Don’t Tell me to Smile

Have you noticed that people are not allowed to be unhappy, not even in the least.

In fact, if you are a female, you are not even allowed to have a “resting” face.  Don’t beleive me?  Think back on how many times you’ve been told to smile.  For no reason other than because you were not smiling.

Some people say that smiling, whether you feel like it or not, can actually make you BE happer.

This is not always the case.

Studies have shown that people who smile not because they are happy, but JUST to mask their more negative emotions, begin to associte smiling with UNHAPINESS.

Through research this study found that people who did not usually smile when they were happy actually felt WORSE when they smile more frequently.   The people who often smiled when happy felt better when they smiled.

So, if you are natural smiler then smiling can possibly make you feel better.  But if you’re natural inclination isn’t to break a huge grin every chance you get, then forcing yourself to smile will make your mood worse, not better.

Not to mention, when someone tells you to smile it is USUALLY a guy telling a woman to smile.

Why?

Because a smile is more pleasant for them to look at.

Yep, the guy wants you to smile, because HE thinks you look better when you smile and HE wants something easy on the eyes.  It’s not really about caring for the well being of the non-smiling person.  It’s all about desire and attraction.

If you really do care for someone and want them to be happier, then just commanding them to smile isnt the solution.

What do you do?

Don’t say, “You’d be happier if you smiled” or “You’d be pretty if you’d smile.” you should do something FOR them to make them smile.

Give them a compliment.  Give them a gift.  Tell them a joke.  Do something to brighten their day and EARN that smile.

Questions, and How they help you write

The world is full of questions.  Everyone has them.  Some questions are deep.  Other questions are shallow.  But every question, every single question, has the same roots.

Who?
What?
When?
Where?
Why?
How?

That is what I was taught once upon a time a long, long time ago in grade school.

I think it was English class, which would make sense.  Because you have to answer all, or most, of those questions to write anything.

Who are you writing about?  What are they doing? When did they do it?  Where did they do it?  Why did they do it?  How did they do it?

“What?” is also the basis of most fiction tales.  An author will be doing whatever it is that he/she does and an idea will come to them.

“What if…?”

From there they blanks will be filled in of the other questions.

Fiction writers and bloggers have this in common.

They have to take these bland questions, and turn them into something entertaining that someone will want to read.

For example, “For dessert my son had pudding. He ate it in his high chair, with his hands.” covers all the questions.

Who? My son.
What? Pudding
When? Tonight
Where? His high chair.
Why? For dessert
How? With his hands.

It tells you exactly what happened, but not with any attention to detail.  Nothing to set a scene.  Nothing to make a reader say, “that was interesting.  I wonder what else happens in this persons life?”

As a blogger it is important to flesh out your stories, even if you are writing about an item you are trying to get someone to buy.

You want to give the reader more, to make them want more, to make them come back.

See the example below as a slightly more fleshed out example (though even it is rough and needs more work.)

—-

puddingMy son had trouble eating his supper tonight.  He has a snotty nose, and would chew a little, the
n open his mouth to take a breath. Chew a little and breath again.

He gave up on supper and was very upset and crying.

We decided to let him skip supper for the most part, but still give him dessert.  He likes chocolate pudding, and pudding is pretty easy to eat without having to chew.

So we put him in his high chair and gave him a pudding cup and a spoon.  He knows how to use a spoon.  He’s pretty good at it.

But this was PUDDING!

He put the spoon aside and had his hands crammed down in that pudding cup.  It looked like he was wearing chocolate gloves.  And of course it was smeared all over his mouth too.

—-

Now, do you have a story to tell, but you’re unsure how to start?  Go ask yourself those 6 questions, then fill in the blanks, and flesh it out.

Evoking Emotion

As a writer, I want to evoke emotion in my reader.

What I’m often going for is humor.  I like to make people smile.  I love to make people laugh.  I never was the class clown, but in my circle of friends there are people who think I’m pretty funny.

I try to bring out my humor in my writing.  But humor writing is hard.  You don’t have the same inflection as you do when you are actually speaking.  People might not pick up my sarcasm in writing where they would hear it in person.

Sometimes I want to evoke a different emotion in my readers.  I want them to feel the same outrage and anger that I do on certain subjects.

You would think that would be easier than humor.  The world seems on edge today, ready willing and able to be outraged.  Except the things that outrage me don’t seem to outrage other people as much.

Instead of feeling my outrage they sometimes tell me I’m being “too sensitive.”

