; scars deep down inside a man where no rational thought might follow. Healing, he knew, was all a matter of decision. He’d seen men heal from wounds so horrific even the best Doctors had given them up for dead. And he’d seem men, barely wounded, who succumb to the call of darkness.

He was neither. Just a man like any other, neither hero or coward, brave enough to continue on when a fainter heart might flounder. None of this helped his present situation.

The sounds of hammers on nails, the rasping of a saw, rose from outside, accompanied by the bubbling excitement of the crowd. There would be a crowd, as if most folk had nothing better to do than see a man reduced to his basest points.

He’d promised himself he would not falter, would not fall, would not beg. It seemed to him the measure of a man was how he faced those moments of no escape. When he faced his own death.

He felt no urgent desire for death. On the contrary, there were too many things in this life he had missed, little things which gave man the true measure of his worth more than swords or battles. More than the number of slaves owned or the value of a wife’s dowry.

A wife he loved, a home, children to carry on his name and of whom he might feel pride. A small plot of land where honest work echoed, as it were, the singing of angels.

This, of course, was a bunch of bull-crap.  More farmers starved these days than survived. Men beat their wife, cheated on them, treated them as chattel. Children were, too often, slaves to their parent’s needs, raised to ensure care in their waning years.

He might be a total fool. Probably was. Not that it mattered. In a matter of hours, he would be dead, swinging from the beam of the gallows as had many before him. And many would follow after.

A shuffle announced Brock at the bars of his cell.

“Sorry, Dugger. Worlds going to hell. Bits and dregs. Bits and dregs.”

He rose, chains allowing him just enough freedom to reach the bars. The two men clasped hands, the fallen man, soon to be the hanged man, and the careful man, the man who had never seized the chance to be more.

“You’re a good man, Brock,” he said simple. Favors done needed no mention or thanks.

“You’re no more highwayman than I.”

“Some see it different,” he replied, withdrawing his hand, needing both to support himself on the bars. “See my things get to Mags will you?”

Brock turned away. As he did, something clanked to the ground outside the bars.

His heart began to pound, distant drums calling men to battle.  Course, the true measure of a man might also come in the wisdom to run like hell when facing the gallows. He fell to his knees, reaching beyond the bars for the keys and freedom.

Retro Tuesday 2-14-2023


Response – JSW Prompt 5-13-2019

Writing prompt: Tell me who your monsters are. 10 all-new writing prompts 331-340: Welcome back to another week of Wednesday Writing Prompts. An excellent source of writing prompts, story ideas, story inspiration, writing inspiration, and plot twist! #writingprompts #writing #prompts #fictionwritingprompts #fiction #prompt #storyideas #writinginspiration #plottwist #storyinspiration #storywritingprompts

Do Monsters Make War or Does War Make Monsters?

I’ve always believed that, to start a war, one must be a monster. That, however, was before I realized the worse monsters wore the best human faces. Don’t give me the Wolfman, Frankenstein, the monsters in the closet or under the bed. They are mild compared to those whose faces have contorted into human form. Hitler. Lenin. Papa Doc. We all know now what they were. They never hid the monster. Were they monsters from the first, born monsters?

If not, how did they become monsters? The Wolfman was bitten by another werewolf; Frankenstein was built by a mad scientist; monsters in the closet and under the bed came from the darkest reaches of a child’s imagination. Or, at least, from the darkest reaches of man’s imagination. I don’t believe children dreamed these monsters. They came from somewhere else, from millions of years of human consciousness, from endless darkness outside the warm circle of a fire.

Are monsters just those who are more closely connected to this vast well of memory? Was Hitler born a monster or did he become one? How about Jeffrey Dahmer? Could a child be born with the need to destroy, to eat flesh, to degrade another person to nothing? Can a child be born a dictator?

Or were all the wars this world has seen the prologue to the monsters to come? Did the hate and bitterness and rage from time unmentioned predispose some children to be born with emptiness in their souls?

What of the Grinch?  How did he come into his grinchiness? Birth? Nature? Nurture? And wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could stand in a circle, holding hands, singing joy and love and peace to alter the heart of the coldest monster? To fill their souls with that same joy and love and peace.

