Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Unique is the Calling

My daughter, with a friend who was telling jokes, grinned and giggled as young ones do. Once it became too much to handle, she begged of him, "Stop! Before I start bursting out my laughs!"

Her fresh phrase lit my radar, pinged somewhere really close.

Writers are called to be unique with wordage. We are charged with the task of new expression; with saying in a different way, burst out laughing.

If she can do it, without even thinking, I can do it. And so can you. We can do it.

So let's.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Delicious Pile of Books

I'd guess we all have bedside tables. I'd bet each is piled with books.

Wanna peek at mine?

The stack to the right is of those I've started reading. They are The Help by Kathryn Stockett (love it, flawless, will finish it first so it can return to the library), dwelling places by Vinita Hampton Wright (beautiful voice, excited to try her other titles), and Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer (want to finish the series, you know... and oh yes, Team Jacob).

Those on the left were purchased over the weekend. Brand new, under $2 a piece. (I made my husband drag me from the store, because I needed more books like a need a cracked tailbone.) I got Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt (RIP), Painted Dresses by Patricia Hickman, A Summer Affair by Elin Hilderbrand, and The Bondwoman's Narrative by Hannah Crafts. Each of their spines drew me in, as did their premises (save McCourt's, and his was the familiar name that did it).

Seriously, is there anything more appealing than a towering stack of books? (Well yes, but a towering stack of fudgy brownies has its own delicious benefits.)

Tell me, have you read any from my table? And what's yours look like?

Friday, September 25, 2009

10 Years

Today, but it was ten years ago. The weather was warm, the strong wind a relief. Anticipation flew on that wind, high above the beauty, lighting each place it pleased.

What we knew was, family and friends, some we'd not seen in months, years, would descend, observe, feast. Emotion would run high, celebration would commence. Our intention carried the day.

What we didn't know, the years ahead and all they would hold. Argument and misunderstanding, sorrow and mistakes. Doubt and a will to give up, days it didn't make sense.

But there's more.

Love, laughter, shared blessings no one knows but we two. And babies, precious babies. Learning you can communicate, that maybe you're together for a reason bigger than comprehension. Different people, different personalities. You can be that person to one another.

Ten years ago today, when I married him, I didn't know how difficult a journey it would be. I may have thought twice, three times, had I.

Nor did I know the struggles would make us stronger, help us build a better team, a better family. And that today, a decade after, I'd be thankful I stuck around, loving him more, loving him better.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

National Punctuation Day

You know, I don't normally post on Thursdays, but this is worth sharing...

It's National Punctuation Day!

It's fun. It's informative. And just a little bit nerdy.

Check the details here.

Photo found:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


My car refused to go, and so I sat, neighbor to barb-wire and a broken-down barn on a rural highway, waiting for rescue.

I was kicking myself for not grabbing that paperback I passed before leaving home. It's a new author, a new voice; it could have been research, a passing of the time.

Kicking myself, wishing I'd taken my laptop - if I'd only known - since I'd had to up and go, mid-zone. I'd left my WIP hanging. We could have been hanging together.

So I sat there, waiting to be claimed. Wishing this and wishing that, but getting none of it.

Have you ever been stranded? For what did you wish?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Can't Explain

I went to the library, all by myself. My intention to look for a particular title was waylaid. There were no instigations, no distractions from other people, no. What kept me from my plan, for only moments, was something not just anyone noticed. Not the way I noticed.

I stood, still and in awe, eyes and heart engaged.

New releases. They were lined just so, how do you call it? Staggered. So you could peep a view of each cover, get that first impression. Each stood, bold and proud. They announced arrival, but moreso attainment of a writer's destination.

I wanted to turn to other patrons and shout, "Do you see these? Do you understand how beautiful, how important they are? Do you know what these represent?"

And when the head librarian passed by, asking if she could help with anything, I wanted to cry, "This is my goal, do you know? Do you feel it! One day you and I will stand here together, and my book will occupy this spot we see."

I felt it. It was powerful, for only moments.

I just can't explain.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


I have a sister-in-law who is obsessed with Celtic Woman. Yes, obsessed, and she'll admit to it. She buys every c.d., every concert DVD, follows forums, hoardes details, travels nationwide for their shows. Obsessed.

I have a friend who's obsessed with vampires, a la Twilight. She admits it, too, and her obsession has spread to any number of the new vampiric television shows, and all the novels she can, um, sink her teeth into.

Obsession as defined by : a persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often unreasonable idea or feeling; compelling motivation.

It dawned on me moments ago that I should own up to my own obsession. You know, writing.

Friday, September 18, 2009

narrative vs. DIALOGUE

I struggle to balance them. Both are crucial, I admit. But for me, one's weight does not match the other.

I've learned I write with less narrative. My nature is to keep it at a minimum, to manipulate the words so that less narrative gives the more powerful effect I'm looking for. Because if I try to flesh things out, just for the sake of more, I lose the meaning and feel I was after.

Dialogue tips my scale the other way. I feel like so much of my story is told through characters' words. Details unfold, inflections and nuances hide. In longer works, I'm most comfortable in and around dialogue.

How is it for you? Is one heavier than the other?

Is there a "right" way, a perfect balance? Or, as with so many other aspects of writing, is it open to the writer's interpretation, the story, the voice?

