Is writing ever wasted?

“Work hard for what you want because it won’t come without a fight.”~Leah LaBelle, Canadian musician

Wrapping up the Month of Little Things is a photo reminder of those precious moments. It’s easy enough to do; there are a lot of phone apps out there for you to create A Picture A Day composite. I use Photo 365, because if your day is too awesome for one memory, this app lets you post more than one photo to the day, even though only one is visible on the calendar. I don’t stress if I miss a day or three, but since I take so many pics and screenshots, I almost always fill a box.

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I spy a happy plant–Sprout is a baby tree, actually–WiiFitness activity, Swarm checkin moments and other celebrations. and coffee shops. Three days in a row writing in coffee shops

Speaking of writing, remember that brief tirade of stress yesterday about my contest and procrastination? I chose to cut one entry from the final submission package, which was, surprisingly, a good thing.

I posted a photo yesterday on Instagram of the holiday memoir I was working on. That’s the one I removed from the contest submission. The writing of it was not a failure, it was not wasted time.

First off, that piece only somewhat fit the category requirements for Holiday Memoir. The event I wrote about did happen at Christmastime, but it didn’t have anything to do specifically with the holiday. I liked that entry, but I found a better one from an earlier piece of writing that came from my journal. In fact, all three pieces were previous half-written material, but they fit the contest requirement because none of them have been published.

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Farewell…for now

So that vignette didn’t make it. Big deal, or no big deal. Does that leave me with another half-finished piece of writing? Absolutely. But now I have a piece that I can tweak into something else in the future. Besides, I would have had to do some serious editing to make that fit the required word count, and I was not prepared to do that. I let it go.

I had to edit the other three entries anyway, and I forgot how tough tight writing is. Every word occupies valuable real estate on the page. The word count for poetry was 100; mine was 85, cut down from 120 words. the Holiday Memoir category was between 200-400 words; I got mine down from 533 to 371 words. The First Page of a Novel had a word count of 250; I made it at 199 words. Since I waited until the 11th hour to submit–literally, about 11:30pm–there was no way I would’ve been able to do justice to make that 789 word moment into a cohesive, intriguing 400 word story. I cut it entirely.

When I wrote it, I expected to have a ruthless editing session to make it work, but by the time I got past the backstory into the actual event, it was a mess. It takes a talented writer to condense 400-ish words, chopping a piece in half. It also takes time. I have the talent but not the time.

Still, what made that exercise so good is that I was writing. I wasn’t spending time planning or blogging or planning blogposts. I wasn’t editing or rewriting or thinking about writing–I was writing. Not journaling; creative writing with a purpose. I felt free. I missed that feeling of initial creation. I’ve been so bogged down in external nonsense that I forgot to write for fun. That’s one of my ROW80 goals achieved.

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February 29 : Leap day means another day to procrastinate

Procrastin-a-a-ation’s making me late.

That sentence works best if you sing along with Carly Simon.

Today is Leap day, and I have an extra day to enter the Rochester Writers 2016 Winter Contest. I’m still working on my pieces.

There are four categories: flash fiction; poetry; holiday memoir; and opening of a novel. I plan to enter three of them. Flash fiction scares me.

I didn’t pay super-duper attention to the word count requirements. No, I just thought that 400 words was longer than it is. It really is not as many words as you think. The ending comes way too quick. Tight writing and editing is what I need to focus on because all of my entries are significantly over word count. Stay tuned.

Retro love

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”~Martin Luther King, Jr., American leader

I’ve been feeling nostalgic lately.

Do you remember any class in school where you had a creative writing assignment? If so, you may have stressed out about writing that first line. That’s when your teacher would say “Just freewrite,” which meant for the next however many minutes, you wrote whatever thoughts came to mind, without stopping.

Your pen. Remember those? Or maybe you wrote with a pencil. Regardless, it was–and still is–a stick that you hold in your hand that produces a visual image when pressed down on a surface. I mention this because I don’t think we do remember these anymore.

I watched a YouTube video the other day, and the host was a teenager or a girl in her early 20s. She created some art with her hands and then had to write some information down. “My cursive is terrible,” she wined. “I haven’t written in cursive since middle school. Looks like I have to practice my handwriting. It looks terrible.”

First, as a writer or blogger or artist, never apologize for anything you do save technical difficulties or natural disasters beyond your control. Even then, explain don’t excuse.

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My husband shares my nostalgia in this gift to me (us)

What made her comment doubly bad was that she made an excuse for not using her talented hands to write. Much of society has lost touch with the tactile, with the real. I haven’t tangled in awhile–something I miss, and a whole separate topic–but I do journal by hand. No online diary for me, except for this blog. I write and edit my stories. I use colorful pens to make it more fun. Heck, what happened to crayons?

Twitter chats this week were retro: what books do you recall fondly from your childhood? Favorite high school trip? When did you see your first concert? What video game(s) rocked your world? For the record, my answers include:
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
–Cancun, Mexico (seriously!)
–Hall & Oates Big Bam Boom tour…you do the math
–Joust, Sinistar, Dig Dug, Mappy and Gauntlet

So I have been missing that lately, the delightful memories of youth. The times when I felt young and free and safe. What about you? Is there something you miss from long ago, or just from last year? Times change, but our memories do not.

I want to go home and color.

