June 21, 2015 at 8:39 am (Uncategorized)
Tags: death, Father's Day, memorial
My father died last October. On the last day I saw him, in the hospital, I said good-bye and told him I loved him. I said, “see you later.” It seemed to me like he wanted to say something but couldn’t get it out. Instead he said, “later, later.” But later never really came.
My mother called at 12:45 in the morning to say that she had heard from the hospital that he had passed. We were grateful that Hospice had been able to send a gentleman in to sit with him over night but it seemed that my father had waited for everyone to leave, then left himself.
I went to work the next day, to wrap things up so I could be away for several. As I walked back to the break room at lunch time, I passed a cart of books waiting to be shelved. The last book on the cart had fallen over to lay face up and the cover was a beautiful watercolor of a rainbow trout, the title said “Trout Reflections.” I grabbed it. My father was an avid fly-fisherman and had taught me to fly fish as a teen. It was probably the time when we had connected the best, and was undoubtedly the most harmonious time in our relationship.
That night, I got home from work and was in the next room when my refrigerator started making an odd growling noise. It would growl on an up note and then stop, growl and stop, growl and stop. It continued for several minutes. I walked into the kitchen and listened. It made me think of how my father, dressed in the tiger print bathrobe my mother had made him, would tease me as a child saying, “grumble, grumble, growl.”
Feeling slightly foolish, I said out loud, “Dad, if that’s you, please stop messing with my refrigerator. I need it to keep working for a while longer. It’s okay, I know you loved me, I love you too.” It made the noise two more times and then stopped. It never made that noise again. Unfortunately, the next day it died too. My Dad always did like a good laugh.
June 15, 2015 at 1:42 pm (Uncategorized)
Yes, I’m still out here. Still writing and submitting, which is why I haven’t been posting. There are times when you realize that if you want to actually accomplish your goals of being published, you have to shut up and write.
I recently heard about a wonderful web site called coursera.org where you can take courses for free from professors at top universities around the world. I signed up for the Science Fiction and Fantasy course, hoping it would help me look at the literature a little more deeply. It required reading a full length book every five days, doing a short assignment and then responding to assignments from four other people. I quickly realized that the timing was really not right. I can either write or do a course, along with work and family. Both is just too much.
Right now I have about a dozen short stories that I’ve started and a couple novels to edit. I’m sending things out and hope to have some good news soon. I’ll post when I think of something useful or interesting to say.
March 18, 2015 at 12:56 pm (Writing Mechanics)
I haven’t written anything here in a while. The good news is that I’ve been writing and submitting fiction as much as my schedule allows, racking up the rejections and all. Anyway, I had a thought the other day that I wanted to share.
George Lucas once said something to the effect that a soundtrack is a large portion of a movie. Now, I remember him saying this, I think it was during an Academy Award ceremony back in about 1993 but that’s over 20 years ago. I tried looking it up and the quotes I come up with say 50% so let’s go with that.
I started thinking, how do we create a sound track with a piece of writing? I don’t mean literally. I suppose I could mention pieces of music, put quotes from lyrics at the beginning of every chapter, etc., but I don’t think that’s the answer.
I find that I enjoy fiction written by people who are either poets or also write poetry a great deal, it’s somehow richer. So, my suggestion is that we create soundtracks for our fiction by our word choice, by the rhythm and flow we create in the sentences we write. Then there’s all the wonderful tools of the poet – alliteration, metaphor, simile, hyperbole and anything else you care to include.
I’ve been thinking of creating a short story that simulates the improvisation of jazz. Soon, maybe in April during Camp NaNoWriMo. There are a couple projects to finish up first.
Just a thought.
October 29, 2014 at 4:48 pm (Uncategorized)
Thought I’d offer this here for anyone who would like one for this year. I tried to find quotes for inspiration that I haven’t seen a million times before but I kept a few of my favorites from last year. Just click on the image to get the full size. I created it as an 8 1/2 by 14 Microsoft Publisher file then saved it as a .jpeg.
July 11, 2014 at 3:42 pm (NaNoWriMo, Writing Inspiration)
Tags: #CampNaNoWriMo, inspiration
First, a little update. It’s been an interesting 11 days of writing for #CampNaNoWriMo. I started out with the idea that I would write one short story a day, no matter how short, on a different prompt. (Witness my last two posts on this blog of prompts gathered from Pinterest.) Instead, I found myself after two or three starts, writing an Urban Fantasy novel that keeps expanding with each prompt.
Everything that I see or think of seems to get applied to this story and the writing is going as fast as I have time for. I am about 6,000 words behind but I have 12,000 to call my own and a lot more ideas for scenes to write. It is positively exhilarating and I don’t know where it’s coming from!
