Good Morning Poets and Writers ~ Ingermanson on “Your Weekly Review”

Standard

Good Morning, Afternoon, Night (depending on where you are and when you read 🙂 ) dear Poets and Writers!

I have always aimed at organising myself better not only with writing but with life in general. In March I read an interesting article in Randy Ingermanson’s Newsletter “The Advanced Fiction Writing E-Zine” about a tool he uses: A weekly review. There were times when I did that, however, life got in the way and you know how that one goes :-).

So here are Randy’s thoughts and suggestions on organising your writing:

This article is reprinted by permission of the author.
Award-winning novelist Randy Ingermanson, “the Snowflake Guy,” publishes the free monthly Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine, with more than 16,000 readers. If you want to learn the craft and marketing of fiction, AND make your writing more valuable to editors, AND have FUN doing it, visit www.AdvancedFictionWriting.com.

Organization: Your Weekly Review

If you’re serious about getting things done in your life, then you need to have a regular weekly habit of reviewing the previous week and planning the next one.

That sounds fun, doesn’t it? It’s right up there with changing the oil and cleaning the toilet on most people’s list of Things To Avoid Doing Pretty Much Forever.

Why You Need a Weekly Review

Here’s the thing. Your novel is not going to write itself. Big publishers are not going to throw money at you to write your novel. Truth be told, if your novel is never written, nobody will notice or care. (The good news—if your novel does get written, there’s a fighting chance that people will notice and care.)

The brutal reality is that if you want to get a good novel written, you’re going to have to do three things that are highly labor-intensive and that won’t earn you a dime up-front:

  1. Develop the skills to write a good novel.
  2. Write a good novel.
  3. Polish your novel.

I’m not trying to rain on the parade or tell you there’s no parade. There is a parade and it’s a good one. I’m trying to say that it’s a serious, major effort to make the parade happen, and you won’t get paid for it until very late in the game, if you ever get paid. You’ll need to spend hundreds of hours on this thing. Maybe thousands. You need to find a way to squeeze those hundreds of hours out of an already jam-packed life.

That means giving up some things. Saying yes to writing a novel means saying no to a lot of other wonderful things.

This could take you forever, or you could get it done in short order, and get your book out the door, and have it earning you money. The choice is yours, and a big part of that choice is taking control of your life.

I know some lucky people who are good at taking control of their life. I’m not one of those people. I have a lot of things going on in my life, and they all want to take control of me.

I deal with them by fighting back, and a big part of that fight is my Weekly Review.

The Weekly Review

This is not complicated. Once a week, (almost always on a Saturday afternoon), I sit down with my gigantic To Do List and work through it. I look at how I did last week, but more importantly, I look at what I want to get done in the next week.

There are three key questions to ask:

  1. What things are scheduled in already?
  2. What unscheduled things do I have to get done this week?
  3. What optional things do I most want to get done this week?

Questions #1 and #2 are key. Those are my constraints, because they tell me how many hours are already spoken for in the coming week. Question #3 then lets me pick out the optional things that I could reasonably get done.

Why is this useful? That’s easy.

I mentioned I have a gigantic To Do List. It’s uncontrollably large. But the key point is that every item on the list is tagged. I tag them with the time-frame in which I want to get them done. There are things I want to do “someday maybe.” There are things I want to do “this year.” Others that I want to do “this quarter.” Others that are “this month.” And a few that are “this week.”

The Weekly Review lets me keep the set of “this week” tasks down to a reasonable number. These are the things that matter right now. The other stuff will get done in good time, but just not right now.

What this means is that every day when I decide what I’m going to tackle today, I have a short list of things to choose from. I don’t have to look at the gigantic To Do List. That would be too cruel. All I have to look at is the items tagged “this week.” Every day, I choose a reasonable set to tackle. And it takes me five minutes, maximum, to plan my day.

I don’t have to wonder if there’s something coming up that I’ve forgotten about. During my Weekly Review, I already looked ahead and checked that. If there’s something coming up this week, my Weekly Review tags it as “this week.”

