Jazz Age Wednesdays 24 ― Pip Meets the Master

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Hello, everyone.  It’s Jazz Age Wednesdays here at Teagan’s Books.  I’m blessed to offer you another joint post!

I have actively sought out collaborations with bloggers who work with subjects that are different from my whimsical fiction.  So, I was delighted when Dr. Glen Hepker* agreed to work with me on a post.  Glen is the author of A Glimpse of Heaven: The Philosophy of True Health*.  I have this book and it’s a real gem. 

Dr Glen Hepker

Glen is sharing instructions for breathing exercises, which you’ll find after my new vignette from the Pip-verse.  I worked a bit of of it into the story.  So let’s ankle back to the Roaring Twenties, for the story Glen inspired.

Pip Meets the Master

Lucille Ball teen blue
Young Lucille Ball

“Come on Pip, this scavenger hunt might turn out to be a real shockdollager.  Plus, it could be some free publicity for Wong’s Chinese if we can get the newspaper to do a story about it,” my friend Alastair Wong pleaded.  “Even my cousin, Victoria, is excited about it — and she’s pretty hard to impress.”

“Traipsing around the riverfront in the dark just doesn’t sound like fun to me,” I told him.  “And your cousin isn’t likely to be tromping through the fog with us.”

I had only met his cousin once.  That was in Alastair’s family restaurant.  For a moment, I thought she was a doll in an embroidered blue satin dress.  You can imagine my shock when the “doll” spoke.  Victoria Wong was a very tiny, very ancient woman.  She had to be well under five feet tall, and Lord knew how old. 

“Hey, if you’ve been hearing all those stories about the haunted part of Savannah, just forget them,” Alastair said with sudden insight.  “That’s all bushwa! Savannah is not a haunted city.”

“Alastair Wong, I’ll have you know, I’m no chicken,” I told him defiantly.

Attagirl!  So, you’ll come?” he encouraged and I finally agreed.


1920 Henricis Chicago IL

The turn out for the scavenger hunt wasn’t as great as Alastair hoped, but I thought it was pretty good.  It was supposed to finish at Wong’s Chinese with a free dinner.  That meant Alastair was extra busy.  After all his fuss talking me into going, he had to leave and go back to the restaurant halfway through the hunt.

Several people remained in the group, but I wasn’t well acquainted with anyone.  Before long I ended up getting separated from them.  It was my own fault.  I wandered away, distracted by a light that seemed to jounce and bounce along in the mist near the river.  The next thing I knew, I was alone in the dark, foggy night.

I shivered, suddenly very aware of the cold.  I called out to the group.  No one answered.  The fog got progressively thicker.  It seemed to muffle the sound of my voice.  Then my flashlight went dim.  The faint light slowly extinguished.  That’s when I got scared.

Worried about looking like a dumb Dora, I held back the scream that I really wanted to let loose.  I choked on my fear.  Breathless, I turned when a flicker of light came to my peripheral vision.

The light bobbed but came closer.  It was a lantern, so bright that at first, I couldn’t see anything else.  Then I saw the strange man who carried it.  He wore a robe that left one shoulder bare, although he didn’t seem to notice the cold.  His face was in shadows.  The fog swirled around his feet as he walked.

Savannah GA Isle of Hope circa 1930

Gasping with relief at no longer being alone, I moved toward him.

Applesauce!  Am I glad to see you!” I exclaimed.

He reacted with a bemused smile, but it faded when I sank to the ground in a near swoon.  In my panicked state, my breathing had become so erratic that I was dizzy.

He stooped beside me to help me sit up.  The man’s single long flowing sleeve fell back as he put two fingers to my forehead.  His touch was cold.

It seemed just as strange to me at that moment as it does now, but the instant I looked into his eyes I trusted him.

“You are near to hypothermia.  We must get your breathing back in order, yes?” he said.

Shivering, I nodded.

“First you must imagine that there is a sparkling furnace inside your belly,” he instructed in a carefree tone that made me chuckle.  “Now relax your shoulders, as you pull your abdomen in ― while breathing in.  Good.  Now push your abdomen out when breathing out.”

He continued to talk and lead me through his way of breathing for several minutes.  The simple fact that I was no longer alone made me feel better.  The breathing helped a lot.  I felt a new energy.

Abruptly he stood and looked around.  With a smile he looked down at me, and placed a lotus blossom in my hands.

“Your friends will be here soon.  You are safe.  Just stay here, keep breathing as I taught you, and all will be well.”

