The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I'm Thinkin' Positively

      I got an email today that my story "There's No Ceiling on Dreams" has made an initial cut for the Chicken Soup for the Soul book The Power of Positive. It's a story close to my heart, because it was about my students last year. Together, we hung our dreams from the ceiling in my classroom, and my dream came true.

 (I know, Linda. You have told all of us that they sometimes pull a story at the last minute, so I'm not counting my chickens for this Chicken Soup book before they hatch. But I am remaining hopeful.)

     I submitted two stories for this collection; the other one focused on a crime committed against a friend's son. He is now a paraplegic, but maintains a positive attitude despite having to adjust to life in a wheelchair. I worked on the story for quite a while, had my critique group help me with it, it simmered, was allowed to cool, and I heated it back up again several times before sending it off. I am assuming it did not make the cut.

    The other story was a harder write. I wanted to increase my chances at getting in this anthology by sending off more than one submission, so I started it, let it sit for a few weeks, added another paragraph or two, and let it sit some more. The other piece wrote itself. This one...not so much.

     What I find interesting although no one else will is that even though it's not an old piece that was worked on in my critique group last summer, and even though it was not critiqued by the WWWP's (Wild Women Wielding Pens), I channeled them. I would look at the story and--after hearing the same comments over and over ("Too darned many ellipsis, Sioux!"  "Tighten this up."  "Your ending needs more punch.")--I made some changes. I imagined Alice's red pen flying across the pages. In my mind I watched as Beth and Lynn and Tammy and Linda read my story-- and they gave me invaluable help even though it happened in my living room around midnight, and I was the only one in the room.

     Last week I thought, 'I'm going to hear about a submission sometime this week.' Didn't happen. I thought the same thing this week. I guess if I thought that long enough, eventually I would hear something. 

    How do you keep positive about your writing?



Monday, May 7, 2012

For Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)

This is my granddaughter. A little over a week ago, she lived about 14 minutes away. Now she lives 14 hours away...


      My daughter, her partner and their daughter (my one and only grandbaby) have embarked on a new adventure...a new phase of their lives.  In the background, I'm hearin' Pete Seeger singing, "To everything...there is a season." (Can you hear him, too? Listen closely.)

     This photo was taken Easter weekend. Riley got to ride on the carousel, and then obliged Grammy by posing after her ride had ended. And the music in my mind Joni Mitchell singing, "We're captive on a carousel of time."

      Time keeps spinning us around and we can't get off. We just have to hang on and embrace the parts that are joyous and endure the parts that are difficult, all the while becoming stronger.

      As a human being, as a writer, we go through different phases, different seasons. Some are more productive, some are marked by more compost than growth, but truly, we're always growing even if nothing visible is happening above the ground. (Peek deep down inside...Look. Foundations are developing, roots are stretching in all new directions. Growth is going on.) 

       What seasons of your life--as a writer or simply as a human being--are most memorable?