I try to make my readers feel sympathy sometimes.  Usually for myself.

Yeah, I fish for feel good comments when I’m feeling particularly depressed.  Why?

Because just as I try to evoke emotions in my readers, my readers can also bring emotions to me with their words.

A supportive word can uplift me.

Having someone tell me something I’ve written was funny will make me happy.

Having someone agree with my anger and outrage on a subject makes me feel validation.

Yes, blogging is a 2 way street.  You GIVE to your readers, and in return you RECEIVE from your commentors.  (Not all readers are commentors.  Not all commentors are regualr readers.)

Blogging is the height of faceless communication in the modern world.

I wonder what the next generation will bring

What platform will they use to evoke their own emotions.

This post was inspired by a prompt from journalwild.com

Little Bit About Me Challenge.

My friend @rusty2rusty posted a challenge on her Creative Writing blog.  (See Taking the Little Bit About Me Challenge).  She said she got the challenge from Blogjob member @thelme55 called (see A Bit About Myself Challenge.)

There are 5 questions asked, and you fill in your answers!

Keep reading to learn a little bit more about me, and then copy the questions and answer them on your own blog.

1. What is your favorite TV show?

wwddhatWell, my favorite show, hands down, is The Walking Dead.  I have watched it since the first season, and rarely (if ever) miss an episode.

I like zombie movies, and zombie fiction.  I’m invested in these characters.  I will laugh out loud.  I will cry.  I will scream, “That didn’t really just happen, did it?” at the TV.

And, of course, I have a Daryl Dixon Addiction.

I got this Daryl Dixon baseball cap for Christmas.  You can get your own from Amazon if you’re a Daryl addict too.

 

2. What is your preferred cuisine

I like plain old ‘Merican cooking.

Which is to say, I grew up dirt poor.  I didn’t get to eat a lot of fancy things.  I lived on eggs and bread sometimes.

Fix me a pot of pink eyed peas and fry up some cornbread, and I’m a happy girl. I’m a meat and potatoes kind of person.  Fried chicken.  Pork chops.  A cheap roast cooked in a slow cooker with some ‘taters on the side, and I’m happy.

I’m also a very picky eater.  I don’t like onions, and peppers, and lots of veggies.  Most cuisine cooks with all of the above, and it makes me not like it.

3. What is your worst household chores

Folding laundry.  I HATE IT.  I will do a load of my laundry and it will set in the basket until the next time I need to do a load of laundry.

This is in part because I have nowhere to PUT my laundry.  I don’t have closet space, and my dresser drawers are crammed.  If I fold them I don’t have anywhere to put them and the just get moved from one flat surface to another anyway.

Growing up we never folded clothes.  We had one big table and all the clean clothes got dumped out on it and we dug through the pile when we wanted clean clothes.

4. What is your playlist

I like 90s alternative and rock music.  Yeah, I’m stuck in the 90s.  I do branch out a little, but not far.

If you want to see what I’ve listened to last you can check out my Pandora Radio profile.

5. If you could travel anywhere, where would it be

Well, I recently asked my husband, “How much would it cost to take a trip to England?”  And he laughed at me.

I’m honestly not much of a traveler, but I would like to see the UK.  Maybe.

OR, Loch Ness.  I’d love to go and maybe actually see Nessie in person.  lol

Now, its your turn!  Let me know if you answer the quesions on your blog, I’d love to go read them!

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The Questions (for easy copy and paste)

1. What is your favorite TV show?
2. What is your preferred cuisine
3. What is your worst household chores
4. What is your playlist
5. If you could travel anywhere, where would it be

Trying to be Backyard Happy

Today was a good (mental) day.

I sat at my desk and I cleaned out 2 of the drawers.  I threw out a lot of stuff.

Of course I threw a lot of stuff into a bucket too, leaving it to be sorted further later.  But at least I didnt’ just jam that stuff into the two drawers that were not cleaned.

Then I somehow found myself watching videos about growing potatoes in Potato Towers.  Which seems like something that would be totally doable.

So I found myself looking into what I would need to get the supplies to build a potato tower, and get some seed potatoes.

See, I’ve had homesteading on my mind since my last post here( see Lacking Chickens).

Sadly I have not been able to make any headway on my husband to maybe, just MAYBE, think about trying to sell our house in this crappy city and move to the country.  He has nightmares about being more than 15 minutes away from a movie theater, and I want to live a simpler, safer and SANER life than I currently do.

