Archive | April 2014

Lucky that writers have different perspectives and ideas!

Books would never come to be if it were not for the imagination of writers to see ordinary things in an extraordinary way

Books would never come to be if it were not for the imagination of writers to see ordinary things in an extraordinary way

One thing that always amazes me is how many different ways there are to look at something. When the same writing assignment is given to many writers, the variety of results will boggle the mind.

Ideas are what differentiate one person from another and even when ideas start to coincide, perspectives add another dimension to the similar thoughts that are there in beginning.

We are so lucky that every person thinks in a unique way or what would writers write about? We have been told that there are only so many plots or themes out there, yet writers continue to amaze and startle us with their interpretation of those themes. From the depths of souls and escaping from often warped minds, come a wealth of material and stories that cause us to face them with shock and awe. We are in disbelief at the turn this story took or the basis for that writing. Unbelievable concepts and unlikely character pairings bring us some of the best writing possible.

How boring the literary world would be without people who could see beyond the norm and capture moments and ideas that make no sense when first conceived. The writer that plods on to explore worlds that only exist in their minds is fearless. They are travelers never thwarted by barriers the less timid of us could not break down.

Our world is only made worth living by those giant intellects and imaginative brave souls that can traverse unseen worlds and bring to life exotic creatures and impossible characters of note.

Thank God for writers and their fantastic gift he provided them.

What books should be on everyone’s reading list?

I enjoy checking out recommended reading lists to see what I should be reading. The problem is every list is rather subjective. It includes the books someone deems vital to be read as part of a well-rounded education, but are they relevant to you?

Recommended reading lists usually include many of the classics we were forced to read in school. That’s okay with me since I love the classics and want my reading to encompass as many tomes as possible in a variety of genres. Any self-imposed list I create is one with a variety of classics. I still think timeless books offer so many opportunities to learn about excellent writing. They also usually have stories and plots that have not been rivaled in centuries.

Reading lists make a great guideline to help you have a program that includes many authors and important works to consider. Reading lists can only be followed in regards to your available time to read and study. Though we would love to read it all, we must choose from the many suggested offerings since most of us don’t have unlimited time. Such a shame!

In order to truly study an author requires you to read most everything they have ever written. With some prolific authors that idea can be overwhelming. First you need to choose an author from those suggested. You can begin with a sampling of their work, say three or four volumes. If you enjoy them, it means another choice. Will you begin a more sophisticated study and read many more titles they write. If you feel your sampling has indicated you don’t enjoy them or wish to continue with their works, then you must once again choose a different author. Most lists offer several authors with their most important works, but I think life is too short to waste time reading what you do not love unless it is a part of a class or course of study.

When I look at lists I usually find I have read many of the recommended books, but it was so long ago, even from my school days that I may not even remember what the title was about now. I am of a firm belief that sometimes we read books at the wrong time of our lives and they are much less relevant then they would be at a different time for us. Often, where you are in life determines what you get out of a book. I regularly wish to revisit those books that left a lasting impression upon me. If they seemed important at the time and still hold a place in my heart, memory or soul, they should be reread.

So what would be the first three ‘must read books’ you would recommend to others?

Do writer’s minds work differently than other peoples?

When a thought comes to my mind that makes no sense, seems impossible, why does my mind refuse to accept that assessment of that thought? Instead of being rational, practical or even smart about this silly intrusion into normalcy, I say yes, why not?

The writer’s mind must have different components or dimensions or some other necessity that makes our thinking perverse and strange, but never out of the question. We see the crooked path it reveals as something slightly challenging to straighten, but are ready to proceed down that road. We see no reason why it cannot be traveled.

Flying upside down may just be normal to writers!

Flying upside down may just be normal to writers!

When the perfect crime insists on being part of the knowledge we possess, though we don’t actually go out and rob that bank or murder that individual, we know deep in our secret hearts, it is possible. It would work.

The image of a character comes into our thoughts almost complete with ‘warts and all’ and we can worry that image until it breathes. Our minds do not stop to say, that isn‘t right, that can’t be but, instead accepts those characters in their entire splendor and if it were possible would invite them to dinner that very evening even though we ‘just met.’

It makes no difference whether or not the world we create in our troubled minds contains any element of truth or reality. We really don’t care, but we want others to care. We want readers to find our craziness plausible. We crave acceptance from many people who don’t think like us. We search out those who will believe the world we created exists and are already buying their tickets for the next tour there.

So writer’s minds are different, they are unusual in their manner of thinking. But isn’t that so with every artist?

If our thought processes were like every other persons, who would be intrigued by we writers? Who would actually read what we have written? Just a thought!

 

Painting pictures with your words

Words are the tools of writers and writers are artists as I believe, then sentences can be the brushstrokes that paint a picture. Finding the special words that help the reader visualize all you say is the answer to good writing.

