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Herein, children's writer Molly Blaisdell raves, rants, and rambles about her craft. She also muses about juggling a job, motherhood and writing books, and there is a good dose of rallying, psyching up and inspiring for anyone who needs to seize the day.
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Hi, folks, I'm continuing my series on theme. I've defined theme and then talked about "leitwortsil" which means "leading word style", the repetition of words and and roots to support a theme. This week I'm expanding to thematic patterning or motif.
One big way to get theme on the page and through to the reader is by repeating imagery. This is the world of types and shadows, and I have a particular love for it. Imagery involves all the senses. You might repeat a sound, a texture, a visual, or even a movement. For example, perhaps you repeat a scouring wind to evoke a sense of the emptiness of life or repeat a buzzing sound to echo your character's inability to fulfil their obligations. If you have a particularly powerful sensory scene in your WIP, consider repeating an element of that scene throughout the work to shore up what you are trying to say. How do you know which element? Go with what is provocative or feels right.
You might move beyond the senses, and repeat something organic like a sense of fatigue -- this might come out in a worn-out couch, shoe's with holes in them, a character who can't get out of bed, a town dying, and bird floundering in the back yard because it's too tired to continue on its migration journey -- all images of fatigue. Upon examination of your work, you might see that you have naturally added two or three pieces to a thematic pattern, but could add a few more for effect. Look for these opportunities to strengthen your theme.
What is important is repetition throughout your book. (If you are like me, you might find that some images are repeating across your work!) The subconscious is a part of storytelling and you must allow it to rise and spice your work with patterns. You won't always know what you are about when you are repeating an imagery. It may just give you a sense of completion. I say go with it.
There is no way I can cover everything that has to do with theme in this series but I hope that you are gleaning tidbits to help your work. As always, seize the day. I will be back next week with more.
Hi, folks. I'm continuing my series about theme. Last week I chatted about what theme is. This week I'm going to dig into leitwortstil. My, isn't that a swanky word. It's an even more swanky idea, especially if you want theme to pop within your work.
The word comes from Martin Buber and Franz Rosenzweig, Jewish philosophers who translated the Hebrew Bible into German the early part of the 20th century. These two guys coined leitwortstil: "Leading word style." So what is this style all about? Throughout a narrative the author chooses to repeat a word or the root of word. This perfectly placed repetition helps readers grasp the meaning of a story. The root, word or phrase hits with punch. Leading words catch the readers attention, and most of all create a resonating moment of thought in the reader. My total thought about leitworstil is well-placed repetition can thrum thematic chords within your work.
You can move beyond leading words and use leading clauses and sentences. A innocuous repeated phrase in STAR WARS comes to mind that packs a mighty punch; "I've got a bad feeling about this." It's written for comedic effect but it also adds thematic strength to the storytelling. I feel the waves of meaning, vibrating in that sentence -- something about the irony of existence, something about this stuff always happens to me, something about how I knew this was the wrong way to go and yet here I am caught in the glue.
The repetition makes us laugh, but under there we think. We connect. We commiserate. The waters of meaning are stirred up. We peek behind the veil. I absolutely don't think Lucas was intentionally stirring up theme when he wrote the line. It probably just felt right, and every time it repeated it kept feeling right. I really do think our instincts, impressions, and feelings must be listened to when folding theme into the mix.
Hope this makes you think about leading words. Next week I will expand, and dig into thematic patterning. I hope you come back for more on theme. Meanwhile, seize the day.
The doodle this week is from my daughter Jubilee: "Handstand."
Finally a quote for your pocket.
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart.. Helen KellerDisplay CommentsAdd a Comment
Hi, folks, I will spend the month of March reflecting about theme. I'm going to pick apart some things I know about it. I carry around a theme toolbox and will talk about my theme tools and how and when to use them. At the end of the day the topic of theme would take an entire book to unpack, and I can give you teacup worth of understanding. Hopefully, I will pour out some useful advice.
First up, I'm going to dig into what I think theme is. It's illusive and about the half of the very talented authors I know to refuse to think about it when they write. To quip Bob Dylan in his song "Gates of Eden":
At dawn my lover comes to me And tells me of her dreams With no attempts to shovel the glimpse Into the ditch of what each one means
Some of my author friends feel that theme needs to be tossed into the background and grow organically out of the story. They don't try to shovel into the ditch of what they mean. This is a valid way to go. Many authors have no idea what their theme is while writing. There is some element of theme that is very subconscious. Never forget that.
There are some misconceptions about theme out there. Here is what is not: a message, a moral or a thesis. I run across authors occasionally who use storytelling as a platform for their messages or moralizing or pontificating. Uh, no. These folks usually think their preachy-teachy mess is theme. Uh, no. Please trust your readers to think for themselves. Write sermons, parables, or non-fiction if your grandiose ideas must be spoon-fed. Move away from the fiction. Far away.
So here is the teacup of what I know (finally). At the end of the day theme is a complex idea. For me, it is a universal view about life and how people behave that is revealed through an an author refining characters' actions in a specific window in space and time. (I know clear as mud, but at least worth thinking about.) Theme is indirectly presented in stories. Theme invites the reader to draw his own conclusions. Theme doesn't tell the reader what to think but it does require the reader to think. Ethos, pathos and logos -- theme turns up this stew of conviction, emotion, and understanding. It's the glue that elevates a story.
I hope that this glue permeates your books. I hope that you find the divine in all your creative endeavors. I will be back next week with more on theme.
Now the doodle: "Yellow Blobby."
Here is a quote for your pocket.
If there were only one truth, you couldn't paint a hundred canvases on the same theme. Pablo Picasso
Hi folks, this is the last in golden advice series. I've been keeping to the ancient paths this year. I'm trying to stick to thoughts that have stirred me up as a writer. This week I will dip into the poetry of Omar Khayyam. I'm not calling his genius, wisdom, but instead, mystery. He saw how unknowable the world is and celebrated it.
Omar was a Persian astronomer, philosopher, mathematician and a poet. It always astonishes me the kinship I feel with him. A Texas Writer Mom is about as far as you can get from Persian Poet Philosopher, and yet I feel we are as close as friends who can always pick up a conversation even if they have not seen each other in years. How startling it is to open the pages of poems written a thousand years ago and find someone who sees what I see and knows what I know.
I first read Khayyam's Rubaiyat (trans. Edward FitzGerald) back in junior high and it has stayed with me. The listed stanzas below all come the Rubaiyat. I'm going to chat about each plays into my writing life.
