20 May 2014

Autographed Copies of Driftwood and High Tide Available as a Set

Signed and personalized copies of Driftwood and High Tide are available as a set for $30 (free shipping in the USA) if you order directly through the author and/or UltraVioletLove Publishing. Ignore what it says on the right about prices with Priority Mail. Click the button pay via PayPal or email uvlpublishing@gmail.com for shipping and other payment options. The set comes with free matching bookmarks. If you live outside of the US, please email me at the address above and I'll see what I can do to get you a similar deal near you. Countries with an Amazon warehouse near them can order the title through their local Amazon, and I will mail them a matching bookmark and an autographed sticker to put on the inside cover of their book if they send me an email with a request.





14 May 2014

High Tide: A Sequel to Driftwood has been released!

High Tide: A Sequel to Driftwood is out now! 
 You can interact and/or follow the author on her personal Facebook page as well as her fan page. She is also on Twitter and Google+ if you'd like to follow her there.

02 February 2014

Bio and Title List

About the Author

Beth Mitchum is back in Central Florida after spending nearly 18 years in the Seattle area. She lived in and around Seattle from 1993 to 2010 and again for six months in 2012. While she lived in multiple places all around Puget Sound, her favorite nesting spot was on the Kitsap Peninsula, where she was able to enjoy waterfront living and bald eagle watching most of the time she lived there. Before moving to Seattle, she spent 8 years in the Asheville, North Carolina area, a place of great beauty and folk art culture. While in Asheville, she received her master’s degree from UNC-Asheville. Before moving to North Carolina in 1985, she lived in Lakeland, Florida, where she attended college, landed her first great job, and found the first of many cool living spaces, which show up occasionally in her books. Beth grew up in Winter Park, Florida, a European-style city in the heart of Central Florida. She lives with her four cats, who are the joy of her life.
Follow Beth’s work and life at BethMitchum.com. You can interact with her on Facebook and Twitter. Her books are available at Amazon’s international warehouses, Alibris, Barnes and Noble, CreateSpace.com, and bethmitchum.com, where you can order autographed copies from her online bookstore bookshopwithoutborders@gmail.com. Her books are also available via special order at any bookstore in the US that can order through Ingram. Her published works include: Driftwood, High Tide, Higher Love, In My Dreams, The Diary of Allie Katz, The Goddess Series, Books 1-3, Slices of My Life: So Far, bethwor(l)ds: 20 years of poetry, wor(l)ds of love, loss, and longing, and Driftwood: The Music.  She is also a contributing poet and the editor of the Sappho’s Corner Poetry Series and editor of the Sappho’s Corner Solo Poets Series.

Titles by Beth Mitchum

Titles Published by UltraVioletLove Publishing:

By Beth Mitchum:
Fiction:
Driftwood
High Tide: Sequel to Driftwood 
Higher Love
In My Dreams
The Diary of Allie Katz
Naked on the Beach (forthcoming)
If Wishes were Horses (forthcoming)

Poetry and Memoir:
bethwor(l)ds: 20 years of poetry
wor(l)ds of love, loss, and longing
Seen Dancing: Essays from the Heart
Slices of My Life: So Far
Slices of My Life: Still Standing (forthcoming)

Music:
Driftwood: The Music (companion music CD for the novel, Driftwood)
Three music videos available at bethmitchum.com and YouTube.com.

The Goddess Series:
Artemisian Artist: Book 1
Gaia’s Guardian: Book 2
Demeter’s Daughter: Book 3
Hestia’s Healer: Book 4 (forthcoming)

Sappho’s Corner Poetry Series edited by Beth Mitchum:
Tulips Touching: Sappho’s Corner Poetry Series, Volume 1
Wet Violets: Sappho’s Corner Poetry Series, Volume 2
Roses Read: Sappho’s Corner Poetry Series, Volume 3
Delectable Daisies: Sappho’s Corner Poetry Series, Volume 4 
Fallen Petals: Sappho's Corner Poetry Series, Volume 5 (forthcoming)

Sappho’s Corner Solo Poets Series (Edited by Beth Mitchum)
Wor(l)ds of Love, Loss, and Longing by Beth Mitchum
Out of the Darkness by Jin Robinson
The Finley Human Experience by Monique Finley
Blushing Aspen by Kieran York 

Other Poetry from UltraVioletLove Publishing:
Black and White and  All Shades of Grey by Giovanna Calligaris

29 July 2013

A Day, Right Out of the Blue

For me, today is one of those days that simply comes at you out of the blue. I had my tutoring student today, which was normal and expected. However, before my student arrived, my housemate got a call that a friend of hers was coming up this way to meet her cousin for a visit today. She wanted to visit with my housemate too while she was here. That sounded like a good idea. She was going to bring her pug with her. Okay, getting a little more interesting, considering this is a residence with eight cats. Of course, I'm used to dogs of all kinds and have a way with pretty much all kinds of animals in the world, including sheep, goats, and llamas (oh my!). My cats, however, are clueless what is about to happen, and I have no way to prepare them really. 

Fast forward a bit... Instead of the friend meeting her cousin up here somewhere, they are all here at the house of eight cats. The couple with their precocious three-year-old girl, the friend with her pug, who doesn't like the heat. The little girl was inside with me for a while, even though I just met them all seconds beforehand. Cute little girl. We chatted for about ten minutes while I distracted her from hunting down every cat in the house. All except Pixie, my little social butterfly, and periodic cameo appearances by Li'l Grey, who is really unsure what to make of the pug, the cats are nowhere to be seen. I am certain that being found by anyone or anything, particularly a dog, was not on their agendas for the day. Taz made a quick cameo appearance before escaping to her hiding place on the lounge in the library, where she can hide behind a comforter and pretend she's a chameleon. 

Oh, and speaking of chameleons, there is a baby lizard (not a chameleon) lose in the library. It came in the other day. I tried to hoosh it back out to no avail, so we've added a critter to the household. Li'l was watching it closely under the lounge last night. It won't live long if it doesn't get food and water. If I manage to catch it, I'll set it free, but it seemed determined to get out of the hot sun (Really? It's a freaking lizard for heaven's sake!). 

Anyway, back to the tale for the day... This one ends for now with a dog sitting on my feet. Wait a minute. Where have I heard that one before? Oh yeah, on a plane from Atlanta to Orlando, where there is a convention for the blind, and the seeing eye dog that has been assigned to my row is lying on my feet instead of his person's feet. You can't blame Fred though. He was nervous, and I am the animal whisperer after all. I've been told many times, rather accusingly I might add, that other people's dogs and cats love me better than they love their own people. I know better, of course. I'm just the well-loved babysitter. Not the real deal, but fun in a pinch. That's why I'm a good nanny too.

