Tag Archives: stories

Weekly Writing Challenge: The Object Of Desire…

“And so it is, that both the Devil and the angelic Spirit present us with objects of desire to awaken our power of choice.” Rumi

The Object Of Desire... was not the pastoral farm

Weekly Writing Challenge: The Object Of Desire… was not the pastoral farm

Once upon a time, a humble farmer and his ambitious wife were on their way to a Farmers Market in a neighboring town. As they prepared to leave, the farmer’s wife asked her husband to pack the bottle of gin that they kept in a safe under the bed in the barn. “Why?” The farmer asked his wife. “Because!?” She answered, and yelled at him to get the gin. Being a humble man, he chose to honor his wife and went back in the barn and retrieved the gin.

A few hours into their journey, the wife asked to take a lunch and rest stop.  Her husband agreed. They parked their truck by a lovely stream and ventured out to sit on the grass and enjoy some cheese and tomato sandwiches. Before the farmer could take  two bites of his sandwich, his wife reached for the gin and offered him a sip.  Several weeks before, she had planned to put him to sleep … permanently. She went to the  local hardware store, bought a potent rat poison mix, and added  the rat poison to the gin. Why? You might ask. She was having a tryst with a farm hand.  She was tired of farming and fancied a life for herself in the big city.

The farmer took one sip and fell into a drunken sleepy stupor.  His wife  grabbed him under the armpits and dragged him to the water’s edge.  In one fell swoop, she pushed him into the stream where he tried, feebly, to save himself but couldn’t. Satisfied that he was about to meet his maker she turned around and headed back to lunch.

“It is only in the world of objects that we have time and space and selves.’ T. S. Eliot

The Object Of Desire... was not the box of gold treasures

The Object Of Desire… was not the box of gold treasures

As she sat down to finish her lunch,  she noticed someone watching her. Immediately, she panicked, thinking she might have been caught. So, she jumped up and started keening and screaming: “Please help me save my hubby. He fell in the stream and I don’t know what to do!” The stranger approached her with a sly smile on his face. “Are you sure you want him back? I can give you far better to enrich your life.”  He said softly. Her eyes lit up… “Well, how about my drowning husband?”

“Don’t worry, your secret is safe with me…” said the stranger.  “How about a new farm?”  he offered. He waved a gloved hand and a fabulous farm appeared.  She looked at it and shook her head. “No, we have a nice farm”
“Okay, how about a box of gold treasures?” He asked, his eyes sparkling brightly, as a box of gold treasures appeared.
She was tempted but then said “NO! That’s not my object of desire…”
“Well what do you desire, dear lady…? This time, he spoke with a slight edge to his tone of voice. She paused and smiled.

A thought crossed her mind. “Well, I don’t know if I should ask…” she said.
“Tell me anyway, I’ll decide if I can make it appear or not” He smiled devilishly, as a wicked thought crossed his mind…  After all, he was the Evil One.
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The Gift: World Book Night 2013

“The book to read is not the one that thinks for you but the one that makes you think.” Harper Lee

Tina Fey's BossyPantsfor World BookNight

The Gift: World Book Night 2013… Readers in my group received Tina Fey’s Bossypants.

More student Bossypants recipients with program coodinator.

The Gift: World Book Night 2013… Some student recipients with Program Coordinator Claudette Spence(2nd left).

Today is World Book Night, UNESCO‘s International Day of the Book, World Book Day, Shakespeare’s Birthday, and Miguel de Cervantes memorial. To celebrate books and encourage more adults to read, the World Book Night organizers, in collaboration with book publishers around the world, arranged a massive book giveaway. 500,000 copies of 30 paperback books, selected by a special panel, were distributed to readers in organizations, clubs, on the streets and at designated locations. What I found remarkable was how the program, initiated by Book publishers at a Conference in the UK in 2010, became a global event with thousands of volunteers connecting with appreciative book readers.

Program Coordinator Claudette and Instructor Fay admire the books.

