Fortune Cookies and Writing


You’re kidding. What do these have in common with writing? Words . . . not just any words, but words with ideas.
Late one afternoon, a few of my book club members decided to go out for an oriental dinner before the meeting. Some of the members are writers and others readers of books. After the last course, Fortune Cookies became the centerpiece of the table. A ‘savage’ grab got our fortune right in front of us. One by one, we read our fortunes out loud. Voices got softer as each cookie not got read.
“Stop,” one in the group hollered. “These are all about kidnapping, murder, and death. Who did this sinister trick, and no, it is not funny.” We looked around the table. No fingers pointed to another. No eyes stared at a specific person. One lady, a writer of mystery answered, “This helps me know which character will go over the edge.”
“Why not put all of our fortunes together and see what we have,” I said. “We might be on to the beginning of a fantastic book.” All I got was silence and big eye stares.
After our review of the book for the evening, I returned home and begin thinking about fortune cookies and writing. They do have a lot in common. First, someone has written all of these proverbs, humorous sayings, statements, predictions, advice, and messages. Fortune cookies are not new and have been around for a long time, and remind me of words at play. Isn’t this what a writer does? Play with words until the right ones enter the mind and the fingers make this known on the keyboard. Here you get a good meal and at the end, possibilities for a new story.
The next time you open a fortune cookie, keep your message. No you cannot borrow or exchange your cookie with others. This was the message YOU picked up. It is YOUR personal message. Think of this as a prompt for your writing. Start keeping these fortune cookie messages in a jar, box, envelope, or what you have handy. Now, you have your own Fortune Cookie Prompt Jar. When you get stuck, dig in and find a new message. If you’ve used it before, replace and get another. Think of all the story starters these create and enjoy your Fortune Cookie Treasures.
Happy Hunting. Happy Fortunes. Happy Writing.
                                 HAPPY YOU.







Have you ever sat down to write and nothing happens? The screen stays blank. You continue to stare at all the white space without seeing even a squiggle or a flicker. Why? You are ready to write and write and write, but you feel you have a leak in your head. Everything up there is escaping. Air whistles in your ears like a locomotive on the railroad tracks, but does not send thoughts into your fingers. “I’m lost,” and you decide to turn the computer off and give up. WAIT! Not so fast. Let’s take a look at some of the possibilities and causes of this dry well. It did not happen overnight.
Sometimes, we have so much in our minds, on our to-do-lists, problems at work, problems with the vacuum cleaner, problems forgetting to say ‘no’ that we are over extended. But, you need to get the submission out, you forgot to answer an email, and you listen to your overloaded mind give you all the excuses you want.
Yes, you are right. We do all of this to ourselves to get more done, more completed, more new thoughts, more new beginnings . . . and you can name them for yourselves. But, does this get results or more problems?
We are not machines. We load so much into our thoughts, we need a mental reprieve. Stop for just a moment and ask yourself what is the worst that can happen, and then take a deep breath, throw your shoulders back, and look around. Better yet, get up and walk around. Your space might be huge or extra small, but a few steps, with the knees lifted high, is better than sitting in a chair with our legs crossed, tension running up and down our spine. Get up and take a walk in the rain, snow, cold sunshine, and if you have a pet, this would be a great time to walk the dog. Do not hurry and observe everything you see, hear, feel, and smell.  We get so bogged down with writing, we forget to be human. Our chores become routine, and before we know it, they take over our lives. Guess what? The well goes dry. This little walk, refresher period, or nothing time becomes the most important part of your day.
Think about how the air smells. Do you detect a scent of cinnamon, a big juicy burger, or strong caffeine from a coffee shop. In this short time, you bring your senses forward, your listening sharpens, and your head feels less empty. The well is working, not at full speed, but working.
Back home, do not go directly to your computer, but feel your body come alive with new thoughts and new senses. Tomorrow, you will watch your fingers fly over the keys with words you never imagined.
Never get bogged down again. Take a much needed walk. See. Feel. Smell. Enjoy. The well will fill up again.
Happy Walking. Full Well. Happy Writing. Happy Reading.

