“Things that My Mother Supposes” my essay, Published on Full Grown People (The Other Awkward Age)

I’m still writing, still have my novel-in-progress and am excited that I finally moved myself and submitted an essay to a website I admire and that publishes amazing essays,  Full Grown People The awesome editor Jennifer Niesslein liked my work and this past July she published it. Hope you like it too. Look for more thoughts and shared information on my Writing Frame of Mind. This site may have sat idle for awhile but hasn’t been kicked to the curb, not yet. While absent I’ve been reading and working a lot and have much to share.

For your reading pleasure I hope :-) Things that My Mother Supposes

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“It’s the author’s job to hold the heart of the story in her hand, but to be willing to let the words slip through her fingers.” Jody Hedlund

Once you are far enough into writing a novel and really committed to the story, the next big leap into the writing world  is to open yourself up to readers for feedback. I’ve had many of my short pieces critiqued in writing classes and benefited from the nurturing and enlightening environment. But, I have been unabashedly  insecure to let anyone read the novel I’ve been working on for the last three years. My reluctance to put my writing of “Lupita’s story ” on a viewing cutting block, where I know it needs to go to make it better,  is as illusional as ~ if I don’t think about it, it won’t happen.”

An author I admire for all she gives to the writing community is Jody Hedlund. In a recent blog post  The Unnecessary Shame Writers Feel When Getting Feedback  she wrote  “No matter our skill level, no matter how many years we’ve been writing, no matter how many books we have under our belts, all writers need help with editing and usually lots of it”

Hedlund’s words couldn’t have come at a better time for me. Learning what my job as a story teller is and having validation that it doesn’t have to be perfect the first time out, has me (almost) ready to submit pages of my Work-In-Progress. *WIP*

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Filed under A Writer's Life, The Craft of Writing

“Don’t quit. It’s very easy to quit during the first 10 years. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.”
—Andre Dubus

Andres Dubus, short story writer, novelist, teacher; and a big  inspiration to me. If you are not familiar with him, here’s the wikipedia synopsis.

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What does lawn bowling have in common with writing? More than you thought.

by Christine Wenzel  @Chris_Wenzel

While temporarily back in Canada we are renting a third floor condo, overlooking a lawn bowling field. I have a full view of the players from the window where I sit and write. It’s not one of those games that captures your attention with action and boisterous shouts of encouragement. Even on tournament days when the field is awash with regal white figures there are no spectators thronged on the sidelines cheering for their team or loved ones.

Writing alone, devoid of onlookers and with plenty of opportunity to observe (get distracted) by the muted action below I found myself forming  feelings of affinity with the players. My appreciation for lawn bowling’s slow motion complexities increased. I started to see a strong connection between it and my writing life. Maybe you will too.

You don’t just decide to take up lawn bowling after years of inactivity.

Many of  the players I see are silver-haired and fit. They move like people who have made a habit of performing activities to sustain agility.

Writers cultivate life-long habits to go the distance. We’ve all heard it; write something every day; create a routine; keep the word flow going.

Lawn bowlers wouldn’t  have the needed flexibility to roll that little ball and writers would not write (well)  without making a conscious effort to avoid stagnation.

Bowls are designed to travel a curved path. They’ll go in a  straight line for some distance then take a turn to the right or left.

Lawn bowlers learn the ‘proper form’ to send the bowl up the green. They control the way it will turn.

A writer understands a storyline can change directions  many times but develops skills to keep a forward momentum towards the words: The End

Some more connections between the two:

  •  can be enjoyed at all ages
  • a strong tendency for stereotyping
  • quietly competitive
  • the more you do it the more consistent you become, it’s important to stick with it.
  • learning the finer points will keep you hooked while you strive for mastery

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“Technology: No Place For Wimps!” ~ Scott Adams, American Cartoonist

Most days you can find me feeling pretty smug about not being a wimp. A possible reason is that I take to heart Winston Churhill’s powerful quote, “Never, never, never give up.”  On writing days that are more daunting than others, you might find me chanting, never, never, never, never, never, never, never… ever!

While I have been busy writing a novel that took hold of me a few years ago, technology and publishing has been changing at warp speed. Thankfully, many wonderful writers and social media experts are investing time and energy to share their knowledge to help people like myself enter and keep up with this evolving world.

So as not to wimp out and to never give up on my publishing dream, here I am, jumping into social media. I have been following some interesting people on the internet. You’ll find them on my Writer’s Helping Writers page, but today, I want to share a couple of links to recent posts I’ve found very helpful towards stepping into the world of technology and social media.

