Measures of Importance - writercize #113

How do you tell if a person is important?  

I like to believe that there is equality in the worth and value of all people, but I also am realistic enough to see that it is not the general perception.  Money, status and power can boost a person's "importance" (generally relates directly to influence) in society.

One friend of mine from college would say that in New York City, you could instantly pick out who was important during their weekend walk through Central Park by what they wore.  His take was the reverse of what one might imagine.  The more powerful politicians and bankers were dressed down in sweats and old t-shirts, looking relaxed and comfortable, while the entry-level politicians and bankers would dress in a suit and tie, always ready to impress whoever they may run into.  I can't say if this is true, but the comment has stuck with me for more than ten years.

In the Old Testament of the Bible, importance was indicated by a person's age.  Adam and Noah were both over 900 years old at the time of death, Abraham was nearing 200 years and Moses was well past the 100 year old mark.  There are literalists who believe that is the actual age that these people grew to be, but the more commonly accepted notion is that the numbers were indicative of importance in the stories.  Here's one Bible Geek's (self-named; I did not give the nickname) take on the question: "Why are people so old in the Old Testament?"

You may choose to use age, shoes, clothing brands, where a person shops, how they eat, if they have servants, what car they drive, their title at work, height, how others refer to them (John or Mr. Matthews or dude or sir?), IQ or a myriad of other means to tell your reader how important your characters are without spelling it out.

writercize:  Choose a way to measure the importance of a person.  To illustrate, compare two characters in a very short scene.

Click "read more" to see writercizer sample response about shoes.


Meteoric Metaphors - writercize #112

Who doesn't love a good chat about the weather?  It's a brilliant topic - easy, impersonal and every person can relate.  A trite boring, perhaps, but nonetheless... a safe thing to fall back on when all else fails.

Today as I was on the road, I was watching the gray skies and thinking about how closely related weather is to mood, and, more to the point, how accurately we can describe the way we feel or someone's personality by comparing it to the weather.  A meteoric metaphor matches climate with mood for a way to describe your character's psyche at any given point.

Another tool for a writer?  Rather than writing about your character's mind, place your character in a scene where the atmospheric conditions match their situation.  (Confused and angry mind on a stormy day.)  Or, alternatively, place your character in a scene where the atmospheric conditions run exactly counter to their thoughts.  (Confused and angry mind under the bright sun of a summer parade route.)

writercize:  Describe your character's personality or mood using the weather as your inspiration.

Click "read more" for writercize sample response about a person who teeters between anxiety, calm and depression.


Most Likely To ... - writercize #111

Among the final pages of the yearbook from my senior year of high school, my name is right next to the "most likely to return as teacher" verdict.  I was satisfied, the title was a result of all the seniors free-writing names on a list of about 15 "most likely" awards, so I was glad to have been considered for anything at all.  

I am not a teacher, nor do I live in Portland, Oregon, where I'd have to be to teach at my old school, but I do visit nearly every time I return home to see my family, and it always feels good to walk down the hallways.  I am one of those people who always loved school, particularly when I was learning something new and given creative control over assignments.  I even liked studying and finals.  I was not a fan of anything that I deemed a waste of time, and I must admit I failed one quarter of Scripture (attended Catholic High School) with a perfect 50%.  I scored 100% on tests, and a big fat zero on homework assignments, which I refused to turn in on principle.  The instructor simply assigned us to copy pieces of the bible verbatim, and I figured I had better things to do with both my time and my brain than xerox passages by hand.  When he expressed regret over giving me a failing grade for the quarter, knowing that I understood the material, I looked him square in the eye, and told him that I was fine with the grade if he was.  If his methods didn't identify comprehension, perhaps he wanted to alter his grading or assignments, but if his goal was to identify who would blindly follow an assignment, his system was successful.  He changed a couple of assignments the following quarter, including a rewrite of the nativity story in the new testament, and I completed each assignment that bore some creativity and provoked thought.  I still skipped anything that required me to copy.  I believe that quarter I received a D.  Thanks to my understanding of the material and successful test-taking, and a final weighted at 1/3 of the semester grade, I finished the class with a C+ despite two very poor quarterly grades.

