Monday, February 28, 2011
Thursday, February 24, 2011
I’m going to write about something I’ve come to love only recently; one of my writing processes. If you’re a writer you’ve heard the acronym BIC. It means butt in chair. And, most of the time that’s what it takes to get the job done. However, since my dog came to live with us I’ve learned another way.
When Brutus was young, he was wild. So I began walking him daily to expel some of that puppy energy. At first I had to watch the little monster every minute less he escape and get hopelessly lost, but these days he pretty much stays with me.
Our favorite place to walk is the apple orchard. It’s peaceful and allows my thoughts stray. Here, when I talk to myself only Brutus, the squirrels, chipmunks, deer, and the fox that lives near the creek can hear. It doesn’t seem to bother them. The hawk that hunts the field below the orchard is bothered at times. But I don’t stay long and she soon settles back onto her favorite perch.
In the quiet of the orchard I’ve worked out tricky plot twists, contentious dialogue, and a number of scandalous scenes for my novels. This process came to me by accident, but it’s worked so well, I now SCHEDULE what I’m going to ponder during my next walk! Of course I still have to do the BIC thing afterwards.
Because of this experience I’ve learned something of great value; creativity comes in numerous forms. So here’s to whatever works! Another famous writers’ saying is “your process is your process” something I can now totally vouch for.
Busy Novelist Spaghetti
1. Giant Eagle frozen meatballs
2. Pasta (boxed or stuffed tortellini from the fridge section)
3. Prego spaghetti sauce
4. Pillsbury Italian bread in a can
Heat sauce and meatballs in pan. Heat water for pasta. Heat oven for bread. Cook and bake everything per directions; and serve!
Monday, February 21, 2011
Steve Martin let me down first with The Alphabet from A to Y. What can I say about the letter I's couplet?
"Iggy's aunt Ida, indecent in undies,
Hid icicles under her Indian uncle."
"Zany Zeno zoomed to the end zone,
But with a zucchini, scoring him zero."
Enough said? Dean Koontz's Every Day's a Holiday prompted me to write a review on Amazon. It was that bad. To wit, an excerpt from "Snow Day," as to rewrite the entire poem is a waste of good blog space:
"...Lost deep in snow,
And still more snow.
Froze my big toe.
It had to go.
I cut it off.
I've got a cough.
I just heard, dude,
We're out of food..."
And while we're busy gagging, here is "Abraham Lincoln's Birthday":
"Abe was born in a humble log cabin.
He walked FIVE LONG MILES every day to school!
I guess he was mentally unbalanced
But the log cabin part sounds kinda cool."
I kept waiting for him somewhere along the line to rhyme "orange" and "door hinge!!"
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Monday, February 14, 2011
by Susan Chapek
With apologies to Fred Rogers
It's words I love.
It's not the book I read,
It's not the electronic feed,
But it's words I love.
It's words all by themselves,
The magic there inside them—
Not the things that hide them,
Not the books—
Books are just outside them.
But it's words I love—
Their shape and sound and rhythm,
The stories they bring with them
Whether old or new.
On Kindle or on Nook,
On a compact disc or in a book—
It's words I love,
The words themselves,
It's words, it's words I love.
Friday, February 11, 2011
|Writer's Green Smoothie|
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Monday, February 7, 2011
Thursday, February 3, 2011
"The selection committee looks for books that emphasize human relations, represent a diversity of groups and are sensitive to a broad range of cultural experiences, present an original theme or a fresh slant on a traditional topic, are easily readable and of high literary quality, and have a pleasing format and, when appropriate, illustrations that enrich the text."A very good description of Kitty's book - but if you want to read further about it, check out the spot-on review on this library review blog. (I love this blog by Tasha Saecker at the Menasha Public Library - it's always a good place for me to get recommendations about new titles to read and buy).
One last thing: one of the things I like best about Kitty is her work ethic and determination. I'm not sure there is anyone around who works harder than she does. Like Betsy Dowdy, the heroine in her book, she is undaunted by obstacles and finds her own way to make save the day. Criticism? Rejection? Insanely tough market? She never gives up. She doesn't cry. Or throw tantrums. Or curl up in a little ball. Which are what I usually feel like doing. She just redoubles her efforts and tries again, making her work better and stronger. Something to remember.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
So why, you might ask, do I love this book so much? One reason is Anne's attitude, which is gentle, honest, encouraging. (Side note: I cannot help calling her Anne. Even though our acquaintance is limited to the 10 seconds I spent stammering Ireallyadmireyourbooksespeciallythisone, when it was my turn to get an autograph. She did give me a nice smile despite my rapid-fire blathering and didn't call security to have me removed as a stalker. That makes us buds, right?) Every time I read this book I emerge from its pages feeling like, yeah, maybe I can do this writing thing after all. Especially if Anne in the form of this book will sit right next to me, offering her quiet patience and acceptance.
But the other reason I love it is the content. It's beautifully written, of course, with a real voice that's rare in how-to books, so it goes down easily - but it's the reminders about how and why that I turn to when I'm stuck on my novel, a 400-word picture book manuscript or even a sympathy note about someone I barely knew.
For example, one of the first chapters is titled with a two word life line that's my mantra when I'm feeling overwhelmed by the enormous whiteness of a blank piece of paper or a new document: Short Assignments. Anne writes that she keeps a one-inch picture frame by her computer to remind herself to focus on one small, manageable task - a paragraph, a sentence - when the thought of a 350-page book makes her freak out. She describes this particular kind of terror in a way that makes me laugh, but which is also oh-so-familiar:
Trying to write a whole book "is like trying to scale a glacier. It's hard to get your footing, and your fingertips get all red and frozen and torn up. Then your mental illnesses arrive at the desk like your sickest, most secretive relatives. And they pull up chairs in a semicircle around the computer, and they try to be quiet but you know they are there with their weird coppery breath, leering at you behind your back."