XIII Some for the glories of this world; and some Sigh for The Prophet's Paradise to come; Ah, take the cash and let the credit go, Nor heed the rumble of a distant drum.
People have a ton of reasons to do what they do. Many want the fame, the acolades, the money, whatever. Others look to the holy and sigh for the unseen. The next line makes me laugh every time. Take the cash and let the credit go. This is such a simple, true thought to me. Don't disparge who you are right now, what you do right now, what you have done up to this moment. No one may have ever noticed what you have written up to this point, but cling to cash value of saying something and saying it well. Let go of all those glories and sighs. Don't march out to that far off drumming but dig into the here and now and live it fully. Live. Write.
XXIX Into this Universe, and Why not knowing Nor Whence, like Water willy-nilly flowing; And out of it, as Wind along the Waste, I know not Whither, willy-nilly blowing.
Yes, I'm here. A tiny dot in an expansive place. I don't know why I love stories. Water bubbles up and flows to the sea. Stories bubble up and flow out to myriad minds. There is no way to predict the journey stories will take. They come and flow and go. I feel like shouting, "Go! Go! Go!" Write like that. Write like your stories will reach the ends of the universe.
LXXIV Yesterday This Day's Madness did prepare; To-morrow's Silence, Triumph, or Despair: Drink! for you know not whence you came, nor why: Drink! for you know not why you go, nor where.
Each time there is another Madness -- firefighters dying in my town, Newtown, the war in Mexico, I could list a thousand things for this week -- I remember that yesterday was setting us up for today. What will happen tomorrow is all about yesterday. A storyteller sees what leads to the next thing.
You must practice being aware. In that awarness, don't freeze up, but drink! Don't curl up and say it's to hard to unravel, it's too difficult share. Dig into the whence, the why and the where. Dig into the passion and reveal this mad journey that always leads to silence, triumph, or despair. Be fearless as you create -- line on line, bird by bird, brick by brick -- however you roll.
Revel in the mysteries. I hope you have enjoyed this series and will come back next week! Seize the day!
Hi folks, I'm continuing my series on the ancient paths to see what I can glean for us. Socrates was one bold-thinking dude, and I have been a major fan since I was in high school. I can see him, sort of a lazy bum, moving from one group to another in ancient Athens. It's a place of beauty and he's an ugly guy. I believe he gets the irony. He dresses like a homeless person. He won't take money for his philosophical teaching, because he feels that the second you take a red cent for what you think then, blah, they own you and every thought you share.
Instead he's a blue collar guy, and makes his cash as a stone mason (I like to think this is true but it's not verified) when he needs to eat. He's the gadfly of Athenian society, a biting fly that can direct a horse. He doesn't go with popular opinion and always sticks with his own opinion. His whole attitude finally causes the leaders of the city to put him on trial. They ask him what should be his punishment and he has the cheek to say a pension and free food for the rest of his life. He's convicted of the terrible crimes of "corrupting the minds of the youth" and "causing those kids to question their current gods and their government." Huzzah! Of course, he's given hemlock to drink and put to death for his heresy.
So what, writerly stuff do I take from the original "marching-to-my-own-drum" guy? Well, yeah, let's corrupt young minds! And add this on, let's do our part to cause kids to question their current gods and their government. Add that into your writer's toolbox and I'm pretty sure the content of your writing is going to get interesting. You may spend some time out in the cold in terms of publishing though because you don't jump on vampire-fantasy-dystopian-suspense-thriller bandwagons. You will see lots of notes that say, wish there was room for your original stuff in this tight market. When your books come out, finally, the storm stirred up by people who find you subversive won't be pretty. But don't let that stop you.
I'm going to wrap this up with a favorite Socrates idea. Don't just believe stuff. Turn over every stone. Don't live an unexamined life, not just for your writing but for yourself too.
Hope this little story lights a fire under you. You go ahead and stand up for what you believe, even if its not politically-correct or popular. Seize the day, creative folk.
This week's doodle is called: "Tangled Hearts."
This quote is Plato's account (old Soc knew how to pick friends) of how Socrates felt about being put to death because he was willing to think his own thoughts. I hope we will all be swans.
From Plato's Phaedo: Socrates said and smiled. . . I am not very likely to persuade other men that I do not regard my present situation as a misfortune, if I am unable to persuade you, and you will keep fancying that I am at all more troubled now than at any other time. Will you not allow that I have as much of the spirit of prophecy in me as the swans?
For they, when they perceive that they must die, having sung all their life long, do then sing more than ever, rejoicing in the thought that they are about to go away to the god whose ministers they are.
But men, because they are themselves afraid of death, slanderously affirm of the swans that they sing a lament at the last, not considering that no bird sings when cold, or hungry, or in pain, not even the nightingale, nor the swallow, nor yet the hoopoe; which are said indeed to tune a lay of sorrow, although I do not believe this to be true of them any more than of the swans.
Hi, folks, I'm continuing my golden advice series. This is an exciting time for me as a writer. After several years of working on my current book, I'm about to send it out to agents. I'm seesawing between manic joy and and quaking fear.
It's hard to put yourself out there. I leave a lot of myself on the page and who wants to find out that their ms doesn't suit needs, doesn't connect, or the worst,there's no room for your brand of storytelling in the market right now. A person needs a serious anchor to stay steady in the storms. I like ancient paths. It's just hardwired in me. This week I'm turning to the wisdom of Solomon to face the road ahead. I like the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible. (I'm no scholar and many feel that Solomon didn't write this book, but the folk way is he did and I'm a folk.) Anyway, ever since I heard "Turn! Turn! Turn!" by Pete Seeger back in my munchkin days, it's stayed with me and kept me on task. So this week I'm sharing the writerly version of "to everything there is a season, and time to every purpose under heaven. " There is a time to write, and a time stop writing; a time to start a new manuscript, a time to send it out and snag an agent, an editor and an audience. There is a time to throw a manuscript in the circular file; there is time to pull out a manuscript and finally, finally fix it; there is a time to delete whole chapters from your WIP; there is a time to add a stack of new chapters. There is a time to weep when you think you won't succeed. There is a time to laugh when a new idea comes. There is a time when you get really close to succeeding but it doesn't work out. There is atime when you finally succeed and, yes, you put on some disco and dance. There is a time to start sending out a new manuscript. There is a time to start writing a new manuscript. There is a time keep working hard even though you feel you are not making progress. There is a time to put a WIP up on a shelf for a while. There is a time to get an agent and a publishing contract. There is a time to lose both. There is a time to rip up a book and donate it to other stories; there is a time to let a good story idea percolate. There is a time to plan what you will write; there is a time to say the things you've never been brave enough to say. There is a time love what you have written and fight for it. There is time to really hate your book. There is time when you must fight to find time write. There is a time when it all comes together.