I mean, it would be nice to live somewhere I could go in my yard and NOT hear steady streams of traffic.  Or somewhere I could go to sleep and night and NOT hear sirens as a background noise.  Somewhere I could look out the window and NOT see drug deals going down on the corner.

*sigh*

Well, its not like we could just move onto a 2 acre plot tomorrow anyway.  We’re broke after all.  So I started thinking of ways to make the best of my own back yard.

Apparently back yard homesteading is a thing.  Then again, these people all seem to have bigger and brighter back yards than mine.  (mine is mostly in the shade and too small for much of a garden)

So I’m trying to find ways to use the space I have.

Now, if we could just afford to put up a privacy fence I’d be much, much happier.

Lacking Chickens, Longing for Semi-Self Sufficiency

This morning as I was cooking breakfast for myself and my youngest son, I found myself wishing again, certainly not for the first time, that I lived somewhere that I could own chickens.

chickens

These are actually young roosters, not egg laying hens.

See, they frown on “livestock” inside the city limits.  I guess all that clucking and crowing might wake the neighbors.  I don’t know.

What I do know is that we had chickens when I was growing up.  They spent their days wandering the property, eating bugs and sometimes wandering into the garden and eating the tomatos.  They scratched and pecked the place good fashioned, then retired into their coop at the end of the day.

Sometimes times would get tough for our family, and groceries might have gotten tight, but there were ALWAYS eggs.

Now I have to pay $2 or $3 for a dozen and that doesn’t feed our growing family for very long.

I keep finding myself thinking of @andriaperry and her Learning to Live Free blog here on blogjob.  While I’m pretty sure our family will never be able to go completely off the grid or live free, it would be nice to be a little more self sufficient.

This is hindered by my lack of the ability to keep green things alive.  And also by where I live.  Not a lot of room for growing things.  Not a lot of room for storing things.

Then I have no idea how to do important things,  like canning my own foods.

I remember childhood summers spent with my Granny.  I remember shelling peas and beans.  I remember her stewing tomatoes by the potful.  She never canned (that I remember) but she did freeze A LOT of food.

Once upon a time people HAD to be self-sufficient.  That time may come again.  If it does I am admittedly going to be in a fix.  Because I’m not self-sufficient.  I’m very, very, VERY dependent.

Maybe I should make it a goal this year to become less dependent.  Somehow.

But I would still really like to have some chickens, and some fresh eggs.

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Inspiration, Crafting, and Fear of Failure

What are you inspired to do in this new year?

The  name of my little blog here is called the ART of living.

I love art.  I love creativity  I love color and crafts.

I create too little though.  It has been that way for a while  At work and at home I am surrounded by art and craft supplies, but I hardly do anything dealing with it.

At this point I’m not sure if its depression, exhaustion or procrastination.  Pretty much any word with an -ion at the end of it could be blamed for my lack of creativity.

Two days ago I was off work and I pulled out some things to make some stamped paper tags.  They are still laying on the table in the baby’s room that is my craft surface.

I was off today and I thought, “I really need to go in there and make those tags.”

It didn’t happen though.  The tags and stamp are still laying on the table.

See, late last year and in the early days of this one, I was inspired to put some items in my etsy shop.

I’m still on the cusp of losing my job (I’ve got one week left in a 2 week period I had to make it all better) and I need the income.  And in the event that I save my job, I could still use the extra cash, because we are making ends meet but have very little fun money.

Anyway, I have an etsy store, and I need to get some product in it.  I was also thinking of opening a second store at shophandmade.

But….I keep not making things to put in either store.

And I think I know why.

I think I am afraid.

I have a huge fear of failure.  I’m afraid that no matter what I try to sell, it wont sell.  Or it will sell, and the person on the other end will HATE it.

So instead of making and listing those hand stamped paper tags, I started playing a new game on facebook.

That’s not going to make anything better.

And now, 10 days into the new year, I’ve kind of lost my inspiration.

How does one find that again without waiting for 2017 to roll around and get that “New Year” vibe going again.

Baby Its Cold Outside

Hi, my name is Nona, and I’m tired of Christmas music.

Yeah, I said it.  I’m tired of it.

I’ve been listening to Christmas music since November 1st.

One song I’m particularly tired of is “Baby its Cold Outside.”

I call it the “Date Rape Song” as the whole thing seems to be about her trying really hard to get out of his house, and him coming up with all kinds of reasons she can’t leave.  At one point she even says, “Hey, whats in this drink?”  So, he either unknowingly spiked her drink, or drugged it, and either way that’s not such a good thing.