That was an exception, and most of my classes were in the A to B+ range.  I loved any assignment that stretched my mind.  I was still guilty of procrastination, as many other students, but I took a lot of joy in thinking about the world in different ways and learning from the students and teachers around me.

Even though I have not fulfilled my "calling" per the high school yearbook, I feel like the idea behind it was pretty spot-on.  After all, I love learning, research, school activities, community action and involvement, and, obviously, coming up with assignments and lesson plans!
writercize:  You have two options, both based on "most likely to" awards.
  • If you are already working on a book and your character is an adult, give them a most likely award.  
  • If you are looking to spark some fun writing, create a most likely award and create a character profile to go along with the award.
Note: You don't have to feel limited by the standard "most likely to succeed" or "most likely to become a millionaire."  We had "most likely to travel the country by train as a groupie" and "most likely to wear a lampshade as a hat" - get creative!

Click "read more" for writercizer sample response inventing a few most likely high school awards and their characters.  Leave your writercize response as a comment to share your results with the exercise!


Dedication - writercize #110

One fabulous blogger and as of yet unpublished author I know, Nutschell A. Windsor (whom I've mentioned before on writercize), gave the following advice to writers at a workshop several months ago - when you're stuck and don't know where the story needs to go, or how to sit through your manuscript and edit it yet again, visualize something that will happen when you get published.  That visualization will help you push through to make publishing a reality, whether it is picturing your book jacket, a great review, your author photo or making space in a bookstore for your spine.

I love the optimism and drive behind it, so I wanted to take the time today to help you with a little visualization technique - picture the dedication page.  Whether you are a seasoned writer or an unpublished author, think of a book that you'd like to publish one day and figure out who you would acknowledge.

writercize:  Picture your book on the shelf.  Pull it down, feel the weight of it, see your name in print as the auther.  Now open it up, past the title page, to the dedication.  What does it say?

Click "read more" to see writercizer sample response for a children's book.


Edit and Embellish - writercize #109

A good writer should have a handle on the audience's expectations, from formatting to tone to sentence structure, and be able to reel in or expound on an idea according to situational requirements.

Several months ago, I challenged writercizers to write about one concept in three different genres in Genre Play in order to exercise control over the tone while keeping on topic.

Today, I am challenging you to exercise control over length.  Know your audience.  Know your purpose.  Know when to edit and when to embellish.

writercize:  Write four sentences based on the word "mountain."  Interpret it as you wish.  One sentence should be less than 5 words, one should be 6-10, one should be 11-20 words and one should be a minimum of 21 words.  Write in any order.  Sentences do not have to relate to one another.

Click "read more" to see writercizer sample response about the mountainous prompt.  Share your writercize as a comment!


Animal, Adopt Human Trait - writercize #108

Loyal as a dog.  Clever as a cat.  Skittish as a horse.  

Who hasn't heard a person compared to an animal?  Metaphors identifying animals with human traits, giving them broad characteristics, and comparing them back to humans, is a useful way to paint a picture of a person.  The metaphor evokes a natural association while inferring other characteristics of that animal back upon the person.

When I hear that someone is loyal as a dog, I also might assume they are obedient, or strike back when someone attacks a loved one, or defer to authority.  When I hear someone is clever as a cat, I may assume they are also a little sneaky, independent, selfish.  And skittish as a horse, well I'd assume they are strong-willed and would buck anyone off for getting in their way.

It's not that I've never come across a disloyal dog or a cat that's missing a few of its marbles, but that's the way generalizations are - they discount the exceptions.  Today you get to generalize away and play with an animal characteristic.

writercize:  Pick an animal and give it a human trait.  Now work that reference into a short scene.