I hope you understand the times and the seasons this week and that this golden advice stays with you. This week's doodle is called "Happy Blue Blobby."
And a quote for your pocket. I know I keep this one in my pocket.
Every great and commanding movement in the annals of the world is due to the triumph of enthusiasm. Nothing great was ever achieved without it. Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Hi folks, I've been sick with a virus so this week is going to be short. I like to seek the desirable in the middling area. I find the golden in the place between the left and the right, not the dead center between these two places but with a leaning one way or the other. I'm find the golden in a place of unending tension. I find the golden is the heart of balance, beauty and grandeur in writing.
How does my thinking play out in my everyday writing? Think about the balance within your writing. I talked about the golden ratio in terms of pacing a couple of years back and that may be of some interest to you. Now I will think of the golden in terms of philosophy. I've read if you enter the temple at Delphi, there are two sayings on the Doric columns: "Know thyself" and "Nothing in excess." Well, that is some fab writerly advice. Know what you are good at. Be aware of your weaknesses. With that knowledge in hand, now dip into Shakespeare: to thyself be true. Next, look for excesses in your writing and round the corners. Is you main charater too extreme of a character, have you gone crazy with too much description, do your actions scenes just go on and on? Cut every excess in your book. Don't forget to look at each word and ask yourself, does my story need this word?
Yes, I'm a fan of the ancient pathways. I hope you are too. Bring the old and the new to your writing this week. See you next week.
Today's doodle is "Green and pink."
In many things the middle have the best / Be mine a middle station. Phocylies
Hi folks, this is last in my series of novel craft. I'm offering tidbits of advice to those that have completed solid drafts and want to take their novel up a notch. This week I'm going to chat about polish. I'm dividing this into three categories: the global, mundane, and the sublime.
First the global look. Here are some questions to help you add polish followed by my fun answers.
Is the timeline solid? It takes longer than five minutes to drive to Boston from Houston. Really.
Does your story make sense? You can't leave a character in a closed car for hours in a Texas summer. Nope. Highly illogical, says Mr. Spock.
Does your pacing make sense in a global way? If all the action bunched at the front then nothing for pages and finally something happens at the end, you have to fix that.
Does your character cry all the time? I hope not.
Do you have any info dumps? You spent five pages revealing the backstory of you character through a guy talking to a basketball. All info dumps have to go. ALL! Dribble out the details
Did you add sufficient texture your characters to rise them up above the level of cliche? Add some quirks and makes some unusual decisions.
Is your protagonist a snot at any time during your book? No one want to read about a snot.
Is any side character taking over the plot? Stop them! Perhaps they need their own book. I'm thinking sequel.
This list will add some shine to your story.
And now the mundane. My friend Kathy Whitehead has a saying: "Make the writing pretty." You have a solid story and know you are going to pick apart each line from beginning to end. Is your language clumsy or wordy? Purple language goes. This isn't 1920. You want to clean up frequently used words like there, was, it, -ly, had, have, feel. Next, check for words you abuse regularly. Clean it all up. I find tools like the fee based AutoCrit Editing Wizard can help with this stuff. Lovely writing is important and don't assume that your writing is lovely unless you analyze it.
And finally comes the extra polish; the sublime or the pixie fairy dust or the superhero power -- whichever way you roll. Stare out the window, take a nap, go for a walk and think about what your book is about. Is there another twist that would just take your book up to another level. Have you achieved what you intended? Warning this takes absolute honesty with yourself. The sublime is just that. You are seeking out spiritual, moral, and/or intellectual depth in your story. Do you have any idea what were you were trying to say? Did you get it across? Here's the trick -- I'm sure you don't need to put this into words but you do need to know it. Is there anything in the universe that would make your purpose more clear? Add that and then breathe. Well done!
I hope my polish thoughts help you. I hope you achieve your best book. :) Seize the day.
Hi folks, I'm continuing my series of Novel Craft. This series is to help writers that have a solid draft and want to bring their work up another level. This week I'm going to write about the "End Games."
Today I'm going to offer three games I play to make my ending stronger, to make it more memorable, to make it more influential. This is going to be short to write. It will take you a while to do...
Okay, this is first game. Take your novel, your beloved perfect novel, and write a new end for it. I go to the last chapters and write in black marker: MAKE THEM SUFFER. (Thanks to Gail Carson Levine for this enduring advice.) I go over every scene and I ask myself, "Am I avoiding agony?" I take every risk that I can think of when I play this game. I write the whole thing with again upped stakes. I don't keep all of it, but I do end up keeping some of it. You will get very good at this game.
The next game is Reinvention. I write the end from a different point of view. Yes, go to the last three chapters and switch narrative mode. If your are in third person, go at the whole chapter from first. Try it from the antagonist's point of view. Try it from the best friend's point of view. Try stream of conciousness. You will find surprises. I guarantee it.
Now the final game, is called "What came after". I don't know why, but I try to tie things up too early. This game is about writing what happens a week after your story ends, then jumping ahead a year, and finally jumping ahead a decade and writing what happens. Did your characters stay hooked up? Bummer, I thought this was everlasting love. Did your character end up being more awesome than you thought? That's a good thing.
I hope one of my "End Games" helps you create a stronger book. Be brave and inventive. Don't hold back! See you next with more Novel Craft.
Hi folks, I'm continuing my series of Novel Craft. This series is to help writers that have a solid draft and want to bring their work up another level. This week I'm going to write about the "Big Picture."
I have noticed that writers whose books sell have really thought about their novels in global ways. Much of writing is micro-driven. It's about the words and the sentences and the paragraphs. Then it is about the chapters. At some point you need to pull that camera-eye back so far that your is looking at the book. Embrace the macro.
How do you refine the big picture of the book? It takes massive blocks of time. You must read your novel from end to end, a few times running. It's the only way to get an accurate sense of what is going on in your novel. As you read, keep tabs on through-threads in your story -- this includes endowed objects, themes, side plots, and the timeline. Look for incomplete promises. Did you promise to solve something but never get around to it? Either pull the promise or complete it.
