Monday, December 22, 2014

WRITING QUOTE - December 22, 2014

Striving to achieve a dream is never a waste of time.

FĂ©lix J. PalmaThe Map of Time  - 

I used to think that striving for a dream was a waste of time if it took too long. I don't believe that now, as long as I don't let the dream stop me from living my life to the fullest.  

I write. I live. And my life gives breath to my writing in some of the quirkiest ways.

Friday, December 19, 2014

WRITING QUOTE - December 19, 2014

Always do your best. Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstances, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.

- Miguel Angel Ruiz - 

Enough said. Keep writing. No matter what. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

WRITING QUOTE - December 18, 2014

Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced.

- John Keats - 

The truth to becoming a writer is to write. And then to be known as a writer is to finish and submit, again and again.

I read an article where the author said something to this affect: there are a lot of great writers out there, but we never hear from them because they don't finish. 

For me, finishing is not just the writing and revision process. Finishing is taking the action to put the piece out there, in the world, where people might read it. Finishing was the part I faltered on, primarily because of fear, judgment, and condemnation (my own). 

It is important for me to follow the writing process all the way through, past the revision and polishing process, to querying and submitting, and then I know, for myself, that I've done it all, regardless of the outcome, regardless if another reads it or publishes it. I know I followed through for me. 

I'm not hiding my writing because of what I think, and really in all actuality, making decisions for other people by telling myself they wouldn't like my writing is me taking away their dignity--they can make their own choices. 

I need to only make my choice, which is to write and finish, and let them decide for themselves, whoever they may be, if they like what I've written or not. 

Either way, whether they like it or not, or publish it, I'm not going to stop writing. Not this girl. No way. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

WRITING QUOTE - December 16, 2014

A pen is to me as a beak is to a hen.

- J. R. R. Tolkien - 

Me too. I carry pen and paper with me wherever I go. On those rare moments when I don't have pen and paper, I've improvised.

Monday, December 15, 2014

WRITING QUOTE - December 15, 2014

To live for some future goal is shallow. It's the sides of the mountain that sustain life, not the top.

- Robert M. Pirsig - 

I relate this to my writing, and a number of other things. Several years ago, writing was a means to an end, to attain the proverbial arrival at fame and fortune. Of course, my sights were set other than where they needed to be. I eventually changed my stance, decided to look around, and enjoy the action of writing, right now, as it is in this moment. 

I have since appreciated the adventure of writing more and become a better writer because of it. Imagine, moving my gaze from what can be to what is and working from there; progress is made and rather steadily.

The mountain's sides do give me what I need, and I seem to stumble way less.

Friday, December 12, 2014

WRITIG QUOTE - December 12, 2014

If the track is tough and the hill is rough, THINKING you can just ain't enough!

- Shel Silverstein - 

There is difficulty in showing up in the way I want to, but I've found it's all about what I do rather than what I think. I mean, I can think all I want and have a lot of enjoyment and enlightening moments come to town, but when I need to get something done, something that is challenging, something that is hard but so worth it, I have to do rather than think.

Writing is like that for me. I sat at my computer yesterday, trudging through a third revision of my book, and I acted like a small child being asked to eat their broccoli. I squirmed in my seat and groaned. I tried to come up with reasons why I shouldn't sit down and write, mostly hitting on the same reason each time, "I'm not feeling it."

I love writing. I love the way I feel when I'm done writing. I love the stories that evolve and the places I get to go when I write. But sometimes it's everything in me to sit long enough for me to write; hence, the action of writing.

I know I can write. This is a fact, but it doesn't always get me to write. So I write first and think about it later. That seems to work better for me. Yesterday, I revised two chapters. Hurray for me. Today my goal is the same, but I'll start with writing and thinking about how I can write later.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

WRITING QUOTE - December 10, 2014

Don't be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson - 

Writing used to be very serious business, as was my life, my relationships, my decisions, my thoughts, and so on. My seriousness fettered me in all those areas, limited me in my growth, in my possibility of becoming who I truly wanted to be and could be.

