A Harmonious Job Interview

Quite a few people are frightened of job interviews.  Here’s how I got over that fear.

I started thinking in a more harmonious way.  I realized, once and for all, that the employer wanted to hire me almost as much as I wanted a job.  All I had to do is show the interviewer how I fit their position.  This doesn’t work a hundred percent of the time, of course, but it removes a lot of stress from the interview process and increased my success rate.

When I go in to interview, the first thing I do is keep a small smile plastered on my face.  My head is up, I’m looking around, I’m friendly with everyone.  If anyone asks how my day is going, I say “great, how’s yours?” or something similar.  I move like I belong there.

When I actually speak with my interviewer, I’m warm and friendly, and I keep in mind that they are just doing their job.  I am thoughtful about my interview responses and I try to inject just a bit of a sense of humor into them.  When I have done the job before, I use that to ask good questions and build rapport.

Yesterday I used this technique to get a job offer.  Not only that, but it was a pleasant, even fun experience, both for the interviewer but also for me.



via Daily Prompt: Harmony


Murmurations of Art

Mindflight is, above all, a site for artists.  I recently had a short discussion about what “Life is Art” means.  Being in a philosophical mood, I started thinking about it.  A fellow blogger and all around cool person, StreetPsychiatrist, said “just imagine if one could infuse art into the most mundane of activities… that would be something of a masterpiece.”

I agree!

I started thinking about all the ways art has been incorporated into daily life across times, across the globe.  I recalled aboriginal dot paintings that are beautiful but tell how to find water holes.  I thought about beaded bags and knife sheaths among the natives of the American Plains.  I thought about the delicate laquerware of old Japan, and the paintings on their paper room dividers.  I thought about the beautifully turned furniture of Victorian England.  I thought of murals in my own city.  I thought of tea ceremonies and singing during work.  Art has murmured throughout people’s lives since humans started walking across the savanna.

Art is everywhere.

It might be that today our art is mostly of the commercial kind.  A lot of thought goes into every plastic product that we use.  However, our disposable life often makes many (myself included) forget about the possibilities to incorporate just a little more art into our daily routine.

It’s easy for me, I’m an artist!  My instinct is to adorn.   I know not everyone is the same way, though.  What should a person do if they don’t feel like they have an artistic bone in their body but wants more art in their life anyway?

Plenty!  People can collect art, whether original or copy.  They can do something as simple as picking out a really inspiring wallpaper for their desktop.  A friend of mine has Van Gogh’s Starry Night as her tablet cover.  They can also collect beautiful things from bygone eras, where there was more care taken in design.  They can incorporate those things into their daily lives.  My mother collects hand painted china.  I have just started collecting antique pocket knives.  For me, restoring those old blades to a new life is another way of inviting art into my world.

Using older, more elegant or interesting items is not only fun, but it also helps reduce modern waste.  So, if you have time and inclination, why not haunt the second hand shops for that perfect blue glass canister to hold your spaghetti noodles in?  Or find a fine old wooden plate stand to support your tablet or phone?  Or learn to make art, some kind of art, to enliven your daily round?

Life is Art.  It’s also an adventure.  Adventure calls!



via Daily Prompt: Murmuration

My gender is not abstract, I am not an “it!”

Nezumi here again. I’ve taken over Mom’s keyboard because there’s something that’s been bothering me more than the yappy dog next door. I’m really tired of being called “it!”

Yes, I’ve had The Operation. But, I am still very much a girl cat. You should hear my high pitched meow! Anybody looking at me can see I’m a girl cat. I’m not an “it.” If someone calls me that, they are calling me a “thing.” Do I look like a “thing?” So what if I don’t have my kitten factory? I still act and feel like a girl.

My adoptive father had the Operation too. He didn’t chase girls but he was definitely male. He didn’t think he was a female. And he was one of the best cats I’ve ever known.

It bugs me when other Two-leggeds do that to Mom, too. They call her an “It” if they can’t figure out if she’s male or femal. She’s not a thing any more than I am! She gives me gooshy food and skritches and everything a cat could want. She’s not a chair, or a scratching post, or some other thing that doesn’t move that might be called “it.”

Wait, here she comes, I should lie down and pretend to sleep again.



via Daily Prompt: Abstract


Life is Resistance

No matter what, the will to fight is ingrained in each of us.

When a child is born, they are usually not a passive bundle being pushed out of the womb. Not only do they struggle and fight for life, but the struggle itself helps the baby’s circulatory system work better. My spouse, who has midwifed fourteen births, says that the baby always fights for life. We are born fighting, and the fighting helps us live.

This also happens to butterflies. If you were to cut open a chrysalis to help the butterfly get out, the creature would not be able to fly. Their body would be large, their wings poor, shriveled things. Only through the struggle of getting out on their own do they gain the ability to fly. The squeezing of the small opening pushes the blood and fluids out of their body and into their wings, which expand during emergence, and harden shortly after.

Chicks struggle to peck their way out of the shell with nothing but their own strength and an egg tooth. Everything depends on this tiny battle. From the first moment of consciousness, the fight is on. Then, it continues in the struggle for food, territory, and breeding partners.

As humans, a lack of struggle weakens us. No weight lifter in the world got strong without lifting heavy things! There are no quick, easy answers. Everything requires effort. Handouts and welfare require effort too – but this time the effort is spent by the workers who pay for the welfare. The old saying is trite but true: There is no such thing as a free lunch. This is true in society, in nature, and everywhere else.

Life, all of life, is a war to be won with deadly consequences for failure. If we don’t fight disease, it takes over. If we don’t fight depression, it kills us. If we don’t continue to learn and grow, we slowly die. Though it might seem so, I am not being morbid – instead I am celebrating the toughness we all have inside. Many of us may not realize it’s there, but it is!