When you think of a special book you loved something in it made you feel and something helped you relate to the theme or message. Words of course are responsible but, especially those that help you to see what you are reading.

If you can see it, no matter how crazy the idea, you will give it some credence. You find it much easier to believe what you see so those words that paint the scene enable you to completely take it in. You can smell the newly mown grass, you can feel the pebbles under bare feet and you can see the entire place where these people relay the story.

When you visualize her gown, you must have word details. Is it silk, or velvet, gauzy stuff or satin? Does it follow her shape and compliment every curve or is it one of those pieces of attire meant to cover up and not even suggest a woman’s shape? Is it there to romanticize the moment, seduce the most eligible male, or help her remain cool and aloof? Does her garment serve to protect her as some broken, teen girls use the over-sized, dark clothing to hide any sense of sexuality and keep them safe that way?

Painting word pictures when introducing characters is vital if the reader is to relate at all to the character, to even know who they are and what they look like. The reader’s interpretation may differ slightly from what you intend but, it still is their starting point before the reader’s imagination completes the photo. How well you paint that picture is how close the reader will see the person you wished them to envision. If they recognize the same person as you have written, that should be a coup for the writer.

Artists paint in bold strokes or sometimes it is a meld of colors arranged in ways that express a feeling more than a picture. Writers can do the same thing. They can ‘state a picture’ boldly and simply with strong exact words or add nuances to the colors and shapes by many words. Softening and highlighting, creating the chiaroscuro the balance and contrast of dark and light are all part of an artist’s creating process. Why can’t it be with a writer as well?

Personal Reflections: Easter brings hope to a broken world

Some days when the cruelty of man to man or people to beasts of any kind gets me down, I try to take comfort of a sort in the fact that nothing is new under the sun. This has been with us from eternity. Nothing can be said to have never been done before. It has always been part of our lives, unfortunately, forever.

The King James Version, Ecclesiastes 1:9 confirms this is the case. The statement means that these terrible acts have always been with us. It says, “That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.” That should scare us.

Christians have a much better understanding of what our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ went through when being judged and crucified. Thanks to good preachers and authentic, but horrifying movies. We know the madness that precipitated this. We know the real truth about how horrid this time was for our Lord.

We read often, in the papers or see on the news casts or online that people are continuing in this cruel and unfeeling way. They do not value life in many cases. They feel whatever they want to do that pleases them is okay and so hurt and harm, maim and kill without a moments’ hesitation.

People should be horrified by the news and frightened to even venture from their homes but, somehow we are stronger than that and have minds that overcome the madness and feelings of hope for the world and humanity. That strength and hope comes from our faith, but also from other people- the good ones. These are the folks who care for others well-being more than their own. Who carry on despite great odds and succeed or at least survive what others feared they never would be able to do.

At this Easter season, we must have hope. We must renew our spirit and look ahead to what we can look forward to and how we can make success happen. We must remember all the good in the world and the love that people share with us and be grateful for it. We must thank God he gave his son to die for our sins and rise again to complete our salvation and offer us hope in a broken world. We must be able to look beyond the cruelty and misery and know there is something better in store for us and accept it. We must remember God has a plan for each one of us and embrace it. Trust him to know what is best and let him lead us. Pray for guidance since God said ask and it shall be received.

Don’t doubt, even when the world wishes you to believe God, Jesus the resurrection and heaven are myths. Refuse to succumb to this false idea as born again Christians know our God is a real God. They know Jesus died for our sins and rose again from the dead to give us everlasting life.

Tomorrow as Easter sunrise occurs, make sure you can truthfully say, “He is raised. He is risen indeed.” God bless us all.

Messy desk or orderly one?

I confess. I’m a messy person! Yes, messy is common on my desk most of all. While admitting I am messy, I must qualify it with my most pathetic excuses- I am interested in too many things, always have several projects going on at once and usually have 2 or 3 animals with me at all times. These things explain, but don’t excuse the problem.

First let’s consider the room. My Creation room is rather small, less than 8×10. It currently houses many items, since it is here that I try to be creative. This of course means writing, but it also holds craft supplies. Add to this my newest project which is attempting to start seeds indoors under lights, also on a large metal folding table. Hey, I told you it’s a creation room and gardening certainly applies to that category.

It also houses two small collections, very small, thank God, since there really is no room; one of musical carousel horses and one of cats. We are true animal lovers, had myself worried sick when my favorite all black squirrel was shivering in the wind on a leafless tree.no I didn’t bring it inside, mainly because I have no room.My husband has the dog collection, mainly Labs in his small man cave. He also collects anything airplane, so far mainly artwork and models. Our house is small and cozy, but rapidly getting crowded. I have actually got rid of some collections and packed others away. But I digress.