So the family is gone now. My housemate and her friend have gone out to eat. Me, Sarah (the pug), 7 of 8 cats, and a lizard are left in the house. It's perfectly peaceful here once again, even if a little different population than the one we had when we last left our heroine.

P.S. I can see another Slices of My Life title down the road. First published was So Far. I'm working now on Still Standing, but I have to be truly standing before I finish that one. After that will be A Broad Abroad, which will regale my readers of my life abroad. That will be followed by Confessions of an Animal Whisperer, so stay tuned, as my life and the tales/tails unfurl. 

Beth Mitchum is the author of seven novels, two collections of poetry, one collection of biographical essays, one collection of spiritual essays, and one music CD. She is also the editor and contributing poet in the Sappho's Corner Poetry Series, which now includes: Tulips Touching, Wet Violets, and Roses Read. All of her works are available at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, BethMitchum.com, BookshopWithoutBorders.com, and numerous other online bookstores. They are also available by special order through nearly any independent book store. Go to http://bethmitchum.com for more information or to her author page at Amazon.com. First chapters of her novels and memoirs are available at bethmitchum.com. Beth is also the founder and senior editor for UltraVioletLove Publishing and the many websites run by this entity.

21 June 2013

Join the Solution Revolution (Reprinted from SolutionRevolution.com)



Have you ever noticed that in an emergency situation--tornado aftermath, hurricanes, floods, etc.--people don't waste time complaining about the situation? They just get to work to make the situation better to the best of their present ability, and most people who get to work don't limit the help to themselves only. They get to work on behalf of their neighbors too generally, particularly those unable to do the work themselves. We know in these circumstances that complaining will never solve the problems. 

Why do we forget this when it comes to every day issues? Why don't we all try skipping the bitching for a change and go right to problem solving? Do what you can every day to make the world a better place right where you stand. If each of us did that, no matter our abilities or disabilities, the world would be a better place. Let's start today. Find something in your immediate world/environment and make it better. No complaints. No blame. Simply take some kind of action to improve the situation given your present abilities. 


I'd like to see this become a way of life for most of us. Are you up for the challenge? Even if all you do differently is make a point of disposing properly of a piece of litter every day, there would be 365 fewer pieces of litter on this planet every year. If 100 of us did this every day...36,500 few pieces of litter per year. Don't stop there. Get creative about finding ways to leave your world a better place daily. 


I've lived through hurricanes and windstorms of all kinds, and I can tell you that the devastation afterwards is overwhelming to behold. The mess from these storms and any natural disasters don't get cleaned up quickly. It can take months and sometime years of daily effort to make things right again, but over time, the mess is cleaned up and the damage that can be repaired is finally repaired.

There are a lot of problems facing us in this world--pollution, hunger, war, unemployment, homelessness, etc. Looking at the problems can feel overwhelming. No one is asking you to solve all the world's problems. But I am challenging you today to join me in taking the pledge to make at least one positive change a day to help make the world a better place. Start where you are and do the first thing you see that you can conceivably do in the space of a few minutes. Pick up a piece of litter. Plant a tree. Write a letter of support to your senator or protest to the president of a company that makes products that pollute the environment. Get involved. Complaining isn't the solution. Actions are the solution. Start small and right where you're standing today.


Join the Solution Revolution today and make a positive difference every day. 

Beth Mitchum is the author of seven novels, two collections of poetry, one collection of biographical essays, one collection of spiritual essays, and one music CD. She is also the editor and contributing poet in the Sappho's Corner Poetry Series, which now includes: Tulips Touching, Wet Violets, and Roses Read. All of her works are available at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, BethMitchum.com, BookshopWithoutBorders.com, and numerous other online bookstores. They are also available by special order through nearly any independent book store. Go to http://bethmitchum.com for more information or to her author page at Amazon.com. First chapters of her novels and memoirs are available at bethmitchum.com. Beth is also the founder and senior editor for UltraVioletLove Publishing and the many websites run by this entity.

17 June 2013

Thunderstorms and Other Scary Cat Scenarios

I was up until the middle of the night last night listening to thunderstorms that kept rolling over us, one after the other. Every time I started to drift off to sleep, thunder would rumble loudly overhead, jerking me awake again. It wasn't right on top of us, but much of the time it was very close and therefore very loud. The storms must have been coming in steady bands because the storm would be loud and then would recede only to get strong again. Thunder kept booming and lightning kept flashing on and off for more than an hour. It was really quite an awesome display in the night. It was hard to count the seconds between the lightning and thunder though because the flashes of lightning and claps of thunder were so close together that they were nearly continuous at times. I did ascertain that it was a mile or less away for a number of minutes and 3-5 miles away for a solid half hour. In other words, it was too close for an uninterrupted night of sleep while it was around, but the rain that accompanied it was helpful in offsetting the drought conditions that have existed in Florida in recent years, during the time I was living in Seattle. 

Unaccustomed as they are to such weather, I will say that my cats were mostly okay with it, although my oldest female definitely didn't like the thunder. I was a little surprised that my boys, who seemed calm enough, were actually okay only as long as they were in the same room as me. They all ended up in the rooms where either I or my housemate were trying to sleep. I guess they were taking their cues from us as to whether this weather was a scary event or not. My housemate's cats are used to it because they've lived here all their lives, but not my four. My youngest little girl was totally unfazed by it, but that is pretty much her natural state. She stays cool as a cucumber no matter what. She's a new soul to be sure, and approaches the world with wide-eyed wonder. She was the one who was most relaxed and totally fine with all the driving back and forth across the USA last year. 

From mid-April to mid-October, the five of us logged about 13,000 miles in the cab of a Dodge Ram 1500, in a regular size cab. My youngest boy is next in the coolness level, but my older cats, the "twins" are not even a little bit brave. My eldest boy had been named "Pollo," when he was a kitten. While he was aptly named, I wasn't about to have call him Chicken in any language, so I changed his name when I adopted him from the rescue center. My oldest girl was pretty darn spunky when she was a kitten, but not so much any more. I have to wonder if the first trip from Seattle to Orlando in 2010 is what shifted her energy from a spunky princess type to a somewhat skittish kitty. The third night on that road trip was awful for them. I had to leave the twins and their older sibling, Dustin, in the car for the night because the hotel did not accept pets.  I hated the thought of having to do this, but it was late and I had limited hotel choices where I had exited the highway. The temperature was okay though so I relented in order to get some much needed sleep. 