Click "read more" for writercizer fictional sample response about a person prickly as a porcupine.  Leave your writercize as a comment!


Sing a Sweet Lullaby - writercize #107

My younger daughter (by a mere 11 minutes compared to her twin sister) woke up this morning with a fever of 102.  Since they are generally quite healthy, have never been on antibiotics ... and have had a total of three combined doctor's visits outside of their well-visit (swine flu and two broken collarbones - another story for another day) I was a bit of a mess and a worry-wart.  Luckily, my husband reminded me to be calm so she wouldn't be afraid.  

So, in the interest of staying and conveying calm, I'm in the lullaby mood today.

writercize:  Write a lullaby.  Pick a familiar tune or make up your own.

Click "read more" for the writercizer sample response, and leave your answer as a comment!


Break a Leg - writercize #106

As a theater-lover, actress-at-heart and wordsmith, my curiosity was piqued this weekend thinking about the phrase "break a leg" after I wished it on a cousin for good luck.  I love, love, love word origins and learning about where phrases come from, so I decided to go on an internet hunt to see if I could find out why we use such an odd phrase in the theater. 

I began my acting "career" (which lasted through school, with no attempt ever made at the true profession - though one day when my kids are big I daydream of returning to the stage through a community troupe) in Kindergarten, playing The Little Red Hen in ... The Little Red Hen.  I sowed the seeds, baked the bread and bit off the poor little pig and the duck's heads for not helping me prepare the meal.  It was love at first curtain.  And I distinctly remember the 5th grader video taping our play whisper, "Break a leg!" just before we called action.  To non-theater people, it may sound like a very odd, frightening phrase, but if you don't hear it before heading onstage, you get a little freaked out with superstitions.  At least I would.  The one time I didn't hear it, I ended up having to eat an entire bag of wet marshmallows in a scene - a joke played on me closing night by the stagehands.  Not good.  Just saying!

writercize:  Pick a phrase with an origin that you are curious about.  Research the origins and educate!  Leave your response as a comment.

Click "read more" to see the writercize sample response about how the term "Break A Leg" purportedly came to be.


Be My Guest!

Hey there writercize fans -

I'm curious to know what gets you going when it's time to write!  I'm offering up a guest post every Friday beginning in October to anyone interested.  I will continue to post my writercizes Mon - Thurs, but I'd love to get this community chatting about what helps you write.  Consider this your official, heartfelt invite.

Here's the catch - you need to send it to me in writercize format.  Meaning, give a brief intro to your blog, set up a story about the writercize you've selected, offer the writercize in a simple instructional format, and give your own writercize a whirl.

I'll try it too as the first comment, and then invite my readers to try out your exercise and visit your blog!

If you're interested in a guest spot, leave a comment here or send me an e-mail at alanagwrites(at)gmail(dot)com.

Available dates for 2011:
Oct. 7 - Beth Grace Word Nerd Speaks
Oct. 28 - Dawn M. Hamsher The Write Soil
Nov. 4 - Brianna Renshaw Pocketful of Playdough
Nov. 11 - Gene Pool Diva
Nov. 25 - no guest post - Thanksgiving holiday - low readership
Dec. 9
Dec. 16 - Mike Miller Miller Writes


Black, White and Shades of Gray - writercize #105

When we're young, we tend to see the world in black and white, right and wrong.  

As we grow older and gain exposure to nuances and ideas outside of our parents' world, we generally move along the spectrum towards a world that exists in funny shades of gray or vibrant hues of color.  The grays I'd classify as primarily pessimistic, the colors as primarily optimistic, but both have the ability to see complexities and shades and issues from different views.  A select few don't gain this type of vision and instead move further towards the extremes of coal and alabaster, defining themselves exclusively by one ideal or another.  

