Special Guest Joan Gregerson on Gratitude!

International_Peace_Day_logoSeptember 21st is observed around the world as the International Day of Peace. Joan Gregerson is a writer, a teacher, a member of my writing group, the author of Tuning Into Inner Peace: The Surprisingly Fun Way to Transform Your Life, and a purveyor of peace in general, ramping up to September 21st with a free online course, The 29-Day Inner Peace Experience. She devotes today, Day 16, to Gratitude. I’m especially happy to have her here today because Gratitude transforms my life on a daily basis, in ways both big and small — “The good sense to be grateful” often makes the list in my Gratitude Journal, and in my opinion we can’t find our way down the path to peace without it. Please welcome Joan and her Barney Rubble feet. As she says, “The first step in making a better world is learning how to become more peaceful ourselves. Together, we can create a culture of peace!”

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I Love You, My Barney Rubble feet

By Joan Gregerson

Like many people, by the time I got to the age of 40, I had decades of body critiques filed and at the ready. Look like a boy. Big nose. Droopy boobs. A spare tire. A double chin. A long torso. Thunder thighs. I didn’t think of myself as pretty or ugly, just painfully plain.

Raised Catholic, married young, and working as an engineer, being plain seemed to work in my favor. I definitely did not attract attention because of my striking beauty. And sexuality, well, it was just better all-around if no one ever brought that up. As far as my appearance, I wouldn’t say it was self-loathing, more just self-nothing, or self “meh”-ing. Continue reading

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Our Writing Group’s Tasty New Anthology

Tasty YearHas it been a tasty year for you?  It certainly has been for the members of my writing group, who, in all of our free time between the novels, Ph.D theses and live theater pieces that we’ve inspired and encouraged each other to produce, have also been stirring together the ingredients of Tasty Year: A Food Anthologywhich we are pleased to announce is now ready to enjoy!  Think of it as a paperback Crockpot, into which we each tossed an ingredient every month or so, simmering a seasoned blend of poems, haikus, essays and micro-fiction into a hearty stew of memories, discoveries, and brownie recipes that you can share with friends or gobble up in one sitting all by yourself.  (No shame in that game, we’ve all done it.  With books, I obviously mean…)

As writers and artists, we, the members of the Open Book Writing Group, have found that writing and art get us through some difficult times. And more than that, the creative expression brings a level of confidence, healing and fun to our lives.  Half of our net proceeds from this anthology will be donated to Art from Ashes, a Denver non-profit that seeks to empower youth through creative expression and personal transformation.

My February contribution is even about the Crockpot (we’re nuts about slow cookers, our group).  It’s 100 words about it being ridiculously freezing cold, like it’s been in Denver the last few days, and about how sharing a simple pleasure (like chili, or your good-lookin’ self in a cute-fitting sweater) is sometimes all it takes to chase away the chill.  I offer it up here as a little amuse-bouche (and, if you live in Colorado, to see if it helps warm you even a little bit on this freezingest night), and invite you to visit our blog, like our Facebook page, or find us on Amazon to dig into the complete anthology, for your Kindle or in paperback.

100 Word: Nothing Fancy

“I just did some chili in the crockpot,” he squeaks, chin down. “It’s nothing fancy.” It’s February, I almost had to cross country ski over here, the kitchen window’s steamed over and the whole place smells of slow-cooking cumin and crackling fire. My veins are packed with snow and my eyelashes are icicles — him in that green sweater’s all the “fancy” I need. Can of beans, hunk of meat, let’s eat. “I figured a ton of garlic was OK,” he’s saying. “Only person I’m planning on kissing is you.” And just like that, I’m warm inside before I’ve eaten a bite.

I love a good writing project.  I write better and more freely with my eye on a submission deadline, or a word-count goal, or a photo prompt than if I’m just writing to see what happens.  Early on, my writing group, the Open Book, got in the habit of starting meetings with exercises wherein we’d all whip out a few words for a few minutes on a given topic or song or bouquet of flowers, and then share the results by way of bringing us all together and getting the ball rolling.  As an extension of this, our favorite pastime, this year we’ve decided to build an anthology of short, original work.  Not just from the “members” of the group, but also from like-minded cousins and grandmas and passersby, reflecting the fluid, Come Ye Who Wish philosophy that governs most of our meetings.

Loving prompts the way we do, we decided we’d all be more likely to participate more fully if we had a theme, and the topic of Food, it will not surprise regular readers of Mister S. to learn, met little resistance (and might actually have been the only theme idea we even entertained).  Thus was Twelve Months of Tasty Morsels born.  Here at the beginning of month four, the antho is still taking shape as a blog which, at the end of the year, will be compiled into a little book of poetry, 100-word stories, and food haiku, the proceeds from which our group plans to donate to an as-yet undesignated local non-profit dealing with the art of writing and/or the fight against hunger.

This 100-word story, “Nothing Fancy,” is a reblog of my (just-submitted) February entry.  Visit the blog if you have a taste for this sort of thing, see what my writing buddies are up to, and, if you find something yummy, please enjoy!

Tasty Year: A Food Anthology

A 100-word piece by Michael Thomas for February

Nothing Fancy

“I just did some chili in the crockpot,” he squeaks, chin down. “It’s nothing fancy.” It’s February, I almost had to cross country ski over here, the kitchen window’s steamed over and the whole place smells of slow-cooking cumin and crackling fire. My veins are packed with snow and my eyelashes are icicles — him in that green sweater’s all the “fancy” I need. Can of beans, hunk of meat, let’s eat. “I figured a ton of garlic was OK,” he’s saying. “Only person I’m planning on kissing is you.” And just like that, I’m warm inside before I’ve eaten a bite.

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