Thursday, April 28, 2016

#atozchallenge: Thirsty Thursday - Thoughts about X

Welcome to Thirsty Thursday 

hosted by the letter 





X-rays and xacto knives
No, let's not go there.

X-factor,
No, I don't watch that either.

Xenophobia
Nope, none of that. 

Xenogenesis
Nah, my son looks like both of us.
Although my three sisters and I all have different hair color.
No one believed we had the same mother and father.

Xenomorphic, 
Lots of odd rocks in our collection.

Xanth,
I did love Piers Anthony's imagery world 
When I was a teen.

Xavier Cugat,
He was married to the cuchi cuchi babe.
Charo for those too young to remember.

Beware the big bold x of the railroad crossing.
Don't try to beat the train.

Xeroxes to Xylographs
modern to the past. 

Time for me to make my exit,
since I find that I'm quite perplexed. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

#atozchallenge: Writerly Wednesday - Why I Write

Writerly Wednesday 

Hosted by the Letter

W



Why I Write 

Reading is as necessary as breathing and I can’t live a day without it.  Otherwise I’d be one grouchy mamma bear.  The need to read, to explore other worlds, people’s lives.  Dive into another world for a while.  EscapeI discovered I get really cranky when I don’t read.  How could I transfer that feeling to writing?   I wanted to be there, at that level.  Then I realized I see writing on a whole different level.  Maybe because I’ve come to it at a later age and haven’t been doing it all my life. 

It’s a choice.  My mom’s favorite saying. We all have choices.  I chose to write or maybe it chose me. Who knows.  I found a new love and we are well past the honeymoon stage. We’ve powered past the seven year itch and now we are in the comfortable stage.  Some would say we are in the  take it for granted stage, because writing has become such a part of my life, I know it will always be there.

Writing is like diving into a rushing river and seeing where it will take me.   You give yourself up to the flow of the river, which at times can really be unpredictable.  You never quite know what is around the next bend.  Even though you planned it out, studied it, anticipated what is going to happen, there is always the unexpected.  The rapids carry you along, pulling you every which way, too fast for you to see or think.  The view, passes by in a blur.  You do your best to stay afloat until you able to get clear of the rapids and find a calm spot, take a steadying breath.    Some days the words pour out just like the white water rapids and when you reach the calm spot by the bank, take time to access.  Sometimes all you can say is wow. I did that. 

You take a moment to rest in that calm spot,  floating along, quietly absorbing the beauty around you.  Then you move back out into the crazy flow again and suddenly it shoots you into an unexpected tributary.  A side trip that could either be soothing or unsettling.  A side trip that gives you insight into your imaginary world.  At times, the water is so clear, you can see the bottom. Every single pebble and the fish glistening in the sunlight.  But in a blink of an eye, the water turns muddy. So thick, you can’t see a thing. Then there are those waterfalls. The sudden drop that takes your breath away.  A writer’s AHA moment.

I discovered that you can either swim as hard and fast as you can against the current, fighting it all the way or…. You can relax, go with the flow, enjoy the journey.  

But, that wasn’t the question.  Why do I write aside from the fact that it’s a fantastic mind journey full of unpredictableness.

I write to open the door into my mind and have grand conversation with myself, with God, with my characters.  I  write to explore the who’s, what’s, where’s and why’s.     I write to free my mind of all the detritus that gathers throughout the day.    I write to understand that which I don’t understand. I write to heal the wounds of the soul.  I write to practice, I write to explore, I write to play. I write to create. I write for those Aha moments because I do so enjoy when my characters surprise me. Or when I even surprise myself with an epiphany about my life.  I write to let my soul sing. 

I write because I can.  Mercy, that sounds arrogant.  I’m suddenly reminded of an article  I read and written about and thankfully found it.   31 Days to Better Writing Habits.   One of the topics talked about how toxic language can hinder your writing.  Words such as can't, should, have to, impossible or need to are considered toxic because they take away your power.  They are negative and limit you.

    “Use “Can” Instead of “Can’t”–You can do anything you want to do. You can do anything you set your mind to do. It’s been proven over and over and over again. So say “can.” “I can be a writer” and “I can write this novel.”
    Use “Want to” Instead of “Should” “Have to” or “Need to”–When you use the phrase “want to” you’re making a choice. It’s no longer being forced on you, you are choosing it. There is power in the phrase “want to” because it shows you have a desire to do something. So say “I want to be a writer” and “I want to write this novel.”
Telling yourself you should do something is taking away your choice. Telling yourself you have to do something is extra pressure and most folks when you tell them they have to do something, will do the opposite. Do you need to write or do you want to write. You don't need to, you don't have to, but you want to. You are making a choice to write because you want to. Getting rid of the toxic language gives you back your power.”