Yet, despite our ability to see many sides of an issue, we still represent ourselves to the outside world with singular definitions.  Middle-class.  Rich.  Poor.  African American.  Hispanic.  White.  Republican.  Democrat.  Male.  Female.  Laborer.  Manager.  Cop.  Writer.  Gay.  Straight.  American.  European.  Atheist.  Jewish.  Christian.  Muslim.  High school dropout.  College graduate.  Doctor.  Mother.  Father.  Sister.  Brother.  Husband.  Wife.  Eco-conscious.  Consumer.  Book smart.  Street smart.  Athletic.  Dumb.  Meat-eater.  Vegan.  Food addict.  Victim.  Survivor.  Lazy.  Go-getter.  Reliable.  Flaky.  Young.  Old.  Ugly.  Beautiful.

We string along a series of titles and tags for ourselves to connect with people who are similar, to save the time of explaining our belief systems, to avoid taking the time to evaluate our thoughts in front of another person, to oppose people we disagree with, to build a community, to simplify and make sense of what we can not fully comprehend, to gift ourselves with a faith or belief that might shatter under the scrutiny of ourselves or our peers.  

And we use these shortcuts to let the world know that we exist and we stand for something.  We mean something.  We have a point of view.  It's easier to use a singular definition than explain what we really mean

When you are writing and you want to know your character intimately, know which words they would use to define themselves.  Now dig deeper.  Know their doubts about those definitions.  Dig even deeper.  Get to know how they blatantly go against their said definitions and beliefs in particular situations.  Understand when they would abandon said belief or identity for self-satisfaction, survival, security, to fit in, to stand out.  

I've always felt that the better I got to know a person, the more difficulty I had defining who they were.  I could explain a person I met after five minutes using a series of labels, but I would get tongue-tied when asked to describe a best friend or a boyfriend.  No definition felt sufficient, so I would resort to small, seemingly mundane irrelevant stories that represented their core, and acknowledge that they were not one thing all the time. 

These complexities, the holes that eat at the words that we use to present ourselves to the world, the realities behind formation of such identities, are what make us interesting, and human.  They make us vulnerable, easy to relate to, stubborn and confusing. 

writercize:  Create a character in your mind by using 3-5 descriptive, labeling words to describe who they are, as they would describe themselves to the world around them.  Now tear it apart by exposing at least one way in which s/he does not fit into the self-inflicted label.

Click "read more" to see writercizer sample response.


Next Word - writercize #104

Recycling an oldie but goodie tonight!

Next word is a simple word association game - I give you a word; you give me the next word you think of.  Elaborate if you wish, or leave me wondering.  It's a quick, easy fix to get your mind rolling when you're stuck with writer's block.  It's also really fun to see how different minds interpret the same word.

writercize: Give me the first, instinctual word (or short phrase) that comes to mind for each of the following five words.
  • window
  • bicycle
  • postcard
  • style
  • bob

Click "read more" to see the writercize sample response!  Give it a go and leave your response as a comment.

Drum Roll Please ...

and the winners of the pizza contest are .........

Michelle L. with her Whoopie Pie Pizza


Dawn M. Hamsher with the Hurricane Pizza

Congratulations to both of you!  
I will be in touch to get you your prizes!!

I am starving and impressed by all of the wonderful feedback! It was so difficult to pick a winner, but ...

Starbucks Gift Card goes to Dawn Hamsher with the very timely Hurricane Pizza, which not only sounds delicious but seconds as an visually artistic rendering of its name!

Fresh Brothers Family Meal goes to Michelle L. with the uber-sensuous Whoopie Pizza Pie. Sounds like the perfect dessert to top off that main course of Hurricane.

Excellent, excellent writing all - thank you for your participation and I look forward to seeing your entries in future contests!!!


Circular Definition - writercize #103

This morning as we were buzzing around town, I pulled up to a stop light right behind a really cool, old time convertible. I pointed it out to my girls, who are four with all the imagination, creativity and limited vocabulary that comes with that. 