"All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better." Fabulous. This reminds me to not be so serious, to have fun, to enjoy whatever I'm doing, regardless of what it is. This is my life, my one and only life. 

Enjoy. Have fun. Create. Let go. Trust. Don't be so serious. Passion. Laughter. Let go some more. Live.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

WRITING QUOTE - December 9, 2014

When you're reading, you're not where you are; you're in the book. By the same token, I can write anywhere.

- Diana Gabaldon - 

There have been times when I've thought, "I should stop writing. I'm no good at it." And I have stopped, or, at least, tried. I've set down my pen in all seriousness, but then, a little while later, sitting at a stoplight, a story begins to unravel in my mind and the urge to write, to create is there, tangible, undeniably powerful. I pull out napkin, envelope, whatever can be written on, and I write, laying down the words and images formulating in my brain, like a last dying wish.

It has become clear to me, whether I believe I'm any good at writing or not, which really depends on the day, is not the most important part of my writing. My writing is me. To deny my writing is to deny a large part of me. And, really, that doesn't seem like the most pleasant way to live, so I write. 

Hence, the quote above, primarily, "I can write anywhere." This is true for me. No matter where I'm at, whether I have pen (or computer) in hand or not, I can write and will, as if there's a glitch with the off-switch. Writing, story-making, whatever I want to call it, is part of me and with me for however long I live.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

WRITING QUOTE - December 3, 2014

The world was hers for the reading.

- Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn -

I try to convey this to my children, who don't seem to have the same passion for reading as I did as a child, or still do. They are more concerned with the newest technology. As an avid reader, I'm flabbergasted, but then I consider that my children's world compared to the one I grew up in is quite different.

I was an only child and lived out of town. There was no internet. Cartoons on any day other than Saturday morning was a child's dream. There were definitely no tablets, personal computers, or video games. Televisions were big and bulky, and mostly black and white. My idea of a summer day was being outside with friends, playing in the dirt, riding my bicycle, or climbing trees. And when I wasn't doing all that and whatever else creative children can come up with, I was reading--all the time.

Now, there are fancy touch-screen phones (mini-computers, really), tablets (even when paying at the local coffee house), personal computers (portable ones too), video games (some with graphics that are mind blowing), computerized glasses (we're delving into sci-fi books I read as a kid), and more. 

Different worlds to say the least.

I can't change their world, but I can offer mine, if only at a discounted rate, because it doesn't seem to be worth that much to them. They see me read, and I read to them. I share my enthusiasm for going to the bookstore. I challenge them to read a book quicker than me (they're boys and love to beat anyone at anything). I ask them to read to me, tell me about the book they have to read for school, and what they'd like to read.

In the meantime, I limit their time on technology, not to deprive them of their world, but to not let their world devour them. That way they will know what to do when the power goes out and all they've got is a lit candle and a good book; they'll know it's okay to read it and it might even be enjoyable. Imagine.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

WRITING QUOTE - December 2, 2014

Writing is an act of faith, not a trick of grammar.

- E.B. White - 

Writing for me is an act of faith. I have to sit down and pause long enough for whatever is hidden to reveal itself, like a whole other world exists in the back of my mind, and I have to remember where I put the key to open the story-chest's lid. This is faith; faith that I will find the key, the lid will open, and there will be something under the lid worth seeing, hearing, touching, feeling, and tasting. 

But then, after writing, there is the editing process--grammar and punctuation. And really the editing process is more about honing the written word so it may truly sing; to tell the whole story that is meant to be known; to see, hear, touch, feel, and taste what the words describe. 

Writing and editing reminds me of going into a dusty attic and rummaging through old chests filled with memorabilia: journals, pictures, keepsakes, and letters. I sort through the chest, whichever one I've found the key for, and I pull out everything I can get my hands on. The items are dusty and dull, in need of polishing. Once I pull it all out and assemble it in a way to tell the story then I begin to polish--remove the dust and shine it up; hence, the editing process.