I had a luxurious shower and slept soundly in the comfy bed, but the next morning I came out to the moving truck to find the cab completely trashed and smelling of urine, as though someone (I found out later who) had wet themselves instead of using the litter box. Cat kibbles were everywhere, stuff was upended, and animal paw prints on the door and roof of the cab spoke of a terrifying encounter in the night. The prints on the top of the cab of the moving truck were from a raccoon. The ones on the passenger door were from a large canine. Given the proximity to the woods and mountains, it's anyone's guess as to whether the beast that had been after the raccoon was just someone's dog running around in the parking lot or something wild from the woods. As far as my cats were concerned, however, whatever was out there was excited and wanted the raccoon that was on the roof above their heads. I hadn't been able to park the moving truck close enough to the hotel to hear what went on in the night, so I have no idea what happened, when it happened, or how long it went on. All I could determine was that my cats had been terrified. I didn't need to be psychic to figure out that they'd had a very bad night. The terror was in their eyes, as well as more than a hint of accusation. They were exhausted, upset, and disillusioned that their mother would allow them to suffer such an ordeal all alone. That morning while I fed them breakfast in the truck, cleaning up as best as I could and spraying some aromatherapy scent so we could all breathe a little better in there, I apologized whole-heartedly to my feline children and vowed to stay in the vehicle with them if I ever had to make them stay in a vehicle overnight again. I kept my promise to them, not only for the rest of that trip, but also for the 13,000 miles we traveled together last summer. 

It didn't matter that they had been perfectly safe inside the big truck away from the wildlife encounter that was raging just outside the safety of their sleeping space, the fear was the same for them. They had no assurance that  the dog, wolf, coyote, or whatever couldn't get into the truck, while it was barking, baring its teeth, growling, and pawing ferociously at the door of their living space. The energy in the cab that morning was one that reeked of fear. I vowed that day never to leave them in the truck overnight alone again, no matter how safe I knew them to be. The fact that they didn't know that they were safe was all that mattered. They know they are safe as long as I am present. That's why I took them with me last year to the GCLS conference in Minneapolis rather than leaving them in the camper with someone just checking on them periodically throughout the days I'd be gone. I just couldn't do that to them. To begin with, we had just moved into the camper a few days earlier. The fact that it was another new place, and situated in the midst of wooded acreage, in no way insured that there wouldn't be a repeat of the night in a hotel parking lot in Utah, when a canine of some sort had "treed" a raccoon on top of the roof of the vehicle where my cats were awaiting the return of their mother. I just couldn't do it for their sake or my peace of mind. We were better off together, even if it meant taking them on the road again after less than a six-week respite from the 4000-mile trip that had brought us to Washington from Florida with a few significant stops along the way.

On that trip to Minneapolis, I did end up having to sleep in a campground one night in the cab with them in order to keep my promise to them. It was a fitful night and cold this time. We didn't manage to make it more than 4 or 5 hours in there together. They were cold and restless, and I was cold and ready to be anywhere other than trying to sleep in the front of a pickup truck with four restless felines that had been stuck in the cab of a truck all day. As difficult as the night was, and as little sleep as I got, it was still far better than leaving them some place where I wasn't certain that they would be free from wildlife terrors in the night. After a few hours of fitful sleep, I pulled back out onto the road and drove for several hours until the sun rose and turned the earth's thermostat up several degrees. I pulled off the road at a rest stop and slept a couple hours more, this time in the warmth of the morning sun. The cats ate breakfast at the rest stop and settled in for their usual after-breakfast nap too. All was well, and again, much better than allowing my cats to endure any more terrifying wildlife moments in the night. 

This year, fortunately, as I plan to fly out to Dallas to the GCLS conference, the cats are all safely settled in a familiar house, and they all love and trust their "auntie." We will miss each other during these four days while I'm away, but we will live through it and be no worse for it upon my return. They'll be safe while I'm gone and since they trust my housemate implicitly, they'll know that they are safe. Knowing that will make me feel so much better about leaving them. Now that we've lived through a night of rough weather together recently, I know that they'll have last night to remember should it get stormy during the few days I'll be absent from them. The storm was noisy and more than a little unsettling to them, but they witnessed their mother and their auntie taking it in stride. So while my housemate might end up with all eight cats sleeping as close to her as they possibly can, everyone should feel safe at least. 

Even if I can't go back in time and change what happened in my kitties' psyches during the ordeal of the raccoon and the canine in the night, I can at least try to make sure that it is the last time in their lives something that scary happens to them. I'd like to see more of the kittenhood spunkiness I saw in my oldest little girl during the early years of her life. I suspect that she retained too much of the fear of the night when she and her siblings felt very much like prey instead of the natural predators they are. I'd like to see her bounce back from that completely, and I'd like to ensure that the rest of their lives are calm and quiet and peaceful, but I can't really guarantee that since we're likely to have a few more adventures before our lives together are over. I will say that all the adventures I've lived through with my furry children have created an even stronger bond amongst the five of us. We might be a funny little family, but we are definitely a family, and I wouldn't have it any other way. 

Beth Mitchum is the author of seven novels, two collections of poetry, one collection of biographical essays, one collection of spiritual essays, and one music CD. She is also the editor and contributing poet in the Sappho's Corner Poetry Series. All of her works are available at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, BethMitchum.com, BookshopWithoutBorders.com, and numerous other online bookstores. They are also available by special order through nearly any independent book store. Go to http://bethmitchum.com for more information or to her author page at Amazon.com. First chapters of her novels and memoirs are available at bethmitchum.com. Beth is also the founder and senior editor for UltraVioletLove Publishing and the many websites run by this entity.

11 June 2013

Typographically Yours

Thank goodness for the news. I feel so much better about my typos after watching this morning's news telecast. Apparently I'm not the only one who needs their tea before they start typing stuff meant for public consumption. I just learned that a man was killed today in Florida in a US 19 rash. All I can say is: Wow! That must be one serious rash if it killed a man! What kind of rash was it anyway? Road rash? Now I know what they meant to say, and it's truly tragic, but I'm an editor after all. You can't slip that kind of stuff by me, unless, of course, you're me and I'm the one typing it before my morning chai has been imbibed. I can type all kinds of nonsense and not notice it until enough time passes for several people on Facebook, Twitter, and Google + to have read it as is. Now I realize that on days when I've typed before tea that I've caused readers, on numerous occasions, to spew their lattes all over their computer screens, and as soon as I stop giggling, I'll apologize.

Of course these days, I'm causing people to spew it on themselves, since more and more people are reading their email and social networking messages on their cell phones. Let me warn you that these reading devices offer little or no protection from such oral eruptions. I don't really understand this usage of a cell phone. My Kindle Fire is about as small a screen as I care to use for reading email and news and that is possible only because I can blow it up. The text, that is, not my Kindle. Blowing up a Fire seems not only a bit redundant, but also ridiculously unnecessary.  And truly, if I wanted to read small print, I'd just grab a bottle of over-the-counter medication and try to decipher the size 1.5 font before I suffered a collapse from trying to read the instructions to the magic antidote to whatever has overcome me in the moment. Fortunately it's never anything more serious than a homeopathic remedy for eyestrain from reading tiny print. 