A few things this past 11 days have inspired me. I came across a link to some excerpts from an interview with Chinua Achebe on a writer’s ability to inspire society. You can find it here – http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2014/07/11/chinua-achebe-meaning-of-life/
Then there are these great sheets of lists that can be applied to your writing from Anika on her DeviantArt page. I’m thinking to use the sheets on Common Character Habits and Character Flaw Reference Sheets to help round out my characters. (Can’t be having those heroes and heroines too perfect!) She also offers a Character Hobby Reference Sheet, Character Fear Reference Sheet, and Character Motivation Sheet.
As usual, my writer’s group last night was both relaxing and inspiring. I sure need the laughs and I go home fired up to write even when I’m not feeling my best.
I’m not even sure where I came across the information at this point but I have to confess that I never knew Eudora Welty had written a book on writing called, well, On Writing. My sister had given me her autobiography, One Writer’s Beginnings some years ago and I fell in love with it. (I have a strong tendency toward autobiographies by writers.) I went to look for On Writing in our library system and found only one library owned it. I ordered it and it arrived today but, sadly, it has been so heavily underlined and annotated that I don’t think I can read it without my brain exploding! *grumblegrumblegrumble*
Feeling like procrastinating? If you’re doing #CampNaNoWriMo, how is it going?
June 28, 2014 at 11:58 am (NaNoWriMo, Writing Prompts)
Camp NaNoWriMo Prompts
Here they are, prompts for the second half of Camp NaNoWriMo in July, or whenever you want to use them. I’ll be using one a day for July. Enjoy!
- “The most painful goodbyes are the ones that are never said and never explained.” – Write about losing someone where there is no goodbye, be it intentional or unintentional.
- “Expect anything from anyone. The devil was once an angel.” – Write a character who seems one way but turns out to be another way, or even really is how they seem but does something unexpected.
- “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” Anais Nin – Write a scene from a character’s point of view and work on investing it with their perspective rather than being objective.
- “The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn.” – Write about a character making a choice between two options.
- “Doing something weird and thinking ‘this is why I don’t have a boyfriend.” – Write it.
- “I think a part of me will always be waiting for you.” – Write about when he/she comes back.
- “What screws us up most in life is the picture in our head of how it is supposed to be.” – Write about a character who thinks their life is going to be one way then something happens to turn that on its head.
- “Although we never said it to each other, I think we both knew.” – What? What did they both know that they weren’t saying? Where the body was buried? That they loved each other? What?
- “Life is about using the whole box of crayons.” – Write a character that is totally different than you would usually write and put it into your story. See what happens!
- “Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” C.S. Lewis. – How about believing in them, or even living them? Write a fantastical tale in which the main character is an older person who has lived a life doing exactly what they should.
- “And though she be but little, she is fierce.” William Shakespeare – Write a character is diminutive but fierce. How little and how old is up to you!
- “Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes.” – Write about trying to tell the truth when someone, or everyone, doesn’t want to hear it.
- “Once I catch you in a lie, it makes me question everything you said.” – Write a story about betrayal.
- “She is clothed in strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future.” – Write a fearless character, either foolishly or because she/he has nothing left to fear.
- “I love how coffee tricks me into thinking I’m in a good mood for about 27 minutes.” – Write about a day that starts out nicely then goes downhill.
- “Actually, I can.” – Can what? Write about a character who does something everyone tells him/her they cannot.
- “I got a war in my mind.” – Write about a character who has a war going on in their mind, either they are trying to decide something or more literally due to mental instability.
June 20, 2014 at 12:41 pm (NaNoWriMo, Writing Prompts)
Tags: Camp NaNoWriMo, Writing Inspiration, writing prompts
Camp NaNoWriMo Prompts
Here comes Camp NaNoWriMo! Are you participating? Are you going to try to win? Or, like me, are you just planning to write and see where you go? This July my plan, so far, is to write to a new prompt each day, shooting for a full story that is anywhere between 50 and 2,000 words. At the same time, I will be editing Biomalware, my work in progress, and plotting a novel that I want to write in August. Crazy, you say? Why, yes, thank you for noticing. Care to join me? Aw, heck, here’s half my prompts for July, help yourself. I think they work whether you are writing short stories or just want to work one or more of them into your story. I’ll post the other half next week.
- “Finally, a lie too big.” from Doctor Who – Write a story with a lie or series of lies and one that is simply too big to be believed.
- A shaved bear is a scary creature, looks nothing like a bear and much like a werewolf in a modern fantasy/horror film. Have you seen that picture going around? Put one in your story somehow.
- “In vain I have struggled, it will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must let me tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen. Obsessive or passionate? You decide, then write it into your story.
- “Why don’t guys ever look at me like that?” “Because, you’re never looking when they do.” Also, “The best feeling is when you look at him and he is already staring.” Two memes, don’t know where the quotes really come from. Perhaps lots of the first then the latter?
- “Every villain is a hero in their own mind.” Write a story about a villain who truly believes he is doing the right thing.
- “May you never forget what is worth remembering, nor ever remember what is best forgotten.” Irish blessing. Work forgetting and/or remembering into your story.
