Archive for the Category »Musings of a Writer «

Hi everyone,

Just wanted to let you all know that I have traveled on over to the beautifully created and expertly contented blog of my dear blogging friend Crystal…The Reading Between the Wines Book Club. Come see what I have to say about romance novels and why I love them…you know you want to.

SO if you are looking for me, I am over there ;) Stop by Crystal’s blog and give a little comment to show your support. You will want to bookmark her blog after you see how awesome it is. So go check it out, go on now, get!

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National Novel Writing Month – Need I say more. I know lots of people do it, and for the first time ever, I am giving it a go. AAARRRRGGGHHHH.  Sorry had to get that out of my system.

Well, I am sure I am going to be one of those people that facebook made those bumper stickers for -

“Don’t talk to me unless you have coffee – NanNoWriMo Participant”

But oh well, I am sure I will have fun. If you have some stories to share about NaNoWriMo than feel free. I also wanted to mention something else I am participating in that ties in with NaNoWriMo – it’s called Create for Life.

Create for Life is the idea and dream of Lady Roisin; a writer, artist, and costume designer who also happened to have cancer. Roisin wanted to provide a means for the creative community to promote cancer awareness and raise money for a cure. Although she didn’t live to see her dream come fully to life, her husband Eli and her friend Dawn are going ahead with the event in her memory, in memory of all other loved ones lost to cancer, and in hope that we will one day see an end to the shadow this disease casts on our lives.

During the weekend of November 12 through 14, participating artists, writers, musicians, and craftspeople will practice the crafts they love in support of a cancer awareness and research. Having been inspired by Relay for Life, Create for Life works in a similar way. Participants seek sponsors for their projects, who agree to donate to the American Cancer Society.

My Mom has battled cancer for 10 years, my Uncle John died of lung cancer and my Grandmother; Peggy died of cancer on New Years Day 2009. I am writing for her on this specified weekend. If you want to donate a monetary amount of your choosing for each new chapter I write on that weekend, that would be incredible.

Athletes can run for a cure and now writers are coming together to write for a cure.

To pledge an amount, just send me a message with how much you are willing to commit per chapter and at the end of the weekend, I will send you a message detailing how much I wrote and how to give your donation to the American Cancer Society.

Writing is something I love, but my family is something I love more. I truly write for them.
So wish me Luck ;)

So many people have lost their job or are losing their jobs. It is a sad day to see the homeless counts rising every day, every hour. Some people are powerless to stop it, some who can stop it, choose to be powerless.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”  – Edmund Burke

It is a horrible time we live in. Constantly fearful for you job, always working overtime to make it paycheck to paycheck. Second and Final Notice bills coming in the mail. I have seen the pain in those around me and my heart bleeds for them. As a freelance journalist/writer, this is normal for me. Freelancers are always looking for work, even when they have some, because more than likely; it won’t last. We are dispensable. I know of so many fellow writers who can’t make their payments on their house, on their car, on anything. It gets harder day by day. It is one thing to watch the revenue slowly seep away, but another thing entirely to see hope seep away. I watch the hope leave the faces of friends, only to be replaced by a deep depression of utter hopelessness. They don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, they don’t see the future, they only see what they can’t do now. What is happening to them now. And, what is happening to them now is horrible.

Morris Mandel said:

The darkest hour has only 60 minutes.

But some people have a terrifyingly dark hour that is getting replaced by another hour just as dark. What about them? How do they pick themselves up off the floor and drag themselves another few feet through the muck? They exchange one set of chains for another.

“We feel free when we escape – even if it be but from the frying pan to the fire.”
Eric Hoffer

We can’t exchange one debt for another. We have to trudge on. We have to keep pulling ourselves through. Even if you are holding on by the tips of your fingernails, at least you are holding on. Just remember that even then, you are still holding on. Even when you feel alone, you aren’t. You can’t ever be alone.

