Friday, January 27, 2017

To Pace Yourself

1. So you don't get a stomach ache.
2. Because rushing can lead to making mistakes more easily.
3. So that you can help others to learn. A steady pace is better for helping others to learn than one which is too fast or too slow.
4. Because studying doesn't have to be crammed into one night. Make a plan, and work at it. That way, you'll be learning at your own pace.
5. Because Rome wasn't built in a day, and your current project probably won't be either. So don't cause yourself undue stress with unreasonable deadlines.
6. So you won't get hiccups.
7. Because not everything in life can be achieved at a sprint. Some goals take more time, especially if you want them to be completed properly.
8. So you don't get burnt out. It is easy to be consumed by a new skill, entertainment, or a new treat. But obsessing over it might just have the counter-effect of making you come to dislike the thing you once enjoyed.
9. That way your creative juices have a chance to refill your well of imagination.
10. Because a good descriptive scene can turn into a monster of purple prose if you start throwing around flowery words that shimmer in the dazzling glow of your fanciful musings. So please, kill those unnecessary adjectives before they make things murky.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

A Knight's Mount

Some of my family have big dreams.
To go off into battle, to win a tournament, and to catch the bad guys.
You know, all the brave, heroically foolish stuff.
And I'm pretty sure that they would be great at it. I mean, mother talks about our many greats grandfather and all the trouble he got into with the knights of the Southern Dell.
Seriously, no horse in their right mind would willingly (and even eagerly) charge a fifty foot dragon.
But as I've come to mourn, I seem to be the only foal in the family who hasn't bought into all of that foolish eternal glory stuff the knights boast about.
And hopefully after today, I'll never have to listen to it again.
It's hard not to fidget as I hear the groups of knights approach the corral where my siblings and I are. We're old enough the serve as a knight's mount now, and have been given some basic training in what to expect from our future rider.
I want no part of it.
No lances being accidentally thrust into my side instead of at whoever happens to be on my back. No charred tail from barely escaping a dragon's fire. No arrows, no galloping through the rain with barbarians and their riders chasing me.
I want no part.
So even through I would make a great companion who would actually keep my rider out of danger, I'm going to play dumb.
So while my brothers prance about to show the knights just how handsome a mount they would make, and while my sisters pose with serene elegance, I keep my head down and pretend to graze.
"Look at that black stallion, he'd be perfect for a noble vassal of our King!" One knight bellowed. My brother (who gave himself the name of Charging Darkness) leapt into a prideful rear to lash out at some imagined foe with his forelegs.
"Well, I'd rather go with the lovely roan. She seems wise one."
My as yet unnamed sister tossed her head, pleased with the attention.
And so it went, with my other brother and my two remaining sisters quickly being selected by the remaining knights.
I almost relaxed from my pretend grazing as the knights approached their selected mounts with the simple tack our keeper provides when someone wants to see how we ride.
But then I heard some new voices, and realized that not all of the knights' group had gained a new mount yet.
"Why do I always get stuck with the boring horse?" A loud, gruff voice complained. I risked a glance toward it, and hard to stifle my urge to bolt to the other side of the corral. This knight was huge. My back ached just thinking about what having him as a rider would be like.
"You could always check Farlain's stock, I heard he's supposed to have just gotten a fine white charger." A cool, silky voice replied from somewhere beside the giant, and I caught a glimpse of a pointy hat.
"Eh, too much of a walk." The knight said as he leaned against the corral's wooden fence. I did not like how it gave a loud groan at even that little amount of the knight's weight. "This fellow might not seem like a worthy mount for one of my prestige, but his fire will ignite once he scents our grand adventure."
Please, please, don't saddle me to such a monstrously sized poet.
I lifted my head, though the movement made the frightening knight perk up and the fence give another groan at his movement.
Cautious that this had to be believable, I began a slow, stumbling limp toward the water troth. I favored one hind leg as if it had been recently injured, doing my utmost to give off the air that I was a broken, sorrowful creature that would only be good taking a cart from the farm into town.
The knight watched my performance for a long while, and I was afraid that he could somehow see through it.
But then he slumped against the fence (surely it would break now, for nothing creaked like that without breaking) and gave a pitying moan. "Just my luck. Seems I'll have to walk over to Farlain's for a good mount."
Without waiting for his fellow knights, the giant knight straightened and walked away with such mighty steps that surely the ground shook. Poor white charger, if the was the horse the giant chose.
Though having known a couple of white chargers, I knew that they we the most fanatical when it came to becoming a knight's mount.
With a shake of my head, I bent to take a drink.
But as I was drinking, I felt cool hands on my hind leg.
I stiffened beneath the gentle touch, half my mind insisting that I kick whoever had snuck up on me.
But no, such a violent reaction would only draw the attention of a knight.
"Your leg feels perfectly fine, my cunning friend." It sounded like the silky voice, the one belonging to the man with the pointy hat.
Twisting my neck, I stared at the pointy hat man. Surely he wasn't a knight. Knights weren't usually so slender and, well, bony-armed.
"So, why would only one horse pretend to be lamed while being watched by a knight? Most of your kind seem eager to prove themselves ready for any danger." Pointy hat man said, releasing my leg as he straightened from his crouch.
I gave a snort and shook my head. I was not going to be a foolish foal who warmed up to some knight-in-training. That was almost as bad as having an actual knight as a rider.
The pointy hat man laughed, and I stared at him.
"If you really plotted to avoid becoming a knight's mount, then I must tip my hat to you." The man said, lifting his hat off his dark-haired head for a moment.
I gave a huff and turned away from him. He certainly was chatty, for one of his kind to one of mine. It almost seemed like he actually wanted to talk with me, and not just at me.
The sudden sensation of my riding tack appearing was startling. How could I go from not even having a blanket on my back, to being fully tacked in a single moment?
"Sorry about that, not very nice. But you seem like the type who'd start feigning another injury to get out of being saddled." Pointy hat man said as I felt him climb onto my back. "Like I said, you seem pretty cunning. I'd prefer a mount with a bit of cunning, and if you dislike the thought of a knight on your back, then you'll probably not go charging into danger without a valid reason."
He was certainly right about that. I did not was to be anywhere near dangerous situations, or knights for that matter.
"Anyway, I fragile wizard like myself needs a sensible mount, and I'd be honored if you would be it." Pointy hat man said, and a turned my head to look back at him.
A wizard? In some ways, they were worse than knights. Always casting magic willy-nilly, disregarding how their mount might not like having their ears accidentally transformed to those of a donkey.
But this wizard seemed fairly sensible, and as if he might share my dislike of danger.
Besides, he would probably be the only rider who might listen if I complained.
So with one last careful look into his brown eyes, I turned forward and started a slow, graceful trot.

