4 Reasons Why it is Dangerous To Compare Your Writing To Others

by Pooh Hodges | 65 comments

For a cat there are many dangerous things to be careful of. We are small and a car might not see us when we try to cross the road; we could be run over and killed. In our homes the humans who live with us might drop a piece of peanut butter toast on our head, and we could smell like peanuts. However, there is something more sinister than fast cars and peanut butter toast.

comparing yourself

There is a danger that applies to writers, cats, and humans. The Danger Of Comparing Yourself.

Why It Is Dangerous to Compare Your Writing to Others

I will do a count down like David Letterman does on The Tonight Show. David does ten reasons, I have four. I wish I had a suit and tie and a big desk to sit behind. But, I will just go ahead and keep dictating while I sit on my typists table.

Reason Number Four to Never Compare Yourself to Others

When you compare your writing to someone else you might think they are better than you and you might feel bad. Comparing yourself will make you feel sad.  You will walk around with a frown on your face and not smile. Someone might think you have to cough up a hairball.

Reason Number Three to Never Compare Yourself to Others

In my History of the Domestic Cat class in college, one of my classmates, Kitty, a short-haired tabby, kept getting higher grades than I did. Instead of paying attention to the teacher I just stared at Kitty during class to see why she got higher grades.

The professor asked me a question,”Pooh, when did the Domestic Cat first learn how to use a litter box?”

I didn't know the answer because I wasn't listening to the lecture, I was staring at Kitty. That was when I realized the only way to know the material is to listen to what the teacher is saying.
If you are looking at another writer you are not looking at your own writing. Look at your own writing, and craft your sentence.

If you are looking at someone else's writing you are not writing. And the only way to write is to actually write, and not stare at other writers.

Reason Number Two To Never Compare Yourself to Others

The writer you are comparing yourself to has been writing for twenty-five years and has published sixteen novels, been  on Good Morning America five times, and a host on Saturday night live three times. And you just started writing today.

When you compare your beginning to someone else's long career you may get discouraged which leads us to the most dangerous reason you should never compare your writing to someone else.

Reason Number One to Never Compare Yourself to Others

And the number one reason to never compare your writing to someone else is: you might quit writing. If you are discouraged you might throw away your special writing pencil and pad of paper.  You might never write the story of how you met your partner. You might never write the story of how you met Malcom Forbes when you lived in Tokyo. You might never write about how you survived being lost in the wilderness for three months with no dry bagged cat food. And your children will never find out what you did on your senior trip to Disneyland.

If you stopped writing, the world would never get to read what you have to say. Someone out there would never have a chance to laugh at your jokes, smile at your writing, and be encouraged by your honesty.

And, if you stopped writing a small piece of your soul that loves to paint pictures with words would cry, or die, and that rhymes.

Believe in Yourself and Don't Quit

Even though I know it is dangerous to compare your writing to others, I went on The Write Practice tonight as I was writing my blog post, and I read a recent story by Monica M. Clark. Her article, 8 Tips From Literary Agents About How To Get Published is well written, with practical and helpful advice. I compared the story I was writing to Monica's article and I wanted to send an immediate e-mail to Joe Bunting, the editor and owner of The Write Practice, and say, “Joe, I can't write for you anymore. I will spend the rest of my nine lives sleeping in sunbeams. I am not as good a writer as Monica M. Clark.”

I am not sure what Joe would have said. He might have said, “Oh Pooh, don't quit, it is dangerous to compare your writing to someone else.” And if he had said that, I would have said, “You are very smart Joe. I won't quit.”

But, I know what I would have told you if you wanted to quit writing because you were discouraged.  And, it is always easier to give advice to others, than it is to believe it for yourself.

I would have said, “Don't quit writing. Write your stories. The world would be a sad world if everyone was the same. And, If everyone wrote like me, the world would only have stories about hunting mice and how to clean a litter box. A world without variety would be boring. So, spice up the world, and be yourself.”


Today I want you to write the story you want to write. Write for fifteen minutes. Take a deep breath and think of the story you have always wanted to tell. What is your story? You don't have to write like Bill, or Mary, or even Jeff or Joe. What is your story?

What do you want to write about? A true story? A made-up story? Did you want to write a story about “The Lonely Plate”?

Please be kind and read someone else's story and make a comment. We, as writers, can encourage each another to keep writing and not compare.

