In A Word…

Musings from the West Coast

The Mountain is Out Today

Every local area has its own idiosyncrasies, phrases, and quirks.  I think my favorite one in Seattle is “The Mountain is Out Today”.

Definition: To look at the crystal clear sky, free of haze, free of rain, free of mild fog and see a crisp view of a mountain against the cool blue sky.

The mountain does not have to be snow-capped, but it helps pull it away in contrast.

It is most often used in reference to “Mount Rainer” but there are “the sisters” and also the Everett mountain range.

One fifth of everyone that I’ve met out here knows this phrase or has used this phrase at least once in my presence.  It’s complete, it’s simple, and brings to mind a beautiful maiden stepping out of her house to walk the tree-lined streets:  The Mountain is beautiful, the mountain is not hiding, the mountain is really there, the mountain is out today.


The Art and Brilliance of Yves Saint Laurent

Angel stayed with dead owner for five days; now she is terrified at shelter

I’m at the opposite coast, diagonally apart, and this story broke my heart this morning…


She lies in her kennel shaking. She has lost her home and her owner, and now she’s confused and heartbroken. She doesn’t know why she’s in a kennel, alone and unloved.

This traumatized and depressed dog who was with her deceased owner for over five days is waiting for help in a Tampa shelter. Angel was found in the blood-filled home with her deceased owner. There is no relative to take her, so she is at the Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center.

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A Quick-Ref on Pitching:

Nobody teaches you to pitch in college.

Let’s just be clear on this for a moment.

From my experience, which may or may not be typical:

  • NOBODY is going to teach you to pitch your article, your play, your musical, or your poetry collection, unless a professor is aware and steps in to include a segment in their class.
  • I’ve been in creative writing classes in High School and College.
    • Nobody suggested it would be a NECESSARY thing to learn.
    • Nobody suggested it was an IMPORTANT thing to learn.
    • Nobody even suggested it was REQUIRED in order to move from personal writing to professional writing.
  • Having an editor or a manager was recommended.
  • Submitting your work to as many sources as possible was recommended.

So you get left to your own devices.

While this list is not perfect, and will eventually be full of broken links, I have a comprehensive list of suggestion palettes of how to pitch and how not to pitch.  This list is based on article pitching: pitching short stories and novels have a slightly different format, and I haven’t dug into short story pitching for a while.  I’ll try to revisit those soon.

Things to think about when considering your Pitch:

Have you pitched articles before?  Do you have any suggestions for budding writers or college grads?  What was your best or worst experience as a writer?  Going to give these a try?  Leave a comment with your experience.  I’d love to hear your story!

Okay, No Election Talk.

I wrote a ranty post about the election, deleted it, rewrote it, deleted it, and then just decided to write in “Fred, the Spider” for president.

Actually, I know who I’m voting for.  I’m just leaning on “can’t we all just get along” for the next eight years.  Four to get us through this current election cycle, no matter who is president, and four more to have a more peaceful, “I can talk to my child about this candidate and the other candidate” sort of election.

I don’t want to do this again in four years.  I don’t, I don’t, I don’t.

Missing Lilo & Stitch footage: How NOT to Behave on Vacation

On Tumblr, Itsagifnotagif posted a missing scene from Lilo and Stitch.  Maybe it was the pacing, maybe it was where it was in the movie, maybe it was any number of logistical reasons.  The reality is, it was cut, but is a reminder of the rudeness that people face every day in tourist-heavy “destinations”.

The last few frames are absolutely heartbreaking.

When you visit someone else’s hometown, the very LEAST you can do is be polite.  Lilo makes it sound like she deals with this once a week.  Once a month.  Even twice a year probably feels like it’s too much.  Microagressions can build their way into people’s hearts (in both directions), and it creates things like separate subway trains for noisy passengers, and booklets on “how to behave” by tourism committees.

If you want to know how to avoid being a rude tourist, let’s have some resources.

How about a list of 8 things to avoid ticking people off with, when traveling abroad?

Or a well-explained article about a Kyoto infographic on how to behave in Japan… with some of the pictures being obvious common courtesy.

A suggestion guide specific to Paris, because who DOESN’T want to see the Eiffel Tower at least once.