Tell me what you think.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I asked my husband to read a little something I wrote. It's rare I do such a thing, because A) he's one busy dude and B) he's not my target audience. But he humored me. And when he didn't offer an immediate comment, I thought maybe my piece had touched a soft spot in him, in a way he had to absorb before sharing. That maybe he was moved by my talent, proud to have such a creative wife.

I finally asked his opinion, ready for praise. [Insert ego here.]

"It's way too detailed. Reading it wore me out."

I admit I was surprised--that's not what I thought. And then a little bummed--because that's not what I thought. But I didn't argue, didn't get defensive. I considered his simple words, and came to decide I was okay with them.

Because I'd asked to know what he thought, and I needed to be a big girl about his honest (if blunt) feedback. And because my potential is not hinged on his sole offering.

But mainly? It was a lesson to me. That among the good critiques and supportive comments, there will be those less so. That there will be people who don't like my writing. And I have to accept that. That's the reality.

Have you had a similar dose of reality?

Friday, September 11, 2009


Just for the weekend ahead. We'll leave this afternoon, aim east and then, ultimately, south.

Why south? you ask.

Because that's where love is.

And what's love?

Many things, actually, but it's first knowing there's a reason to go. Reason full of excitement and anticipation, and it gives way to need.

It's the journey, driving distant yet familiar roads; those that stretch out before you, and the ones back to your heart, too.

Love is the arrival; pulling up on memory from before, history, well-aware there is more where that came from.

It's the gathering of people you've known your entire life; people whose airs, mannerisms, noses reflect your own. Who have connection through blood, marriage, experience and name. It's hugs, laughter, music, food, reminiscence, games, pictures, stories and tears...


I sometimes think there's none greater.

So I'll be gone for a family reunion. I know I'll have a special weekend, and I hope you do, too.

*Remembering those lost 9/11/2001.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Does This Hat Make My Head Look Big?

I like you very much. And you like me, I'm pretty sure. I can tell because you're ever so kind with encouragement and compliments and well wishes.

You do wonders for my confidence. You inspire me greatly, and you flatter me.

But you're giving me a big head, and that just won't do.

So, to balance things out, could you maybe call me a name or somethin'? Pass an insult or criticism? Something to bring me back down after all your great comments?

Because I'm resolved to keeping my feet on the ground. I don't ever want to assume too much, or lose my appreciation, through any part of my journey, especially the further I get. Thanks and humility are incredibly important to me.

So I need you to stop bein' so stinkin' nice.


Monday, September 7, 2009

A Hobby I Call Writing

If you have a hobby, raise your hand.

I raised mine, as many around me did that day. I was eager to show my hand, to claim the thing I love, the one that takes my time.

But seconds later, as my hand returned to my lap, guilt settled nearby.

Mere hobby?

Can a hobby be so profound? So deep-seated as writing?

How silly of me to mislabel it. A hobby.

It won't happen again.


If you'd allow me a little more time, I'd love you to check out my flash fiction piece at Joyful Online. So Much More Than Hair appears through September, and is company to several touching stories. Read down the list if you're inclined, I know you'll enjoy them. Thanks!

And laboring or not, have a great Labor Day.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Window to Where?

It's just an old window frame. But I like to look beyond it and imagine.

What do you see through the window?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Something She Ate

Fall weather is pressing upon my part of the States, and it makes my palate picky. I want warm, aromatic, hearty meals. Quite like this simple meat and taters meal, here. Each part is a favorite and, well, when thrown together, it just sits well.

At the start of your day, place any frozen beef roast in your slow cooker. Open a can of Ro-Tel and drown the meat with its juices, tomatoes and peppers. That's all, no water needed. Set to low and let simmer all day. You'll love the smell as it fills the house, I promise.

Later in the evening, thinly slice potatoes of your choice. (4-6 small ones work for my family of 4.) Toss into a glass baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil (to taste), and liberally sprinkle with minced onions, sea salt and fresh-cracked pepper (also to taste). Stir well to mix and evenly cover potatoes. Cover and bake at 400 degrees for an hour to an hour-and-a-half -- adding a Tbs butter and stirring halfway through. (Alter time or temp if necessary.) This is my new favorite potato dish, especially when some slices are browned and crisp. *mwah*

Prepare a green vegetable side, like asparagus. Trim ends and place stalks in glass dish. Season with something like McCormick's parmesan herb, add a few pats of butter, cover with foil and "steam" in oven alongside those potatoes. Bake 20 minutes, or until tender.

Serve with homemade cornbread. Just use your favorite recipe.


And perhaps follow up with a chocolate crisp and vanilla ice cream...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

House Rules

As determined last night, dictated by each of my girls.

My six-year-old:
.1 Don't throw away plates until [the eater] says they are done.
.2 Don't hurt each other.
.3 Don't bug people.
.4 Don't lay on top of a truck.
.5 Hug people.
.6 Don't pick your nose.
.7 Don't slurp.

My four-year-old:
3. Don't pick up shoes.
4. Pick up toys in your room.
5. Pick up your house.
4. Pick up your Barbies.
5. Pick up your kitchen stuff.
3. Clean up any of your messes in the sink.
3. Always, always, always let your dog take a bath.

Rules worth living by, don't you think?

And here are my own:
Love one another.
Remember humility.
Believe in yourself.
Be yourself, with no excuses.
Whatever your favorite thing, allow it often.

What house rules would you add?