This is how I get stuff done without going crazy.

The gigantic To Do List will never go away. It’ll always be gigantic. It’ll always contain a bunch of pipe dreams that will never happen.

But the Weekly Review ensures that the things that are either urgent or important bubble to the top and get done.

No, the Weekly Review is not sexy. It’s not fun. But I find it absolutely indispensable. It takes about an hour each week, and at the end of it, I have some feeling of control over my life again.

Homework

  1. Are you doing a Weekly Review already? If so, congratulations, and you get a gold star. You might want to think about whether you can do it better. Maybe you can make a template for the Weekly Review so it goes quicker and so you never forget a step in your process. But if it’s working well for you, don’t change it. You’re good.
  2. If you’re not doing a Weekly Review, I’m not here to shame you. I’m here to tell you to do it, because it’s good for you. You’ll get more things done. You’ll be more in control. You’ll feel better. Really, you will. Now what day of the week can you schedule your regular Weekly Reviews? What time of the day should you plan on? How much time do you want to budget?
  3. If you don’t have any idea what to even do in a Weekly Review or how to get started, and you’d really like to punch me right now, that’s OK. Keep your distance, please, and go check out TheSecretWeapon.org,  which has a bunch of free videos on how to take control of your life. In an hour, you’ll know exactly how to do everything. That’s an hour well spent, and you may never need to learn one more thing about organization in your entire life.

This is not a feel-good article today, and my apologies on that. I’m not trying to make you happy. I’m trying to radically boost the chances that you’ll get your novel published someday.

You can thank me when you accept your Pulitzer.

 

Letting go of Zara

Standard

In January I let you know about my intention to make 2017 the year of finishing unfinished projects. One of them is my fantasy story “Zara”, which accompanies my writing efforts since more than 20 years and by the powers that be I haven’t gotten anywhere with it.

Well, I have done at least 3 outlines and started as many efforts to write the story but in the end, I always stopped. A couple of weeks ago I read a blog post or article about letting go of writing ideas that haven’t worked out or are just not good enough to follow through. Unfortunately, I cannot find that article anymore :-(.

However, I have come to the conclusion that to go forward I need to let that fantasy story and the main character that is so close to my heart go.

That article advised several ways of letting ideas go from just binning them to making a short story out of it. Another was to share the idea and let others work with it. I feel that “Zara” is one idea that I need to share with fellow writers.

So here is the latest beginning I have written for “Zara” and I invite you to finish the story in any way you see fit. Please share the story with your readers and have lots and lots of fun with it:

Zara

There was a huge storm in the mountains,” Zara told the Wild Woman. Even though she was the eldest daughter of Aila leader of the travelling peoples and about to become initiated she always asked for advice of the wise woman who could only be found in the deep forests of Tadatschi if she felt it wise to be found.

Wild Woman always looked out for the deep red flame of Zara’s long hair as she knew of her fate and destiny. Zara looked like she towered over Wild Woman as the girl was tall for her age and Wild Woman was short. They said that her muscular form grew smaller with the years of living in the deep woods running with the stag and the wolf. She has become one of them and learned their wisdom which gave her a deeper understanding of human nature and destiny.

Wild Woman gave Zara an encouraging look while they sat in an oak grove half way up on Blue Mountain which rose over the summer camp of the travelling people. Zara went on in her deep melodious voice: “ The rain clashed against my face and arms. I had lost my coat and was grabbing onto the rocks towering beside the thin path I was walking down into a valley. It was pitch dark but every second lighting came down from another side. So I could see where I had to head.” Only Wild Woman,s deep green eyes revealed a faint smile. Her thin face did not give away any of her thoughts or feelings. Zara was staring into the fire lit in the middle of the grove.