But we can’t. It doesn’t work that way. The Grinch is made-up. Fiction. A story to teach us joy and love and peace overcome all evil. But I don’t think they do, not in the real world. The world is getting darker and harder when one would think the opposite should be true. Shouldn’t our growing knowledge of the universe – the increases in food and medicine and all things human – make the world better? Shouldn’t we care about global warming and starving children? Don’t we realize that it is our world we are killing? Or are we all born with something of the monster inside? Are monsters god’s dice toss, watching to see which way we go? Or are wars and monsters just fragments of a collected dream?

So which do you think comes first? The monster or the war?

Or are we all both?

Retro Tuesday 2-7-2023


Response – JSW Prompt 7-10-2017 on 8-4-2017

Feel free to join in and respond to the prompt. Please try to keep your response under 300 words. If you reply, I will re-blog your post to my site (sometimes I am slow, but I get there).

The watcher. He watches everyday looking down on the world below. no one ever knows he or she is there, buy for some odd reason you look up and see them starring right at you.

I remember him standing there, on the top step, lantern in hand, watching. Ever watching. Night after night, as dusk grew across the land until dawn broke. Watching. If I had known how to comfort him, I would have with glad heart, but sometimes when a man is broken nothing will bind him whole.

Day after day. Week after week. Year after year. He stood his lonely vigil, longing into the night. He ate little, slept less, days spent in silence, his counselors and I decision-making in his stead.

Nights I cried, as broken as he. But nobody saw, or knew, of the cracks inside of me. That much I could do for him.

I was a Queen alone, weight wearing heavy on my shoulders as my husband grew more and more a ghost.

A year ago, we buried him. Now I am truly alone. What little life remains in me grows weary. His heartbreak haunts me, knowing there was nothing I could do to salve his soul.

Now, every night, I stand on the top step, lantern in hand, watching. Ever watching. Night after night, as dusk grows across the land until dawn breaks. Watching. Because now, I know the truth.

When a woman is broken nothing can bind her whole.

Retro Tuesday 1-24-2023

I Am Brave 30-Day Challenge – Day 1 5-23-2017

I am Inspired.

Today’s Brave Act.

Choose a physical object to serve as a reminder of why you committed to this 30-Day Brave Challenge.

Embed your intention in this object. Strategically place it where it will be seen/used every morning during this short, powerful exercise.


What was the seed that inspired you to start this 30-day challenge?

What does it mean to be inspired? And, by that, I mean what does it mean to me, deep down, to be inspired. I know I haven’t felt inspired for a long time. At least I haven’t felt inspired and remained inspired. Inspiration comes like the ocean waves, washing in one moment and out the next.

I get scared. What am I doing? What am I trying to do? What do I think I can do and why do I think I can do this? I can’t, you know.

I don’t have the inspiration or courage to fully commit.

Sadly, every time I back down, I dishonor myself. I feel that dishonor and yet I can’t force myself to move forward. It is easier, by far, to just let things happen, to drift through life as it comes instead of attempting to mold itinto what I want. Who I want to be. What I want to do. How I want to let my light shine.

As I said, I dishonor and disappoint myself every time I open my writing file and am paralyzed with fear. I can’t do this because nobody will care. Or read it. Or like it.

On the other hand, what does that matter? I am, after all, simply telling the lives of the characters who live inside me. I am telling their stories for me, and so they will quit bugging me to be heard.

Today’s brave idea is Inspired. I know how I’m not inspired. I’m afraid of being inspired. But what would happen if I was inspired. How can I be brave about being inspired.

I am brave because being a writer is all I have ever been. I can never not remember when I wasn’t a writer. And, corny as it might sound, I have always felt a presence leading me forward. Encouraging me to just take one more step and then another and another. Telling me that all my dreams will come true if I just keep trying. Moving forward.

Remembering to be inspired.

For my brave act, I am choosing a candle to remind me of the flame of desire living inside me. It can’t die, this flame, unless I let it go and stop believing in myself. So I light this candle (its pumpkin, by the way) every morning to remember me of my promise to myself.

I can be brave.

I can find my self again.

