Monday, August 6, 2018

Synchronicity

You know how sometimes, when you're feeling blue or out of sorts, you stumble upon something - a quote, a picture - just when you really need it? And before you know it, you're feeling a little better, more connected to yourself, to others? This happened to me recently with a batch of Marzi Wilson's Introvert Doodles.

I hope the following Doodles give you strength and make you smile, the way they do for me. (Oh, and the last one makes me think of all of you out there in the blogosphere!)


BRAVERY


APOLOGETIC



REAL FRIENDS


(I've mentioned Introvert Doodles - the website! the book! - on this blog before and you all already know I don't receive any compensation. I'm just a fan!)

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Feeling brave today? Are you living your life unapologetically? Do you consider online friends "real" friends? I know I do!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

IWSG: The Writer as Whippersnapper


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Maybe it's because I'm getting older, but this month's optional IWSG question - What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey? - got me thinking about two things I would tell the writing whippersnapper I once was. 

* DON'T bother defending yourself to others. *

I spent years trying to prove to people in my life that my writing was just as important as anyone else's job/career and that my time was just as valuable. Not only did it not make any difference, but it was also exhausting, draining me of energy I could've put toward my work. 

* DO focus on the joy. *  

Of creating, of imagining, of stories, of writing. Publication is thrilling and rejection stinks, but like Elizabeth Gilbert says in her book, Big Magic, "You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes and failures." Living a life in pursuit of a passion, dedicated to the journey and not the destination, is something to be proud of. 

This is what I would tell myself then.

This is what I remind myself of now. 

Question is - will either of us actually listen?

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Do these warnings sound familiar? What would you tell your younger writing self? Don't you just love the word "whippersnapper"? Have you read Big Magic?

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

When Icy is a Compliment

It's no secret I've been in a bit of a creative slump lately. Blame it on the heat. Blame it on the second season of Netflix's GLOW being over. Blame it on Ben and Jerry. Blame it on the old guy on the next treadmill who runs faster than I ever will (unless I'm chasing Ben and Jerry.)

Whatever the case, I had to do something. So when literary agent Janet Reid ran another flash fiction contest recently, instead of whining to the tortoises - again! - that I have no business being a writer, I pulled on my Minion pajama pants and got going.

I wrote with no expectations. I wanted to experiment, to reach. I wanted to stretch and tone that flabby creative muscle.

My entry made the finals.

The always encouraging and supportive Reiders rooted for my work.

Ms. Reid blew me away with her comments about my story.

And . . . I won!

I'm not sure who's happier - me or the tortoises. (After all, I can - and do - whine a lot.)

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For the contest, we had a maximum limit of 100 words and had to include the following - city, lie, sam, hawke, woo hoo. If you'd like to read all the finalists, click here. My story and Ms. Reid's comments (in blue) are below. 

Deer Momma

I shouldn't open the door when your working, but Mister Sam
said it was an emrgenz. The city is full of flew bugs!

We're going someplace safe, sekret. He'll keep a hawk eye on
me until you come. He's a nabor, not a stranger so it's okay. And I scarred of bugs.

Missus Woo came, yelled NO GO! ALL LIES! Missus Woo hooked
her fingers into claws, scratched Mister Sam's face! They fighted until she fell down asleep.

Mister Sam screamed HURRY! so I am.

Don't be scarred, Momma. See you soon!

Your sun Marty

This made me gasp out loud.  The story is icy, but what elevates this is that it's written in a vernacular of sorts, but you still understand every word. That's not as easy as it looks. 

Friday, July 13, 2018

When Motivation Melts

It's been a long hot summer - is it really only the middle of July? Sheesh! - and my creative oomph is melting like chocolate ice cream down the sides of a sugar cone.

So, if you're feeling the same, these quotes might help - two for keeping on track, one for a good chuckle.  

Wait . . . do you hear that? Voices from the freezer. Ben? Jerry? Uh-oh, I better rescue them! I'll need a spoon. You know, just in case things get yummy . . . uh, I mean messy.

