Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Planning for the Month Ahead

During this past couple of months I’ve spent most of my spare writing time working on my Wordpress blog, with daily postings related to a central theme. This month’s theme was “Whether.” Nothing else, just “Whether.” I decided, for those who haven’t dropped by one of my other homes yet, to write about aspects of a writer’s life and work.

Each post title begins with the word “Whether” and tries to reflect the heart of the post’s theme. I’m not sure if I succeeded with my final desire. I know that I received more likes from April 1 to April 20 than I’ve ever received in one month before. That’s going some.

What I discovered is that I can suck the life out of a subject and still find something more to write about it. I wonder what else I can find to write about for the next few days before April arrives. Just call me “Vampira.”

Next month is almost a predictable theme. POEM. Since April is National Poetry Month, having this theme makes perfect sense.

Now, let’s look at that scenario before trying for substance on it. Robert Brewer’s Poetic Asides site will have its annual poem-a-day challenge going, with the end result being a chapbook manuscript to be submitted for competition and possible publication.

My friend Marie Elena and her poetic partner in cyberville, Walt, will probably have more goodies lined up on their poetry site, Poetic Bloomings. Several of the other sites dealing in verse will undoubtedly have goings-on that will rival the upcoming Maypole dance.

Which should I go for this coming month? It’s not like I haven’t anything else to do but write poems.

I could do Robert’s challenge prompt each day and also post it on my Claudsy’s Blog and on BlogHer. I think that would be cheating, though, and have to reconsider that to find out if I’m allowed to do that. Either way, I would be writing a lot of poetry throughout those halcyon days of Ares’ month, if I take up either challenge—BlogHer, Poetic Aides, and/or any of the others available.

As my friends know, I have no trouble writing poetry. I enjoy it more than most things, when I allow myself to take the time to produce it. I think what bothers me about it is that revision of it is such a pain. When I write verse, it’s instinctual, immediate.

I don’t what to have to analyze the intimate feelings that brought those particular words to the front of my consciousness and placed them on paper. I want raw emotion, not devised and controlled feeling that insinuates itself into the reader’s mind during the reading process. I want the reader to see and feel it as I did when I wrote it. I want the reader to envision that instant that’s been placed in physical form upon the page.

That need of my own may be the most poetic thing about what I do when I put words on paper for others to read. Visceral response should be the only response, to my way of thinking. That’s what verse is for me. Shakespeare wrote from the gut. Its form of verse tells a story that resonates within the sinuses upon reading aloud. Whitman did the same when he wrote about his take on the world and our place in it, about how we treated each other and ourselves.

There is no thought in my mind of advancing to great acclaim for verse I produce. My only need is to translate personal feelings and perceptions into some concrete form that approximates the echoes of nebulous and insubstantial stimuli.

April, a month of verse, arrives in five days. How many others out there will accept the challenge, is unknown. Would that each could take but a moment to place simple words on a page for the purpose of holding on to that moment in time.

TTFN, all


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Writing Needs Its Exercise, Too

I wanted to title this post “Where There’s a Will.” Why, you ask? Because I’ve decided to throw out a challenge to readers.

A few days ago on Claudsy’s Blog I discussed an exercise that helps put many things in perspective for the writer, or someone in any walk of life; an obituary. If you haven’t written your own yet, you should consider it. You might be amazed at what you discover when you perform a type of “It’s a Wonderful Life” obituary for your own life. It’s very cleansing in unexpected ways.

I’m not going to ask you to do your own obit here. What I am going to challenge you to do instead is to write an obituary for your favorite fictional character. This character can be one from your favorite book or one of your own fictional characters. Try to keep the obituary between 250-500 words and fill it with everything that would normally be in a standard obituary.

If you’ve never written one of these mini-biographies before, take up the nearest newspaper and read that section. Some will be long, others very short, and ones in between. You’ll learn interesting things about each, similar things around family members, etc. These and more are the kinds of things that you will put in the obit you write for your character.

If you would like to share your exercise results with the rest of us, please do so. I’d be interested to see the different styles, characters, and approaches that you all take. Have fun with this, but also, follow standard practices for this little bio teaser.

I’ll put together one of my own during the next day or so. You’ll not be doing this alone. Seriously, peeps, I really want to see what you come up with and the types of characters you’re willing to write for.

Until later, have fun with this, and post here soon.


Monday, March 12, 2012

I want to thank all of those out there in cyber land who dropped by this blog on March 9th. A whopping 404 views occurred that day, which almost gave me heart failure. It wouldn’t have been such a shock if such a number was an occasional bench mark of viewer activity. I'm still smiling and trying to figure out what I did right. Your visitations are much appreciated.

Having said that, and as I continue to get my breathing under control, I’d like to ask a question of those who drop by here.

A week or so ago, I had a curious thing happen. Somehow, I haven’t a clue as to the agency involved, but somehow, my name and primary email became associated with a YouTube flummox. I admit, I enjoy YouTube as much as anyone, but I’ve not ever created something for viewing there.

Yet, I keep getting an email from YouTube telling me that my video is ready for viewing. Said video is an ad for certain Male Enhancement Drugs; something I know about only from TV commercials. It's a hack job.