My husband laughed at the reason I hated the song.  I guess he doesn’t buy into my Date Rape theory.

Another song I’m tired of is that blasted Christmas Shoes song. I’m just happy they are not playing it every third song like they have in years past.  Talk about one depressing bit of “Holiday Cheer.”

I guess I’m just not in the holiday spirit.  Of course it has been “Christmas” in my store since August.  I told a customer today I was ready for Easter.  They acted shocked.

“Easter!?!”

Yeah, I’m so tired of Christmas I want to skip ahead a couple of holidays.

Oh, and did I mention that its NOT cold outside.  Not at all  Temperature in the high 70s.  I know that some cold and snow covered peoples would love that right about now, but I’m sitting here like, “Hey, Winter, where did ya go?”

You can have your own sequined pink flamingo shirt if you buy me from amazon.


I’m not dreaming of a “White Christmas” but one where I can wear a cozy sweater is preferable to one where I’m opening presents wearing my sequined flamingo tank top.

(Yes, I have a sequined flamingo tank top.  Don’t judge me.)

Social (Lack Of) Networking

An online friend, @rusty2rusty , made a post recently stating that she felt Invisible in a Sea of Bloggers, and I had to concur with her.

This morning I checked the stats on a blog that I posted to yesterday.  It was a crafty type blog on how to make a Hand-print Snowman Ornament.

After I made the post I checked my stats and it showed I had a certain number of unique views.  A unique view for this site is someone who visits the link and stays for a certain amount of time.  Lets say, a minute.

I shared this link to my personal facebook page, and a couple of blog sharing groups.  I shared it to G+ and stumbleupon and twitter.  I pinned it on pinterest and later shared it on my facebook fan page as well.  One other person liked it enough that THEY shared it as well.

This morning when I checked out my stats I found that I had only gained 2 unique views.

ONLY 2?!?!?!

Well, I was a little miffed.  I mean, I can’t say only two people clicked my link, but only two stayed long enough to be counted.  Did they even read it?  I don’t know.

So this morning I did what any mature blogger would do.

I ranted on Facebook of course:

//

Over 3000 social networking “friends” and connections, and only 2 people visited my blog link yesterday and stayed long enough to be counted?

Posted by Winona Morris on Saturday, December 12, 2015

After which a few of my friends said that they never see my blog posts.

Ooookay.  So maybe with my few thousand connections (a small number really) not a single one of them are seeing my blogs?  Are they getting lost under the other stuff I post?

And its totally against the rules of some places I blog at to ask straight out for visits.

So I guess I’ll have to find some way to bring my blog posts to attention.  Something like ***NEW BLOG POST*** before any new posts I share.

Or something.

Because if I don’t get the views I don’t get the pennies.  And I need the pennies.

December Begins, and Sleepytime Tea

santafaceHappy First Day of December.

Almost over, but still the first where I sit.

It has been a long and emotionally draining week for me.  I worked a long stretch over the holiday weekend.  It is exhausting to work Thanksgiving weekend in retail.  I worked Thanksgiving day, Black Friday, the whole weekend, Monday and Tuesday, not to mention the whole end of the week before.

I’m sitting here now with a cup of Sleepytime Tea, hoping it will help me relax.

It smelled really nice right after it brewed, but it doesn’t taste anything like it smells.

I know that sleepytime doesn’t really make you sleepy, but chamomile is supposed to be relaxing.  Maybe it will mellow me enough to get some good rest tonight.

I’m sort of a hater of the holidays.  Maybe I shouldn’t say that out loud, or Krampus might get me.

I woke up full of hope on this first day of December.  I had a bounce in my step and a song in my heart.  Well, maybe not a whole song, but a tune at least.

All it took was a long, busy, dehumanizing day at work to knock me down a peg.

I am, however, off the next two days.  I have a few things planned to do on my days off.  Maybe I’ll actually get them done and not just sit and turn into a human flesh puddle because I don’t have to be at work for the next two days.

Mmmm….

Turning into a human flesh puddle actually sounds sort of appealing in way however.

Maybe I will sit down with one of my adult coloring books.

Adult coloring books are supposed to be all the rage right now.  I have a few I’ve gotten from work, and from Blogging for Books, and even some sheets that a friend mailed me.

Coloring these coloring pages is supposed to be relaxing.  Maybe that really is what I should do tomorrow.  Just sit down and color for an hour or two.

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