Friday, January 20, 2017

How to be a friend

1. Share your favorite things. If there is a certain book series you love to read, then why not tell your friend about it? They just might come to live it too, and then you'll be able to talk about the series together.
2. Work together. Be it on a project for school or on a birthday cake, working on something with a friend makes dull work easier to get through.
3. Be supportive. The acceptance or disapproval of a friend often strikes deeper than if the opinion came from a stranger. So think carefully on how you show your support for your friend.
4. Laugh together. Laughter can be an amazing thing. But it can also be harmful. So when you laugh with your friend, be sure that it is with them, and not at their expense.
5. Help them. Is your friend going out of town for a week and needs someone to watch their ferret? If you can help, then don't hesitate to. Ferrets can be extremely adorable.
6. Stand by their side. In times of struggle, knowing that your friend is there beside you can help strengthen a person's shoulders with the knowledge that they are not alone.
7. Keep them grounded. Sometimes, friends think up some crazy dreams. Though there are times to chase after a dream, other times call for a friend to help you know when something is beyond your current reach.
8. Be kind. A gentle word, a friendly smile. Sometimes all your friend needs is to know that someone cares about them.
9. Say hello. Friendship does not usually spring up unannounced and proceed without any effort. So go up and say hello, and give a stranger the chance to become something more.
10. Don't eat the last cookie. Especially if you know that it is your friend's favorite.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Dragon, Pup?

Once, I was great.
The terror of both earth and sky.
But now?
Now, I am nothing but a useless, flea-bitten mutt.
No flea would dare have even landed on my spectacular silver scales. But now my scales had been replaced with horrid yellow fur. Do you know how difficult it is to get rid of mud when you can't simply incinerate it off of your scales?
Fur is disgusting.
And my once deadly talons are now mere stubs pretending to be claws. And my teeth! Oh, my poor teeth are so tiny, and trapped in a weak jaw that can't pierce through a knight's armor as if it were a moist cake.
I'd been cursed. Thrust into a tiny form and tossed out into the chaos of a human village. How could my brother have betrayed me so?
How could any dragon have condemned another to life as a dog?
If I ever managed to find a way, I would destroy my brother for this betrayal.
He might have stolen my fire, my scales, and all that made me draconian, but a dragon's fury would still burn within this undignified scrap of fur.
So swears Fier-
"Hey, little fellow." A human called, shocking me out of my vengeful thoughts.
How dare a mere human address me with such informality?
I realized my error a moment too late as the human's hand tightened around the scruff of fur at the nape of my neck.
I squirmed in his hold, wishing for my scales. My wondrous scales that would have sliced his fingers with their sharp edges.
But no, I now had fur. A more useless covering could only be a human's fragile skin.
The human brought me up to his face, and I gave a groan at the sight of his helm.
Out of all the human's that could have captured my ridiculously tiny frame, it had to be a knight.
Oh, shame of shames.
I should have been great, should have been able to roast this foolish human in his tin suit with a mere breath of flame.
But instead, I now could be held in his hand.
All because of my traitorous brother and his magic.
"You're kind of cute, little fellow." The knight said, and I let out the growl that had replaced my furious roar.
Cute? I was not cute! I was the terror of the earth and sky, the destroyer of l the bravely foolish, and the consumer of goats!
Well, perhaps I could still gnaw on a goat. If it was very young, and the runtiest of runts.
Oh, how loathsome it was to be forced to abandon your favorite food.
"Feisty, too." The knight had the audacity to laugh at me.
He would have to go.
Alas, my tiny teeth could not rip the flesh of his thumb.
"That tickles, little fellow." The knight engulfed my head with this hand as he rub it.
The sensation was not one I would ever admit to enjoying.
Suddenly, I was held by my scruff again, legs swinging through the air for a moment before I was plopped into the spacious pouch hanging at the knight's side.
"You'll be safe enough in there for now, little fellow. Wouldn't want anyone to step in you." The knight said, and I gave a yap of defiance.
I would not be the prisoner- no, even worse, the pet- of a knight.
"Now, now. You need to be quiet, little fellow. If the boss finds out I've got you, then he won't wait for the dragon to roast my hide."
I would not-
Did he say dragon?
Could this knight be part of a company headed for a brother?
Oh, if that were the case, then I had to swallow the indignity of my situation, and stay with the knight.
And so a curled up docilely in the knight's pouch, and listened to his cheerful whistle as the pouch swayed with his every step.
I would have my vengeance, even if it meant a temporary truce with a knight.
But once my brother was dealt his dues, and I was restored to my wondrous form, then the knight would pay for calling my cute.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Blue Things