An Art Nouveau lotus blossom frieze, circa 1915

My eyes followed his and I looked into the night.  Not too far away, a small cluster of lights swayed and dipped, drawing closer.

He clapped his hands and my flashlight flickered.  Then it came back on with triple brightness.  Of course, I was looking directly at it.  After that bright flare, the torch went dead again. 

For a moment I could only see spots.  When my vision cleared, he was gone.

Hearing familiar voices call my name, I yelled back to them.  I got to my feet, still holding the lotus blossom.  Soon Alastair and his diminutive cousin were at my side. 

Alastair looked relieved, and Victoria chided me for always getting into some kind of predicament. 

Victoria gasped softly as she beheld the flower in my hands.  She held her lantern and slowly walked around me.  The light illuminated the ground.  More lotus blossoms made a circle around the area where I stood.

She turned to Alastair and whispered something that sounded like, “My boy, only a fool would let this one get away.”

“I see you have met my old master,” Victoria told me.

All I could think was nobody could be older than her, but I remembered my manners.  I told them about the man who had been there helping me a moment before.

“He left so suddenly,” I added and described him.  “Would that be him?”

Victoria nodded with a knowing smile.

“The lotus blossoms were enough to tell me it was the Master.  I studied under him when I was a young girl.  You are blessed to have been visited by him.”

I gave my head a shake, trying to make Victoria’s words fall into place and make sense.

“You don’t mean…”

The End


Now back to Dr. Glen Hepker

Glen is also a master instructor of Tai Chi Chuan, Chi Kung, Kung Fu, as well as refined meditation and guided imagery.  But I see him blushing, so I’ll stop listing his credentials. You can learn more about him at his blog, Facebook, and Amazon Author Page.  If you’re lucky enough to be in Iowa, you can find him at Mason City Tai Chi and Wellness Center*

As promised, here is the write-up from Glen, in his own words.  Relax, learn, enjoy.

Reverse abdominal/diaphragmatic breathing, also know as ‘winter breathing’ or Taoist breathing in TCM/acupuncture theory, warms one up significantly. It also energizes people who suffer from lethargy, or anyone who is tired or sleepy. The opposite breathing practice (more commonly employed in modern times, i.e., people are more likely to be hyper and anxious these days), is coined ‘advance breathing’ or summer breathing/Buddhist breathing. It cools one down from actual heat and/or the heat of anxiety and stress.

No automatic alt text available.

In reverse abdominal breathing keep one’s shoulders relaxed as one pulls one’s abdomen in while breathing in, and push one’s abdomen out when breathing out. The simplest congruent guided imagery/visualization, is imagining that there is a sparkling furnace just behind one’s navel (CV8 in acupuncture). Imagine that the breathing fans the sparkling furnace more and more skillfully, until one can feel the sparkling furnace at will.

One imagines that one is fanning the furnace primarily with the energy coming in while breathing in, and that once one feels the warmth, one guides the warmth throughout one’s body during the breath out. The “sparkling” feeling of the furnace feels not unlike those sparkling spine-tingling/shivering feelings in sentimental and sweet and innocent loving moments, and also that which many people seem to get sometimes when urinating. In acupuncture theory, this is coined the ‘original chi’ (that which we were born with), which resides in the kidneys in healthy individuals. But the goal is to abundantly strengthen the furnace, and then learn to circulate the splendid energy, using the healthful logic of acupuncture theory. 

The key to success in this reverse breathing is to absolutely keep doing it (in each instance/setting) until it works, nothing less than realization of the success of warmth. When successful, one will still feel and be aware of the cold, but it becomes less and less of an agitation. Having faith in this practice is of help – our psychological outlook is important, i.e., to not hinder a positive placebo effect. But any placebo effect only complements the practice, vs. in any fashion implying that the practice doesn’t, unto itself, really work.

One of the most important things to remember is that these arts/practices are true skills, i.e., taking time and effort –AND there is always room for improvement (which may the greatest of blessings, IF we embrace the notion).

Advance abdominal breathing is simply like pretending one’s lungs are in one’s abdomen, i.e., with the shoulders relaxed, breathe in push one’s abdomen out, breathe out pull it in. As I said, most people benefit more from this, in our modern times it is succinctly believed that more people than not, are anxious, stressed, and tense, vs. the opposite. Anxiety is like heat, and overt heat can be damaging as such, i.e., as viewed in TCM/acupuncture theory.