All my best,
Love Pooh

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Pooh Hodges is the cat who writes. He is an author, an entrepreneur and a visionary. He dictates to his typist every morning before he takes a nap in a sunbeam. He is currently writing his memoir, a tragic tale of loss and redemption.
Pooh would love to be your friend and he would love to connect with you on his blog, thecatwhowrites.com


  1. Kathleen Caron

    This is the best Pooh. You are a great encourager. And I thought only dogs were good at encouraging.

    • Pooh Hodges

      My dearest Kathleen,
      I am delighted to see your smiling face here. Thank you for encouraging me. I know your dog Tink is a good encourager. But, Tink is rather tiny. Are you sure she isn’t a cat?
      All my love,
      Love Pooh

    • Kathleen Caron

      You are right to think Tink is a cat, but she has a license to be a dog from Fairfax County. So legally she is a dog.

    • Pooh Hodges

      I don’t have a license to be a cat. Does that mean I might not be a cat? Could I be a dog who purrs?
      Please tell Tink I love her. She is a beautiful dog.
      Love Pooh

  2. T.O. Weller

    Thank you Pooh. I’m typically more of a dog person but not even my dog, George, has encouraged me quite the way you have today.

    • Pooh Hodges

      Hello my dearest T.O Weller,
      Thank you so much for saying hello.
      Please give my best to George. I hope he doesn’t mind that you were encouraged by a cat. Please tell George that my best friend is a dog. Her name is Martha.
      All my best,
      Love Pooh

  3. Berdeane Bodley

    What a good aricle you wrote last night, I think you must ba about the smartest cat out there, I hope everyone heeds your advice………..love, Rosey Nana

    • Pooh Hodges

      Hello my dearest Rosey Nana,
      Thank you for coming over from Canada to say hello. I hope it is not too cold for you. Perhaps you need a cat to keep you warm.
      All my best,
      Love Your grandson, Pooh

  4. Katina Vaselopulos

    A great post, Mr. Pooh! Advice every witter should take!

    • Pooh Hodges

      Hello my dearest Katina,
      Thank you for your kind words.
      All my best,
      Love Pooh

  5. Lata

    It was a pleasant day but she had been home alone for long. She was thoroughly bored and yearned for some excitement. Her mother was at work and wouldn’t be back until four hours later, both her father and brother were in different cities. Again, she sought excitement. The thought of showing her breasts to a stranger excited her for now. An excitement that would turn into disgust as soon as she was ‘finished’. But right now she was excited and so she turned on Omegle.
    It connected her to a stranger. This stranger was a charming young man not more than 25 but definitely more than 20. Her perverted thoughts left her when she saw that face. A square face with closely cropped hair and striking features. But the lighting was bad and he seemed to be in a cubicle for walls were close all around where she could see.
    He was smiling. He too seemed happy at seeing her not because she was not bad looking but because she was a person and a woman at that for he got sick of looking at dicks of fat men and was just about to quit Omegle. Her eyes captivated him. The seemed to be smiling, perhaps the sun from her window made them appear so.

    Young souls excited by the stranger they both were. He asked her her name, “Regina” she said she was. Ofcourse that was not her name. She was Ragini. She asked her his and he began typing for he had no mic. But before he could finish a loud sound pierced the air. In front of her very eyes the stranger was blown to pieces. There was another explosion seconds later and the connection was lost. It was shocking. But she was more shocked to realise later that day as she read the news about the death of nine men in a dingy cyber cafe in Karachi that what bothered her was not the fact that nine young men had been killed in the blast which she later found out happened in a dingy cyber cafe in Karachi nor that she had seen someone dying but what troubled her most was the fact that she was unable to find out his name.

  6. Linda Strawn

    Oh, Pooh, please keep writing no matter what. I think you’re a great writer. I was reminded of my two kitties. Smokie is an excellent hunter and is constantly bringing me “gifts” to remind me of her skills. Miley, on the other hand, has yet to show me she is a good hunter. She never brings me proof. I’m concerned the reason she doesn’t is because she feels she won’t ever be as good as Smokie. I’m sure she’s depressed about this, so much so she won’t acknowledge her other talents. I’m going to read your post to her. If she learns she’s not alone, maybe she’ll feel a lot better.

    • Pooh Hodges

      My dearest Linda,
      Your kind words have warmed my heart. Your comment is as comforting as a sunbeam on a cold day.
      Please tell me how Miley is feeling after you read her my story. I understand how she may feel inadequate if Smokie is such a good mouser. Smokie must really love you to bring you gifts so often.
      Miley has other talents. Perhaps her skill at purring is excellent.
      Please give Smokie and Miley my love.
      Love Pooh

  7. Jeneane

    Thank you Pooh, I needed that today!