I have to admit though that I cannot blame tiny print for my typos. Most of the time anyway. Sometimes I make the mistake of posting on Facebook from my Kindle, which generally results in autocorrect-level typos, which are more like practical jokes than merely amusing mistakes. If you don't believe me, you have only refer to the website: http://www.damnyouautocorrect.com/.  But I digress. I'll be the first to admit that even the smallest typo, such as the one on this morning's news, can completely change the complexion of what the writer meant to say. With the speed of news releases these days (and an appalling lack of proofreaders), there are terabytes of funny moments in the news, even when humor is not the purpose of that particular tidbit. I'm certain, for instance, that tears from an outburst of laughter was not the expected response to the notice about the traffic fatality on US 19, but sometimes laughter is unstoppable, and that's how it should be. Laughing is a good and healthy response to the unexpected, as long as the unexpected is not disproportionately overwhelming in a tragic way.

Laughter has been touted as the best medicine for millennia. As a wise man once said, "A merry heart worketh good, like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones." (Proverbs 17:22) Now I'm not positive, but I suspect that dry bones would translate as osteoporosis in today's medical lingo. I'd much rather have a merry heart than dry bones any day. So I embrace my writing, typos and all. Sometimes the typos turn out to be funnier or more poetic than what I meant to write anyway. As Friedrich Nietzsche said, "Be careful, lest in casting out your demon you exorcise the best thing in you.” So I will embrace the typos with a chuckle, and the occasional blush, because they may turn out to be the very thing that makes readers laugh and keeps them coming back for more. I'll try my best to refrain from typing before tea, but if I mistype anyway, feel free to chuckle at my misprints. Trust me when I say that I'll be chuckling too as I correct them. I've never been above laughing at my own mistakes. As my favorite nom de plume says: "If you're not laughing at yourself, then you're just not paying attention." --Bryh Syn 

Beth Mitchum is the author of seven novels, two collections of poetry, one collection of biographical essays, one collection of spiritual essays, and one CD. She is also the editor and contributing poet in the Sappho's Corner Poetry Series, which now includes: Tulips Touching, Wet Violets, and Roses Read. All of her works are available at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, BethMitchum.com, BookshopWithoutBorders.com, and numerous other online bookstores. They are also available by special order through nearly any independent book store. Go to http://bethmitchum.com for more information or to her author page at Amazon.com. First chapters of her novels and memoirs are available at bethmitchum.com. Beth is also the founder and senior editor for UltraVioletLove Publishing and the many websites run by this entity.

08 June 2013

Somebody Get the English-Speaking World a Freaking Thesaurus!

Has anyone noticed that everything this year is being touted as "epic?" Probably the most unfortunate use of it was the sportscaster who referred to some athlete as having "epic humility." Epic humility? Really? That's more of an oxymoron that an apt description. In 2011, everything was iconic and now everything is epic. I fully blame the internet for this. How else do you explain such a rapid dissemination of a word into daily usage? Well, except maybe for the 100th monkey theory of species knowledge. I'm not sure I even want to go there. But it seems to me either one or the other is true, unless someone can show me who is sending out mass emails every couple of years, informing people what the English word of the year is going to be. Actually iconic rolled over a bit into 2012 in the US and was shared with Great Britain as the most overused word in the English language, until epic took its place. As I mentioned in my blog, "An Iconic Year for the Pusillanimous Logophile," there really are a lot of words left in the dictionary to use. Lots of words. I'm not kidding. You can look for yourself. Flip open your OED or your Websters. There they are on every page, just hanging around on the corners in danger of being arrested by the dictionary police for loitering. Let's put these words to work for goodness' sake before it's too late, and they have to wonder about the streets begging for dots to feed their i's and dashes to cross their t's. 

I mean, seriously, everything in the world cannot be epic. Otherwise the word loses its status as being, well, an epic word. Putting aside the use of epic that is connected to poetry, the word is one of those hyperbolic descriptions that simply can't be applied to every situation. Everything in the world can't be "heroic, majestic, and impressively great."  That is the definition of the word epic, after all. Words operate in relation to one another. One thing can't be great unless other things are not so great. This can't exist in a world where everything is epic. It's the yin and yang of things. As it says in the Tao Te Ching, "When people see some things as beautiful, other things become ugly. When people see some things as good, other things become bad." (Tao Te Ching, Chapter 2) Now I'm not saying that it wouldn't be great to live in an epic kind of world, but could we at least come up with some different words to express all these epic moments, people, and things? There is even a free online thesaurus, so really there's no excuse for the lack of synonyms in the advertising and television announcing world. That's the great thing about a thesaurus, if no alternate words come to mind, you can at least borrow some. Consider the lowly thesaurus as a library for words. You don't have to create alternate words in order to benefit from them. How about heroic, massive, colossal deeds, films, books, and cars? Well, maybe not cars. The last thing we need are massive and colossal cars to hit the sales floor now that a tank of gasoline is the same price as a surgical procedure, but you get my drift. 

What comes after iconic and epic? Perhaps we could have a website where we all vote on the Word of the Year. Or Time magazine could choose one. Come to think of it, since I don't read that magazine and no longer have weekly exposure to it from working in a book store that sells it, perhaps Time is choosing our word of the year, much like they've chosen our person of the year for so long. I'll have to check into that. Whatever the case, I may start choosing my own Word of the Year. Maybe I can add a little friendly competition to the words that are being drug, kicking and screaming, out of the pages of the comic book world, and splashed about for a year like cheap cologne. I suspect that Batman and Superman wouldn't mind if we added a few other hyperbolic words. Hell, come to think of it, what's wrong with hyperbolic? Oh yeah, a lot of people wouldn't know what it means, much less how to text it. Epic is a perfect word, by the way (a.k.a., btw) for the texting world. For any word to catch on these days, it will either have to be fairly short or it has to abbreviate really well. But don't get me started on Textlish, which is of course English as spelled by texters. You realize, don't you, that texting represents the next step in the evolution (or devolution) of the English language? Eventually we'll all have to be able to read minds so we'll know what someone means when they try to tell you where they're located if they are somewhere other than a numbered street or one with a very short name, like Oak or Pine. But I digress onto a subject that is begging for a blog of its own. In the meantime, while most of us in the English-speaking world still count English as their first language, even if Textlish is running a close second, let's all go dust off our thesauruses and load our word guns with words like hyperbole and exaggeration, so we'll at least know when they're being used to describe absolutely everything from sports figures to mouthwash and soft drinks as epic or iconic. I'll even throw in the internet link for an online thesaurus for the Googlephobic: http://thesaurus.com/. Now let's go paint the world with colorful word images and leave epic and iconic to the comic books, along with kapow and kaboom! 