The most basic complementary guided imagery for this breathing, is similar. One imagines that one fans the sparkling furnace and learns to feel the furnace at will. (Through regular practice over a couple of months, most people can learn to have all-of-the-time diaphragmatic breathing – nothing more helpful and healthful.) With this breathing, one imagines bringing fresh cooling energy in with the breath in, and sending the stagnant inflammation/heat out with the breath out.

No automatic alt text available.

Everyone always has some level of stress, no matter how relaxed, but advance breathing can abbreviate the stress to next to nothing, especially congruent with one of our types of guided imagery, of which there are more than a dozen of these ages-old techniques. Tongue-in-cheek, we traditionally say, that one can never learn to levitate, walk through walls, be two places at once, or be invisible, without all-of-the-time diaphragmatic breathing and fanning of the sparkling furnace, learning to feel the furnace at will.

Brightest of blessings, Glen


 I appreciate your visit.  You are pos-i-lutely the cat’s pajamas!

Now, for my own shameless self-promotion… Here are the links to the books about Pip and her friends. 

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Novel-book-The Three Things Serial Story-Teagan Riordain Geneviene-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-spotlight-author

The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story Kindle 



This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2018 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.


74 thoughts on “Jazz Age Wednesdays 24 ― Pip Meets the Master

  1. Teagan, there’s no real hurry, just so they’re here in 72 hours (I thought 48 hours but felt that could be too blatantly greedy!): 1) ‘The Isle of Hope’ shore scene at Evening – perhaps 36X48 on canvas, framed, to hang over my den’s fireplace; 2) A framed image of ‘Alastair’s Restaurant’ to hang in our kitchen; 3) AND, if not asking too much, a framed ‘Young Lucy’… (Pause for your chuckle!)
    Not that Pip’s evening adventure meeting the Master was not exciting, IT WAS, in fact, delicious! (Oops! Must have Alastair’s Restaurant on my mind!), but I did fall in love with those images, particularly, Savannah’s ‘Isle of Hope’.
    Being serious and ‘fanning Dr. Glen’s furnace’ while breathing, do you have any idea where one could get ‘prints’ of the ‘Isle’ and the ‘Restaurant’?
    Pardon my brazen beginning, and I thoroughly enjoyed your post! You truly are ‘the cat’s pajamas’! ♥♥♥

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You are the wonderful kind! AND, i adore your posts and where your mind lives in writing! Please, you’ve given me the wikimedia link – I should be able to find it there! I don’t wish you to spend your time on my mundane comic requests…although I do truly like ‘Isle of Hope’ and Alastair’s Restaurant. 🙂
        You are a dear, dear lady AND ‘the cat’s pajamas’! ♥♥♥

        Liked by 1 person

  2. While I was reading this story, of course I had to try the breathing at the same time. I’ve never heard of this reverse breathing technique before – it was actually easier than I thought.

    I’ve noticed you frequently feature photos of a young Lucille Ball. She was stunning!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Joanne. It’s great to see you. I’m glad you enjoyed Dr. Glen’s exercise. With some things, it’s just a matter of getting your head around the unexpected pattern.
      Ah! There’s a story behind the Lucy pictures. So many things about the Pip-verse came about by chance. Okay, everything about it… Early on in the first serial, in looking for flapper images, I found one that I was amazed to learn was a teen-aged Lucille Ball. Not too long afterward, I was doing a household chore and thinking about my next episode. I don’t know why, but I started hearing the voice of grown up Lucille Ball narrating the episode as if she was telling about her youthful escapades. That clicked so firmly into place in my imagination that it has never wavered. Even when I try to imagine a more grownup Pip, she’s still Lucy.
      Thanks for visiting. You’re the bee’s knees.


  3. I wonder how many readers tried the breathing exercise, I know I did! Great post and an innovative way to introduce your guest blogger along with the Master. I do hope you practice that method often with all your stress dear!! xoxoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Kathryn. I’m so glad you enjoyed this — and Glen’s exercise.
      Yes, breathing is my big issue. When I’m over stressed or in pain… I just don’t breathe. I don’t mean to, but that’s what happens. Last year I became aware of that fact when I nearly passed out in the kitchen (trying to push through the pain), not realizing that with the pain I was barely breathing. So I have to make good use of the “pattern” of breathing I have to do for that. And be aware of when it’s happening. (But that’s so frequently these days, that I have to always be aware.)
      Thanks for visiting. You’re the cat’s pajamas!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a wonderful episode, Teagan. I read it last night, but I realized that my comment didn’t make it. Of course, I’m wondering what Pip would say about that…words escape…

    Anyway, I had to go back and find the part about the cold and the flashlight:

    “I shivered, suddenly very aware of the cold. … Then my flashlight went dim. ”

    That really struck me, because I have experienced the cold suddenly sneaking up on me, and of course, I’m old enough to remember the days before Alkaline batteries and LED bulbs, when flashlights were often very dim.

