Monday, August 31, 2009

A Connection

Somewhere between my place and yours are avenues and terraces, highways and interstates. Hills and valleys, and maybe oceans, too. We are separated by states, some of us by countries, but also by lifetimes and lifestyles.


We have mismatched backgrounds, careers, beliefs and value systems. You may like red, when I like blue. I'm a coffee and tea person, and you? You might enjoy beer and soda. I like to be inside, whereas you're outdoorsy. Our tastes are different, our styles, our preferences.


Yet still, here we are, together again. We are drawn together, no? Within each other we find something we didn't know we were missing, a common ground despite the variances. A similar dream, a parallel path, something to relate to.

And suddenly, there's not so much between my place and yours.

Isn't this nice, this connection at the click of a button? Isn't it awesome how no distance is too far, no difference is too strong?

Friday, August 28, 2009

It All Comes Together

This is my favorite corner of the house. I love the way it looks, love its flow. Upon first glance, you'd never know how much work went into it. It was newly crafted - an addition, so to speak - when we extended the front wall of our house by four feet.
Time and labor went into this space's foundational construction. Tools and measurement were involved; a discerning eye with vision. Eventually, it took its shape. Then doors and windows, each necessary filler, were added, too.
The walls were next, and they needed warmth. There were moments of hesitation and doubt, when our chosen hue looked all wrong. But with faith and patience, we plowed ahead. And found the result we'd been hoping for.
Flooring took outside help. We called on friends and professionals alike; each offered help in some way. They understood our desires, gave advice, sweated alongside us, helped the potential become reality.
There was finish work, like sanding the rough edges from the ceiling beams, adding a bit of trim to cover those seams.
It was all coming together. We could see its end.
And then the real fun began, for me, with the final touches. It was my favorite part. Waiting for the right inspiration, for what pretties should go where. Some is functional, like the bench that both seats a visitor removing shoes, and holds daughters' games and puzzles. Some is aesthetic, with popping colors and subtle beauty. I like the contrast of old with new. I like that many items were repurposed, used in an unintended way. And how there are little pieces that pull it all together.
It's my favorite corner.
Kinda reminds me of writing.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Shall We Play a Game?

I like to brainstorm. You?

It's a simple way to kickstart creative thought, to exercise a writer's most important muscle.

And so let's play a game! Let's brainstorm as many greetings and salutations as we can.

What words or phrases do you use? What about your characters?

Get creative!

*A loud round of applause goes to the first person to correctly identify the movie from which I pulled the post title. (If my sister is reading: Jill, you don't count. :P ) ETA: I'm adding a hint. It's from the 80's. Think computers.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Shoes of Worth

The pair of shoes chose me, I thought. They waved from the display, their simple style with subtle detail catching my eye. They were Janna shoes, casual flats, and I was enamored by their rosy hue. The fact that they peeped an adorable hello from beneath the cuff of my jeans excited me about fall's wardrobe possibilities.

I was going to buy them.

Until I got to the register, where, somehow, their presentation seemed different. The color wasn't so warm a rose. The stitching was shoddy. The soles looked like cheap rubber slapped on with little care. They were not Janna shoes.

Was it the light? A more perceptive eye or change in my mood? What made me see the shoes differently?

Writing is this way, you know. We can work a piece with feelings of love. It's perfect. We envision where it's going and what it might do. And then with no warning we see the piece through different eyes. The mechanics are jumbled, it just doesn't flow. The voice isn't right. And suddenly we don't love it anymore.

What happens? What is it that makes such a difference?

And how do we know when we really have something of worth?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Stinky Cheese and Doubt

I admit it. I've been avoiding my WIP like it's a piece of stinky cheese. Like it's a lamp I don't want to dust, or a phone call I don't want to make.

Like I'm a busy person who chooses to spend her downtime doing less productive things, continually shrugging off the needy manuscript.

But also because I allow myself to be overwhelmed. I become stunted by the fact that I need another 50- or 60,000 words, instead of considering I've already succeeded with 20,000. Because the voice of doubt and negativity rumbles loud and long.

Because if I don't work hard, I don't risk rejection and failure of grand proportion.

Sometimes it's easier just to play around online. Or to put an hour's time and thought into a great blog post. And avoid my writing by visiting others to talk about writing.

It's a phase. It's a mood. I have them often. It's part of this way my brain is wired, part of my undisciplined nature. It's part of my struggle.

But it's like a reverse psychology thing. I start to feel guilty, undeserving, untalented. And then it's like I have something to prove. And I write again.

I kicked almost 1000 words out yesterday, and it felt good. I told myself this is all I need. To focus on one scene, one section at a time, consistently. To work toward smaller goals that, in turn, grow one large one.

And that's all I can do, right? It's all any of us can do?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


I misspelled answer as anwser in the fifth grade, and it lost me the bee. Silly w.

Potassium supplements have banished my daily headaches, and I now deal with just one or two debilitating migraines a month. It's a serious improvement, and I'm very thankful.