One of them looked at it, very impressed, and said, "You know, Mama?  I think Daddy wants a no top car that makes it a lot of wind sometime."

The translation for this, naturally, is, "Hey Mama - I think Daddy wants a convertible sports car!"

Hence, the circular definition.  A circular definition is one that is used to describe a word or phrase that you do not know.  It may be visual or full of metaphors and similes, but it is not anything that would be found in Webster's.  

For a wordsmith, it may be difficult to come up with a circular definition, so I would recommend that you pretend you are learning a new language and need to describe an item or idea to someone without knowing the right words.  Imagine having only a limited grasp of the language, with a random assortment of entry level words, and try to get your message across.  It's sort of like a reverse game of 20 questions.

"Is it a car?" - yes
"Is it windy?" - yes
"Does it have a ceiling?" - no
Aha, it must be a convertible! 

writercize: Write a circular definition for any item or concept you want.  Challenge your mind to work in reverse.

Click "read more" for a real life writercizer experience describing "liquid antibacterial soap" at a pharmacy in Italy, likely conjuring up some very odd images for the pharmacist.


Captcha What? - writercize #102

Today's writercize brought to you based on a post by Tara Tyler Talks.  

(Before I continue - did you know there's a contest going on here at writercize?  Depending on where you live, a pizza meal or a cup of coffee is on the line - enter here: It's a Pizza - writercize (for a prize) #100.  Contest closes Tuesday, Sept. 13.)

Now, on with today's topic at hand.

In this digital age of blogging and writing and secure transactions, no doubt you have seen a CAPTCHA.  It's that blurry little non-word word that you have to complete on places like blogs and Ticketmaster to post a comment or make a purchase.  It rarely has meaning, and often the letters overlap just enough that a mere education guess is as good a copy as you're likely to get.

Tara is an excellent, active blog commenter and she collects all this nonsensical words as she goes along.  Then she defines them with absolute brilliance and creativity.  She's written a few posts inspired by these captchas, each one better than the other.

A few examples from one of those posts:
  • phoph - a bad photo op, "Wait! I phophed it. Could you pose again?"
  • braddas - opposite of sistas
  • chenl - french for channel "Change the chenl, s'il vous plait."
  • expati - (ex-PAH-tee) banned from parties, "I expati you for puking on my dog!"
  • unbink - to permanently remove a pacifier
  • noncali - against moving to California
  • cophle - (cof-fle) abbreviated form of cop a feel, "Did he cophle you at the movies?"
((---examples above copyright Tara Tyler))

I love the idea and advised her that I would be stealing it.  I've finally collected enough to get started - I may just not be as creative, but it takes 5-10 words for me to find one that I can play around with.

writercize:  Compose a definition for each of the following five captcha words, and use in a sentence.
  • netalap
  • sambr
  • restio
  • unnestr
  • fiesorys
Click "read more" for writercizer sample response definitions.


I Name Thee - writercize #101

Before I continue - did you know there's a contest going on here at writercize?  Depending on where you live, a pizza meal or a cup of coffee is on the line - enter here: It's a Pizza - writercize (for a prize) #100.  Contest closes Tuesday, Sept. 13.

Ok, onto a fun little game, in honor of parents, children, simple word inspired games and the Group Blogging Experience.  

One of the most important things a parent will give a child, beyond the normal love, attention, food, shelter bit, is a name.  Expectant parents often put weeks, even months, into finding just the right name for their bun in the oven.  

My mom's parents and siblings squabbled for such a long time that she was born without a name and referred to exclusively as my Grandpa's nickname for her "Tuni" (from petunia) for most of her life.  After she was born, she was named "RoseAnne" but hates the name and never introduces herself as such.

My husband and I were luckier.  We chose family names for our twins - one is named after his favorite grandma, the other after mine.  We didn't tell a soul what their names would be until their birth; we just kept up with the doctor's "A" and "B" designation and never had to hear a word of dissent over their monikers.  It was a pretty good way to go about it, I think.