    Let’s hope the comment sticks this time – Have a great day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Dan. Ugh… Applesauce! I’m so sorry about the first comment. You took the time and then the WP gremlins ate it. (That happens to me too… ) I really appreciate the details you give me. I’m glad this one resonated with you. It’s fun for me to include the differences in technology/innovations, then and now.
      The cold sneaks up on me like that every now and then too. Since I tend to “run hot” it really surprises me when it happens. Thanks again. You’re the cat’s pajamas!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re so welcome, Teagan. I was impressed that you would include a detail like that. It really helps to ground me in the time of the story. I’m sure there are a lot of young people that wouldn’t notice, or might shake their heads, but I liked it!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m still grateful for the feedback you gave me on the first chapter of Bloom. Weekends go to blogging and writing blog stories. Evenings (if I have any energy after work… so only a few) go to editing Bloom. So with my head in editor mode, I appreciate this kind of thing even more. A small detail can be worth half a page of description. Here’s to the weekend.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Enjoyed the Pip-verse and I practiced the breathing while I was reading it. I find that doing this kind of breathing is actually a wonderful exercise to do while reading. It calms the body while the reading calms the mind. Ahhhhh. Thanks for bringing Dr. Glen to us here.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Another really great story Teagan, I am such a fan of Pip and the whole era you have replicated as the background.. sometimes they feel like watching those old 40s serials they used to have in the Saturday morning Kids Club in the cinemas way back when…Flash Gordon, Sexton Blake. We never really got many of the American ones like those with Mickie Rooney in them, so I can’t even remember their names… racking my brains as I type! But if we did I would expect to see Pip starring in each and every one.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Paul, you are pos-i-lutely the kindest person. Thank you. That really means a lot to me. I’m delighted that you enjoy (what I call) the Pip-verse. And to think that it all began purely by chance. I had no particular passion for the Roaring Twenties but then… Hmmm I think you’ve just given me my next blog post, Paul. 😀 Cheers (raising a cup of mead). You’re the cat’s meow!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Teagan I am not at all kind.. I simply really love the Pip-verse. It has so much charm and carries so much that… it is really not history… it is the Golden age of Hollywood American mythology… that idyllic recreation of Middle America.. plus it is in the deep south which is even more charming, and always accompanied by such lovely illustrations making it all so visual. It reminds me of all those great old films that leave you feeling good and with a smile on your face… decent likeable people, happy endings, gentle humour. Although you know the world was never like that, you simply don’t care (terrible as it sounds). It is so charming.. sorry to keep repeating the word but that word sums it up perfectly.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I had to try the breathing exercise, or course, and it worked! I felt warmer and calmer 🙂
    I’d be scared spitless out in the dark by myself. I’m glad Pip had a guardian angel to protect her.
    Have a great rest of the week, my friend. And remember, just breathe!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The power of breath is amazing, Teagan. I do a fair amount of conscious breathing during yoga (as well as tons of other breathing) Lol. Fascinating write up from Glen, and I love how you incorporated him into the story. Pip is just full of adventures. 🙂 Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Diana. I’m delighted you enjoyed this. You are absolutely right about breathing. It’s a problem I deal with continually — when I’m stressed, or in pain… well, I barely breathe. When I realize that I’m not breathing (enough) I have to really focus and get my “pattern” of breathing in my mind for a good while before I let go on its own.
      That in mind, I was particularly glad when Glen chose to make his part about breathing. (I had not given him any suggestions.)
      Thanks for taking time to visit. You’re the bee’s knees!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was an avid scuba diver during my twenties and thirties, Teagan, and my nickname was “mermaid” because I used so little air. I could stay down there twice as long as everyone else. It was the only time when “not breathing” was a blessing. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I know Dr. Glen and it is great to see him in this collaboration. Great episode (magical and otherworldly) and the reverse abdominal breathing will help as the weather has turned very cold here. Thanks, Teagan!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s lovely to see you, Cindy. Thanks so very much. She was an amazing woman. Early on with the serials, (I don’t know why) I started imagining the voice of adult Lucille Ball (as Pip) telling the stories of her youthful days. That has never left me when I write them. I appreciate the visit. You’re the cat’s pajamas.


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