1. Robin eggs.
2. Periwinkles.
3. Lapis Lazuli.
4. Blueberries. Though if you peel off their skin, their flesh is green.
5. Painter's tape. At least, I haven't seen it in any color other than blue.
6. Horseshoe crab blood. This is because of the copper in hemocyalin, which they use to carry oxygen instead of hemoglobin in their blood.
7. Some fish. What better way to blend into the water than to be a similar color?
8. The sky. That's when it isn't gray, or streaked with reds during a sunset, or blindingly white on a hot summer day.
9. Eyes. Some cats and dogs with blue eyes can have them because of a mutation that is associated with deafness.
10. Socks. Because who doesn't like a nice pair of blue socks?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Snowy Mountain

The wind howled, coursing through the rocky ridge. Particles of white swirled through the sky, glistening against the midnight sky.
Drifting, swirling along with the wind as it made its journey through the rocks and trees, snowflakes of all description wandered without care of where they would eventually land.
For what did it matter to them? So long as the wind continued on its unending roar around the mount, they would never join that thick blanket of white the covered most of the rocky earth.
At times the wind would manage to snatch up some of that snow covering the ground. At such times, the snowflakes managed to receive a glimpse of what their future may entail.
It was often frightening, to see mutated globs of misshapen snow futility attempting to stay aloft.
But it was not to be. Those miserable former snowflakes were too weighed down by their time upon the earth of rhe snowy mountain.
They would fall back to the rejoin the mountain, and the wind rush back around the mountain, trailing a constant entourage of snowflakes.

Friday, January 6, 2017

For Dancing

1. While at a ball. Because really, why get all dressed up just to stand in the corner all night?
2. So you can exercise. Dancing can be a real workout, and depending on the music and movements, it can be a lot of fun too.
3. To give you an excuse to talk. A few minutes stuck in a waltz means your dance partner can politely run away when you ask them for their favorite color.
4. For fun. Because when you're alone in a room, why not dance to your favorite jam?
5. As a teaching moment. If you know how to tango, why not teach the kid you babysit? It'll give him an advantage at his kindergarten graduation.
6. Because dancing can be entertaining. Be it an elegant ballet or a freestyle duel in the gym, dancing can be very entertaining to both watch and participate in.
7. As a way to express yourself. How you chose to dance can tell others a lot about you,  and can even help you to understand yourself better.
8. To build your confidence. Dancing is hard. It takes a lot of work to make each move seem effortless. If you gain enough skill to be able to dance without stepping on your partner's toes, then you've accomplished something wonderful. So be confident in your abilities.
9. Because dancing can be funny. Not all dances are elegance in motion. Some are meant to make you laugh, and bring smiles to those who dance along.
10. As a group activity. Some dances are great for large groups, as everyone can jump in and work out the steps together.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017


"I'm bored!" The little boy cried.
"Then go play outside," his father said, taking a moment to glance up from his book at the child.
The little boy grumbled, but finally stood and left the room.
"I'm bored!" The little boy cried a second time, tugging at the strings of his mother's apron.
"Why don't you go outside and play with Jimmy?" His mother replied, offering a loving smile as she set down the mixing bowl.
The little boy grumbled again, and stalked out of the kitchen.
"There's nothing to do," the boy groaned as he slumped onto the front steps. He had to squint against the bright sunlight, and an annoying breeze kept tugging at his hair.
Some of the neighborhood kids were taking turns climbing the tree in Jimmy's front lawn, but the boy didn't want to join them.
Climbing trees was so boring.
There was nothing interesting inside the house, and nothing at all outside.
And so the boy stayed sitting on the front steps, grumbling about how bored he was.
When the time finally came for the boy to come inside for dinner, his father found him still sitting on the front steps.
"Have you been here all afternoon?" The boy's father asked.
"I'm bored." The boy said in response, and his father just shook his head.
"I'd be bored too, if all I'd done was sit and focus on my boredom. Now come on in and eat."
The boy stood, and followed his father inside, hoping that dinner wouldn't be boring too,