For me, I find faith to begin, polish and shine, and then it takes more faith for me to put what I've written "out there" in the world for others to read.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

WRITING QUOTE - November 26, 2014

To be honest, the only thing I ever really wanted to be was a writer - since I read Charlotte's Web as a child.

- Louise Penny - 

I don't remember the specific book I read as a kid that inspired me to want to write, but I do know from my earliest memory writing was prominent in my life. I read books all the time. I wrote in my journal constantly--creating stories, penning poetry--then I would run to my parents and read what I had written.

The question of whether I'm any "good" at writing and whether anyone will pay to read my writing is irrelevant to my craft--more just icing on the cake. The real deal is that I write, because I need to write to feel centered in my life, to give these extra people in my head a place to go, and to find balance in my perceptions of life-happenings. 

I used to be shy of telling anyone that I was a writer. I always prefaced it with reasons why I shouldn't call myself a writer--maybe I just should have used another word to describe myself. But now I say it, an attempt to own who I am, and to know my being a writer is not dependent on whether someone likes it or pays to read it. Me being a writer is because it is a part of me and needs to be honored.

Monday, November 24, 2014

WRITING QUOTE - November 24, 2014

Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.

- Anne Lamott - 

I had an expectation that my first draft needed to be perfect. If I wasn't, than I was a failure and should give up. I didn't have the understanding that being good at something takes time and effort.

But there is something else that is just as important for me--have fun while doing it. 

If I'm not enjoying what I'm doing, than I am being too serious, too focused on the end result, which is a red flag to me saying, "I need to be perfect."  That leads me back to the old expectation which never gets me anywhere, except disillusioned and giving up.

Friday, November 21, 2014

WRITING QUOTE - November 21, 2014

The most important thing is to read as much as you can, like I did. It will give you an understanding of what makes good writing and it will enlarge your vocabulary.

- J. K. Rowling -

I'm surrounded by books, in every niche and cranny of my home. As a child books were my best friends. I always had a book with me and would usually wind up in a corner or on the couch reading. I'm still this way, except not as self-centered about it. Before I didn't know how to be with the family or hang out with others; I preferred the "family" I had in between the pages of the latest book I was reading. 

I still carry a book with me, in my purse, always ready for a moment when I can read. But I've learned to balance reading with lifting my eyes from the page to see what's before me--people, colors, smells, sounds--to be more available to my own story that's playing out before me. I used to want to hide in books, find another world that better suited what I wanted out of life. 

Now books are a part of me, instead of the other way around. I can benefit from their words and wisdom, humor and scariness, style of writing and voice, and carry those things into my own world. My "understanding of what makes good writing" grows, along with my vocabulary. 

Plus, reading is a pleasure, regardless of what I "get" from it.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

WRITING QUOTE - November 20, 2014

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at the typewriter and bleed.

- Ernest Hemingway - 

Yes, bleed we do. That is one of my challenges in writing, the amount I'm willing to bleed. I find myself believing that what I've written is enough. I don't have to go further, because to go further is to feel more than what I've already felt in relation to whatever I've written, and what I've already felt should be enough. 

It rarely is.

I'm not talking just about feeling my own feelings, but feeling the feelings of my characters. I've found, for myself, when I think I've reached my limit, I have to come back, sit, and dig deeper than I figured. 

And then, there it is. The moment--when I see, feel, hear, taste, and smell what my characters do. It's tangible and potent. But the blood's got to flow. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

WRITING QUOTE - November 19, 2014

Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful ones is a lot of hard work.

- Stephen King - 

I grew up with Stephen King, not literally like he lived down the street from me, but as an avid reader. I read almost all of his books, and am still reading his work. I read his writing, because I relate to his characters, some of them, the way they think, and I like how the stories roll, the places they take me, sometimes to dingy and sordid spots that somehow make sense to me.

I also appreciate his thoughts on writing. I've had various people over the years, teachers, strangers, family, and friends, tell me I have something when it comes to writing. Don't stop writing, they say. But all of that doesn't add up to much if I don't jump in with my effort and both feet. 