    • Pooh Hodges

      Hello dear Jeneane,
      You are very welcome.
      Love Pooh

  8. Lauren Timmins

    I could only watch as the red numbers steadily went up. 3:05 am. 3:30 am. There was nothing else to do but watch the minutes slip away to the morning. Actually, that’s a lie. I was watching the clock, but I was thinking too. Part of me appreciates my little bouts of insomnia for this uninterrupted time for thought. Part of me hates them. Whenever I am awake at those ungodly hours in the morning, I feel alone. Terribly, horrendously alone. And the feeling seems to manifest itself in my bones, in my lungs, in my head, until it’s hard to breathe and it hurts to breathe and all I can do is curl into a ball and sob uncontrollably for a string of moments. Well, it was 3:38 am and my eyes still burned from the tears. I had uncurled just enough to watch the clock and to pull my pillow to my chest to substitute for another person. I thought about why I felt so lonely, and I couldn’t conjure an answer. So I pushed that thought aside and began to wonder, how many other people in the world feel this? Have ever felt this? And I wondered if anyone else was awake, and what they were doing, and if maybe I was awake because one of the number sets on the clock would be significant someday. Then that loneliness came creeping back, reminding me of my old friends and my old house and everything I had left three years ago. Most of those friendships had eroded, crumbled into nothing over the years. Two remained perfectly intact. Only two, out of ten or eleven.

    “I can’t keep thinking like this.” I whispered to the darkness. It didn’t answer me; it never does.

    The other terrible thing about the night is the silence. My mind likes to make up sounds to fill the silence, except it isn’t good at making up pleasant sounds. It likes to fool itself into thinking there is something there. By 3:50, the loneliness had turned to fear. I sung quietly to myself until the fear went away. There is nothing there I thought. If there was, I would have seen it, or it would have made some sort of connection with me. Then I started thinking again, this time about humanity. How maybe, we are the only monsters on this Earth. And how beautiful and terrible we are. And what would happen after we were gone, how everything we ever knew or loved or created would eventually disappear. And why on Earth do we bother with figuring things like space and the universe and the inner workings of our minds, why we even began to wonder. I was able to watch the sunrise a couple hours later. It was beautiful, and I was glad for that loneliness and fear, because it made that sunrise the prettiest I had ever seen.

    • Pooh Hodges

      Oh Lauren, my dearest Lauren,

      I don’t know if this story is fiction or non-fiction. But, when I read this, “And the feeling seems to manifest itself in my bones, in my lungs, in my head, until it’s hard to breathe and it hurts to breathe and all I can do is curl into a ball and sob uncontrollably for a string of moments,” all I wanted to do was ask Mrs. Hodges to open the front door for me. I wanted to walk to your doorstop and purr to help you take away the lonely feeling.

      I will be your friend.
      And my friendship will never crumble.
      Your story with hope at the end with the sunrise gave me hope today.
      All my best,
      Love Pooh

    • Dawn Atkin

      A beautiful capture of the ‘Insomniac’ brain.
      Mini rants and runs into the past and the fears of dark. And then the light arrives.

      Nicely paced.
      Whether this is fiction or creative non-fiction, it is a great little piece of writing. I felt myself there waiting for the sun.
      Thanks for sharing

    • Joy

      This flowed so smoothly and gripped me from the beginning. Very vivid. Great job!

    • Susan W A

      Powerful. Powerful. The images of the numbers; wondering if those numbers would become significant some day; expanding the sorrow for oneself to encompass the sorrows of the world; time for uninterrupted thought; the agony and curiosity of wondering why this happens; wondering who else in the world is awake and what they are doing and if they feel the same way sometimes; whispering to the darkness, seeking an answer; the mind making up sounds but not being good at making up pleasant sounds.
      If only this person knew they aren’t alone.
      Your words placed me directly in the situation.

  9. Laura Ryding-Becker

    Pooh, you are so wise! I love to read your prose. One of my mottoes is “Keep it simple”. It sounds like it’s one of yours, too.

    Your fan, Laura

    • Pooh Hodges

      Good Morning my dearest Laura,
      Thank you so much for encouraging me on this cold winter day in Pennsylvania.
      I wish you all my best,
      Love Pooh

  10. Dawn Atkin

    Ok, just a little play today to keep up the practice…


    This is the one. Yes this is the really big one. The one I’ve always wanted to write but haven’t. This is the one about the girl who had a dream. And she couldn’t stop dreaming her dream. And her dream became so intolerably impatient that the girl could hardly talk to anyone, she could hardly walk without tripping over. She couldn’t eat,
    or sleep, or laugh or play. She was stuck.