Beth Mitchum is the author of seven novels, two collections of poetry, one collection of biographical essays, one collection of spiritual essays, and one music CD. She is also the editor and contributing poet in the Sappho's Corner Poetry Series, which now includes: Tulips Touching, Wet Violets, and Roses Read. All of her works are available at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, BethMitchum.com, BookshopWithoutBorders.com, and numerous other online bookstores. They are also available by special order through nearly any independent book store. Go to http://bethmitchum.com for more information or to her author page at Amazon.com. First chapters of her novels and memoirs are available at bethmitchum.com. Beth is also the founder and senior editor for UltraVioletLove Publishing and the many websites run by this entity.

22 April 2013


Reason #1298 that I love living in the Seattle area (even though I don't live there any more): You can't out-thank a Seattle-ite. That's one of the first things I noticed when I moved out there in 1993. No matter what you thank them for, they'll find a way to thank you back, over and over again. I shared this one time with a colleague at the Southcenter Waldenbooks where I was working in Seattle at the time. She happened to be a native to the area. Her response? "Thank you for sharing that with me."

I just got off the phone with my credit union out there--BECU. I still have my accounts out there and will have until I die, no doubt. It's the best credit union EVER in my book. I had to giggle by the time I got off the phone b/c of the thank you contest we were having. It was downright funny. They are just so darned nice. I used to get a kick out of my customers in the Seattle area Waldenbooks stores. You could always tell the natives, and the ones who had been there long enough to have been assimilated thoroughly, from the transplants who just refused to get with the friendly and grateful program. The Seattle-ites would keep thanking you until you were both pretty well exhausted.

The politeness went beyond thanking too. Jean Godden, a longtime Seattle Times writer wrote about the politeness level of Seattle folks. She mentioned the 4-way stop phenomenon where you could just about pass out from all the politeness. "You go." "Oh no, you first." It was simply hell if four cars with Seattle drivers got there at the same time. It could take an hour for someone to proceed through the intersection. At least that's how it was when I first got there. By the time I moved away, things had shifted somewhat with all the folks moving there from other places. Some simply didn't assimilate well.

Opening doors for other people was pretty hysterical too sometimes. Men used to look at me askance when I opened doors for them in North Carolina, but they didn't feel at all threatened by such behavior in Seattle. It was simply the norm. If you got there first, you opened the door, not only for your companions, but for whoever else came along while you were standing there with your hand on the door. Then sometimes the door person would switch to someone else who noticed that you'd been there awhile. Usually there ensued a few moments of friendly banter during the changing of the guard. I love that kind of polite friendliness. I loved it even more that I fit right in there in a way I never did in Florida or North Carolina. Florida is getting much friendlier though, for which I'm, you guessed it, thankful.

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Beth Mitchum is the author of seven novels, two collections of poetry, one collection of biographical essays, one collection of spiritual essays, and one music CD. She is also the editor and contributing poet in the Sappho's Corner Poetry Series, which now includes: Tulips Touching, Wet Violets, and Roses Read. All of her works are available at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, BethMitchum.com, BookshopWithoutBorders.com, and numerous other online bookstores. They are also available by special order through nearly any independent book store. Go to http://bethmitchum.com for more information or to her author page at Amazon.com. First chapters of her novels and memoirs are available at bethmitchum.com. Beth is also the founder and senior editor for UltraVioletLove Publishing and the many websites run by this entity.

18 February 2013

The New Edition of Seen Dancing is on Sale

Seen Dancing: Essays from the Heart

Amazon.com has it listed for 10% off, but you can get it signed and personalized from me directly for $15, plus shipping costs. $3 for media mail, $5 for priority mail in the US and international shipping will have to be checked for your area. 

Seen Dancing has had a little work done. The cover just wasn't popping, so with a little nip and a little tuck, Seen Dancing: Essays from the Heart has been released with a new look.



16 February 2013

Seen Dancing Kindle Now on Sale Worldwide


My newly released collection of spiritual essays is now on sale in Kindle format worldwide. If you prefer and a different digital format, please email bookshopwithoutborders@gmail.com to make arrangements for Kobo and Nook sale prices via PayPal. Seen Dancing is a collection of blogs and journal entries on a spiritual theme along the mystical line rather than a religious one. I have no time for religion in my life, but there is plenty of room for spirituality. I have a tendency to move through life being led by my heart and intuitive nudges. I definitely dance to the beat of a different drummer, and I love the dance of life.


Beth Mitchum is the author of six novels, two collections of poetry, one collection of biographical essays, and one music CD. She is also the editor and contributing poet in the Sappho's Corner Poetry Series, which now includes: Tulips Touching and Wet Violets. All of her works are available at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, BethMitchum.com, BookshopWithoutBorders.com, and many other online bookstores. They are also available by special order through nearly any independent book store. Go to http://bethmitchum.com for more information or to her author page at Amazon.com. First chapters of her novels and memoirs are available at bethmitchum.com.

22 December 2012

Falling Down Gently and Conveniently

If you're going to fall down and get stuck in a weird spot, it's best to do it while there are firemen around. I know this from personal experience now. Yesterday I went with my buddy to Lakeland, where I lived in the late 70s to mid-80s. We went to Moe's to eat and parked near the entrance, which is good since my back has been challenging me in the walking department lately. I decided to go up the step to the side door instead of walking all the way around on the ramped sidewalk. I knew that fewer steps would be better since there weren't any handrails, and my balance is sometimes slightly affected by the back injury and sometimes greatly affected by it. I tried to hold on gingerly to the hedge by the side door in order to get up the rather tall curb. Apparently that wasn't a good idea. In stepping up, I started to lose my balance, and the shrub was not stable enough to be helpful, so I did a slow and rather graceful pirouette and landed ass backwards at the bottom of the hedge.  My back clearly wasn't going to allow me simply to leap back up and pretend it didn't happen. Oh, no. But fortunately there were several firemen on the premises (for what reason, I have NO IDEA!) and two sturdy fellahs leaped to my rescue. I gladly accepted their offer to help me up and made them stand there a moment so I could re-align and steady myself. I assured them that I was okay and that it was a balance thing and not all that unusual. Well, all except that my t-shirt hiked up under my corduroy over-shirt, so I had flashed them a bit of lingerie. Yes, I caught the subtle smiles they tried to quash once they realized I truly was okay. I was glad I had put on the black bra so I could give them a small thrill at least. Thank goodness I was wearing one at all, since I don't always. Even though I pack what some writers might describe as an "ample bosom," I really don't care for wearing brassieres, so I make sure they're comfortable at least when I go out and have to relent to strapping one on.