You also want to be sure that you characters are working. Do your characters grow organically, or is all the growth clustered in one area of the book. You do want some stops and starts -- a book is a little bit like a roller coaster ride. A very tame ride that putters through a colorful but uninteresting landscape is not worth a reader's time. Throw your character off some cliffs. Wreck their car. Kill their best friend. Betray them. Add surprises, twists and falls to strengthen your characters. The usual stuff: find humanity in a baddie, find a monster is a goodie, have everyone really mess up. Note places of blandness and think of ways to add emotional drama and exciting action. Don't forget to lighten things up, dashes of comic relief will help reader's embrace the story journey.
The most important thing is to read the book from cover to cover a few times. What needs to be done will be glaringly obvious. I promise.
Come back next week for more Novel Craft. Meanwhile, seize the day!
This week's doodle: "Blue Fox."
A quote for you pocket.
Love is the outreach of self toward completion. Ralph W. Sockman.
Hi, folks, I'm a novelist and like to spend January chatting about novel crafting. Novels are huge undertakings and take some serious work. This series is about practical advice for those with a complete novel draft. Once you have a substantial draft, you must fine-tune your novel. During this stage of novel crafting, you must leverage each element of your novel. How is this done? I will spend this month offering tips and suggestions to add texture and depth to your novel. This week I'll focus on side characters.
Solid drafts have powerful main characters that are fully realized. They have interesting and complex plots. The settings are also rich and detailed. Even with all this in place, your book is not complete. This is the time to add dimension to your story. One way to do this to pay close attention side characters. It's important to make sure that each one of your characters is uniquely distinct from all other characters in your story. There is nothing more annoying than a story with one-dimensional side characters. Stereotypical side characters will also weaken your story. You must take time to bring these side characters to life.
Look at them closely. Are they always making obvious choices? Consider letting them make unusual choices that clash with the choices of the main characters of your story. What can your side characters do to surprise your reader? Allow side characters to steal scenes. I learned a lot about side characters from Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz. This classic comic strip is packed scene stealers. Main character Charlie Brown's friend Linus clings to his security blanket but speaks eloquently about matters of faith. His sister, Lucy, is the bully of the story, but is also the manager of the psychiatric booth, offering five cent advice. On top of that, she's an awful baseball player. These side characters shine.
Allow your side characters to grow. A side character can become quite significant. Think about Snoopy, Charlie Brown's pet dog, who began as a conventional dog but acquired alternative personas -- the Red Baron and Joe Cool. Snoopy is a struggling writer and is an excellent baseball player (note the contrast with Lucy-- defintely look for those opportunities.) . All the Peanuts characters have a unique slant. Are you using your side characters to add color and depth to your masterpiece?
Look at stories that have an ensemble approach for the best examples of side characters. Not every story needs an ensemble approach but every story will benefit from more complex side-characters. Come back next week for more advice to fine-tune your novel.
Howdy, folks. This is the last in the series, and the last for the year. I dug into what really moves me about books in this series, but I can't write about what inspires my soul in books without taking some time to talk about Madeleine L'Engle. Madeleine is my guiding star when it comes to book inspiration. Her books have had a profound affect on my life. She was one author who understood that which I feel so deeply: we are people who have a profound need for that which we cannot see -- that which we cannot explain -- that which we cannot hold onto. We have an inaate ability to see what cannot be seen.
We're full of the spiritual. Madeleine understood what I instinctively understand -- that love must be at the center of the universe, or I'm not sure I can live in this universe. Are we men or are we monsters? This is something we all wrestle with at times. Will love somehow rise over every tragedy? Will it swallow up darkness with light. It will if we are willing to fight. Her books were full of great battles that acknowledged that the small stuff going on in our corner of the universe was a thread in the giant tapestry of history, and if you pull one thread in a tapestry you might ruin the whole cloth. Everything is precious. Everything has purpose. Everything has a season.
Life and death are great mysteries. Love is mysterious too. Hate is also just as mysterious. Madeleine introduced me to the great mysteries. She saw all these connections. She lifted them from the world around her. A mighty chorus reverberated within her. She firmly believed that all the flaming darts that struck through the hearts of men were akin to tossing a live coal into the sea. Ah, this is an on fire thought -- good wins! But, but, but -- the wars, the fires, the guns, the suffering... All this mystery is wrapped up in faith and art. My favorite books step out with bravery, offering the substance and evidence of things hoped for and things unseen.
Be brave as you move forward with your stories in the new year. Say what you believe. Serve your art. Don't be afraid. If you have not read Madeleine L'Engle's book: Walking on Water: Reflections of Faith and Art, consider giving it a look.
See you next year!
Here is an oldie but goodie doodle: "Girl with trumpet!"
Here is a quote for your pocket.
When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability... To be alive is to be vulnerable. Madeleine L'Engle
We mineral monstersDictate,Early little monstersDon't you see that life is such a choiceWe nurture all those around usNurture our children When she is theThat may destroy our lifeWe choose to have loversIt may hurt us We choose to have friends.We take leaps of faith every day.I can't read a book and lawsuits for faith. The heart and soul of theI find that her stories
Hi, friends. I find that books help me face the hard times: present, past and future. It is the beating hearts of the best books that stay with me. I know that recent events have left many of us reeling with questions. How can such things happen? Is there no place sacred or safe? At the same time I hear the heartbeats of countless stories.
Here's a secret: stories are born out of experience. Writers transmute the storms of their days and do the hard work of turning those sorry experiences into something of meaning. Somehow they take the spark of life and place it on the page. My hope is the emotions that I've felt when the storms that have swirled around me will inform my stories and help put my heart on the page. I believe this deeply, that these things that we suffer together will ultimately make us more.
One example that comes to mind is J. R. R. Tolkien, the author of Frodo's journey. Tolkien served in World War I and by the time he was 28, every close friend he had except one had died in the war. When we read of Frodo's wish that the ring had never come to him, when he wishes that none of the troubles in the world had happened, I feel my heart syncing with this book. Gandalf's reply beats inside me. "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." But I know at the heart of this is a man with a wild imagination who suffered deeply and strove for meaning in that suffering.
We have no control over the events of this life: we are fragile and limited. I am sure we will all face "raging waters that could sweep up away" in our personal lives, in our communities, in our countries and in our world. My heart beats to the lasting commitment to do something meaningful with my life, to be generous, and to love as much as I can. I am also committed to write stories that are useful and make a difference. I hope I that I place my heart on the page. I hope you do too.