“if we’re all alone, then we’re all together in that too”

That quote was from the movie P.S. I love you, and the following music video is by Ryan Star, who also sang a song for that movie. Listen to the words of this song and watch this video with a new found hope. Read the Lyrics and absorb them in. Take a deep breath and know that there are people who are trying to help. There are people who will not forget. If you feel like you have no one to unleash your burdens on, you can always give them to God. A lot of people, even those who don’t believe in God, tend to blame him for their struggles, for their pain. I have heard people say: “If there is a God, he certainly doesn’t care. He has put me through all of this.” You can be angry at Him, that’s OK, but keep talking to Him. He doesn’t give us anything bad, he may allow something bad into our lives, but it is always for a reason. I totally disagree with Mother Theresa on the whole “He never gives us more than we can handle.” Yeh, yes He does. He will allow us to go through much, much more than we can handle. SO He can help us handle it. Anyway just listen to this song. See the people standing there who look so alone, and remember that they are in it together.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUKO6yOWm-g]
She is fine, most of the time
She takes her days with a smile
Moves like a dancer in light
Spinning around to the sounds
But sometimes she falls down

CHORUS:
Breathe, just breathe
Take the world off your shoulders
And put it on me
Breathe, just breathe
Let the life that you live
Be all that you need

She likes New York at night
She dreams of running away
Shine on, bright like the sun
When even the sky turns grey

I need you to hear me say
I need you to hear me say

CHORUS:
Breathe, just breathe
Take the world off your shoulders
And put it on me
Breathe, just breathe
Let the life that you live
Be all that you need

Let go of the fear
Let go of the time
Let go of the ones
Who try to put you down
You’re gonna be fine
Don’t hold it inside
If you hurt right now
Then let it all come out

CHORUS:
Breathe, just breathe
Take the world off your shoulders
And put it on me

Breathe, just breathe
Let the life that you live
Be all that you need

Breathe, just breathe
Take the world off your shoulders
And put it on me

Breathe, just breathe
Let the life that you live
Be all that you need

Let go of the fear
Let go of the time
Let the life that you live
Be all that you need

Let go of the fear
Let go of the time
Take the world off your shoulders
And put it on me

“Writing is a solitary occupation. Family, friends, and society are the natural enemies of the writer. He must be alone, uninterrupted, and slightly savage if he is to sustain and complete an undertaking.”
 Jessamyn West

E. B. White (The Elements of Style – By Strunk and White)

I firmly believe that writing is a solitary existence. One reason being; that many people don’t understand your need to write. I have no choice but to write at home and try to find quiet locked away in a room…when I write, I get interrupted so many times that I made a sign and put it on the door of my writing room

“Do not enter! Writing in Progress!”

Did that change anything? NO! I still get interrupted many times thought a day. People don’t even knock anymore. I always explain that I need some privacy and do you know what my family tells me: “You’re only writing.”

Exactly my point. I am writing!!! But, they say it in the context of writing being something unimportant and unworthy of my time, certainly not worth their patience anyway. But to me? To me, my writing is everything. To me, writing is my escape, my passion, my love. Being a Christian, God does come first, but writing is definitely up there.

Writing is a solitary occupation. A writer needs utter quiet, stillness, so that maybe, just maybe the voices in his/her head will begin speaking and the muse will direct his/her pen. Interrupting a writer’s thought process is like derailing a train. Even if the writer can get the train back on its tracks, it will never be the same again, never whole, never what it was.

Anne Lamott, in her book Bird by Bird, mentions that she grew up in a home of writers and all her family friends were writers. They relied on each other and most of her family friends were single, living alone and now alcoholics. Marriages can fall apart if one person is a writer. The significant other can’t handle their partner being alone all the time, apart from them, they don’t understand. Marriages with writers may work better if both members are writers. This way both can get their alone time and understand one another completely.

Society, family and friends don’t understand a writer’s need to be alone and uninterrupted. I have noticed that my family thinks I am anti-social. I am not, but I do need my alone time. I spend more time alone with my pen and paper, laptop and a book than I do with anything else. And, I am ecstatic to be that way, but society declares that I am a loner, family gets upset and friends feel shunned.

The quote of the day for today was from Charlotte Bronte and read:

“I’m just going to write because I cannot help it.”

I do not go out of my way to be alone, but I can not write otherwise and I write because I can not help but write. Jessamyn West in the above quote was writing in saying a writer should be savage, a writer can be no other way.

Make no mistake: It is not that I have no life, it is that writing is my life.

Ok, so I have these moments, sometimes I just can’t write, almost as if I am too bored to write, but I am never tired of writing, I love it. Other times I am immediately inspired whether I want to be or not.

I noticed this week, something that helps inspire the muse to inspire me. Kind of a revelation really, one I am sure everyone else probably already knows…

When I can’t write, when words refuse to flow, when I am too buggered to write…my focus is internal. I am overwhelmed with my family or my life, I am worrying about things, not paying attention to things around me, I am secluded in a darkness that dwells within me, ready to swallow me every now and then. I am consumed with worry, stress etc, etc.

