Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Books, Books and More Books

I have an addiction to books. Much the same as people have to cigarettes, heroin, crack cocaine. I hear something about one and I dash right out to buy it...even though I tell myself to wait.

Today I went to the book store and bought three more books. It's embarrassing. I couldn't not.

One is by Carolyn See, Making a Literary Life -- recommended by a gal that I met at the East of Eden Writers Conference. (I can't hear the name of a book that comes highly recommended and not buy it). I've already gotten my money's worth from it -- I sat right down and pumped out 1,000 words.

Then I picked up Lost and Found by Jacqueline Sheehan quite guilt free because it's my book club book this month.

Then I found Jeff Herman's guide to finding agents and I've wanted to get that one, too, so I thought what the heck! Right? Not to mention the books on craft that I just bought at the writers conference two weeks ago.

And last night, I went to Towne Center Books to hear the women who Cheryl Jarvis wrote about in The Necklace, talk about their experiences wearing a diamond necklace -- 118 diamonds, 15.24 carats...women between the ages of 50-62 :-) The necklace has been worn~

to make love
have a GYN exam
grocery shop
teaching class

to name a few!

But the best part is the transformation that takes place in these women as they share the magical necklace with friends.

I've only read the first chapter and it appears to be a very quick read, which is great because of that stack that continues to shout in my ear from the nightstand, the table outside our bedroom, the bookshelf in my office, screeching out of my red brief case, or sitting on top of the table in the family room, and hiding in drawers.

There's something about the smell of the paper and cracking that fresh new spine...the thought of being entertained or learning something new, or relearning something old or, or, or...must go read.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I spent some time with my grand daughter yesterday. We sat on the sofa cuddled up like two bugs telling stories. Sammie loves stories, so I make them up as I go. I tell her stories about frogs that fly, about people who slink into the television set and can hop out in any home they want, or how Jake the Dog, our dog, chases rabbits and tigers and cougars who live in the house across the street where they cook great meals and have elephant guests for dinner. Sammie's supply of questions is bottomless, prompting the stories to snowball into more and more outlandish characters and predicaments.

The below story, however, is very true...really!

"Nan, I have a new pet," says my four-year-old granddaughter.

"Really, I didn't see one when I came in. What do you have?"

"Oh, its a slug."

"A slug! Now that's an interesting pet, huh?" I say remembering that I did see all 1/2 inch of him last week, clinging to a leaf (and probably his life) in a see-through plastic jar.

"Yes, and my Mom found the perfect place for him to live." Sammie is just so proud and happy that Mom did this. She sits up straight and puts her nose up in the air. But I know my daughter -- slimy things aren't quite her cup of tea. If the truth be told, she apoplectic when she sees a spider.

"Where would that be?" I ask.

"In the vacuum cleaner."

"What a great spot for a slug!" I'm trying not to laugh.

"It's the perfect spot Mom said because slugs like dirt."

"Your mom is really great at finding special homes for little creatures, isn't she?"

"Nan, she's the best."

Sometimes I have to pinch myself to keep from laughing. But more than that, I marvel at the miracle of innocence and how little children see their parents as perfect. Isn't life wonderful?

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Writing Life

Each month I write an article for the Tri-Valley branch of the California Writer's Club. Here's part of this month's piece. Those of you who write might enjoy it, and those of you who don't, might want to start.

Now that the kids are back in school and summer vacation is nothing more than a faded memory, it's time to hunker down and get serious about writing.

But where to you begin? How do you get that "umph" back into your writing?

Writing prompts. Writing prompts will remind you what it is about writing that you love. And, if you do it every day, it can become addictive. That's why it's a great jumping off place, if you've abandon your writing routine and ritual, during the summer. Schedule time to write.

Book in a Month by Victoria Lynn Schmidt, Ph.D., says "What you resolve to do first thing--or at least early in the morning, you will do." She compares exercising first thing in the morning to writing, and your exercise is writing. Here's a site that can help.

Visit The Story Starter http://thestorystarter.com. This site boasts more than three million story starters! So the excuse of "I can't think of anything to write about," or "I have writer's block" will quickly vanish once you set your eyes on this gem. The site was also selected as one of the 101 best sites for writers. Don't by shy. Each time you click, you receive a different prompt.

Happy fall, happy writing.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Are you embarrassed to?

When I was a kid my parents would tell me that the world was a crazy place, nothing like the place they grew up in. They told me that there were more dangers than ever. Fast forward please.

Considering the vast numbers of people alive today, modes of communication and our more "tell all" philosophy, I sometimes don't think things are that different--there's just more of all of it. Except .... when it comes to politics, maybe things are worse.

The current political campaign is the dirtiest I can ever remember. A campaign, seemingly designed to elect the most well-suited candidate, has apparently taken a turn into Trash Town.

I consider it both a privilege and a responsibility to vote and I'm too much of a control freak to not put my two cents in. Right now though, I'm not so sure.

This is a very exciting time in our country. Regardless of who wins, this election is of historic proportions. Either the first black man or the first woman will hold one of the two most coveted seats in our country.

I wish them all luck. If I were a candidate? I'd drop out.

And for all the politicians and their staffs and members who want things to be better for children? How about if they start by setting a good example?