Her light blue eyes were wide with the anxiety and excitement the dream had raised in her. She hugged her thin form which was clad in leather pants, a woollen shirt just adorned with a golden pin and green stone. She had laid her colourful woven cape beside her where her left hand rested. The other as elegant as princesses laid in her lap.

“Storm wind nearly blew me down to the right where a deep ravine laid I could not see the bottom of. The rocky path was slippery and in the end, I was just crawling along on the ground. Suddenly the rock at my left stopped and the path ended in something that felt like grass. A loud thunder banged down on me. It took my breath. Then there was this black creature. I could just see its silhouette as the lightning suddenly seems to just come from behind it. It looked like a huge cat.” Wild Woman took a deep breath but said nothing. Zara looked at her briefly but continued: “Its head seemed to point behind it. It turned and walked away.

I was terrified and stayed where I was. But Storm Wind now came from behind me and seemed to push me into the creature’s direction. I tried to stop myself sliding down the grass but could not hold onto anything. I started shivering and the noise was soul destroying. The creature came back. It bent down to me. I could see its emerald green eyes shining and suddenly I knew I had to follow it and it was safe. Storm wind slowed down in that moment and I could get up. I realised the creature was, in fact, a huge black cat which now walked beside me. I took my right hand on its head and it led me to a pine grove in which a cave was hidden. Then I woke!” Zara fell silent but her heart was pounding and her breath went fast.

Wild Woman said nothing. Long years of being the Shaman of the travelling people have taught her who really needed her words and who could find wisdom in silence. Zara was one of the latter.

After a long while where they could only hear Soft Wind singing in the oak leaves around them Zara said:” I am not supposed to find my totem before my initiation. But this cat certainly is my totem. I feel it now!”

Wild Woman got up and walked slowly to the northern realm of the grove. There she hummed a light tune and out of the trees came a huge cat nearly as tall as Wild Woman with emerald green eyes. Zara gasped. She stood up, brought her slender hands together in front of her heart and bend her head deep to honour her totem animal.

The huge cat seemed to smile while she came down the light slope gracefully to lay down in front of the fire which stayed between her and Zara. Wild Woman came in her wake and motioned Zara to sit down as well.

Wild Woman’s furs rubbed on her leathery skin as she went to the west of the grove where a little well was trickling away joyfully. She took out a small bowl made out of clay and decorated with oak fruit. She filled the bowl with the water of the well and turned back to Zara who just sat there looking into the cat’s eyes. Wild Woman sat the bowl down in front of Zara and then vanished into the woods.

The sun sent her first rays over the eastern oaks when the cat got up again and walked over to Zara. She rubbed her head on Zaras left ear and sniffed her hands. Her purr sounded like she approved of what she smelled. She rubbed along Zaras back who did not dare to move. Zara closed her eyes and saw the cave the cat had led her in her dream. There was a fire in the middle, a little pond in the back. A wind chime made out of human bones dangled above her and a bed made out of moss, oak leaves and grass invited her to lay down in front of the fire.

Zara could hear the cats purr and it advised her to lay down which she did. Then she could hear a voice: “ Your time has come but tell no one! Your people are not ready yet for the challenges to come!” “I am not either,” Zara thought.

When she woke the sun had gone down behind her. The fire was out but the bowl of water was still waiting for her. She sat up bowed to give grace to Mother Earth and drank thirstily. She looked around the grove but neither the cat nor Wild Woman was there. So she stood up and left….

Now go, create and have lots of fun!!!!!!

The Fig Tree

Standard

A “Lean against… and listen” story that was given to me on this day three years ago:

January 6th, 2014

Today I nearly forgot that I had decided to kick-start my week with this writing prompt. So much is going on and I feel the urge to at last get my life into the tracks that I want them to be even though I think I already do: with writing blogs and learning about writing every day and of course reading. 
Maybe I just see it in a negative way and that is what is making me unhappy. 

Ah happiness :-)!
At Christmas I was watching “Despicable me 2” where Pharrell Williams’ song “Happy” features and a little later I decided to have this song for my “hymn” for 2014. My theme song for this year that hopefully will motivate me to get on with it.