But I digress.  I do that a lot so I guess I could say I write to digress and find an egress. I write for you and I write for me. And we all write, because we can.    

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

#atozchallenge: Talkative Tuesday - Verily, I slay thee

Tuesday talkies 

 Presents 

V






Vincent and Gwendolyn

Gwendolyn marched down the steps and jabbed Vincent in the chest.  “How dare you embarrass me like that in front of all those people.”
]
Vincent grinned and grabbed her hand, held it to his chest. “Verily,  my  love. What an experience.  Did you see how they hung on my every word!  They were ever vigilant.”

“At my expense.” She yanked her hand away with a growl. “Did you have to tell them everything?”

“Of course darling. They valued everything I said.   Treated me with veneration.”

“I don’t. Not anymore.”

Vincent raised an eyebrow and tucked her arm underneath his and strolled down the rest of the steps.  Gwendolyn had no choice but to walk with him.  When they reached the bottom of the stairway, he turned and gazed at the entry way. “We need to create a new coat of arms.  Something virtuous and full of vitality. I hate the original, the one with the duck and the arrow through its head.  I’m a bull.
Gwendolyn let out an unladylike snort. “Yes, you certainly are full of it.”

“Thank you, darling. It shall have a broad chest with a shield between its legs….”

She rolled her eyes.  “Yes, you do get kicked in the groin quite a bit and need to protect your manhood.  What’s left of it.”

He stroked a hand down her cheek as she frowned at him.  “Bronze with a sword and a cross emblem.  I’ve been very blessed”

“Sounds perfect for a grave stone.”

“Do you think so? Father mentioned an interesting prospect the other day during services.” He tugged her down the walkway toward the garden.  “I can’t remember the exact words. However, I visualized an image, an angel with a glorious halo.  She had your face and shiny eyes.”

“Thinking of killing me, dear?”  Gwendolyn tilted her head, fingered a yellow lily.

He chuckled “Hmm. You always say my wit slays  you.”  He  plucked one of the flowers and tucked it in her hair.  He ran his thumbs over her furrowed brow. “Headache any better, darling?”

Gwendolyn sighed and let her anger float away on the evening breeze.  “Somewhat.”

“We need to get back to our guests. Are you ready?”

“Not quite. You go. I need a few more minutes.”

Vincent cupped her cheeks and laid a light kiss on her lips.  He pulled out his cell phone as he walked away.  “Jeffrey, I have an visionary idea."

She heard a slight pause before he continued. “What? Is it that late?”  She shook her head and sank down on the bench in front of the fountain. His voice drifted back as he plowed ahead, neglecting to apologize to his partner for waking him up.


   

Monday, April 25, 2016

#atozchallenge: Monday Melodies - U

 Big U, little U,

What begins with U

Uncle Ubb's Umbrella and his underwear too
~ Dr. Seuss


Josephine Wall's Fairy Bubbles




Universe



Under the vast dark sky
Unity binds the heavens
Unusual pockets of stars
Unlocking the black
Underneath it all

Understanding bursts our imagination
Unlimited in potential
Unabashed beauty
Unique minds
unspoiled

Saturday, April 23, 2016

#atozchallenge: Saturday Salon - Tapping into the Writing Network

Welcome to Saturday Salon

Hosted by the letter 

T



Tapping into the Writing Network 



It amazes me the resources available to writers these days.  The World Wide Web brings writers, authors, publishers, editors, teachers, critics and readers all together seamlessly.  The blogosphere has opened up the world of writers.  It has become an invaluable resource.

Who do you want to connect with today?

What do you need to learn today?

Where am I going to place the setting of my story?

When is the best time to contact a publisher?

Why seems like such a simple word but it isn’t. A simple why demands an explanation, an answer, a hypothesis.

How do I make, break, kill, injure, design, say whatever?

