Friday, October 26, 2018

Are you hauling a big load?

The  truck driver was hauling a dump truck. Take a look and see.

Are you a hauler? Do you tow around other people's STUFF as well as your own?
Do you feel overloaded at times? Maybe the load isn't really as big as it seems.

We came upon this  transport truck in traffic ahead of us and had to laugh when the tail lights lit up like a Christmas tree and drew attention to the load. 

The driver had this toy dump truck strapped to the bed of his truck. 
Is it time for your to reassess? Unload some of the burden? Consider why you transport everything? Do you allow others to dump on you? Do you say yes or maybe when you should say, NO? If the weight of your load is a burden, lighten your load. If your circumstances are such that you must haul the whole load, be sure to take care of yourself, too.

Have you seen anything that made you do a double take?

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Writing about the NOTS

Did you ever keep going when you wanted to quit?

I have been discouraged many times, and even when I vow never to write again, I always return to writing. As I search markets, I discover more and more they are genre, gender, and geographically specific, or they have entry fees, all of which can be discouraging. 

I have been racking my brain to come up with a true story for Chicken Soup for the Soul for Runners book. The only time I have ever deliberately run was towards kids when they were heading for danger. 

I hated running in school as much as I despised throwing. That's another story.

My brother-in-law Bill runs marathons, and he is in his 70s. I admire his tenacity. But I just don't have what it takes to be a competitive runner. 

I have run to and away from things, but not for long distances, not for love, not for prize money, not for blue ribbons. Oh wait, a memory! And I just arrived at it by thinking in reverse... I'll be back. 

I began to write a stream of consciousness piece about NOT running. That sparked a memory from a running event that happened to a family member ten years ago... and I have now developed a true story about me NOT being a runner and what stemmed from that. I have woven my success into this story. Sound confusing? I'll share it with you privately or if and when it is accepted and published.

Sometimes writing reverse (con not pro) on topic can lead to a publishable essay. I will submit my story after my critique group gives it the once over. We are the WWWPs, Wild Women Wielding Pens. 

Thursday, October 18, 2018

How important is a title?

I met with a writer friend the other day. Seems great minds think alike. We are both working on personal collections. I am convinced readers will purchase his book before mine, simply because his title is a hoot. I am not at liberty to share the title at this time, but trust me, if you are a writer, you would laugh out loud.

Do titles sell you on a book?

Do you have a preference for long titles or short?
Do you like titles that sound like a newspaper headline?
Does a title capture the essence of what's to come? Does it entice? Evoke emotion?
Have you ever been impressed or misled by a title?

I am reading three books: Folly Beach, by Dorothea Benton Frank; We Are Water, by Wally Lamb; Save Me, by Lisa Scottoline. Three different genres, two I chose because I like the authors. One book has not lived up to my expectation, one surprised me, and the other is written in my preferred writing style.

One of my favorite books is, I Know This Much is True. I read the jacket flap but had already decided, based on the title, I wanted to read this book.

What is your opinion?

If you were going to write a collection of personal essays based on your own life, what would your title be? Come on give it a try. 

Sunday, October 14, 2018

What are your triggers?

What are you allergic to?

You say you have no known food or prescription drug allergies?

Think about what you deliberately avoid and share a couple.

I used to teach at a school that served children with food allergies. A news crew came to film my class. You wouldn't believe the chatter among classmates who had no food allergies. When they were interviewed they named all sorts of things they were "allergic" to; bedtime, spinach etc.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Did you ever look back at your old stuff?

 Days drag, but years fly by. Wonder why. 

Happy birthday to my bright, grown up now, first grandchild who continues to bring me joy, sometimes annoy, and shares her little boys with me.

Did you ever look back on your own writing? Manuscripts, short stories, essays? 

Were you impressed and did you wonder, " Wow! Did I actually write this? Not bad."

Or did you cringe and wonder how you could have written such fodder?

Both have happened to me. Going through old files, I couldn't believe I made such strong verb choices and how swell I turned a phrase.

I've also cringed while reading some of my earlier writing. I couldn't believe how many unnecessary words I used. 

An example in overwriting: 
I enjoy walking early in the morning when the bright sun rises seemingly from the earth, into the vast sky, climbs the horizon, and lingers until late evening, when it slides back down and makes me equally happy.

An example in cutting unnecessary words:
Sunrise walks and sunset strolls bring me joy.  

An example in creative rewriting:
I'm thrilled at the first glint of sunlight as I stroll in stillness. Twilight holds the promise of a brisk walk and good night's sleep.

Now it is your turn:
If you have a few rotten nuggets on file, go back and rewrite. It is okay to use as many words as you need to get your point across. 

But THEN pare down. 

Does your reader not know that the sun is bright? Seems to rise from the earth or ocean? The sky is vast? The sun seems to slide back down?  

Tight writing makes for good reading. Now, pull up one of your own pieces of writing and slice and dice. If you want to run it by me, I will take a look privately. Let me know.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

It's the great pumpkin Charlie

Last Saturday I joined these and other poets in the park to read at Manchester Arts Fest. The day was cool and breezy, and the poetry was as diverse as the readers. An enjoyable event that included music, a variety of arts, and campfire story telling. 

Wednesday, I spent the day with this cute little two month old doll boy. Charlie is such a jabberer. I wish I could say he was this sweet the entire day, but ...

he wailed when I laid him down to take his picture.
After I picked him up and showed him around the pumpkin patch, he calmed down.

Once he realized he was the star of the day, he chilled and enjoyed himself.

 I am so in love with this little guy and his brothers. Alex is walking, Liam is always running, and I am enjoying my retirement.

How about you? What have you been up to?