What about you guys? Do you have a hymn, a resolution or just plainly a goal that you want to achieve in 2014? Then maybe follow the advice the wolf on my background on Chrome gives: ” Hey, whatever you should be doing right now ~ go fu….. do it!” 😉

I should be doing this writing prompt and so I do it :-):

I quote Kasey Mathews from the WANA group “Write to heal” for this writing prompt: 

 
“With paper and pen, or computer handy, lean back in your chair, or against the wall, or a sofa etc., close your eyes and imagine you are sitting under a large tree with your back resting against the trunk. On the other side of the tree, a Storyteller has come to sit down and also rest against the tree trunk. With eyes still closed, just listen. Wait for the Storyteller to begin his or her story. When you hear it begin, simply write down all that you hear. “
 
This is what the storyteller is telling me today:
 
Today I guide you to a far-away land where a girl patiently waited for her mother to come home. She had gone to get water from the well a little away but today she needed much longer than normal.
The girl was afraid as her father had died a few months ago and they were living on a little farmstead away from the hustle and bustle of the city that ruled over the land. The girl desperately wished for her mother to come home and make breakfast. But mother would not come.
“Oh what shall I do?” the girl asked the lonely fig tree they were nurturing carefully, giving it water every day. The little family’s farmstead was situated right in the middle of an approaching desert and their only income was this fig tree and the goats which roamed the landscape for food. It was the girl’s task every evening to go and fetch the goats and bring them home for them to stay the night in the little barn her father had build.
The fig tree rustled its leaves and played with its fruit. After a little while, it whispered:” Give me some water little one” The girl who had waited under the tree for her mother looked up. “But I only have a little left and mother has not come home yet. I won’t have anything left if I give it to you and she won’t come back.” The fig tree considered this for a little while and then whispered again:” Give me some water little one.”
The girl looked out over the deserted plain towards the city which already gleamed in the morning sun. She turned her head a little and looked towards the oasis where her mother had gone to get water. The rocks which were strewn all over the plain shivered in the heat and she could see a little point quivering in between.
“I have asked the fig tree for advice. It gave it to me so I better follow it” the girl thought and went into the house to get the last drops of water in the jug. She carefully carried it outside the door and to the right where the fig tree grew on the wall. She gently poured out the last drops of water on the roots of the fig tree. “Thank you little one” the fig tree whispered.
The girl took the jug back into the kitchen and looked around. There was bread and butter and honey but nothing to drink left. “Oh what shall I do?” she wondered again. But as she did not find an answer she went back to sit under the fig tree.
The girl gazed over the plain which quivered with heat. Her mother should be nearby now but she wasn’t to be seen anywhere. The point the girl had seen before still was out there somewhere.
“Go and prepare some bread with butter and honey” the fig tree whispered suddenly. The girl looked up into the deeply green leaves and saw the fig trees not yet ripe fruit dance. “I haven’t been taught how to prepare bread yet,” she said.
“Go and prepare some bread with butter and honey” the fig tree simply answered. “Oh I am doomed!” the girl thought but she got up and got back into their hut. “What if I drop the honey or butter? What if I cut the bread too thick or even cut myself?” the girl worried.
She stood in front of the table where bread, butter and honey waited. She stood and waited. But her mother did not come. “I have asked the fig tree for advice.” she thought. “It has given me more advice so I better follow it.” She, therefore, went to the table took the knife and cut three even pieces of bread. She laid them out on the big plate they only used for celebrations. Then she carefully spread some butter on them all and trickled some honey on each of them. She covered the plate carefully with a huge bowl to keep away the insects.
But all this new work has made her thirsty. “Oh, I wish I would not have given the last drops of water to the fig tree.” She thought. “What shall I do?” But this time she did not wait for the fig tree to give advice. She went outside and caught one of her goats. It was the biggest one which gave the sweetest milk. So she took her back to the shed where the goats slept at night. She went back into the house and got the wonderfully decorated jug they only used for special occasions. Then she milked the goat and the sweetest milk the goat had ever given poured into the jug.
The girl was happy. “Mother will be pleased when she comes home and sees such a beautiful breakfast.” she thought when she took the jug back onto the table and covered it carefully with a cloth to keep the insects away.
She went back outside to sit under the fig tree again. It rustled with its leaves gently and whispered:” Well done little one. See over there……” and one of its branches pointed towards the oasis where the girl could now see a camel approach with two women sitting on it.
“Oh dear,” the girl thought “strangers and mother is not here! What shall I do?” She leaned a little closer to the fig tree to hide herself under its leaves and she watched the camel approach.
But the two women on the camel were not strangers. They were her mother and grandmother. How happy was the girl to see her family approach. She ran towards them and cried:” Oh, mother! Oh, grandmother! I am so glad to see you!”
Both women got of the camel and the girl could see that it was carrying a much bigger skin filled with water than her mother usually brought home. They hugged the girl and her mother said: “Let’s hurry in. It is getting hot and I have not made breakfast yet. You and your grandmother are hungry!”
But the girl answered: “The fig tree told me to make bread with honey and I milked the goat and everything is waiting on the table inside but I had given it the last drops of water and I am so thirsty”
Mother and grandmother looked at each other and then hugged the girl. “You have done well. Here have some of the fresh water we have brought first and then let’s have the breakfast you have prepared” they said to her. They gave her to drink and when she finished she watered the fig tree again. “Thank you for your advice” she whispered but the fig tree just rustled its leaves and played with its fruit.