Writing is work, plain and simple. Rewarding beyond belief, but fleeting. Each day is a day of showing up, regardless of what my head says, because some days it says, "What the f#@*k are you thinking? Stop now!" And then there are other days, where my head says, "This is good. Oh, this is real good."

Either way, I keep writing, because, really, when it comes down to the bones of it, I love to write. And I will write, even if I decide to quit. I will eventually pick up my pen, while sitting in a cafe, drinking coffee, and waiting for a friend to show. I will slip a napkin under the tip of my pen, doodling first, and then the words will begin again, flowing, like they never stopped.

I might as well put in the work and accept the inevitability of it all. Writing is me. No one else has to tell me that or agree with that, just me.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

WRITING QUOTE - November 18, 2014

I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork.

- Peter de Vries -

Talk about funny. I can so relate, especially today. I'm taking a copyediting course, so I can improve my self-editing skills, which I am always in need of reminders of what's correct and what's not. I received my first assignment back, corrected. Ugh. What a drag to see I don't know as much as I thought I knew, and I knew I didn't know everything, but still . . . 

There in lies the paperwork. Writing is work. The polished piece that is hiding in the depths of a first or second or third draft is only discovered with patience, persistence, and revision. 

And brushing up on the tools of the trade is essential. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

WRITING QUOTE - November 17, 2014

Writing books is certainly a most unpleasant occupation. It is lonesome, unsanitary, and maddening. Many authors go crazy.

 - H. L. Mencken -

Most things could be included under this statement. Even when I'm with others--laughing, talking, chatting--I am alone, in my head, thinking of things to say and not to say (there are always those, things not to say). Sometimes the loneliest I have felt is in the middle of a room surrounded by people, friends, acquaintances, and strangers. 

But that is what writing a book is like--a room full of people, some known, some not yet. I sidle up to my computer, click my writing program open, and begin conversing with these book-people. Ultimately, people in my head, but people nonetheless. Maddening for sure.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

WRITING QUOTE FOR THE DAY - October 15, 2014

Writing a book is like telling a joke and having to wait two years
to know whether or not it was funny.
 - Alain de Botton -

I laughed when I read this the other day. I sit each day and work on my book, pounding away on the keys, vacillating between hope and despair, and there's no guarantee that my hard work will even see the light of day. And if it does emerge from the depths of my mind to the outside world, the time in between now and then will be a long time coming. 

Sometimes that time seems like an eternity, which feeds into the despair, that feeling of hopelessness, that it's pointless to keep on keeping on. 

But then hope kicks in. 

I read over a previous chapter, editing and adjusting, and catch myself laughing and pulled into the story, wondering what's going to happen next--the funny thing being, I already know what's going to happen. That's hope right there. If I know what's going to happen, but I get caught up in the story like I don't, waiting with quivering breath for what unfolds.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

WRITING QUOTE FOR THE DAY - October 12, 2014

You learn best by reading a lot and writing a lot, and the most valuable lessons of all are the ones you teach yourself.

~Stephen King

I have participated in writing groups and sat with individual writers and chatted and shared and critiqued, and all of those participations were good. But the best I have received has been from showing up with me--writing and reading. I read various books and am always involved in two to three books at a time. 

I have a pleasure book, one that is for fun, something in the genre I write or not, it doesn't matter, as long as I'm interested and reading.

Then I have a learning book, one that focuses on writing, grammar, punctuation, something of that sort, because my mind doesn't like to retain what I "should" know. Repetition is imperative for me, and not just for writing. I seem to have a retaining problem with anything that's good for me as well.

And then there is the third book, which will be whatever it needs to be, depending on what catches my eye. It could be another learning book or a pleasure book or a mixture of both. 

I carry a book with me, choosing from my selections above. I bring it with me everywhere, so when given the opportunity to read I'm available. I also carry a couple of pens and a small notebook to write in, because there are moments that need to be scribbled on paper or moments when a character whispers their secrets.

