Category Archives: Daily Post

A Song About Mars … and Earth

In 2010, I was hiking near the San Pedro River when I was inspired to write a song about the planets.

You may be wondering (as I was at first) how a walk in the woods could turn into a song about outer space. Well, I can explain. Meet my muse, the vermilion flycatcher.

Bee in the Pink-3

There I was, minding my own business, walking through the woods on a bright autumn day, thinking about trees and sky and birds. I was hoping to see a vermilion flycatcher. I didn’t see one that day, but I think one must have been up in the trees looking down at me.

As I walked along, I was filled with a beautiful feeling. Maybe it was the fresh air, the blue sky, or the bright sunshine, but I felt a song coming on. I thought it was going to be about that bird.

But when I got home, the words that came out were about two planets instead. Earth and Mars. I think I wanted to write about Earth, and thoughts of the vermilion flycatcher made me think of the color red. Somehow the two came together into this song about two best friends in space, Eartha Tierra (Earth) and Marty Vermilion (Mars).

Since NASA landed a probe on Mars today, I thought it would be a good day to post the lyrics to the song. You can listen to it for free by clicking on the song title, which is:

Vertical Horizon

Eartha Tierra was a beauty
Marty Vermilion was her friend
It had been that way since forever
It looked like it never would end
Eartha Tierra turned to Marty
My friends call me Mama, she said
Marty rearranged his auburn hair
And he answered, You can call me Red
 
Eartha and Marty were neighbors
Grew up on the same side of the tracks
In daytime they traveled in circles
At night they watched each other’s backs
The days soon turned into seasons
The seasons turned into years
Some years were better than others
And some just brought Eartha to tears
 
                        Some folks believe in miracles, she cried
                        They pray for salvation and such
                        Others just tryin’ to survive
                        They don’t really ask for much
                        But I’m lookin’ for a vertical horizon
                        A total eclipse of this scene
                        Somewhere a settin’ sun is risin’
                        That’s where I wanna be
 
One day Eartha said to Marty
There’s problems from pole to pole
The gravity of this situation
Is beginning to take its toll
No sooner had Eartha spoken
Than Marty was quick to agree
I’m tired of this constant revolution, he said
I need some peace and tranquility
 
                        Why can’t people be friends like us
                        And walk in each other’s shoes
                        They could be tasting heaven on earth
                        Instead of these heart-heavy blues
                        So I’m lookin’ for a vertical horizon
                        A total eclipse of this scene
                        Somewhere a settin’ sun is risin’
                        That’s where I wanna be
                        Yeah, I’m lookin’ for a vertical horizon
                        A total eclipse of this scene
                        Somewhere a settin’ sun is risin’
                        That’s where I wanna, that’s where I wanna be.
 
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Oh Bee Hive!

For the past several months, I’ve been taking a yoga class. Today’s class was especially relaxing. We always start and end with shavasana, which involves lying down on a yoga mat. It doesn’t get any gentler than that.

In between the two shavasanas, we do some mild stretching, yawning, twisting, rocking, and balancing … nothing difficult. I go there for the relaxation factor. It’s literally the most relaxing part of my whole week, including the parts of my week while I’m asleep.

Today we did something at the end of class, during shavasana, that was so enjoyable for me that I wanted to share it with you. It was a guided observation that went something like this:

“Imagine yourself holding a mortar in your left hand, and a pestle in your right hand.

Now imagine everything that makes you sick or causes you pain dropping into your mortar, pebble by pebble.

Now take your right hand and grind your pebbles into a fine dust.

Now blow the dust away. Let it disappear.

Now imagine that every cell in your body is being filled up with a beautiful golden light.

Let the light warm you and envelop you. Enjoy your beautiful golden light.

(After a minute or two of enjoying the sensations created by our imaginations, we continued.)

Now release the light into the atmosphere. Just let it gently fade away.”


I’ve experienced relaxation exercises before, but never like this. This one was special for me. I think it was because it began with the image of something very tangible: a mortar and pestle that I could hold in my hands. The directions were very specific. Mortar in left hand, pestle in right. Grind, grind, grind. Blow. Pouff! Gone.

And then, cells. Lots of them. And warm golden light. All very physical, very real to me. I imagined myself as a beehive.

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I really liked this exercise. Grinding the pebbles into dust made me feel strong. Blowing them away gave me a sense of relief. Then each cell in my body filling up with warm, golden honey made me feel like I glowed. I think my head was even buzzing.

I didn’t want to release the light, but I knew I couldn’t lie there in shavasana forever, so I came back to reality. But even after I had done so, some of the energy of the golden light remained. I felt calm and energized at the same time.

I thought it was a very effective imagery exercise, and I just wanted to share it with you.

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Thankful for Peppers

Today I’m going to cheat a bit and write about other people’s posts.