 

fig tree by clive darra
photo credit Clive Darra via Flickr
under this creative commons licence
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Warm, soft fleeces, little people and some hope

Standard

Last week Tuesday I woke up to the news that a Christmas market in Berlin has been targeted by a terrorist attack. Another occasion where those who want to take away our peace of mind in public places got on with their dirty work.

Strangely it reminded me of a story I heard as a teenager in Germany. It went together with a little warm, soft fleece and it touched me deeply.

I feel that it is important more than ever to spread hope, love and good energy and maybe this old Irish tale might help to make us think where we rather let hopelessness and greed win instead of the positivity we used to feel when we were young.

So here a symbolic warm, soft fleece for you!

 

222843766_e146e5b587_z

photo credit: Charles via Flickr

 

The Little People of Swabedoo

A long, long time ago, little people lived on earth. Most of them lived
in the village Swabedoo and they called themselves Swabedoodahs.
They were very happy: they walked around smiling from ear to ear
and said hello to everybody.
What the Swabedoodahs liked most was to give each other warm,
soft fleeces as a present. Everyone of them carried a pouch over his
shoulder and this pouch was filled with soft fleeces. When
Swabedoodahs met each other, the one gave a fleece to the other.
It’s very nice to give someone else a soft fleece. It tells the other
person he’s special; it’s a way to say: “I like you!” And it’s just as nice
to get such a fleece from someone else. You feel how warm and fluffy
it feels to your face and it’s a wonderful feeling when you put it softly
and lightly with the others in your pouch. You feel recognized and
loved when someone gives you a fleece and you want to do
something good, something nice right away. The little people of
Swabedoo liked to give and receive warm, soft fleeces and their life
together was always happy and cheerful.
Outside the village in a cold, dark cave lived a big, green kobold. He
didn’t really want to live there, outside, all alone and, at times, he
felt very lonely. He had already stood at the rim of the village, more
than once, and wished he could live between the cheerful
Swabedoodahs; but he had nothing to offer — and, besides, to him,
the exchange of warm, soft fleeces was big nonsense. If he met one
of the little people at the edge of the woods, he would grumble
something unintelligible and quickly walk back to his humid and
dark cave.
One night, when the big, green kobold stood at the edge of the woods
again, he found a friendly, little Swabedoodah. “Isn’t it a wonderful
day, today?” the little one asked, smiling. The green kobold just
made a drab face and didn’t answer. “Here, take a warm, soft fleece,”
said the little one, “this one’s especially beautiful. It’s surely meant
for you, otherwise, I had given it away already.”