Here is the doodle: The Light of a Single Candle
My quote for your pocket:
True glory consists in doing what deserves to be written; in writing what deserves to be read; and in so living as to make the world happier for our living in it. Pliny the Elder
I'm taking this month to look into the core of what moves me in books. This is the third in the Soul Inspiration series. My inspirational mix is varied: Robert Heinlein, the comfort of words, and this week, I'm going to dig into how I've found myself in books. I think that this a deep reason why I love books so much. I can remember thrashing about, try to figure out life and such, and I kept getting calmed by books. I can't say how many times I've come across a better self in books. I'm going to touch on a few random moments that I can never forget.
Early on, I became the kind of person who believes every person counts, every voice counts, no matter. "A person's a person no matter how small." Dr. Seuss, Horton Hears a Who
I found what I was going to do about not achieving my heart goals for decades.
“Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.” AA. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh.
I found what I was going to do the loss of dear friends in the pages of a book. “It was up to him to pay back to the world in beauty and caring what Leslie had loaned him in vision and strength. ” Katherine Paterson, Bridge to Terabithia
Here I found truth who I would strive to be every day. “Keep good company, read good books, love good things and cultivate soul and body as faithfully as you can” Louisa May Alcott, A Rose in Bloom
Here I woke up to the secret that every human is a whole mystery. “A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other.” Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities.
Here, I sighed and understood that we are all very complex stories and love holds the pages together.
"We are thickly layered, page lying upon page, behind simple covers. And love - it is not the book itself, but the binding.” Deb Caletti, Honey, Baby, Sweetheart
Here I understood it's fine to strive for something that almost everyone has a better aptitude for, as long a I have buckets of tenacious desire. "Talent and all that are really for the most part just baloney. Any schoolboy with a little aptitude can perhaps draw better than I; but what he lacks in most cases is that tenacious desire to make it reality, that obstinate gnashing of teeth and saying, "Although I know it can't be done, I want to do it anyway." M. C. Esher, In Art
Yes, this was my truth, too, “The best books... are those that tell you what you know already.” George Orwell, 1984
I hope that we all place the keys of self discovery in every book we write. Dig deep, folks. Someone really needs your help. Peace. Molly.
This week's doodle is called stormy night.
Yes, this quote is always in my pocket.
“But blessed is the man who trusts me, God, the woman who sticks with God. They’re like trees replanted in Eden, putting down roots near the rivers— Never a worry through the hottest of summers, never dropping a leaf, Serene and calm through droughts, bearing fresh fruit every season." Jermiah 17:7-8 MSG
Hi, folks, I'm continuing my soul inspiration series. I'm spending the month chatting about what moves me in books. This week I'm going try and wrap my mind around the comfort of words. I find such comfort in books, and I thought I'd write about what that means to me. Many authors have managed to "lighten the load" in my life with their stories. When I find consolation and solace on the printed page, I feel so blessed, like I have been allowed into a sacrosanct place. Ah, the power of words.
Here are few moments of comfort that stand out in my childhood memories. I will never forget as a young teen reading By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Mary has gone blind and Laura decides to "see" the world for her, describing everything. I felt the struck chord within, that in midst of great suffering, glorious gifts for others are being born. I remember saying to myself, I will see too, and share what I see with blind. I cannot say how comforting that moment was.
In Lloyd Alexander's Taran the Wanderer, Taran seeks to be a potter and studies with the master. After much effort he realizes that he does not have the gift to be great potter, but understands the gift of striving to achieve something is just precious. The warm cloak wrapped around me. I have felt comforted since I was girl because Taran failed and yet found the gift of the journey.
And one more, who can't be comforted by Charlotte's Web by E.B. White. The whole book speaks to me still today. When Charolotte tells Wilbur she helped him because she was trying to lift up her own life a trifle, it felt like balm. When Wilbur learns that Charlotte spent her short life to give him the opportunity to live, I was so comforted that every living thing's life, short or long, is an opportunity to do good in the world, to make a difference.
The power of the written word to comfort has always stunned me. It continues to stun me. There are no words for the gratefulness I feel to be a small part of the world of writers.
My hope is that you think about about infusing your stories with some comfort. Add good reports. Add grace. Add good things. Your readers will hold these gifts in their heart for their whole life. I know I do. Seize the day.
This week's doodle is called "Cloudy sky."
This week's quote for you pocket: We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty. Maya Angelou
Hi folks, welcome to the blog. A friend of mine and I were talking about what makes good books. We both agreed research, plotting, character study, revision -- so many things -- help in writing, but we also agree there is some alchemy going on in writing good books too. Proof positive, there are really poorly written books out there that grab the whole planet, and there some so wonderfully written books out that don't. Why is no one reading that wonderful writing, and why are they reading that poorly written story? What gives? A secret: writing is one thing, storytelling is another. As a reader, I'm all about the telling and herein is the alchemy.
This month I'm going to talk about the alchemy of some of the writers are my soul inspiration to become a writer. These writers are the ones that hooked me early, and I've never let go. First up is Robert Heinlein. Robert was a flawed writer. He got on his soapbox at times. He left entire plot threads untied. Sometimes he didn't exactly make sense. Some of his stories wrapped up entirely too quickly at times with no climax to speak of. You get it; he wasn't a perfect writer. So what enticed me to read most of his books multiple times.
Robert had ideas to tell -- big ideas about the future of humanity, our place in the universe, and what we might achieve if we are given half a chance. He also understood what it's like to be humdrum person who has been dealt a serious bad hand in life and yet is full of impossible longing and dreams. He understood passion and how that has the chance to improve our lives or utterly destroy us. He had a serious handle on what war is about and how it shapes us collectively and as individuals. He knew what meant to be a stranger in a strange land. He understood all these things and put them on a page. As a young reader, I was so hungry to know things. I had limited experience, raised up in a blue collar life. Many similar readers want to know things, but they struggle with the tone of academic books. High falutin' isn't the blue collar strong suit. Robert wrote to the plain folk. Yay!
Let me wrap up. One part of the alchemy is message. Do you have something important to say? If you can wrap that up in the vast landscape of a story that spans the galaxy, you might have something there. I hope that you think about the writers who have grabbed you. The alchemy they put on the page has profoundly affected you, and you would do yourself a favor to take note. Then think about this: What lights your world? What do you know that might benefit humanity? What injustice do really have something to say about? Put that in your books.
Come back next week for more soul inspiration. Meanwhile, let us conjure up incredible books of our own.
No doodles this week. The interweb is being persnickety.
