The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Just About Everything I Know I Learned From My Critique Group

          It's amazing. When you're part of a writing critique group, you can drink from the fountain of knowledge, and get your thirst quenched every time.

       Last night we met, and here are just a few things I learned:

  • Sometimes gold is unearthed when you're digging for potatoes.
       One member ("Cammy"* Her name is changed to protect the guilty) has pulled the same prank twice in a row. She professes to "have nothing" and then the most brilliant thing in the world reveals itself on the pages of her piece. Sometimes an older piece that we've set aside--for whatever reason--is a true gem. (ELynn and I didn't fall for it this time; we're too savvy. Galinda took Cammy's bait--hook, line and sinker. We're now calling them Cammy's POOB stories--"Pull Out Of Butt" pieces, because it's as if she reaches down and pulls them out of her rear end...)

       Scour your files and folders. You just might have something that's a true gem. 

  • Five wheels are better than four. One of our members had a "business dinner" (wink wink) last night, and was MIA. The night was quieter, no police were called due to excessive laughter, and substitute snorters were called into action.
     In a great group, each person has something different to offer, and is integral.

  • If one member is of the same "age" as you, and informs the group that apricots make her explosively gassy, it is not a good idea to take the leftover dried apricots and gobble them on the drive home to test her claim.  Blast off!
    • Along with the pajama jeans I already ordered, I am also going to order a "gut-butt dickey." One of the WWWP's lives in pajama jeans in the evening hours; her endorsement of them made my fingers do the dialing right away (before they ran out). Now I'm going to order a gut-butt dickey (and a few for my friends).
           ("What is it?" It's a band of elasticized fabric that fits around your middle, making it appear as if you have a different-colored t-shirt under your other shirt. It's real purpose: to hide your "muffin top" and any cracks that might appear.)

          I think all of the commuters that ride Pearl's bus should get one of these. However, from the sounds of it, they might wear nothing but the gut-butt dickey. 

             More lessons and tidbits will be shared after our next meeting. Stay tuned...


    Monday, March 5, 2012

    Super Donna

             Donna Volkenannt is the writer we'd all like to be. She is humble (to a fault). She doesn't talk about what she should write. She simply writes. And she
            doesn't           give           up...

            Recently named first place winner in the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition, Donna was surprised. The folks who know her and know her work? Not so surprised. The competition? Over 500. 

            Congratulations, Donna. And in honor of two great writers, Erma and Donna, I will share one of my favorite Erma Bombeck stories.

    Erma Bombeck
    photo by sitsgirls

          Erma and her family were on vacation. Her husband was the type that would not stop the car. No sit-down lunches. No break to stretch out. Keep it movin', he maintained.

          Erma and the kids pleaded with him to pick an exit. "There's a restaurant that looks good," they'd beg, but the car continued on, hurtling past every spot they spied. 

          Digging into her purse, Erma offered her husband a piece of chocolate. "That'd be great," he replied. And thoughtful wife that she was, Erma unwrapped the piece of chocolate and handed it to her husband.

          'We'll be stopping soon,' she thought. 'He thought it was chocolate but really, it's Ex-Lax...' 

    Sunday, March 4, 2012

    Let's Make a Deal

           Right now, an illustrator (Mark) is busily working on drawings for my picture book. Probably tirelessly tiredly as well, because he also has a full-time job, chickens to tend and hounds-from-hell to corral.

           This has been a drawn-out process. I initially begged my daugher (who is also an artist, besides an extraordinary mother), but keeping pace with my four-year old granddaughter left her no time or energy for it.  Enter Mark. 

            I have no money to entice him, but that's okay. Mark is just as whorish as I am. He's eager to get his name on the cover of a book. And he's taking the task quite seriously.

            A week ago, I went to the Saturday Writers meeting, and something that Joe Schwartz* said hit me like a freight train.

            He mentioned that he is broke, so when he needs someone to edit, he offers to mow their grass or change their oil. He doesn't have the money, but he does have skills he can barter with. He does the same thing when he needs a bookcover designed. 

    photo by amanda (slh)

           Right now there is not much grass to mow, and nobody would want to drive their car after I changed the oil in it, but I do make a mean batch of fudge. It takes four hours  to make this fudge, but it's well worth it.** 

           So, I'm going to hold the proverbial carrot in front of Mark. For every illustration he finishes, I am going to make his some fudge or some Symphony brownies or some other chocolate delicacy. (He is a chocoholic just like me.)

         It seems only fair...

    * Joe was so persuasive, he convinced me to get onto facebook, which is indeed miraculous...

    ** The fudge does take an extraordinary time to finish. Five minutes to cook, and 3 hours and 55 minutes to cool.