Category Archives: Blogging Community

A Picture Speaks Volumes

“A picture can speak louder than words” or has a greater impact than any spoken or written word. Or “this speaks volumes” which is some hyperbole for the impact of a thing, its ability to express something so completely. I recently finished reading a non-fiction book Picture Bride Stories by Barbara F. Kawakami about Japanese Picture Brides in Hawaii  who came to Hawaii from Japan and Okinawa during the 1885-1924 Immigration of Japanese laborers. The author immigrated to Hawaii with her parents from Japan as a baby and lived near the pineapple plantations. In her book she documents her interviews with sixteen women who were picture brides*. There were more that 20,000 of these women. On the publication of this book in 2016 the author was 94 years old. This book recounts the tremendous struggles and hardships these women faced in a place they thought would be paradise. Sometimes the men used younger photos of themselves or a photo of a more handsome friend to obtain their bride.  On first meeting their husbands some women wanted to return to Japan, others had no choice but to make the best of it. These women labored long hours in the fields of the sugar and pineapple plantations with their husbands along with raising their children, and yet they were able to gaman, (persevere and endure). In this case the photos of the Picture Brides did not speak louder than their own words faithfully recorded by this author. Their poignant stories are an important part of the history of immigrants to our country.

In modern times many couples meet on internet dating sites. Their images are posted and become part of the selection process. The difference in this process to that of the “picture brides” is that the people go on to meet in person before making a permanent commitment.

Would you like to marry someone based on a picture and move to another country often never seeing your friends or families again?

* A practice of arranged marriage where the picture of the woman was exchanged with a picture of the man between the families. The bride and groom usually never met each other in person before agreeing to the marriage. The women who were married in this way were called “picture brides.”

This post is my contribution to Stream of Consciousness Saturday hosted by Linda G Hill. The prompt for today is “vol.” Featured image of Traditional Japanese Woman and Mountain from Public Domain

What’s The Motive

“There is always a pleasure in unravelling a mystery, in catching at the gossamer clue which will guide to certainty.”
Elizabeth Gaskell, Mary Barton

One of my favorite things is a mystery story. I have read many books in this genre from the US and many other countries. I love watching Masterpiece Mystery on PBS and we have whole DVD collections of Poirot and Sherlock Holmes. Over this past slow summer, I confess to binge watching several different mystery series on Amazon and Netflix. Endeavour just returned to PBS here so I have a new subscription to Masterpiece on Amazon. I need to catch up with Longmire again on Netflix. I just googled it and saw a spoiler. I hate spoilers. I do not want to get a hint or be told what is going to happen before I watch something. What is the point of that? Drat!! OK back to mysteries. What I love about mysteries is trying to solve them and preferably before the end of the story. Who done it? And to solve them you need to figure out the motive. Which of the characters could have a motive for killing someone? There can be several twists and turns, with sub-plots and false leads, as you and the detectives try to solve the case. Sometimes the writer is able to keep the killer well hidden to the end.

Thinking of all the people who are in the path of the hurricane Irma and those still struggling with loss from Harvey and everyone who is living in the path of floods, wildfires, and earthquakes.


Pyracantha blossoms

Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G Hill. The prompt word for today was “motive.” Featured image is from Wikipedia.


Stop Looking At Closed Doors

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”-Helen Keller

This has been true in my life and maybe in yours too. We can get stuck looking at that closed door.  Better to seek out the open ones that are still waiting for us.

One Liner Wednesday is hosted by Linda G Hill. Featured image of Door by Tama66 on


Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting! Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.
Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!
Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG


Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.
September 6 Question: Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? For example, by trying a new genre you didn’t think you’d be comfortable in??
The awesome co-hosts for the September 6 posting of the IWSG are Tyrean Martinson, Tara Tyler, Raimey Gallant, and Beverly Stowe McClure!
Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing?
I did not expect to be able to write very short flash fiction and some longer pieces. It has been heartening to find that I could do it and receive positive feedback. I have written some longer pieces in fantasy and science fiction genres, and have enjoyed it. There are times when I will write something for a blog post or stream of consciousness and struggle with it a bit and think it is not that good. Then, it is surprising when others say they really liked the post. Should we write things because we think others will like it? Or write what we want to say? 
Does anyone else do this? → If I am writing a story that I plan to submit to a writing community blog or even if I am working on a new story which I am not ready to share, I do not want to read other people’s stories from the community until mine is finished. I don’t want to compare my story with anyone’s writing because I worry it will influence what I am writing or make me doubt myself. I have started writing some science fiction and I noticed that The Hugo Award went to all women this year. ( Yay! Actually, I saw it on Art Fix Friday National Museum for Women in the Arts Blog). I did not want to read excerpts from their stories yet because I do not want it to show up in my story in some way.
This rings true for me, how about you?→”If you write what you yourself sincerely think and feel and are interested in, the chances are very high that you will interest other people as well.”-Rachel Carson

When It Rains It Pours


“When it rains, it pours” is a common expression that refers to when a series of bad things happen all together. On the way to a job I got a flat tire. I pulled over to the curb and put on my emergency signal light so the oncoming traffic would see my car and not run into it. After getting my tire changed by the tow truck driver, I went to start my car and the battery was dead. So I had to wait for another tow truck to bring a new battery. Similar to Murphy’s Law that says, “whatever can go wrong will go wrong.” The historic slogan for Morton Salt is “When it rains, it pours,” referring to the image of salt pouring freely out of the container.This image of the Morton Salt girl with the umbrella is over 100 years old.