You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on having both at once. Robert Heinlein.
Hi folks, I'm continuing my series called Rattle Readers. I'm exploring the emotional landscape of books, and this week I'm going to chat about making readers laugh.
First off, laughter isn't far from tears. If you can pull off both in the same book, you are drawing close to revealing life as it truly is. Laughter is about the utterly or obviously senseless. It hits what is illogical and contrary to all reason. Laughter bubbles up when common sense flaps in the wind. We laugh at the foolish, irrational, and disorderly, especially in the light of close relationships. We laugh at the meaningless. I think it's the slant that's important. In dark places, the author heals our heart by pointing out the humor in the situation.
I love to laugh when reading. Plenty of authors have made me laugh and I love them for it. A few come to mind: Douglas Adams' THE HITCHHIKERS GUIDE TO THE GALAXY is one great laugh-my-head-off memories. I'm sure I laughed so hard I fell off my bed more than once. Another book was Louis Sachar's SIDEWAYS STORIES FROM WAYSIDE SCHOOL; this one snuck up on me. I was like ho-hum for like eight chapters, but by chapter 30, I was laughing so hard I spit. Another book that made me laugh so much I slipped out my chair was THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN by Sherman Alexie. I get the life of poverty, the ridiculous stuff you put up with when you are one the outcasts of society. Sometimes, if you don't figure out a way to laugh, your heart won't function anymore.
I believe that books make me laugh when the author reveals the impossible truth. This takes a sense of humor; an author who can ease the confrontation in the world has a real gift. You might offend people; a good laugh doesn't sugar coat life. You must write what you think is ridiculous in the everyday. Uncover the absurd about life. Reframe tragedy. The best humorous books will make readers laugh and cry. Think about this: Trade mourning for joy. Laughter may be the only thing that gives your characters the strength to endure and will be the gift that is passed on to your reader to alleviate tension in their lives. A secret, you get to fall out of chair laughing before your readers.
Laughter is powerful and leading and must be used with care. I don't laugh at belittling others. Laughter for me is about uncovering joy in the darkness. Your story will give your readers an island of happy, a place to escape to. Laughter helps us dream or dream again. It is a way to reframe all the stupid circumstances the universe has given us. Laughter is relief that danger is over and the promise that good things are to come. I think laughter is about bonding with each other about the human condition. We are not alone. No.
I hope that you will consider making readers laugh as you write. I'll be back next week with a new series called: SOUL INSPIRATION. Meanwhile, seize the day!
Here is this week's doodle. I call this: "Woman 2."
Here's a quote for your pocket.
If we couldn't laugh we would all go insane. Robert Frost
Hi folks, I'm continuing my series about called Rattle Readers. I'm exploring the emotional landscape of books, and this week I'm going to chat about how to make readers cry.
I'm a bit of faucet, so I don't think it is that hard to make me cry. That said, I think the stack of books that have made me cry is higher than for most folks. A few come to mind: Neil Gamain's THE GRAVEYARD BOOK (I cried because in way aren't we all growing up in a graveyard seeking a life), Holly Cupala's DON'T BREATHE A WORD (I cried for Santos), and SACRED SCARS by Kathleen Duey (I cried for Sadima when she finds love after her memory is ripped away by Somiss.) I'm moved by emotion on the page. I'm not always sad when I cry, but I am changed forever. I don't forget these moments. I find some truth on the page that I have always known but never had words for. You will rattle readers to tears if you place truth on the page.
I believe that books make me cry when authors are honest and write down the stuff that terrifies them, breaks their heart, or when they write something that is taboo to say. This takes bravery. You must write what you won't say. You must reveal those hidden secrets of the heart. You must suffer. I mean the best books show that the human condition is fraught with suffering. We are fragile, so fragile, and with ease can be shattered. I think about this: Confess your sins to one another that you may be healed. I think placing those sins on the page is very compelling. It will touch the core of your readers. It will make them burst into tears. Secret, you will cry before your readers.
I find the ancient paths lead to the truest emotions. Heal the broken hearted, make the blind see, make the lame rise up and walk. If you do this good work, yes, your readers will cry but they will also find curled up in the egg shell of their lives, hope. A most profound way to tears: confess that you haven't sinned but have forgiven those who have sinned against you. I think this is one of the most profound things you can do.
I hope that you will be as honest as you can be and say what you need to say. Will be back next week with more shaking of the cages. Meanwhile, seize the day!
Here is the doodle. I call this: 'Girl in the moon'.
Quote for the week:
A book must be the ax for the frozen sea within us. Frank Kafka.
Hi folks, I'm writing a series on what is provocative about fiction, what rattles readers. I'm at the SCBWI New Mexico Retreat right now, so this week is going to short and sweet. I hope one of these tricks helps you rattle the cages!
1. You're my sister, Leia. I'm you're father, Luke. Yes, revealing a deep dark secret is a fab way to shock your reader. I do request that you shock me. Don't make me giggle. I'm borrowing from the movies.
2. Sixth Sense us, I mean if you can make the reader look over some very important fact like your main character is dead until a big reveal at the end, good. If you do this, well, you get a shiny sticker.
3. Strand us somewhere terrible: the woods, the ocean, the Arctic, a haunted house, in a pit with snakes, the desert, the moon, the turret of a castle, Oz. Any convenient spot will do.
4. Have someone your mc absolutely trusts betray her. We will really appreciate it.
5. Take something tried and true and turn it upside down. You know Cinderella, or Seven Samurai, or the Poky Little Puppy. Reinvent and twist.
6. This is obvious. Murder the parents, best friend, dog, or any choice character. Violent deaths always rattle readers the most.
7. Have your mc murder the parents, best friend, dog or any choice character. Yikes!
There are lots to ways to shock us. these happen to be a few that I think are AWESOME. I have a tear trickling down my cheek. If you can think of more, please post. I hope you come back next week.
No doodles. Computer is not being nice.
There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. Maya Angelou
I'm starting a new series about what rattles readers in fiction. I've read a ton of books, and I would like to mention that only a select few of these books rattle me. So words aren't enough, and characters aren't enough, and plot isn't enough to rattle me. I'm going to write around this idea in my brain about what makes most excellent fiction, and hopefully I will uncover something.
A great book suspends me. The words on the page fill my brain and I'm there. The real world disappears and I'm lost in the fictive dream. The fictive dream idea comes from John Gardner's book THE ART OF FICTION. Many writers understand the mechanics of story and can adequately sustain a story over thousands of words, but few writers can send me into a fictive dream state and keep me there. So here goes some thoughts about how to rattle readers: what works, what doesn't, how do you know you are creating that dream?