I am a writer. Writing is a part of me not just something I do. The results of where my writing takes me are minuscule and none of my business compared to what writing does for me in the moment of doing it. There is something profound, a mental shift, a valve release, that allows me to let out (let go of) some of the crazy that resides in my cranium. 

My most valuable lessons are me showing up with me--vulnerable, open, and willing to write.

Friday, October 10, 2014

WRITING QUOTE FOR THE DAY - October 10, 2014

Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.
- Louis L'Amour -

I missed the last two days of Writing Quotes for my blog. Was I writing? Yes, I was writing just not here, though it did take a bit of cajoling to get me willing. And, sometimes, that's how it is. I have to convince myself to sit and write. 

Once I turned the faucet on it began to flow, and when I stopped for the day I felt accomplished for having done so. 

I've learned over the years that I need to stick with my effort and leave what I think the results will be alone, because I truly don't know what's going to happen. I just need to know I was part of the happening.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


Any man who keeps working is not a failure. He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he’ll eventually make some kind of career for himself as a writer.

- Ray Bradbury -

I read this and know this to be true. But today I sit here not feeling it. I want to write. I want to sit and crank out great words and inspiring scenes and so on, but I'm not. I feel like I'm underwater, dragging a limp leg, desperate for air.

I'm not in the failure or not failure battle, but I am not immersed in old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor at the moment either. I feel lazy and am procrastinating, not writing.

I figured I'd stay with as much effort as I could muster for right now. Write my thoughts on this Bradbury quote and see what sparks. If that doesn't catapult me to where I want to be, then I'll read and try again this evening. 

With the collection of enough moments throughout the day I will have my writing quota and can begin again tomorrow.

Monday, October 6, 2014


You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.

-Maya Angelou-

This is my experience. When I'm stuck, with no words to put on paper, I find another avenue of creativity to jumpstart my hiding-words. I play music on the stereo and dance. I pick up my banjo or my guitar and create my own music or play someone else's. I may bake a delight from scratch. Or knit a hat. Or create a card for a special friend.

Sometimes the creativity I need to tap into is a new perspective, like laying on the floor, riding my bicycle, taking a walk, going barefoot in the grass, climbing a tree (an easy one, where I won't break my neck), swinging at the park, sliding down a kid's slide. 

Really, anything that helps me get out of the everyday-box I place myself in. The more I tap into the creative-lines around me the more accessible my own creativity is.

Sunday, October 5, 2014


In a good bookroom you feel in some mysterious way that you are absorbing the wisdom contained in all the books through your skin, without even opening them.

-Mark Twain-

When I'm traveling and drive through a town, one of the first things I scan for is a bookstore, preferably a local one, not a big chain. I love the feeling that overcomes me, when I step across the threshold and behold the smell and coziness of books, all kinds, all stacked.

My mind quiets and any tension I may have from living in the outside world lessens, and I am comforted. Once settled, perusing the aisles and running the tips of my fingers against the book's spines, thousands of whispering voices fill the air, as if the books themselves cannot contain the stories they possess and have to give themselves away.

Mysterious, indeed. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014


It is impossible to discourage the real writers--
they don't give a damn what you say;
they're going to write.
- Sinclair Lewis

I hesitate to say I am a real writer, but I do write and I am real . . . so maybe that's all that's needed. Plus, I'm not capable of not writing. 

I've tried to let go of my writing, when my mind was overwhelmed with negative thoughts, telling me I'm going nowhere, writing nothing worth reading. Then I'd find myself writing in my head, while waiting for traffic to move or in the grocery store line. Words would collect and painted a picture of different realities, simultaneous with my own.

I decided to stop stopping myself and just write, because the writing doesn't care if I get it on paper or not. The writing persists in my mind, opening doors to other worlds and people, each wanting their story told. 

Today I write and am a real writer.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


People on the outside think there’s something magical about writing, 
that you go up in the attic at midnight and cast the bones and come 
down in the morning with a story, but it isn’t like that. You sit 
in back of the typewriter and you work, and that’s all there is to it.

