Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Got the t-shirt, or in this case, my 2012 NaNoWriMo Winner-180x180winners certificate. I wasn’t as excited to collect this “goodie” as my first time around the NaNoWriMo block, in 2010. Nothing rivals first times.

If I picked feelings like daisies growing in a grassy field, I would pick these: satisfaction that I persevered and have a new story to continue to shape; relief that the exercise is over; and wonder over how much I have learned since my first experience writing 50,000 words in 30 days.

In The Forest for the Trees, Betsy Lerner quotes Michael Cunningham:

Fearlessness in the face of your own ineptitude is a useful tool.

I love that novel writing is such an exercise in courage. Writing builds character –the writer’s character as well as fictional characters. To persevere in the face of distraction (I dropped my blogs for a month), rejection (a friend dropped me for being unavailable) and demanding fictional characters who hijack your story and take you places you may not want to go, demonstrates you are willing to pay the high cost of a creative life.

It’s the difference between standing on a riverbank, wondering what life is like on the other side, and jumping into the water to experience the pull of the current, never mind what’s on the other side.

Congratulations to all those who put a toe in the river this year.


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Poets & Writers workshop program

Take heart! Little things in life give you courage

Our first Tuolumne Writer’s Retreat was a huge success! On Friday night, a full moon hung low in the trees over the gold rush town of Columbia, CA where we gathered among the gravestones on cemetery hill for a poetry reading. A vacationing writer who lives in Alaska opened a window on life in that wondrous landscape with her poem about a marauding bear. On Saturday Wendy Brown-Barry introduced us to the gut busting humor and touching pathos of cowboy poetry while we ate lunch in the Douglas Saloon dressed in different versions of Victorian garb.

It wasn’t all rhyme and rose water. I walked to my next seminar with Suzanne, who is on hiatus from her life in Tanzania where she works with the courts to bring human rights violators to justice. She has stories to tell. (more…)

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Detroit Institute of Arts

I am holding a 3 am wake for the deceased day when the shadowy muse darts past a distant door. It occurs to me that I should give more thought to entertaining her.

In the classical sense, a muse embodies the arts and inspires their creation. As she passes by, she may float a memory that wants flesh or whisper a prompt for our improvisation.  The muse is grace personified.

The traditional muses had monikers, genres and logos. For example, the muse known as Polyhymnia specialized in sacred poetry, hymn and eloquence. She also dabbled in agriculture and pantomime. Today, she would adopt a pen name for those activities so as not to alienate her more meditative fan base. Polyhymnia’s badge was a veil. That serves the concept well but is difficult to illustrate in modern graphics.

I don’t see a muse on the list (three to ten ladies—the list expanded with time) that I could invoke. Writing novels and blogs are not classical activities. I confess that my muse looks more like Tinkerbell than Calliope or Thalia; more like a forest sprite circa the Bard or a Greek chorus that assembles from the cast to offer commentary and then does a quick costume change.

I should give her a name, focus her attention on a popular genre and design a logo for her. No, I should ask her to tell me her name, reveal her passion and leave her imprint on my heart.

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The Old Testament writers were masters of “show, don’t tell.” Consider the tale of the woman from Tekoa.

King David’s son Absalom has been banished for killing his brother. (The motive is a whole other story. See the rape of Tamar.) David’s chief of staff Joab wants to reconcile David and Absalom and restore peace of mind to the people so he employs the services of a wise woman. He instructs her to pretend she is in mourning and to seek the king’s help.

The wise woman bows before King David and plays his heartstrings. Claiming to be a widow whose family is in upheaval because one of her sons has killed his brother, she says her family is calling for the execution of her remaining son. This will leave her childless and penniless. (more…)

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weberphoto | dreamstime.com

In yoga class today, I fell out of Tree Pose about every 10 seconds.  Our yoga instructor Jerry reminded us that yoga is a practice, not an achievement. It is highly unlikely I will ever achieve perfect balance in Tree Pose. I don’t expect to find the perfect balance in my writing life either.

Both yoga and writing require patience, focus and humility. In yoga, balance is not stillness; it is constant movement and adjustment to maintain a pose.  Balance in a writer’s life is also a moving target. It employs a body and a brain at work in a complex environment that require deep awareness. Then when the precious muse shows up, time stands still and everything falls into perfect alignment—you are “in the flow.” (more…)

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One reason I chose to set The Sheepwalker in the 1950s was so the only technology my MC would have to deal with would be a telephone and a typewriter. Burgeoning social media dominated the conversation at the 2012 Christian Writers Guild Conference. It’s a steep learning curve. (more…)

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FaithWriters.com interview

My interview for achieving runner up status in the FaithWriters.com 2011 Page Turner contest appears on the FaithWriters blog today!

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