By other people, I mean Cheer Peppers, a.k.a. bloggers participating in the daily November blogging challenge known as NanoPoblano. If you want to indulge in some good reading, and if you’re on Facebook, find the Cheer Peppers group and join it.

Or you can find them in the Cheer Peppers list below. (I hope I haven’t left any out. I borrowed this list from fellow Cheer Pepper Carolyn Owens.)

A.R. at StarvingActivist.com
Barbara at teleportingweena.wordpress.com
Bill at BillFriday.com
Breanna at BooksHooksAndYarn.wordpress.com
Carolyn Owens at InfinityCoaching.net
Cyn at Cynk.wordpress.com
David at TooFullToWrite.com
Dean at DeanKealy.design
Echo at trueecho22.wordpress.com
Gwenlynn at JustALittleBitSweet.com
Hasty at FearingCrazy.wordpress.com
Hope at HopesThoughts.blog
Jessie at BehindTheWillows.com
Jesska at NotThrowingStones.today
Julia at AberrantCrochet.com
Julie at JulieBurton.blog
Kay at SuddenlyTheyAllDied.com
Kim at DrunkOnLifeBlog.com
Lillian at HumanInRecovery.wordpress.com
Liz at CatsAndChocolate.com
Lori at LoriStory.wordpress.com
Matt at TheMatticusKingdom.com
Namy at NamySaysSo.com
Nessa at vanessence.wordpress.com
Nutty at SpokenLikeATrueNut.wordpress.com
Owen at NoTalentForCertainty.com
Paula at TheTemenosJournal.com
Ra at Rarasaur.com
Rebecca at MommyQuits.wordpress.com
Renee at ReneeRobbinsWrites.com
Revis at RevisEdgewater.wordpress.com
Robert at FreshOffThePadPoetry.wordpress.com
Sahara at CreoSomnium.org
Symanntha at FailingAtHaiku.wordpress.com
Quixie at QuixiesMindPalace.wordpress.com

In keeping with the energetic but forgiving spirit of the Cheer Peppers, I’ve been trying to keep up with my daily posts (but not beating myself up if I skip days). I’m also trying to read ALL other Cheer Pepper posts. So far I’ve posted 14/21 days but read all posts for only 3/21 days. I’m batting .667 when it comes to posting, but only .143 for reading.

It’s not that I don’t love reading their posts. I do! It’s just that I run out of time during the week. But I’ll get caught up, I promise! I’m pledging today to read a ton of Cheer Pepper posts over this 4-day weekend.

To prove I’m serious about my pledge, here’s what I’m using to keep track of my progress.

image1

By November 30, I hope to post another photo showing many more check marks in the right hand column.

Cheer Peppers are a thoughtful, funny, kind, and talented bunch, and their work is labor-intensive. Blogging is different from other types of writing, in that blog posts often try to say a lot using a relatively limited number of words.

Good blog posts are attention grabbing, clear, concise, artistic, sometimes amusing, and often deeply personal. It’s difficult to get all of that into a blog post, which is why I’m so thankful I stumbled upon the riches of NanoPoblano. Not only is it good writing practice for me, but it’s introduced me to some amazing people.

Thanks, Cheer Peppers!

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Two Horses

Last November, David Ellis introduced me to the concept of “found poetry.” (David is a fellow blogger and “Cheer Pepper” — a participant in November’s daily blogging extravaganza known as “NanoPoblano.”)

Found poetry (also known as “blackout poetry”) is a poem that you discover and then alter by deleting certain words until a new poem emerges. I never thought of stealing borrowing David’s idea until November 18th rolled around and I was stuck for an idea of my own.

But since I like including photos with my blog entries, I took a little field trip first. Camera in hand, I ventured an hour from my home to the small town of Tubac, Arizona, near the Mexico border. As sunset approached, I came upon two horses contentedly enjoying their dinner.

horses at Tubac

I returned home and began my search for a Found Poem that had something to do with horses. I decided on Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” Here’s the original:

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sounds the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

And now here is my Found Poem:

I think I know in the village
his little horse near the lake.
The darkest bells shake to ask
if there is the sweep of easy wind.
The woods are lovely and deep
but I have to go to sleep.

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Song of the Iguana

I’ve written and recorded a song about iguanas. Read on to learn why my songwriting career has taken this reptilian turn.

My friend Elaine Powers is an author and biologist who lives and works with reptiles. Her pets include iguanas, tortoises, tegu lizards, and a turtle. She currently is actively involved in saving endangered iguanas in the Carribbean.