I can take a leap of faith and trust I will land safely.

I can overcome my fears.

I can plant the seed of bravery inside my heart.

I can know – I do know – I can be brave.

Can you?

Retro Tuesday 1-24-2023


The Little Prince On Essential Matters

“Grown-ups love figures… When you tell them you’ve made a new friend they never ask you any questions about essential matters. They never say to you “What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies? ” Instead they demand “How old is he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make? ” Only from these figures do they think they have learned anything about him.”

It seems to me knowing about butterflies, games, and the sound of somebody’s voice are much more important than knowing a weight, an age or even money.  Money doesn’t make friends, at least not the kind of friends I’d want. Frankly, I hate figures, whither it is a math problem or figuring out my checkbook.  Thank goodness for on-line banking so I no longer have to struggle monthly with the hell of balancing; I do much better checking my account daily and keeping the balance in my head.  That way, my math output is limited and that brings me happiness.

I am proud to say I never questioned my sons about their friend’s parents – unless it was to clarify in my mind I was thinking of the right persons. I never asked about weight or height.  I decided once another boy was not the appropriate friend and, covertly, gave my son’s regrets to his birthday party.  Realistically, my son was 7 or 8 and this boy cursed in ever sentence.  Not something I wanted my child around.

I don’t, however, remember asking about those essential matters.  What does essential mean?  According to the dictionary:

: extremely important and necessary

: very basic

We all know this.  The words isn’t unusual or vague.  But looking at the definition in black and white it struck me that essential matters are extremely important and yet very basic.  Food, clothes, shelter. A purposeful life and the ability to find happiness inside. Our health.  Family. Friends. Love. Peace.

It all boils down to balance.  Is my life balanced? Can I somehow find the fine line between my life, my work and my son’s still living at home.  Am I content in my work? Do I care about butterflies and voices and games?

Yes, yes, I believe I do.

Retro Tuesday 1-3-2023


Anger is just sad’s bodyguard.

When I first read the quote above, I had no clue what it meant. I couldn’t form the words into any semblance of understanding. Then it hit me and I understood with every fiber of my being.  Like a bodyguard protecting a client, we hide our sadness behind anger.   Anger is our shield to protect us from exposing our emotions to the world.

So much of the world lives on the edge between sadness and happiness.  The cars and houses and huge TVs don’t bring the happiness expected.  Instead, sadness settles deep inside, a loss we might not even understand.  Because we won’t – or aren’t able – to admit the sadness at the center of our supposed ‘search for happiness,’ we pretend the sadness isn’t there.  We get angry at the people, events, and politicians, (add your own favorites) we ‘think’ are keeping us from the happiness we deserve.

The truth is, we aren’t entitled to ‘happiness’ just because we exist. Every one of us is responsible for tearing down our own shield of anger and confronting the reality of life. Is all the anger in the world just hiding sadness over lives failing to fulfill our own expected potential?

I lash out when I’m sad, trying to avoid some issues in my life.  I don’t like feeling out of control. The funny thing is, I know I’m hiding but I can’t help myself.  It’s easier to blame the world than to admit to the sadness settled inside me. It takes me a few hours, or days, to talk myself around to admit the sadness hiding behind my armor.

If I am sad over a bill, with no clue where to find the money to pay,  I get angry. If only I had a better paying job; didn’t have to support my (adult) kids; if my mortgage company hadn’t screwed over some perceived slight.  You get the picture.

We all struggle with these feelings every day. It’s the ostrich head in the sand syndrome.  If I don’t acknowledge the problem, it just might go away. I might win the lottery (if I played) or I might find a fortune in my attic (fat chance). Or I might just wind my way around to acknowledging my anger and dealing with the problem head-on.  It doesn’t matter if I come up with an acceptable solution – such as where to get the money – I’ve confronted the issue.  That alone gave me the peace needed to calmly and logically deal with the problem.

What if we could strip away the anger of the world, and banish every shred guarding the sadness of an entire planet? What would be left for every man, woman, and child?  Sadness. And then what if we acknowledged the sadness, every one of us on the entire planet. What if nobody felt out of control?

What would our planet look like then?