August 7th in 7 photos

“Limitations live only in our minds.”~Jamie Paolinetti, American cyclist

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Remember December

“Work hard for what you want because it won’t come to you without a fight.”~Leah LaBelle, Canadian musician

It’s the middle of the month. Right about now, resolutions are falling faster than snowflakes.  Mine have been sidetracked by one nasty, lingering cold. Now is a good time to reflect on the past.

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I’ve been doing a December-Photo-a-Day project since 2007. Great memories. Every year it’s amazing what I do that’s new. It’s fun to see the events that have become traditions and how those same events have changed. My Deadwood Writers Group is one of those. We have a holiday party the first week in December, and I insist–dare I say “force”?–that we do a group photo. The size of the group has grown, yet some faces are the same since that first year. My husband and I always see It’s a Wonderful Life on the big screen at Penn Theater in Plymouth. My compositions of the photos are interesting to compare.

It reminds us, especially during the busiest of seasons, to stop and appreciate what’s around you. To remember.

That is different than my Photo 365, which has turned into a year-long adventure.  Here, as in other months, I was with friends, I played Yahtzee and wrote in coffee shops, I created art and I played with Zentangle.  Unique to this month was that I published my third book, visited family out of town and hugged a long-time college friend, discovered new used book stores, and had a tooth filled in the Fun Room at my dentist’s new office.  My husband cooked me breakfast, a Tweet of mine was favorited by a famous TV show actor.  I cheered the Nittany Lions and celebrated victory from Yankee Stadium section 409 when Penn State won the Pinstripe Bowl.

What do you remember from December?

Getting Hitched

“It is not the beauty of a building you should look at; its the construction of the foundation that will stand the test of time.”~David Allan Coe, American musician

This week’s Diva Zentangle Challenge #199 is to use the tangle created by Heidi Sue called Hitched. It’s an easy, flowing tangle.  There’s a lot that can be done with this: fill in spaces, aura around it, tangle inside the spaces…possibilities go on and on.  I kept it simple, altering it just a smidge to experiment with it.

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Diva Challenge #199: Hitched

 

It feels good to get back into the Zentangle routine to start the New Year off right.

Why is it always cold and rainy on Halloween?

“Life is one big road with lots of signs.”~Bob Marley, Jamaican musician

I’m in Michigan and it’s the end of October. It’s no surprise that the weather is cold and rainy this time of year, but it’s Halloween and the temps are extra-cold and extra-drippy. What’s the point of having an awesome costume when it’s just going to be hidden under a winter coat? Will we have enough trick-or-treaters to even go through one giant bag of candy? We have two.

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It may be cold outside, but it’s snuggly-er in Starbucks as we finalize my Indiegogo campaign

I grew up in Pittsburgh, so I’m no stranger to cold and blustery Octobers. I don’t recall it ever being this consistently cold or nasty-wet outside as a kid. I walked around in whatever costume I made and got candy. Period. Maybe I just grew older–not grew up; that’s no fun–and became more sensitive to the weather and chilly toes? Maybe my hometown was just far enough south from Michigan that temperatures were mild enough so that costumes did not need to be covered up?

Anyone who talks about “global warming” has not lived in Michigan in the fall. Don’t get me started on the winters here.

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Is Catnap thoughtful or sad…?

Do you know what the ideal Halloween costume is? It is some sort of school mascot or movie monster, some character where you get to be inside a large, fuzzy outfit. That way you’re warm enough to not need a coat, and your costume is not covered up by a coat. Perfect!

We may not have Trick-or-Treaters, but the Halloween Blog Party is still goin’ strong. My Guys know how to party. Stop by to party along with everyone.

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It’s festive inside our house

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Memories from last year: back when Foursquare was fun

Summer concert season ends with the best

“Whatever good things we build end up building us.”~Jim Rohn, American businessman

What a way to close out Plymouth’s summer Music in the Park program: Steve King and the Dittilies. They utilize an eclectic combination of instruments from sax to harmonica to cowbell sporting a lead singer with a slick, corny sense of humor. The songs they play are just as varied, everything from artists Neil Diamond and The Doors to songs like “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” and “Old Time Rock and Roll.”

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Night jammin’

This was the one concert we sat in the park for. Labor Day weekend, and Kellogg Park was blanket-to-blanket full of people. I’m cute, so I squeezed into a space with a decent view of the band. To quote Neil Diamond, “good times never felt so good.”

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The Happy Couple in Kellogg Park


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And “Sweet Caroline” is a song I hope to hear a lot of as we enter our fall vacation time and football season.

Blurred Lines or Word Crimes?

I was all set to write a blog past about love and coffee, but my Deadwood Writers Group got unusually chatty with e-mails and links to cool writing stuff. In the fluster, I almost missed this one that links to, as one of the members commented, “Schoolhouse Rock for the 21st Century.”

I like the song “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke. I don’t necessarily support the video images, but the song has a strong, catchy beat. Let’s leave it at that.

“Blurred Lines” video on YouTube  (NOTE: even though this video is what I consider the PG-13 version, it may not be suitable for all audiences)

Enter “Weird Al” Yankovic’s parody of that song, “Word Crimes.” “Weird Al” has been a favorite of mine since childhood, and knowing the original “Blurred Lines” video, the Yankovic video is a hoot! I laughed so hard I cried–literally!–because it appeals to the writer in me and the blog editor I’ve become. Seriously, incorporating the balloon element at the end is deliciously brilliant.

“Word Crimes” video on YouTube  (NOTE: this video is suitable for all ages, especially 4 those frustrated by 2days gramr cre8ed from txts)

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