Posts filed under ‘writing’

Writers on Sculptors

cottrill-men-of-zanesvilleWe’re really fortunate here in Southeastern Ohio that we’re surrounded by some really fantastic artists and artisans.  My writing group and the group in Zanesville have been combing forces over the last few months on a project called Writers on…  Our first event was Writers on Painters.  This month it was Writers on Sculptors featuring the work of Alan Cottrill.  A visit to his studio is totally mind blowing.  His bronze sculptures are not just good, most of them are gigantic.  cottrill-man-in-distress-wholeThe samples here are not even the best of his work, but these are the ones that inspired stories from me.  cottrill-scared-man If you’re ever in the area, this is a great place to visit.  If you live too far away, click on the link and take a virtual tour.

March 13, 2009 at 4:31 pm 3 comments


My writing group has spent our last two meetings discussing writers who are making a living at this craft.  Not the bestsellers – the midlisters and those freelancers that are making ends meet at home with their writing.  To fit into this category, you must be a prolific writer with teflon skin to remain unscathed by rejection.  But even before you get to that point, you must be consistant.  A story a week, 52 stories a year at minimum.  Pages a day, a novel a year, minimum.  So we’re trying it this month.  A story a week, one for every week between our September meeting and our October meeting.  I write books for children, doesn’t it seem logical that I would also write short stories for children?  Well, no, that isn’t working at all.  But what is working are quirky adult tales that involve second chances.  Hmmm…never one to fight the muse, I’m going with it.

If money, family, jobs, or birth were not an object and you were told to select from the following, where would you choose to live?:  Forest, Beach, Desert or City.  I don’t know why I think about this all the time, but I do. 

It is nearly time for my annual attempt to land a major part in the community theater Christmas Play.  I have a plan that I can’t disclose now, but will be posting about if things fall into place sufficiently.  A guarantee that I won’t risk being “third bush beside the nativity”. 

There is a chance that I’ll be less scatterbrained tomorrow…let’s all hope so.

September 24, 2008 at 9:40 am 12 comments

Down with Adulthood

Just when you might have thought I’ve abandoned my goofy nature with all these posts on recycling and traumatized children…I can’t resist a new dog picture: Exhausted dog after spending a warm spring day with all five of my grandchildren.    Back in a few days…currently in a writing frenzy…

April 29, 2008 at 6:34 am 18 comments

Life and A Rogue Character

Now that we’re settled into our new little jewel box of a home, a few truths have emerged:

  • It grows larger any time you have to mop the floor.
  • One thing out of place makes the entire house look trashed.
  • Spiders that invade a small house are just as big as spiders that invade a large house.

After two days of breaking my back trying to get the garden in shape at this new house, I was very happy to see rain on Saturday.  This town was built on clay, you might think you have top soil, but it’s no more substantial than foundation and blush on a ladies face.  I had forgotten this fact after working on the gardens of my old house for 15 years.  Luckily, we had this early great weather, I’m nowhere near planting anything. 

Progress on my new book continues with the exception of my main character’s sidekick who has gone totally rogue.  I keep telling him I’m going to write him out and replace him with a girl if he doesn’t knock it off, but he’s not listening.  Lest you think I’ve gone totally insane, remember the story acts itself out in my head and I just record the action.  Despite this technique, I do have a plan and a rough outline for where I want the story to go…then something like this happens.  Punkin’ headed supporting character keeps pushing his way to the forefront. 


April 22, 2008 at 6:55 pm 8 comments

Writer’s Groups

Last night was the monthly meeting of my writing group.  Of all the committees and groups I’ve ever belonged to, this is my favorite.  There’s much debate in the writing world about the benefits of a writing group.  By its very nature, writing is a solitary pursuit.  But not all writers can continue to be productive without the stimulus of time spent with other writers.  I’m one of those writers.

Our writing group was formed in 2004 with the following purpose:  To provide a safe and inspirational place for local writers to assemble for motivation, inspiration, instruction, guidance and the resources needed to complete their work. We’ve stayed true to that purpose and while we have yet seen a member get something published traditionally, our group is as fresh and vibrant as it was the first day we met.  To a member, everyone is writing.   What started as a hand full of townies, has grown to a full page of names and e-mail addresses and includes members from towns as much as forty miles away.  Our membership includes fiction writers, journalists, playwrites, poets and historians.  We range in age from 17-73.

As I looked around the room last night I couldn’t help thinking we’re onto something.  We’re doing something right.  Some of our people have come from other groups that failed, but nobody has ever been able to clearly tell me what led to that failure.  I’d like to know, so that those mistakes don’t creep into our program.

Do you belong to a writers group?  Have you in the past?  Tell me about it.

April 17, 2008 at 4:03 pm 11 comments

They Know Me Here

Moving back to this small town after my hard won escape to the city is a little like moving back in with your parents after college or a business deal gone bad.  It’s not unpleasant.  Everything is familiar and fraught with memories.  There’s a certain level of soothing comfort to be found in a hometown.  The people at the local pizza shop say “Hey, we’re glad you’re back!”   I know where to go to get the best price on gas or a weird screw to fix an outlet cover. 