A Happy YOU



On FireNow, is the time to start your own inner fire with positive activity interventions. What in the world are these? Happiness is a journey and to incorporate positive attitudes, we are on this trip all of our lives, if we want real happiness. Yes, this takes work on ourselves to accomplish our change of attitudes, habits, and getting away from instant gratification.
Okay, you get a new job, or a hefty raise, and soon you are back on the old treadmill.  The new position becomes routine and you notice the increase in your paycheck does not bring the happiness you thought more money would. What about turning these emotions to include others in your process. Do you balance your life like you want or do you keep plodding down the same path, day after day.
Now, is the time to do a self-examination. Are your hours filled with activities that create a warm-fuzzy feeling, whether by yourself or around others. What you need is a cause and effect to light the fire within you. Happiness does not delete bad days, but it can make you less afraid of not being the perfect person. We sometimes forget to be grateful for what we have and instead focus on what we do not have. Take the positive emotions and experience the feeling of joy and contentment you get during the day.
Have you ever thought about writing a thank-you note to a friend? What a surprise for that person and you will feel the good vibes too. What about a quiet hour together with a friend? At first it might seem strange; no one says anything, no one looks at the other person, no one does anything. Then after a few moments, a feeling of recognition comes into focus. You are both trying hard to be quiet, when the giggles or smiles begin. During that little part of silence, you have gotten in touch with yourself and each other.
It is not the big things in life we need, it is the little things of sharing, caring and keeping the fire burning inside you. This small fire will ignite people around you and soon become a bonfire for all of you.
Use your new insight to remind yourselves that a bad day can and probably WILL happen. So, what? There are plenty of happy days ahead. Just plod toward the next day, bringing your happy moments along.
I hope everyone survived the incredible snow over the weekend. I watched the cascade of flakes fill the roads, yards, parks, streets, and wherever else they could land. But, I also noticed the look on the kids’ faces as they trampled through drifts, used plastic lids for sleds, and had a ball during the day. Don’t forget, you can also get these happy faces back into your lives. Learn to play, again.








An IdeaThis is a question where no real answer can be found. Why? It depends on the person and the field of creativity they choose.

We sometimes forget about the landscapers, home builders, clothing designers, or photographers. They also go through a creative process.

If you are an artist, your blank, white canvas can be over whelming. In your mind’s eye, you can see the colors and the vibrancy, but the brush held in your hand never moves. You are stuck.

As a writer, we open a blank page and stare.  In our minds, we know what we want to appear, but our fingers are sticky and do not slide over the keys. Yet, everything we do has a process and this includes becoming a creative writer.

First, you must decide what kind of writer are you? Is writing just a hobby to you or is writing something you HAVE to do, WANT to do, and WORK at becoming the best you can be? This is a crossroad only you can decide. When the passion of writing becomes your inner most desire, you can feel the need to improve and grow. This takes time and patience, and when this wears off, you turn to writing as a hobby. As a writer, you are challenged ever step of the way toward the best creative process for you.

You begin your creative process in learning the structure of writing, appreciate the skills you learn, and overcome the obstacles thrown in your path…frustration. Writing takes practice, more practice, and more writing. There are characters to develop, scenes to create, and yes, strong plots. You must have the conviction to start and complete your story. This is where confidence plays an important part of the process.

As the process continues, you must focus on grammar, sentence structure, story flow, and learn to rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. This is where your passion to create pushes your forward. No writer’s block or waiting for the muse, will make you stop writing. However, if there is a missing part to your story or nothing seems to fit right, go have some fun. You can take a long walk, but do something fun and let your stress disappear.

Time is another part of the process for the passionate writer. You are excited to hit the keys and watch your story take shape with each additional chapter. Some writers have the opportunity to write as a full-time job. Others work outside the home and schedule their writing around work, home, and family. No matter where you are, keep to your schedule, because this is your desire and you are excited to be a writer.

If you feel stuck, get yourself out and explore something different. You can try writing at a library, coffee shop, or whatever makes you feel comfortable around other people. Writing is a lonely venture, but you can change this and feel new energy in your writing.  Exercise your body and your mind together on a long walk. You will come back refreshed and ready to hit the keys.


Where are your Purple Squirrels?

unicorn danceOkay, so  I am not a squirrel, but I am purple. And, yes, you heard right. Do you scramble for  new thoughts? Do you have trouble forming mental images? Does your creativity take deep breaths when you need help?