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"Stop looking at what other people are doing
and look at what you're achieving.
Stop looking sideways,
look at where you're going."
(Jocelyn Glei)

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"WRITER'S BLOCK IS BROUGHT ON
BY WANTING TO WRITE WELL
AND FEARING YOU'RE NOT.
YOU DON'T HAVE TO WRITE WELL,
YOU HAVE TO REVISE WELL."
(Janet Reid)

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"I AM EDITING ONE BOOK 
AND DRAFTING ANOTHER,
MOVING FROM PJS TO YOGA PANTS AND BACK
WITHOUT EVER MAKING A STOP
BY ACTUAL CLOTHES."
(Joshilyn Jackson)

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How's your creative oomph and motivation holding up so far this summer? Any advice for keeping it from melting? Do you have a favorite ice cream or other stay-cool treat?  

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

IWSG: Elbow Room


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Last month, in When Life Gives You Lettuce, I talked about taking time this summer to re-evaluate and re-group, including spending less time on screens and social media.

So far, so good!

The funny thing is that even though I'm hunkering inside my shell, I actually feel . . . freer, lighter. (I even got my hair cut, back to my previous super short style!) I have "elbow room" now - emotionally, mentally, and physically. I'm focusing on what I really want to, including:

Writing - the horror novella is coming along, and I'm working on two short story subs with end of July deadlines.

Health - the "dreadmill" (aka treadmill) is no longer my frenemy but my actual friend - who knew?! - and is helping me with my walking/running. My focus is not so much on dropping pounds as it is improving heart health, strengthening muscles. It's definitely not about speed. (The tortoises are faster than I am. Seriously.)

I plan to stay relaxed yet focused, and make the most of all this glorious space, just waiting for me to breathe and create and dream and stretch . . . .

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How's your summer going so far? Feeling pressured? Relaxed? Any projects you're working on? Anything exciting happening? 

Monday, June 25, 2018

What If? - We All Float Down Here

Since my imagination likes to take a seemingly innocent, random scenario and twist it into something with slithering shadows and skittering claws, and because I often scare myself, I would really appreciate some company as we once again play the What If? game.

Scenario: You're driving along a quiet road when you notice a lone balloon bobbing and swaying in the grass near a drainage ditch, a sewer opening nearby. It's a Get Well Soon balloon - big and shiny - anchored in place by a plastic disc.

What if . . . the balloon was placed there to lure curious people over, and once the people were near, someone - or something - dragged them off into the woods, into the sewer?

What if . . . the balloon didn't land there but grew there? Is it the start of an alien crop, one where the balloons will burst into horrible monsters at harvest time?

What if . . . the balloon got loose, drifted from another time, another place? What if there once was a hospital on that land and something very, very bad happened?

What if . . . the balloon is like a grave marker and cannot be moved or popped, no matter how hard anyone tries? Who is buried there? What kind of magic - good or evil? - keeps the balloon in place?

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Your turn! And feel free to create some "nice" tales. Believe me, I already gave myself nightmares, thinking about egg-balloons hatching hideous monsters along the sides of roads . . . .

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Who Needs Sleep?

I love to read at night. You'll often find me curled up in a chair with a hot cup of tea, the house quiet, the blinds closed against the dark sky and all the slithering shadows. I'm also most likely reading something creepy, dark, scary. And while this absolutely goes against my cowardly, chicken-like nature, it gives me a delicious thrill that I refuse to give up.

So, when I came across this article - 11 Creepy Lines from Horror Books that are Honestly Terrifying - I couldn't read it fast enough. Here are some of my favorites:


"THERE WERE WORSE THINGS THAN CRUCIFIXION.
THERE WERE TEETH."
(The Stand by Stephen King)


"THE LAST MAN ON EARTH SAT ALONE IN A ROOM.
THERE WAS A KNOCK ON THE DOOR . . . "
(Knock by Frederic Brown)


"I HAVE NO MOUTH,  AND I MUST SCREAM."
(I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison)


Go ahead, read the whole article. But maybe wait until daylight. Or when you're not alone. Oh, you are alone? Um . . . then who or what (gulp!) is that creaking across the attic, right above your head . . . ?

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Do you enjoy reading at night? Are you a fan of creepy stories? Any favorites - books, TV shows, movies? Can you read/watch them before bed or is that just a nightmare waiting to happen?