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June 26, 2012

Dance, Baby! Dance!

     Writing poetry is in my blood.  My grandmother's poetry was published and what little I've read of it was quite moving.  However I seem to be missing part of the gene (perhaps the part accompanied by mental illness) and I find that poetry is not my forte.  Sometimes I find a diamond in the ruff of my attempts...or maybe just something that looks a little pretty.
I give you my attempt at poetry:

You can do the Twist or the Tango, 
the Waltz or the Worm,
the Mash Potato or Mambo,
the Sprinkler or Squirm.

You might cut a rug,
or bust a move,
hit the floor,
or get into the groove.

But nothing comes close to the wiggle and squirm,
the sway and the stomp,
the hop and the bop,
of dance in a toddler's world.



I hope you enjoyed my poem.  As always, I appreciate any feedback.  :)


June 24, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday: June 24th, 2012

I'm switching things up this week. I'm posting six sentences from a short story I wrote that is currently in its second draft. I look forward to your feedback. Here is an excerpt from "The Haunted Wedding".

       Many years later, after a little reconnecting with our old friends, my family was invited to the widow’s wedding. Everyone was excited to see her finally get remarried. Even her grown children were happy to see her smile once again. 
                           ********** 
         I saw the ghost as I was walking to the door of the church. Martin was there. That face was unmistakable -right down to the signature smoke hanging from his lips.

         If you would like to read the whole story you can find it here.  Happy Sixing!

June 19, 2012

A Writer's Best Friend

      For those of you writer who have yet to discover Critique Circle, it is wonderful.  Even with the free membership I keep finding new tools to help my writing and great ways to network as an author.  I highly recommend it to any writer, beginning or experienced.  It truly is a writer's best friend.
      For those of you are already a member or are looking to join, I invite you to check out chapter four (part 2) of my WIP The Mythical Male.  It will be up for review starting July Fourth.  So far I am about 85% successful at returning the critiquing favor, so hopefully that will give you a little incentive.    ;)
      See what other members have to say, or sign up for your free account at www.critiquecircle.com.  You are sure to love it!

June 18, 2012

The Haunted Wedding

           Yesterday was Father's Day.  I realized this around noon and kicked myself for not picking out six sentences from one of my back-burner WIPs that fits a Father's Day theme.  So for a belated Father's Day, I present a short story I titled "The Haunted Wedding".  It's in it's second draft so I appreciate any comments on how I can make this better, especially because I may submit it to a writing contest if its good enough.  I hope you enjoy it!


The Haunted Wedding
            I once saw the ghost of a bride’s late husband at her second wedding.  He was in parking lot of the church.  I saw him sitting on the edge of a truck bed smoking a cigarette.  Just like old times. 
**********
            The Rahker family had moved in across the street when I was just three years old.  My family wouldn’t have paid them much attention, but they had a daughter my age, and one of their three boys was my brother’s age.  Needless to say, our family’s friendship was inevitable.
            Since my father wasn’t too involved with us kids and my new friend’s father was, Martin became a bit of a surrogate dad.  He’s the one that taught me how to roller-blade.  After hours of showing Lauren and I how to push our blades against the ground and letting us try on our own, we were finally taking off.
            “There you go!  You got it,” he said in between puffs of his Marlboro.
                               **********
            My parents would always tell us how dangerous smoking was and about the damage it does to a person’s body. Even this chain smoker told us kids to never start, because now he couldn’t quit.  You could even hear the damage done to Martin’s lungs every time he coughed; the crinkling wheeze followed by the rasping hacks.  It was only a matter of time until it consumed him.
**********
            Martin did end up quitting, but only because he needed to start cancer treatment.  The radiation and chemo took quite a toll on his body, and the cancer did its fair share as well.  It was strange seeing this man that was once so strong start wasting away.  First his hair went then his muscles, and finally his spirit.
            After the end came I didn’t know how to act around Lauren anymore.  She didn’t have a dad anymore and I had never experienced a tremendous loss.  I didn’t understand her mourning process and it put a huge strain on our friendship. As a result, out friendship went the same way as her father –slowly, but surely. 
*********
            Many years later, after a little reconnecting with our old friends, my family was invited to the widow’s wedding.  Everyone was excited to see her finally get remarried.  Even her grown children were happy to see her smile once again.
**********
I saw the ghost as I was walking to the door of the church.  Martin was there.  That face was unmistakable -right down to the signature smoke hanging from his lips.  I didn’t believe in apparitions, but there he was in front of me, as solid as can be.
            After a few minutes of being enveloped by this surreal scene, I realized that I wasn’t looking at a solid phantom, but rather at Martin’s oldest son. 
I hadn’t seen him since he was a teenager, but he had inherited nearly every trait of his father- his jaw line, his cheekbones, his receding hairline, and his taste for tobacco.
*********
            I still claim I saw a ghost, but I still don’t believe in phantom spirits. A ghost is the imprint of a person’s soul left on the earth after death, and that is exactly what I saw at the wedding.

