The Friday Five – Randomness

Busy with gardening, freezing, and canning – so these really are random!

1. There’s always room for popcorn.

2. Putting a cat on a diet when you have 2 cats & one is Jack Spratt & his “wife” is the one who needs to go on a diet… well, it’s HARD!  (History of this nursery rhyme for those who love that kind of thing – like me!)

3. Snapping green beans is meditative.

4. Squash bugs & vine borers are the bane of this gardener’s existence!

5. Summer days can be heaven on earth… except when the humidity is 87%

Hope you are having a great Friday – and – the weekend is upon us!  YAY!

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It’s Caturday! – Frankie & the decoy journal

Since Frankenstein (aka Frankie) loves to lie on whatever I’m writing – I use a decoy to keep him off my real work. Although he was inching towards the original, he managed to keep his rear on the decoy journal! Love that cat!

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Very cool new technology – by accident!

Many inventions have been accidents…

Silly Putty 

Post-It Notes

Play Doh

and now this super-adsorbent material

Very cool stuff!

 

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Tech Tuesday – the internet news circa 1981!

And we complain about slow page loads!

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It’s Caturday! – Frankie, because…

He’s the cat!

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The Friday Five – Things always change…

This has been a quiet summer. One of my long-time neighbors moved ( :( ) (with plans to put their house up for sale soon), the grad student in the house across the alley got a job & moved, and the neighbors across the street are moving as I type this. All in all, I enjoy having neighbors & although I also enjoy the quiet, I have missed neighborly interactions. So, I’m anticipating new neighbors who will hopefully become new friends in the very near future!

Everything changes…

1. Seed to seedling

2. Seedling to bud

3. Bud to flower

4. Flower to fruit

5. Fruit to meal

I think there are enough possible metaphors in this to keep you busy for quite some time! Here’s my speed round in a writerly fashion…

1. Seed of an idea become a full-formed thought.

2. Thought begets the outline of a story

3. Outline becomes scenes.

4. Scenes become a first draft.

5. Edited draft becomes a readable story.

How about you? Any thoughts on the subject? I’d love to hear them! :)

 

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The Writer’s Abyss – or Why You Mustn’t Stop Writing!

Temporary Writer’s Block aside (what I consider temporary is when you aren’t sure where a story is going, grasping around for the next scene, wondering if this story is good enough, stumped on editorial fixes, etc.) – a writer cannot afford to stop writing. There is no reason good enough to stop writing.

THERE IS NO REASON GOOD ENOUGH TO STOP WRITING!

I am not kidding.

Temporarily having to ease up on a demanding writing schedule because of illness, family emergencies, or necessities of life is perfectly understandable and acceptable. But… that’s only easing up – writing still continues in random moments and shortened time blocks. Whatever you have going on in your life – writing must continue.

WRITING MUST CONTINUE!

Why?

Because when you stop writing your writing muscle atrophies. (The root of atrophy is traced back to the Greek for “lack of food.”) If you don’t feed your writing muscles – they weaken and eventually die from not being used.

If you’ve ever had an injury or illness that restricted your normal activities for any length of time, you may be well-acquainted with muscle atrophy. And you would also be familiar with the extra time and effort it takes to get your muscles back to normal – not to mention improving them! Writing muscles are no different. Atrophied writing muscles can be fatal to creativity if ignored.

ATROPHIED WRITING MUSCLES CAN BE FATAL TO CREATIVITY IF IGNORED!

For reals…

Some causes of writing muscle atrophy…

– continual negative responses to queries
– rewrites that don’t work
– marketing doesn’t get behind your book
– option book isn’t picked up
– agent doesn’t like newest manuscript
– reviews are bad
– sales are poor

The list goes on. But, none of these circumstances should cause a writer to stop writing. A writer writes no matter what.

A WRITER WRITES NO MATTER WHAT!

Discouragement and disappointment are rife in the business of publishing. Things don’t always happen the way a writer would like; maybe even rarely happen the way a writer dares to hope. However, if you let that get you down, you’re doomed to the abyss. The black hole of not writing kills creativity faster than anything.

NOT WRITING KILLS CREATIVITY FASTER THAN ANYTHING!

I know this for a fact. I’ve seen it in others and I’ve fallen prey to it myself. When you don’t write, creativity weakens. When you don’t write, your imagination wanes. When you don’t write, commonplace and hackneyed creep into your thinking and steal away even more of your creative strength. There is only one cure – writing.

THERE IS ONLY ONE CURE FOR ATROPHIED CREATIVITY – WRITING!