- “Imagine meeting someone who understood even the dustiest corners of your mixed-up soul.” Is that good or scary? Put it in your story.
- “Life becomes easier when you learn to accept an apology that you never got.” Sometimes people apologize without saying the words. Refusing to remember what they did so wrong, re-writing the past as in “I would never do that, or say that!” is agreeing with you that what they did was wrong and is an apology in a way. What other ways might people apologize without saying the words? Write it into your story.
- “I wonder how many people I’ve looked at all my life and never seen.” Write about a person who you never noticed or thought were one way then you find out they are totally different than you imagined. (Yes, I have someone particular in mind.)
- “You and I are more than friends. We’re like a really small gang.” Thelma and Louise? Earl Had to Die? Write about two friends who decide to take the law into their own hands. Do they go too far?
- “It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.” Lena Horne. Two characters, same “load” – carrying it very differently. Go.
- “I am the designer of my own catastrophe.” What mistakes can your character make? Make ’em BIG and messy.
- “Always wear your invisible crown.” Someone attempts to humiliate your character but they hold their head high.
- “Forgiving someone is easy, but being able to trust them again is a totally different story.” Can your character do it? Is the person worthy of being trusted again?
- “I got hurt. Really hurt. And sometimes when that happens, something inside me shuts off.” I actually have had this experience, have you? Whether you have or haven’t, explore it in a story.
June 10, 2014 at 10:00 am (Short Stories)
Tags: Chuck Wendig, short stories
A silly little 50 word flash fiction for Chuck Wendig’s challenge, but at least it’s something new. Feeling the need to write today.
The Rise and Fall of the Phoenix
The Phoenix rose into the air, shaking off ashes.
Up and up it climbed until at last it could soar on zephyrs. It swallowed the urge to crow like a rooster.
The bird never knew what hit it. The 747 never realized either, as it went on its way.
June 6, 2014 at 4:27 pm (Poetry, Writing Inspiration)
Tags: Jim Butcher, novel writing, poetry
I feel like I have nothing to say today. My munchkin got me up at 4:30 this morning. I just want a nap. So, I give you a poem I wrote when she was a new baby that seems rather appropriate and a link to a favorite inspiring LiveJournal post from Jim Butcher on The Most Important Thing An Aspiring Writer Needs to Know. May the weekend find you time to write.
A Mother’s Weary Vigil
Just after midnight
small heels beat a Morse code
of defiance into the mattress.
I am not tired.
I will not sleep.
mere moments before
or perhaps after
chubby cheeks and hands
folded in repose on mama’s lap
angelically spoke of
Oh, but what transpires
between the rocker and the crib?
Eyes and mouth pop open,
screams or laughter,
I am not tired!
I will not sleep!
Mama returns to the rocker
her weary vigil to keep.
May 30, 2014 at 11:30 am (Short Stories)
Tags: Facebook, humor, paranoia, short story
Happy Friday everyone! Here’s a little bit of humor to start the weekend off right.
Your last roommate’s name was Mary, right? I found this note wedged behind the bathroom mirror. (It was a little crooked.) What exactly happened to her?
Alex – They’re here! In the hallway outside the apartment. They say they’re from the department of health and my coffee this morning may have been contaminated but I know who they really are… they’re from Facebook! This is all because I tried to close my Facebook account this afternoon – they’re trying to take over the world!
I have to write quietly or they’ll suspect and look for the note. I don’t think I have much time. I realized what was happening this morning on my way to work. There was this guy on the street corner outside the coffee shop and he was trying to warn people about Facebook. I didn’t believe it at first but when I came out of the coffee shop after I got my latte, he was gone! A limo was pulling away from the corner and, I swear, I think the license plate said Facebook!
Then I started seeing it – everywhere! It was on the coffee shop door, on my coffee cup, on the side of the bus!!! That little f in the blue box. It all means Facebook! When I got to work it was even on Jenna’s sneakers! She said they had a pedometer that sent the info to her Facebook account but I don’t know.
The boss said he thought I was running a fever and sent me home but I know the real reason – I was asking too many questions!
I tried to delete my Facebook account this afternoon – but it wouldn’t let me! So I tried deleting everything but it was taking too long so I had to smash my computer. (I’m sorry. I had to smash your computer too, but I couldn’t risk them watching me through your web cam. And the T.V. too!)
The phone kept ringing all afternoon. I’m sure it was Mark Zuckerberg. He’s the head of it all! You know, they eat lima beans for dinner, don’t you? Everybody knows but nobody says it! They want people’s brains. Maybe they’re zombies!
I’m running out of time. The super is here and he’s going to unlock the door! I’m going to hide this note. I hope you find it. Good luck! Don’t let them get you too!!!
Alex folded the note in half then tore it into strips. Some things were better left unanswered. He started the car and headed out to his first day on a new job at Facebook.