As Elaine explained to me recently, rock iguanas and spiny-tail iguanas living in Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, and other islands have become endangered due to habitat loss and introduced (non-native) predators. Spiny-tails are sometimes consumed by humans. The Statia iguanas on St. Eustatius Island are threatened by hybridization with the non-native green iguana. Some iguanas, while warming themselves on asphalt highways, get run over by cars, either accidentally or for sport. And then there’s poaching for the pet trade. Elaine’s group is trying to educate the public about the importance of native iguanas to the local ecosystem.

After hearing about the plight of the iguanas, I decided to write a song about them. Elaine had the song animated by Anderson Atlas, and she posted it on her YouTube channel.

To see and hear the video, click the following link:

Iguana Song

There’s even an iguana joke at the end of the song.

I’m hoping it catches on in the Carribbean. Do they have some version of a Grammy there? Maybe a Carribby? I’d settle for a paid vacation. But the real prize would be helping the iguanas to survive and thrive on their native island homes.

I’d love to hear your comments, and sharing is always appreciated!

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Just Gelato

 

I needed a break from the news, a break from the work week, and a little break from writing today. I decided to just stare at this photo of gelato for a while.

gelato

Unfortunately, the gelato in the picture is long gone. I consumed it last September while visiting Florence, Italy (the birthplace of gelato).

I’m feeling more chill now. I may be able to write again tomorrow.

This photo is dedicated to David Ellis … to further entice him to visit Florence as soon as possible.

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Diversity Song

Yesterday, I walked to a little park near my apartment. It was a beautiful day. People of all ages, shapes, and sizes were out walking and riding bikes. A gray-haired woman sat on a bench in the sun next to a young woman with Down syndrome. A bald man on a recumbent bike sat quietly next to a statue, a memorial to children in the community who have died. Children played on a rainbow-colored slide. I noticed that it was also a rainbow-colored variety of children; their hair was black, brown, and yellow. It got me thinking about America.

It’s hard NOT to think about America these days (especially if, like me, you happen to be an American). We’re in the news every day, and most of it’s downright embarrassing. But at the park, I started thinking about what I believe truly makes America great. To me, it’s our diversity.

Maybe this Thanksgiving, Americans should make more of an effort to give thanks for our diversity. And maybe we should celebrate it this Fourth of July, too.

Tonight, I’ve written some lyrics about diversity in America. You might want to sing them to the tune of “America the Beautiful” while sitting down for your Thanksgiving dinner this year.

DIVERSITY

Oh beautiful for this our home
For mountains, rivers, trees
For buffalo so plentiful
Fish swimming in the seas
For Native people living here
Respectful of the land
The beans and corn and squash adorned
That perfect feast so grand

Oh brave the many immigrants
Who faced the ocean storms
With hopes of finding better lives
Wishing to be transformed
And braver still the stolen ones
Robbed of their liberty
Our country’s been a melting pot
Though not completely free.

We stand for nothing if not this:
We are diversity
A land of many colors proud
That is our legacy
America, America
Our strength: our many shades
A garden where all flowers grow
Where every grain can wave!

© Lori Bonati

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A Lizard’s Tale

Yesterday, I met with my writer’s critique group at a local coffee shop. I was the first to arrive. The second to arrive was a woman I’d never met before. She introduced herself as “Liz” before excusing herself and walking toward the coffee counter.

For some strange reason, I decided I’d remember her name by associating it with a lizard. She in no way resembles a lizard. It was just the first thing that popped into my mind when she said, “Liz.”

Another writer — Elaine — arrived and joined me at our table. While awaiting Liz’s return, I told Elaine that I’d just met Liz, and confessed that I was associating her name (not her!) with a lizard. The weird thing is that a second later I realized that Elaine is another Liz. Her nickname is “Liz Lady” because of the work she does with reptiles.

Liz returned to the table and introduced herself to Elaine.

“I’m Liz,” she said, “but my real name’s Roberta. I go by Liz because of a lizard …”

I was too stunned to listen to the rest of her explanation. I’ll have to ask her more about it next time I see her. But while I was sitting there, in between two lizards, I remembered this photo I’d taken once.

lizard-2

Did you know that lizards sing the blues, and that they also like acronyms? To prove it, here’s a blues song written by my friend in the photograph.

DSL Blues

Oh, I’m a desert spiny lizard, but you can call me DSL
I’m a desert spiny lizard, but you can call me DSL
My life is hot and dusty, all this crawlin’ in the desert is hell.

Well, I’m strong and I’m fast, and my scales are a colorful sight
Yeah, I’m strong and I’m fast, and my scales are a colorful sight (that’s right!)
But when people see me comin’ I always give ’em such a fright.

Well, they scream and they holler, they run away and hide
It makes me feel bad, it hurts my pride
I wish they would stay, but instead they just go
I think they are so wrong, IMHO

Now, you may be wondering what I mean by IMHO
Yeah, I’ll bet you never heard a lizard say IMHO
It means “In My Handsome Opinion,” so there you are, and now you know.