Even in birth, there is no safe space. Every day our bodies are resisting pathogens, bacteria, viruses, fungi. The moment our bodies die, they stop resisting, and the pathogens win. We rot. The very fact that we are still alive means we are winning the fight for one more day.

What will we do with our victory?

via Daily Prompt: Resist


I’m hopeful in spite of everything…

This year some bad things have happened, quite a few of them, really.  We’ve lost beloved performers, we’ve heard some truly odious lies told by politicians, and the national media has done its usual job to try and twist our perceptions outside the realm of reality.

Some good things have happened as well.  For me, I have had some personal successes, and kept chipping away at a couple personal challenges that have galled me for years.  We as internet users continue to reap the benefits of parallel communication so we can get an idea of what’s really going on, no matter what the media might say.  I have improved my art and this blog and I’ve published two books and two short stories this year.  I’ve also dipped my toes back into traditional media and had one of my drawings published in a magazine, so that’s a great thing to remember for me.

It’s been a mixed bag but there’s hope.  Some friends of mine have revealed to me that they are terrified of what’s going to happen because Hillary didn’t win – to me there’s a glimmer of hope because she didn’t. I didn’t like her opponent that much, but when you get past the media lies he’s not quite the ogre everyone seems to think he is.  So I have a little room for hope in politics.  At least our current Anointed One won’t have the chance to catapult the US into World War 3 and make energy so expensive no one can afford it.

I take my hope in small doses.  For another example, right now I make $2.79 above minimum wage.  Come the new year, I’ll be making $0.79 above the minimum wage, and I’ll have to deal with higher prices and such as businesses find ways to pay their employees up to that rate.  I work at the lowest paid call center in the city.  But, there’s hope!  Because I moved to a place that’s cheaper to live in, has lower utility bills, and has the most awesome landlord I’ve ever even heard of.  I feel bad for all the families who will have to tighten their belts even more, but at least I, personally, will have hope, even as I watch my dollar grow weaker.

My books are starting to make a little money, so there’s a glimmer of hope there too.  I’ll keep on writing, and drawing, taking pictures and doing what I do, and who knows?  Maybe my audience will find me.  Hope springs eternal.  The important thing is, if you want to have hope, never give up, no matter what you do.  If you stop, you can always start again.

As Winston Churchill said,

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts.”



via Daily Prompt: Hopeful


Finding a Place called Home

From early teenhood, I yearned for the desert.

I wanted heat, dryness, cacti all around, sweeping vistas, sand dunes nearby.

Though I loved beaches, forests and water, I wanted something decidedly other – and made half baked plans to move someday during late night talks with my father.

I lived the first thirty years of my life in a coastal environment.  Webs grew between my toes.  I watched the state bird, the slug, crawl by.  The state flower seemed to be mold.  The green was pretty – all that green – that grew everywhere, including on the rubber work of too-long parked trucks, window sills, and under beds.  I couldn’t smell the rain though it was everywhere.

Tragedy hit.  The American economic downturn forced people out of their jobs, skyrocketed the prices of gas, and outsourcing was rampant.  I lost my first house, a 110 year old place that I’d thought would be home.

We went on the road, my partner and I, packing everything we owned into a Hyundai Elantra.  We lived rough in Nevada for a month and a half.  Finally, the decision was made to head south, for frost was forming on our pillow and it was bitterly cold in the Blackrock Desert.

We moved south.  Driving into Arizona, I felt an odd sense of welcome as I glimpsed my first redrock.  I began to feel at home.

We camped in a backyard, I got another job, eventually an apartment.  It was beautiful.  It was nearly home.  Hard work happened.  Lots of it.

After six and a half years we found another place – a little rowhouse, in a quiet neighborhood filled with pine trees and eucalyptus, still with a view of the Catalinas that I love so well.  There’s cactus and heat, there’s sunshine all year, I don’t miss the damp at all.  There’s monsoons in the summer and I finally know the smell of rain.

We found our home.




via Discover Challenge: Finding Your Place


Anticipation Grows Again

Anticipation is definitely something I’ve felt around this time of year.  And who has more anticipation than a young child?   When I was little, Christmas was one of my favorite days.  I’d count down to it, plan my present giving strategy, maybe practice my lines for the yearly pageant.  I’d lay awake nights watching the beautiful Christmas lights on the tree through a myopic fog that made them look glowing and mysterious, rather like this photo.

Growing older, I’ve tried to learn to uncouple anticipation from expectation, and thus, disappointment.  Oddly, I’ve found a small glow of anticipation for the holiday season again.  It’s only been made possible by studiously ignoring all the glitz in the stores, the over inflated artificial hype.  That’s easier since my TV turns on only occasionally and I haven’t watched even one movie in quite a few months.  Commercials are my bane and I avoid them, the only ones I hear are from the radio.

With the reduction of the pressure of commercialism, I find that there is still a soft little place in my heart that I can leave open to anticipation.  I think about finding something nice to do for one of my coworkers, who seems rather lost and unloved.  I quietly plan a cookie baking day, so I can invite my neighbor over, so she, my spouse and I can bake cookies and I can teach her to bake bread.  The plan is to distribute small packages of cookies to all my close neighbors.  I think, “maybe a few strings of lights to celebrate the Winter Solstice would be  nice.”

Slowly, gently, anticipation grows again.  The holidays start to be about people I care about and doing nice things for others, as well as enjoying good food and fun times.  I remember being that kid who used to look at the Christmas tree through a half open door.


via Daily Prompt: Anticipation