Tag Archives: Blogging

Words

I see the beginning of another year as though it were a new journal. An untouched, immaculate journal offering 365 silken, virgin pages waiting to be filled. Its leather cover soft, pliable and devoid of fingerprints. It is unmarked, raw and fresh, and cries out for words to be written upon it. Words of all types: kind words, angry words, sad words, happy words. Words of hope as well as words of despair. Words offering solace and words inflicting pain, even though we might not wish it to be so.

An unbiased witness, this journal awaits to capture life as we perceive it. To act as a steadfast friend offering us the ephemeral chance to write another chapter in our book of life. Perhaps even to rewrite a previous one so that we might yet give it the heretofore unattainable happy ending.

What words will we write in this new journal?

What words will this New Year make us write?

Write, I Do

One of my goals lately has been to establish a writing routine and produce a certain number of words each day. In attempting to meet this goal, I joined a writing site that requires me to log in and do just that. This site faithfully keeps a word tally and tracks who is fully participating.

Every day I get an email reminding me to write my words. Unfortunately that email goes to an account I consistently forget to check. Every so often I remember, and then I feel a little guilty when I go in and delete several weeks’ worth of reminders. For a few minutes I feel bad that I am not letting the site count my words.

This exercise is supposed to be done first thing in the morning, to clear your head and get you ready to seize the day, to accept open-minded the onslaught of words that this process unleashes. If you keep at it, the theory goes, you will soon have a manuscript of sorts in your hot little hand. The idea is sound, if you can get yourself to follow a linear thought for 300 pages, or 60,000 to 90,000 words.

I don’t know if it’s that I don’t have the discipline, or maybe the tenacity, to stick with one work in progress, or that I am stretching myself too thin having more than one WIP.  I know which one I want to finish editing and polishing; I just can’t make myself do it. The subject matter is still a little raw for me perhaps. Or maybe I’ve been letting it stew a little too long in my consciousness.

But, I know I will get to it, when the time is right because write, I do. Every day. And since I gave myself the assignment of posting daily on this blog for the month of December, I find a myriad of ideas suffusing my brain. The list of topics or situations I want to write about keeps getting longer.

I don’t know if I will be able to develop them all during this month; it is going by faster than I expected. But, I will keep jotting them down and expanding on them on my trusty index cards for future essays, blog posts, fiction and nonfiction pieces.

And I think I will relieve that particular website from its daily email duties to me. It’s a good idea, but obviously not for this writer, or at least not yet.

Why We Write

Is it to fill the void?

Or is it to empty ourselves of what we can no longer hold within?

Sometimes I think the reason I write is the same reason I get up in the morning. Because I have to. But in truth, I don’t really know why I write. Maybe it is to share the joy, or maybe I do it to ease the pain. Perhaps it is to use the new words I just learned and sound so delicious that I must see them and hear them. For I always read aloud what I write, to hear the flow, the rhythm, the melody that words can at times produce. Even without our assistance.

I write many things, short pieces and long pieces. Fiction, nonfiction and sometimes a cross between.   I suppose I write what is next in the pipeline, waiting its turn to burst out. I go from one genre to another; I don’t know why that is either. I would love to sit and work on a book from start to finish. But, which one?

They say write the book you want to read. That is sound advice, except for me it doesn’t quite work. I read so many genres; there is no specific one I want to read. I want to read all of them.

Sometimes writing is therapy for me. Normally you pay for therapy, but in this instance I am going to see if I can make this “therapy” pay me. In the coming days I plan to share some pieces I have written. Some are funny, some are sad, some are just silly. But, they are all a collection of my words.

And I will continue to write, as that is an incurable condition with me, while I concentrate on the other projects I assigned myself for this month. Did I think I was Wonder Woman?

I’d love to know why you write.

Just completed this baby blanket for my newborn granddaughter. She looks so beautiful in yellow.
Just completed this baby blanket for my newborn granddaughter. She looks so beautiful in yellow.
Making this blanket as a Christmas gift for my father-in-law. A third of the way done!
Making this blanket as a Christmas gift for my father-in-law. A third of the way done.
And sewing this Christmas tree skirt for my daughter-in-law. The ruffle still needs to be made and attached.

Sewing this Christmas tree skirt for my daughter-in-law. She wanted blue. The ruffle still needs to be made and attached. And there’s four more projects pending. The suspense, will there be enough time before Christmas? I suppose time will tell! And why are my other captions not showing up as captions? What gives?

Simulacrum of a Thing

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I am reading Anne Lamott’s book, Bird by Bird, and she has a chapter about index cards and their usefulness. Until I came to that chapter, I hadn’t realized what an addiction I have to those little 4 x 6 cards. Like a certain credit card, I never leave home without at least one. Usually, I keep a bunch in my purse to capture any stray thoughts I might have as I travel around town. But never fear, I don’t write and drive; I wait for the traffic light to turn red.

We all know that if we don’t jot something down as soon as possible after it hits our brain, most likely it will be gone forever. Only the thought doesn’t go away completely. Part of it stays in the back of your mind, on the tip of your tongue, a simulacrum of a thing that will neither fade away nor come back in full force. It remains there to torture you while you berate yourself. Why didn’t I write that brilliant thought down?