    She was stuck in a wonderful un-manifested galaxy of delicious, swirling, carnivale candy striped dreaming.

    When her mother prodded her to sit up straight the girl fell forward onto her dinner plate.

    When the teachers barked in her ear to pay attention she smiled straight through their stern concern.

    When friends called by to go and play, or got to the movies, or go for a swim, or to the park, or to look at boys, she just shook her head, smiled a tiny little bit and closed the door. Ker-clunk.

    The latch fell and closed heavy into its cozy brass catch.

    This girl had to stop dreaming her dream. She didn’t know how to un-dream. She didn’t know how to unwind those delightful ideas and possibilities into some sort of thread
    that would leave her head and dangle themselves in reality.

    She feared that once the dream dribbled out the colours would loose their hue. She feared that others would see her dream and laugh and not really understand.

    She feared that her dream may in fact just be a sign that… Well that… Well… that she might be a little bit, tiny, teeny, incey, wincey, bitsy, bit, mad.

    She picked up a pencil. She threw it back down. She picked up a pen. She chewed the end. She picked up a pad of recycled paper. She put the pen to her mouth. Her hands were shaking. She put the pen to the test, she let its nib rest on an empty page. She scrawled across the top ‘I AM AFRAID’.

    And the pen, so willing and sweet, started to write (nice and neat) across the page. Curves became curls. Swirls become whole. Words became… her dream, spilling across the page

    The colours seeped with metaphor, the characters leapt and climbed and danced much more than before. The skies changed colour and new friends arrived. And there was a knock at the door.


    She swung from the desk light and alive. She ran to the door and, to her surprise, the dream tipped itself outside, down the steps, across the lawn, across the road, down to the corner and out of site. The dream pursued its own birth-right; its own life.

    I know you probably think me silly. As if a dream can get out of your head. Really? Come on! I mean, really, as if a dream can get legs!

    Well I know this girl, and admittedly she’s a little quirky but she sure isn’t mad. And I know darn well the dream that she had; I saw it. And, I saw it all tumble out.

    And then I realized they are everywhere. They are all over the place. Everything all around us is a whole bunch of spilled dreams doing their thing.

    Isn’t that a glorious thought?

    Live the Dream my friends. Live the Dream.

    • Pooh Hodges

      My dearest Dawn,

      Please always come and play here to practice. I was sitting on the edge of me seat to find our what would happen to her dream. And, I held my breath when there was a knock at the door.

      “The colours seeped with metaphor, the characters leapt and climbed and danced much more than before. The skies changed colour and new friends arrived. And there was a knock at the door.”

      Dawn, if I may ask. What do you write when no-one is giving you story prompts? What do you prompt yourself?

      And, if I had skin like humans, I would tattoo this on my arm, “Live the Dream.”

      Love Pooh

    • Dawn Atkin

      Hi Pooh
      Of course I’ll continue to play, it’s my favourite time of the day.

      I love prompts. Without them I just recline on the sofa and purr the night lazily away.

      This year I’ve fixed my self some secret goals with the hope that I can prompt myself to develop my voice with creative fiction. I have no formal training or background in this genre, it is a fire in my belly that flares up when prompts arrive. My muse loves a good tickle.

      I seem to find a rhythm and sometimes it’s hard to tell what my writing really is, where it fits and what I could possibly do with it once it has appeared. (Is it prose, or poetry, or creative non-fiction, or short shorts, or poetic nuance or…? Gee, I just don’t seem to know.)

      I have a new blog (my 4th one). I have a couple of little projects on the bubble. I have a short novel in first draft that needs some structural assessment to help me sass it up.
      I have poems. I have some tangy introspective flirts of phrase.

      And this year I am going to invest in some short story courses to learn some technique and fan my creative fire.

      And I find that some of the TWP 15 minute prompts give me the chance to uncover some gems and develop some little bits that could be expanded, developed and nurtured a little more to become… something. I love TWP for that.

      This year I’m going to nudge myself to submit some words somewhere, some how, for something, to some one.

      And there you have it! A long answer to a short question.
      Love Dawn

    • Pooh Hodges

      My dearest Dawn,
      Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. You are a writer of many interests.
      Here is a little kitty nudge from me to submit your words somewhere.
      Love Pooh

    • Susan W A

      Once again, Dawn, in 15 minutes you have written a piece worthy of publishing. This story is EXQUISITE! I, too, like Pooh, was carried along on a cloud, wondering, wondering, “Oh, what will happen to the dream?”