June 16, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday 6/17/12

I have more revisions to do than time to write, so I hope you enjoy this bit from what will likely become chapter one. 

“HommilĂ©, please play yoga instruction video A3,” she asked. 
Nothing happened. “Sorry, I forgot that you’re malfunctioning,” she said to the deaf machine. “Haley, tell HommilĂ©…” the video began to play.“Thanks Haley.” 
“A mechanic should be coming while you are away on your trip,” The orb said as it planted itself on a nearby shelf. 
 “You are a wonderful machine Hal,” Ziki said as she bent her body into downward-facing dog.

Thanks for reading!  I welcome any comments and I invite you to read a few of my other posts and comment on those as well.  Even more so, I encourage you to read other great six sentences at Six Sentence Sunday


June 13, 2012

The Thick Skin Club

I have heard so many writers say it.  "I'm part of the thick skin club!"  Which roughly translates to "Give me your worst.  I can take it!"

I envy these people.  I wish I was so confident.  This holds true for every aspect of my life, not just writing.  I am far too concerned about being perfect, and small bits of criticism can bring me down in big ways.  

Like my writing, thickening my skin is a WIP.  I learn to take it as it comes.  In the meantime, give me you're worst.  It may be hard to swallow, but I need it.

June 9, 2012

Six Senetence Sunday 6/10/12

I have not been able to work on my writing as much as I'd like, however I do have six sentences that may intrigue you.  I will warn you it is still in the draft stage, but I hope you enjoy it anyway. 
If you read last week's post, this is from the same chapter, but I won't tell you if it comes before or after the last six.  >:)

      She tried to orient herself by gathering her surroundings. To her right, she could vaguely make out a pool of water with a rocky waterfall through trees that were bending against the force of the wind. Ziki saw in front of her some sort of structure. She tried to discern what it was, but it began to disappear into blackness as her consciousness grew weaker. She fell to the muddy ground, everything fading now, and just as everything went black, a pair of arms grabbed her. 

I hope you enjoyed the draft version of my six sentences!  Check out other great sixers at www.sixsunday.comI'll try to get to my fellow sixer's posts.  At the bare minimum I'll try to read the ones I didn't get to last week.   :)

June 7, 2012

What makes a writer?

Since I was unable to edit and revise the blog I wanted to post, I will be posting some musing on writing.

      What makes a writer?  In essence, a writer is someone who, well, writes.  Everyone writes somethings.  Whether it's a Facebook status, an email, or a reminder on a post-it note-everyone writes.  The difference is whether you write for work or play.
     I write for fun.  I love telling stories in a way that make people want more.  Since I write these stories and these thoughts, I consider myself a writer.  The real question is, at what point am I a successful writer?
     Success comes on many different levels no matter what your goal is.  One level is passing a course, another is getting a diploma, and the ultimate success may be landing the dream job.  When it comes to my writing, I can only take pride in my mini-accomplishments and dream big.
     Step one is being taken seriously as a writer, which to my surprise has come easier than I thought.  People enjoy my work and give me suggestions.  Even more surprising is that they take my suggestions seriously.  So I feel successful enough to call myself a writer.
    The next step will be to have a published work.  Even self-published would be a big achievement for me.  From there I can only hope that someone is willing to pay to read what I've written.
     My "big" dreams that I'm not expecting to accomplish (but will still try for) include getting published by a publisher.  Beyond that I dream of becoming a best-seller, and I would love if my novel was turned into a movie (no matter how much they butcher it.)
     Now its time to bring myself back down to earth.  I have been lucky to have made it this far.  My "formal" training is English class (High school and college) and one creative course in high school.  Even then, I didn't take honors English because I can't spell.  If it weren't for spell check this blog would be riddled with spelling errors and I'm sure it has plenty of grammar errors as well.
    Even if you get down to the bare mechanics of writing, I fail.  I am typing this with a maximum of three fingers at a time and hand-writing wouldn't be any better.  My handwriting is atrocious.  I've posted a picture from my "writer's notebook" below. 
     As you can see, my chicken scratch is only somewhat legible to the average reader.  It is only completely legible to myself and (if what I've heard about doctor's handwriting is true) pharmacists.
    Well, I hope you enjoyed my musing.  If you didn't, I understand and I promise I will try to keep my blog either helpful or interesting.  I was crunched for time and wanted to post something in between SSS.  Yeah, I know...excuses, excuses...

