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Interview with an immortal.

Hold your horses!
Hold your horses!

What would Zeus do?

Those are the questions you’re asking as you analyze a character.

There are many ways to analyze a character.


 Ask yourself:

What do you look like?

What is your day like?

What is your status in the world?

What relationships do you have?

What symbols or tools would represent you?

Do you have any special gifts or training?

What is one story that defines who you are?

If you could be someone else, who would it be?

What is one thing you regret?

What is one thing you are most proud of?


Once you have a handle on your own “character,” perhaps you can start to control another.



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Chocolate healing.

Box of ChocolatesMy son told me an interesting fact this weekend, and I verified it on the ‘net:

4. “Illegal for a man to give his sweetheart a box of candy weighing less than fifty pounds.” I don’t know, this might be a smart law, not a silly law. Yes it would be expensive. Yes it would be heavy. But what woman wouldn’t like to get fifty pounds of chocolate! Talk about being able to pick and choose your favorite pieces!


That begs the question: What wife or girlfriend became so angry at her cheap husband/boyfriend that she decided to get the required signatures and petition for a new law to be put on the books? Okay, aside from finding this fantastic writing prompt, the real reason I’m writing about chocolate this morning is because I owe people. A lot of people.

My friend stepped in for me BIG TIME yesterday. My other co-workers always have my back. My husband went back to the store for ME when  he was already home because I was too tired. This morning, a heavy bronze crab sculpture I have in my bathroom fell (yes, I am the owner of a heavy bronze crab sculpture) and my husband asked me if I was okay.

I was kvetching that no matter what I do, I don’t get it all done. I still didn’t finish training myself on a new reading program I must start today. I still didn’t get everything I needed from the store. I still didn’t have time to clean this morning. What I really needed to do was just shut up and consider how lucky I am.

It should be a law that I must reciprocate with no less than 50 lbs. of the best, smoothest, most delicious chocolates for all of these people in my world I cherish, love, and appreciate. The best I can do for now is to say, “I love you, and I am so grateful for you.” And I’ll try to throw in a few Hershey’s kisses, too.

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Hey, you, get off of my cloud.

Impulsivity + Meanness=Regret.

I am still trying to find forgiveness for something I did when I was about seven or eight years old. When I was on the playground, one cold, crisp Texan school yard afternoon, the bell rang, and we went to line up. One of my classmates, a sweet, shy boy, while running to line up, was tripped by me. I impulsively stuck out my leg, and down he went. The look on his face when he was getting up was so sad – the meanness was so unexpected, so abrupt, that I knew, I knewI had done something near unforgivable. I will never forget the look on his face. (I know I helped him up, said sorry, but the damage was done.) I am the one who provided that kid with the experience of people are jerks, and sometimes do cruel things for no reason. Yea, me.

Since I can’t find the little boy (who’s obviously not little anymore) that I tripped in first grade, since the vast detective work of Google, Bing, or others will not find this one soul out of billions, and, I don’t remember names, exact dates or locations, I may never be able to find him and say, “I am sorry. I acted rashly, impulsively, but it may have hurt your feelings, and you still may remember it, and it hurt you for a long time.” 

Sharing this anecdote with students, one girl commented (several times), “that’s mean, Mrs. L,” until I finally had to say, “Yes, I know…it was mean, and I regret it, feel guilty and remorseful every time I think of it. Now let’s move on.” I would like to think that one act of impulsive, yet intentional bullying was out of character for me. That perhaps I was just ‘trying it on,’ and answering an inner curiosity about what is it like to do something wrong…totally, and absolutely outright wrong. But that sounds like a lot of mental justification.

 Trolling for interesting podcasts the other day, I came upon a This American Life episode called “Mind Games” that made me think about how people treat each other, and how if it’s based on lies, it usually doesn’t work out. At all.

This led me to listen to another episode from May, 2002, titled ‘Devil on My Shoulder.’  The premise or theme is that we humans are in constant struggle to choose right versus wrong, moral versus immoral behaviors, and we have so many outside influences pushing us, tempting us, this way and that, that sometimes we are compelled to blame it on a ‘devil on our shoulder,’ feeding us tiny lies and whispering small, but powerfully motivating ways to act unkindly. While my personal philosophy doesn’t include a personification of immoral judgements sitting on my left shoulder, I do believe in a dash of free will along with decision making, cognitive abilities thrown in with a cup of destiny, frosted with fate. Meaning, whether or not you believe in devils and angels, deities and do-gooders, we humans are still faced with the burning question, “what does it mean to do the right thing, and why do we sometimes NOT?”