But the kobold didn’t take the fleece. First, he looked around to all sides, to be sure
no-one was watching or listening. Then, he bent over to the little
one and whispered in his ear: “Listen, don’t be so generous with
those fleeces of yours! Don’t you know that, one day, you won’t have
any fleeces left, if you just give away everything?”

Surprised and a little helpless, the little Swabedoodah looked up to the kobold. Who
had, in the mean time, taken the pouch of the little one’s shoulder
and opened it. He sounded very satisfied, when he said: “Didn’t I
tell you? Just hardly 217 fleeces you’ve got in your pouch — so, if I
were you, I’d be careful giving them away!” And with that, the
kobold went off, on his big green feet, and left behind a confused
and unhappy Swabedoodah at the edge of the woods.

He was so confused, so unhappy, that he didn’t realize that what the kobold
had said was totally impossible. For every Swabedoodah had an
inexhaustible supply of fleeces. If he gave away a fleece, he would
get one in return from someone else, right away, and this would
happen time and again, a whole life long. So, how could they run out
of fleeces?
The kobold also knew this but he trusted the credulousness of the
little people. And something else he trusted; something he had
discovered within himself and of which he wanted to know if it was
inside the little Swabedoodahs, as well. So, he consciously lied to the
little Swabedoodah, sat down at the entrance of his cave and waited.
In front of his home in Swabedoo the little, confused Swabedoodah
sat, brooding. It didn’t take long, before an acquaintance passed by,
with whom he had already exchanged many warm, soft fleeces.
“What a beautiful day!” his friend exclaimed, reached inside his
pouch and gave the other one a fleece. Who, however, didn’t accept
it joyfully but warded it off with his hands. “No, no! You’d rather
keep it,” the little one exclaimed, “who knows, how quickly your
supply will decrease. One day, you’ll be without fleeces, just like
that!”

The friend didn’t get it, just shrugged, put the fleece back into
his pouch and walked away, saying good-bye softly. But he took
confused thoughts with him — and on the same night, in the village,
one could hear three more times, how one Swabedoodah said to
another: “I’m sorry, but I don’t have a warm, soft fleece for you: I
have to be careful not to run out of them.”
The next day, all this had spread through the whole village.
Everybody started saving their fleeces. They did give one away, every
once in a while, but only after long and careful deliberation and very,
very cautious. And they weren’t usually the especially beautiful
fleeces but those with little stains and already a bit worn-out.
The little Swabedoodahs became suspicious. They started observing
each other distrustfully; they started considering whether the other
person was truly worthy of a fleece, or not. Some even went as far
as hiding their fleeces underneath their beds, at night. Arguments
arose from the question, how many fleeces someone owned. And,
eventually, people started exchanging warm, soft fleeces for things,
instead of just giving them away. The mayor of Swabedoo had even traced how many fleeces there were in total and, then, announced that the number was limited and declared the fleeces to be currency.
Soon, the little people were arguing about how many fleeces
spending a night or having a meal in someone else’s house was
worth. There were even some cases of fleece robbery! In the twilight,
they didn’t feel safe, anymore; while, before, the Swabedoodahs
liked to walk in the park or on the streets, in the twilight, to meet
each other and give each other warm, soft fleeces.
At the edge of the woods sat the big, green kobold, observing
everything and being very satisfied.

The worst of everything happened some time later. Something
started changing regarding the health of the little people. Many
complained about pain in their shoulders and backs — and, in time,
more and more Swabedoodahs were taken by surprise by this illness
called spinal weakening. The little people walked around bent — in
serious cases even bent to the ground. The fleece pouches were
dragged on. Many started to believe, that the cause of their disease
was the weight of the pouches and that it was better to leave them
at home and put them away, there.

