Moments of Joy: Reading Out Loud

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I had a blast being the M.C. for the readings at Riverrow Books in Owego last Friday night. I got to listen to some great readings from fellow authors and read the titular poem from my collection, A Sanctuary Built of Words. (That can be found in my poems here.) At the end I think I heard someone sob slightly, either that or they yawned loudly. 😊

I also read a story I call “Drying Up.” It intersperses the last few hours of a woman’s life in Hospice care with memories from her life that brought her to that point and the peace she has made with people in her life.

I felt that poem and story exemplified my belief about why we come together to read out loud. Research Professor Brené Brown refers to it as experiencing our inextricable connection through collective experiences of joy and pain. It’s a wonderful feeling, that connection.

I think it also has something to do with Bibliotherapy, a term I first learned about during my college years. Merriam-Webster defines bibliotherapy as “the use of reading material for help in solving personal problems or for psychiatric therapy, also: the reading material so used.”

I know I’ve found comfort and knowledge in books that lead to personal growth my entire life.

I believe books and stories can be a place of escape, refuge, connection, and offer hope to help people deal with reality. That is what I’ve experienced through reading and what I hope to offer with my writing.

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The Friday Poem: Go Green

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Author Reading in Owego, NY

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How 2 Delays = Perfect Timing

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How 2 Delays = Perfect Timing (or) A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Coffee Shop

I was sitting at the traffic light on Friday when it turned yellow. Have I been sitting at a green light? I stepped on the gas and glanced in the rearview mirror.

At least three cars were lined up behind me but not one of them had honked. I could hear the questions now.

“Is someone crossing the street?”

“Maybe it’s a cat.”

Perhaps there was a moth, but I didn’t see it.

Neither did my friend in the passenger seat (who shall remain nameless) and who didn’t say anything about the green light either.

We arrived at the coffee shop and there was a free space right in front of the Tioga Arts Council. I attempted to parallel park but the alignment seemed, uncharacteristically, to be eluding me until the third try.

We got out of the car and a woman stopped on the sidewalk. “I love your bumper sticker! Are you a writer?”

I thought for a minute. She must be talking about my Got Writing? decal in the window.

“Um, yes. Yes, I am.”

We chatted a few minutes and she suggested I talk to the Director of the Arts Council because they needed authors for a reading at Riverrow Books in Owego, New York, during the First Friday Arts Crawl.

Long story short, I’m dragging along several from my writer’s group and acting as the M.C..

And that is how two delays can equal perfect timing. 😊

More information about who all will be there and when later today.

The Friday Poem: A Singularity

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Weekly Writing Update: Aliens and Autism

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Weekly Writing Update
 
Well, I drafted my creepy doll head flash fiction story in short order so now my brain is percolating a story I started a year ago and mean to finish SOON. It is a science fiction with a main character who is a formerly non-verbal autistic teenage girl.
 
I had the good fortune to be contacted last year, just after I started the story, by a woman who is formerly non-verbal and autistic. I am going to think about her speech patterns and some things she had to say and let that inform the story.
 
I think I was coming at it from the wrong angle and I’ve gone back to the drawing board. I feel like I got off base by trying to write the story the way I write other stories. It’s definitely going to be third person and use the two very strange dreams I had about alien contact. We’ll see what else I find over the next few days for inspiration.
 
I’m very excited to feel like I’m back on track with this one. It’s definitely not horror. I’m going to be working on investing it with a feeling of wonder and awe. Wish me luck!

The Friday Poem: Taped

Writing Update: Pulling Weeds

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I had an anthology all picked out to submit my horror story, Long Distance Call, to but I found the button on Submittable was for submitting to one of their OTHER publications. Sent them an email and now I wait. I figure I’ll give them two weeks before I move on.

It’s the perfect time of year for writing – you can go out and weed while you work out some plot points. Any repetitive work is GREAT for the imagination but I love weeding. There’s the sun and the breeze and the satisfaction of seeing the detritus cleared away so the plants you want to thrive can use the nutrients.

I also started writing another short story in the horror vein.

I never would have thought it . . . me? Horror? Apparently, yes.

Why write horror? Maybe because it’s a retreat from the horrors we read in the news. Or maybe it’s just the joy of the twists and turns. The prompt for this one was creepy dolls and then I came across another note I had made for myself that I wanted to write something having to do with sinkholes. It all falls together. 🙂 

A Friday Haiku: Unscheduled

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Weekly Writing Status Update: Feeling Flaky

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Weekly Writing Update

I submitted the first 500 words of a sci-fi story in response to a call for submissions last week and got a nice surprise two days later. They wrote back and said, “Your writing caught our attention and we would like to read your entire story.” Such a nice way to put it, very affirming. I’d keep my fingers crossed but who knows how long that will take? It’s also a bit difficult to drink coffee, or write, with your fingers crossed.

I’m working on editing my horror story based on the old phone box. Edited on paper, just putting the changes into the document then I’ll find a place to submit it. There seem to be a LOT of markets for horror stories but one that wants the TYPE of story this is, that’s a different matter. It’s a little bit ghost story, a little bit psychological horror. Hrm . . . .

I’m also pondering what form of outline process I want to use for my next novel, FIREBOUND. I had the workbook for “Writing the Breakout Novel” by Donald Maass so I grabbed that and started reading through it but it seems to assume you already have a draft. I want something to work with from the start.

I’ve used scenes and sequels in the past and liked that. I’ve also used the Snowflake for short story and might give that a try to begin then move into scenes and sequels to flesh out. This method also gives you some good tools for marketing, like a synopsis of the story and a log line. Here’s where to find an explanation, if you’re interested. https://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/articles/snowflake-method/

I do worry about stifling the creativity but I am moving toward more outlining and it does seem to make the writing go a LOT faster. A trade off? Perhaps.

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