Ink pens are few and far between at my house. Where do they all go?

My eyelashes are uber long. (Thanks, Dad.)

My kids are six and four, but I still carry baby wipes. They're just so handy.

I once had desire to play basketball. But I found singing and, later, writing.

Lionel Ritchie, in my book? Rocks.

Those are seven things you probably didn't know about me. Sharla (she's a little salty) made me share, because she gifted me with the Kreativ Blogger award. And because I accept, I'm to pass it to 7 additional bloggers.

Watch how I do this...

You, her, him, you, you, you and her.

Seriously, I'd like each of you to leave your SEVEN in the comments section. And then, should you so desire, post the award (as seen above) on your blog. Here are the official (somewhat breakable) rules:

1) Thank the person who nominated you for the award. 2) Copy the above logo into your own blog. 3) Link to the person who nominated you. 4) Nominate seven others who you deem worthy! 5) List seven things about you that people may not know. 6) Post links to the seven blogs you award. 7) Leave comments on the awarded blogs, letting them know.

Thank you, Sharla! And thank you, all, for your awesome blogs!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Writing On My Mind

We walked the carnival last night, my hubby, kids, sister-in-law and me. Voices carried from rides and booths, lights were colored and beautiful. As we reached the edge of the park, I asked my husband to snap a picture of the imposing and stories-tall ferris wheel. "I can use the photo for a post. Tie it into writing, with some kind of analogy."

"We're at the state fair, and you're thinking about writing?" my sister-in-law asked, surprised. And I could see her point, given we were surrounded by farm animals, live bands, jumbo corn dogs, company displays and advertisements, balloon hats, face-painting, funnel cakes, kid crafts, art contests, a circus and various shows and performances.

"Absolutely," I answered. "I can't tell you how many times I've thought about writing today."

That's true far more often than it's not, because writing is a mindset and a love. It's an existence for me. As a writer, I am the writing.

It's thought over what I'll write next, what I'll share here on Something She Wrote, what would work for an article or flash fiction piece. It's the people-watching, character-building, wondering if so-and-so over there feels their path as strongly as I feel mine. It's idle talk about jobs and passions, realizing mine and who I want to be. It has to do with how I present myself, and how I perceive myself, how prepared I'll be down the line. About my dreams, my talents, my blessings and my hopes. Keeping my eyes and ears open to opportunity and potential, knowing every little observance and nuance and experience shapes my craft. You know?

So yeah, I was at the state fair, thinking about writing. It's a cycle. A ride, with ups and downs, elations and concerns. And just like the ferris wheel turns its circle, its cars returning to the same place again and again, my thoughts return to this writing I do.

How heavily do thoughts of writing weigh on your mind?

Friday, August 14, 2009


I've been told Blogger hasn't delivered my post from this morning to readers' inboxes. Here's hoping this post will kick it up.

If you haven't read Power, check it out!

Have a great weekend, everyone.


There are times I feel powerful. Like when I lift and carry forty pounds of sleeping daughter up our long flight of stairs. When I drive with aggressive confidence through six lanes of rush-hour traffic. Or when I've opportunity to say the right thing, offer a warm hug, lift a soul up.

But mostly, it's when I write.

It might start out a small feeling, just a hint needing cultivation, as the first threads of creativity take hold. And then, as my idea forms, the words gather and a sense of efficacy latches on, wanting more. It builds. And later, after I've written, once I've shared and people have read, absorbed, related, when they've told me they connected, laughed, enjoyed...

There it is: POWER.

When do you feel powerful?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Thank God for the Yogurt Cup

Sometimes, you know, stuff happens. Sometimes, if you're lucky, that stuff makes you giggle madly. Just before you realize it makes good fodder for fiction.

Allow me to set the scene:

Annual church float trip. Our group has descended upon the campground, covered it with tents. We've visited, eaten and had campfire, and my family, because bedtime approacheth, have walked the hill to the public restroom, ensuring no need for mid-night traipses to the potty.

We four have settled among pillows and atop semi-cushy blankets. We listen to the whir of the electric fan my husband has rigged to a car battery, think dreamy thoughts. Sleep takes first one, and the next, another, me.

But soon (all-too-soon) I am awakened.

I try to ignore it, the reason I've come to. Because it's not that bad. Because really, could I tippy-toe to the tent flap over three mounded and peaceful bodies? Could I unzip it soundlessly, climb out, traverse the rocky, tree root-laden ground with my clumsy nature and ridiculous nearsighted eyes? It's got to be, what, one in the morning? It's too dark, it's too late, it's too much an inconvenience.

Oh, but no. Something has to be done. Because I really have to piddle.

I try to coax my bladder into surrender, just until morning. Please. But it doesn't work, and I have to brainstorm. There's got to be something I can do from within the comforts of our tent. Now.

My thoughts slam into memory of the empty yogurt cup my daughter carried around early in the day. The yogurt cup I tossed in my bag, the one within my reach, telling myself it could come in handy for camping. For some purpose.

Thank God for the yogurt cup.