HAVE YOU CHOKED YOUR IMAGINATION? As writers, we cannot be without this important tool. So how do you (and me) get this important part of our writing back at a moment’s notice? First off, I’d say fire your Muse, and then I’d retract that statement. She is as bugged as you are. One word hits the spot —  OVERLOAD — and it happens to everyone.

Imagination is one word – Imagine. Kinda like the old game ‘let’s pretend.’ Sounds simple. It is, except we forget to let our ‘pretend’ side take over. Another way to look at this is ‘what if?’ Oh, you’d forgotten about that. Well let’s see what we can do to sharpen our minds, reinvent our ‘what ifs,’ and bring back the sights, sounds, and make-believes that our Muse tries so shard to knock into our thoughts.

Suppose you go outside and ‘what if” all you see are PURPLE SQUIRRELS? Hey, start here. Could you imagine writing about the purple squirrels? No. Well, what do you think of all of the paranormal attitude? Or the books way out on the limb? If a writer could not turn off the day-to-day happenings, where would all of these books or movies be? NEVER.

Is this a type of fantasy? Only you can answer this, but fantasy is not a death threat. It is an avenue to make you think way, and I mean way, “outside the box.”

Romance was once said to have a girl, a boy, a problem, a kiss, and make-up. Maybe when we read “See Jane Run,” and no one followed her, romance took a drop. But, as writers, we have come way past this emphasis. We are not kids trying to keep up with the world. No, we are adult writers trying to out-do the world.

We are into brainstorming with our fellow writers. We need the versatility of life in our stories. We need to dream and have hallucinations to spawn off onto our readers.

This is our purpose of writers: to give out readers a mental image of something they have never seen, known or felt.

This is our time, as writers, to give our readers a gift of the unknown and pull them inside with our stories and a great force of abilities to confront whatever it is out there. (EVEN PURPLE SQUIRRELS.)

Okay, ‘what if’ squirrels were purple? As a writer I’d have mine a different purple than all the others. Purple squirrels would climb higher, fly higher, and scream louder. No, not a lavender, but a deep blue-black purple and scare everyone. OR, maybe they would give the reader a sense of love not remembered, but not completely ignored,

This is our gift to our readers, our imagination. We create what the reader cannot perceive, and give them what they think they want.

As writers, we create new things and take our readers on their daydreams, or delusions, and let them fantasize their own lives. We create for them their imaginary world as they want it to be, but we let them know this is a fantasy. We do not lead our readers on without the consequences of the downside.

‘What if there were no more PURPLE SQUIRRELS?’ Oh, No. Then you need to take yourselves out and walk through parks, walk through woods, or any place that takes you back to your beginning and start again.

Imagination is there. We just forget to use it, improve it, and most importantly embrace it.

Your job for the next week is to stop to have fun, and be sure to watch the ‘Purple Squirrels.’ they know more than what you think they do.



We had so many “photographers”, and pictures always tell the story. Marta and George are in the first picture. Congratulations to their upcoming wedding. Hope you enjoy, and remember to have a party every day.

Now you can see what a great group I have the pleasure of seeing five days a week. Thanks to ALL of YOU.

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On Wednesday, May 7, 2014, thirty of our SilverSneakers® gathered for our third annual Spring Fling at the 57th Fighters Group Patio. It was a beautiful day. Bright blue skies, great sunshine, and plenty of umbrellas covered the tables as we basked in the spirit of SilverSneakers. We all exercise, but the 3-F’s are included: Fitness, Friends, Fun. Believe it, we know how to do all three.

This was also a special occasion as we celebrated the upcoming marriage of our own Marta to George. You will see them together…and that is the couple. Life creeps up on us when we have fun and the enjoyment with friends is the best life can give us.

I’m not certain how all this will print out, pictures, as we had plenty of cameras this time and great communication connections. A lot of pictures for scrapbooks and memories. This is not the problem. The person entering the info on her blog is. These are not all the pics, downloading takes time and my eyesight, along with my fingers need a rest. Have fun. Enjoy. More to come. If you don’t see yourself here, you’ll be in the next batch.

AND, if you live in Atlanta, Brookhaven, Chamblee, Dunwoody., or parts close by, check out our classes and get healthy, exercise, and have a great time.

p.s. The music is great.


Patricia Patterson



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