And the acronym LOL was a lizard’s invention, I won’t lie
Uh-huh, the acronym LOL was a lizard’s invention, I won’t lie (or bat an eye)
It stands for Lizards On Lunchbreak, now it’s time for me to go and catch some flies … Bye bye!

— DSL

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Rejection’s Silver Lining

Today was a very special day. I received not one, not two, but THREE rejections in my email inbox. After the initial sensation of having eaten a truckload of sour grapes, I’ve decided to think of these messages as good omens. Things are bound to get better, since they can’t get much worse.

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To be honest, I wasn’t devastated. I’m getting used to rejection, and besides, the submissions were for low-cost online contests that set me back only $7 for all three entries.

Rejections #1 and #2 were kindly worded and encouraging:

“The road to publication takes many turns, and we hope you will continue your journey. We wish you the best of luck with your writing, and hope to see your work again.”

But Rejection #3 was sort of odd. The subject of the email was:

“Contest Finalists!”

After getting my hopes up, I opened the email only to discover that I was NOT one of the lucky 100 finalists. Yes, that’s right, 100. I think they should have come up with a different designation for the chosen ones, other than “Finalists.” Maybe “Semifinalists”?” “Just above average”? Or how about “Most of the Entrants”? Actually, I have no idea how many people entered, but I hope it wasn’t 101.

Being the humble wannabe writer that I am, I decided to check out a few of the lucky entries.

I clicked on a random entry and found that it had been typed in a weird font that was hard to read. Not only that, but the line spacing was such that the lines were smashed together. It wasn’t possible to read it without getting a headache. I clicked on another random entry.

I was met with the same eye-strain inducing font, and the same migraine-triggering line spacing. It must be the website, not the authors, I deduced. I gave a third piece a try and had the identical experience, but this time I noticed things like exceptionally long sentences, a lack of periods between sentences, and even a subject/verb disagreement. In short, the writing had a certain unproofread flair.

I felt a lot better about not being chosen as a “Finalist” for that contest, since it was clear that I hadn’t understood the rules. It was supposed to be a “first draft” contest, I guess.

I brushed off my rejections and turned my attention to my project for the evening, which was to post something for NanoPoblano (my November blog-a-day obsession). I actually had a halfway decent idea for my post tonight. It wasn’t about my rejections. It was about a movie I’d seen yesterday.

I started to type a title for this blog, changed my mind, and deleted it. Immediately, a message from WordPress popped up on my screen :

YOU HAVEN’T WRITTEN ANYTHING YET!

Thanks, WordPress. I needed those words of encouragement, especially today.

Actually, I’m laughing about this whole thing. I’ve developed a thick skin regarding rejection. I know I’m still a novice and have a lot to learn. I still love writing and submitting my work, and I hope I never lose that fire.

So to WordPress, just for tonight, I say this:

YES, I HAVE, AND YOU AIN’T SEEN NOTHIN’ YET!

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Dwarsligger: A New Dutch Invention

According to an article I read recently, the Netherlands is responsible for a number of important inventions, including:

  • the microscope
  • the telescope
  • the submarine
  • wi-fi
  • orange carrots

I admit that the above items are all really cool (especially orange carrots), but there’s a new invention on the horizon. I heard about it the other day on National Public Radio, so I believe it to be true. And its presence could revolutionize the literary world. Its name is:

DWARSLIGGER

The word “dwarsligger” comes from two Dutch words: “dwars,” which means “crossways,” and “liggen,” which means “to lie” (as in lying crossways), and which also can mean “a person or thing that stands out as different.” So, a dwarsligger is a different sort of thing that lies crossways. To see what this means in terms of books, try this:

  • Imagine a book that opens like a regular book, except that instead of a regular binding, it has a hinge.
  • Now turn the book sideways and imagine that the text is printed in landscape mode.
  • Make the book small, about the size of a cell phone.
  • Now make the pages really thin, like onion skin.

That’s a dwarsligger – a mini-book you can hold with one hand, with pages that can be flipped out of the way as you read them. It’s like swiping on an electronic device, but better. It’s a real book.

Dutton (part of Penguin Random House) just released its first set of dwarsliggers – all novels by YA author John Green. Being a John Green fan, I can’t wait to get my hands – er – hand on these little dwarsliggers.

And now, in honor of the U.S. midterm elections (November 6, don’t forget to vote!), I’m conducting a mini-poll of my own:

The 2018 LoriStory Official and Unbiased Pre-Election Day Book Poll:

Which of the following book formats is your favorite?

_____ Hardcover

_____ Paperback

_____ E-book

_____ Dwarsligger

_____ Wait for the movie

Vote for as many as you like in the comment section below.

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