Since it was nearly (but not quite) embarrassing, I wasn't at all sure that I wanted to mention this little wardrobe failure and ambulatory mishap, but given that I couldn't stop myself from chortling occasionally while I was consuming my organic tofu bowl, I knew that I needed to stay in character with my favorite quote, "If you're not laughing at yourself, then you're just not paying attention." These words were penned by my favorite nom de plume, Bryh Syn, my alter ego who seems to be getting less and less "alter" and more identical twin-ish every day.  I'm not sure if there's a certain age women reach when wardrobe failures and a general lack of decorum simply kicks in unavoidably (synchronistically paired with perimenopause), or if every wardrobe failure I've ever managed to avoid throughout my entire life, due to an innate sense of cool-ness that seems to run in my family, has finally caught up with me. I'm still puzzling over this mystery. I'll get back to you if I figure it out. I suppose that part of it could be reaching a certain age when you simply don't care about the same things any more. But let's face it, do we ever reach an age when we simply don't care what asenine thing we do in public? Or do we simply handle it better later in life if it does happen? In a younger year, would I have blocked it totally from my memory and denied, even to myself, that such a thing ever happened?  Naaah! I've never been one for denial, and I guess I have had my share of embarrassing moments in life. Well, not so much embarrassing as dramatic. Given half a chance, my sister will regale you with stories about my falling down and "dying" on a regular basis when I was a child. I never thought they were all that dramatic--must be the coolness factor--but she always seemed to think that I was near death. I was a tomboy, and I suspect that falling down and being a tomboy go hand in hand. I mean look at basketball players. They're trained to fall down regularly, and I played a lot of basketball growing up. When I was a kid, I played hard. When I grew up, I worked hard, and apparently with little regard to the toll it was taking on my body. I suppose I simply thought I was invincible, because quite frankly, I was very athletic and could do pretty much anything I wanted to do with my body. I was in constant motion. Now as I'm getting older, I'm finding that my body is not always perfectly synced with my brain, and I'm going to work on re-syncing those two entities. I'm pretty sure that as I get back to doing yoga and tai chi, I will regain the co-ordination and balance I lost from the back injury and later vertigo episodes that have so knocked me for a loop in recent years. Hopefully I'll be able to get back to you soon with a good report on that front, so stay tuned.

Beth Mitchum is the author of six novels, two collections of poetry, one collection of biographical essays, and one music CD. She is also the editor and contributing poet in the Sappho's Corner Poetry Series, which now includes: Tulips Touching and Wet Violets. All of her works are available at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, BethMitchum.com, BookshopWithoutBorders.com, and many other online bookstores. They are also available by special order through nearly any independent book store. Go to http://bethmitchum.com for more information or to her author page at Amazon.com. First chapters of her novels and memoirs are available at bethmitchum.com.

13 April 2012

Beachcombing Through Life's Stormy Treasures

Just sitting here, breathing in the remembered smell of the ocean, clearing "the cobwebs from my mind." My mother used to take us to the beach (New Smyrna or Daytona usually) a lot when we were kids. She needed to "clear the cobwebs" from her mind. That imagery has stayed with me all my life. I even tweaked the words and used that message in one of the songs on my Driftwood: The Music CD. The line I wrote was, "Will you be the ocean wave that washes my mind?" It's found in the song, "Special Touch." I'm listening to ocean waves on my iPod nano and sorting through the detritus left behind on the beach of my mind after yesterday's storm of emotions. You just never know what you'll find washed ashore after a storm. Mostly it's just seaweed, but occasionally you find life's small treasures: a special shell, an artful piece of driftwood, tumbled sea glass, and on some beaches I've been to, you can find agates washed ashore after a storm.

I guess the emotional storm yesterday was in preparation for leaving Florida and returning to my chosen home, the place in the world where I feel the most at home, the Pacific Northwest. It is time to wash away the past so I can head into my future without attachments, without all that seaweed pulling me down into the depths, threatening my survival. I had to disentangle myself from that so I can move forward unhindered, moving from a place of peace into all of my tomorrows. Hanging onto yesterday's seaweed thoughts will only weigh me down. You can drown in shallow water, if you have enough stuff weighing you down.

Whether I'll find any treasure washed ashore this morning remains to be seen, but I have to admit that I don't look at the world the same way as others. Treasure for me are those bits of natural art I find as I comb the beach. You won't find a lot of knick-knacks on my shelves that didn't come from the beach. I've shed most of those that I had in my many moves. I've let go of the things you have to dust regularly and pack carefully. Although I do wrap the shells I have kept in bubble wrap. Many of my treasures I recycle back to the earth and let them go, emptying my hands and my heart so I am able to hold any treasures I find today until the time comes to release those too. Eventually I'll have to release all my found treasures in order to cross over to the other side. Thankfully most of my treasures are recyclable back to the earth. I try to allow very few things in my life that accumulate dust, though as I begin to pack again, I have found some dusty pockets. Pockets of my life and my space that have been neglected as the days passed by me here.

Time to turn out those pockets, clear the cobwebs, vacuum away the dust bunnies, and shed more stuff. Time to clear away the past, disentangle the seaweed that has wrapped around my feet and tried to hold me back, tried to keep me from living my life fully. I'm going home, and I want to return there unfettered, keeping only joyful memories that propel me into tomorrow, sloughing off the painful thoughts that seek to keep me mired in quicksand. Life is beautiful, but life can also be perilous. Turning my face to the light, I focus on beauty, peace, love, and joy. Turning my face to the light, I find that my step gets lighter too. Once freed, my feet begin to walk more quickly, to skip along, until at last, I'm dancing into the future with a heart full of joy.

Beth Mitchum is the author of six novels, one collection of poetry, one collection of biographical essays, and one music CD. Her works are available at Amazon.com through the following link: http://tinyurl.com/bethmitchumbooks

21 March 2012

Not All Who Wander are Lost

As if the beginning of Spring being ushered in by a new moon wasn't enough of a sign to remind me that it is time to begin anew, releasing that which is finished and opening myself to that which lies ahead, I also got the number 999 today. It's not a number I get often. In fact, I have probably gotten it fewer than a half dozen times since I started paying attention to the meanings of repetitive or significant numbers in my life many years ago. According to Doreen Virtue's Angel Numbers 101 book, published by Hay House, this is the meaning of the number 999:

"This is a message signifying completion of an important chapter in your life, and now it's time to get to work--without procrastination--on your next life chapter. This number sequence is like an alarm clock, ringing loudly in order to jolt you into working on your life purpose!"

I'm getting ready to move back to the Pacific Northwest, and that is a very good thing. Yet somehow as important as this move is to me, since I consider this place in the world to be my true home, I'm not entirely positive that it is a permanent, or even a long-term move. Part of me is puzzled by this new information that is coming in, but another part of me has an inkling about what might magic might be afoot. All I can do now is take the next step that is right in front of me. The step after that will open to me once I get to that point. First is packing everything up and returning to the Puget Sound region of Washington State. Then once I do that, I will see how things feel to me. There are a number of people I need to reconnect with there, and a number of people I need to connect with for the first time in the coming months. After that, it's anyone's guess. I just know that it is time for me to pick up and go again.