-Harlan Ellison-

My experience with writing is one of consistency and perseverance. There are days, when I sit and the story unfolds like it was waiting to jump from my mind to the page, eager and willing. 

And then, there are days where the opposite is true; the story isn't there, or only partly there, but either way it is definitely not eager or willing to reveal its secrets to me. Those are considered work days for me, where I convince myself there is usefulness in showing up and doing the work regardless.

For me, writing is a part of me, something to be acknowledged, and sometimes even reckoned with (internal sparring), and I feel better, always, if I sit and write, whether a work day is ahead of me or a willing and eager story jumping from mind to page.


Charlotte clambered from the two-door sedan, stumbled alongside the car until she reached the front, then propped herself with one hand on the car's hood. Her vision blurred the longer she stood, and her head swam. Too much alcohol, she thought and repositioned herself.

Her boyfriend, Morris, chatted with the police officer who had pulled them over. How he could look normal and appear put together was beyond her. Their muffled voices sounded distant, like she stood several feet from them, but she didn't--less than a foot.

She watched and swayed, repositioning herself every few seconds, while she wondered if she needed to throw up. She should have stayed home, watched a movie with her roommate, and went to bed early. Now she'd be hung over for class. What did she have tomorrow? It was on the tip of her tongue, but the closer she got to remembering it the further it moved from her grasp.

Movement flashed at her peripheral. She jerked and saw Morris step back from the police officer with his hands up.

What was he saying? She couldn't make it out, but he looked scared. Panic bristled the hair on her arms.

Then the ground vibrated and split the pavement open into a monstrous hole. The police officer disappeared, swallowed by the black earth that now flared bright red.

Charlotte screamed and scrambled backward, which meant going no where, her hands slippery on the car's hood. The ground heaved and buckled. She fell sideways onto to the gravel, flailing.

She saw Morris stumble and fall. Half his body hung into the gaping whole.

"Charlotte! Help me!" he said and reached for her. Fright widened his eyes. He grunted and clawed the ground to get a grip.

She crawled on her knees toward him, reached her hand out, and brushed his fingertips with hers. The ground rocked and rumbled, and the hole swallowed Morris further. Only his head and arms showed now.

"Charlotte! Help me!"

Hesitation and fear grappled with her mind . . . her decency. She reached out, but her fingers were further away from his than before. She would have scoot forward, closer to the hole, to help him. I can't do it.

Bile rose. She vomited in the space between her and Morris. She shook her head and inched backward instead of forward.

"Charlotte! Don't leave me!" Morris's eyes panicked, mixed with anger and fear.

"I can't," she said. "I'm so sorry." Morris plunged below the threshold of the broken earth, gone into fiery flames. Charlotte screamed.

What's wrong with you? You should have helped him? Despair, regret, and relief bomb dived her system, and she pushed herself up, crying, hyperventilating.

Before she could run, the ground gave way beneath her. Her long, blonde hair raised to the sky, and she plummeted into the red, molten glow of Mother Earth.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Today I found a new place to eat, a small eatery hidden in a residential area, The Cottage Cafe. It's quaint, packed, and delightful.

The waitress set us at a two-person table with our own water decanter with small-sized canning jars for water glasses. Hewn logs covered the walls, resembling the interior of a log cabin, and old wooden doors, shabby chic style, peppered the ceiling for decoration, along with bird houses and various ornaments of old-farmhouse history.

I figured I was about to get a home cooked meal, something unique and tasty. That's exactly what I got.

I ordered a herb-incrusted salmon salad with a cilantro vinaigrette with a cup of the tomato chive soup, both accompanied with sliced applies and cottage cream and warm honey, whole wheat bread. I ooed and awed, very pleased with the satisfying sensation I experienced while I ate.

By the time my plate was empty, I cradled a  sense of comfort and ease, enough, so tears wetted my eyes. Strange to say I almost cried after eating but true nonetheless, and primarily because I felt contentment and goodness.

Even before eating, I told my husband I had found a special place to put in my back pocket, a place worth going to any day, whether in need of a respite from everyday life or of no need at all.