But when I am looking to the external, looking to the outward things, focusing on the things around me and not within me, I can’t help but write. Yesterday, a storm was brewing in our area, tornado making winds were rushing at us from the west, weather men were advising that thunderstorms with gale force winds would hit our area within an hour or two and people should take cover as soon as the sky changed.

Sky change? What? So, I looked outside and noticed the sky was perfect, clear crystal blue peeked from around white puffy clouds that reminded me of cotton. And they were forecasting a storm that could cause devastating damage? What? And then, I simply had to write about. I sat and wrote about the perfectness of the sky and the warmth in the air, I wrote of children playing and people laughing…all unaware that a storm was on the horizon, brewing and growing and would soon be upon them. Then I wrote about the storm too, its strength and ferocity and somehow I ended up with a goddess in the middle of the storm, angered at the townsfolk, their fates hanging in the balance of whether or not she would save them from impending disaster…and so the story went. I had no idea I was going to write that story, I didn’t have a single thought about it. It just flowed. Then this morning, I was driving home from dropping off my brother and the crisp morning air was breathing a new light into me. I was not frustrated at having to drive my bro somewhere, as I can sometimes be, I was focused on my surroundings and not on me. I was paying attention to the swaying grass, the whisper in the trees, the sunrise, the flowers blooming…and I was inspired. As soon as I got home, I was writing. I was describing what I had seen and before I could say “Muse” I was writing a story, about a magical celtic tree and a girl who woke beneath it, about flowers so bright they could only be called majestic, and without realizing, I had written another part of the story I had written last night, the story of the storm, and not it was the story of the storm and the tree. I hadn’t thought about it, hadn’t worried over it. It just happened. I was writing without thought, just flowing.

So, the more I focus on myself, the cares of the world and the worries of my family, I am internally focused and have nothing left to give to my writing. But when I am externally focused, relishing the greatness around me, watching people going by, noticing how they act, how flowers act, how trees whisper to one another, the different colors of the world as the sun rises and sets…I am inspired. I can’t help but write.

I think we all have that problem to an extent. Writers need to pay attention to what is going on around them, not what’s going on with them. How can we write about something in detail, when we haven’t noticed the details? Have you ever noticed that good writers include miniscule details about things that we have never noticed before?

Pay attention and you may see something you have never seen before. Look around you, use your senses, hear what is there to hear, and let it flow through you until you are left only one option…to write!

Some people disagree with fairytales? Why is that?

What makes a fairytale so wrong…I know Christian families who have decided not to let their children watch fairytale movies or read fairytale books. Why is that? What makes a fairytale unchristian? Ungodly?

Is Disney bad?

I don’t think so. Honestly I think you are doing wrong to a child by not allowing them to see what creativity and an inspired imagination can do. I don’t think watching The Little Mermaid swim in the sea, takes anything away from reading about Daniel in the Lion’s Den.

In fact, I think fairytales help us. I believe they help us exercise our imagination, strengthen our creativity and I think they give kids courage. Reading the Bible makes it apparent that God is here for us, with us, in us and around us but it also is clear on something else…Gos will not do everything for us. He will not make our lives perfect and ease all our troubles, not until we are with Him in paradise.

So we pray to gather strength from the Lord because we know that we can not conquer this world alone. I think fairytales can come in here…

“Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”
G.K. Chesterton

In Disney movies, evil is always conquered. There is always a happy ending. The Bible has a dragon destroyed, as does Sleeping Beauty. Miracles happen in the Bible and they happen in fairytales too. Ugly creatures are cured in the Bible, as is one in Beauty and the Beast.

What if, we explained the Christian significance of Sleeping Beauty to children? The people of the world are attacked by the devil, and now they sleep in their sin. They sleep in their pain. Waiting, waiting, waiting for a hero to come in and save the day. And low and behold…A prince. A prince comes to the rescue. Riding on his noble white steed, carrying his sword of truth and his shield of virtue. This prince is surrounded by thorns and sheds his blood in honor to rescue the waiting bride. Their banquet moves from earth to the clouds where they live in happiness.

So, this seems like a Biblical tale to me, just put into a way children can understand. I mean, correct me if I am wrong, but is not Jesus supposed to come: … dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations… as foretold in Revelation 19:13-15. And has not sleeping been a word for those dead? SO can we not use this verse: …the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air…as told in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18.