I'm beginning to feel like a traveling vagabond, but to be honest, I know that I am more like Gandalf in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. His movements were a source of great puzzlement to many, but he always ended up being in the right place at the right time. He always knew when and where he was needed. I don't think it's a coincidence that I wrote a research paper on this archetypal literary figure when I was in graduate school. I identified a lot with the "wandering wizard," and as my life unfolds, I understand this identification so much more. I have referred to myself in writings from the past, as the "Wandering Taoist," and now it appears to be time to begin my wandering again. On to the next step then, the next chapter of this story that is my life. As I begin this new chapter in my journey, I bear in mind some of Gandalf's more significant words, "Not all who wander are lost."


Beth Mitchum is the author of six novels, one collection of poetry, one collection of biographical essays, and one music CD. Her works are available at Amazon.com through the following link: http://tinyurl.com/bethmitchumbooks

09 March 2012

Checking Things Off My Invisible List

It has been a while since my last post. Since that time I've checked off a few more items that I needed to complete (unbeknownst to me) before I could go back home. One big thing is that I needed to be here apparently when my niece's maternal grandmother died. I was the only one in the family at the time who was available to drive her up to North Carolina to the funeral. When my mother told me about the woman's passing, I knew right away that this was one of those reasons I was in this place at this time. So I dropped everything, drove to Orlando to pick up my niece, and we took off on our first road trip together. Everything was timed perfectly for me to leave the day after I had to tutor, so I would have nearly a whole week for this task until I needed to be back to tutor again. We didn't need that long though, since my niece wasn't interested in being away from home for that long. I managed to get to my mother's house the next day around noon, and we were on the road in a pickup truck I'd borrowed by early afternoon. I drove all the way from south of Orlando to Florence, South Carolina that day. We ended up stopping there for the night at a hotel near I-95, right at the juncture of where we needed to get off the freeway and start our trek on back roads until we reached the small town in North Carolina where my niece's family lived.

After a decent night of sleep in a comfy hotel, and a continental breakfast, we launched ourselves into the second day of the journey. We had plenty of time to get to the funeral, so we stopped for lunch at a family-style diner and had lunch, which for me was a second breakfast in truth. We knew we were now very close, but for some reason, we had a ridiculous time trying to find the little town from where we we had gotten off the freeway. We finally found the place after a phone call or two. At the point we didn't have a lot of time to spare, so it was a good thing we had left that morning with plenty of time available to us. It ended up taking us nearly an hour to find our way to a town that was only five miles from where we'd stopped for lunch. When we got there, everyone was delighted to see us. They were even delighted to see me, and I was shocked to figure out that I had met most of the family at my brother's wedding more than two decades earlier. I didn't remember most of them at all and the rest of them only a little bit, but they recognized me from the wedding and welcomed me as though I were a close family member as well.

We spent a couple hours with the family, but my niece was not interested in staying for a long time. She loves her family dearly, but in some ways she's just not really sure what to do with them. I'm more experienced at social interactions such as the one we experienced at the family's church, so I tried to help smooth things out. I have to admit that as exhausting as the quick trip was, I'm really glad I made it with my niece. We got a lot closer on the drive, and I got a good reminder of what a good community can do during times of loss and sorrow. I reconnected with part of the family I'm not close to at all, and I got to see my late sister-in-law's grave site, which I had never seen before. I had been living in North Carolina, on the other side of the state, when she passed on, but I was either in graduate school at the time, or I was working. Whatever the case, I wasn't free to pick up and leave, so I didn't. I got really choke up when I saw her photograph attached to the tombstone, but it was good to get some closure on that all these years later. I felt as though I was finally able to say goodbye to her. She was a good woman, and my niece reminds me of her sometimes with her mannerisms. She had been so young when her mother left this world that it shocks me to see my niece do something with her hands that is exactly the way her mother used to do it.

Since I've been back in Florida, I've gotten to reconnect and get even closer to my youngest nephew. I've had opportunities in the past to catch up with my older nephew, but not so much with my younger one. So it's been great to deepen and strengthen the ties with both my nephew and my niece. I've also gotten much closer to my sister during this time. We have come to a very new place in our relationship. Even without a lot of overt communication in the past, we always slip right into a smooth groove when we do get together again. I feel closer than ever before to her now though. Part of this has been us bonding over going through peri-menopause at the same time. Even though she a few years older than me, we are neck in neck in the pace at which we are transitioning through this time in our lives. It has been a godsend that we have, because our experiences have been so similar that we have been able to comfort each other and even laugh at ourselves and our similarities. I'm thankful to have gone through the most difficult stage of this time with her in such close proximity. That may seem like a small blessing, but in reality it has felt huge to both of us to be there for each other. We have also been doing a lot of spiritual work together. Spiritual work that makes sense to the two of us who are so psychically connected, but perhaps not so sensible to someone on the outside. We both know that our relationship is stronger for it, and I know that in the future, even if I'm thousands of miles away, we will remain close and in more frequent contact than previously.

Not a whole lot has happened with my brother, but the fact that I was here to take his daughter to her grandmother's funeral meant a lot to him, and that strengthened our bond too. I've been close to my mother all these years, even while I was living in Seattle, so that may not have grown a lot, but we have been able to spend a lot of time together. That is always a good thing. Our family is a family of deep psychic connections, and it's also a family of mirth. We laugh so much when we are together that I'm sure other people in restaurants think we've been imbibing liquid spirits, when in reality, it is simply Spirit that draws us together and makes our hearts light and joyous.

I've definitely gotten even closer to my best friend. We've never spent so much time together as we have these past months, which will be nearly two years by the time I leave here to return to Puget Sound. I'm glad I could be here for the health challenges she has faced these past couple of years, and I'm equally glad I could be in a safe place where I could deal with the physical and emotional challenges I've been dealt the past couple of years as well. Very different issues, but we've been able to take care of each other, strengthening our lifelong bond as well. The value of this time together has been truly priceless. We've done a lot of laughing, and we've done a lot of serious soul-searching and talking. Again, I could only describe these times as priceless, and I am endlessly grateful for them.

I have, however, come to the place when I know it is time to pack up and move my kitties and myself back to the place in the world that feels most like home. I know that I will never feel as much as home anywhere on this side of the veil as I do on the other side, but it is not time for that just yet. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, my oldest boy kitty had to be put to sleep two days after I arrived here. While that broke my heart, watching him suffer broke it more. I am so grateful that he returned to me as a new kitten six months later. It was much longer than I would've liked, but given the state of my health during the interim, it was definitely for the best. I was doing so poorly health-wise that I wouldn't have been able to care for him properly. He returned to me as soon as I was well enough to take care of him. We are enjoying our reunion every day of our lives, and he surprised us all by adopting a kitten that my best friend had brought home from the vet one day. The kitten was supposedly for her, but Li'l Grey adopted her immediately, so now she will be coming with us when we leave. While I wasn't planning to adopt any more kittens or cats, since I already had my three soul mates with me, I can't deny that she is completely bonded with my three cats, since they are the ones who stay inside all the time with her. They are her siblings now, and tearing them asunder would be something neither of us can do. We agreed that she would be mine now, so I have an adorable little silver tabby girl to add to the herd of kitties in my care.