      PLEASE publish this! It’s exactly the type of story that’s perfect for a children’s book that ALL age groups can gain wisdom from. It brought to mind the beautiful, simple book The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds.

      A website you might check out is http://writeforkids.org/ Currently Jon Bard is doing a series on how to publish Kindle picture books (although I would want your book as a hardbound book). From your website, Dawn, I see you’re very connected to the artist community, but if you don’t have resources there, the writeforkids site will have suggestions on how to pursue connecting with an illustrator.

      I would love to have this book on my bookshelf, alongside Rosie, book and towelling robe. A classic it is sure to become.

      A HUGE fan,
      kindest regards,
      Susan W. A.

    • Dawn Atkin

      Thanks Susan. Again!
      Writing children’s stories has never ever crossed my mind. Your comments and enthusiasm have given me something to think about.
      I’m truly grateful.

      Love Dawn

    • Joy

      Oh, Dawn! This is gorgeous! Your writing never ceases to amaze me. Keep unwinding those “delightful ideas and possibilities.” We love dreaming with you!

    • Lauren Timmins

      “She was stuck in a wonderful un-manifested galaxy of delicious, swirling, carnivale candy striped dreaming.” I love this! The imagery is perfect for the story!

  11. Joy

    Pooh, what would I do without you? (That rhymes too.) Thank you for being your huggable, lovable, perrrrr-fectly honest self. You’re the greatest cat I know. I’ve been so busy that I’ve hardly had time to write lately, but you’ve inspired me to jot down a little story. So here it goes:

    Winter is Silver

    No one loves the winter, or so I’d always thought. Then I’d met Sylvan. His name always reminded me of silver. I told him that once, and he told me that silver was his favorite color. It’s shiny grey.

    “I hate grey,” I muttered as I stared out the window at the barren trees and murky winter sky. We sat at the kitchen table, and I sipped peppermint tea. “I suppose that’s why I hate winter,” I continued, “It’s so grey.”

    Sylvan smiled and rubbed his left shoulder with his right hand for no apparent reason (that habit still annoys me). “Winter isn’t grey,” he explained, “It’s silver. You’ve just got to use your imagination.”

    I rolled my eyes and took a sip of the scalding tea. It burnt my tongue. “I’ve got plenty of imagination. It’s what fuels my complaints,” I smirked.

    Sylvan chuckled and shook his head. He couldn’t understand me, but I couldn’t understand him either. I prayed that I could. I envied his smile and his laughter, though I would never let him know. A thought tickled my mind. I tried to straighten the smile that curved at my lips.

    If summers are golden, why can’t winter be silver?

    • Dawn Atkin

      Yes, yes, yes indeed!
      “If summers are golden, why can’t winter be silver?”
      Love it.
      Dawn 🙂

    • Joy

      Thank you, Dawn. I’m glad you enjoyed the story! 🙂

    • Susan W A

      Love this. The inner conversation of wanting to be more, being annoyed by and at the same time envious of someone else’s optimism, knowing that you have that, too, below the surface but held back by some life experience.

      Clever line… “I have plenty of imagination. It’s what fuels my complaints,” I smirked.

      I really feel her inner struggle to be the true person she wants to be and is, but is somehow held back by a false sense of who she is.

      I like the way you set up the storyline and the contrasts.

    • Joy

      Thank you for your insights, Susan. I definitely think the protagonist’s character (I just realize I never gave her a name. Ha ha!) would be interesting to develop more….Maybe on a future project….

    • Pooh Hodges

      My dearest Joy,

      Thank you for stopping in and writing. I didn’t even notice the woman didn’t have a name, because you gave her character.

      “I rolled my eyes and took a sip of the scalding tea. It burnt my tongue.”

      This sentence means more to me that just hot tea. It is like how she envied Sylan’s smile and laughter.
      Did the tea have to be so hot? Or why was it Peppermint tea? Could she have had coffee?
      And you have a character shift in the end. She entertains the idea of winter being silver.
      Now she just needs a cat.
      Love Pooh

    • Joy

      Thank you, Pooh. Perhaps she should have a cat named silver. 🙂

  12. Susan W A

    I teach ESL (English as a Second Language) Academic writing at a community college. Just the other day we were discussing the implications of comparing ourselves with other students in the class, and the impact that could potentially have on what we get out of the class. There were two interesting comments, which I wanted to write down, but didn’t, because they were beautifully expressed. In essence, one student said that he doesn’t compare himself with others because he wants to have endless possibilities of reaching his potential. Another student said that he DOES compare himself with others because he wants to be inspired by others’ actions to reach his own potential. How’s that for seeing the glass is half full from any angle?

