owl in winter

owl in winter

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

On Writing

I'm feeling somewhat timid, unsure even, about the current MIP. I'm seeing through the glass darkly,such as in the photograph above, but I'm looking.
Here's what I thought, when this idea was birthed in my mind, was that I was writing about a 30-ish woman, a new widow. What I thought I was going to do was explore her grief, her loss, her struggle and her ultimate triumph.
But, no.
Another woman, a much older woman, walked in and brought a much younger woman with her, and there I was faced with the idea of three, which appeals to me. I've done it before and didn't think I would do it again, but here these two are and they're usurping my 30-ish widow's place as the central character in the MIP, particularly the older one. The two younger women have taken risks, they've loved, they've lost, they've faced life head on because they had to do it but this older gal...now that I'm writing it down, I see her full on. She's older, 67 or so, and she's never faced a real challenge in her life. She's lived it safe. I have to wonder why she keeps trying to get my attention?
The ancients believed in the maiden, the mother, and the crone. I see I have all three here in my brain. Although I see this, I still feel mystified.
This manuscript is not going where I wanted it to go, or where I thought it would go, but I'm now thinking I'll let all three of these women speak and see where they end up. And I'll keep leafing through hair style magazines and fashion magazines and I'll investigate architecture and food, and farming and other things that will be equally important as I build a picture of these women in the reader's mind. I'll develop their history, their personalities, their quirks, their struggles, and I'll bring it to the page.
Fun times, being a writer.
Here's the other funny thing. You're not always in control.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

May 9, 2012. My first public appearance ever as the current president of the Springfield Writers' Guild. I spoke to the Teen Writers' Workshop at the Creamery, in Springfield, Missouri. My topic was, "Let Yourself be a Writer, Right Now."
My passion is writing. I believe in my writing, I believe in your writing, I believe that these earnest young kids are writers and have the same burning passion as those of us who have been down the road awhile. I listened to their voices on May 9th and I can tell you, these kids burn with enthusiasm, they have drive, they have a voice. It makes no difference that they're 17 or 18 years old; seriously, give me a break. These kids have voices and they're using what they have.
Therefore, as seasoned writers, we must encourage (not scare) these kids. We must mentor them, not threaten  or command them or act is if they will never be able to write unless they follow our directives.
Writing is subjective. As seasoned writers, we can guide, we can recommend, we can mold, we can teach, but we should never slap down the seed these talented young people are planting. We should never embarrass, strike or hurt their voice. We can only nurture, bolster, and bring their voices to the front line.
I am so proud to have been asked to be a part of these young writers' lives, for one night. There was so much I would have liked to have shared with them but I had a brief time with them. I do encourage each and every one of them to keep on keeping on with the craft. Keep moving forward, keep growing, keep moving.
It will come.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Blueberry, almond, lemon cake

Pretty good eatin' at the Erwin hacienda tonight. Oven barbequed chicken, hashbrown casserole, Californa Medley (broccoli, carrots and cauliflower), and, for dessert, Blueberry-Almond-Lemon cake. How delish.

Okay, here goes for the cake.

Take 1/2 cup blanched almonds and 2 TBSP sugar and gring them together until fine. I cleaned my coffee grinder and used it for this. It worked well.

In a bowl, sift 1 1/4 cups flour, 1 1/4 teas. baking powder and 1/4 teas. salt.. Drop the ground almonds in and stir to incorporate.

Okay, in another bowl, beat 1 cup sugar, 1/2 c. butter and the zest of one lemon until light and fluffy. Beat in 1/4 cup lemon juice and please use real lemons and forget the reconstituted lemon juice stuff. Okay. Now, four eggs, drop in one at a time, and beat until well blended. Take a vanilla bean, scrape the seeds of the vanilla bean and drop into the mixture, beat until combined. If you don't ahve a vanilla bean, drop in 1/2 teas. of vanilla extract, and 1/4 teas. almond extract Add the flour mixture, beat until just well blended. Stir in one cup of fresh blueberries.

Spread the batter into a greased bundt pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 50 minutes, let cool for about 15 minutes, slide knife around to loosen, drop onto a decorative plate.


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Teen Writers' Group

This coming Wednesday night I'll be speaking to a small group of teen writers. Their instructor tells me she has some awesome writers in her group, and I'm excited to share the world of writing with them and hear the ideas bubbling up from their minds.
My talk doesn't have a title and I'm more of a Chicken Soup for the Soul lecturer than a format/grammer monger but I'm planning to talk to them about the mystical elements that make up writing. My intention is to share that writing is an act of hope, of celebration, of probing for truth, pushing the envelope and taking risks. I want them to own that their voice is important and needs to be heard.
Writing is hard work. Someone said yesterday it's long hours for not a lot of pay or respect sometimes, it's a lot of isolation while we're weaving the tapestry of a story. It's hard to adher to the butt-in-chair rule when there is laundry to be done or someplace you'd like to go. I want them to know that 80% of success in anything in life is just showing up.
What about you? What would  you tell a young writer to encourage, educate and inspire him or her?