SO, it seems to me, reading fairytales is not a bad thing, not an ungodly thing and nothing you should prevent your child from doing. It saddens me to see 18 year olds, placed in the real world, going to public schools and being subjected to horrific language, poor influence, etc. and not being allowed to watch Disney movies, or read fairytales.

And don’t even get me started on the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. That is biblically oriented and comes out as a beautifully written, God-inspired fairytale.

Sorry for rambling, I just see no point in preventing children from being subjected to fairytales in the name of God. That saddens me and I don’t understand it. Writing and reading is such a beautiful gift and an exceptional way for people to share their creative imaginings with the world.

Let’s start with this quote that inspired me for this post…

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”
C.S. Lewis

How true? Has anyone felt this way? Had something like this happen?

I have. I remember one time specifically. I had been so excited about one of my first articles for Suite101.com. Mainly because it was my first article but also becuase I wrote it on one of my favorite books; Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon. So, I was so excited and had no one to share it with, so I just jotted a quick message about it on Facebook. As it turned out, a friend of the family saw it and contacted me.

We had one of those C.S. Lewis moments…What? You too? I thought I was the only one.

I didn’t know she liked those paranormal romance novels and she didn’t know I liked them. It was a revelatory moment. The next time we saw each other, we were able to talk books and share some with one another. A friendship had begun.

Books bring people together in ways nothing else can. Readers are unique and what they read more so. Readers are alone when they read. SOme of us like it that way because we meet the characters, but reading and writing is a lonely business.  Take these words by Jessamyn West: Writing is a solitary occupation. Family, friends, and society are the natural enemies of the writer. He must be alone, uninterrupted, and slightly savage if he is to sustain and complete an undertaking.” Even Moliere said: Books and marriage go ill together.” However, All readers must rememeber a very poignant fact…

“So now, all alone or not, you gotta walk ahead. Thing to remember is if we’re all alone, then we’re all together in that too.” – P.S. I love you

So, we are never really alone. There is always someone out there who feels just as  alone as we do, and maybe, just maybe…they are reading the same book you are.

WOW, so I feel the need to get something off my chest. My brothers are all grown up. When did this happen? Where was I?

I remember when two little boys would run up to me thinking I held the world in my hands…followed by a year where they thought I had cooties…followed by a year where they thought I was trying to be there Mom because I wouldn’t let them do something against their parent’s wishes…followed by a year where they decided they were too cool to hang out with their big sister…and I miss those boys. Where have they gone?

My younger brother is 19 years old and just got married. WHAT? Only 19? He is a baby!!! I know I can hear your exclamations. But he is quite mature for his age and has a good head on his shoulders…well most of the time anyway. And I thoroughly approve of his choice in wife…well most of the time anyway. haha no Just kidding. (sort of)

And now, just a couple of days ago my baby brother (17 currently) just graduated high-school. WOW. So now he is about to take his first steps into the big bad world out there.

I know, I know you all think I am wierd for caring so much…so let me explain something to you. My Mom was diagnosed with Cancer 10 years ago and for 10 years she has been fighting the fight of her life, for her life. So when chemo was running wild and she couldn’t get out of bed, I tried to be there for my baby bro’s. I tried to do the stuff around the house since Dad shouldn’t have to, I mean gosh he had enough on his plate with a job and an ailing wife, not to mention 3 kids.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I was no angel. I complained more than I cleaned. I fought more than I loved, and I hurt more than I laughed. It’s so wierd to see the joy slowly slip from your life, replaced with constant pain. You start to lose sight of the good little things and focus on all the bad little things. So, no. Though I tried to give all of myself to my family, I didn’t do a great job. I think I cried more than I smiled, but I loved harder than any one person should. I loved those two little boys and those persevering towers of strength that I call parents. I loved them with all I had and even what I didn’t. I still do. I hurt when they hurt. I cry when they cry. But I no longer smile when they smile. I am just too tired to smile anymore.

Don’t get me wrong. I have joy in my faith. I am a christian of the Lord who knows where I am going some day, but I am not there yet. God says he will wipe the tears from my eyes when I see Him, but I am not there yet. God never said life on earth would be easy and mine is so far from easy it is scary. Sure I know there are people in this world worse off than me, especially in Haiti right now, and I haven’t forgotten them. I pray for others (not for myself anymore) and I help others when I can (though I can no longer help myself).