    • Dawn Atkin

      Now that is interesting. What works for one but not another.
      It also highlights that while we may compare we have to be aware of our human nature to judge – better than or less than. For therein might lay the detriment; and ego will either deflate or soar based on another persons reality or achievements.

      Thanks for sharing Susan. That’s a great little story and a little real life scenario that could be stretched into a bigger story.
      Love Dawn

    • Susan W A

      Love the challenge to create something out of this.

    • Pooh Hodges

      Hello My dearest Susan,
      Thank you for sharing another perspective on comparing. And a half full glass of water will still help you when you are thirsty.
      All my best,
      Love Pooh

  13. cher

    Just what I wanted to read as a new writer. Thank you Pooh.

    • Pooh Hodges

      You are very welcome Cher.
      I wish you all my best,
      Love Pooh

  14. Monica

    I love your voice Pooh! It always cracks me up. I also agree with this completely. I think another reason not to compare yourself to other writers is that you just have no idea what their situation may be. They may say what you read was a “first draft” even though they revised it 20 times. It’s just not worth it. Thanks for sharing!!

    • Pooh Hodges

      My dearest Monica,
      Thank you, I love your voice as well.
      I hope your day is filled with sunbeams, and you find one to take a nap in.
      You are very welcome.
      Love Pooh

  15. Susan W A

    [If this posts twice, I posted already, but it disappeared.]
    My mother passed away in September 2014. I was with her in the hospital the last 48 hours — very sacred time. I wrote this poem the other day about that. It’s not complete yet; this covers about the first 24 hours. The font and formatting is a bit differet in the original; I tried to simplify it for posting.
    sacred time
    five hours taken from us

    Mom and I alone again
    first Dad, then Sheri
    the two of us holding together
    floating forward, drifting on different wisps of air
    holding hands
    our family story of Disneyland, me slipping my hand up into a mother’s hand
    looking up with the shock that it wasn’t Mom
    the story is mine now

    such generosity
    given until the end
    sweetness and calm unmatched and unexpected

    a visit before work, preparing for a possibility
    but not realizing it is now … now
    not quite … not yet

    the truth be told
    respectful … shockingly simple and to the point
    somehow cushioned by the source, and the knowledge that it was … time
    no turning back, no path to take
    the release of a challenging future

    relief because of the unknown
    dcision accepted
    that path taken
    but still not quite ready for the next

    how do I know?
    what do I sense?
    Is it hers or mine?
    I trust the connection
    I must

    the peace … the gifts … the love

    a legal nod, now a lifetime ago
    hardly provides the foundation at this point
    “It’s hers, not yours,” the reassurance is unsettling
    How can that be?
    And yet it is, in the form it takes

    it’s what we have now

    the knowing nod
    the whispered word
    the gentle smile
    a mother’s love wrapped back around
    calm … connection … quiet conversation
    words one-sided, a lifetime together providing the response

    a collage of color provides a window
    a peek to the past
    a respite from the sterile and unknown
    sitting … watching … waiting … wondering

    “I’ll stay with you.”
    “Really?” eyes bright with comfort and joy

    incredible … a night-shift nurse
    large, cheery flower placed atop luxuriant locks
    beckoning an invitation to life
    as it is … perfection
    to soak in each moment
    each with value and grace
    each one precious and full

    a smile matched for another occasion
    surprise … and gratitude
    an understanding of what life is
    no need for somber tones
    the beauty and joy within sparks forth
    normal conversation
    and … a response!
    not a word … a sentence
    an exchange

    thank you for that moment

    glad to be here at this moment
    two days on duty … to help us celebrate

    but no
    add to the exasperation
    information … no information
    what to expect
    unknown, but the possibilities
    plan and control
    our experience
    our time
    our precious time

    • Pooh Hodges

      My dearest Susan W A

      Thank you for sharing your mommy with me, with us. I read this with tears in my eyes.

      Please accept my condolences at the death of your mother.

      You expressed with poetry your deep feelings of loss, love and acceptance.

