The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Saturday, September 4, 2010

What Happened With That Crowbar?

         Someone that I met at the Saturday Writers group is Becky Povich.  She is writing a series of slice-of-life stories; it will be out sometime this fall, published by High Hill Press.

        The title intrigues me:  That Crowbar Changed Everything.  I've asked Becky about the title, and mum's the word.  She's like a vault. Sealed shut and won't open, no matter how much cajoling ot threatening takes place. I have stalked her.  I have hired a team of private detectives.  I have tortured her with bamboo shoots under her fingernails. Nothing has worked...

      I'd like to invite writers to write a short synopsis for the title story.  What kind of story revolves around a crowbar?  (And no fair if you have read the collection and know what the crowbar story is really about.  You have to make something up that is different from the actual story.)

photo by Davescunningplan's photostream

A Writing Ephiphany

         Well, perhaps the term "ephiphany" is a bit strong.  And curiously, this thought has occurred to me before, but only in fleeting glimpses, and then it vanishes, as if never having appeared at all...all memory of it gone. Last night it reappeared as part of a stupid sitcom.

       One of the characters was speaking of a crush.  The reason why they did not act on their feelings was so they could "keep on dreaming, instead of dealing with the reality as a failure."

        That is why I don't submit things.  As long as I don't send anything out and risk receiving rejection letters, I can hold onto my dream of being published. I can continue to fantasize what life would like if...

          However, thanks to making my plans public (to send out my manuscript by the end of August) and thanks to some gentle prodding (thank you, Donna ) my manuscript has been delivered and is probably in a pile with other hopeful pieces. In 3-5 months, I will hear, and will then go from there...

          Two days after I sent off my manuscript, I went to a book reading at the Boom Boom Room in St. Charles (right above The Lounge).  W.E. Mueller was reading from his book Peaches and Cream.  There was a 2nd author there as well:  the son of the man highlighted in the book Confessions of a Mob Hitman.

         Both readings were moving, in different ways.  One of the
   stories that Mueller read was "Uncle Albert."  It had an O. Henry
   twist at the end that really smacked the reader in the head in a
   good way.  I have purchased the book; it's a mixture of detective
   stories and humor and poignancy. I have not finished the book,
   but I will say that although detective stories are not my normal 
   fare, I enjoy Mueller's...

          Flynn's reading was engaging because it was apparent how
   emotional this journey has been for him.  His father died before
   the book could be published. It was easy to see how moved he was
   as he wrote the preface and did the research to validate his
   father's stories.  Both father and son had been incarcerated, yet
here was the son, perhaps learning from his own as well as his father's frailities, reading stories for a captive audience.  (I couldn't resist the bad pun!)

        We write for various reasons.  What do you most want to accomplish when you write?  Who is your audience?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Harriet Tubman's On Facebook!

        Pat Hensley's blog is a great resource for teachers and today, for writers as well.  Her 9/3/10 links you up with a site where students can create faux facebook pages for historical figures.

          With multi-genre pieces being so powerful, a facebook page is another option to add to the list.  Or, use it as a stand-alone project---they would look great printed up and displayed on a bulletin board.

         What next?  Abraham Lincoln's ipod playlist?

photo by laikolosse


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

All That Lying Paid Off

        When I was a teenager, I lied a lot.  About my activities.  About boyfriends. About where I was going when I left in the car.  I got very good at it, yet once I got out on my own, I had no reason to lie.

           Occasionally I lie to pull my students' legs. (Yesterday when one of my students saw me leave an out-of-the-way staff restroom upstairs,  they asked me what that door was to. I told them it led to a small hallway and some stairs, and downstairs was the staff swimming pool.  Then the music teacher got into it, and said there was a spa there as well.  Then I heaped on even more:  There was also a sundae bar down there.  The teachers get to make ice cream sundaes and choose their own toppings. They bought it--hook, line and sinker--so I had to tell them we were kidding them.) However, recently I lied, and will answer to a "higher power" for it...

          The dog rescue group I work with had a call a few weeks ago about a Golden Retriever that was tied outside all night and all day on a daily basis.  I was the one who got the call, so I had all these sad images in my head.  The heat has been unbearable; I could not imagine having no respite from the humidity and the sun. The caller said the dog howled constantly, and got yelled at because of the noise it made. Goldens are people-oriented dogs, so not having people giving them the affection and attention they thrive on made me determined to do what I could do to help out this dog.

          The town where this dog was is situated about 2 1/2 hours away.  I drove there, having no idea if the family would be home, or if they would agree to sell the dog to me.  (I had a small amount of money with me, hopefully enough to tempt them.)

          Thankfully, the owners were not too suspicious or smart or savvy, because the tale I told had lots of holes in it.  (Or perhaps my teenaged lies have honed my skills more than I thought?)  Anyway, after speaking to them for more than an hour, I drove home with the dog.  At every rest stop where we paused, for a potty break, I tried to convey to this gorgeous Golden that life was going to be different from now on...

       This gentle boy has not had an accident in our house yet, he is a "sponge" when it comes to human contact, and is learning how to play.

photo by laurent.brun31

          Unfortunately, he will not be able to play or be active for the next month and a half.  The vet found he is heartworm positive, which means after he is treated--after his neutering and after the treatment for heartworms--he will have to stay quiet in a crate for a month.  He might not make it, although our rescue has had great results with dogs plagued by heartworms. (We're getting more and more dogs from rural areas, and when dogs are kept outside all the time, and don't receive the needed monthly medication, they're susceptible.)

         If he survives the treatment, and if we don't fall hopelessly in love with him while we are fostering him, he will be up for adoption. At least one of those is a big if...

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

And It's Off...

         Earlier in the month, perhaps even in July, I wrote that I had a manuscript (a picture book) I had been sitting on.  It's been "finished" for at least two years.  I'd sent it to only one publisher, and after that, I just moaned and groaned over the fact that it had not been published. Well, duh!  It might have a chance if I was more persistent.

          I vowed it would be sent out before August ended, and since I'm the Procrastination Princess, it was sent out today. At 4:15 this afternoon.

          So, maybe I'll hear from Albert Whitman & Company tomorrow?  Or later in the week?  Place your bets on whether it will tomorrow, Thursday or Friday before a response is received.

          Seriously, if you think of yourself as a writer, you have to put your stuff out somehow.  That might mean you belong to group of writers, and you get feedback as you write and revise.  That might mean you scratch your poetry into the walls of a toilet stall.  Or that might mean that you keep submitting, and looking forward to rejection letters along with--hopefully, a letter of acceptance---because that means you're living the writer's life. 

photo by davidteter


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Random Autobiographies

          A random autobiography is a great way to stretch yourself as a writer.  I am sure there are more thorough definitions and descriptions around, but this is the what I say about them:

       A random autobiographical poem is written in free verse, and is indeed "random," because it slips in and out when it comes to the timeline.  When drafting this, allow the events of your life to come to you in a stream of consciousness; some of them will be more "major" and some will be seemingly insignificant. However, don't dwell too long and overthink as you are writing about where things belong.  Just let them flow out...

           This is an example of a random autobiography poem.  You have to page down past a couple of ads to read it.

           A few years ago I wrote one at a writing retreat. It was truly an enjoyable experience.  It's too long to include here, but if you're interested, I'd be glad to email it to you.

photo by Photoma's World

           Try your hand at one. I'd love to see what you come up with...