I’m reminded of how, for several days, I turned the house upside down looking for the left over index cards from my youngest daughter’s high school years. I knew I had them somewhere. I could literally visualize them, all that neat white space waiting to be filled. But they eluded me. It was like looking for that last bottle of liquor in the movie The Lost Weekend. Only I didn’t have to steal my cleaning lady’s money to go out and buy a fix. Mainly because I don’t have a cleaning lady.

This incident occurred a couple of years ago when I finally started writing seriously or seriously writing. After I bought a new packet of index cards, I found the lost ones lying neatly on a bookshelf. Now, I am never without those trusty little cards. Like reading glasses, I have some in practically every room of the house. Besides my purse, they live in my bedside drawer. As sometimes happens, I’ll come to in the middle of the night with passages going through my head. Quickly, I snap on the light, grab a pen and lash the thought down before it floats away. Or at the very least, the essence of it.

Index cards make my favorite bookmarks. Not only do they hold the place in the books I’m reading, but they afford me the space to write down any thoughts or ideas my reading conjures up. And when I come across something profound or motivational, or both, I copy it onto a card and tape it to my desk, so that it’s right in front of me as I work.

They serve me in my other work as well, as quilting aids. Once I decide what a quilt will look like, I record on separate cards how many pieces of each fabric I need to cut and in what dimensions. I then tape the cards to the wall alongside my sewing table, a ready reference as I construct a quilt puzzle comprised of hundreds of pieces.

Once while in the lab chair waiting for the vampire to strike, I noticed they had new wall art. It was a piece constructed of luminous metal squares in browns and greens. As my blood flowed into the lab tubes, the image of it as a quilt flowed into my brain. Holding my left arm bent at the elbow, I rushed out of the lab to my car where I sat sketching it out. It will make a great quilt. Someday.

One fun thing I use the cards for is to write my granddaughter’s name in great big letters. “I want paper,” she says to me when she sees me at my desk, “I want to make an A.” At three, she is ready to learn how to write her name and I pronounce each letter slowly as I write it all in caps across the top of a card, A-L-Y-S-S-A. Her face lights up as pen in hand she sits down to her task, forming the A with care.  When she goes home she leaves me the gift of her scribbles. Maybe one day she’ll be a writer, too.

The cards are also handy to make myself notes about foods to try, their benefits and nutritional value, especially those with anti-inflammatory aspects. I am always on the lookout for foods that will help me combat RA and keep my weight at tolerable levels. I figure if I write them down, I might remember to buy these foods when I go grocery shopping. Because of course, making a grocery list is the one thing I don’t ever use my cards for!

To Blog or Not To Blog

I follow Kristen Lamb’s Blog and a while back, she wrote a post titled “Would Hemingway Blog?” When I went back to refer to it for this entry, I was surprised to learn it was written back in September. Which means I read it back in September. I swear it feels like it was just yesterday, but obviously her words had staying power because that post remains in my subconscious.

Her answer to the question was a resounding yes, followed by three exclamation points. I admit my first reaction to the question was, no, Papa would not waste his time pursuing such activities when he had earth-shattering novels waiting to burst from him. But, she went on to explain how he did, in a way, by using his journalistic muscles to write “clean, strong prose.”

It made sense to me, yet I still can’t imagine Papa tweeting. Maybe it’s because I’ve yet to join the tweet bandwagon. I wanted to get the blogging thing down first.

At first it seemed like I was reaching. Could I do it? Could I write something worth reading? By others, I mean. Would anyone care about what I had to say? And what exactly did I want to say?

I chose to focus on my health, mainly as a therapeutic practice exercise. I figured it couldn’t hurt, and the audience would be small. I wouldn’t make too big a fool of myself!

At first, I looked forward to posting and then life sort of got in the way and I let this blog languish for a long while. Which, ironically, defeated the therapeutic intent I meant it to have, at least on myself.

Now, the more I think about Kristen’s words, the more convinced I am she is right. Blogging is a good thing. If only to strengthen your writing muscles or to instill some writing discipline. And then, there is also the icing on the cake: the connections you make and the people you hear back from. Sometimes weeks after you’ve posted a piece. The fact that someone will take the time to hunt back into your archives is definitely priceless. (Thank you, Alice)

I gave myself the task of posting every day this month in honor of my upcoming birthday. But, I’m beginning to think it may turn out to be a far more valuable gift than I intended. As I relearned today, time waits for no man, or woman. If I want to be a better writer, I better get to it.

This is supposedly how Hemingway's studio was, down to his Royal typewriter. I find it hard to believe he would leave it behind. I can't imagine being without my computer. Would Papa let go of his typewriter? Inquiring minds want to know.

This is supposedly how Hemingway’s studio was when he lived in Key West, down to his Royal typewriter. I find it hard to believe he would leave it behind. I can’t imagine being without my laptop. Would Papa let go of his typewriter? Inquiring minds want to know.