But, you might protest, it’s hard! Everything I’m writing IS commonplace and hackneyed. Everything I write is crap!

Well, dear writer… it probably is.

But, guess what? Use the writing muscle and watch it improve! If you’ve suffered an injury that required physical therapy, you know that the first visits to a physical therapist can be painful and humbling. Your muscles refuse to cooperate and your movement is limited. However, doing those (what may seem like silly or ineffectual) exercises begin to build muscle strength. As you progress, the exercises get harder, the muscles regenerate and soon you are moving with as much (if not more) ease than before.

This is true with writing, too. The more you exercise your creative writing muscles, the stronger and healthier they become.

THE MORE YOU EXERCISE YOUR CREATIVE WRITING MUSCLES, THE STRONGER AND HEALTHIER THEY BECOME!

I went through an atrophied creative period due to some writerly disappointments. One day as I was cleaning and putting to rights my office, I came across folders and notebooks overflowing with poetry, novel ideas, screenplays, even a non-fiction book I’d outlined. Wow! This creative treasure trove happened because I was writing! My time in the Writer’s Abyss happened because I wasn’t writing. I realized writers must write, all the time.

WRITERS MUST WRITE, ALL THE TIME!

Are your creative muscles atrophying? Well, STOP THAT! GET BUSY! Take a class. Write a poem. Do writing exercises. Write letters. Blog. Whatever you do, get out of the abyss! Your creative writing life depends on it!

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It’s Caturday! – Hungry kitty!

“Food now!” says Esmerelda.

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The Friday Five – some Stephen King quotes on writing & why…

Here are five quotes from Stephen King’s book, On Writing. Followed by my thoughts on them.

1. “The road to hell is paved with adverbs.”

And, it is. Cluttering up one’s writing with adverbs is an easy way to up word count, but a lousy way to put the imagination in the reader’s mind. Instead of saying someone “ran easily” – consider that they “loped.”  That is a much clearer visual for the reader, and adds depth to the scene.

2. “The scariest moment is always just before you start.”

Yes, indeed! Once you begin telling the story, you are “in it.” And once you are “in it” you’re more likely to want to get through it!

3. “Bad writing is more than a matter of shit syntax and faulty observation; bad writing usually arises from a stubborn refusal to tell stories about what people actually do — to face the fact, let us say, that murderers sometimes help old ladies cross the street.”

A good writer knows their characters inside and out. And no character should be one dimensional. Good writers know exactly what their characters will do — so much so that when they’re in tune with those characters, the characters will practically write the scenes for you. Once I stubbornly tried to make a character do what “I” wanted them to do and the story stopped working. When I stopped to think about what that character would actually do, it made the story go in a completely different, but absolutely right direction!

4. “If you intend to write as truthfully as you can, your days as a member of polite society are numbered.”

It goes without saying, that truth-telling in books can make a lot of people uncomfortable. But, an honest story is worth their discomfort. The truth will out! Besides, polite society can be less than exciting.

5. “The more you read, the less apt you are to make a fool of yourself with your pen or word processor.”

Yes. Yes. Yes. A writer is a reader. That’s the beginning and end of that story. Good books, bad books, fiction, non-fiction — Read. Read. Read. I believe I have learned just as much, if not more, about writing from reading a poorly written book than I have from just about any other kind.

I hope you are having a great Friday! And that your writing (and/or reading) is taking you places you’ve been longing to go!

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A skunk tale…

My kitty, Baxter, is an outdoor kitty (his choice, definitely not mine!)

Every morning he’s waiting on one of the porch chairs for his breakfast. This morning was no different.
However, when I opened the door, coming up the steps was a juvenile one of these!

By http://www.birdphotos.com (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


I was behind the screen door, Baxter (who, BTW, is fearless) glanced at me, and then at the skunk – but made no move.
The skunk cautiously mounted the next step. I can tell you – I had no intention of making any loud noises OR opening that screen! What I did was say, “Go away.”
The young skunk looked in my direction, then turned sideways on the step and lifted his tail. OMG! I held my breath – but no spraying happened. That emboldened me to say again, “Go away.”
Young skunk retreated one step down, turned to the other side, and lifted his tail! Again, I held my breath! All this time, Baxter is watching, motionless. No spray! Praise the Lord!
I repeated my entreaty, “Go away.”
And Young Skunk waddled down the remaining steps, shuffled across the yard (followed by Baxter’s cool (& my breathless) gaze, slipped over the wall, and tottered up the alley & away.
I opened the screen, Baxter hopped off the chair and over to his food dish. Much praising and petting and eating commenced.
The end.

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