So I take what little joy I can, and I find that in books. I find joy in being whisked away to a world that is not my own. A really good book holds the power to captivate you and enthrall you with the majesty of its words. A really good book makes you experience what the characters experience. You love with the protagonist and you suffer right along side him. Sure bad things happen in books, but you know what? There is always an end in sight. I know how far I have to go in the book before I see the happy ending. I think that’s why a lot of people like to read. You can bear the pain of a book because you know you will feel joy at the end. You know the end is coming. You see it. SO you stumble through the pages that make you cry because you know that somewhere a page will make you laugh. You have faith and hope in the words that form the pages in your hand.

This is the kind of feeling we should have about our own lives. We should have joy because we know then end is coming. It is just around the corner. After all this pain, these tears, these trials…we will have an immense joy if we know Christ has Lord.

But…there is a difference in reading and living a life of Faith in Christ. When you are reading a book, you are in control. You have the power. If you so choose, if you don’t like the trials and tribulations the characters suffer, there is only one thing you have to do…close the book. In life, you are never in control. Someone else pulls the stings… someone else closes the book.

SO…wow! I have no idea where I was going with that. In fact, if I hadn’t just been interrupted by one of my dogs, I could have kept going on that tangent. Geeze, talking about rambling.

In parting to you, I bid you happy reading, because you know what? Reading is sexy.

Though it is not a stable industry to be in, people have become enraptured with the idea of writing. Unsolicited manuscripts are popping up all over the place. You hear of bidding wars between publishing companies and million dollar contracts. So are people writing for the money, just trying to get a piece of the action and maybe five minutes of fame? or are people writing because they can’t imagine their life without it?

Do you write because your fingers feel bereft without writing? does your mind go into fits if you go without writing for too long? Does a day without writing feel like a day without air, a day where something so vital was missing that it threw everything off kilter?

Well I don’t know how y’all feel? but that’s how I feel. I have noticed that you must have passion to keep going in this industry, the writing industry. And not just any passion…you need to feel the pull so strong that no matter the consequences, you would give everything to tell your story. That uniquely YOU story that exists in your very core and begs to be released out into the world.

SO no matter the area of life I am in… the pain I am feeling… the fear I am experiencing… I will always do the inevitable course of action…

Write On!

 

 

Who do I want to write about? Who’s story do I want to tell?

A myriad of people from endless worlds and lives.
There are so many possibilities, so many options, so many paths to choose.

But isn’t that the beauty of writing?

Why do we read? we read to get lost in a world that is not our own. To escape the pangs of “Real Life”. To run from our pain and hide from our sorrow. It is easier for us to forget the strength of our own pain by delving into the mysteries of anothers. A book is where we meet people we may never get a chance to talk to. A place where we take adventures we would never get a chance to experience. In the world of a romance novel we become excited by the hidden desires that are torn from our chest and splayed across the pages. We lust and desire after Alpha-males…Men who are strong and courageous, who would jump in front of a bullet for us and slay a dragon in the hopes he might place a kiss upon our lips and wake us from eternal slumber. And while we read, in those times where the words come to life before our eyes, we are awakened. We are alive. Our passions we seek to hide in the light of day become stripped and revealed upon the pages. And in that world we are never alone. The characters don’t hurt us or leave us. We know we can open the book again and the character we fell in love with will always come back.
In a horror novel we hold our fears in our own hands. We face our fear on our own timing and if it becomes too much to bear we find the power to close the book. Then when we are ready, we can find the strength to face the monster another day and we always win. The monster always remains on the shelf until we desire to face him again.
Fantasy allows us to create that which we believe exists deep within ourselves. To bring forth the stories we heard as children and believe once again. If we want to pick up a wand and conjure a spell, we can. If we want to fall in love with vampires and werewolves we can do so. We can fly with fairies, dance with nymphs, swim with mermaids. No one can say these creatures don’t exist because for us they do. They are there. The page that introduces us to Nemo and his sea-fares is right there within our grasp. If you want to meet Dracula, I can introduce you. We can run and fly and swim and jump and dance even though our legs no longer move.

Books hold great powers amidst there pages. A book has the power to wrench our hearts from our chests. To make tears fall from our eyes when we believed there were no tears left. A book can make us laugh when we thought we would never laugh again. When reading a book, I can become so engrossed in the story that I want to scream for justice or shout in triumph.

And to write…
to know that you hold the pen that writes the words that can cause emotions to stir an icy soul. To have something you produced with your own hands live on long after you are gone. To know people may read the very words you published long after you, yourself are forgotten. Those pieces of you will always remain. Will always be there. The written word has the power to conjure hope and resurface lost memories.

To have the knowledge that you inspired another, that right there is the greatest gift.