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Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Nannie, pastor’s wife, operated her own business: virtuous woman.  I sat beside her, second pew.  She taught me hymn-singing harmony: my alto, her soprano.

Her house didn’t welcome children–busy street, scant yard, multicolored oval rug: indoor playground.  She reclined, exhausted, while I occupied my mind, exhausting dictionaries, encyclopedias, Vanderbilt‘s tome on etiquette.  Nannie rewarded me with Old Maid, Go Fish.  She taught me Chinese checkers.

Retirement released her like an aging rose.  I inhaled.  She taught me stiff rosebuds can become soft blooms.  She taught me to appreciate the subtle fragrance seemingly sealed behind her enigmatic smile–and mine.

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Mammaw shared coffee with Kathy, diluting the ten-year-old’s with “sweet milk” and sugar: “Boston coffee.”

Kathy kicked her chair’s metal legs, squirming when splits in its plastic seat snagged her nylon nightgown or pinched her bare legs.  Mammaw’s eyes smiled through black-rimmed glasses, shaped like butterfly wings.  They chatted like old friends between sips.

“Get your britches on, young-un!  We’re fixin’ to fetch you a purty from the dime store!”

Kathy grinned and scampered off.

Her dime store “pretty” lost to time, her memories of Mammaw last.  Smiling, she pours her grandchildren juice.  They chat like old friends between sips.

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Family Tree Clipart #1115564 by Johnny Sajem | Royalty-Free (RF) Stock ...I’ve become aware of a growing interest … concern … nagging sense of responsibility to preserve the memory of my family, what little I know of it.  As a writer, I know the importance of story to put color in the leaves and to put bark on the limbs of the family tree.  But how to marry genealogy and art?  I stumbled onto the 100-word story and found my answer.  The forced brevity disciplines the mind, distills diffuse elements of memory into the essence of why it has remained while other experiences faded with time.  In its slender vial one can capture the ethereal relationship between person-person, past-present for micro-examination … or imbibe its contents as a dose of recognition and antidote for the present experience: tetherless, rootless, windblown, discarded, forgotten before being known.

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New Year 2013 (PNG) | PSDGraphicsI’ve always resolved never to make New Year’s resolutions.  The reason?  They’re like rules, made to be broken.  Take my resolution not to make resolutions for one.  So why did I deviate from my norm this year?  Resolutions tend to be irresolute due to a lack of execution.  I decided to back up my resolutions with a daily and weekly plan to attain weekly, monthly, and annual goals.  I even made myself a weekly checklist.  For the sake of public accountability and in the interest of promoting writerly hubris, here is a summary of my 2013 Resolutions:

  • DAILY, I will open my Milky Way Home (sequel to Man in the Moon) file and write SOMETHING (even if it’s just the word “something”) and save it. But seriously, I’d better do more than that to meet my MONTHLY goal of 1-2 chapters and my ANNUAL goal of finishing the first draft by year’s end.
  • DAILY, I will accomplish one of my WEEKLY or MONTHLY tasks so I stay on target to accomplish these goals.
  • WEEKLY, I will “chat” with the characters of my dual-contemporary-historical fiction project and take notes to help with plot development; I will record a chapter of Man in the Moon for eventual mp3 audiobook download; and I will blog, post, and tweet here, there, and elsewhere.  Oh, and I’ll have to make progress toward a MONTHLY or ANNUAL goal each week, as well.
  • MONTHLY, I will complete a query or draft an article, which I’ll submit to a magazine; I will complete one brief audio “lesson” in a non-fiction series; tend to professional social networking; and accomplish at least one definite marketing task to promote my book and myself as a writer.
  • ANNUAL goals include 1-2 contest entries, at least 1 more story in my Mothers & Daughters collection, and some speaking engagements. I also want to resurrect my publisher’s web site and sell a Kindle version of Man in the Moon.

Gee, I’m tiring myself out just thinking of it all.  Of course, it’s all contingent on GOD willing and by His grace, but I can’t blame GOD for any laziness on my part.

I’m on track so far!  Chugga-chugga-choo-choo-I-think-I-can-I-think-I-can!  Now, if I just don’t run out of steam … . free Trains Clipart - Trains clipart - Trains graphics - Page 6

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First Drafts–Rough or Ready?

Thinking or Writing?

Thinking or Writing?

I know, I know … a first draft is supposed to be a rough draft.  I’m not supposed to stop and edit, take time to tinker with word choices and sentence structure, and rewrite my first chapter a dozen times before moving on to the next.  How can I expect to finish a novel that way?  No way!  I’m supposed to write as if running a sprint, not a marathon–full speed, stopping for nothing, not even to catch my breath.

Then, when I’ve reached the finished line … I won’t be finished.  I will discover I’ve been running the first lap of what is a marathon, after all.

I’m beginning to think this is hard for me because it isn’t the way anything else in life is supposed to be managed: marrying, raising children, cooking supper.  Is it?  Imagine if I ran a payroll (my day job) that way–just get it done and then fix the errors afterward.  But running payroll isn’t a creative endeavor … not like marriage, child-rearing, supper, art.

Art in Action

Art in Action

Watching a video of a young artist, drawing a face from out of blank canvas, helps me find my answer in a question.  A hint of a face, a rough sketch of a face, an almost face, a recognizable face, a remarkable face … what if she had to get the chin just so before she could let herself go … on … to freedom … to free the face, to free herself … to finish?

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GavelWhat makes me think I have the right to judge others?

Because I’m the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of Whyte Dove Press, that’s why.

Whyte Dove Press is having its First Annual World-wide Web Writers’ Contest.

$400 CASH PRIZES

NO ENTRY FEE!

This contest is open to anyone on the planet except me and the Associate Editor of Whyte Dove Press. Entries must be in English, but it doesn’t matter if English is your first, second, or humpteenth (a SE TX expression meaning a very large ordinal number) language.

Categories are Non-Fiction, Fiction, Poetry, Youth (ages 13-19 only), and Children (ages 12 and under).

There’s no limit to the number of entries you can submit, and since there is no entry fee, what have you got to lose? The only stipulation is that we have the right to publish winning pieces and the option to publish non-winning pieces on our web site for a limited period of time. That’s it.

For details, click on this link: CONTEST.

Best wishes!

Gavel Girl

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mother and daughter My story collection is finally taking shape. My mini-story, “Heirlooms”, and two short stories, “Violets are Purple” and “Blurdays” are on the Whyte Clouds page of the Whyte Dove Press web site (See My Publisher link in sidebar). And … deep breath … the prologue to my novel in the works is there, too. If any of you are novel readers and want to glimpse a dual novel in progress, I plan to let my publisher post excerpts periodically. I’d love hearing what you think.

Some mothers and daughters have such a tenuous, fragile, fractured relationship while others are closer than twin sisters. There’s hardly any in-between mother-daughter relationships. The stories in my Mothers and Daughters collection is fraught with the ambiguity and undercurrent of emotion so often found in the relationship–or at least, I hope my stories convey these things to readers.

Is the ending to “Violets are Purple” too abrupt?

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