Jane Friedman, professor of e-media and former publisher of Writer’s Digest, has a clear take about the Definition of Author Platform . Yes to; “Finding meaningful ways to engage with and develop your target audience.” No to; “self-promotion, hard selling, annoying people.”

Jody Hedlund, author of The Doctor’s Lady a Historical Romance, knows why not to quit social media and gives a pep talk in her post, 8 Reasons Not to Quit Social Media When You’re Burned Out

Chris Brogan  President of Human Business Works, talks about the importance of content in your blog in this post. He says, “Nobody reads ANY blog – If they’re Boring.”

My goal is to not be boring :), not quit, and to create a generous, giving writer’s platform routed in the spirit of the many writer’s blogs and websites that I have been lucky enough to stumble upon…via technology.

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“Once writing has become your major vice and greatest pleasure only death can stop it.” ~ Ernest Hemingway

As I leap into the abyss of creating a writer’s platform I want to give a shout-out to the many fearless writer’s whose blogs I have been silently stalking  following these past few months. The list is growing but for now you can find some of  their names and addresses by clicking on my Writers Helping Writers page.  I’ve absorbed their advice and thoughts about blogging, tweeting, the craft of writing, and the changing times of publishing.  Now it’s time to put what I’m learning into practice including weighing in on their sites with some comments and letting them all know how much I appreciate the time they give.

The writing community is a giving, sharing, hand-holding group of people and an inspiration to jump in and be a part of this evolving work-in-progress.

Staying in a writing frame of mind isn’t always easy, but what can you do, when you don’t have a choice. If you’re a writer you’ll know what I mean.

I invite you to stay with me as I share thoughts on what I learn from others, and what I learn about myself in this odyssey called writing. Oh, and along the way I’ll be finishing my manuscript. (public promise to self) 

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“I think in terms of the day’s resolutions, not the year’s.” ~ Henry Moore

My indulgences this holiday season are threatening to turn me into a replica of  Henry Moore’s interpretation of the female body.

19-henry-moore-seated-woman

 

I’ve been taking a vacation with friends and family who have joined us here in Cabo for Christmas and New Years.  I’ve missed writing but I’ve resolved not to beat myself up with the things I’m not getting done, while enjoying our visitors.

Hope all of you are having a wonderful time during this holiday season.  I wish you all the best for 2009.  Look for me the first week of January, I’ll be back posting then, on a regular basis.   I’m imagining now that my first post of 2009 will be along the lines of spying a good diet.  

Feliz Navidad y un Próspero Año Nuevo

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Filed under Everyday Inspiration, Quote Inspired Writing

“A ratio of failures is built into the process of writing. The wastebasket has evolved for a reason.”~ Margaret Atwood

You’ve heard of ipod nano, well there also exists nano stories.  Small compact stories that in few words can be considered complete with a beginning, a middle and an end. 

Recently I came across a form of story telling I had never heard about, via a publication called Per Contra  They are looking for submissions for Fifty-fiver stories.  The guidelines are exact.  You write a story using only fifty-five words.  If that’s not enough of a challenge, in a fifty-fiver, the first sentence has to be ten words, the second sentence nine, the third sentence eight then seven… down to one.   

I love challenges, especially ones that make me work on grammar and story structure and I also like to take breaks from long, long stories that some days I wonder if I will ever finish.  So I wrote a fifty-fiver and I made myself submit it. Submitting was the real challenge, the writing was fun.  But, submitting is when you set yourself up for someone saying, thanks but no thanks.  

A few weeks after submitting, I got a very nice, thanks but no thanks letter by email saying they we are sorry they couldn’t use my nano story (no elaboration as to why, because it’s a form letter) but they looked forward to reading more of my work.

Now that I know my fifty-fiver is not going to be published, I can claim sole rights and post it on my blog, knowing my friends won’t reject it. :)

Are any of you interested in the challenge of writing a fifty-fiver?  I’d love it, if you would post your fifty-five words in the comment space or better yet, submit your work to Per Contra.

Come on try it!  I did.  I guarantee, no rejections.

 

                                   No More

My mama didn’t need any more babies, papa disagreed.

He wasn’t around much to notice he had nine.

My sister, Maria remembers mama saying, “No More.”

They say I burnt my mama’s insides.

Her hot blood followed me out.

Her screams, my cry meshed.

Now we are ten.

Maria holds us.

Papa drinks.

Alone.

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Filed under Everyday Inspiration, Quote Inspired Writing