My desk which keeps changing to accommodate each new idea is currently a rather nice, small wooden kitchen table. It contains a laptop and printer, a lamp, assorted writing utensils and a darling birdcage( with cats on top to go with my cat collection) planter waiting for the right size plant. But in addition, is the large pile of papers waiting to be organized or filed or thrown.I will, since returning to writing, need file cabinets. I have had many different types in the past, but my last ones were stacked plastic affairs (they worked fine) but, now they hold fabric in anticipation of ever having time to learn to quilt.

So the room is crowded and at any given time, I have 2 or more pets that must be with me . When you add a desk chair, a stuffed chair which I rarely get to sit on since a pet usually claims it and a couple bookcases; you can see adding an additional 175 pounds of animal can create a crowded environment. This is a very long, convoluted, about way of saying, space is scare and so mess is likely in these conditions. Thank goodness for walls as they hold more craft supplies, planters and photos of our three grandsons so I can stare at  their wonderful faces as I try to think. Don’t see any of them nearly enough.But yes, the desk!

Getting back to my desk it has files and piles of paperwork, writing notes, booster club agendas, many interview notes and photo and descriptions of rescue pets in need of fostering or adopting.

Not sure whether I should designate certain days to do certain things or continue on in my chaotic style schedule and do something from each category every day. When writing a book, you must be much more disciplined, but doing more casual projects requires working with less deadlines and allows a more relaxed attitude.

But back to the desk, every day I start out with the best of intentions to organize and tackle the paper pagoda, but then something comes up, distraction occurs and the pile remains. I am called away, lured away by other computer activities or with 5 pets someone almost always needs to go outside or come in. Then there are those pesky, mundane events like showering, eating, preparing meals and feeding the pack. They are slightly more important than cleaning a disorganized desk so it still is messy. The important thing is I can almost always find anything in the house, even in My Creation room.

So how important is a clean desk anyway? Do you think it matters? Does a neat desk make you more prolific when writing? Do you write better? Does neatness bring serenity? Do you feel more comfortable with everything in its place?

What does the state of your desk need to be for you or do you even care because when I am in the throes of writing, nothing else matters?

 

Words-love them, hate them, but do we truly understand them?

 

 Words are wonderful, but can also be terrible. They can be simple or complex, but they are not easy for most people to understand. We may love words, but picking the exact right one still plagues writers, poets.

Loving words, I know how lacking in variety and depth my personal vocabulary is most of the time. Occasionally, a word comes to me while writing and I am happy I made its acquaintance before and can put it to use. More often the discovery of actually understanding a word comes while reading. Still I am amazed when I have rightly guessed or actually known a less than popular word.

Words can be so confusing when they mean so many different variants of the same thought such as the word ‘intellectual.’ I always thought I understood that word perfectly but gave it some twists of my own which are not necessarily correct. An intellectual, to me, has always been someone who excelled at using their mind. They were in possession of an extremely rare gift of understanding the most difficult concepts and being able to use their intellect in superior ways. I thought they were on a pedestal far above the best students and at the very top of the hierarchy of smart.

While checking the word for definitions, it mentioned anyone using their intellect such as a writer or teacher is considered an intellectual. Well, there goes my long held theory blown to bits. I will shyly call myself a writer because I actually do write. No room to explore whether it is worthwhile or not or read and valued by others, just the fact that I write makes me an intellectual according to this dictionary.

Not only the fact that a writer or teacher can be considered an intellectual; according to this same dictionary, anyone who highly values a good mind is also considered an intellectual. Now, how does that differentiate between us common folk and the advanced student who excels and understands almost everything they learn? It doesn’t, but the same word expresses so many different things that confusion abounds when trying to decipher many words. How then can a writer convey the exact message they wish to send the reader? How can we paint the exact picture we wish someone else to see upon hearing our words? If one word means so many different things, it seems to me that the writer has a challenging problem to say what they mean.

Another misconception for me of an intellect is someone who uses long, uncommon words and uses them so well. When we are told that on the Internet, the average reading level can be at a fourth grade level and that is what we should write to, how can we be an intellectual and still accomplish that goal? When I write online and use a word that is not usual, I immediately think I am not making my writing clear for the ‘unwashed masses.’ Not every person has a great vocabulary. I often find myself, changing a word and making it less interesting but more easily understood by others. In order for readers to grow and improve, they must learn new words, we all should, but then can that force a reader to stop reading your writing, thinking it too hard a challenge?

Poets are the brave ones when it comes to being able to write at a higher level and still goading us on to understand the word that they used because it was just right, not because it was easy.

I also find myself if not wholly disregarding the chosen words to be replaced for clarity, then limiting myself in how many high sounding words I pepper into a single piece of writing. This sounds even stranger when I write this down, but yet I think it is the truth and I’m always hungering after the truth.

The beauty of words is that there are so many and if we strive to learn a great amount of them, we may find that perfect word that adds the right touch to our writing, but we will always still be stuck with words that mean too many things like ‘intellectual.’