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Posts Tagged ‘Writers Resources’

Behind the scenes. Voyeur.  Inside your head. Backstage. Rear of the lens. Peering through the looking glass. A diary writer. A journal reader…

Like whiskers on kittens and warm woolen mittens, these are a few of my favorite things.

It’s true. I mean, who reads Anne Frank’s diary in Maui? Yup, me and I won’t mention that it was my second time around. Oops.

There’s something to being let in. A privilege in being handed a key to a heart. There’s magic in maps to uncovered minds and I am so thankful that I’ve been blessed with a desire to dig.

Though, in all my wordy (not a typo) wisdom, I have somehow never read “bird by bird” by Anne Lamott, a tragedy to be sure.

Bird by Bird

The book came creeping ‘round years ago. Its praises sung in my presence more than a handful of times, its renowned reputation preceding a cozy dwelling in my sluggish brain.

“I don’t have time to read.” I’d protest. “I’m too busy writing pure crap!”

Turns out it’s the kind of book that sits particularly well with me. From the first sentence Anne is human and we, as readers, are welcomed into the life that’s led her to be the writer she is today. It’s a backstage pass to the secret place where all my favorite bands hang out.

And I’m happy to be a groupie.

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It should be no surprise when I tell you that my good friend Jim won the little contest I held the other day. Actually, I’ve never met Jim, nor had any kind of interaction with him until my post (and his comment) on my last entry, but I’m hoping, as I am with many of you, that we will now share a bond through writing (and reading) and the hike we are all on towards our own personal summits, wherever we wish to end up.

The deal was, the first person to like and comment on that post would win a highly acclaimed book that I have read, enjoyed and learned from, called; “On Writing” by Stephen King.

On Writing Stephen King

As soon as there was a winner, off to Amazon I skipped to order a brand-spankin’ new copy. Mine is hi-lited and marked up the yazoo and although I’m sure I’ve picked only the utmost important snippets, I was positive Jim would prefer a shiny new one. Generous of me, huh?

Well, Jim one-upped me with this:

“What I would appreciate you doing is donate it to a group or agency that you think would really enjoy it and put my name inside it along with how it got there. That would be great. it’s not that I don’t appreciate the gift but I would like to give it to those who are less likely to be able to obtain a copy. When you find a home for it could you let me know where it went.”

I know, right? I’m a schmuck! I knew that most writer’s would already own a copy of this book (duh) but figured that would be the case with most any writing book I picked and I was particularly entertained by this one, so I figured, meh – he’ll gift it to a friend or simply accept the fact that he now has two copies and move on…as I often do when I accidentally by a book that I already have. (Oops, was that my outside voice?)

But no, not Mr. Jim. He came up with a much better, much more grand-hearted idea than mine and it’s not because he already owns it. In fact, I don’t think he even clicked the link to find out what he’d won. (In his email he also admitted to being a tad challenged technically) He just genuinely wanted to give the book to someone with less resource and I am grateful for his outside the box thinking.

The giveaway thing was exhilarating and I will be doing it again, but my eyes are now open to a fresh myriad of modes. How cool is that? It’s proof there are benefits of connecting, gathering and collecting here other than to tout our own trips. At the risk of a little cheese, we can also learn from one another beyond a writing aspect. Now, if only Jim would follow me back…

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Writing…anywhere, anytime, anyplace…

We all take pride in having interests, hobbies and passions.  Further to that, we enjoy feeling like we’re good at something.  Writing does this for me.  (Easy in the comment section, please)

Writing has lurked in my blood and traveled through my bones year after year, but I had no time for it.  Ooh, I dabbled in this and dipped into that.  I took my fair share of writing courses and participated in an assortment of online classes, but actual writing?  Meh.  It’s easy to find distractions from the nitty gritty…get your hands dirty…prove you can write business.

I was busy working, dating, getting married, being pregnant, raising kids, cleaning, cooking, going for coffee, washing my hair…you name it.

But, writing lingered.  Well, actually it poked, prodded, pressured and pushed me.  Everywhere I went, everything I did, writing was there, strategically changing life’s events into type on a page and punctuating dialogue dangling in my mind.

I could blame myself.  Say I didn’t put in the effort.  Rake myself over the coals.  But really, we both knew, writing and me, that it wasn’t my time.   I wasn’t ready.

What do I love most about writing?  It waited.

Thank you to Writing Tips, Thoughts and Whims and Lit and Scribbles for the inspiration.

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I’m afraid I’ve become a sayer rather than a doer. This wasn’t my intent. In fact, it was just the opposite. This blog was, in my eyes, a way for me to write on a regular basis; a stovetop on which to whip up tidy, complete meals and instant satisfaction. But in my forage for nourishment, it may have instead become a fridge full of leftovers; empty calories and unfulfilled dreams. Ironically, a little like my own cooking.

Speaking of mad kitchen skills, my husband and I had a lovely meal the other night, me nowhere near the oven. We cozied up in a wonderful, local restaurant. I sat taking in a view of the glistening ocean, a few glasses of robust vino and, a little later, an off the cuff comment; “You write too much about writing. You should, you know, write a novel (again) or something,” he said.

I won’t lie; it didn’t come as a shock. I have, in the very back crevices of my noggin’, felt a pang of recognition regarding this every time I start a new post.

He’s right, I do write about writing…a lot, but I feel I’m moving forward, albeit in baby steps. Perhaps this is how I’m finding my way, a cookbook of sorts.

I enjoy writing these posts immensely. I take great pleasure in imagining that I’m honing my skill and revving my engine. I cherish the fact that I may be of some slight inspiration to others who are attempting to follow their hearts and fulfill their dreams. I feel like I’m doing something about the direction in which I want my life to head. All good things, yes? Yes.

He’d second-guessed himself the moment it was out; worried he’d smothered the struggling fire of hope only just beginning to catch in my heart.

But I can only see the positive in my husband’s observation. A touch of lighter fluid always fuels a flame.

It means my subject matter has been clear, my blog has a theme (who knew),  and (this is the best part) he’s actually been reading my posts. Hope burns eternal.

Fiery Vintage Stove

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Lose me and I’m yours. Powerful words welded into sentences, zigging here and zagging there, spinning me in circles and propelling me through mazes hoping to never find a way out are on my Goodreads list.

Compositions making me forget that our (stupefying) Visa bill is on its way or that I’m waiting for the dryer to finish its cycle will forever hold a special place in my heart.

Passage into an imaginary world is largely due to description. In my (humble) opinion, it’s almost all we writers have when trying to entice readers into our wildly whimsical minds.

Description is kinda my thing. I can get very caught up in explaining how “the freshly painted wooden stool glistened in the sun like a shiny, red-skinned apple against a soft carpet of moss-green grass.” Some could say it’s overkill, but poof…there it is. You see the stool, don’t you?

I could have said; “The stool had just been painted red and someone had set it on the grass.” You may still be able to see the stool, but not quite in the same way and your mind would have to do most of the work.

Not that working your mind is a bad thing, but reading (for pleasure) is supposed to be effortless and having to do too much of the imagining is sort of redundant. You may as well write the book yourself.

I’ve heard people say; “Ugh, the description went on and on. In the end, I just skipped through it.”

What a shame. The author has taken what should have been an all-consuming, riveting experience and turned it into an arduous, irksome chore. It hurts my heart.

Descriptives should have us eating words slowly, savoring the different tastes each one leaves behind. We should feel like we just watched a really great movie and didn’t realize there were subtitles. Good descriptives should leave us praying there’s always one more page.

I write to find myself, but I read hoping to get lost. I leave the (mind-numbing, oppressed) map in the glove compartment.

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