My parents gave me the unique name "Alana" and the ubiquitous middle name "Marie" so I have the simple with the rare which works for me.  They had some hurdles.  As two teachers, inevitably each name they considered came with an association of a previous student, whether they were an overachiever, troublemaker, lazy, bright, etc.  Makes things rough!

It's always amazing to me how many people compliment others on their name as if they had something to do with it.  I often get, "wow, that's a cool name" or "I really like your name."  I generally say, "Thanks, I like it too!" or "Yep, I'm lucky my parents picked a good one."

It's always fun to find out how people chose names - after mythological characters, family members, because their names are simple and they want something unique for their kids or vice versa, from name books, etc.  So, today you get to name an entire family however you like.  

In The Pocket Muse, a fun little book for writers, the author Monica Wood suggests that when a writer is totally stuck for inspiration, they should take advantage of their job which allows them to make up names all the time.  She points at that most people only get the chance when getting a new pet or a new baby, but writers can do it all the time!  You may even come up with a name you love so much it inspires a whole new story.  I like her train of thought and wanted to take it to the next level.

writercize:  Name a family of two parents and at least two children - any combination of sexes.  

Take into account who they are and what they are into.  Family history?  Pirates?  Literature?  Movies?  Geography?  Horoscopes?  Foreign languages?  Syllables, rhyming or first letters?  Run with it ...

Click "read more" for writercizer sample response about a family of nature lovers on the hippy side.


It's a Pizza! - writercize (to win a prize) #100

In honor of my 100th writercize, (streamers, confetti, hoorahs) I thought we could all use a little celebration, so I’m turning to everyone’s favorite party food – the pizza – for inspiration!

I don’t know about you, but when I’m eating out, I like to have fun with my food.  Sure I want it to taste good and be healthy, but give me an interior with a bit of whimsy, a plate with a little something fancy on it, or a menu that will keep me entertained.  I want something out of the ordinary from my real-life cooking experience at home from kitchen to dining room table. 

Since this blog is not about interior design and websites don’t come with taste buds (too bad!), let’s go with the menu and have a little fun writing.  There are four foods that I would identify as inspiring the best names on menus across the country: burgers, salads, wings and pizza.  In the spirit of party staples that can be delivered at home while blogging in front of a computer screen, we'll stick with the pizza.

I see a lot of pizza menus that play with local landmarks, current events, movie or book characters or double entendres to describe their pizzas.  They have fun names like Say Cheese!, No Kiss Tonight, or Popeye and Olive Oil.  Descriptive and creative, rolled into one.

For today’s writercize, since it's an anniversary of sorts, I’m throwing in a contest.  Not only will the winner(s) have eternal bragging rights for winning a writercize challenge, but s/he will be eligible to win a free pizza family meal donated by a very hip, very popular local pizza chain!   

(Eligibility nitty-gritty:  Must live in L.A. for the pizza prize - I'll pick one local winner and one out-of-towner.  Out-of-towners - you're competing for a $5.00 gift card from Starbucks.)  

Here comes the challenge.

writercize:  Imagine a delicious pizza pie sitting on the counter in front of you.  Smell the aroma.  See the colors.  Taste the first bite.  Now pick your toppings and name that pizza.  Be as creative as you like.  Any ingredient you can fit on top of stretched out dough goes. Any theme is yours for the picking.  

Leave your entry as a comment - remember to name the pizza and describe the toppings, and be sure to tell me where you live and how to contact you if you are a winner.

In one week, I will personally select two winners among the entries - one local and one out of town.  The winner will be selected on two merits: creativity in the title, and imaginary taste sensation from the combination of ingredients.   If it’s just too close to call, I’ll throw the best of the best in a hat and pull one out.  Multiple entries accepted. Deadline - midnight Pacific time, Tuesday, September 13.