But just like moving back with your parents, you sacrifice a little privacy, a little freedom of movement.  The humming electricity of everything and everyone new and just waiting to be mastered doesn’t exist when you move back to where  you started.  I don’t regret my seperation from Pap or move to the city.  It served as a reminder that I’m more than just one of the characters this small town created.  More than just somebodies wife, or mother. 

There’s a scene in The Bridges of Madison County in which Meril Streep’s character explains that once women make a choice to get married and then have children they must stay still and steady to give their children an opportunity to move.  Eventually those moving children spin off on their own and by that time we mothers may have forgotten how to move much less the woman we were before they came along.  My move to the city reminded me how to move and that I can do it anywhere. 

April 7, 2008 at 2:49 pm 16 comments

“Practicing” Medicine

The phrase “practicing medicine” has always bugged me.  In my world we “practice” only until we’re qualified to “perform”.  We practiced hitting tennis balls into the garage door so we could ace an opponent in a match.  Practiced to a ticking metronome so we could play at a concert.  I wonder which people will benefit from the “practice” Pap’s doctors have had on him?

Today he goes in for more leg surgery.  Its outpatient this time, because through their practice the doctors have figured out they can do the same thing with a laser that they, just three years ago, did with a scalpel.  Too late for Pap, he’s already been marked up like Frankenstein.  In theory, this procedure will improve the circulation in his leg so that he doesn’t lose his foot.  It’s only a theory though, that was what the last two leg surgeries were supposed to do.  The heart by-pass was supposed to not just save him, but give him a new lease on life.  It gave him depression, phantom pains in his ribs and $160 a month in medications.  It gave him fear…fear of death, fear of throwing things, fear of sun, running, throwing a grandgirl into the air.  It gave him a half life.

I wonder, sometimes, if it were not for the family’s expectation that he was obligated to let his Doctors “practice” fixing him, if Pap would have just said no to all these procedures and passed on whenever his heart gave up.

March 4, 2008 at 5:17 pm 14 comments

How Do You Write?

Two years ago when I got serious about finishing more than the first chapter of the first book I started many years ago…I changed my writing habits.  I started, you see, as a horrendous self-editor.   Hours, days, months and years wasted because I couldn’t go on until every word of that first chapter was perfect.  An impossible, self-defeating, burdensome goal.  In the meantime, while I fussed and worried over whether to use “she leaped” or “she loped”, the characters from that first book were bugging the hell out of me.  I dreamed about the story, when I could sleep.  I swear a few of those characters tapped on my eyeballs from the inside in an effort to get out.   I tried writing short stories to make myself finish something…no luck, 1,500 words out of 2,000 and I was starting back at the beginning, because it just wasn’t perfect.  I was, quite literally, sick to death of talking about writing a book instead of doing it.

I started thinking about writing assignments in college, I always finished those and on time.  While I was usually unhappy with something, I had a deadline.  I finished all the stories I started when I wrote for the newspaper.  I had a deadline.  I finished the Evil Doctor’s book, first draft and edited, in four months.  I had a deadline.  So I set myself a deadline, 30-days (I write for children remember, average word count 35,000-55,000).  I did finish the first draft of that book and the book that came after it.  In there somewhere I started this blog, as an additional way to make myself just write without agonizing over every sentence.  In case you haven’t noticed…I rarely edit what I post up here.  I write like a maniac about whatever I’m going to and hit publish.  If I find a wart later… it bugs me to death, but I make it stay there.

Julianne is literally hitting the page like a wild fire, but these are ugly, ugly words and sentences.   This girl wants her story told, however, so the writing is easy.  I sit at the keyboard and she yells in my ear until I’m too tired to listen any more and wander off to bed.  The editing will be hard and tedious.

So, how do you write?

March 1, 2008 at 9:35 pm 19 comments

Rebellion by Kid and Other Stuff

You’ve surely heard the story about the six year old suspended from school for his mohawk?  This is disturbing on many levels.  First the mother, who can read the school dress code and has been warned twice before.  Second the school – come on, I can’t believe a bunch of six year olds spend more than one second noticing anybodies hair style.  To me the real issue is the mother using her little boy to rebel against “the man” and the school determined to “get her in line”.  At six, my son didn’t even notice he had hair, much less prefer one style to another.  I feel so sorry for this little boy a human pawn in an adult game.
Julianne’s Wheels of Fire, the book I’m currently writing, is zooming right along.  15,000 words since Monday.  Granted, they aren’t all great words….but that will come later.  While the time spent just writing instead of blogging was productive.  I miss hearing what everyone’s up to.  I missed the humor, contemplation, and sometimes even righteous anger I get from reading through my blogroll.  Apparently I need to learn how to strike a balance, so I can have both things.  Just as soon as that pesky day job is out of the way.

February 29, 2008 at 7:54 pm 12 comments

Hmmm….What’s This Called

Whatever the opposite of writer’s block is called, I have it…back on Friday, for today Julianne’s Wheels of Fire calls like a siren….

February 26, 2008 at 4:35 pm 7 comments

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The free-lance writer is the person who is paid per piece or per word or perhaps. (Robert Benchley)

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