I search for stories that rattle my bones. I feel myself pacing inside when I can't find a book that really stirs me up. One way authors hook me is by uncovering something I call shocks: you know, unexpected revelations (plot, character, theme, setting, etc.) that change the shape of the whole story. Don't get me wrong, I'd don't like lazy shock value pushing the story forward. The problem shock comes when the author begins to flounder in their fictive dream and then slaps down a shocking twist that does not naturally rise out of the plot of the story. As a reader I feel frustrated. As a writer I'm shoving my story in the direction I want it to go. So annoying. Some writers slap down too many shocks for the reader to care. (Guilty!) Some don't even offer one shock. (Boring!)
When a shock is spot on, as a reader, I feel excessively nervous or I'm totally relaxed (no inbetween); the shock hits and I can't breathe. I shut the book and try to get my emotions under control. I go back a few pages and read up to the shock again. I'm that immersed in the fictive dream. As a writer, I know I'm in the sweet spot when I'm laughing out loud and falling off the couch when I'm reading my story back to myself, or I start crying when I've read the scene a hundred times, or I have to put my manuscript down because I'm so angry again. Yes, if you are participating in your own dream, this is a good thing. You think you have written the greatest thing ever. It may not be there yet, but if you able to enter into the dream and stay there, you are on the right track and will succeed.
Hope you place some shocks on the page this week. I will dig around more in this subject next week. Short post though because I am off to the SCBWI New Mexico Fall Retreat. I'm excited. Seize the day.
Here is the doodle: " Spider Chicken". I know, enough with chickens already.
Quote for the week.
My task which I am trying to achieve is by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel--it is, before all, to make you see. That--and no more, and it is everything. - Joseph Conrad
This week I wrapping series called Chicken by Chicken. This is take on Anne Lamott's BIRD BY BIRD, a helpful writing book. The idea is you take the writing journey one day at a time. You take it one word at time and that the important thing is always the writing and not the publishing. Writing for me is chicken by chicken. That's how I roll.
Write the words. Write the sentences. Write the paragraphs. Write the chapters. Write the books. This is the little mantra that keeps me going.
Here is the state of affairs: If measure myself to others asking myself why haven't I sold books like x,y,z. I feel like a failure. If I examine my works, my current projects, my finished projects, focusing my eye on what has been done, I feel like I've come up short. If think about all the things I've missed out on, the times agents and editors have really thought about giving me a shot and decided not to, yep, my stomach starts aching. If I think about all that I've invested into writing with no return, I feel nauseous.
But if I just don't think about those things, and instead write. Now. In this moment. Today. The world opens to me. I forget that so many have found success faster than me. I forget the failures, the missed opportunities, etc. I feel so alive, like I'm stretching toward something far-reaching and rarefied. The words bubble like a fountain of water, just spilling out in an unending way. I go all century plant -- agave. It blooms once in its long life. I feel like that plant that is sure to bloom at the end of its long life. Perhaps, my determination to live in this moment, in these words, in this scene, will give the you the jolt you need to write today, chicken by chicken.
I'm so glad I'm travelling with you all. Here is something to check out if you have a minute. I love this bit of inspiration from Kate DiCamillo. I love her story. I understand what it means to be at the margin of society better than most. When Kate says, "You're a loser." I tear up every time. I hope that you will be kind to yourself this week. What you are doing now is important. Don't warp it with anything negative.
Next month I'm going to write about what rattles me about the written word. I will dig around in Edward Bulwer-Lytton's quote: "the pen is mightier that the sword" and offer advice to help you "set the world on fire." Meanwhile, everyone, seize the day!
Here is this week's doodle. I call it: "Wolverine Chicken."
Finally I'd like to add a quote for your pocket.
Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength. Corrie Ten Boom
Hi folks, I hope that you have dedicated yourself to the work. This week I'm continuing my series called Chicken by Chicken. I'm riffing of a fine writing book title by Anne Lamont called BIRD BY BIRD. You must write at least one horrendous book to write one very good book. I know, this is daunting news. Who wants to write a horrendous book? You must write a book that is full of telling, plot holes, weak characterization, and way too much description or not enough. Your book will be a slog to read. You won't like it. It will discourage you unless you are an eternal optimist. It will be very hard to write this horrendous book. You will sacrifice to do it. When you complete it, you will feel you have climbed a mountain. It will be a rush and most people around you will not "get" your enthusiasm. You will put the book aside for a few weeks and avoid it like a scared chicken. Then one day you will pick it up again and realize just how bad it is. Ouch.
Once you have written your horrendous book, you will start writing again. No, not a new book. You will begin writing your horrendous book again. You will cut scenes you love, you will see better ways to move your plot forward, you will begin to understand your characters and reshape them into more authentic souls. You will be focused and work on your book in a balanced way (if you are lucky.) And after months of struggling, you will reach the end of the novel again, and now you will have a mediocre book. It will be meh, but you will feel that have climbed a big mountain. Only your writing partners and a few close friends will still be encouraging you to go on with this. You may now have some doubt roving around in your heart. You will feel weary. You will put the book aside for a few weeks (avoiding it like a scared chicken) and then finally pull it out again and realize it is OK. It's nothing special, but at least it has a plot, real characters who make some sort of sense. You will repeat this process again and again. You might repeat it 5 times, 10 times or more.
Finally you will come to a draft that your scared chicken-self will pull out of the drawer and read. This book will need some copy editing. You might have to change a word here or there. But it will not be bad and it will not be meh. Keep a box of tissues ready. You will feel you have reached the moon, invented time travel, and climbed Mount Everest. You have distinguished yourself in a most special and important way. You haven't attemped to "get published." You have written a very good book. It is a masterpiece.
Getting published it not the same as writing a good book. But that is for another post. I hope that you dedicate yourself to writing an awesome and lasting book. I'm happy to have had the chance to cheer you on. I will see you next week with more inspiration.
Here is the next doodle. I call this one "Wonder Twin Chickens."
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. Benjamin Franklin
Hi folks: This week I continuing a series called Chicken by Chicken. This is take on Anne Lamott's BIRD BY BIRD, a helpful writing book. The idea is you take the writing journey one day at a time. You take it one word at time and that the important thing is always the writing and not the publishing. Writing for me is chicken by chicken. That's how I roll.