It didn’t take long before one could hardly find a Swabedoodah with a fleece pouch on his back. The big, green kobold was very satisfied with the result of his lie. He
wanted to find out, whether the little people would act and feel like
him, when he, as was the case most of the time, had selfish thoughts
— and they had acted like him! The big kobold felt very successful.
He came to the village of the little people more often, now. But
nobody said hello to him with a smile, nobody offered him a fleece.
Instead, he was stared at distrustfully, just as the little people stared
at each other. The kobold liked this: to him, this behaviour was the
“real” world!
In time, even worse things started happening in Swabedoo. Maybe,
because of the spinal weakening; maybe, because no-one gave them
a warm, soft fleece, anymore – who knows? – some people died in
Swabedoo. Now, all happiness had disappeared from the village.
Their grief was immense.
When the big, green kobold heard about it, he was very shocked. “I
didn’t want this,” he said to himself, “I surely didn’t want this. I only
wanted to show them what the world is really like — I really didn’t
want them to die!” He thought about what he could do, now — and,
indeed, something came up.

Deep inside his cave, the kobold had discovered a mine with cold,
prickly stones. He had spent many years digging the prickly stones
out of the mountain and storing them in a quarry. He loved these
stones because they were so beautifully cold and they prickled so
pleasantly when he touched them. But not only that: he also loved
these stones because they were all his — and, every time he looked
at them, the impression of possessing great wealth gave the kobold
a satisfying feeling. But now that he saw the misery of the little
Swabedoodahs he decided to share his stone wealth with them. He
filled numerous little bags with cold, prickly stones, put them on a
big barrow and went to Swabedoo with it.
How happy were the little people, when they saw the cold, prickly
stones! They took them gratefully. Now, they had something to give
to each other, again. however: if they gave someone else a cold,
prickly stone to tell him they liked him, a cold, unpleasant feeling
came into their own hand and also in the hand of the person, who
received the stone.It was not as nice to give away cold, prickly stones
as to give away warm, soft fleeces. Every time, one would feel a
strange ‘tugging’ at the heart, if one received a prickly stone. One
also wasn’t quite sure what the giver really meant. The receiver often
stayed behind confused and with stinging fingers.
So, slowly but surely, it happened more often that a little
Swabedoodah crawled underneath his bed, took the pouch with
warm, soft fleeces, ventilated them a little bit in the sunlight and, if
someone gave him a stone, he would give a warm, soft fleece in
return. And how did the eyes of the receiver shine! Some walked
home quickly and dug up their pouch to give a soft fleece, instead of
a prickly stone, too. However, they didn’t throw the stones away.
Moreover, not all Swabedoodahs fetched their pouches, again. The
cold and prickly stony thoughts were embedded too deeply in the
heads of the little people. One could gather it from the remarks:

– “Soft fleeces? What’s the intention, really?”
– “How can I find out whether my fleece is really wanted, or not?”
– “I gave a warm, soft fleece and what did I get in return? A cold,
prickly stone! I won’t let that happen again.”
– “You never know where you’re standing: fleeces, today; stones,
tomorrow.”
Probably, all little people of Swabedoo would have gladly returned
to the things that were only natural to their grandparents. A single
one looked at the bags in the corner of his room, filled with cold,
prickly stones, so heavy that they were hard to bring along.
Therefore, often, one didn’t even have a stone with one to give to a
friend. Also, the little Swabedoodahs secretly, without saying it out
loud, wished for someone coming to give them warm, soft fleeces.
In their dreams, they imagined how they all would walk around on
the streets with cheerful, smiling faces and give each other fleeces,
like in good, old times. When they woke up, however, there was
always something that kept them from really doing it that way.
Usually, they went outside and, then, saw what the world was
“really” like.
This is the reason that giving away warm, soft fleeces hardly ever
happens, anymore — and usually not in public. But it does happen!
Here and there, time and again. And who knows… one day…?