      “the two of us holding together
      floating forward, drifting on different wisps of air”

      So many strong images.
      Please remember to take care of yourself in your deep grief. I hope your writing helps bring healing about your great loss.
      All my best,
      Love Pooh

    • Susan W A

      Thank you for your tender words, Pooh, and the kitty tears shed.
      “loss, love and acceptance” – yes.
      Yes, my writing does help bring healing. It’s very interesting to me, and fills me. I did not grow up loving to write. Then I became an accomplished academic writer (not published, just in undergrad and graduate work). Only fairly recently have I become serious about exploring more creative writing. TWP has certainly buoyed my confidence and enthusiasm for this pursuit. And I love about myself that my first thought for a gift for someone is to write a poem. A couple weeks ago my friend told me she had 3 job interviews for professor positions at universities in 3 different states over a three week period, in addition to having a demanding teaching job and a teenage daughter to take care of. I wanted to support her in her endeavors. My first words to her were, “sorry I don’t have time right now to write you a poem.” I did end up writing some prose for her, which I may post here since it talks about not comparing ourselves with others.
      Thank you for your soft, furry support of all who post.
      – Susan

    • Pooh Hodges

      Hello my dearest Susan W A,
      You are very welcome. I hope one day to read your tender words about the last 24 hours. But, perhaps that might be too personal to share yet.
      I never saw my mother again when I left the animal shelter, your love for you mommy helped me with my grief.
      How exciting that you found the love of words even though you didn’t grow up loving to write.
      Please share your what you wrote for your friend. Perhaps start it as a new comment so it doesn’t get lost in this thread.
      Your words may encourage someone else who compares.
      I wish you all my best dear Susan,
      Love Pooh

    • Dawn Atkin

      Hi Susan
      Thanks for sharing this time in your life.
      So much going on in this swirl of emotion and contemplation of time.
      I got a real feel of the conflict between family readying for loss and the sterile environment of doctors and hospice/ hospital.

      The wondering, remembering, realising, readying, uncertainty, … all wrapped up so tenderly in this most deeply intimate of times. Mother – daughter – life.

      Deepest condolences.

      With love

    • Susan W A

      “…readying for loss…”; “…all wrapped up so tenderly in this most deeply intimate of times. Mother – daughter – life.” Thank you for your kindness, Dawn.

  16. Tony C

    I have no luck getting comments but here goes anyway since I love to
    write. When I was about 13 years old, I was sitting on my porch and a
    very swarthy young man stopped in front of our house, waived and said
    hello. I invited him to come up to the porch ( times were different
    back then) He introduced himself as Walter, and said that he just moved
    into a rental owned by a relative of mine. Another question that I
    should have asked was how did he know that I ha a relative that he
    rented from. Well with that all aside, we talked for hours that first
    day and I was pleased that a senior of some 5 years would even spend
    minutes with just a kid. I guess I was looking for something I was not
    getting at home and the kids on the block were just not into talking.
    They wanted to play baseball or football or some inane pursuit.

    These conversations were interrupted from time to time with walks down to the
    village and a small coffee shop. There we would sit at the counter and
    talk about cabbages and kings. sometimes all morning and even
    afternoons. My parents never questioned my relationship with him and so
    I would walk throughout the village with him and he would tell me about
    his travels and adventures. This continued for that summer and then
    there were no other contacts. He didn’t stop by anymore and I didn’t
    see him at any of our many haunts.

    Saturday, August 29th, our doorbell rang and two men in business dress asked to
    speak to my dad or mom. I ran and got them and they sat down in the
    parlor. (yes the front room was called a parlor) A few minutes after
    their discussion began, I was called in by dad. It seems that Walter
    was picked up for B&E’s and was locked up in our local jail. He had
    attempted to use me as his alibi and that’s why he was so chummy all
    summer. Nice going ego killer. Oh well that was a great lesson for a

    • Susan W A

      Interesting reflection on an event from childhood. Not something many people experience (!) and thank goodness it wasn’t even more sinister. Would be a great twist within a broader story. Your story touches on those feelings of youth of wanting to be recognized by others, especially the “older kids”. I can imagine the scene well from your description .

    • Pooh Hodges

      Hello my dearest Tony,
      Thank you for sharing your story here. I was so worried as you described the older friend wanting to hang out with you. Yes, the truth would be sad to learn. But, maybe he really did like you.
      What else do you like to write Tony?
      Have you considered adding dialog to this story?
      All my best,
      Love Pooh

    • Young_Cougar

      One hell of a killer. (The story not the actual killer.) This was great, I loved the nonchalant attitude of the character and I loved the plot twist, I loved the setting and I loved this overall.

