The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Still Waters...

        The frequently-used saying, "Still waters run deep" sometimes hits me on the head like a sledgehammer.

          I recently was checking out a blog I follow.  This particular posting was about a source of supreme joy in their life.  However, tragedy also played a part.  It wasn't at the core of the happiness, or surrounding the joyousness like a thin, brittle coating, but it was there all the same and ever-present.  That was the problem:  I really wanted to respond, but how?

         I could not figure out how this individual could endure such a horrific event without having it emblazoned on their chest.  Why is this deep wound not visible to everyone they encounter?  How can they live their life looking "normal," keeping all the sadness unseen and under the surface?  How could pure joy shine through, without a hint of grief?

         No words would come.  Lots of words came to mind, but none that could convey the myriad of things I felt, and not wanting to offend or say the wrong thing, I made no comment.

          The childen I work with deal with all sorts of things that kids should never even see.  One of my former students broke up a fight between his mother and her boyfriend.  He was bitter and scarred over what he had seen (probably many times).  Some of the kids (8 and 9-years old) go home to empty apartments with no older siblings, and the apartment complex is a bit rough. Many have adult responsibilities to take care of---watching siblings that are toddlers---even though they not ready to shoulder that load.  Some of the kids have parents who work nights; I shudder when I wonder if anyone is there with them while they sleep...We might get aggravated when they don't have their homework, but if Mom is an unmedicated bi-polar, how much blame can you heap on a child?

photo by Studio Neko

        People you see walking down the street, propelling themselves to their next destination, may have a calm exterior.  But you never know...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

If You Know Your Character, You Know...

         Something that's stuck in my brain for decades was a nugget that one writer said.  Something like, If you really know the character you've created, you know what they have in their pocket.

          I was thinking of a variation of that last night, when watching The Closer on television.

          The main character opened up her desk drawer and it was filled-to-the-brim with candy.  (She was rooting around for the last chocolate bar...Definitely a kindred spirit!)  She is a high-ranking police official; one of her detectives, when he saw the contents of the drawer, was visibly surprised.

          Nowadays, some of us are stuck at work for such long periods of time, our desk becomes our home away from home.  Perhaps what we keep in our desk is more "telling" than what we have in our pockets.  (And sometimes our desk at home is our place of work.  That would add another layer of meaning, if we examined the inside of the drawers.)

           What can you put in a drawer that would make for an intriguing character?  What drawer contents would reveal important character flaws?

           Please share.  Writers are wonderful thieves...

photo by Winnie_nevrothwen

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Writer's Block

         Most writers get stuck in a rut.  The words don't flow.  There is no floodgate opening and the lines rushing out...not even a trickle.

         As writers we have to find out what works for us.  What gets us writing again?  What writerly habits can we develop that help combat writer's block?

        I once read one writer's way of making sure he wrote every day:  he did not go to the bathroom in the morning, upon waking, until he had written a whole page.

       Thinking of how urgent that need is, right after getting out of bed, I thought, ' I'll bet it is sometimes a fast page.'

       What are some things you have found that works for you as a writer?  How do you combat writer's block?

photo by Harriet Picturebug