The internet is a writer’s playground. I won’t give you the negatives because we all know what they are.  *grin*

The number one thing I love about the blogosphere is that it lets us know we aren’t alone.  That no matter what stage you are in your writing journey, there will always be someone experiencing what you are.  It’s actually heartening to know that some of the biggest authors have ‘those’ days when nothing is flowing and all they want to do it toss it and play.  That no matter how many books they’ve written, this current one is like the first and they are experiencing all the doubts that go along with it.  And they are willing to talk about it, share their journeys, and glean wisdom even from those with less experience.

When I first started writing, I did more writing than learning.  I read one or two books about writing, but didn’t want anything to interfere with creating the story.  I didn’t want to think about ‘the rules’ because you know what happens when you do.  Remember the old adage ‘too many cooks spoil the broth.’  It applies to writing as well.  You have to write freely to find your own voice and the story’s voice.  It takes a lot of practice. And I discovered something a long time ago.  The owner’s manual always makes sense after you’ve figured out how to work the machine.   Now, ten years into my writing journey, I’m devouring books on craft because now they are making sense and not covering up my voice.  I can see how the rules apply.

3 craft books that have been beneficial to my journey so far:

Outlining Your Novel by K.M. Weiland:  Whether you are a plotter, pantster or somewhere in between, her suggestions are invaluable.

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron:  This book helped me discover so much about myself, my dreams and taught me how to brainstorm and set goals.

Revision and Self Editing by James Scott Bell:   He just makes sense.


Another beauty of the internet – online writing classes.  Classes taught by authors that are inexpensive and you get to pick the author’s brains as much as you want: Savvy Authors, Writer’s Village, Writer’s Digest, etc.    Candy land!

 Practice makes perfect is the old adage that applies to everything – sports, cooking, art or writing.  The more you practice, the more comfortable you get and the more you want to know, the more you want to learn. The more you learn, the better you get!


What are the top 3 books on your writing shelf that have helped you in your writing journey?

Friday, April 22, 2016

#atozchallenge: Flash Friday - Slapped by a pelican

Welcome to Flash Friday 

Presented by the Letter

S







Slapped by a Pelican 


We hiked to the top of the sand dune and gazed across the shoreline.  The ocean spread out before us and glistened as the sun blazed overhead, a blinding ball of fire.  Waves crashed, water droplets sparkled and flashed like shooting stars darting across the sky. To the east, the Marina shimmered in the heat. Tall wood masts rose above bright white motor launches and mini yachts.  The whale tour boat had just returned and from our vantage point, the passengers fanned out onto the pier, and reminded me of ants on the march. The majority headed eastward on the wharf in search of food and a dry place to rest their feet.  A cooling breeze swept my hair back and I caught the odor of brine and fresh fish, along with garlic and barbecue.

My stomach grumbled, but since we had a couple hours to spare before taking the whale boat ourselves and and not quite ready to dive in with the crowds, we hiked around and down the berm to the west.  Pipers and sea gulls raced back and forth competing for insects buried in the sand.  A lone fisherman, in thigh high rubber boots and a brilliant yellow cap, cast his line up, up, up and over the surf.  He’d placed a tackle box full of bait and a red ice chest just out of reach of the tide.  Inside the cooler were half a dozen bass and halibuts. 

Off in the distance, perhaps three or four miles away, the lighthouse jutted out into the bay, a bright white beacon for passing ships.  I collected sand dollars and shells; a variety of cones and spirals, rainbow colored and striped. Kiddo almost stepped on a dead jelly fish lying in the sand, tentacles long as a horse’s mane. I nudged it with a toe and it jiggled like a spoonful of jello.

Far out in the water, a fishing trawler trundled past. Sea gulls circled and dive bombed both the sailors and the deck, stealing fish from the day’s haul.  A movement closer to shore caught my eye. A fin cut through the water. A dolphin jumped, then dove before it surfaced to surf an incoming spiral wave.  Joined by two more of its pod, they played for quite a while before darting back out to sea. 

I checked my watch and we raced back to the pier to catch the next whale tour.  A pelican rested at the end of the wharf, wings outstretched to catch the sun.  Kiddo approached, curious to see how close he could get.  I issued several warnings to be careful. Suddenly, the bird flapped its wings and slapped him across the face.  With a yelp, he raced back to me, a hand on his cheek.  Even though he giggled with glee, his eyes filled with tears. A narrow miss, a bit too close for comfort, he hugged me close. We boarded the boat to his excited chatter.  Who else can say they’d been slapped by a pelican.