One last thing that has happened since I've been here is that once I started recovering my health enough to work, I started tutoring children in the school district here. I've been tutoring for over a year now, and I honestly can't fathom why I didn't do it sooner. Of course, it hadn't been the time for it, but now even when I go back, I plan to start taking in students to help them particularly with reading and writing. That is my passion, so what better way to give back than to share that passion with kids. A lot of the children I tutor just seem so grateful to have an understanding soul to sit down with them and give them undivided attention. I don't have other kids of tasks pulling at my attention, so I'm able to focus on them and their needs. Growing self confidence and self esteem seem to be the gift they receive more than any other, although their grades improve too. It's truly a joy, and it's a very healthy activity for me since I know I have a tendency to become much too hermit-like in my existence. I've already started making in-roads towards gathering students to teach once I get back to Kitsap County, Washington, my home away from home, where friends and former co-workers have become like family to me. I'm pretty lucky really to have my hometown,where my family of origin lives, and my adopted family in Washington. I find that I have been blessed indeed by this sojourn back to Florida, which I really did not want to undertake two years ago. I'm glad I did, but I'm also glad to going back to Puget Sound to live for a time. I don't know how long I'll stay this time, but I'll take it for granted even less than I did before and cherish it more than ever.


Beth Mitchum is the author of six novels, one collection of poetry, one collection of biographical essays, and one music CD. Her works are available at Amazon.com through the following link: http://tinyurl.com/bethmitchumbooks

14 November 2011

(Reprinted from my Facebook note from 4 March 2009)


I love this Navajo prayer. Years ago, I used to chant it while I walked for exercise. It turned my fitness walk into a meditation walk. I think I should start doing it again. There are variations on it, but I particularly like this version. 

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In Beauty may you walk.
All day long may you walk.
Through the returning seasons may you walk.
On the trail marked with pollen may you walk.
With grasshoppers about your feet may you walk.
With dew about your feet may you walk.

With Beauty may you walk.
With Beauty before you, may you walk.
With Beauty behind you, may you walk.
With Beauty above you, may you walk.
With Beauty below you, may you walk.
With Beauty all around you, may you walk.

In old age wandering on a trail of Beauty,
lively, may you walk.
In old age wandering on a trail of Beauty,
living again, may you walk.
It is finished in Beauty.
It is finished in Beauty
.

Mitchum is the author of six novels, one collection of poetry, one collection of biographical essays, and one music CD. Her works are available at Amazon.com through the following link: http://tinyurl.com/bethmitchumbooks
Ruby Beach in Washington State

29 October 2011

Another Lego Refugee Washes Ashore

While I've been doing time, er, sorry, while I've been spending time in Florida with my friends and family here, an intriguing thing has happened. An 8' tall Lego man washed ashore on Siesta Key (Sarasota, FL). While that in itself is a pretty funny sight to behold, what has piqued my interest is the enigmatic message on his chest. "No real than you are." There is too much of the editor in me not to fill in the word that was left out. Should it not read, "No (more) real than you are?" That in itself is quite a statement, given that said Lego man is made of fiberglass. Although a brand new Legoland theme park has just opened up nearby in Winter Haven, on the grounds of the former Cypress Gardens, the park claims that it had nothing to do with the big Lego float. While it would be a great publicity stunt, I suspect they're telling the truth. If they'd been responsible, I think that it wouldn't have a typo on it, and they'd take responsibility for it and claim the object for the park.  Why not? 


Just because they aren't behind the stunt doesn't mean it isn't one. This is not the first of its kind. So far, I've found videos of two other nearly identical figures that have washed ashore. One in 2007 at Zandvoort in Holland and one that washed ashore in the UK at Brighton Beach. That was in 2008. Given that a new park just opened up in Florida a mere ten days before the arrival of the giant Lego man, I had to wonder if the appearance of the other figures coincided with other park openings, but upon further investigation, I discovered that the appearance of giant Lego men didn't start 2007. The park in the UK opened in 1996 and their big guy didn't appear until 2008. While I do think it's a publicity stunt, I don't think the Lego folks are behind it. According to an article in Sarasota, Florida's Herald-Tribune, an artist in the Netherlands, one Ego Leonard (name on the back of the giant Lego dudes), is responsible. They emailed the guy at his website and got a response in first person from Mr. Lego himself. The email reads:


"I am glad I crossed over. Although it was a hell of a swimm," the email said. "Nice weather here and friendly people. I think I am gonna stay here for a while. A local sheriff escorted me to my new home."


Apparently it takes this fellow two ems to "swimm" around the world. That is one hell of a swimm after all. 


What I want to know is, how many more Lego men will show up? The one that landed in Holland had the number 9 on his back. I haven't been able to find the number on the UK man, but since the Florida one had the number 8, I suspect there are more to come unless the great white sharks out there are giving themselves indigestion by biting into these fiberglass babies. Blech! 


If you want to learn more about Lego Man, a.k.a., Ego Leonard, he has his own website (of course he does!).  http://www.egoleonard.nl  And a Facebook page: V=http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001127118502&sk=wall He's also tweeting apparently. https://twitter.com/#!/egoleonard I just signed up to follow his plastic tweets. To read more about the first (known) Lego Man washing ashore, I refer you to: http://www.marketingvox.com/giant-lego-man-washes-ashore-in-holland-032233/ More about the Florida incident can be found at: http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20111025/WIRE/111029721/-1/new?p=1&tc=pg and more about the UK one can be found in many places, but here's one link to get you started: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7702121.stm 


Happy Lego-ing. Thank you, Ego Leonard, for an interesting topic to occupy our idle hands/minds while you promote your art. Very effective marketing trick and nice pun off the Greek word for I (ego), as in I, Leonard, and the word Lego, which makes for an interesting subject for art as well as a statement about the plastic state of the world in general. Well done!


Videos of the Lego Finds:
Holland in 2007
http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=i5ezlcanXaY
UK in 2008
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=su9MtRJ-3cY&feature=related
USA (Florida) in 2011
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mB8ay2DojAA&feature=share


 Beth Mitchum is the author of six novels, one collection of poetry, one collection of biographical essays, and one music CD. Her works are available at Amazon.com through the following link: http://tinyurl.com/bethmitchumbooks