Saturday, October 29, 2011


I went fishing this morning with my dad.  We had a lot of fun, fishing and talking--I'm probably more talkative than his other fishing buddies. We caught some nice reds, flounder, and specs. Really good eating. (use of adverb necessary to emphasize how good fresh fish is)
We talked about different things, including family history things. Talking, telling stories.  It was fun and I learned things about my family.  It made me think about how telling stories is how we learn about who we are.  Writing them, hearing them, repeating them. We sort things out.  We see beyond ourselves. What we decide to share is as important as the story itself.  Why did we remember that particular detail in that way? What is significant about our version of the event as opposed to another family member's version? I've heard it called self identity, self perception, all different psychologcial terms, but really, if you think about it, our perception does more to define us than reality. The way we share our perception, and therefore oruselves, is through our stories.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Better with marshmallows

What is that??
Green hot chocolate. My friend at work gave me a packet of it. It's actually pretty good.  If you're wondering, I don't know where she got it.
So, what does green hot chocolate have to do with writing?  (Wasn't that a random question?)  Think about green hot chocolate. It's not something you see every day.  But, it's still good.  It's hot chocolate, but presented in a fresh, new way.  People say, "Hey, what's that?  I want to know more." And, you think you have a hit. 
But then you add the marshmallows and you realize how much better the hot chocolate is. The marshmallows are the editing, the rewriting, the critiques. As a writer you may be afraid of criticism, or think you're work isn't good enough. Or maybe you think  someone will steal your idea. We want to hold our work close to us for whatever crazy reasons we come up with. But we are too close to it to have perspective. So, we need fresh eyes looking at it.
We as writers need to have other writers around us.  They are the marshmallows that top off our work.  They help us see what works and what doesn't.  They make our work taste better. If you really want to be a better writer don't be afraid to share your work. Find a writing group or a writing class.  You'll find people there who will intimidate you, people who frustrate you, people you want to imitate, people who help you--but they all will inspire you in some way. And even the worst critique will teach you something to improve your writing.
Marshmallows come in different styles and flavors.  Don't be afraid to try different ones.  You never know when one will help pull out the perfect word or phrase.  It's the difference between green hot chocolate, which is pretty good, and green hot chocolate with multicolored marshmallows, which is awesome.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Unexpected Things

As I was driving home, there was a swing on the curb, waiting for me to pick it up.  It had been waiting for days for me to pass by and was about to give up hope. But since it knew I needed a swing at my house it persevered and was rewarded for it's patience.  I loaded it up in the back of my truck and now it's in my backyard enjoying it's new home.
So, maybe that's not exactly how it happened, but I like my version better than I found an old swing that someone was throwing out and brought it home. Isn't that what writing is about, taking normal every day things and turning them into something unexpected?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Mochas and Micros

I'm sitting here drinking a Mexican Mocha, my new favorite drink.  I made it at my house, but I'm not sure it's right.  I read it in a flash fiction story and it sounded really good.  The story talked about cloves and cinnamon.  Being a mocha I figured chocolate, coffee, and steamed milk had to be involved as well. I added Crystal sauce because cayenne pepper sounds Mexican and makes everything better.
More in regards to flash fiction:  I've been writing a novel for a year now.  It's been difficult to stay focused on it.  I recently took a class on flash fiction and find  I'm enjoying the short pieces. I've been told many times that I often don't put enough words in my stories.  Maybe flash is more for me?  We'll see.  Maybe my novel and I just need some time away from each other.