The Gift: World Book Night 2013… Program Coordinator Claudette and Instructor Fay admire the books

Box of Books picked up at Barnes and Nobles

The Gift: World Book Night 2013… The box of books picked up at Barnes and Nobles

As a volunteer book giver, I received 20 copies of a special paperback edition of Tina Fey‘s BossyPants. It was one of three books I had chosen from the list when I applied. Earlier in the week, I stopped by my local Barnes & Noble bookstore to pick up my boxed books. The store manager welcomed me with a smile, and presented me with a thank you letter and professional looking certificate. I was thrilled and ready to share the books, but I had to wait till April 23rd to join the global effort and make sure the maximum number of students could be reached. The first World Book Night giveaway was celebrated in the UK and Ireland in 2011. By 2012, it had expanded to the USA and Germany.

Some of the student recipients of the book.

The Gift: World Book Night 2013… Some student recipients displaying their books

Bossypants on display at theYWCA

The Gift: World Book Night 2013… Bossypants on display and admired by instructor Fay

Today, I handed out copies of the book to Students in the Women’s Empowerment/Women in Transition program at the YWCA in Manhattan. To memorialize the event, I took several photos of the books and the grateful students/recipients to share with you here. When I signed up to become a book giver, I identified the program as one of two choices to receive copies of the free book because our students are learning new skills to help them get back to work, and most are on a tight budget. Tina’s hilarious and candid book was the perfect choice for my recipients because during tough times, reading uplifting or funny books, maintaining a sense of humor, and smart planning, can help us develop effective coping skills.  More below!

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Musings: What Is Your Mondegreen?

“Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.” Ludwig van Beethoven

What's your mondegreen?

What’s your mondegreen? A mixed bag of musical instruments

A mondegreen is the mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase as a result of near-homophony, in a way that gives it a new meaning. It most commonly is applied to a line in a poem or a lyric in a song Wikipedia

What is your mondegreen? Have you ever misinterpreted the lyrics of a favorite song? Do you remember anyone else who has? Recently, I was listening to an NPR (National Public Radio) show on music and the topic was about Mondegreens. If you’ve never heard the term before, it is used to describe what happens when we listen to a song and hear some of the lyrics differently from what the artist is singing/saying. For instance, instead of “Pretty little things” we might hear “Ditsy little finks.” It happens to a lot of us and often with songs we enjoy singing out loud. As I listened to the show, which was quite funny, it took me back to songs I enjoyed in my teen days and how I butchered some of the lyrics because what I heard was different from what the artist was singing.

“Music can change the world because it can change people.” Bono

“Blinded by the Light,” cover of a Bruce Springsteen song by the Manfred Mann’s Earth Band  The line “revved up like a deuce” becomes “wrapped up like a douche”

“Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac  The line “Well, who am I to keep you down?” becomes “Well, whoever will kick you down?” “Thunder only happens when it’s raining” becomes “Thunder only helps us when we’re praying.”   “Have you any dreams you’d like to sell” becomes “Holds you and it dreams you like yourself.”

“Diamond in the Back” by Curtis Mayfield. The line “Gangster whitewalls TV antenna in the back” becomes “Against the white world, To be answered, sit in the back.”

Do you have any examples of a Mondegreen to share? Above are some examples of popular songs we’ve butchered (some are mine and some from Wiki).  I remember when Fleetwood Mac’s huge hit came out. I fell in love with the album and would listen to the song “Dreams” on the radio or on TV and sing along loudly. In classic mondegreen fashion,”Well, who am I to keep you down?” became “Well, whoever will kick you down?” and it stuck in my head like an earworm. On the NPR show, they invited a Mondegreen expert and he pointed out that when we mishear the words of a song, we hold on to the incorrect lyrics because we truly believe we have the correct information and everyone else is goofing off. And, like an earworm, which is a song that won’t leave your brain, a mondegreen lingers too. Checkout the poll below and add your vote. Thank you! More below

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