Angry? Mildly. Confused? Definitely. Trying to figure out how to stop all of this insanity? Absolutely!

This is my question. Does anyone out there have a clue as to how to get this intrusion to stop? I’ve tried what I know to do, including contacting YouTube directly, and have had no luck. At this point I’m ready to try using the ideas of others, with permission, to eliminate the problem.

There are a lot of people out there who’re far savvier in the ether zone than me. If you have a suggestion, please comment here and let me hear it. I’ll promise to give you full credit for the solution.

That’s my rant for the day. I hope everyone has a great week and a safe one. With the current weather patterns, we may all be battening down hatches before long.

Until later,

Friday, March 2, 2012

I've Been Tagged

Terrie Hope tagged me to answer some questions here, and then come up with questions for other bloggers to answer. Here are my answers - and the list of people I want answers from. (Hint: You're one of them.)

The Tag rules:

1. You must post the rules! 
2. Answer the questions and then create eleven new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged.
 3. Tag eleven people and link to them.
 4. Let them know you’ve tagged them.

These are my answers to Terrie's questions.

1.      If you could be a character from a book you've read, who would it be and why?

That would be Keisha from Lackey’s Owl Trilogy. I like who she is and how she operates in her world.

2.     Do you have a favorite place to read? In the garden? Your favorite chair?

I prefer reading on the couch where I can stretch out my legs and get comfortable.

3.     What was the first book you remember ever read?

The Little Red Hen. It was a Golden Book and I had it memorized for many years.

4.     If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be, and why?

That would be Elizabeth Moon’s book, “Deed of Paksennarion”. That book gets deep inside me and brings out stuff I never knew was there. It acts as a psychic cleanse every time I read it.

5.     Favorite author?

I tend to have favorites for each genre I read. Anne McCaffrey and Mercedes Lackey tie for epic fantasy. Andre Norton  and Orson Scott Card for pure sci-fi, Susan Wittig Albert for modern mystery and modern children’s fairy tales,  Spider Robinson for sf and urban fantasy, Dr. Wayne Dyer and Eckhart Tolle for self-awareness, and the list goes on and on and on.

6.     Do reviews influence your choice of reads?

Rarely, though they might intrigue me. What usually brings me into the book is when I can read the back copy. If that intrigues me, I’ll go further and begin reading the book. If I’m not sucked in by the end of the third page, though, I’ll walk away from it.

7.     Fiction or Nonfiction?

Fiction first, if for entertainment. Nonfiction on specific subjects that interest me. I’m one of those eclectic readers who will read soup cans for the ingredient list and nutritional chart. I also read a lot of scientific articles in a wide range of fields.

8.     Have you ever met your favorite author?

I wish, but no, I’ve not been that fortunate.

9.     Actual books or eBooks (Kindle, Nook, etc.?

I prefer physical books, simply because I like the feel and substantiality of them. EBooks work as well, though at present I can only read them on my PC.

10. Classic or Modern Novels?

Either or both. I have been known to have a couple of each being read at the same time.

11. Book Groups or Solitary Reading?

I’ve never been a member of a book group. Reading is a very solitary pleasure for me. It’s the one time when I don’t have to take anyone else’s feelings, attitudes, or opinions into account when experiencing an evolving story. I like that.

I've tagged:

1.     Denise Stanley  http://denise-roomtowrite.blogspot.com/
2.     Laurie Kolp  http://conversationswithacardinal.blogspot.com/
3.    Kim Curley  http://cupcakesblogcorner.blogspot.com/
4.     Julie Louise Phillips  http://jlpwritersquest.blogspot.com
5.     Linda Evans Hofke  http://linda's-life-otos.blogspot.com/
6.     Carrie Martin  http://carrieoncarryingon.blogspot.com
7.     Yaya (aka Joan Erickson)  http://yayashome.wordpress.com/
8.     Hannah Gosselin  http://wordrustling.wordpress.com/ (aka Metaphors and Similes)
9.     Patricia A. Hawkenson  http://phawkenson.edublogs.org/
10. Barbara Ehrentreu  http://barbaraehrentrew.blogspot.com/  (aka Barbara's Meanderings)
11. Laura Page  http://literarylegs.blogspot.com/

  My questions for others: I'm asking similar questions as well as creating totally new ones.

1.     What’s the name of the worst villain in any book you’ve read?
2.     Do you eat/snack and drink anything while you read? If so, what?
3.     What was the first book you read meant for adults?
4.     If the house caught fire, which would be the one book you’d save from the fire?
5.     Which author has had the greatest impact on you as an adult?
6.     Do you read book reviews before reading a book?
7.     Would you rather read poetry or memoir?
8.     Have you gone to a book signing? Who was the author, and what was the name of the book?
9.     For you, what’s the main attraction of e-readers and e-books?
10. Did you go through a phase during your teens of reading romance/horror?
11. Would you recommend a book that you didn’t particularly like or one that was poorly written? 

There are some people I didn't tag because I ran out of people who haven't been tagged.  So, if you haven't been tagged, please answer my questions as if you have. 

Many people have been tagged already. For those I’ve chosen who have been tagged and answered prior to this, let me know and you’re forgiven for not participating. If you’ve not been tagged yet, you’re it!