“What do we see when we look at the mind? …

“What do we see when we look at the mind? Constant change. In the traditional scriptures the untrained and unconcentrated mind is referred to as a mad monkey. As we look for ourselves, we see that it is like a circus or a zoo in there. The parrot, the sloth, the mouse, the tiger, the bear, and the silent owl are all represented. It is like a flywheel of spinning thoughts, emotions, images, stories, likes, dislikes, and so forth. There is ceaseless movement, filled with plans, ideas, and memories. Seeing this previously unconscious stream of inner dialogue is for many people the first insight in practice. It is called seeing the waterfall. Already we begin to learn about the nature of mind. Its constant changes are like the weather; today it rains, tonight it may snow, earlier the sun was out. Sometimes it’s muddy in the spring, and then the summer comes and the winds come. In the fall the leaves go; in winter the ice forms.”
Jack Kornfield, Meditation for Beginners

A Good Scene Needs a Monkey

“10. Stories are made of scenes.  A good scene needs a monkey.  Which is to say, two characters talking while standing (or sitting) in a room, or walking down the beach, or riding in a car, aren’t usually enough to make an interesting scene.  No matter how funny or interesting or important the dialogue is, the scene will still be boring if that’s all that’s going on.  But if your characters are driving down the freeway and trying to talk about something important and there’s a monkey leaping around the car’s interior, flipping the headlights on and off, honking the horn and pooping in the ash-tray—then you’ve got a scene.  Of course, not every scene can have a literal monkey in it, so you have to find the particular “monkey” that’s right for your particular scene—something for your readers to look at while the characters talk. ”

– From “Eleven Things I Know About Fiction Writing,” a blog post by Jon Loomis,  author of the Frank Coffin mystery series and more.


A wave to El Guapo. See, I really do have a method to my monkey madness. The more fitting truth is I am just mad about monkeys. Though the first sounds more more professional. (And yes, I am linking to Guap’s toy page on purpose. Monkeys make great toys!)

and so do chickens:

From Savage Chickens by Doug
From Savage Chickens by Doug Savage (to see more monkeys and chickens)