June 2, 2012

My First Six Sentence Sunday

      I chose a paragraph from from my work in progress The Mythical Male.  Basically, the main character -Ziki has grown up on an all female settlement on the moon and is seeing a man for the first time in her life after her pod crashed in his back yard.  Six Sentence Sunday -here we go!


She peeked around the sheltering tree to analyze the situation and saw the most unusual creature.  It had the general form of a human, but its chest was too flat and hairy, the hips on the creature were far too narrow, and it had an odd appendage between its legs.  As the strange being moved a towel away from its head, Ziki saw that it also had a too-wide jawbone covered in thick, dark stubble.  Despite the creature’s deformities and the risk surrounding its presence, she found it to be aesthetically pleasing. She suddenly realized that her favorite myth was standing just a few feet away and she was in even more danger than she thought. She looked for a quick escape.

 I welcome any (constructive) comments.  Full chapters-in-progress can often be found on critiquecircle.com as works to be critiqued.  Hopefully someday they will come together to be a published novel.  :)  Check out other writer's six sentences: just click the link under "My Pages".  One of these days I'll figure out how to add logos and links to this thing.

Five Great Gifts for Teachers (and #1 is FREE!)

 
     If you're looking to get your child's teacher a gift, you may not know where to start.  Whether it's for the holidays, teacher appreciation week, or as an end-of-the-year "thank you", here are some great gift ideas for you to consider- and the first one won't cost you a cent!

#1: A Heart-Felt "Thank You" Note.
    Teachers can often feel under-appreciated for all the hard work they put in on a daily basis. Being a teacher is not easy, and being a great teacher is even harder. So let your child's teacher know how much you appreciate his or her investment in your child's future by writing a sincere letter of gratitude.  If you need help getting started, try finishing these sentences:
  • Before [insert child's name] started in your class (s)he __________, but now (s)he __________.
  • My child loves how you __________.
  • I appreciate how you __________.
  • You are a great role model because __________. 
#2: A Gift Card
     There is a good chance that your child's teacher is not a millionaire. Even if it feels like you're paying millions of dollars in tuition, they're probably not making much.  Easing money woes is a great gift idea for almost anyone and who doesn't love a little money off the tab at their favorite restaurant?  You don't need to get them a $50 gift card to the nicest restaurant in town.  Five dollars to McDonald's will buy a lunch and five dollars to Starbucks can buy some much-needed coffee.

#3:  A Spa Certificate
    Teachers are often under a lot of stress.  You know how wonderful -and -how terrible your child can be at times.  Now multiply that by the number of kids in the class and you have what teachers work with on a daily basis.  That's not even including all the paperwork, staff meetings, grading, parent-teacher conferences, and keeping up with required continuing education.  Teachers could definitely use some time to relax at a spa.  While a free massage would be wonderful, a nice pedicure can be just as relaxing.

#4:  Something For The Classroom (Ask first!)
    New stuff is always great, and new stuff for the classroom can be just as wonderful as a new stuff for ourselves.  You may want to ask the principal or management staff first before you buy anything.  Some schools have strict policies on what goes into a classroom and where it comes from, but usually a donation of a children's book or a set of pencils will be warmly welcomed.

#5:  Know Your Teacher/Be Creative
    If you know your child's teacher well enough, you can get something that specifically fits that teacher.  For instance, if you happen to know that the teacher is gluten-intolerant, you can give him or her a great tasting gluten-free cookie recipe.  Another great give idea comes from you.  Don't be afraid to get creative.  One amazing gift I got from a mom was a poem using the letters of my name for adjectives that describe me.  Another wonderfully unique gift I got from a parent was a donation made in my name to provide desks for a school in rural China.  So don't be afraid to think outside the box and try getting to know your child's teacher.  You'll get a plethora of great gift ideas!