The local Los Angeles area winner will receive a FREE family meal donated by Fresh Brothers.  The prize includes an extra-large thin crust two topping pizza, 20 buffalo wings and a farmer's market salad or Greek salad.  Wow, that's a lot of good food!

Fresh Brothers is a local pizza chain with six restaurants in the Los Angeles area run by husband and wife entrepreneurs and social do-gooders Adam and Debbie Goldberg.  They are completely plugged into what is current in LA, and offer customers healthy, homemade pizza choices for every diet.  Gluten sensitivity?  They have a crust for that.  Vegan?  They have a cheese for that.  Picky kids?  They have a sauce with hidden veggies for that.  The ads are cool, their social media is impressive, the food is good and their community involvement rocks. 

When taking a break from running a successful business, Debbie writes a blog called Manhattan Beach Momma and has a blast exploring all that LA has to offer with her twin children.

Do I have your attention?

Now get writing writercizers!  

No sample writercize today - it's all on you guys! 


Heads Up! - Reason to Celebrate Right Around the Corner

Happy Labor Day weekend to all my fabulous writercizers!  I hope you enjoy your three days of non-work related bliss.  
Come back Tuesday for a "monumental" post and opportunities to win a prize.  :)

In the meantime, if you're aching for some exercises for your writing brain, scroll down the homepage or archives and take your pick.  It's about time for school and regular posts are back up and running! 


Lost in the Longing - writercize #99

When I was younger, I was struck with a malaise sense of what I liked to call pre-longing.  During summers, while I was hanging out with friends who had graduated while I was still preparing for another year of high school, I would imagine the idea of missing them in my future.  Though they were right in front of me, I felt a sense of yearning for days gone by.  As I grew older, and my grandparents aged, I would get that same uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach, imagining the loss and the hole in my heart that would remain when they were gone.  I would work hard to remember every conversation, every laugh, in hopes that I would harness the feeling of warmth and family when the time came that I couldn't be around them. 

These episodes of pre-longing were generally much stronger than the actually feeling of loss that would occur after the fact.  When friends moved away to college, I missed them but was busy with school and activities and new friendships.  When my grandparents passed away, rather than feeling as though I needed to gasp for air, I took comfort in my children, babies at the time, and held them close as I watched the full circle of life unfolding before my eye, from cradle to the grave.  When we lose something, we live with it and move forward.  When we imagine losing something, we imagine we will not be capable of doing so.  At least for me.

Now I imagine what my house will feel like in 15 years when my children are ready to leave the nest, and I can hardly stand it.  I love them for the little people that they are now, small and cuddly and full of imagination, and I want that forever.  I know that when the time comes, they will be ready, and in some way, so will I.  I also know that I waste a lot of energy and time thinking about this when I should be fully in the moment and enjoying them today.

In general, I'm quite satisfied with life and the way things go; I appreciate the past and look forward to the future.  At the same time, I am a huge planner and daydreamer, so I sometimes forget about today, which is the day that I will one day look back upon fondly as "the good old days."  I don't miss any particular part of my past, from childhood to the college years to singledom and now marriage and family, but at times I long for bits and pieces of my past.  The ability to jump on an airplane and travel when and where I want with minimal preparation.  The comfort of being a child ready to sleep in her family home.  The energy on a college campus.  I wouldn't want to go back, but I do long for some of those bits and pieces of the life that I've lived to this point.

Why all this talk of longing?  It's the topic of the Group Blogging Experience, a.k.a. GBE 2, a weekly blogging challenge that has attracted nearly 200 bloggers of every type.  There are spots open.

Now, after that long background on the topic of longing, I will pare it down for you with a poem.  I challenge you to think of what longing means to you, when you've longed for something, and break it down short and sweet and poetic.

writercize:  Tap into your emotional attachments to people and things.  Write a poem on the topic of "longing."

Click "read more" for writercizer very brief sample response.