And so, well, you know. In the corner of the tent, right next to a handy slot that opens to outside.

Fill. Dump. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

In retrospect, it may have been easier to walk the hill.

I lie back, settling in once again. And I giggle madly.

That's good fodder.

Monday, August 10, 2009

All It Takes

I have a friend who dabbles in writing. She has pondered plots and researched the industry; she has studied others' writing and desires to pen something amazing, maybe a novel. I've seen some of her stuff, and I believe she has untapped talent.

Still, she's considered what it takes, beyond vision and creativity.

Markets are often overwhelming, and competition can be devastating. Publication is rare, given the odds, every little step. All this means determination and discipline are necessary. Time and patience are required. And required some more. Many know the list continues.

She recently decided she's not ready to commit. Not yet, anyway, and I admire her respectful withdrawal from the race.

I also feel buoyed by it. I feel encouraged, in fact, because I realize how deep-rooted my want is. I realize that I want success, no matter the commitment. And I'm willing.

I commit.

Do you?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Peace, and Then It's Gone

Last night my family left. And I washed dishes.

It had been weeks, months, since I'd handwashed a dish, save an errant pot. It had been hours, days, since I'd had any time to myself. So I shooed them to the pool and eyed the sinkful of cups and plates and odd things, the ones that hadn't fit in the dishwasher's last load.

Silence--finally--fell over the house.

At the sink, I lost myself in the blue of the Dawn, the slip of the bubbles. I focused on the pull of my hamstrings as they stretched to lock my knees, felt the cold metal hardware as I leaned my forehead into the cabinet. My fingers swam the warm water, not quite as hot as I like it to be.

I'd forgotten how peaceful and relaxing washing dishes could be. I was reminded how important--no, dire--quiet is for this thinker, writer, woman.

I hummed a song. I plotted dinner. I heard my thoughts.

I summoned the main character from my WIP, whom I hadn't seen in at least a week. She stood next to me at the sink; we chatted just a bit. But before I could beg her to stay the evening, my family returned and she made a graceful exit.

The dishes were done.

The peace, gone until next time.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

"Book Club for the Homeless"

by Jennifer Wren
People magazine
August 10, 2009 issue

For years Peter Resnik [64], a high-powered Boston lawyer, passed homeless people walking through the park on his way to work. But in 2007 he struck up a casual conversation with one of them, Rob, and now they're the unlikeliest of friends. "As we talked about his life, I could identify with who he was as a person," Peter says. He and Rob (who doesn't want his last name used) had deep discussions about books that Peter brought, such as Water for Elephants and The Kite Runner. After Rob, 50, loaned one of the books to another homeless man last year, an idea was hatched. Peter and outreach worker Ron Tibbetts set up the book club (

Now every Tuesday, about eight men and women meet at a church for literary talk. During those hours, members gain confidence and build friendships--a welcome break from the harsh realities they face. "It takes my mind off my problems," says Jamie Johnson, 50, who lives in a rooming house. "I'm using my intelligence for something other than watching TV all the time." To Rob, who secured housing in February 2008, "Reading is refreshing to me, [but] the best part is the friendship.

Monday, August 3, 2009


It's a grand idea. I'll gather information for the article proposal, note my personal experience, track down the editor's name and I'll be ready to--

Toilet paper. I have to remember toilet paper. A roll and a half isn't going to get this family of four past 3 o'clock. I'll just add it to my list, the one I have sitting here on my desk, right next to the...

Ooh! A couple new blog comments, I see. And Mom forwarded that recipe. Ooh, that looks reeeaaally goooood. Awesome. And... since I'm here... maybe I'll just check on Faceb--

"Mommy! I'm thirsty! Can I have some milk? And a snack? I'm hungry, too. When's dinner? I mean lunch. Did we have lunch yet?"/"Yes, sweetie. Remember, we had beenie weenies?"

Chumbawumba! That's that band's name. And the song, oh, what was that called? Tubthumping, yeah! I remember, like, back when I worked at Paradise Grill, that song would come on the radio as we prepped for lunch, and what'shername would crank it, and we'd--

Oh, shoot. What time is it? What day is it? I've got to get the car payment in the mail today. But do I have any stamps? I think I'm out of stamps. I'll have to run into town, to the post office, and maybe grab some toilet paper at the store. Which is just down the road from... The doctor. I really need to call and make that follow-up appointment with the doctor, too. I think I left my to-do list--

"Girls!? Why are there balled-up socks all over the kitchen floor? Can we pick them up? And the Barbies, too? I nearly fell over Alexa, you know how clumsy Mommy is. Please? Girls? I love you."

Thank You for my girls. Thank You for all my blessings. Please be with us, guide our paths. Help Dad, be with the church ladies, bless--

What is that smell? Is something burning? No, it's the dryer. The dryer? Good heavens, I--

Well here's the book I lost. How'd it get in here? Wish I had time to read it. Maybe in the loo later, since that's the only place I seem to have any down time. May if I could--

Cripes. I forgot toilet paper.