Last week I wrote about the next big thing my book PROFIT. That was a whole lot of chickens. This week, I'm going to muse about who writers are and what the do. I find that writers are generally dreamy folk, are often introverts, many have heard the news that their head is stuck in the clouds. All love to read and find it akin to breathing. Most have several outlets for all that creative energy, including music, art, landscaping, interior design, architecture, science, computers, dance, and more. I think writers face a little bit of disdain at times from folks who don't write because the work of collecting together a bunch of ideas that hopefully sets the imaginations of the world on fire is a little outside the realm of general experience.
Many writers struggle with the inward doubt they are not trying hard enough to do the work.Writing is like this dragon dancing around inside of you and you are spending your time trying to tame it. You struggle because there are many chicken steps for writers that are frowned upon in the general population. They include staring out the window, not paying attention to current stuff, a predilection of being a little unaware of the time, need for quiet and breathing, talking to yourself in the car, walks to ponder the next step, naps to sleep on that idea, analyzing every story you come in contact with, oh, yeah, there is also so many hours in front of paper and screen, adding, taking away and shifting around words.
Don't be hard on yourself because you've chosen writing as a profession. It's a little different. Enjoy it. Chicken by chicken. I hope this wandering musing will help ground you, will help you create masterworks, will help you embrace who you are and what do.
I love to draw chickens, especially Halloween chickens. Here is this week's doodle: Wonder Woman Chicken.
And finally my quote for the week: Every memorable act in the history of the world is a triumph of enthusiasm. Nothing great was ever achieved without it because it gives any challenge or any occupation, no matter how frightening or difficult, a new meaning. Without enthusiasm you are doomed to a life of mediocrity but with it you can accomplish miracles.- Og Mandino,
Hi folks, My friend Vijaya Bodach tagged me with "The Next Big Thing." I'm going to use this as a springboard for some insider stuff from the world of working writer. I hope that my personal journey will give you some needed encouragement for the days ahead. My title "Chicken by Chicken" is a play on Anne Lamott's book title, BIRD BY BIRD, a helpful writing book. Chicken by chicken is how I roll as a writer.
So here is my current project, it's sucking up a huge portion of the hard drive of my brain. Normal stuff for me when I'm polishing a book: family members talk to me and I don't answer until they physically shake me, I see people at the grocery store and don't remember to say hello until five minutes later after they are gone, and I forget to eat until I have a pounding headache.
"The Next Big Thing."
What is your working title of your book? PROFIT
Where did the idea come from for the book? Off the top of my head, from a blue marble with a story to tell, an eight-year-old boy cursing in the middle of a street, a vision of a ghost trapped in a well, and a deep desire to make some sense out the travesty of war -- the idea for PROFIT sprang out of some weird and wonderful places.
What genre does your book fall under? Space Opera with a dash of cyberpunk thrown in, YA
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? Ah, nothing like casting your own book. Right now, I'd like to see Chloe Moretzas Sarai. I'd like to see Jaden Smith as Terb. For Zilard, maybe Keegan Allen. Cody Simpson might work for Krish. Magine? Clarice Pempengco. My movie will require some voiceover actors too. Mosi the Rat, I think Jonah Hill. Risat the Oracle, I think Carrie Fisher. Yes, something like this cast would work.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? In the far-flung future on the lush world of Poeia, fifteen-year-old Sarai Corren cares for shopping and snagging a hot guy; she never thought she'd have to go to the ends of the Milky Way and pay a terrible price to get what she wants.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? My hope is it will be published traditionally.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? About a year, but spread that over four years.
May we see an intro? Here is my first line: "You’re the goddess of avoiding bots." Krish's lips touched Sarai's ear. His raven hair brushed her cheek. "How did you know it was coming?"
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? I think some comparisons could be made to these books: THE STARS ARE OURS by Andre Norton, Orson Scott Card's ENDER'S GAME, William Gibson's NEUROMANCER with a slice of Douglas Adams' HITCHHIKERS GUIDE TO THE GALAXY.
Who or what inspired you to write this book? I was inspired by (of all things) the story of David, the books of Mark Twain, Robert Heinlein and Madeleine L'Engle, and the sacrifices made by peacemakers.
What else about your book might pique the reader's interest? I'm asking big questions about war, literacy and technology. I say: rattle the cages! I'm letting the idea of identity roar within my pages. You might be challenged and comforted at the same time by my vision of our galaxy.
This is an informative exercise. You might try it even if you don't want to publish it on a blog. Oh, yes, one of the rules is to tag some authors and ask them to tag five more authors(only if you have time and inclination, of course): Candilynn Fite, Andy Sherrod,Ellen McGinty, Kathleen Ruth, Katherine Bond. Thanks for dropping by and letting me spend some time chatting about my current project. Come back next week
Here is my doodle: I call it: "Chick out of Control."
Here is the quote for the week:
I don't know which is more discouraging, literature or chickens. E. B. White
Hi, folks, I'm enjoying a rainy day. Love it. Writing my heart out over here. Today is going to be short and sweet because I'm busy. I'm jumping into the Harper Voyager submission call. Knock on wood. Toss some salt. Rub Budai's belly. I hope magic and perseverance mix it up and produce another success.
Here is an observation I've made, but tons of others have noticed also - we live in a universe of dualities. Writers, artists, scientists, philosophers (inquisitive folk) really devote serious time to thinking about duality. Who I am and What do I want. Dark and light. Male and Female. Hot and cold. The list goes on and on.
Myth #1: I was published because of luck. I have met this writer. You worked for three weeks and sent out your work and bink! was given a major contract. Sure. You were just accidentally at the right place at the right time! I don't believe you. You persevered (you suffered), worked hard (doing something), and you have scribbled at least a million words somewhere before this day, for sure, just as sure it was your lucky day.
Myth #2: I was published because of my genius. I have met this writer too. You believe you are just that good. You worked hard. You perspired. You burned midnight oil. Yes, you did. You were also lucky. I absolutely believe no matter how hard you work, unseen forces are out there. You can make bread but you can't make it multiply. Success is a gift, a miracle and blessing, just as much as a reward for your perseverance.
I think you get it. The myths involve not accepting the the truth of duality. I hope you work hard this week. I will too. But, also, I wish you luck. Wish me luck, too! See you next week with more inspiration.
Today's doodle is called. "Yin-Yang Girl"
Here is a quote for your pocket:
For a long time now I have tried simply to write the best I can. Sometimes I have good luck and write better than I can. Ernest Hemingway