 When I think about what I did, my heart hurts. That’s guilt. I might be a bit mired (stuck) in this one event, true. I am not sure why I’ve had difficulty finding atonement. If one of my children did something like this, I would tell them to learn from it, not to behave in a mean way again, and move on. So, I guess in that way, perhaps if I took my own advice, I can say I did learn from it. I never tripped anyone else again, and certainly never intentionally hurt anyone again. I just hope that somewhere out there, that boy knows I am sorry.bored angel

“Safety and happiness can only come from individuals, classes, and nations being honest and fair and kind to each other.”-CS Lewis

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Monster spray.

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear”–Mark Twain

On Wednesday, while we were reviewing the final Journey of the Hero project, I shared a personal story with some of you about when I was a little girl. My parents were renting a house, and I had a room somewhat separated from the rest of the family. My room had its own bathroom, which on the surface seems very luxurious. The closet in the bathroom, holding cleaners, towels, etc., had a crawl space, that hosted constant shadows, no matter how the light shone in, or how bright the sunlight glowed. There were monsters in that crawl space. No doubt, no question, no mystery. Monsters. Small, yes, but ferocious. Spiky, oozing, biting monsters. Luckily, I had a hero–my dad. When I brought him my worry and concerns about the crawl-space-bathroom-dwelling-monsters, he didn’t dismiss my fears; he solved them. Taking a can of Lysol, he thoroughly sprayed the inside of the monsters’ lair, and all around the bathroom. In my four-year-old’s memory, I can still see those monsters disintegrating like so much foul fog and smoke. He placed the can by my bed, in case I should ever need to kill monsters in the middle of the night. I haven’t had a monster problem since.

That’s kind of a silly story, I know. Just a small moment in time when someone who loved me made me feel braver. I guess I could think of the Monster Spray as being my own supernatural aid.

But we know that heroes face much worse–and that the definition of a hero/heroine is someone who does something for other people without thinking of themselves. But that’s the ideal hero. Humans are far more complicated than that. It’s the complications I want you to think about. We can’t relate to heroes who make it look easy all the time-it becomes unattainable. Maybe that’s why in Greek/Roman mythology, the gods/goddesses are flawed. Maybe that’s why in the Bible story of David and Goliath, David is this runt kid. Maybe that’s why in the legend of Joan of Arc, she’s this crazy teenage girl. There’s the Jewish story of a young girl named Esther, who saved her people through her bravery. Scheherazade used her brains and beauty to tell imaginative stories that not only saved her own neck, but showed her loyalty and faithfulness.

But what is the nature of bravery, and courage?

From Mr. Spencer’s Blog:  I saw a woman lose it at the grocery store the other day. She picked up a pink box  and slammed it to the shelf. I can’t remember the words exactly, but she said, “they’re using cancer to sell cereal. I’m sick of it. Why can’t they just have a celebrity?” And she started into a loud rant that quickly cleared the aisle and left her husband red-faced.

She stopped herself after knocking down a few of the boxes. I stared at Brenna and heard, “I’m sick of wearing pink and I’m tired of pretending. Cancer sucks.”

As I drove my cart off, she took off her hat and cried right there in the grocery store. Loud tears. Heaving sobs. Her husband held her.

Listen to these three stories, chosen because the storyteller met an obstacle, or had to overcome a fear:

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Antagonistically yours.



It’s not easy being the bad guy all the time. So misunderstood, so maligned! Why can’t the public see me for who I really am? Just little ol’ me, trying to get by in the cold, cold world? Whether it’s my slithery tentacles or sharp, forked tongue, a clawing, gleaming hook, or perhaps an ambitious quest to be the king or queen –these protagonists simply get in the way! With the glass slipper-fitting, apple-prince-charming-kissing-hakuna-matata-singing ya-hoos, they are simply too gooey sweet to believe! Pardon me while I go rinse out my mouth from the bitter taste of evil and bile…

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