The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Why Write?

 a Savage Chickens cartoon by Doug Savage

      Doug Savage, over at Savage Chickens, almost always makes me laugh. He draws wonderful cartoons, usually featuring chickens, and he does it all on post-it notes. Amazing!

       And while I chuckled, I wondered...Why indeed? Why do we write? It rarely pays--or doesn't pay much--and it can be incredibly frustrating and time-consuming. So why do we continue sitting down to a blank page day after day?

       Of course, if you're Pearl, you write because you have 1.8 million followers (and every day, 217 more add themselves to the list). She manages to conjure incredibly hilarious urban tales about riding the bus and her cubicle mates and her cats. If she didn't post, a disgruntled mob would rise up and wreak havoc.

          If you're Fireblossom or Mama Zen, who write mind-blowing, teeth-gnashing poetry (you gnash your teeth because you didn't write it), you write because...well, I guess they write because they must. Their words and their thoughts must be like a geyser that has to find a way to vent. (And if you're Marcia Gaye, another poet friend of mine, you write because you're so good at it and you win local and state poetry contests. (Has the madness gone beyond Missouri, Marcia? Let me know...)

      If you're Val, you write because the're a geyser inside of you, too, but it's a geyser of snarkiness. I think, if Val did not write, one of her kids or her bumbling husband or  one of the goats or chickens would...well, I think something unexpectedly horrific would happen to them. Plus, she likes to flaunt her knowledge of Seinfeld (she and I often have duels, but she is always the victor), along with every other television show, movie and song that's ever been written.

      If you're Donna Volkenannt, you write because you have to keep your pen limber for the next international Erma Bombeck humor contest. (She was the most recent winner.) Or the next anthology to come out. When a collection comes out, you'll invariably find a story by Donna.

     If you're Linda O'Connell, a fellow WWWP, you write because your keyboard's on fire. Linda has a writing goal, and she's burning to achieve it. (Ask her what the goal is. She might tell you.)

    And if you're one of the other WWWPs (Wild Women Wielding Pens)--Lynn Obermoeller, T'Mara Goodsell, or Beth M. Wood--you write because you're prodded and encouraged and cajoled and begged to write. The five of us support each other and keep each other on the writing path...

      Doug Savage, on his little biographical page, spoke about being an artist. He said, "Creativity is a bit like a stubborn weed that won’t die: the roots run deep enough that it will keep growing back under the right conditions."

        What simile would you use to describe the writing process or creativity? Or, what are the "roots" of your writing like? 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Unless You Have Sugar...

         I read a great quote recently, a twist on another really old quote. It went something like, "If you take lemon and turn it into lemonade, unless you're also adding water and some sugar, you're going to have really sour lemonade."

        On Monday I got the news that my story, "There's No Ceiling On Dreams," will be published in the Chicken Soup for the Soul's The Power of Positive. (It will go on sale on October 23.)

        That positive news helps sweeten up some of the setbacks that all writers have. No news. Bad news. Waiting-on-pins-and-needles...nothing new about that

        My story is about when my students and I each hung up a cloud from the ceiling of our classroom. We each put our dream on a cloud. Who knew what the impact of magic markering unspoken dreams onto posterboard would be...

        If we don't sweeten up our life of writing, it gets bitter. Facing rejection on a regular basis is tough, so we have to put some pockets of pleasure into our routine--otherwise we'd give up. 

        What do you do to keep yourself going? What technique do you use...what activity do you engage in...what mantra do you mumble to sweeten up your writing life?

(How would you like to sit back in a comfy chair and listen to C. Hope Clark talk about writing? You can, if you go here. It's a wonderful podcast, jam-packed with humor and self-deprecation and advice.)



Sunday, July 22, 2012

You're a Poet...And You Might Not Even Know It

          Fireblossom was asked to tell 7 things about herself. Instead of noting things like she loves Bolthouse Farms Vanilla Chai Tea (she does), or she has a wonder dog named Bosco (she does), or she loves the color red (she does indeed), she wrote a gorgeous poem.

         No simple, numbered list. No bulleted bits of information. No, that would have been waaaaaaay too easy for Fireblossom.

        So I'm going to ask anyone who happens upon this post to write a poem telling us something about yourself. It could be a couplet, it could be haiku, it could be a free verse poem, it could be a limerick...the possibilities are endless. 

        Then, read her poem. And gnash your teeth over it. I know I am...

        (Here's mine:)

You really want to know 'bout Sioux?
You want it false or want it true?
She's gotta hard head,
Under hair that's fake red,
And loves tragic movies--who knew?

Now it's your turn...