Morton Salt

Hope the people in the path of Hurricane Harvey stay safe.


Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G Hill. Prompt for today is “when”, start the post with the word “when.” Image of Morton Salt by downing.amanda on Flickr and image of Rain via



Art Is Essential

Art is a way that people can express and process their experience of life. It allows them to express emotions, perceptions, and provides a way for their spirit to be free of the limits of the physical or psychological environment. This post was inspired by a two posts on Hyperallergic “Seeking Escape in Painting,” and “A Painter’s Dreams Go Up In Smoke,”  about an artist, Brandi Twilley, who paints a picture of her bleak childhood surroundings yet includes a window with a beautiful blue sky.

“The paintings, which mainly feature the home Twilley grew up in until it burnt to the ground when she was 16, depict windows in a subtly astute manner. They function as portals in curious ways: they indicate the painter’s glimpse of spaces beyond the bleak circumstances of that house, and in seeing the significance of these spaces through Twilley’s hand, I identify with her and wish for that slim chance of escape.”-Seph Rodney Hyperallergic

This brings home to me how powerful and essential art is to our lives. It may be the only way for some people to express themselves, it is their language and best or only way of communicating.  Supporting art in schools and the community is as important as supporting language arts, math and science.

Matt D’Arrigo who started the nonprofit ARTS ( A Reason To Survive) in San Diego says,

“Having the arts taken out of schools is a form of identity theft,” ….. “There are lots of creative, artistic youth who are being told to fit into certain boxes. They are being told that what they do is nice, but it’s not important. That’s saying they are not important.”

To eliminate the opportunity for people to develop their artistic gifts is wrong. Here’s the article about ARTS.

“ARTS started with a single success story: D’Arrigo’s. He was unclear about his own identity and purpose when his sister and mother were simultaneously stricken with cancer. He left college his freshman year to care for them, and, in the process, found solace in painting and music.”-James Chute San Diego Union Tribune

A recent article about what ARTS is doing to help lift up a whole community.


Brandi Twilley Where The Fire Started exhibition at Sargent’s Daughters.

This post is part of We Are The World Blogfest #WATWB hosted by Damyanti Biswas and cohosted by  Simon Falk, Roshan Radhakrishnan, Inderpreet Uppal, Lynn Hallbrooks, Eric Lahti, and Mary J Giese

Featured image of Art Class Cathedral Senior High School New Ulm, Minnesota via US National Archives by photographer Abul Haque

Sign up for We Are the World Blogfest!

The Flat

“In life, a person will come and go from many homes. We may leave a house, a town, a room, but that does not mean those places leave us. Once entered, we never entirely depart the homes we make for ourselves in the world. They follow us, like shadows, until we come upon them again, waiting for us in the mist.”
Ari Berk

The last flat¹ we lived in in San Francisco had a little room off the kitchen where there was a sink with a window over it, and there were counters and shelves on each side of the sink. I thought of it as a pantry but it was probably more like a scullery, “since the scullery was the room with running water, it had a sink…”². Scullery³ sounds like a place to store sculls, catacombs. There were no skulls in our pantry.

800px-DJJ_1_Catacombes_de_Paris by djtox on Wikipedia.

Catacombs of Paris by Djtox

The kitchen had a built in breakfast nook with a vinyl covered U-shaped banquette, like a booth in a diner. My mother loved the nook. Flats are like large apartments. Ours had a kitchen, den, two bedrooms, living room, 1¼ bath. I say ¼ bath because there was a small room in the hall with a second toilet. The rooms of the flat were bigger than a typical modern apartment in the US. Our flat was on the top floor. You had to walk up a flight of stairs to get to the front door and another flight once you got inside. My mother did not lock the front door. You were not afraid living in The City in those days. Flats seem more like homes than apartments.

10754345204_a0846b68e7_zThe Mission District by Ken Lund on Flickr

Mission District by Ken Lund

This (above) looks something like the flat we lived in, only nicer. Below image is not too far from my old neighborhood.

800px-CastroAnd20thStreetInSanFranciscosCastroDistrict via wikimedia

2oth and Castro Street


1.flat: A set of rooms forming an individual residence, typically on one floor and within a larger building containing a number of such residences.-Oxford Living Dictionaries


3. Etymololgy of scullery: Middle English squilerie, sculerie department of household in charge of dishes, from Anglo-French esquilerie, from escuele, eskel bowl, from Latin scutella drinking bowl-Merriam-Webster Dictionary online.

One Liner Wednesday is hosted by Linda G Hill. Featured image The Scullery Maid  painting by Giuseppe Maria Crespi via Wikimedia