owl in winter

owl in winter

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Sometimes It's Just Hard to Write

Sometimes it's just hard to write. Sometimes the words don't come, sometimes the ideas are not there, sometimes even if the words are lurking about, the brain can't seem to engage the words with a plausible idea. Sometimes it's just hard to write.

Alright, and don't worry because I've been experiencing that very dark of night, when it's just hard to write, and I want to write, and I know I need to write, but, for some reason, the attic is filled with dustmotes, the so-called "girls in the basement" have gone on a cruise somewhere leaving me berefit and on my own, and nothing I see or overhear or sense has any bearing on my writing life at all.

Dry. Dry. Dry.

Well, here is a bit of information from that little book I told you about earlier, but maybe I should explain the James Taylor photo first so  you don't think I've completely flipped my lid.

James Taylor came to Springfield on July 17th, the day after my birthday by the way, and I eagerly went to hear him play. I've been a fan of his for something like 40 years, I don't know, whenever he came on the scene. Well, he played his new hit, on his new album, "That's Why I'm Here," and I thought, he knows so well why he's here and I know why I'm here too but, I'm having a hard time with the from A to Z process. I know why I'm here too, but I'm thirsty, dry, need a drink of water from the well, and I feel so guilty for all of that because I'm not producing as I should be. Nevertheless, Sweet Baby James delivered a wonderful, memorable performance, and it inspired me a bit, something I was in need of. Why I'm here, indeed...

Okay, so. back to "The Pocket Muse." Monica Wood. These are her words, not mine. "Writing requires discipline, but disciplined writers are not necessarily prolific. Most good work gets produced over time, sometimes many years, allowing the writer to grow with the material, to allow his world, his command over craft, and his psychological maturity to coalesce at just the right moment to produce something of value. This process often involves dreadful periods of not writing, or, worse, periods of writing very badly, embarrassingly badly. As time passes in a writing life, the writer learns not to fear these arid periods. The words come back eventually. That's the real discipline: to train the mind and heart into believing that words come back. I can think of a handful of writers who are both prolific and good: Joyce Carol Oates, Madison Smartt Bell, Anne Tyler. There is a certain genius at work in these cases, though; the rest of us normal writers have to suffer the droughts and hope for rain."

And then, Ms. Wood closes with: "Be willing to wait. In the meantime, write when you don't feel like it. If you can't write, read."

Again, her words, not mine, but they're golden. So for you out there, looking for a glimpse of rain, and for me too, grasp it, drink it in, and realize it.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

My Early Morning Breakfast

Early morning is my favorite time of day, when most of the world is still asleep, and the sun is beginning to climb over the horizon. I never get tired of watching the sun come up, do you?

I also like early mornings when the house is quiet. The only sound I hear is the sound of my own footsteps padding across the kitchen floor to the coffee maker, to the refrigerator, the quiet of chopping parsley from my herb garden for a skillet egg-potato frittata, which is what I did this morning. Ella, the supercharged lab, was watching carefully from underneath the dining room table. She was fairly sure there would be something in it for her so she was content to wait.

Speaking of parsley, my gardens this year have taken a beating. Hot summers are nothing new to Missouri but this year, temps have hovered over 100 degrees for days on end, and no rain in sight. My heart goes out to our farmers, who are struggling this year more than most.

So, I took one russet potato, peeled and diced it, laid it in my little skillet, where 1 tablespoon of butter was already melted. A little onion, thyme, salt, pepper, and red pepper. Let that fry until the diced potatoes start getting soft and crisp on one side. I beat up one egg with about 1 tablespoon of milk, poured that over. Let it set up a bit, grate a bit of guyere cheese over, throw down the fresh chopped parsley from my herb garden, and once it's set, slide it out on a plate and devour with a homemade blueberry muffin alongside.

What is your favorite time of day?

Monday, July 9, 2012

The 2012 Springfield Writers' Guild 19th Annual Literary Poetry/Prose Contest is ON!

Okay, folks1 It's official!!! All you writers out there, whereever you are, whatever you write, check this out. Oh, and enter too.
The 2012 Springfield Writers’ Guild 19th Annual Literary Poetry/Prose Contest, with the Jim Stone Grand Prize Memorial Awards, is now open for entries. Former member, Mabel Taylor founded the contest in 1993. Lee Ann Russell, Honorary Life Member of the Guild, is the chairperson of the contest. She was acquainted with Jim Stone, a SWG member and well-known poet, who worked at the Paul Mueller plant. After Mr. Stone died at the plant from a tragic fall 1997, SWG initiated three memorial categories in his honor. Guidelines and fees are now posted on our Contest page. Enter as many categories as you wish. Our fees are reasonable and you never know, you could be a winner of one of the Grand Prizes! For details, go to www.springfieldwritersguild.org.
Entries will be taken until September 30th. Winners will be announced at our October meeting, which will be held the fourth Saturday in October, at the Heritage Cafeteria, corner of Battlefield and Fremont, Springfield, Missouri.