    • Kathy Storrie

      I enjoyed your comment and I understand your ego being knocked down lower. Things like that happened to me like that. You should write your memoirs of your life on a weekly or bi-weekly on a blog. Your life sounds interesting because you use old words and ways that many today don’t know about. I write my memoirs and they are therapeutic and comforting even if nobody reads or comments.

    • Tony C

      If I wrote the memoirs of my life, I would have to look over my shoulder walking down any lane. I use old words because they are just that, old words. Some of this new crap is just that, crap. Therefore I have to be more interesting and a better writer.

  17. A_Wandering_Writer

    Great article! So glad I found it. I look forward to reading more great stuff from you.

    • Pooh Hodges

      Hello my dearest Wandering Writer,
      Thank you for your kind comment. Do you ever compare your writing to someone else?
      Love Pooh

  18. Young_Cougar

    Pooh, thank you. This was exactly what I needed to here. Let me know where I can forward your tuna. Or what ever your favorite snack is.

    Ruri took a deep breath. Relax, she ordered her self. Leaning back into a huge oak, she settle her head and closed her eyes. Relax, she repeated. Relax.
    Her eyes closed, she smiled and waited. How long she waited, she wasn’t sure. All she can says is that after a while the minty scent of Oak didn’t bother her, nor did the bites of the fire ants. Not much. The ants dined well that night.
    And then, or finally, she heard the sound of horse shoes muffled on wet mud. The click of the rider, and the clatter of the carriage wheels.
    She opened her eyes, and with a swift soundless move, her Katana was free. And it desired blood.
    “Time to eat, Orihime.”

    • Pooh Hodges

      My dearest Young Cougar,
      Oh my, now I want to know more.
      The minty scent of Oak, the bite of the fire ants, the sound of the house shoes, the click of the rider and the sound of the carriage wheels, made we feel like I was sitting beside Ruri.
      What happens next?
      All my best,
      Love Pooh

    • Susan W A

      Cool ! Definitely “baits” the imagination. : )

      Love, too, the treat offered to Pooh.

  19. Susan W A

    Dearest Pooh,


    Thank you for the encouragement to post my other piece. Boy, this “not comparing myself to others” takes a lot of practice. “Miy posts are too long.” “My images are not as rich and developed.” “My writing is just for me and a few encouraging friends, not something that could be published.” Of course I don’t (always) believe all those types of thoughts, but they certainly call for my attention. Thanks, Pooh, and TWP contributors for letting those thoughts know that they are “heard” and have value and can change into something grander and more productive.

    BACKGROUND sent with my encouragement to my friend who had 3 interviews:

    When I made my first presentation at a professional conference out of town, I stayed with a dear friend of mine. Her gift to me was a warm, inviting environment, and a guided meditation to ground me in the confidence and exuberance of knowing that I was going to enjoy making a worthwhile presentation … and I did.

    I want to provide a similar gift for you. Please take a moment to sit down with a soothing, revitalizing cup of tea, take a deep breath, and read my message to you.


    I am capable. I relax my shoulders, hold my head high and radiate a quiet confidence. That quiet confidence is mine. It is exactly what is needed for the situation. I need not compare my confidence with the bold or showy confidence of some others. My inner self is ready to support my progress in bigger ways.

    I have accomplished many things in my life. I have overcome obstacles in my life. I have taken risks and challenged myself, with great results. My life experiences are unique, and my path which brought me here is unique. While others may be equally capable and deserving, I alone have the combination, the piece of the puzzle which completes the picture.

    I easily reflect on questions or problems presented before me, letting my inner wisdom swirl around the words and carry forward my ideas with ease. I welcome any opportunity that may arise to overcome a “bump in the road”, any moments of unease. I readily regain my footing. My imperfections provide value as well.

    I will know if it is right … or not … for I will feel a resounding connection, however subtly presented, which is shared and carried forward by those whose task it is to lay down their part of the pathway for my next step in life, whether it is this place or another.


    With great joy, friendship, support, and confidence in you.
    – Susan

    • Dawn Atkin

      Aaaahhhh… Thank you.
      The pace and flow in this piece of writing is very soothing. I felt into it, and flowed smoothly with it’s calming reassuring current.

      I also identify with the silly thoughts we have that negate our own unique voice. I enjoy your writing Susan I get a real sense of your eagerness and genuine excitement, and now this piece shows the stilling tone of your inner nurturer.

      Loved it. Would you mind if I printed it out to put in my journal?

      Love Dawn

    • Susan W A

      “Aaaahhhh” is all the feedback I need. : )
      I’m glad it had a positive effect. Yes, please do print it out.

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