Poetry philosophy: Show me, don’t tell me (also struggling with compliments)

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I’m not sure where the phrase “show me, don’t tell me” first originated. I think it was through exposure to creative writing exercises and other writing efforts. But I took that to heart. I took that seriously. And in many ways that influenced my approach to poetry writing.

You don’t want to just say “she was upset”; that doesn’t tell you much. But instead you describe the used tissues scattered on the bed, the box laying nearby, how her eyes are puffy. You acknowledge the remnants of a bowl of ice cream. You describe the girl curled up on a bed, clutching tight to a pillow or stuffed bear. These images offer more details, they help tell the story. She probably didn’t just screw up a pop quiz; it’s more likely that she had a fight with her boyfriend or they broke up.

I was much more interested in showing the details of a story and describing the scene versus being straightforward. I still had trouble balancing what was described and how much to describe rather than saying things outright. I often went overboard on the descriptions and imagery, especially early on, but I was trying to find my style, trying to figure out what worked. How much detail do you really have to give?

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Walking backward (not a tribute to Michael Jackson)

So, I mentioned before how I had trouble with toilet training. Sticker rewards and praise didn’t help with the learning process on this one. Or even like episodes of Full House (video link?) where Michelle was bribed with cookies to really focus on learning this self-regulation behavior. That happened, right?

I don’t remember specific experiences of trying to reach the bathroom. Thankfully. But trying to get my brain to give me appropriate signals wasn’t working.

I do remember using special underwear that had an electronic device. I believe there was a little pocket in the underwear for a sensor. That was connected by wire to an alarm that attached to my shirt. The sensor would detect that slightest hint of moisture and the alarm would sound to indicate the need to use the bathroom. (Here is one website resource.)

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Therapy, beautiful Cloud Face and insights on kindness

I look at that list of sensory issues and think “How did my family manage not to kill each other?”

But I also look at my childhood and think that it was relatively normal. We had fun. There were games, movie nights, camping trips and other typical activities. It wasn’t an awful childhood. I am very much blessed. But I did have extra challenges and obstacles to overcome that most of my classmates didn’t have to deal with.

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What is sensory processing disorder?

Sensory processing happens when the nervous system collects data from sensory experiences and organizes it so that the brain can make an appropriate response. For instance, your eyes register obstacles in your path as you move, and then while communicating with your brain, messages are sent to your feet to alter your path so that you can navigate around the pile of books on the floor.

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The game-changer: An overview

I grew up in a small town in South Carolina with two dedicated and involved parents and an older brother. Having an older brother meant Mom had some idea of what to expect and when certain milestones should be achieved. She recognized many differences in my progress and differences in my reactions to things. And I’m sure when she raised alarm at these, many people tried to shrug it off as “children grow at difference paces.”

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